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Old 08-31-2010, 07:05 AM   #1
arjandevries
Dojo: Ima Juku
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What would you do??

I was asked to give a workshop Aikido to a number of 40 people who are not really motivated in their job. They have just been depromoted because of a big fusion.

No tatami.

Exercises for harmony, harmonizing, doing the job together, relaxation and so on.

What are your ideas about this?
Any help would be great!

I am a Sandan Aikido.
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:13 AM   #2
lbb
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Re: What would you do??

Who's asking you to do this? What's the scope of it -- a one-time workshop of an hour or two, or something ongoing?
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:17 AM   #3
Abasan
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Re: What would you do??

That's tough. If you don't know the exercises intimately, how are you going to demonstrate well for 40 people much less teach them?

One exercise for example that teaches harmonising is to have uke grab ryotedori and push down. Nage brings hands down to touch the floor. Granted, you already have the same motion going, so its a good start because you're connecting with the ki direction. But even so, if you pull or tug uke, uke will fight back even though he started out going in the same direction.

Next, have uke pull up instead, but repeat the exercise. Nage brings down his hands to touch the floor.

3rd. Have uke do what he wants, but nage maintains the same feeling and moves around now and finally touches the floor.

The idea is to have nage find a way to work together with uke, instead of competing with him to bring his hands down, but cooperating.

Other ways is to just to explain tenkan and irimi. Tenkan is to see the other persons point of view. Irimi is to advance under difficulty. Both physically translates well as a mental exercise.

Another good one is to have 2 ukes grab morotedori on both your hands. Grab and 'do' something that is. And you just use each others energy against each other to take their balance and maintain yours. Keeping center and relaxed. That's a good exercise when an employee is hassled by different people who are competing for his attention.

I would start with aiki taiso and rei ki tests though... those are good for almost anyone.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:36 AM   #4
arjandevries
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Re: What would you do??

Thanks for the reply!
I do know some excersisis.
I was just curious about what others would do.

I think about:
unbeandable arm,
Working with balance in groups
Pushing hands
Some "simple"Aikido techniques
Working with breathing
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:46 AM   #5
David Orange
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Re: What would you do??

Quote:
Arjan de Vries wrote: View Post
I was asked to give a workshop Aikido to a number of 40 people who are not really motivated in their job. They have just been depromoted because of a big fusion.

No tatami.
Do you think maybe Management is just hoping you'll kill a few of them--sort of further depromote them???? And then maybe the rest will just flee?

Actually, with a group that big of nothing but beginners, it's probably better that you don't have tatami. And the simpler you can keep it, the better you'll do.

Mochizuki Sensei often told me to "teach as much as possible as fast as possible" and to "teach something at every lesson that the student can go out and use the same day."

I have a one-hour lesson that I base all my other teaching on. I give them something that they can immediately use and that they can remember and enact instantly for the rest of their lives. It makes a deep and dynamic change in each person and each one feels empowered and uplifted, relaxed, encouraged and happier.

The essence of that lesson: relax and stand up straight.

It's all about how semi-conscious tensions in the body pull the body out of vertical alignment, hamper the breathing, cause pain in the back and elsewhere and make one a target for muggers.

I have them stand in a less-than-shoulder-width stance and I review with them what causes them to stand up straight: it's an evolutionary development that sets humans apart from other animals. I point out that our natural nervous system impels us to stand as tall as our skeleton will allow without stretching or being unnatural. There are survival reasons for this--to be able to see further and hear better, and also to be seen by others. The narrower stance puts the leg bones vertical in the hip sockets and gives the dynamic instability to allow us to move easily in any direction or stand in place with minimal exertion.

Then I review what makes us break that verticality: it's basically some degree of the "fight or flight" response. In nature, a tall-standing person would quickly drop at a sign of serious danger, to get the head down where he won't be seen and to be ready to pounce into the danger or away from it. And when the danger goes away, the person will naturally, if gradually, return to his full height when he relaxes.

So when we relax, we rise to our full natural height without effort. And when we tense, we increasingly lose that height and verticality.

So my first lesson is "relax, stand up straight". It should fill a complete hour to teach this to forty people.

And your bunch sounds like great candidates for this because, while in nature the threat eventually goes away, for modern man the threat is much lower, but pretty much constant. "The Boss" is always lurking, like a tiger, somewhere near, silent, but always looking for someone to "depromote". This tends to put the abdominal muscles in a chronic tension as they clench to quiet the nerve plexus in the abdomen. This constant, unending tension makes it literally "hard" to stand up straight because the back muscles have to pull against those clenched abdominal muscles. But relax the abdominal muscles and the body pops upright like a cork popping to the top of the water.

Once people feel that, their breathing opens up, they stand taller, their heads are held erect and they're "back in the land of the living".

Then they can go out and use that knowledge immediately. Standing tall and relaxed, they present less of a target for muggers, who want to jump on someone who looks bent, beaten down and frightened--not someone who looks relaxed and aware. And if they do encounter some troublemaker, instead of clenching up and lowering their heads, they can consciously keep relaxed and tall and, while presenting a less desirable target, look for alternatives to walking into a bad situation.

That's something they can learn in one lesson, use the same day and remember for the rest of their lives.

And did I mention that it feels good?

If you want to go into some detail about this, PM me.

Good luck with it.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:50 AM   #6
David Orange
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Re: What would you do??

Quote:
Arjan de Vries wrote: View Post
I think about:
unbeandable arm,
Working with balance in groups
Pushing hands
Some "simple"Aikido techniques
Working with breathing
Although these folks sound rather beaten down, you never know what kinds of emotions they'll be going through. Most of them will probably be sad and tired, but some may well be very angry, and may see any opportunity to grab someone's arm as a chance to struggle and apply their power to set things "right", which could end up with some broken arms.

I always like to start out by getting them relaxed and feeling physically unburdened and emotionally positive.

Hope you have a good workshop.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:17 AM   #7
lbb
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Re: What would you do??

Quote:
Arjan de Vries wrote: View Post
Thanks for the reply!
I do know some excersisis.
I was just curious about what others would do.
It would depend greatly on who was asking me to do this, and why they were asking me to do it. If it was corporate management trying to get me to sprinkle some happy dust on a bunch of legitimately disgruntled workers, I think I'd tell them to get out of my face and do their own dirty work.
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:19 AM   #8
thisisnotreal
 
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Re: What would you do??

*lol*
Mary that was awesome.
... happy dust.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:27 AM   #9
Janet Rosen
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Re: What would you do??

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
It would depend greatly on who was asking me to do this, and why they were asking me to do it. If it was corporate management trying to get me to sprinkle some happy dust on a bunch of legitimately disgruntled workers, I think I'd tell them to get out of my face and do their own dirty work.
Yep, that was my reaction.

And as a worker who has been part of a few mass reorganizations/demotions, I can tell you that I and most of the workers would see this workshop as a real slap in the face - a company that can't be bothered to actually create a workplace that respects the work we do, instead they want to set up a workshop to make us feel better about a crappy workplace.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:08 PM   #10
David Orange
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Re: What would you do??

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
And as a worker who has been part of a few mass reorganizations/demotions, I can tell you that I and most of the workers would see this workshop as a real slap in the face - a company that can't be bothered to actually create a workplace that respects the work we do, instead they want to set up a workshop to make us feel better about a crappy workplace.
That's why I'd like to give them something that empowers them personally instead of confusing them with techniques that will take years to learn. Give them something they can really assimilate in one day and empower them with the self knowledge and self respect to get a better job.

So I would hope.

Best to all.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 08-31-2010, 01:06 PM   #11
phitruong
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Re: What would you do??

i was going to suggest to put each person in head gear and boxing gloves then go melee like this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGiyfS_2b4w#t=54s

then ask the management to join in

don't forget to ask them to sign the waiver first.
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Old 08-31-2010, 01:42 PM   #12
Janet Rosen
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Re: What would you do??

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
That's why I'd like to give them something that empowers them personally instead of confusing them with techniques that will take years to learn. Give them something they can really assimilate in one day and empower them with the self knowledge and self respect to get a better job.
David, just to be clear, I was not criticising your intent or motives!

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 08-31-2010, 02:10 PM   #13
lbb
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Re: What would you do??

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
That's why I'd like to give them something that empowers them personally instead of confusing them with techniques that will take years to learn. Give them something they can really assimilate in one day and empower them with the self knowledge and self respect to get a better job.
Given the context, I think the chances of that succeeding are slim. You don't "personally empower" someone by evading the very issues that are at the forefront of their mind: "Okay, so you got screwed, your pay got cut, your benefits got cut, you've got twice the work because of all the people we laid off, and you don't know how you can make ends meet...and I'm not going to address any of those issues...but if you'll just forget all that, I'll teach you how to become personally empowered." I just don't see it.
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:14 PM   #14
mathewjgano
 
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Re: What would you do??

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
It would depend greatly on who was asking me to do this, and why they were asking me to do it. If it was corporate management trying to get me to sprinkle some happy dust on a bunch of legitimately disgruntled workers, I think I'd tell them to get out of my face and do their own dirty work.
I don't know...teaching some potentially disgruntled employees basic "martial arts" seems like an interesting approach. Seems braver than I'd generally give corporate folks credit for, at any rate.
Joking aside:
I like the approach David described. I've always found the concept of shizentai ("natural body/posture") to be very helpful and emotionally balancing. Sitting or standing relaxed at full height has always felt very empowering to me. Also, I recall Sensei Barrish describing proper posture as feeling like a king/queen sitting back on his/her throne...though I can see how that might seem patronizing given the fact that they just had it shown how little power they have in their company. However, if presented well I would think it could serve as a good general theme.
"No matter what happens: breathe, relax, stand tall, keep your head up and your eyes sharp."
...Something like that, anyway.
Good luck!

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 09-01-2010, 09:17 AM   #15
David Orange
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Re: What would you do??

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
David, just to be clear, I was not criticising your intent or motives!
Not at all. In fact, I really feel the same as you on this. Too often, the corporate world views people as animals to use and abuse and too often, people are highly conditioned to accept it and feel that they're not worthy of anything better. But unlock some of the physical tensions that bind their psyches and they can make sudden dramatic leaps forward. My method is based on applying Feldenkrais approaches to the aikido I learned from Mochizuki Sensei. I call it "Zero Degree" because it underlies all the other degrees.

Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 09-01-2010, 09:19 AM   #16
Erik Calderon
 
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Re: What would you do??

I have done several of those....

No tatami is a big issue, but I have found that hard floor is not that bad, especially for beginners, and the soft grass is best.

Good Luck, or as they say in Japan, GANBARE!

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Old 09-01-2010, 09:22 AM   #17
David Orange
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Re: What would you do??

I don't address any of that. I address only, "How do you feel? How does your body feel? Are your shoulders tight? And, feeling that they are, can you now let that tension go? And if so, do you now feel something different in your lower back? Does it change the way you're holding your neck?"

Within ten minutes, I can have anyone standing taller, breathing easier and feeling like a much worthier human being, at which point I can tell them, "Now, then. You don't have to accept abuse. Look at the power you have. Dump these swine and get a better gig."

Of course, I've never used it for employment situations. I've only dealt with people who want to learn self defense. But if this will work to help someone deal with someone who wants to kill them suddenly, it will help with someone who wants to suck the life out of them slowly, as well, I think. Rather than hanging onto the hurt and insult, they can realize quickly that they are worth better and can achieve better.

Best wishes.

David

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Given the context, I think the chances of that succeeding are slim. You don't "personally empower" someone by evading the very issues that are at the forefront of their mind: "Okay, so you got screwed, your pay got cut, your benefits got cut, you've got twice the work because of all the people we laid off, and you don't know how you can make ends meet...and I'm not going to address any of those issues...but if you'll just forget all that, I'll teach you how to become personally empowered." I just don't see it.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 09-01-2010, 09:25 AM   #18
David Orange
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Re: What would you do??

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
"No matter what happens: breathe, relax, stand tall, keep your head up and your eyes sharp."
Yes, and it's easier to do that and feels better than holding onto the hurt and resentment.

Barrish Sensei's description sounds about right to me, too. Very nice.

Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 10-02-2010, 11:17 AM   #19
arjandevries
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Re: What would you do??

Well, I did the workshop! It was in not such a big place. There were 35 people. I asked them to put out their shoes. Imagine the looks I got! Some even did not do that. Fine by me.
After a whole day of listening the finnaly got to do something. We first started some breathing excersises and everybody calmed down. Then we did some balance excercises, some relaxation and some internal power stuff. They loved it! Afterwards people asked me lots of things.

Thanks for all your input!

Arjan
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