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Old 07-24-2009, 10:16 AM   #1
Thomas Osborn
Dojo: Aikido of Northampton
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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

Gashi

I have been asked to do an Aikido class at the local VA facility for vets with combat related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Does anyone out there have any experience with this, or know of any resources that might help?
From my own experience I feel that, while the basics of Aikido will be extremely valuable, the teaching will need some special sensativities, especially in the beginning.
Thanks
Tom Osborn
tdosborn@thefloorist.net
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Old 07-24-2009, 10:24 AM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Re: Post Tramutic Stress Disorder???

As a mental health professional, Aikido is not a treatment for PTSD.
As a veteran, Aikido is not a treatment for PTSD.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:21 AM   #3
Dan Rubin
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

I think your questions should be addressed to the person who asked you to teach the class.
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Old 07-24-2009, 01:14 PM   #4
Dan Hover
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

SeiserL, glad you said it,

Most if not all of those vets will have encountered some sort of BJJ background in the military, as that is the "combatives" program for the Army. That being said you more than likely will be fighting an extremely uphill battle for some in the audience. As both an Aikidoka and a combat Vet, I, would be hesitant to step in front of that class unless I knew exactly what they (the promoters) wanted, and if I could fulfill their needs. Not being a licensed Mental health provider I doubt that I could fulfill that obligation.

Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 07-24-2009, 02:52 PM   #5
Aikibu
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

With all due respect to the above posters I have had a positive experiance with teaching Aikido to veterans with stress related disorders such as PTSD.

The syllubus is highly modified and features Aikido's Spiritual and nonagressive aspects of conflict resolution...

I however personally feel that a practice such as Tai Chi or similiar art would be more beneficial, and my suggestion would be to approach someone like Mike Sigman who is both a Vietnam Vet and expert on Chinese IMA.

PM me if you like and I would be happy to share my experiance with you.

I would also insure that the class be vetted by Licensed and Qualifed Mental Health Professionals.

William Hazen
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:01 PM   #6
Dan Hover
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

William no disrespect taken at all, I am glad to hear that you were able to serve those who serve in a productful manner and hopefully ease them on their paths to recovery.

Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 07-26-2009, 08:12 AM   #7
Thomas Osborn
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

Thanks everyone for your quick responses.
I should have made it clear that I am not going to attempt therapy through Aikido. I figure that if I was into bowling, I might start a bowling team, basketball, a basketball team, etc. I just want to do something I know [a little] and love with these folks. I am insisting on close monitoring and support from the professional staff. However, they don't know Aikido, so I'm looking for some practical advice.
I am a vet, 8 years army, with 6 in Special Forces of which 2 years were in Nam. I have practiced since 1967, shortly after I got out. My aikido did, and does help me deal with some of the issues arising from Nam. My doctoral work has been in education.
Again, thanks.
Tom
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Old 07-26-2009, 01:53 PM   #8
Dan Rubin
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

In addition to conferring with William Hazen, you might consider reading In Search of the Warrior Spirit: Teaching Awareness Disciplines to the Green Berets by Richard Strozzi Heckler. It recounts Heckler's experience teaching an Army-sponsored experimental course. These were not students with PTSD, but the questions and issues that arose during that course might help you anticipate some issues that might arise during the classes you're planning to teach. If nothing else, it's a great book.
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Old 07-26-2009, 03:24 PM   #9
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
With all due respect to the above posters I have had a positive experiance with teaching Aikido to veterans with stress related disorders such as PTSD.

The syllubus is highly modified and features Aikido's Spiritual and nonagressive aspects of conflict resolution...

I however personally feel that a practice such as Tai Chi or similiar art would be more beneficial, and my suggestion would be to approach someone like Mike Sigman who is both a Vietnam Vet and expert on Chinese IMA.
I like what you're saying here William.

Quote:
Dan Rubin wrote: View Post
In addition to conferring with William Hazen, you might consider reading In Search of the Warrior Spirit: Teaching Awareness Disciplines to the Green Berets by Richard Strozzi Heckler. It recounts Heckler's experience teaching an Army-sponsored experimental course. These were not students with PTSD, but the questions and issues that arose during that course might help you anticipate some issues that might arise during the classes you're planning to teach. If nothing else, it's a great book.
I'll second the recommendation of reading that book.

My experience in "working" with those suffering from PTSD comes from two different perspectives. My Father was severely abusive to me as a child. I believe aikido, as it was taught to me by my sensei, has been very helpful in dealing with the emotional baggage that accompanies abuse.
The second perspective comes from working with Marines (in the same office/location) in my job. I work for the Marine Corps in a capacity unrelated to mental health. I believe that our current health professionals are throwing far too many medications at these individuals in an attempt to help them. Personally I think if they discover alternate means of dealing with the stresses they will be better off in the long run. I believe aikido approached in the right manner, as William has mentioned, would be beneficial, and if nothing else, would keep them out of the bars.
Good luck to you Thomas.

Last edited by gdandscompserv : 07-26-2009 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:11 PM   #10
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

Coincidentally I just came upon this news article;
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090727/...ldier_slayings
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:56 PM   #11
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

Thomas,

I would love to talk to you about this issue. I am Aikidoka, Army Combatives Instructor, and a BJJ instructor, currently in the Army.

I have encountered PSTD type issues when training soldiers in MACP. I am hesistant to diagnose as I am not trained to do so, nor I am a professional. I have noticed several times during the course that a few soldiers have "issues" or seem to be a little more "serious" or tensed up about there trainining. Talking to them after class, it is apparent to me that they were affected by there experiences "downrange" in some way and the training we were doing was very real and "attached" for them.

I personally think any kind of training be it yoga, aikido or what not can me good, and I think it would be good to start something at a VA center for folks.

I do agree with Lynn though, as therapetic as it may be, it is not therapy...it is simply a program of martial exericse for them that may serve as a "healing" process.

Working close with Doctors, clinical workers, and other professionals would definitely be key.

I think that martial training is good upfront to help soldiers get in touch with their warrior self, and I personally believe that it does a good job of preparing you for combat and I hope and feel that it might lessen the impact of PSTD in some folks, but, of course, this is just my opinion, and again, I do agree with Lynn Seiser!

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Old 10-20-2009, 10:45 AM   #12
Thomas Osborn
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

An update on my aikido class for vets with combat related PTSD. The vets really seem to like it. Attendance is high, 20 to 24. The staff want me to continue, in fact I usually have 5-6 staff at every class.
for more details check my blog
http://ptsd-veterans.blogspot.com/
Tom Osborn
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Old 10-29-2009, 08:38 PM   #13
tlk52
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

I have one story to share

I don't have any particular expertise in this area but I have one student who was in the Russian army in Chechnya where he was in a lot of house to house combat, shot several times and also blown up by an IED... at first he would be startled by any quick movement and go into life threatening defense mode, and become extremely tense/sometimes inappropriately violent.

it's taken him a long time but he's made good progress. we've worked on relaxation/a lot on ukemi/breathing/aiki taiso, and doing the techniques as formal kihon waza while stressing basic principles, especially posture and footwork.... not thinking about applications most of the time (he already knows how to fight), and focusing on the self development aspect...and over time it's working.

he's learned to relax and to stand up straight, and can even move fluidly in randori without tensing up (most of the time). He tells me that it's helping in the rest of life also.

emphasizing having fun while practicing in a joyful manner has also been helpful.

But it took a lot of patience and a lot of time.

Toby
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Old 10-29-2009, 09:06 PM   #14
Janet Rosen
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

Thank you so much for the update and the blog link.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 10-29-2009, 09:16 PM   #15
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

Thomas, great...glad to hear it is going well!

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Old 10-29-2009, 10:16 PM   #16
Aikibu
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

Quote:
Thomas Osborn wrote: View Post
An update on my aikido class for vets with combat related PTSD. The vets really seem to like it. Attendance is high, 20 to 24. The staff want me to continue, in fact I usually have 5-6 staff at every class.
for more details check my blog
http://ptsd-veterans.blogspot.com/
Tom Osborn
Great News! I have the site book marked and will check it on a regular basis. And Tom....Perhaps you would consider writing a blog here on your experiences. I am sure folks would love to read it and we can compare notes too.

William Hazen
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Old 10-30-2009, 07:07 AM   #17
j0nharris
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post

I however personally feel that a practice such as Tai Chi or similiar art would be more beneficial, and my suggestion would be to approach someone like Mike Sigman who is both a Vietnam Vet and expert on Chinese IMA.

William Hazen
The person who introduced me to Tai Chi when I was stationed in Okinawa a number of years ago was an Army Special Forces Vietnam Vet, who had spent a lot of time in Laos...
He told me that he had taken up Tai Chi to "help him calm down".
He's one of the nicest guys I've ever met, & it certainly seemed to be working for him.

jon harris

Life is a journey...
Now, who took my @#$%! map?!
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:47 PM   #18
dallas
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

I have spoken with Mr osborn about his program earlier this year and I honestly believe he has a pure desire to help. As a Veteran I applaud his sense of duty and want to serve his fellow soldiers, as a disabled veteran I applaud his sense of understanding ,this man wants to help in any way possible and realizes that a non confrontational open ended system like the one we are all fortunate to practice offers the latitudes to explore the what if factor . What if I lost my leg or what if my balance is no good for combatives and lets explore how we can adapt this to a wheelchair . I say Ailido is great for vets because they can return to get out of the way let it go and you win , calm in the middle of a blender anything other than a constant reminder of what you cant do and the only way to resolve a conflict is still through something physical . When you can take someone with bent or broken limbs and explore with them the ways to make a technique work and they start to see what they can do and they start to become animated and joke and find their world and much more important their value and that is as close to the meaning of Aikido as you can get and the world would be a much better place .I am humbled by his example and privilaged to get to comunicate with him . Anyone knowing any Aikidoka with a limitation please have them contact this man
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Old 12-22-2009, 03:26 PM   #19
SeiserL
 
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

Agreed. Aikido is a great supplement and exercise program for everyone including veterans (of which I am one). I am only cautious of using it to "treat" PTSD (of which I have suffered). I too applaud anyone's attempt to reach out and help those who have stood guard.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 12-22-2009, 05:10 PM   #20
Janet Rosen
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

I've been following Thomas' blog regularly and really recommend it (and the work he is doing)

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:53 AM   #21
Thomas Osborn
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

I would like to thank everyone for their comments, suggestions and criticisms. They do help and make a difference.
Someone suggested that I do a blog on this site. I do a blog at www.ptsd-veterans.blogspot.com . It seems like it would be a bit redundant to do it here as well.
I could use some help in contacting Dan Harden. I used to have that info, but it seems to have fled.
Again, thanks

Last edited by Thomas Osborn : 01-28-2010 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 01-28-2010, 01:15 PM   #22
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

Quote:
Thomas Osborn wrote: View Post
Someone suggested that I do a blog on this site. I do a blog at www.ptsd-veterans.blogspot.com . It seems like it would be a bit redundant to do it here as well.
Please note that Tom's blog posts are being "syndicated" here onto AikiWeb in the External Aikido Blog Posts forum.

-- Jun

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Old 01-28-2010, 02:06 PM   #23
Dan Rubin
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

You can send Dan Harden a private message from here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/member...poster&t=17291
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:08 AM   #24
Thomas Osborn
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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

I'm not very adept at manuvering through and making full use of the web and I have just discovered the External Aikido Blog Posts. I can't believe I've been missing all of the comments and suggestions so many people have been sending. Thank you all and forgive me for not responding as your comments were posted. I will try to do better.
It is a real UP to find out that I haven't been as all alone in this as I have often felt. Please, keep those cards and letters coming folks, And I will try to be better at responding.
Tom Osborn
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