VA in the US: Houston to LA

– VA landed in Houston with a splash. One intensive week of sharing the practice with the kindly folks at Sam Houston State University. Here’s a share from a participant in our two-day workshop.

This week we’re in LA, and you may be glad to know that there’s a free VA event, open to all, for this year’s Armistice day (11/11). Please join us for a Roast me/Free listening event at Tongva Park in Santa Monica this Sunday 11th from 10:30 to 3pm.

You’ll find us in the Public Art area. So come help us practice our Verbal Aikido and/or neutral listening skills in the park… all insults and shares welcome!

Peace out

(in) LA


VA – Paris to USA

Hello dear Aikidoists,

The Hug the world tour continues and, with enormous pleasure Verbal Aikido returns to the States Oct 20th to November 23rd 2018. An in-depth testimonial video is in the making, here’s just a taster from our first destination… Melbourne!

After our events in Australia, Singapore, the UK and France, we’re now about to embark on the American leg of the tour. Many have shared about their experience with VA, so let’s continue the sharing!

“Techniques that bring out better qualilties in people.” – Sarah, Melbourne Australia

“I used to feel paralyzed and frustrated with my lack of reaction, now I feel more confident in my abilities” – Marie-Solange, Singapore

“I can’t think of a better way of practicing aikido principles off the mat.”  – Quentin Cooke Sensei, UK

“Very true to aikido spirit. An excellent set of techniques to communicate on a genuine and authentic level. A lot of fun.” – Tim Magill Sensei, FL, USA

“It enables us to take the necessary distance to address conflicts from a different, non-frontal position. When we see the results and the direction we can go with it, it can only be positive.” – Philippe Brunet, 3rd dan aikidoka, Paris

Our first stop off is in Texas at the Sam Houston State University for a week of events including “Free listening” and “Roast me!” activities on the campus as part of Conflict Resolution Month with SHSU on Wednesday October 24th. Come check us out!

Then on to California and other west-coast pastures, for more fun and encounters! You think there’s an opportunity to meet on our trails? Let us know.  

Flyer-2018.2019-EN-US-Letter.pdf (134 downloads) More info on the Hug Site.

Peace out 🙂




So many ways to extend your Ai-ki @ AE2018

We’re delighted to be involved for the third time in the Aiki Extended Seminars on September 15th & 16th this year. If you haven’t yet heard of this exceptional event, you’re definitely missing out ! You can find us there on the Saturday at 3:20pm and the Sunday morning at 9:30.

The themes for the two workshops this year will be:

  • “Are you talking to yourself as a friend?”
  • “Reasons to be grateful for verbal attacks”

Personally, I’m looking forward to attending such a variety of seminars on how I can further extend my aikido practice from the mat to the world. Please check out the event website here for the who, where, when and everything else you need to know.

Can you just imagine the conversations we get into at dinner!?! In any case, you’re very welcome to join us (if there are tickets left) otherwise, make sure look out for it again next year!

Peace out


Verbal Aikido workshop in Paris Sat & Sun, Sept 22-23

Learn to manage verbal attacks peacefully & effectively  Verbal attacks in daily life are more common than we think and take many forms – whether it’s our boss, a family member or a complete stranger criticising us, humiliating us or trying to lay a guilt trip on us.

Like most people, our response is often to fight back, flee or even freeze in the face of such attacks. But there is another, more positive way to respond using Verbal Aikido.

Based on the philosophy of the Japanese martial art Aikido of never responding to force with force, Verbal Aikido helps you develop an inner confidence that allows you to manage conflicts peacefully and effectively for the benefit of all parties involved.

If you are interested in learning more, join our workshop in Paris on Sept. 22-23 (Sat-Sun) with Luke Archer, founder of Verbal Aikido, and his team. The workshop will be conducted in both English and French.

At the workshop, you will practice verbal stretching and sparring in a safe environment, training yourself to actually welcome conflict as an opportunity to deepen your practice.

“After training in Verbal Aikido, I was empowered to approach conflictual situations serenely…Today, I am no longer afraid to enter into dialogue with people who attack me verbally. Before I had no idea how to resolve a conflict. But that was before!”  Alessia V


When: Sept. 22-23 (Sat. & Sun.) Time: 10 am-5:30 pm Where: 58 bis, rue La Boétie, 75008 Paris

Sponsor: The workshops are sponsored by Crowe Risk Consulting, a global firm committed to diversity, inclusion and a great workplace.

Participation fee: €110 for one day or €175 for both days. Early bird fee: €99 euros or €160 for both days, if you sign up by Wed., Sept. 12.

Click here to reserve your spot. If you are only signing up for one day, we recommend you join the Saturday class.

Participants who join both days will be eligible for a Green Bracelet, which certifies they have mastered the basics of Verbal Aikido, including enhanced listening skills and the ability to manage a conflict without force.

Facebook event here.

Questions? Please contact us here.


Online Verbal Dojo for English speakers

Starting Wednesday October 4th at 4:30pm Paris time (10:30am EST) the Verbal Aikido Online Dojo is a weekly event… in English!  You can now finally bring your real-life cases to spar with, meet other practionners, discover new techniques and above all keep up your practice!

Just like in the dojos the sequence of activities is:

  1. Opening salutation (≈20 seconds)
  2. Centering (≈5 minutes)
  3. Verbal Stretching (≈30 minutes)
  4. Technical demonstration or case illustration (≈5 minutes)
  5. Sparring – bidirectional exchanges on the verbal mat (≈40 minutes)
  6. Centering (≈5 minutes)
  7. Closing salutation (≈20 seconds)

How can you participate? Simply join us for a free trial session in our Zoom room – If you’re new to Zoom, give yourself 10 minutes before the start time to get familiarized. You may even find your Verbal Aikido Instructor there for any questions you may have.

You can also sign up directly from as little as 60€ for a month, three months or a year’s subscription at our online store! For more flexible hours and personalized accompaniment, try our Individual Coaching sessions from 48,50€/h

I guess you know well by now: there’s no magic to Verbal Aikido – it’s regular practice that makes it work! I’ll be seeing y’all real soon now, on the virtual mat!

Peace out  🙂


Origin of the theses

You may be surprised to know that the Verbal Aikido approach is a worldwide movement that has existed for a very long time, in some form or another. Since I first touched on it myself in 2009 I quickly realized the presence of a collective consciousness that had brought it into existence. Indeed, as with many of these blog posts, the following article is a response to an oft-asked question. Where does it all come from?

Well the short answer is Morihei Ueshiba. The “Great Teacher” named his approach officially “Aikido” in 1942 and continued to develop it throughout his life, not only on a physical level but very deeply in its philosophical aspects too.  Although Ueshiba did not coin the term “Verbal Aikido”, it was clearly part of his vision for interaction on all levels, verbal, emotional, physical etc.

Where do I fit into it all? Well, almost 10 years ago I started an institute to help teachers develop their skills to become more effective in the classroom. About a year later, one of my clients (a para-medical school) asked me if I could help their teachers manage agressive and disrespectful students. With my experience in martial aikido and my great love for the philosophy I immediately felt that some form of “Verbal Aikido” would be a perfect solution. I was initially buzzing with the idea that I had “invented” something, but within about 15 seconds Google had curbed my enthusiastic discovery euphoria – there was already a few people who had made reference to it (at the time the most extensive work on it was Kyle and Pace Smith who had written a chapter on it in their book “The Usual Error”, inspired by Terry Dobson’s work).

This was in fact quite reassuring… indeed, it meant that there were already many people out there on a similar wavelength, and after reaching out to everyone who had referenced Verbal Aikido at the time, I was greatly encouraged by all that responded. Where I was able to contribute to this art was of course through my speciality – how to teach it: how to make it enjoyable, dynamic and easy-to-learn. Which is where the “Dora-esque” Three Steps come from!

Since then it has been constantly developping, as I have discovered a veritable universe behind each of the Three Steps. Indeed aside from sharing a large variety of techniques for centering (Inner Smile), accompanying (Irimi) and proposing positive outcomes (Ai-ki), the exercises and supports that have been created to help learners develop their reflexes and timing for these Three Steps are too vast to explain in a blog post, hence the books and the training courses 😉

Suffice to say that, according to the founder – the changing of technique over time is the essential nature of Aikido – and I have been blessed with opportunities to adapt and develop the Verbal Aikido approach continually since its creation. Whether its with high-school students, multinational CEOs, doctors, nurses, teachers or 5-year olds, the form that the learning takes can and does change considerably, yet the substance remains the same.

photo credit Stephan Rosswog, Jacobs University, Bremen

“From so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.” Charles Darwin (Origin of the species)

Check out our FAQ page for an interview on this topic.

Peace out


When we attack ourselves…

We’re often harder on ourselves that we are with others, but is it possible to interrupt our internal criticism, and maybe even to transform it into a more beneficial internal communication?

Copyright © 2015, Jelly Fields Corp

So you can’t find your keys, and you hear that harsh voice saying: “It’s unbelievable how dumb you can be!”

Someone compliments you and yet you hear that nagging voice telling you: “It’s probably not even true, they’re just  saying that to be nice!”

From where does this inner critic hail, refusing to speak to you as would a true friend? Well, you may find an answer to this question in therapy, but your ability to change the voice and how it expresses itself is a matter that Verbal Aikido manages with astounding efficiency.

Here are three questions that we can ask ourselves:

What would happen if you were able to get that voice to recognize other ways of talking to you that would be much more beneficial? How you would feel if, when things are not going as you wish, instead of hearing “How dumb are you?!” (or other criticisms) your inner voice began to speak to you as would a friend who reassures or supports you? Finally, what would this new voice sound like…  what would they be saying to you?

You may already know that, when we get verbally attacked by another person, the practice of Verbal Aikido gives us the ability to orient the vast majority of exchanges toward a balanced and constructive outcome. For the rest, we manage to significantly decrease the level of aggression in the exchange and to change the dynamics of the relationship for the better. That said, we cannot under any circumstances force the other to accept the Ai-ki that is proposed – indeed we simply propose Ai-ki, and after three of these propositions, we can withdraw in good conscience. The good news is that with an internal criticism or attack, we can force ourselves to accept what we propose in Ai-ki!

“Overcoming the self is not easy; you just need to look at the people around you who are losing the battle to understand this.” Kanshu Sunadomari

Obviously there is no magic formula; it is our intention, practice and repetition (come and practice in our workshops!) that develop our capacity to interrupt and “reprogram” our inner voice. Until that day comes when we’ve lost our keys and we hear someone reassuring us with soothing and encouraging words, and we realize that it is our own voice speaking to us… as would a friend. One thing is certain is that we are stuck with ourselves until the end of our days… isn’t it just better if we’re able to get along!

2-day workshop in Belgium

calgary-bilingual-websitesYes we’re back in the beautiful city of Liège, Belgium for an exclusive bilingual (English & French) Verbal Aikido Workshop in on September 24th & 25th, hosted by the Belgian Aiki Focus Center.
Sign up before September 16th to get our early-bird rate – all the information you need is right here 
Looking forward to seeing you on the verbal mat!

Back-to-school special

Hello dear Aikidoists,
I hope you’re brimming with serene confidence and inner-peace this September after a well-deserved vacation. But even if it seems like it’s just a distant memory now, you’ll be delighted to know that we have a special offer for you to give you that little extra bit of zenitude for this often hectic time of year.

FOrange belt special offeror our US & UK Verbal Aikido followers, between September 3rd (8:00 am PST/GMT),  and September 6th (4:00 pm) you can download your very own Verbal Aikido Orange Belt Kindle Version for only $2.99/£1.99 – that’s 65% off the list price!

If you miss this opportunity, fret ye not, you can still avail of a 40% discount ($4.99/£2.99) until September 10th at 12 midnight. But that’s not all…

Intro to Verbal StretchingWhen we first introduced Verbal Stretching into the workshops and trainings it was an instant success. Unfortunately Volume 1 (Green Belt) was already set for printing and, even though Verbal Stretching has become regular practice for everyone novice level to instructorship,  it only got covered in Volume 2.

So to make up for this, you can now download this full-colour introduction to Verbal Stretching for free! Woohoo 😀 

Please enter your name and email and click on the button below for your free download:

Peace out all,


Start your own Verbal Aikido club!

Finally you can start your own Practice Club or Verbal Dojo! site

Our new membership site has just opened its doors with everything you need to get started in the Verbal Aikido International community.

Take the time to discover the VAP Tour and bring it to a city near you!

You’ll be able to try out the Virtual Dojo too (coming soon).

And let us know what you think too 🙂

Peace out