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 – https://zoom.us/j/6147512983. If you’re new to Zoom, give yourself 10 minutes before the start time to get familiarized. You’ll 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  🙂

LA

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.

credit-stephan-rosswog-jacobs-university-bremen
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

LA

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?

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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!
LA

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,

LA

Start your own Verbal Aikido club!

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

Our new membership site www.verbalaikido.org 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

LA

The Texas Conflict Coach interview on Verbal Aikido

Luke Archer gets a radio interview about Verbal Aikido this Tuesday August 23rd 🙂

You can listen live to The Texas Conflict Coach radio program hosted by Pattie Porter, and Steven Kotev, who will be interviewing Luke, as part of their Back-to-School intiatives. Just as the name suggests, it’s an American station, so if you’re thimg-thingat side of the globe, or a bit of a late-bird, it’s at 7:00 pm CST (midnight GMT).

You can also catch the podcast from tomorrow evening onwards from the official program page. Just click on ‘Listen to’, and leave any comments you have too!
Enjoy 😉

 

What’s in a belt?

It’s pretty much a given that for certain among you, the concept of a Green Belt was something new. And if it did seem strange in some way, you won’t be surprised to know that I have received many ‘questions’ about this notion of belts in relation to aikido. Here would be a typical exchange:

“Green belt in aikido? Nonsense – we don’t use colored belts in aikido!”
[…] I’ve also heard that – it’s an interesting concept.”
“It’s true!”
“[…] I can see that you believe it.”
[***] Well why on earth do you talk about a green belt then?”
“[…] Would you really like to know?”
“[***] Go on then…”
“[…] “Well, among other things, it gives me many opportunities to understand people’s varying points of view about the concept of belts… Why don’t you tell me more about what your belt means for you?”
[- – -] “Hmm, let me think…”

You may well be smiling if you recognize this technique as the Meaning Prod, but truly this question – “What does your belt mean for you?” – is an extremely beneficial starting point when discussing any such abstract or symbolic concept as belts, degrees, titles, and so on. When you listen to how each individual expresses the meaning they put behind these ideas, you’ll find such a wide variety of answers that may make you wonder if they’re even talking about the same things at all!

You might even go so far as to start seeing the merits of doing away with the use of belts entirely.  One could even ask: why differentiate between green and orange, or even white and black? No matter what your answer to this question is, it’s rooted (deeply or not) in your belief system. However common or rare you think your answer is, it’s just the tip of the iceberg in understanding what your belt actually means to you.

If you currently have a belt in any discipline, take a second to ask yourself if:

  • it implies that you’re better or worse than someone who has a different color belt than you,
  • it means you’ve got the same capacities as someone with the same color belt,
  • it gives you a sense of pride, doubt, or is linked to your self-esteem in any way.

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of the above statements, then I’m delighted to share with you the contrasting philosophy behind the concept of belts in Verbal Aikido. You may already know that the non-competitive philosophy of aikido greatly emphasizes self-victory rather than comparison with external references. Consequently, the significance of the belts can only concern the path that each individual has chosen to take. In the approach envisaged in Verbal it is seen as follows:

  • The path towards Green Belt: the intention to discover and use effectively the basic steps in the art.
  • The path towards Blue Belt:  the intention to include emotional recognition in the practice of the basic steps.
  • The path towards Orange Belt: the intention to develop and deepen an understanding of the dynamics in verbal conflict and reconciliation, both internal and external, and to appropriate the art (i.e. make it one’s own).
  • The path towards Blue Belt: the intention to overcome one’s “dragon” and deepen one’s practice in situations with strong sentimental attachment.
  • The path towards White Belt: the intention to increase facilitation, guidance and accompaniment skills, by transmitting to and learning from learners.

Even though most learners prefer an external validation at some stage (i.e. a more experienced person who can corroborate their capacities), one can indeed be a self-proclaimed green, blue, orange, red or white belt if it seems appropriate! Why not? After all, your belt has the significance that you give to it, and your understanding of each aspect will be evolving constantly throughout the learning experiences that your life presents to you.

That said, in order to facilitate the path of those learners who see the benefit in external validation, the following conditions have been outlined relative to the attainment of these belts:

Verbal Aikido Levels & Belts 2016

I remember being told that as soon as you’ve had one class of aikido, you should start to teach someone else what you’ve learned. Indeed this is also true of Verbal Aikido, and the very act of sharing any newly acquired knowledge has the benefit of reinforcing your own understanding of what you have learned, or at the very least, helping you see what is missing from your understanding. The specificity of following a path to White Belt is that there is a clear intention to accompany an individual, or group of individuals long-term to their goals.

It may even be helpful to consider that if you intend to:

  • use the basic steps effectively,
  • deepen your internal and external understanding of the dynamics,
  • continue to share, accompany and learn through the people you have the privilege of encountering in your life,

… you might just be on all five paths simultaneously, or a motorway, if you prefer. So whatever your path, however wide or winding it may be, it’s now time to tighten that knot and get practicing!

Peace out

LA

Boost your days…

Hey how are you doing ? No really, how are you feeling today ?!

Now, thanks to our all new web app “The Intention Generator (beta)” you can explore your emotions just a little further and boost your day with a choice of intentions specially selected for you!

Boost your lifeA big thank you to Nicolas from ngweb who made it all possible. It’s still in beta testing so your comments and feedback are more than welcome 🙂 Enjoy!

LA

It’s the intention that counts, and it starts with just one word.

So what was your intention today? What do you mean you didn’t even think of it!?!? OK well I guess it’s fine for now, but by the end of this article you’ll have every reason to sense to the power of your intention, and feel it every single day!in-my-hands-1561426-640x480

As mentioned in a previous post about daily intention exercises (Davies), working on your deliberate intention is a key factor in your success with Verbal Aikido. Being able to implement and hold your intention faced with an attack not ony puts you a step ahead of your partner, but gives a higher level of mastery in the overall exchange.

INtentionI would even go so far as to say that the more you work on your own intentions, the more other people’s intentions (or lack thereof) become clearer too. Just call it a bonus effect!

“Yeah but, how can I really work on my intentions?” – It’s easy enough, just choose a constructive direction you’d like to develop with your actions throughout your day.


“Yeah but, what if I fail?” – Fail what? The beauty of this exercise is that all you need to do is to feel, find, recognize, understand and/or develop your intention as much as you can. There is no failure, no success… unless of course you give yourself a personal goal

VA calen preview“Yeah but what if don’t have any ideas for a daily intention?” – Ahhh, well now you’ve presented me with an opportunity to give you a present!

Click here to download your brand new 2016 Intentions Calendar, suggesting a word a day. That’s 366 ideas to enhance your daily actions and develop your power of deliberate intention. What are you waiting for!

Intention Mug preview ENI must admit, personally I do like to have a morning reminder to help me as I’m sipping on my coffee. If you too would like to have one of these helpful mugs, and set yourself on the right tracks first thing in the morning… just let me know!

Peace out

LA