Background & story


Thank you for your interest in Verbal Aikido™. My name is Luke Archer, I am of Irish and French descent, born in Dublin in 1974. I am a writer and facilitator, specializing in communication, conflict management, and educational development. Here’s my story.

As a youth, I was regularly confronted with physical and verbal bullying. I felt different from other children, and I had low self-esteem. I understood later, these experiences were actually gifts. After school, my “geek” side led me to train as a computer systems programmer. I thought I would be safe from the difficulties of dealing with aggressive humans. Life, however, had other ideas for me…

Following my exams I arrived in France for the first time in 1994. It was the beginning of an adventure that went from being a stereotypical Irish bartender, to an IT telephone support technician, and then a language and communication teacher. This was all very far removed from my initial desire to flee aggressiveness and difficult people!

Getting out of my comfort zone had started to become a deep curiosity. It is thanks to this curiosity that I have had the chance to work with a diverse audience: schools, children from disadvantaged countries, CEOs of large companies, academics, pschychiatrists, and independent coaches. The approach to pedagogical accompaniment that I was experimenting with, merged Montessori with maieutics. In 2008, following the participants’ unprecedented successes in all things communicative, I managed to get the finer details of this approach down in writing, and founded the Betterfly Institute for Educational Development. This is where the story of Verbal Aikido began for me.

In May 2009, one of Betterfly’s clients, a school for health professionals, asked me to build an approach to help teachers manage difficult students. I never imagined that this request would generate such a wealth of discoveries and human encounters, both through and with aikido. By immersing myself in martial practice, in the abundance of texts on aikido philosophy, and in my personal daily practice of it, the first VA workshop was born six months later.

Over the next few years, the number of determined and creative VA practitioners grew, as did the feedback on how this practice positively affected their work- and home-lives. This in turn stimulated the need to make VA available to more… to others looking for a fun and accessible way to manage conflict peacefully. And that’s how the NGO Aïkido Verbal Lyon sprouted into being.

Today, our non-profit organization enables individuals from all over the world to train online or face-to-face in regular weekly classes. Professionals can also benefit from VA training through our Sustainable Relationship Development enterprise, newskool SAS. I continue to share writings and discoveries on this art, and manage to keep some time aside for one-to-one accompaniment… and other passions 😉

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