Friday, November 8, 2013

STANDING PINS, and the fear of losing control

I have advocated for the use of no falls, no throws in bringing Aikido to vets. I’ve done this because our “mats” have usually been a bare gym floor, or industrial carpet glued to concrete, many vets have physical injuries restricting movement, it would take-up most of the few weeks I have them for class, it requires more focused attention to tori maintaining uke’s, and their own balance throughout a technique and it really isn’t essential to learning what I believe is the essence of Aikido.

However, based on remarks made by vets during practice, I realize there is an even more important reason for doing standing pins. One of the common aspects of PTSD among combat vets is fear of losing control, of the real risk of bringing serious harm, of destroying in order to retain control and personal safety. Several times vets have remarked that they liked being able to hold their partner off balance and under control without anger, without hurting them, without having to use force, with little or no effort, while remaining calm and relaxed. The sense of empowerment, the ability to control a situation while remaining in command of themselves, for many is exhilarating. And does it give me a sense of exhilaration, knowing I can bring something of such value to these warriors.

So again, I encourage anyone working with vets with CRPTSD, even if you have access to mats, utilize the power of standing pins. And once in while, utilize it in your regular dojo classes

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