The Feldenkrais Journal #2 Martial Arts

Carolyn Sue Albin: Adaptation; Elizabeth Beringer: A Common Thread; Elizabeth Dickinson: The Martial Art of Not Changing

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The Feldenkrais Journal #2 Martial Arts

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Copyright @ 1986 by The Fel.denkrais fournal. All rights revert to authors on publication.

Feldenkrais Journal

Issue #2


[email protected]'S PAGtr Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the second issue of the Feldenkrais Journal. ln this issue almost all the adicles focus on the martial arts. We had planned to include articles on other subjects, but so many articles concerning the martial arts were submitted that we decided to devote this issue to that topic. We found the response very heartening. Many people in our community are involved with a martial arts practice in an ongoing way and feel it to be integrally

connected with their Feldenkrais practice. ln this issue we have articles speaking to the martial arts/Feldenkrais connection from a wide variety of perspectives. We are especially pleased to be able to include an interview with Moshe on martial arts that has not been published elsewhere. The subject for the next issue will be working with homogeneous groups, for example, dancers, those with spine injury or back pain, children, etc. lf you have an interest in contributing an article on any of

those subjects, or any other subject, please contact us. We are particularly interested in receiving some case studies. We would also welcomepoems, pictures or other inspirations! But please, do not submit articles thatweresubmitted

elsewhere or were written for a general audience ignorant of our work. lt's tiresome to read yet another introduction the Feldenkrais Method directed towards laypeople.

Although we are the'official' editors of the Journal, Dennis Leri has done a majority of the work on this issue which we greatly appreciate. This issue was formatted on Dennis' Macintosh computer and it was quite a task to get it all running smoothly. Hopefully this labor will make the whole process more efficient in the future. Please send any comments or feedback that you have to any one of us. We are esPeciallY

interested in "letters to the editors" commenting on the content of specific articles so we can begin to generate dialogue in an ongoing fashion.

deploy defensive and offensive strategies. The various schools,

styles, or systems of martial arts developed unique ways of training body, mind, and spirit dependent on the needs of their times and the visions of their founders.

Sincerely, Elizabeth Beringer Yvan Joly

Real combat can produce an altered state of mind -- time slows down and almost stops and one can traverse space almost like it's not

The second issue of the Feldenkrais Journal is now complete and in the interest of a fuller presentation of the martial arts I would like to add a few more words and thoughts. When

there. The science of combat is in knowing the principles, the art is in knowing how and when to apply them. But when they take as their avowed aim the liberation of the human spirit and when they recognize and cultivate altered states of body/mind then an art is transformed into a Way. And which arts

evaluating any specific martial art a

do that best?

From the Guest Editor

couple of things are needed: 1) in an attempt to evaluate the benefits or functionality of a particular martial art style there must be some understanding of the function and purpose of martial arts in general and how the style in question fits into the general scheme; and, 2) what are a student's intentions in

desiring to study martial arts. And now for a little background. Make no mistake about it, the martial arts were developed to deal with the experience of human violence. Moshe's own path to Judo was born out of a very real need to

protect his people, his communitY, himself. ln the process of creating the means for self-defense, martial artistry arose from the close attention to what worked and what didn't in actual combat. But, it was not solely by trial and error that the really high arts evolved. No, schools and systems were created through the recognition of the most efficient principles of movement, Plus the discernment of effective fighting tactics and the ability to employ and

There is in America as in the Feldenkrais community, a commonly held belief that certain of the "softer" martial arts, specifically Aikido and T'ai Chi, are the ultimate martial arts or that they are not

really martial arts at all but rather moving meditation systems. Partly this is because of the time they "arrived" in America -- the late sixties and early seventies -- and partly it is due to the cosmological and philosophical stances they espouse plus a lot of aPocrYPhal stories of the exploits of the various masters of these arts. Two of the most eminent teachers

and historians of Chinese martial arts now living in America, Adam Hsu and Xu Guo Ming, have stated

that many, maybe even most kung fu masters have studied or do, in fact,

regularly practice T'ai Chi Chuan. They also point out that no one solely trained in T'ai Chi ever placed in a

national competition in preCultural Revolution China. And further, they claim that the best


Feldenkraislournal 2

Issue #2

[email protected]'S PAGtr T'ai Chi fighters either have studied other arts or practice secret power techniques that they withold from the general public. When China sends Tai Chi masters to Japan to teach and demonstrate, the teachers they send must be able to dealwith any challenge. As such, those teachers who excel at another more

highly regarded fighting art are sent so that face will not be lost if they are challenged. As Awareness Through [email protected] is to daily life so T'ai Chi is to these masters. They use T'ai Chi to learn the invaluable skills of sensitivity, continuity, contact, and circularity just as we use ATM:to help reorganize and

reconstitute learning processes. But, ATM is not the way of daily life just as T'ai Chi alone is not for fighting. Yang style Tai Chi was spread throughout China and is also the most well known form taught here. However, it is now widely accepted that the T'ai chi that Grandmaster Yang -- originator of Yang style T'ai Chi -- learned from the Chen family

-- the originators of T'ai Chi

out attack or to be able to control drunken uncle Charlie on Saturday night without killing him. ln other words, no matter the situation, the goal was to effectively end the conflict in a manner that would not lead to further conflict. The Chinese have a term, Chih Ke, which means if you are forced into a conflict to fight is wrong and to not fight is wrong, i.e., one must not do anything more or less than is necessary to resolve the hostilities. All the established

practically effective only after years of training, if ever. However, outside of the quick'n dirty self defense schools, almost all schools proclaim, with complete sincerity, to be paths of self discovery and self realization. With that in mind I would say,

schools and styles in China trace their lineages through Taoist, Buddhist or lslamic sources and all

yourself :

notice of the students and ask

(1) would you want to spend years in their company and (2) have they learned anything?

meditational practices connected to them. So what? So, the belief that in practicing Aikido or T'ai Chi one is practicing the ultimate martial art

Finally, a note on "translation." all the articles, but especially

or that it possesses a superior moral or ethical base is unfounded in fact. Actually, Aikido and T'ai Chi are very

alone except to clean up some obvious and non-elusive errors. Moshe's and Doron's interviews are based upon

beautiful movement arts and can be first rate martial arts with the right instructor. They do emphasize from the beginning ethical attitudes that most other systems don't mention

transcriptions of tape recordings and the "conversational" style in which they are rendered contains the usual difficulties and pleasures one encounters with non-native speakers of English. As such, read them with

until much later.

was not what he taught and definitely

As Feldenkrais practitioners we

not what he fought with. The second set in the Chen style has moves that are specifically designed to be very devastating and all those were suppressed by Grandmaster Yang. AIso, to develop fighting power and effectiveness, there are solo practices using weapons, other training devices and specific moves not practiced in the forms. Yang T'ai Chi is promoted for its health and exercise benefits which are real.

would not claim to be the most effective intervention for everyone. Most of us believe some clients have conditions where western or eastern approaches, medical or not, would be more effective or appropriate than ours would be and it is a sign not of our failure but of our intelligence to refer those people elsewhere. The analogy holds true for the martial arts as well. Some arts more

moral superiority over the "cruder" hard arts. What such a belief overlooks is that all the other systems were broad enough to protect a village or a practitioner from an all

looking for the right school, style, and instructor is better than time spent with the wrong instructor. When looking to join a school take

have so-called "internal" or


Many adherents of T'ai Chi and Aikido claim their arts possess some

echoing Moshe, that time spent

effectively meet the goals of an individual than do others. I know self-defense teachers here in San Francisco who produce in a very short time people who are able to effectively deal with most attacks one might encounter. Other people wanting a more spiritual orientation might choose an art that would be


Moshe's and Doron Navon's interviews, I left the grammar and syntax

the ear more so than the eye. ln Moshe's article there is some strong language and I bear sole responsibility for leaving it in. Like it or not, Moshe was who he was. I believe the context justifies the usage.

I want to thank: Barry Levine for his encouragement and advice; Doron Navon for showing us another side of Moshe, Moshe the Sensei;Elizabeth Beringer for practical and

impractical martial arts lessons; and to Moshe, a man of action as well as words, who at the conclusion of our interview rested his hands so lightly on my shoulders,

confirmed that I knew how to

fall and threw me thirty feet. DL


Issue #2

FtrLDtr rKRA/S trCIWR Elizabeth Beringer--Editor Yvan Joly -- Editor Dennis Leri --Special Guest Editor Tara Avery -- assistance with proofing and data entry Liza Weaver & Michael Brickey -proof readers

The [email protected] Journal is published by the Feldenkrais [email protected] Materials for publication can be sent to: Feldenkrais Guild office, P.O. Box 11145, San Francisco, CA 94101 USA. Additional copies of issues number one and number two are available from the Guild office for $5.00 US funds each plus $1.00 US for postage and handling. Bulk rate fees upon request. [email protected], the Feldenkrais ", [email protected], the Feldenkrais Method Functional [email protected] and Awareness ThrOugh [email protected] are registered service marks the Feldenkrais Guild. Line drawing used through out this issue is of Moshe and Mr. Kawaishi, Sensei, adapted from Moshe's book lllQQ, Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd. London and New York.




[email protected]

CON$TTEN$TTS Beyond Technique Martin Weiner


Adaptation Carolyn Sue Albin


The Martial Art of Not Changing Elizabeth Dickinson


Awareness Through Movement & Karate Jack Heggie


Moshe on Moshe on the Martial Arts Interview


Aikido & The Feldenktais Work Cheryl




The Balance of Power Paul Linden


T'ai Chi and Feldenkrais Ralph Strauch


Dreams in the Warrior's Wake Dennis Leri


Poem Nancy Denenberg


A Common Thread Elizabeth Beringer


Another Side of Moshe Doron Navon Interview


....... 40

Feldenkrais Journal 4


Issue #2


lwill be discussing a family of ideas and making some distinctions that have

helped me in my own development and

work. They grew out of my learning with Moshe and my Aikido teacher. To put them in a living contrsxt, I must ask you to indulge, if you will, a bit of personal history. Before coming to Aikido and Functional lntegration, which I began studying within a year of each other, I had spent severalyears doing philosophy in an academic environment -- even though my interest in philosophy was not 'academic.' For me, philosophy was a religious or spiritual endeavor. lt was a way of pursuing a very personally compelling search for the universal and formless that I felt was he unseeable reality behind the particular and apparent. I sensed that there w€ts more in and to life than what I had seen and experienced and went into philosophy with the belief that perhaps 'it'existed on some other plane or level of existence. lt did and I found it there; but even that proved not to be enough for me. I wanted a physbal, concrete way of experiencing and manifesting the abstract truths and universals of

philosophy. Somewhere in the midst of this search I had the good fortune to go to an Aikido class taught by Robert Nadeau, an Aikido master who hd studied with the founder of this martial art. During the class, he did a 'technique' that called for a student to stand behind him and pin his arms behind his back. Nadeau stood there, apparentf struggling to get free from the black-belt's vice-like grip that kept him from moving forward. As he stood struggling, he began to speak. 'Sometimes you cant seem to get ahead in life; something from your past keeps nagging at you, a comment your mother or a friend, or an employer, perhaps an inckJ€nt when you were younger. Something you


would just as soon forget about and put behind you - but can't. Perhaps you just have to face it and accept the event as part of you before you can move on with your life.' As he said this last sentence, he turned to face his opponent. He did this in a manner that involved no struggle at all. He just turned his body to'face'the problem. As a result of this training, the black belt went effortlessly flying through the air as a'solved problem." Nadeau then calmly turned to the front again and 'continue with his life,' unencumbered by the 'past.' lwas dumbstruck. Here was what I had been looking for. Nadeau wasn't teaching 'techniques" to throw your opponent. He was demonstrating the effect of living universal principles. The way he practice the art was the physical embodiment of concepts and laws that for me had been only abstract intellectual truths. He was being these truths. The throws of Aikido were the visible by-product of playing in this invisible realm. Needless to say, I have been working with him since that night. Shortly after this, I saw Moshe give a lecture and demonstration and knew immediately that lwanted to study with him as well. The results he achieved working with people seemed to come from his state of being and not from the manipulation of their bodies or the application of a technique. To my eye, both he and Nadeau were doing similar things, although the forms they were using looked radically different. Working with these two people over a period of time, lbegan to understand the difference between technique and what I believe is really worth learning - that state of being which is beyond technique. lt is this area that I want to address here. People are attracted to an art like Functional lntegration because they see what a master like Moshe can do with it. There are as many different reasons for

studying it as there are students, but I think we all have in common the perception that Moshe had a system of techniques for bringing about beneficial results. We think that when we watch him or others work we are seeing these techniques being applied in the proper way in the appropriate situation and that we, too, can learn and apply these techniques and achieve similar results. I

would like to suggest that in fact Moshe

was not teaching these techniques (pushing on heads, turning legs, pulling arms, feeling vertebrae, etc.). He was teaching something entirely different that cannot readily be seen, because it was something that he did on himself as he worked -- not something he did to someone else. lt had nothing to do with cushions, rollers, special tables or pushes and pulls. What Moshe did that was so effeclive was his practice of an internal process. He was a man who [email protected] himself and raised his level of being. That level does what it does and gets the results appropriate to it. What Moshe did so wellwas move into that level and stiay actively present in it. I believe it was this ability that he was trying to present to us. Moshe once said to the San Francisco group, "lcould teach you what I am trying to teach using mathematics rather than touching bodies.' (l am sorry to fall victim to the habit 0f citing unprovable 'Moshe said" cryptograms to make a point, and I promise not to make more of a habit of it than necessary.) lt was this statement that made me realize hat I should look past the supposed techniques of Functional lntegration to see what this guy was really doing and teaching. I believe he often hinted at t^/hat he was up to, but you had to read between the lines and understand it in a particular way. For example, here are some statements he made that I found instructive: "l attune myself to the person I am working with. No, that's wrong. I allow hem to attune me to


Issue #2


BtrYOArD TrtrCE{N[QWtr them.' .l have never given the same lesson twice.' 'When lwork, my knowledge is there in the background, but I start fresh each time and use it only as it is necessary." 'lt is not what you do, but how you do it that makes the difference when you are working with

someone.' These and other statements indicate to me that the techniques, or what you saw him do with his hands, were less important than what he did that you couldn't see. He was not very explicit about what this actually was. He rarely talked about his process -- what he actively was doing that allowed him to see and do what we saw him do. On those rare occasions when he would answer a question about why he did a particular thing with someone, he would give a brilliant exposition that had nothing to do with his internal process. lnstead, he would discuss the public facts -- how the person walked, the events of their life, laws of physics, how the nervous system works, etc. Nothing about Moshe himself. From these answers, it was easy to draw the

conclusion that Moshe was good because of his knowledge of the world and how it works and that by studying more in this area, one could improve one's skill and effectiveness. believe that his answers at this level only explain why what he did worked rather than why he did it. This is an important distinction. I am convinced that it was his internal process that

which had little to do with the visible, repeatable moves we call technique. lt was my work with Nadeau that helped me experience and clarify what I am calling this inner process. Nadeau is more explicit about the fact that results are the product of a level of awareness or consciousness from which a person operates, not of their knowledge of technique. His teaching is focused on helping a person change their bvel of awareness and, in a sense, by being different they get different results. lt is not so much how well you manipulate the world that counts, but how well you alter yourself that creates a new and different world. Let's take a simple example, one that

Moshe also addressed. When people try to bring about a result, they affect the outcome of what they are trying to do. The very effort of trying interferes with the process of it happening. Learning how not to try isn't something in the realm of technique -- it is in the realm I harc called inner process. To simply ty another technique will not help. Trying is a level of consciousness that gets certain results. ln and of itself, there is nothing wrong with it. lt is just something that happens in a particular "place.' But by learning to operate from a different level, different results occur.

...1 came to belieae

that what Moshe wns really up to and what accounted for his eff ectiaeness was something qbout which he was most often silent nnd

uhich had little to


with the aisible, repeatable moT)es we call technique... The technique is really just an opportunity for the student to obserae his own inner process in a situation

which seems to demand doing samething and to practice changing his leoel af au)flreness ...


brought him to that state of being where his actions were appropriate and beneficial for the person with whom he was working. His explanations really only accounted for why it was appropriate, notwhy he did it. So, to make a long story even longer, I came to believe that what Moshe was really up to and what accounted for his

effectiveness was something about which he was most often silent and

This kind of learning process is not the subject for a brief article and it is not fair to do more than just hint at it. I believe, however, that it is helpfulto realize that this is what one sees when a masbr is *at work." By he way, I think [/oshe called the group practices "Awareness Through Movement" because he was trying to use movement to help peopte develop this level of themselves that he termed awareness. Moshe referred to awareness as a capacity or ability

different from consciousness. I do not think he used the movements simply to expand people's repertoires of physical capabilities or to become more

knowledgeable about their bodies. lf people's abilities improve, it is because their awareness develops. Unfortunately, many people speak of awareness as if it meant some kind of increased knowledge. Thus they understand Awareness Through Movement lessons as a way of fulfilling Moshe's often repeated dictum, "When you know what you are doing, you can do what you want.. That is, by doing ATM you learn more aboutwhat you are doing and can do it better. This treats ATM as a very sophisticated gymnastics praclice. I do not think that this is what Moshe intended at all. Awareness

Issue #2

Feldenkrais Journal 5


BtrYOATD Through Movement is literally that'developing the human capacity to become aware through movement, as opposed to other ways of developing

Scantlet's Speech to the Player's

this capacity.

To return to the mainstream of thought here, if it is this'inner process" with .which a master is engaged, what then are techniques? To be honest, I don't think a master uses techniques when he works. Engaging in this inner process produces results that are unrepeatable, unique creations. The process itself is repeatable, but not the manifestations. Even though Moshe's moves on two different occasions may look alike, he would claim that he never gave thesame lesson twice. I believe it. From the level of awareness at which he operated, each time was a spontaneous new creation. So when a master works, he doesn't use techniques, he manifests awareness. What about when a master is apparently teaching techniques to his students? I don't think that is really what is going on. The technique is reallY just an opportunity for the student to observe his own inner process in a situation which seems to demand doing something and to practice changing his level of awareness. The technique is being used to provide substance for the inner process to become apparent. You do not master the technique, You master the process. lt is often hard to see this point because we are so oriented toward manipulation of the world and not selimastery, but I hink it is helpful to realize that it is not important to get the technique right. You mustget yourself right, i.e., be you properly. There is an old story, told often, about a teacher pointing at the moon with his finger, and the "dumb" student not seeing the moon but looking at the finger instead. Aclually, I think Moshe was pointing out his finger. The N)\moon was just the occasion for \41 us to see the finger in operation.


Speak the scarl I pray we, as it's spread out to us, trippingly on the couch. For if we stretch it, as mucking about may do, we had ourselves in traction all the while. Nor do not push the scan with your hands too muctu Yuk- but use all gently; for in the very Elusive Obvious, or (as we all know) the habitual patterns, we

must aquire and beget an awareness that may give us smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious perwig-pated Rolfer tear a person to pleasure, to the very rags, to split the ears of the Reichians, who (for the most part) are capable of nothing but inexplicable torture and noise. We should have such Tragers whipped for o'erdoing Chiropractics. It out- shabooees Shiatsu. Pray we avoid it. Be not too tame neither; but let our discretion be out tutor. Suit the movement to the scan, the scan to the movement; with this special observance, that we o'erstep not the modesty of nature: for anything so overdone is from the purpose of touching, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show posture her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone, or come shrffy off, though it make the insiders laugtu cannot but make the outsiders grieve; if only they knew the simplicity of our mucking' O, there be muckers that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly (not to speak it insanely), that, neither having the slightest idea, nor the faintest end game plan whatsoever, have so lovely attended to the creativity of pain that I have thought all of us have learned a great deal, and learned it very well. We were facilitated by Ruthy and Dennis so elegantly. Adapted from Shakespeare's Hamlet Act 3, Scene 2, for the FPTP Year #3 In Southern California 1985 By Carolyn Sue Albin

Issue #2



"PIease lie down on the floor." I could not believe my ears. I am taking a graduate course and the instructor tells me to lie down on the floor? Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais had come to the United States to be a visiting professor for what was then the Humanistic Psychology Institute in San Francisco. (lt is now accredited as Saybrook lnstitute.) The year was 1975 and I was getting my Ph.D. Well, okay, I'll lie down on the floor. Besides, I have no choice unless I want to stand up. There is only one chair in the room and it is being used by the TEACHER, who is different from any TEACHER I have seen - and I have seen many, being the daughter of a professor. This teacher wears no tie, no leather-elbowed, tweed jacket, no beads (lately some professors wear beads), no distinguishing mark whatsoever. He wears a plain pair of baggy black pants and a blue cotton shirt. Also, he sounds like no professor I have ever heard. He is not telling me to sit up in a chair. He is telling me to lie down on the floor in order to learn, of all things. But, he is the teacher and I am the student, and my habit is to obey"the teacher, so I lie down on the floor.

'Put your hand above your head,' the voice now whispers to me, personally, over the microphone. Of course, he is whispering also to all 60 other students, but they do not exist for me. I reach for the ceiling. 'ABOVE YOUR HEAD,'the voice shouts and he now shouting at me and not the 60 others. 'Above your head is above your head," says the voice, suddently quiet like a lullaby, 'no matter where your head is." I feel sleepy, but just before sleep I remember seeing that there are several of us who put our hands down on the floor now, above our heads. I am not sure when I woke up because all four years of my training, it seemed I kept falling asleep and waking up. Our teacher taught us even when we were asleep. The teacher was (and still is, by way of


Art @f Aflof efrrangdng:

"Am .Aeademflc

Feldenkrais journal 7

ehart for Mloshe

videotape and his students) Moshe. The man in the baggy, black pants and cotton samurai shoes stands up and takes the microphone from around his neck. He prefers his own voice, coming out softly. He is going to tell us a story of how he owns Japan.

'Japan is in front of me," he says. He then makes a quarter turn to the right. 'l put Japan to the left of me." We giggle. Surely he can't mean this. He makes another quarter turn. 'Now, I put Japan in back of me.' He is chuckling with great satisfaction. We laugh out loud at this silly man. One more quarter turn and he puts Japan to his right. He owns Japan. We are beginning to see it his way. 'LIFE lS MOVEMENT,'Moshe says. "Lie down on the floor and do nothing." Do nothing and feel movement? Suddenly my very cells are moving and I don't have to do anything. I remembered another story told by another man, a professor. The professor was my father. The earth moves around the sun," he said. I was only a child. I memorized the words. "Not the sun around the earth,' he said. 'Such a change of belief makes all the difference in the world,' he told me. lt made no difference to me, just as all the other words I later memorized in college and graduate school made no difference, except that they got me A's. Why were Moshe's words making a ditference, even though lwas lying on the floor doing nothing? Moshe calls it organic learning, having to do with selifulfillment. Academic learning has to do with the fulfillment of society. 'First you have to know what you are doin!," he says, 'then you can do what you want." Arrivilrg home in 1975 after that first summer of our training, I learn that while I was lying on the floor doing nothing, my husband planned a divorce and arranged to take custody of our third child and our furniture, so that, he says, I can do what I want. The words are

... He is going to tell us a story of hozo he owns lapan."Japan is in front of me," he says. He then makes a quarter turn to the right. "I put lapan to the left of


We giggle.

Surely he can't meAn

this. He makes another quarter turn. "NorD, I put lapan in back of me." He is chuckling Toith great satisfaction. We laugh out loud at this silly mnn. One fftore quarter turn and he puts fapan to his right. He owns -fapan. We are beginning to see it his way... familiar but something is missing. Also, I learn that the university planned to change the image of the college where I

teach from experiment to competence. Some teachers are being replaced and I am one of them. lf I am the earth, I certainly do not own the sun, let alone Japan -- both of which seem to be doing the moving around me while l, the victim of circumstance, lie immobilized. This is

organic learning? I am forced, or so I think, to movewithout furniture, family or friends to an apart-

T--..l:: *(

Feldenkrais journal 8


of TTot Chmrugdng ment above a store in a small town. I've got plenty of floor space, but it takes me three more years of lying on it to begin to let the floor support me. By the end of my third summer of training, my back is almost flat on the floor and I have written a thesis titled'The Thinking Process: Another MetaPhor for mY Ph.D.' I have also been reaPPointed, with tenure, to the universitY, made friends with my ex-husband, and become a family with my children in a

supportive way that I could never have imagined possible. Moseh Feldenkrais was fond of saying that the one thing he contributed to this world was his ability to take any abstract idea and return it to concrete action which leads to new action. That's thinking. He said that words are only summaries of thinking, the lowest cornmon denominator of intelligence. So how did I get intelligent, an abstract idea, by lying on the floor and feeling the differences in my right and left feet? I offer a summary: I had not only to lie on the floor and experience that my leftfoot was certainly not like my right foot; I had to refrain from judging which foot was right. And further, I had to choose what I was doing, not to analyze the cause of those feet being different, but to claim those fe€t as my own and walk on them. Choose what is, not ufiat will be or was. Not change, in other words. Knowing what you are doing is choosing whatyou are doing, not judging that, not trying to change that. Only then does a new action become an organic choice and not an academic decision. Decision is no choice; it is only changing content, not how we do things. Moshe catled decision-making "primitive thinking," black and white thinking. To harc a choice, he said, you have to have at least three possibilities. I have been saYing I am

For some time going to leave the unirersity and do som€thing different. My friends ask me if l've graduated yet ard I assume they

mean from the university but the question really is whether I've graduated from Feldenkrais yet. I have created a model in academia with my knowledge of Feldenkrais. I have discovered that every academic discipline is organic learning if it's worth the thinking. Students raise their grade points from 0 to 4 with concrete action that leads t0 new action. lt's all physiology, my dear

Moshe. lcan leave the university now if I want to. Choose to do what you are doing and you can do what you want. lf what You are doing right now is not a choice, then change will be a decision. To rush home after the first summer of faining or second or third and decide to change may not be disastrous, but you may have to repeat a grade. Stories about how we didn't change, while changing, told around the campfire or in our

Feldenkais Journalmay read like science fiction. Margaret Mead while visiting our training in San Francisco said, 'lfs not your techniques that I'm interested in but it's who you are.' The learning goes on effortlessly as you choose what you are doing. References Dickinson, E. 'A New Kind of Schooling,' NEXUS Newsletter. East Lansing, Michigan: APril, 1985. Dickinson, E. "Learning Strategies for the Elderly: A Communications Model,' Therafreutic Considerations for the Elderlv. New York Churchill Lingstone, lnc., to be published Fall, 1985. Dickinson, E. The Thinking Process: Another Metaphor' (doctoral thesis). Ann Arbor, Michigan: microfilm, 1980. Dickinson, E. 'Your Mind, The Ultimate Cornputer: Notes from a Workshop' submitted for publication, Journal of Developmental Education

DONT BE A SI-AW Don't be a slaae to your style. In the real world yaur oPPoflents are flot so nice as your partners and classmates. When practicing realize that what you Practice you will neaet use and that what you use you will haae flel)er practiced. When practicing the forms keep a aiz:id image of your opponent and his actions in your mind and know the function of your et)ery

moaetnent. In real usage, tnooe as if there was flo one there and let the situation diAate zohat zuill cotne out, Xu Guo Ming, Kung-fu Master

Feldenkrais Journal

Issue #2


Awnreruess Tkrowgh Nfl,awetmemt

& K A R A T tr However, in an actual fighting situation, a preliminary move like this is almost always ineffective. While you are cocking your arms, your opponent will almost certainly land a blow. And yet, the double knife hand block is always taught with some kind of preliminary motion and never from a relaxed standing position. Many generations of Karate men have done it this way. There must be a good reason for this, but what

When teaching Awareness Through Movement, Moshe often made the Point that a move was to be done in a certain way not just because he said it was that way, but because a well organized nervous system would move in that way. ln other words, ATM was not so much invented as discovered. lt taps the natural or built-in motions of the human body.

The ancient martial art of Karate, passed down through many generations of practitioners in the Orient, shares this property of utilizing the built-in movements of the body. There are a number of moves in Karate that only make sense if viewed from the standpoint of Awareness Through Movement. Probably the best illustration of this is a move called the double knife hand block.

could it be?

The double knife hand block (Figure 1) is almost a symbol of the art of Karate. The Japanese words, "Kara-te," are usually translated into English as meaning either'open hand" or "empty hand," and in this move the hands are prominently displayed and can be seen to be both open and empty. ln addition, none of the grappling martial arts, such as Judo or Aikido, employ this move. lt is unique to Karab. Many Karateka will choose to have formal pictures taken in this stance, and an onlooker will know immediately that the picture is of a Karate person and not a praclitioner of some other martial art.

Yet another strange thing about the double knife hand block is that it is almost never used in a tournament 0r fighting situation to actually block an opponent's blow. ls it an impractical move and good only for show?

And yet, on closer inspection, it seems to be a peculiar move, for several

reasons. ln the first place, it is always taught with some kind of preliminary cocking or wind-up motion. That is, if the hands are

to move to the left, as in Figure 1, the initialmotion is to he right. Figure 2 shows one of the commonlY taught methods of cocking the arms prior t0 executing the double knife hand block.


Another curious factor is the turning motion of the arms. As the arms moveto the left (Figure 1), both forearms rotate clocl