Martial Arts
Saturday, February 1, 1997

Section: Martial Arts

Martial artists from all combat disciplines have found that the slow, gentle movements of the Feldenkrais Method® help enhance awareness and improve reflexes. Many Feldenkrais® teachers practice various martial arts disciplines - from Ninjitsu to Tai Chi.

Much has been written about this improved awareness, including a book by Moshe Feldenkrais entitled Higher Judo. Essays can be found in several martial arts publications, as well as in consumer magazines. In a recent article on karate in New Woman, the magazine said,

"For women who cannot, or would rather not take on karate's level of exertion, there are gentler movement systems that are equally wise about rallying the body's intelligence: yoga, Tai chi chuan, and the marvelous Feldenkrais Method of Awareness Through Movement® devised by an Israeli physicist who was also (not coincidentally) a judo master."

Some martial arts teachers have gone as far as including the Feldenkrais Method in their teaching - some blending it with their own discipline, others offering it as part of the learning offered at their schools. Greg O'Connor, 4th Dan (4th degree black belt) is the chief instructor at the Aikido Centers of New Jersey. He has sponsored several Awareness Through Movement workshops at his school.

He says, "I'm always encouraging my Aikido students to slow their movements down and examine the body's participation in detail. This kind of attention requires them to be extremely present and aware, enabling them to teach every part of their body its special role in creating the entire movement, from the synapses to the nerve endings and every point in between."

O'Connor finds that Feldenkrais movements, "produce the same insights and unique results."

Lavinia Plonka, a Feldenkrais teacher and Aikido student of his, has remarked that "Aikido is like fast Feldenkrais." He enthusiastically agrees.
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