Monday, April 12, 2010

Autogenic discharge

Sounds messy, doesn't it? 
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Actually, if you've done aikido or judo or some sort of bodywork like yoga or massage or Feldenkrais for long, I bet you've seen it.  You may not have thought much about it at the time, but when you think about it some it becomes a curious thing.
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Have you ever seen someone take a fall from a perfect, amazing, aiki-like throw, and hit the ground laughing hysterically?  Have you ever seen someone doing yoga or receiving a massage start crying for no special reason?
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Theory is, emotions have a certain kind of posture and movement associated with them.  Over time these postures and movement patterns can become habitual.  Some folks say this is sort of like storing the memory of that emotion in your neuromuscular system.  Sort of a neuromuscular memory of past trauma.
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Well, when you start doing something to change your habitual motions and postures, something like aikido or yoga or massage, it's possible to release the emotion that was originally associated with that habitual muscle tone, creating a spontaneous, inexplicable outburst of emotion.  Often, when you see this, the person can't tell you why they are laughing or crying.  They just know that its not really funny or painful, but they can't stop laughing or crying.  When I see this, I tend to just quietly continue what we're doing and let the emotion wash  on out.
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I wonder if some of the times that we get caught up in ego during randori and become frustrated or angry at our partners...  I wonder if some of that anger and frustration might just be autogenic discharge?  I wonder if we were able to reframe that frustration or anger, could we release it and move on more productively?


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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