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Aikido Techniques to Help Resolve Family Conflits

Updated on February 7, 2010

Archie Bunker: The "Model" Father???

Archie Bunker, the polar opposite of "Father Knows Best"!  Loud, obnoxious, bigotted...everything we'd love in a parent.
Archie Bunker, the polar opposite of "Father Knows Best"! Loud, obnoxious, bigotted...everything we'd love in a parent.

It's All In The Family

No, I don't mean body-slamming your spouse or child when you disagree!

Those of us that are "approaching decrepitude" (a term used in the movie The Bucket List) may remember the sitcom "All In the Family", which stared Carroll O'Connor as the gruff and bigoted character, Archie Bunker, who often referred to his son-in-law as "meat head". This certainly was not the best way to resolve conflict but, one must agree, it is one way to do so. The types of conflicts seen in families can range from simple talking back, to passive aggressive, to physical altercation at the extreme. The intensity varies from family to family and situation to situation but the fundamental issues at the core of the problem is often very similar. They are usually related to differences in expectations and unclear expectations as to unacceptable behaviors or responses.

Aikido techiques: Letting go to gain control

Aikido Information on

Letting go to gain control

Aikido techniques are often thought of as physicial because that this the focus of those that are relatively new to the art. As one gains a greater level of experiences and, hopefully understanding, we begin to see that the concepts of this art are as much a matter of the mind as they are of the body. Take for example the defensive technique called kotegaeshi (reverse wrist takedown) from katate kosadori (cross hand grab). If we assume the focus of the front grab is across the body, then the defensive movement is to lead the grabbing hand (in the direction of the reach), rotate the body so that we are moving in the same direction as the opponent (uke) and redirect the energy to first unbalance and then to throw uke (the opponent). In this example we are letting go of the desire to meet the force of the grab with some opposing force (such as pulling back), forcing uke to "reach" for the hand and then redirecting the energy to begin the process of unbalancing uke. The concept of avoiding force-on-force conflict and redirection is at the heart of letting go in order to gain control in a family conflict.

Reduce Confilct by Increasing Harmonization

In the example above force on force conflict was avoided by blending or harmonizing with the force directed at the wrist.  In the family context the conflict can be a verbal refusal to perform a requested task or chore.  The natural tendency of many parents trained in the "old school" method of "spare the rod and spoil the child", is to react with anger which escalates rather than deescalates the conflict which often results in a reaction that is much more intense than the situation would have normally dictated.  The key then is for the parent to resist the urge to react with anger or hostility, maintaining instead a calm outward demeanor and redirecting the conversation to, perhaps, the behaviors and consequences that had been previously agreed upon.  By resisting the temptation to "take the bait" by reacting emotionally, the parent can gain or maintain control of the situation and deescalate, rather than deescalate it.  Giving in does not mean letting the child do whatever it is they want.  Rather, it is not allowing the situation to escalate thereby maintaining a level of control which would be impossible without mastering yourself and your emotions.

This is why the key to these concepts is that Aikido is as much a  matter of the mind as it is the body.

Family Conflict Survey Sez.....

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    • kephrira profile image

      kephrira 8 years ago from Birmingham

      Interesting hub, thanks.