Tag Archives: ways of knowing

What does Refocusing teach?

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Refocusing.

I received a question by email yesterday, and thought my response was relevant enough to the general discussion that I should include it here.

On Jul 21, 2013, at 6:21 AM, Adam Cole  wrote:

Hi, Ralph,

A good start.  I’ve definitely experienced this in work with a high-level Tai Chi teacher.  He moved his arm in an arc and I couldn’t stop it.

What I’d like to see next are some steps for a process for learning how not to inhibit the movement.  (I didn’t want to say, “Steps for learning how to inhibit the inhibit!”)


That’s a great questions, Adam, one that I find harder to address satisfactorily than you might think. It goes to the core of my dilemma about what I want to communicate about Refocusing, and about how to do that. It forces me to think about that dilemma, and try to articulate it, and that’s good!  Continue reading What does Refocusing teach?

Introduction to Refocusing

This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Refocusing.

Refocusing is a way of exploring the connections between perception and physical interaction, and the ways that we we unconsciously impose limitations on ourselves. Bob Nimensky, a friend with whom I practiced Aikido, and I developed this approach in the 1970s, as we attempted to understand and replicate the fluidity in movement and apparent untouchability we saw in some high level Aikido players.

Involving each other in physically constraining interactions — choke holds, joint locks, and the like — we would look for ways to dissolve the apparent constraint and move as if it didn’t exist. We found we could do this by attending to and responding to aspects of the interaction that were normally unnoticed. When we were successful, the constraint would melt away, and the person being constrained could move as freely as if the constraint weren’t there. Continue reading Introduction to Refocusing

Defining the Feldenkrais Method

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Understanding Feldenkrais.

To explore issues around understanding the Feldenkrais Method we need some definition of what the Method consists of. I don’t believe a formal definition is feasible; instead I’m going to suggest somewhat loose and fluid boundaries to the territory that contains it. Not everyone will agree with my choices, and that is part of the problem we face in trying to describe and understand it. 

The obvious starting place is with the ideas and techniques that Moshe Feldenkrais specifically taught. I’ll refer to these as his direct teachings. They constitute, in some important sense, the core of the Method, but even this core is not well-defined and universally agreed to within the profession. Moshe did not teach a formalized system that can be clearly and unambiguously spelled out. Instead, he taught a broad and revolutionary way of perceiving and understanding human functioning, drawing on his own wide-ranging background and experience. People internalize and apply that way of understanding in ways that match with their own interests, experience, and cognitive styles. Continue reading Defining the Feldenkrais Method