Aikido, and Developing Resilience

Read the article below to learn the inspiring story of Molly Hale, who currently holds the rank of godan—5th degree black belt—in Aikido. I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of training with Molly at several seminars. and she’s been a good friend and mentor on my Aikido journey. She’s a strong, positive, sweet woman, a passionate equestrian, and a brilliant singer, too!

Imagine having that kind of ability to work with what life deals you, instead of living in denial, pushing back against your circumstances with anger or negativity, or just giving up.

Hale credits Aikido for the unfailing mental resolve and resilience that powered her through the challenging, years-long recovery process.

“In Aikido, you’re going with the flow and you’re responding to the attack that shows up. On some level, it was almost as though I had been in training all of my life for this experience,” says Hale. 

— Carolyn Gregoire of The Huffington Post, in her article How This Woman Went From Quadriplegic To Black Belt — And Is Helping Others Do The Same

Be sure to watch the video, Moment to Moment, at the end of the article.

Aikido, and Coping with Vertigo and Balance Disorders

This is an interesting article, and a good introduction to vertigo, balance issues, and vestibular disorders.

My vertigo (BPPV) has improved a lot since I started training in Aikido. The vigorous movement in all directions seems to be therapeutic—maybe it keeps those canaliths loosened up in my inner ears.

“Dr. Stoffregen rejects the theory, which, he says, fails to explain why women are more prone to motion sickness than men or why it’s harder to stomach being a passenger than a driver. He argues that humans become nauseated in situations where they have not yet learned strategies effective in maintaining a stable posture.”

Peter Andrey Smith
From his New York Times blog post, Rethinking Motion Sickness

While I don’t get attacks of vertigo as often as I used to, before I started training, I know from personal experience that when my inner ear gets screwed up, I’m in trouble. Walking can be challenging, and sometimes I’ve not even been able to stand. The balance skills I’ve learned in Aikido—having a stable base and strong posture—are probably a big part of making vertigo less of a problem for me.

And I suppose if all that fails, I can put my safe falling skills to the test!