A Program to Help Veterans, Created by a Veteran
The mission of Keganin No Senshi Aikido (KNSA) is to enable veterans with Combat Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CRPTSD) to become more vital, constructive, integrated members of the community. The program is designed to utilize the therapeutic power of Aikido to provide channels which will enable the veteran to deal effectively with the residue of combat through instruction and support at every step of their Aikido practice. KNSA achieves that mission through its training program for Aikido instructors and others working with veterans living with CRPTSD. This kinesthetic therapeutic program is designed specifically for working with victims of combat, and is based on the art of Aikido as taught at a Veterans Administration facility and a veterans service program, as well as on extensive research conducted for the book, Combat Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Holistic Approach (Levellers Press, 2012), by KNSA founder, sensei, and veteran himself, Tom Osborn. The program provides initial training and the first level of certification in the KNSA approach and demonstrates how to establish and maintain a successful Aikido program for combat veterans.
What We Need & What You Get
We need your help to bring the KNSA program to Aikido practitioners and others who work with veterans living with CRPTSD across the country. Money raised in this campaign will help fund a nationwide training program that includes:
- the continuation of our existing local program
- six intensive weekend seminars in various locations across the country with the goal of catalyzing new sustainable programs at the local level in as many areas as possible
- ongoing support, resources and training to these programs
With this funding we will be able to further develop, train and support a nationwide program of autonomous, local groups capable of utilizing Aikido as a means to meet the special needs of veterans with CRPTSD.
Common feelings among many with CRPTSD are vulnerability, helplessness and hopelessness. Even those with extensive combat training can have these feelings arising from a perceived inability to defend themselves without resorting to the destructive, dehumanizing practices they have been trained in and had to use in the past. They are their own victims – and they need effective tools to help them manage the symptoms of their CRPTSD.
Aikido is most definitely an effective form of self-defense. But it goes beyond self-defense. It empowers practitioners with the knowledge that they can control a situation without endangering themselves or others. It gives the knowledge that they can successfully bring about a resolution in which all participants end up safe and secure. As it is learned physically, on the mat, it is internalized and becomes an integral way to deal with feelings of vulnerability, attack, and situations of aggression off the mat. This “way of dealing” quickly becomes the method for dealing with all forms of conflict and potential conflict, not just the physical.
Keganin No Senshi Aikido enables vets with CRPTSD to learn
- how to recognize tension and stress in themselves
- how to convert their own inner stress, tension, and anger into positive energy
how to focus their energy in something they can use constructively
how to relax in the face of aggression and attack
how to resolve conflict constructively
- how to neutralize negative, aggressive energy from others
- how to defend themselves without harming anyone else
- how to be relaxed, calmer, centered and balanced in how they stand, face and move through the world
This way of approaching situations becomes an effective tool for veterans with CRPTSD to use as they struggle to make their way through life. Its impact is both empowering and powerful.
Feedback from staff involved in Tom's Aikido program on the VA PTSD ward:
who take the class seem to be more open to dealing with the issue of vulnerability.”
I sense someone tensing up, telling them to breath, center and relax often
seems to prevent a real lock up. This happens even with people who I just see
sitting around and watching during class.”
vet said he tried picturing a problem grabbing his wrist. He was able to relax
and move aside ‘kind of saw a way through it’.”
Vets in Tom’s class said:
“I felt more in control of myself, and,
when I think about it, of the attacker, too.”
don’t feel bad, or angry at myself, or the other guy.”
It is this impact, to help our wounded warriors achieve the unified spirit they so deserve, that your support will help us bring to veterans and veteran service programs across the country. For all of us, together, can achieve what only a few of us alone can dream.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you can contribute, we hope you will do so - and encourage your friends to support us, too.
Even if you can't make a monetary contribution, you can still help.
1. Spread the word: Please tell everyone you know about our campaign and encourage them to spread the word - through word-of-mouth, any and all forms of social media, carrier pigeon, and Indiegogo share tools.
2. Research: We would like to find a social scientist, professor or graduate student[s] interested in researching the effects of Aikido on people with PTSD. There is a wealth of anecdotal evidence as well as subjective reports supporting Aikido's effectiveness, but hard evidence from well structured, scientific research is lacking.
3. If you know any veterans, veteran service programs, or Aikido dojos that might be interested in starting a program, please encourage them to contact us or let us know so we can contact them.
4. Intern: We need help in organizing and maintaining social media communications. We want to be able to reach out to, and recruit, more dojos and veteran's organizations throughout the country. And then we want to maintain contact and be able to provide continuing support to the groups that we help set up programs. This would be a great opportunity for someone to gain marketable skills while making a valuable contribution to those who have served our country.
Thank you for your support.