Martial Art of Relationship … ‘How does that work?’ 

Tale of Eight Dogs - ca. 1850 - Utagawa Kuniyoshi

A man asked me about 'The Martial Art of Relationship' ...
'How does that work?' ... he said.

I thought for a moment about the many lessons others had shared during this truly unique training intensive for men.

I then presented one example of ‘how does that work?’ ... in talking about two very different men ... one very relaxed, calm, passive, non-confrontational ... and the other pretty intense, direct, argumentative, short tempered.

Their faces, bodies and ways of moving through the world clearly demonstrated their distinctly different emotional tendencies, characters and disposition.

These men would respond ... or more accurately react ... very differently in situations of intense energy, which could be anything from road rage ... to a loudmouth drunk ... an angry colleague ... the exploration of sexual fantasy ... a road traffic accident ... an emotionally distraught partner ...

All of these are forms of intensity which can tend to overwhelm the nervous system in one way or another. - emotionally, mentally, physiologically ... perhaps all three at once ... and more ...

Each man would most likely react on autopilot, in alignment with the primary habits and patterns his mind, body and nervous system holds, either wanting to shrink away and completely avoid difficulty and (sometimes perceived) confrontation, or diving straight in, relishing the feeling of engaging in some form of verbal combat, and sometimes perhaps even escalating to physical violence.

These behaviours most likely come from long past triggers and traumas, possibly long forgotten, yet still stuck in the body, and each man would benefit from doing his own therapeutic work to liberate himself from these limiting ways of being that restrict his own life, and perhaps more importantly, how his behaviour in the moment deeply impacts others.

Part of that work is in learning, through practice, to re-train the body, heart and mind to remain relaxed and open, fully present and aware, breathing long and slow, trusting our deeper innate body wisdom ... in the midst of intensity in its many forms - a skill that can be learned, practiced and applied in many familiar every day situations.

Martial arts is the perfect practice opportunity for scenario based training, to explore these intense forms of engagement and retrain our emotional and physiological response.

At ‘The Martial Art of Relationship' training intensive, we'd set up a safely held and guided exercise for each man to face some forms of intensity with a trusted training partner.

It could be a man grabbing his shirt and threatening to punch him ... a man raising his voice in anger ... perhaps someone holding a knife ... or cutting with a sword ... all done slowly and safely under experienced guidance ... (all done slowly and safely with blunt training weapons, of course).

These training scenarios would of course bring out each mans primary behaviours of either passive non-confrontation ... which may also turn into being frozen in fear ... or in the example of the second man ... an aggressive triggered response ... emotionally explosive to the point of threat and instability ... with each man at his own unique edge.

It is at this edge that the practice is most potent and transformational.

We pay attention to the changing body and breath, the accelerating heart, the racing mind, the emotional flood, the embodied response ... the tendency to want to fight, freeze or flee ... and we stay with it ... feeling into the nervous system response ... the mind spin ... noticing what needs most attention ... centering and grounding the body ... adjusting the physiology ... slowing down the breath ... expanding our awareness ... letting go of tensions ... emptying the mind ... to be fully here, now ... relaxed, open, alert ... appropriately responsive to what each moment requires as the interaction unfolds ...

We repeat this over and over again, in many different forms, with a variety of dynamic challenges and creative scenarios that parallel every day life, with both subtle sensitivity ... and sudden explosive challenge.

We change partners, each man practicing expanding his capacity to both give and receive at both ends of the spectrum ... offering non-judgemental feedback to the other, helping him see what he cannot see himself, training each other to show up as better men, more conscious, relaxed, open and ready to engage in life, love and service to the world from a deeper place.


These same principles and practices apply across unpredictable palette of everyday experiences, from our arrival home into potential chaos and a tired, frustrated partner ... to dealing with a pissed off client or customer who’s been let down for the third time ... or in the delicious dance of intimate exploration, when it’s all too easy to get lost in the pleasure ... or the mind fuck of ‘not sure where to go ... what do they want? ... how do I handle this?’ ... each of these requiring your grounded, spacious presence ... relaxed, open, attentive ... finding your way through, step by step, without the chaotic mind and emotional overwhelm being in the driving seat ...


This is just one example of how we can train to better navigate each moment of each day at ‘The Martial Art of Relationship’ weekend intensive for men.

The Martial Art... of Relationship

A Dangerously Fun Workshop for Men

Read below what other men say:

Lincoln Cotton | South Australia

"This was different from any other workshop I’ve ever done - using Martial arts training skills to allow inspiration and clarity to occur on the way we live life, the way we love others and ourselves.

'Be in the moment'. I have heard this lots, but to do it - ACTUALLY "be present" physically - has helped me feel and do it, in every day moments.

I am often a bit cheeky (smart arse) and this process centred me.

This will allow me to maintain my integrity and clarity of thought when the tough times come."

Greg Barwick | South Australia

"The most valuable thing I got from today is this piece around embodiment ...

... to actually make an integrated change in my body ...

... able to show up as a different man.

That’s what today has given a taste of, that I can feel it in my body, and have a reference point to come back to at a later date"

Jan Turtun | South Australia

"It’s been different (since the workshop). I’ve just felt like when I’m around (my partner) , my level of presence has increased ten fold. There’s been a couple of times where she’s gotten emotional, I’ve stood my ground, reassured her and she’s felt almost immediately better. Big shifts, brother. Thank you.

I was a little skeptical when leaving that anything would flow into my real life but I was proven wrong."

Luke Di Sessa | South Australia

“I cannot recommend this highly enough! the training from this weekend for me has turned into everyday practice and has such a positive impact on my being and my relationships. Get amongst it men, do yourself a favour! And its fun too!!”

The Martial Art... of Relationship

A Dangerously Fun Workshop for Men