Lorna Clansey-Gramer has kindly sent us this blog article detailing her self-discovery whilst performing the Arm Mentor Test. Thanks Lorna!
When I first learnt the arm mentor test, like most students of Amatsu, to say I found it hard would be an understatement! The initial physical contact with a client, the lift and positioning of their arm that came from my whole body, the importance of a lightness of touch and then, and only then, the test! And I still had to remember to apply the right amount of pressure, in the right direction for the right amount of time. Phew! Not easy! And then repeat and repeat. And repeat. It was through that practice that my arm mentor test gradually started to resemble something akin to Amatsu as opposed to an ungainly and embarrassing dance routine! Then I was fully introduced to 'real' people - clients who had little or no experience of our therapy. I felt as though I was starting all over again!
'So' I would say to my client ' I am going to raise your arm in the air and then I am going to say 'Hold' and at the same time apply a little pressure to your arm and I'd like you to keep your arm where it is'
Then the fun would begin...
'No, I'm going to lift your arm. Just let me do the lifting'. The client's arm becomes a dead weight.
'Ok, so don’t relax your arm completely. Just allow me to take most of the weight'. The client's arm flies up to well past the 89 degrees we know makes a good testing position.
'Alright, let's just try that again'. The client is now very confused. I am watching the minutes tick by with no assessment yet completed.
Finally, the arm is in position.
'I'm going to say 'Hold' and I'd like you to keep your arm in this position. No, sorry, not yet... that wasn't the test. I was just saying that WHEN I say ' Hold'.. Oh. No. Never mind. Don’t worry. Let's start again'
Does this sound familiar?
I had floppy arms and rigid arms. I had people who wanted to help. I had people that were impossible to position. I had clients who would insist on resisting. But of course this was all part of the learning journey.
Fast forward to today and I am working with a client who is learning to play tennis and having some difficulty. As we talked I was prompted to recommend a book to her that I read almost ten years ago when I was training to be a life coach. This book is The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey. It may seem like a strange title to have on the reading list of a coaching course but it really is a special little book. As I recommended it to her, I remembered some of the teachings from it and I had a mini 'lightbulb moment' as I realised how it related to Amatsu and to the arm mentor test in particular.
In the book, Gallwey repeatedly refers to what he calls, Self 1 and Self 2:
Self 1 is the ' conscious teller' aspect of ourselves that, in tennis, would say:
'Bend your knees. Concentrate. Keep your eyes on the ball'
Self 2 is the 'unconscious, automatic doer', the part of ourselves that carries out an action.
The problem is that Self 1 does not trust Self 2 to complete a task as it would without interruption - naturally, fluidly and effortlessly. So Self 1 bombards Self 2 with instructions until all possibility of natural, fluid and effortless movement has disappeared. The result is a very frustrated, stressed and tense tennis player - or Amatsu practitioner.
I realised that when I was listing everything that I was going to do in the arm mentor test, both to myself and to my client, my Self 1 was engaging with their Self 1, both of us over thinking, anticipating and acting to try to achieve what they thought I wanted!
As I recommended this book to my client the other day, I realised that after being qualified for almost 4 years, I approach new clients very differently. My Self 2 seeks out and trusts their Self 2 in an arm mentor test. By this I mean I don't say anything. I give no instructions or explanations. I just raise their arm and say ' Just keep that there for me' And do you know what? Nine times out of ten, they do just that. Sometimes they ask what I'm doing, but mostly they don't and it gives us both the chance to enter into a flow of natural body movement without conscious effort. It means my sessions are more peaceful, less rushed and more enjoyable than before. And OK, it certainly still requires practice and Self 1 occasionally arrives to give Self 2 a bit of grief, but I am pretty sure I prefer Self 2 to be in the driving seat. I know it's not easy, particularly if you are new to Amatsu, but the practice and repetition over and over really does allow Self 2 to emerge more freely.
So in your next session with a new client, why not put aside some of the verbal instructions and trust in your wise and very capable Self 2?