Exploring how embodied competences are transformed and redefined in interaction
The martial art form of aikido can be related to the development of the dance genre of contact improvisation as well as to different kinds of dance training. Having this relation to dance practices in mind, the aim of this paper is to explore how an embodied sense of energy is developed in the interactional settings of aikido training. Methodologically, the exploration of aikido practices draws on auto-ethnographical methodologies and recent phenomenological discussions and explorations of interaction. In the training of aikido, practitioners focus on developing an embodied competence of how to defend them-selves effectively. The incorporation of aikido-movement requires them to train to being able to adjust their sense of energy in their movement according to the energy sensed in the interaction with their actual partner attacking them. At the same time, aikido is practiced in a setting which draws on the Japanese traditions of apprenticeship learning. Training a heightening sense of energy is therefore both about developing competences of how to participate in aikido, as a discursive practice, and how to work the subjective embodied experiences of movement, sensing and interaction. The case of a dancers’ aikido training exemplifies how the meaningful connection between perception and movement cannot be reduced to an affair of singularized bodies. It also exemplifies how Aikido practitioners learn to sense their bodies and movements through complex processes of co-regulation which is shaped both in reflective as well as pre-reflective dimensions of the practitioners’ experience. Accordingly, the process of incorporating a heighten sense of energy is to be considered part of a mutual process of incorporation. For the dancer it can also be understood as a process of transformation and redefinition of what the body and the sense of energy could be like. Bibliography Coffey, A. 1999. The Ethnographic Self. Fieldwork and the Representation of Identity. London: Sage. Crossley, N., 2001. ‘The phenomenological habitus and its construction.’ Theory and Society, 30 (1): 81-120. Csordas, T. (1993). Somatic modes of attention. Cultural Anthropology 8(2), s. 135-156. De Jaegher, Hanne & Paolo, Ezequiel, Di (2007), “Participatory sense-making – An enactive approach to social cognition”. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 6: 485-507. Downey, G., 2005. Learning Capoeira. New York: Oxford University Press.