Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Washington Examiner: "D.C. wants to teach juvenile delinquents Yoga, Tai-Chi."

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22 Comments:

Blogger Jason said...

There is such a thing as an immature brain lacking in self control and given to impulse. There's a reason crime generally goes down with increasing age. Not all criminals are hardened or sociopathic. Some are just there because they're young and impulsive and haven't learned to think before they act.

Tai chi helps that, and tai chi is cheap. All it requires is open space, some time, and an instructor. It wouldn't take much benefit to offset that cost. A few less medical bills from prisoners injured in fights. A few kids who go back out in the world with some extra self-control they wouldn't have had otherwise.

It's worth a try. Even if it fails, it'd be an interesting experiment, and would be a lot less costly than many other experiments our penal institutions have tried. Interesting enough that I'd be willing to personally donate some money to help pay for an instructor's time.

2:11 PM, January 05, 2011  
Blogger Jason said...

Looks like it's already been tried, with good results, including at Folsom prison.

4:18 PM, January 05, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

All the juvenile delinquents I know are really quite interested in Thai. Thai stick.

Trey

5:32 PM, January 05, 2011  
Blogger MB said...

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5:59 PM, January 05, 2011  
Blogger MB said...

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6:03 PM, January 05, 2011  
Blogger fred said...

In my very limited experience, those few people I know who have done yoga and tai chi have learned to slow down, to be more atuned and aware of their mind and body. It seems healthy and worth trying and preferable to dosing with meds to calm down the
subjects.

6:39 PM, January 05, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

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7:21 PM, January 05, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

yeah, i think it would be worth a try to help and i think some would see benefits that they could take forward with them.

same could be said for any hobby or pastime that totally immerses the conscious mind in focus with a measurable sense of improvement over time, like eeight training or kayaking or painting, sculpting etc.

the problem i see with many young narcissitic types is that they aren`t deprived of enough distractions that stroke their ego/instant gratification need...and this is true of adult types also.

my wife works with wards of the crown (state) and those kids get spoon-fed everything and funded for any pseudo-education strategy they can think up (hair-dressing school for instance) that puts off real-world experience for the next period of time, or until they turn 21. at which time they are dropped like a hot rock to instantly grow up, because the crown legislation says so.

i don`t think tai-chi would help these kids.

learning to frame a house, or apprenticing in a machine shop possibly...as long as they hit the pillow tired each night.

9:22 AM, January 06, 2011  
Blogger Cham said...

The Tai Chi classes, as well as the martial arts classes, for for problematic juveniles also serve another positive purpose that probably isn't apparent in the article (which I haven't read). The classes are often taught by large strong black males who are respected within the community. If you have ever was a spectator at a class you will see that the kids look to these guys as gods.

9:40 AM, January 06, 2011  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Tai Chi would be a good tool because it requires a focus on long term. It is anything but immediate gratification.

9:44 AM, January 06, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Do you guys know or ever spend time with delinquent teenagers? They are not interested in safe sex, knitting, Pat Boone, or Yoga.

Honest.

Would they benefit from it if they did it? I believe they would. But the plan is utterly incoherent as it does not address the fact that delinquent teens have no interest in yoga or Tai-Chi. I have worked with delinquent teens in my office and in out and inpatient settings. Trying to teach them something they are not interested in is a guaranteed power struggle.

How well does compulsory yoga work on unwilling subjects?

It is just not the same thing is it?

Trey

9:45 AM, January 06, 2011  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Trey, my demo group was primarily composed of teens who came from broken homes. Twelve years of it. Not in an office setting. I watched transformations.

12:26 PM, January 06, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

"large strong black males"....

cham, you are funny.

tmink, my limited experience in working with teens and my wife`s vast professional history tend to agree with your point that delinquent teens want to rebel no matter what, and that a pedantic approach always falls flat.

1:52 PM, January 06, 2011  
Blogger Cham said...

We can put all the delinquent teens in jail through their formative years which is a solution that gives many middle class tax payers a warm fuzzy feel-good feeling, but I can give you an array of statistics to that will prove incarceration of large swaths of young male society yields abundant negative consequences, for them and everyone else. If Yoga and Tai Chi work I'd go with it.

4:10 PM, January 06, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

what happens in fat, is that the delinquent teens get their legal adulthood and then a fair number commit crimes that we all know htey were going to eventually commit, and then they go to jail for their crimes.

not that we, or anyone else who works with, and cares for these children want.

4:29 PM, January 06, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

"If Yoga and Tai Chi work I'd go with it."

As would we all. The problem is not with Tai Chi. The problem is it would not work.

Olig, I mean no disrespect for your wonderful program. Thanks for being part of the solution. You I have faith in. The government, not so much.

Trey

4:56 PM, January 06, 2011  
Blogger Robert said...

When I was a young delinquent, I took yoga and karate classes to make myself more dangerous.
Yoga? Yes. It was handy to be able to be still at times.
The karate instructors made a big deal about moral posture. I gave it lip service but otherwise ignored it because I didn't "get" it but I figured out that if I didn't act like I got it, I would get kicked out.

The funny thing is, decades later, I got it. And I'm better for it.
And, while I haven't used karate in decades, sitting still is still handy.

FWIW, I like Aikido now. There is no attack in Aikido. I have heard that even the forms of Tai Chi that have been reduced to mere calisthenics still contain elements of attack.

12:23 AM, January 07, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

aikido is truly brilliant.

i trained with a good friend who was world champion in ju-jitsu many years ago and we went to the japanese cultural center in toronto to see an aikido demonstration and were absolutely stunned by the gentle grace and power of the art.

i have integrated many of the aikido rotation methods into my sparring with my children and into my soccer. the focus on your opponent`s movement makes it ideal for training for other sports.

there is a hope that our youth will pick up what we show them, consciously or otherwise, but they need to take the riegns themselves and eventually the discipline will emerge...otherwise they will learn the tips and tricks of survival on the street and prison.

where does that decision ocme from in a teens mind?

possibly as the architecture of thier brain matures, or that experience shows them over time.
not every child who sees the grace of aikido for instance is captured and held in it`s spell long enough to take them from the battle zone of delinquency...but idealists shouldn`t stop trying to expose them to things.

9:51 AM, January 07, 2011  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

The good thing about Aikido in a teen situation is that its entry forms are reliant on an attacker. To get to the more advanced forms which indeed are quite violent and destructive, you've shown restraint and the willingness to cooperate.

Restraint and cooperation are the keys being taught in this context, not necessarily the art itself.

Trey, I would argue that trying to get teens to cooperate with anything they don't want to is fruitless. This includes psychological counseling.

Sitting them down with a shrink or guidance counselor is telling them that they are broken and they rightly rebel against that, as they don't see themselves that way. It's also an individual that they are suspicious of and have no way of verifying that they know what they're talking about.

Getting them involved with a physical activity (especially young men) lets them then start understanding that they can grow into something better. They also can see and feel that the instructor knows what they're talking about.

Besides, you get to throw them around.

4:57 PM, January 07, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

"Trey, I would argue that trying to get teens to cooperate with anything they don't want to is fruitless. This includes psychological counseling."

I would never argue with you on that point!

ANd you are completely correct that it includes counseling. Part of the fun for me of working with teens is to see if I can get past their attitude. I am pretty good at it, but nowhere near completely succesful.

I think martial arts training would be a much, much easier sell than yoga and tai chi. It appeals to our warrior, and delinquents are out of control warriors. Yoga, and even tai chi are magician work. Hackers should be forced to do yoga and tai chi as they are delinquent magicians. From a Jungian point of view.

Trey

6:20 PM, January 07, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Olig, you are just spot on in articulating the challenges of working with these kids. You would make a wonderful therapist, you really grasp the gist of things.

Trey

6:23 PM, January 07, 2011  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Trey - "I think martial arts training would be a much, much easier sell than yoga and tai chi. It appeals to our warrior, and delinquents are out of control warriors. Yoga, and even tai chi are magician work."

Your point on yoga is accurate (to a teen), but your point on Aikido is not. Aikido is quite obviously a martial art, full of grabbing, throwing, breaking joints and such. Physically demanding.

One move against a frontal grab is to grab back, kick your leg out the opposite side sideways and drop to your back, bringing your attacker's (or just someone you want to) face quite quickly to the floor. Very martial, very damaging, (can be) quite aggressive.

6:09 PM, January 08, 2011  

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