POWER and CONNECTION DRAWING

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Below is one example of a classroom activity called the POWER and CONNECTION DRAWING

The Power and Connection Drawing is a martial arts inspired drawing and painting game that functions as an icebreaker for working together while generating energy and ideas, as well as mindfully processing the experience and outcome. This exercise is the more mindful, therapeutic version of Collaborative Combative Drawing.

The objective of the activity is to explore how productive energy can be created out of resistance, obstacles, and challenges, i.e. a fun way to see what happens when we collaborate with someone who has different ideas and or perspectives than us. It is also another way to process our own internal challenges. Aesthetically, it also functions as a way to look at how mediums interact (charcoal vs. paint or pen, etc.) and to see how energy is expressed through line quality and characteristics.

The Warm-up:

We begin with a 20-minute movement warm-up, which includes working on our balance and awareness and a few very important self-defense/ self-confidence techniques. These include the readiness stance, how to move someone else’s body with leverage points, wrist grab escapes, how to defend against a ‘crayon attack’, and power poses and mindful breath for building confidence.

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The Drawing/Painting Activity:

We begin with a visualization of a challenge or struggle that we are facing (this can be something very specific or something less defined) then we imagine ourselves as a ‘power animal’ facing that obstacle (this can be anything that has a head and tail or rear-end of some sort, like a tiger or a flying squirrel). Two people start on opposite sides of the paper and work their way to the middle – drawing the body of the animal from the rear-end towards the shoulders. Or they can create a design.  They have 15 minutes to do this and meet in the middle at the shoulders. When everyone has met in the middle (at the end of 15 minutes) I say “GO!” and, for the next two minutes, the objective is to attempt to complete their drawings by drawing the head of their animal in their partner’s space, utilizing the movement and resistance of their partner to produce the final work. This exercise is very similar to Collaborative Combative Drawing but focuses more on the constructive nature of the outcome with time to further develop their drawing after and create a collaborative story to go along with it.  We spend more time debriefing and using time processing in a therapeutic environment.

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