The possibility of phenomenological kinesiology
The inability to control emotions consciously is, in a sense, a natural phenomenon of human beings. Perfect control would mean a denial of emotions. Along with somatic trainings, a self-reflection during educational practice must be facilitated.
A concept of sports instruction called “phenomenological kinesiology” has the possibility to curb violence.38 It regards the kinesthetic world or somaesthetics as a basis for coaching students on how to perform differently and seeks bodily empathy for the kinesthetics of the students. This view is based on the kinesiology of Kurt Mcinel and Kaneko that considered bodily skills and time (Zeitlichkeit). We now refer to Kida’s statement about the importance of time in learning something. He noted that learning takes place not by frequent reactions but by a kind of insight (Einsicht) into the situation.39
This insight would be regarded as “intelligent cooperation”40 by Michel Polanyi. If there is no intellectual cooperation from students, learning will never occur, which means that teachers cannot produce the insight in causal relation. Therefore, teachers ultimately have no choice but to wait for their students to gain the insight and the subsequent growth. This signifies the importance of time. The only thing that teachers can do is to teach and evoke intelligent cooperation in students through various ingenuities depending on the situations. If teachers seek more than this, they are perhaps in danger of approaching violence.
Here, I want to note that “waiting” is not a passive or lazy attitude but an intuitive conviction of the unpredictable future by “giving time to allies”41 to enhance the timeliness of instruction. It is a calm and powerful attitude of believing in the future growth of students through a certain bodily empathy. Waiting is, nevertheless, difficult for teachers because they are required to nurture students within a limited period.
Corporal punishment is an act of denying the player’s kinesthetic world. In other words, corporal punishment is not an aesthetic experience. It is a distraction from the kinesthetic focus on the student. By contrast, a teacher who listens to a student’s kinesthetic world is also listening to his or her own perception that is in sympathy with the student. Specifically, phenomenological kinesiology and the teaching/coaching based on it will offer both the students and the teachers a chance to learn somaesthetics. The concentration on the student’s kinetic
The body facing the violence in education 103 sensation can enrich the somaesthetics of the teachers by allowing them to focus on their own bodily perception and empathy with the student’s kinesthetic senses. Such phenomenological kinesiology is a kind of practical self-reflcctional activity.
Beyond the psychological perspective on bullying
Bullying tends to be psychologically reduced into a matter of the mind. As a result, there seems to be an emphasis on the student’s mind.42 This is the problem of the “knowledge-power” that Foucault developed.43 If violence is related to the body, however, thinking simply about the mind and the consciousness in a psychological sense does not provide useful perspectives.
Let us recall Shusterman’s theory' on rap. He regarded rap as a “positive violence” in opposition to a “bad/destructive violence” based on the understanding that rap is a practice committed to reality. Bullying is undoubtedly a “bad/destructive violence” for the victims. We have to ask what the “positive violence” for resisting bullying is.
In rap, the practice is based on the conscious resistance of the rappers. Is it possible for the victims of bullying to resist too? To do it, victims must first be aware that they are being bullied. Even if they are aware, students who adapt to the style of the resistance in rap in somaesthetics may be bullied. The most important thing in the resistance to bullying is a teacher’s essential understanding of it beyond naive humanism.
Higuchi saw in bullying a Japanese sensitivity that values the whole rather than the individual and finds aesthetic pleasure in its overall order.44 Thinking about Higuchi’s view in relation to a powerful attitude toward bullying, we can imagine that a teacher might choose to tell the sacrificed student that they were chosen for the creation or maintenance of classroom order because order could not be possible without the sacrificed/bullied individual that occupies a privileged position in the creation of order. Of course, this would be a dangerous way to both of students and teachers.
After telling the student this, the teacher could offer some ingenious options to the student, such as recommending that they read a revenge story like that of Monte Cristo, which cannot only allow the student to experience a kind of catharsis by relating to the protagonist but also motivate the student to write their own revenge stories. Writings of a “positive violence” against (the memories of) bullying as a “bad/destructive violence” can thus emerge. To powerfully face the terrors of the world expressed by “bad/destructive violence,” crafting words and turning the intense experiences into stories would be a practical somaesthetics.45
Let me reiterate that this would be a dangerous situation. Those who experience severe suffering seek the meaning of suffering at the risk of their lives. No ordinary stories can excite or satisfy them. I believe in this as a truth because I speak from experience: my research on violence began from my own experiences of violence as a teen that I had received from my baseball coach, although it wasnot bullying.46 My body composed of the intense experiences of violence sought powerful stories to overcome the memories of violence.
Renovation of school buildings: a critical option
The renovation of school buildings is “A Critical Option”47 rather than a dangerous situation. Shustcrman focused on architecture as an environment that has a major impact on somaesthetics in “Somaesthetics and Architecture: A Critical Option.”48 The building as an environment has a profound influence on the body. Shusterman’s arguments prompt me to recall Higuchi’s article, “Field and Learning: Thinking of the Locality of Hiroshima by means of Global Culture.”49 From this article, I draw the viewpoint of “memories of the place” to develop a critical solution.
There is an important professional baseball team called “Carp” in Hiroshima that was created in 1950, shortly after World War II. Its importance derives from how it allowed people to think about the memories of Hiroshima in post-war reconstruction and to wish for peace. Higuchi described the memories as including a “memory' of the field” around the Atomic Bomb Dome and the baseball stadium.50 The stadium was built next to the Atomic Bomb Dome as a World Heritage. Higuchi pointed out that this positional relationship — the baseball stadium belonging to the citizens of Hiroshima, together with the Atomic Bomb Dome — will collect the memories of Hiroshima and remain a place that teaches the importance of peace.51 This idea suggests that the existence of a meaningful place connects the memories carved in the place with the memories of the people in the place. The notion of the memories of a place could be applied as a critical option to bullying.
The scene of bullying has been often described in Japanese school dramas. Bullying in a school bathroom often appears in these dramas with an insidious atmosphere and is actually called the “3Ks,” for kitanai (dirty), kusai (smelly), and kurai (dark). It is no wonder that such a place with this kind of atmosphere seems unnatural for doing good deeds. Another place for bullying may' be a warehouse in the gymnasium. School and bullying are tightly' connected with the images of our own experiences and memories. Dramas reproduce such images.
If the images of bullying and school persist in the place of school — that is, in the building of the school, a renovation of insidious bathrooms, old and faded school buildings, corridors with dark walls — then the nationwide standardized design like the prison can be considered as one strategy to curb bullying. The inorganic appearance of the building matches the gloomy' reality of bullying. We can have such a sensitivity to school buildings.
Conversely, bright school buildings with an open space like an atrium, a great deal of lighting, and beautiful bathrooms would give students different school experiences. The teachers would also change their sensibilities and ideas. A renovation of school buildings is expected to disrupt the dark images and memories of school culture, including bullying, actively.