Focus on Girls and Women 1024 683 Rock and Water Program

Focus on Girls and Women


Master Instructor Liz Mahler presented an excellent Focus on Girls and Women workshop in Newcastle in September. Over 30 participants enjoyed two intensive days learning to apply the principles of Rock and Water to the specific developmental tasks and qualities of girls and women.

Liz drew on her vast experience as both an educator and a martial arts coach to teach the participants the various skills and understandings to support girls and women in finding their own strength and courage to live their lives. She introduced a ten lesson program that includes;

  • Becoming aware of your own body, attitude, emotions and response patterns.
  • Feeling strong in your own body and learning to direct this power from a calm standpoint
  • Learning to convert this power into actions
  • Dealing with stressful situations without losing contact with yourself.
  • Boundary awareness
  • Learning to take action in “paralysing” situations.

For many girls empathy often clashes with their ability to make their own personal choices in life. Making sacrifices, the daily drudge, pleasing others and an aggrieved feeling of maintaining imbalanced relationships (in their personal and work lives) all contribute to undermining the self image, self confidence and independence of far too many girls and women, leading to the creation of an inner vacuum and uncertainty. This gives rise to a vicious circle that is hard to break, and results in the loss of their mown power and happiness, the ability to make their own choices and to explore and discover their own self-selected path.

The above issues and more are covered in the two day training. Exercises from the Rock and Water basic program and many others are introduced in a gender-specific manner that is suitable for girls and women.

One participant wrote “.. this is the best PD I have ever attended.”

Liz has become an important part of the Rock and Water team through Lighthouse Education and she has taken responsibility for all Focus on Girls seminars in Rock and Water throughout Australia. For more information on Rock and Water programs offered through Lighthouse Education, go to our page at www.rockandwater.com.au .

Why do we Break the Wood? 1024 683 Rock and Water Program

Why do we Break the Wood?

An important part of the Rock and Water 3 Day training is the very last exercise, where participants break a piece of wood with their fist. Why do this?

The wood break must be seen in the context of the training. For three days, participants have challenged themselves. They have re-assessed what it means to stand strong, have a voice, challenge limitations and set goals as they gain new understandings about the power of breath and the amazing physical, mental and emotional possibilities that go with really knowing your centre.


The culmination for the newly accredited Rock and Water teacher is the board break. It is a rite of passage, a challenge to do something that seems to be quite difficult at first thought. Freerk Ykema wrote, “This board means that you can follow your path, supported by a positive conviction and self- image. A path that is sometimes difficult, because it will involve many difficult decisions that you will have to take yourself, on your own.”

The participants write a personal goal on the board. Breaking the board symbolises the strength and perseverance needed to reach that goal. In this way, it forms a powerful mental anchor. Participants then work in pairs, with a partner to encourage, count together, shout together and also celebrate the achievement. To have a witness to one’s effort can be a powerful affirmation and help promote a deep memory of this achievement, which anchors one in future moments of personal doubt.

Many teachers, inspired by the experience, include the board break in student programs. Although a powerful conclusion to a Rock and Water program, teachers must be mindful that younger hands are soft and it would be wise to use thinner boards that are more appropriate to the age of the student. Many teachers prefer not to do the board break and encourage students to complete some other assignment that demonstrates their authentic understandings of the Rock and Water journey. For the Rock and Water teacher, however, the board break can be a powerful affirmation. As one participant wrote, “ I can’t believe I broke the wood! At first, I thought that I would refuse to try it, it looked so crazy. It is one of the best things I have ever done. I feel now that I could do anything I set my mind to.”