January 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm 5 comments

Anyone who has studied with me over the past 20 years, has heard me speak of my three neck theory.  I think it’s time I went public!  Alexander was very interested in the relationship of the head to the neck.  This is a rich area and acts as a sort of control tower for guiding the rest of us.  When I contemplate its power, I think about the neck as a connector.  We have so many senses that are housed primarily in our heads.  The neck is the pathway to connecting those senses to the rest of us.

So where do the other two necks come in?  If I look at the neck as a connector, then I see the wrists and ankles as connectors- as necks- as well.  Our contact with the world around us comes in through our tactile sense as well as those of sight , hearing, etc.  Taken in this context, the wrists and ankles act as necks.

Support for my theory: 

An Alexander teacher friend told me, upon hearing my theory, that the words in Japanese for wrist and ankle are neck of the hand and neck of the foot.  The words sound like: Kobi (neck), Te Kobi (wrist) and Asi Kobe (ankle).  I am happy for my Japanese friends out there to comment on this.

How does this enhance my teaching?

The first neck is the one we all know and love.  As an Alexander teacher I am certainly interested in its relationship to the rest of us.  But I do find that if I give attention to the other necks as well, I can more clearly help the student connect their reactions to various stimuli to the interferences they adopt in their necks.  We have a beautifully integrated system.  Information coming into one area necessarily informs the rest of us.  Give it a try.  It’s fascinating.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sara Goldstein  |  January 27, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Debi, this is a clear and elegant website. Glad it is up and running and I look forward to following your musings, especially.

  • 2. Yong  |  March 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Interesting. In korean, moc (neck), son moc (wrist), bal moc (ankle).

  • 3. debiadamsat  |  March 6, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Very interesting! I never thought to check other languages. So far it seem the English language has made a mess of things!

  • 4. Bill Conable  |  July 21, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Interesting observation. Actually the Japanese words are kubi, tekubi and ashikubi. (Another interesting sidelight is that there isn’t a Japanese word that means exactly the same thing as foot: ashi means leg plus foot. Apparently the same thing is true of Russian.)

    I use the wrist to demonstrate the way fixing the neck affects movement: a loosely-held (or clenched) fist represents the head, the wrist the neck, and the rest of the arm the body. It’s a quick and dirty demonstration of “the head leads and the body follows.”

    • 5. debiadamsat  |  July 21, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      Hello Bill. Thanks for your comment. I knew the three Japanese words- probably the first words of that language I ever learned! I am making my first trip to teach in Japan in January of 2015. I imagine I will learn a great deal there about the AT and my ability to teach it. I was pleasantly amused by a previous comment that said the same language relationship is true in Korean. My “three neck theory” is something that continues to deepen. I too have used the simple visual representation of the head/neck with the wrist/arm. It is a handy tool. But I must say that it is the deepening of the relationship of us to the world around us and our interactions that continues to intrigue me. Accepting my necks as the distributors of the messages pulsing through my being is where this theory continues to take me. Hope all is well with you. Thanks for checking in!


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