Race and ethnicity insensitivity feels more rampant today than it has in my lifetime. Yet, at the same time, I'm struck by how compassionate and attuned my children’s generation is. I am inspired to seek deeper understanding of the ways in which I unconsciously benefit from privilege, and act from unconscious biases and stereotypes.
This seeking is what led me to change the way I teach EFT tapping.
Is the KC even a Point?
Many years ago I had an experience of a student confirming for me something I’d been feeling for a while. The term "Karate Chop Point" was offensive. At this point, I’d as likely call that point KC as I would do the “tomahawk chop” at a sports event, or paint my face black. It just feels wrong.
• There is no such acupoint in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) called KC. No wonder every acupuncturist I ever trained in EFT looked at me funny when I described this point.
• KC is a made-up term invented by Hollywood in the 60s-70s with the popularity of the Bruce Lee genre of movies
• The actual term for this area in martial arts (not in healing modalities) is a rather violent one: “knifehand”
The following is a conversation with Victor Lee Lewis. Victor is in a unique position to address these issues in his capacity as a diversity trainer and social justice educator. He is also an NLP and EFT trainer.
Conversation with a Diversity Trainer and Social Justice Educator
Victor: I was introduced to EFT by my therapist about 17 years ago. In my first exposure to EFT literature, I was put off by the term “karate chop” point. This wasn't because I thought it was lacking in cultural competence. It was because it made EFT, a profound healing modality, seem kind of silly.
Alina: I remember a doctor of TCM challenging me about the term. I really didn’t know what to say to defend it but opted for, “That’s the way I was taught”. My entire career has been based on trying to legitimize EFT. I can’t believe I didn’t clearly see my own bias.
Victor: We are socialized to think in very individualistic and “apolitical” frames of mind. This is not a wilful or malicious disconnection. As a general rule, it is more a trained insensitivity consistent with historical and present forms of social inequality and discrimination.
When we don’t know what we don’t know, defensiveness or a dismissive attitude becomes more commonplace.
The implicit bias that drives most of our behavior around hot-button issues like race, by definition, is not likely to be consciously appreciated by the person’s influence of such powerful implicit biases and beliefs. Most of us are taught to believe that we already know everything that is very important to know about others, regardless of evidence.
Alina: What about the argument that people should tap on it if they feel offended?
Victor: I hold myself to a standard that would not allow for me to dismiss the distress of others to protect my comfort and convenience. "Get over it” sends that message. When I feel that kind of ego arise in me, I hope that I can tap on the underlying resentment and sense of entitlement.
It takes courage to question the KC tradition.
This is “deep culture” work. It's work on cultural counter-transference. It is both an important growth opportunity and, in my opinion, an important ethical and professional responsibility, that should be considered central to our ongoing education.
We live in a profound world of complex cultural diversity. We in the professional EFT community have a duty to understand the impact of our actions on people. The difficulty in seeing systems, culture and power is a built in part of our cultural training and formal education. This socialization is offered to us without permission by trusted people who typically also live with their own unnoticed and unquestioned biases.
Alina: I heard the argument that coaches and trainers have had many Asian clients and students and no one has ever brought it. Some have done EFT in Asian countries and no one has said anything to them.
Habit and tradition are a terrible reason for sticking with an insensitive habit.
Victor: I’d invite western practitioners and trainers to do 2 or 3 hours of earnest research on cross-cultural communication. A western visitor coming to Asia in the authority role as a teacher will almost always have their dignity and “face” protected by their hosts, no matter how badly we behave. I would love for those of whom you speak to read up on the “ugly American” syndrome, and how people in host cultures deal with our ignorance and smugness.
Alina: I’ve heard some make the case that there’s lots of material online, in print, in training material that reference it as KC and it’ll mean lots of money to change it.
Victor: It took a lot of energy and money for textbooks and popular culture to stop referring to Black or African American people as “colored” or “negro,” but it was the right thing to do and took far too long. The same arguments are still being made by professional and college sports franchises about why they must persist in racially offensive practices against the will of the voices pointing to real problems things that seem innocent to a lot of people.
We should be good stewards of the cultural gifts we have inherited
When people of goodwill raise a concern about everyday social habits, wisdom calls upon us to listen with a sincere and deep curiosity. It is simply not the case that if an issue is worth knowing or learning about, we would already be on the right side of it. It doesn’t cost us much, but it can enliven us and keep us growing for a lifetime. If we have the honor of being teachers or practitioners of this incredible modality, then we certainly also have a responsibility to teach it in a way that is culturally honoring.
EFT Master Trainer of Trainers training and mentoring practitioners since 2006. Contributing author of 8 EFT books . Author of How to Want Sex: Using EFT to Rekindle Your Passion. Co-director of EFT MBA: Marketing and Business Academy for EFT Coaches www.eftmba.com Organizer of annual NW Tappers Gathering, raising over thousands of dollar for continuing EFT research. Matrix Reimprinting trainer since 2011. Producer of the Science of Tapping documentary. Director of EFT Relationship Coach Certification www.eftrelationshipcoach.com EFT and Matrix Training website www.efttappingtraining.com Member of Training and Accreditation Board at EFT International