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  • Writer's pictureEric Fisher

How can Grafting Help in the Recovery Process?

Updated: Jul 5

The combination of techniques and principles can help someone in the recovery process.

There is a concept known in the martial arts as grafting.

Grafting has two components. The first is the combination of several principles within the flow of a single action. The second is blending one martial arts technique into another without impacting the flow of movement. The first part means that principles we understand in martial arts meld together into a single action we take to defend ourselves. An example would be securing a stable base with balance while being aware of my surroundings. Those two principles come together without contradicting or overriding one another.

The second part of grafting could mean performing a defensive technique with blocks, punches, and whatever else while also being able to move into another technique to follow up in a seamless transition. The techniques in a real-life situation may not be ideally initiated based on all the steps given during training. Nothing else matters as long as grafting is practiced with proper form, balance, awareness, and execution of moves to protect myself. The actions may be flawed in their execution.

That is okay! That very much is synonymous with life.

We are given tools and skills for coping. What we use in our toolkit may be used haphazardly off the cuff. We may only use a skill to a minimal extent. We may overuse a skill we don’t need to use as frequently. Again, this doesn’t mean you have failed with the skills you are using. We constantly seek to understand how to best use the tools with our current abilities in our environments.

The recovery-based concept of grafting can be seen as employing one action with several combined tools and techniques.

My single action may be heading out to nature after learning of the recent loss of a close friend instead of driving out to the liquor store. With this single act, I activate the release principle when processing feelings. I also practice congruence, where my values, beliefs, and actions align and don’t betray my recovery. I am also actively aware of the current situation as far as the addictive thinking that came up. The conniving, manipulative voice inside my head telling me to head over to the liquor store to cure my woes. I am aware of my feelings of sadness and the sensation of a pit in my stomach for the loss. I am taking accountability by upholding my recovery and choosing a route that serves my recovery. I am accepting what I feel, think, and sense without resulting in the need to find instant, short-term relief with a mood-altering substance. I am persevering with what I am experiencing internally.

Release, congruence, awareness, accountability, perseverance, and acceptance. All these principles are interwoven into a single act. As far as blending techniques go, I am heading out into nature to connect with my sense of spirituality. I want to connect with myself and what I am experiencing internally. Defying the addiction and tapping into spirituality are being done in tandem. They complement one another.

Grafting is a martial arts term that can be applied to your recovery journey. Grafting can be helpful when you consider the importance of combining principles and techniques in a way that creates a continuous flow when moving through a situation. Again, the principles and strategies don’t have to be done perfectly. Do the best you can while learning from the experience.

All the best to you in your recovery journey.

My book, The Martial Art of Recovery: Self-Mastery Practices to Subdue Addiction and Achieve Mental Wellness, can be found through multiple sites using this link:


Lamkin, E. & Lamkin, K. (1992). Yellow Belt Self-Defense Techniques Study Manual, Volume 2, 102. Phantom Productions, Louisville, KY.

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