The Sherman technique

Mark-Sherman SQUAREThe other day I happened to see a poster advertising the Alexander technique for restorative movement. It sounded pretty good, since it promised such things as “easier and more efficient movement,” “enhance(d) performance in any activity,” and “connect(ing) to your body’s wisdom.” Given my various aches and pains, if my body has any wisdom at all, I’d very much like to connect with it.

But most importantly, seeing that poster got me wondering: Is there a Sherman technique for anything? Or perhaps a Sherman method or system? I had to know.

Googling “Sherman technique” and “Sherman method” turned out to be a rewarding experience.


The first thing I came across was a knitting blog titled “Grumperina.” And lo and behold,

there is something from a “Mel,” who wrote in on June 19, 2007, that “I find with the Sherman technique, where stitches are being picked up as you work your way back from the tip of the toe/heel, that there is actually very little ridge at all .…” Was it someone in my family who contributed to this breakthrough in knitting? Anyhow, this sounded so much more innocent than the typical ways my surname is remembered, namely for the Sherman tank and also for General William Tecumseh Sherman, who destroyed Atlanta.

But to go back to positive associations with my name, who knew that there was a Sherman College of Chiropractic, and its “Sherman System,” which, according to their website, is “more than a prescriptive set of protocols,” but “a technologically advanced, philosophically sound, clinically useful approach to the detection and correction of vertebral subluxation.” So if your vertebrae are subluxed, getting the full Sherman may be just what you need. And it’s not just useful, it’s philosophically sound!

And what about this next one? I don’t want to get into details, but apparently there is yet another area where the Sherman name is helping people. From a website on the subject of menstruation is this: “If you look at menstrual release/Sherman Method many users say their cramps are reduced.” Knitting, chiropractic, reducing menstrual discomfort? It’s nice to see the Sherman name with some really positive associations, things I can be proud to tell my grandchildren about!

And there’s even more. As someone with virtually no ability in drawing, I was heartened to see that there is an article titled “Drawing by Seeing: The Use of Sherman’s Flash Method With Secondary School Art Students.” In the study, high-school seniors “were given a three-week exposure to drawing using the introductory exercises of drawing from the simple rectangular shapes used in Hoyt Sherman’s flash-room method.” I never even knew there was a Hoyt Sherman, and since Hoyt is typically not a Jewish name I doubt he was related to me. But still, it is wonderful to see yet another Sherman method being used to help people.

Now that article was from 1970, and I have no idea if this Sherman method has achieved lasting success, but a quick look at Wikipedia reveals that Hoyt Sherman was pretty important in the art world. One of his students was the distinguished modern artist Roy Lichtenstein, who gave Sherman much credit for his own achievements.

It’s becoming obvious to me that it might take a whole book to talk about all the various associations of my surname with wonderful contributions to life, but here’s one more. And this is big. Turns out that Jerome Kalman Sherman (who may still be alive, at 90 years old) is considered to be the father — if you’ll pardon the expression — of modern sperm banking, which involves freezing sperm. Who knows how many of us walking around today owe our very existence to this particular Sherman, the one whose name is associated with the “‘Sherman’ method of rapid freezing (of sperm) in liquid nitrogen vapors”?

I’m not taking anything away from Frederick Matthias Alexander, founder of the Alexander technique, which I’m sure has helped many people deal with all kinds of important body and movement issues. But when you think about how Shermans and their methods and techniques have helped the world, I humbly suggest that while those with the last name Alexander have reasons to be proud, we Shermans have reasons to be prouder still.

But almost all of us have reasons to feel good about our surnames. Unless it happens to be Hitler or Goebbels I’m sure it is probably well-known for positive reasons. For example, a quick Google search of “the Wilson method” immediately reveals techniques related to hearing-aid fittings, diet, reading, and help with a condition called hallux valgus.

So thank you, Wilsons, whoever you are.