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I'm not really sure how to express this recent experience, but I'll give it a shot. I have an 80 something year old great aunt who lives in North Philly (about 20 blocks west of Broad street). Its a neighborhood that has been in great distress, but it is slowly comming back due to improved housing efforts by developers and the city. The kind of lawlessness you regularly see there is armed gangs riding three wheeled off road vehicles down the streets at all times of the night and day, popping wheelies. Somehow, they evade any cops interested in stopping them .
I was taking my aunt back home after dark on the forth (she's always either in a wheel chair or walking for *very* brief periods with a cane on one side and me on the other). While I was helping her out of my car, about 3 to 4 thugs began to approach us from the other side of the street. She started to get upset, so I propped her up against the car, and started telling her it was ok, there was no problem. I continued to help her, while angling my body so that I could watch the leader without looking directly at him. Just enough so he knew I could see him, but not enough to confront him. He got to within about 4 or 5 feet, then veered off and went on past us down the street with his buddies. I told my aunt "see, its just attitude", and took her on inside.
I never really considered the opponant defeated...I considered us safer once he made clear by his change in direction that he had reconsidered his choice. I considered us safe once he and his little gang rounded the corner, and my aunt was inside. I guess if it had come to physical violence then the idea of victory or defeat would have entered into it. But I clearly was not in a good position to fight (had to protect my aunt, and I was outnumbered, and possibly out-armed). So the only real choice was to connect strongly with the opponant, not be confrontational, and do what I was there for.
This is the only time I felt like my aikido training (connecting to the opponant before the attack, presense of mind, no fear) has been used to avoid actual violence. The sense of calm was astounding. Being focused on my aunt and the opponant at the same time was really kool, and I felt no adrenelin rush, and no shakiness after the incident. I guess you could say that I felt the opponant was defeated from the moment I saw him start to cross the street.
Masakatsu Agatsu, Katsuhayabi
True victory is victory over self, victory at the speed of light
And a sincere thanks to my teachers,
Utada Sensei, Ohama Sensei, Stevens Sensei and many others.