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robert weatherall
11-22-2006, 06:54 AM
During a recent city break to Paris I think I used aikido in a practical situation for the first time. I was with my girlfriend walking up the hill to the Sacre Coeur. As it is a tourist hotspot there are always plenty of street vendors trying to sell tourist rubbish,
I saw one guy approaching us and I said ďnoĒ straight away.
But he didnít want to take no for an answer. I told him about five times in no uncertain terms that I wasnít interested in buying anything from him. Thatís when he stepped right in front of us to block our progress, we then side stepped to our right at which point he grabbed hold of my jacket on my left shoulder (kata tori) to try and stop me getting away.
I am used to pushy street vendors when I travel but Iíve never had anyone grab hold of me before to make a sale (my instructor would say I was too late because the vendor had already got hold of me).
I broke free of his grasp just by cutting down with my arm and twisting my hips Ė nothing spectacular and certainly nothing to cause him pain or injury. It was then that he and his three colleagues started to become very aggressive, swear, and try to goad me into a fight. I just kept on walking.
Later my girlfriend asked me two questions. Was I frightened? Was there a part of me which wanted to kick his ass? (Her words not mine)
The answer to both were no.
At one stage in my life I would have been fearful if four big burly men started to threaten me but I remained perfectly calm.
Also at one stage in my life when I was much more aggressive and stupid I would have thrown threats back in their direction and the situation would have escalated. I think Aikido helped me because I now have more confidence.
I donít think for one minute I could have dealt with four of them but one Ė probably, two Ė perhaps.
Also I think Aikido and the ethos behind it has taught me itís much better to walk away so that both parties can continue their day sight seeing/hassling tourists rather spending the day in a hospital/ police cell.
Perhaps I am making too much of the situation? After all it happened during the day time and the area is well populated. I doubt they would have taken things further even if I had reacted.
Anyway I would be interested in hearing others peopleís experiences on when they think Aikido has helped them to react to a situation differently to how they would have reacted prior to taking up Aikido and what they attribute this to. Is it the training or do we all just grow wiser and more chilled out with time?

SeiserL
11-22-2006, 08:06 AM
Anyway I would be interested in hearing others people's experiences on when they think Aikido has helped them to react to a situation differently to how they would have reacted prior to taking up Aikido and what they attribute this to. Is it the training or do we all just grow wiser and more chilled out with time?
The enter, blend, and redirect has certainly changed my communication style in just about everything I do.

I tend to always try to physically move from the center without letting my arm collapse (unbendable).

I am definitely older, wiser, and more chilled.

mickeygelum
11-22-2006, 08:13 AM
I think that you handled this as well as you could have...I would have been "stupid", only for the fact that the invasion of my comfort zone was extreme.... :mad:

SeanHaeussinger2
11-29-2006, 12:53 AM
It sharpened my defense reaction. Even without Aikido, I'm undefeatable, only if I (since mid Rokyu) have a better defense reaction. Plus, I've learned I should use Aikido as NOT to harm
asailant, since Gokyu. Before, I'd think about hurting an asailant
with what I knew, assuming my defense reaction is up.

stelios
11-29-2006, 05:43 AM
People say I am more calm and relaxed in daily life. Not completely calm and relaxed but a "click" turned into the more positive direction of things. After all, I just begun doing Aikido 4 years ago. Long is the way...

sullivanw
11-29-2006, 08:40 AM
It sharpened my defense reaction. Even without Aikido, I'm undefeatable, only if I (since mid Rokyu) have a better defense reaction. Plus, I've learned I should use Aikido as NOT to harm
asailant, since Gokyu. Before, I'd think about hurting an asailant
with what I knew, assuming my defense reaction is up.

Sean,

Your enthusiasm and optimism are wonderful, but I hope you didn't really mean that you are undefeatable. There are a lot of tough, highly skilled people out there. And of those there are probably quite a few who would enjoy demonstrating their skills to someone they outclassed.

As far as the effects of my training in daily life, well, I definitely have an easier time remaining calm and clear-headed in stressful situations. Really, most of the stressful events in my life really are no big deal at all... now. :D

-Will

Nick Pagnucco
11-29-2006, 09:10 AM
Aikido has helped be get a better understanding of why being timid is not good, not ethical, and certainly not safe.

I am a relatively introverted guy, and I partially got into aikido because of the commonly heard philosphy of peace & harmony. It took me several years, however, to understand that for aikido to truly be a budo, it must actively engage violence. If my aikido can't do that, it can't be aikido, no matter how good I am at talking through the party line about harmony.

After I realized that, it was a short leap for me to realize that there are ways to be appropriately assertive, as opposed to inappropriately or being unassertive. This may sound like a painfully obvious thing, but it was a revelation for me. That was maybe, 2 or 3 years ago. I've been trying to use that as one of the guiding principles in my practice since, with varying degrees of success.

Jaikido
11-29-2006, 11:49 AM
I think your reaction was great for the situation, he wasn't going to be a big threat by grabbing your jacket, he wasn't gonna punch you, so I guess by accepting the contact and breaking the grip you did all that was necessary. Especially with several of them there.