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kmarie
04-04-2002, 04:04 AM
Perhaps this question should be posted on a psychology bulletin board, but I would love to hear your responses.

How should an Aikikidoka respond if they witness a violent act on the streets? I know this question is a bit ambiguous-sorry.

A couple of months ago I came home late at night to find a man being beaten severely outside my apartment building by three people. The attackers were two very large men, and one small petite woman with a cane (being used to beat this man over the head) . I recongnized two of the attackers as local homeless crack addicts. I wasn't in fear for myself, but was shocked and extremely upset to see this poor man being beaten. I assumed maybe he did a bad deal (these are crack addicts), and perhaps they were getting back at him for giving them bad drugs or whaterver, but then again there are tons of tourists around and maybe he was a tourist (there are a lot of stupid one's around flaunting money) getting mugged. One cannot tell in this neighborhood. I felt helpless. My first reaction was to pul the men and the woman off of the guy, but then I remember...Oh yeah I'm a defenseless female ( I didn't know Aikido at the time or any other self defense) . I really really wanted to intervene, but I became scared and ran inside my apartment building and called security. By the time security came down, everyone was gone...including the bleeding victim. Sigh. This scenario haunts me.

I know the philosopy in Aikido is peace, love and harmony, but do you think one should put themselves at risk when witnessing such horrific things? I've also witnessed some domestic abuse in the area, and have almost intervened ....but that's the thing...ALMOST. Uuughh. :(

I would love to hear your thoughts and experinces.

Thanks,

Kmarie

Jappzz
04-04-2002, 07:06 AM
Hi Karen.

I must say that if you have a wish to help your fellow man it might HELP to know budo but there's SO many ways that you could distract someone in that situation without getting physical. I think that we often feel far more threathened in a situation like this than we really are.
As long as you don't escalate the conflict and/or put your self att a LARGE risc i see no reason not to interfere.
The mere fact that the criminal realizes he is being witnessed and stops beating temporarily could be the key factor that gives someone in distress enough momentum to help himself or run away.

Peace

Jesper Arenskog

Bruce Baker
04-04-2002, 07:24 AM
There is nothing women can do when two large men are beating another man ... especially when you are alone, at night .... UNTIL

Until you are safely out of sight, or secure from the violence to call for police, ambulance, or other help. Even two policemen, fully armed draw their weapons when taking down muggers on drugs, you never know what people will do. I am large enough to take one or two well place punches before I awaken to anger, and with what you described, unless the victim was a friend or relative, I wouldn't physically jump in ... unless I thought the victim would be killed?

You should find counseling with womens defensive group, and try to set up a neighborhood watch that calls police, or brings out ten or more people to make them muggers take off or be caught.

Hey, drugs is everywhere. We have drug busts every year down here in little Barnegat, NJ? Human nature has some percentage of drugs somewhere in a community, prescribed or not?
There are other ways, besides physical intervention that will change the nature of harmony.

Women do it everyday. If not for women, us men would be perfectly happy to live in log cabins, and go huntin' twice a week?

My wife is totally in charge, until something needs to be fixed, or I need to thump somebody, or the toilet overflows ... (and on and on and on....)

Erik
04-04-2002, 01:22 PM
Pull out my cell phone and dial 911.

guest1234
04-04-2002, 05:24 PM
I don't think being female is/was a weakness here: leaping into the fray, male or female, with or without MA training, is not necessarily the right, let alone smart, thing to do. At least you thought you had an idea of what was going on, your chance of harming/attacking the original crime victim while 'rescuing' the original attacker is pretty good when you just rush in to intervene in the middle of a fight. :eek:

The goal is to stop the beating, right? So get someplace safe as quickly as possible (ie, go to the closest safe place, a store or other home, if it is closer than your house) and immediately call the police. If possible make sure those engaging in the violence know the police have been called and are on their way. As has been said, a lot of times just knowing there are witnesses (who cannot in turn be threatened because they are in a safe place) is enough to stop things. Knowing the police are on their way is porbably more frightening to the 'bad guys' than knowing you are about to join in the fight. And probably for good reason.:rolleyes:

I am a small female, whose Aikido is pretty awful (ask anyone). But if I were the victim I would prefer a passerby to get safe and call, not only because I think it is most likely to help me in the long run, but should something happen to the 'rescuer' I would feel terrible, and that is a very real possibility. Plus they might actually put me in greater danger, I might be able to get free and run but must now stay and help the 'rescuer', etc. Leave the rescue action to those trained in it.

Largo
04-04-2002, 06:45 PM
Just remember, intervening and jumping in with fists flying are two different things. I've seen videos in psych classes of about 13 cops failing to pin down a PCP junkie...so one lone martial artist probably can't.
As for professional criminals, put yourself in their shoes. They want to get what they want quickly, quitely, and then run for it. Anything that draws attention/ crowds should get them to break it off. Of course, calling the police on the cell phone is probably best.(should and professional are the operative terms here.)

shihonage
04-04-2002, 06:47 PM
Get behind the bushes, insult them, throw a rock at them and run.

ronmar
04-09-2002, 02:44 PM
hi

Just a little question. How would the males who have responded to this post have acted if they had come home to find two large men beating a single woman, instead of another man? Or a child? I personally would step in and try something. I dont think I would be able to stop myself. I don't mean to be sexist about this. Its just that I get a different feeling when considering the above situations.

Nick P.
04-09-2002, 05:08 PM
In September, a cab-driver died of stab wounds at 3:30 in the morning on my (mostly) quiet street. His cries for help woke me and many others from a deep sleep, and, after realising that it was not some drunk out with his buddies carrying on (as most of us would think at 3:30am), it became apparent that these were very real calls for help.

In the 5 minutes between this realization and hearing others converging, I, like most others, lay there frozen wondering what to do; would I wonder out into some settling-of-accounts, become another victim, or save the victim and smite the attackers? (who knows, maybe the person crying for help started the whole thing?). The cops showed up, in force, within 10 minutes; cruisers came and went at high speed trying to find the attackers (who took the car, later found torched). The driver died on my curb, the stain lasted for months.

All I do know is, after hearing what a fellow human being's dying cries sound like (it went on for about 30 minutes), I regret not having gone outside. And the next altercation I was unfortunate enough to be within earshot of (in my building's hallway), I turned to my wife and said "Call 911, get the cops here, I am going outside." and defused a physical conflict between a pizza delivery guy and my 75 year old shut-in neighbour. Just by me approaching them and asking what was going on seemed to seperate them, and I politely insisted that one of them come with me so we could talk. Calm, such as it was, was eventually restored.

Was I scared? After, yes. During, I was oddly at peace (probably 'cuz my sensei had trashed me good not 60 minutes earlier). I was glad I went out and helped. I might not feel so glad if I was beaten up, but either way I could look at myself in the mirror afterwards.

I am told by a good friend who is an EMT/Paramedic that you would not be human if you did not ask yourself "Was there not more I could have done?". I guess the hard part is living with "No, there was nothing (more) you could have done.", whether you tried or not.

shihonage
04-09-2002, 05:15 PM
Originally posted by ronmar
hi

Just a little question. How would the males who have responded to this post have acted if they had come home to find two large men beating a single woman, instead of another man? Or a child? I personally would step in and try something. I dont think I would be able to stop myself. I don't mean to be sexist about this. Its just that I get a different feeling when considering the above situations.

There is always a smarter solution which reduces your chances of becoming the second victim.

Just enraging them from a distance and then running your butt off gives both the victim and you a chance to survive, hopefully without engaging in a fight.

Largo
04-09-2002, 09:44 PM
I've intervened in the past, and would probably do so again. I don't have a lot of reasons for this, other than a strong distast for bullying and abuse.

guest1234
04-09-2002, 11:13 PM
That's an interesting question about what if the victim were female... that was a concern in the military over what inappropriate actions men might take for a female in combat vs a male. I hope some of our historians are taking a good look at coed combat in this current war.

Again, as a female, I would rather my 'rescuer' not rescue me by joining in the battle :eek:, but rather do as Aleksey suggests. Now, I will admit those who know me out there are rolling their eyes at my claim to femininity :rolleyes:, so you might want to use wives/girlfriends as a control group, but I think a person safely intervening from afar is preferable to immediate jump-in-fists-first kind of action.

There is also one kind of bullying/abuse I can talk about first hand, and that is spouse abuse. They usually are smart enough to not do it with you around, but if you wander into the situation, something like punching him and warning him to leave her alone may be more dangerous in the long run. You probably won't convince her to leave at that moment, and once you are gone she will pay for any physical or emotional discomfort you caused him. That is definately a time for professionals, so there can be police reports, and hopefully counselling (for all sides).

JJF
04-10-2002, 04:06 AM
When I was around 18 or 19 years old I had been doing karate for 3-4 years, but never really given much thought to the issue of using my knowledge in defence of other people. Then one day when I was visiting my girlfriend two men and a woman got into a quarrel just outside our window. They were obviously drunk and perhaps influenced by other substances as well - I couldn't tell. And I can't remember which one, but suddenly one of them was on the ground - the two other kicking and hitting. I was very insecure on how to handle the situation. We didn't have a phone at the time, so we couldnt' call the police, but within a minute or so we figured out to knock on the neighbours door to ask to use her phone. It turned out she had allready called the police, but then what? There was still a beating going on and the police would be at least a couple of minutes. I felt as if all my knowledge of karate drained out of me very quickly and I tried to make myself go over there to do something, but I just couldn't. Luckily no one got seriously hurt. The fight ended and the three persons wandered off together. A few minutes later the police got there, took a report and told us these people where know to cause problems now and then.

My problem with this incident is the fact that I couldn't make myself do anything to help a fellow person, and I actually felt quite a bit like a coward.

About 10 years later I had been doing some other martial arts including a couple of years of aikido and I was in a night bus going home from downtown. A couple of 2. generation emigrants where trying to pick a fight with a young guy in the bus calling him names and pushing him around. Obviously they just need some excuse to get really serious. One of the pushes resulted in the guy dropping his glasses and he foolishly enough uttered some sort of insult. This was the excuse they had been waitin for and they charged forward to beat him up. Then next moment I found myself stepping in between the attackers and the young man. I looked into the eyes of he who was obviously the leader and apologized on behalf of the other guy - excusing his behaviour by saying that he had done a stupid thing.

Aparantly I mannaged to break the rythm of the escalating conflict and I took away the reason for the group to beat up this guy. In retrospect I believe they are a group looking for fights but they still have some sort of honor code, which made it imposible for them to beat me, since I sort of took their side in the conflict. Lucky me.....

Then I picked up the classes and gave them to the young man while signalling to him that he should walk to the other end of the bus. I honestly don't know what happend. If I had been thinking then I would probably not have done anything, but I just acted. Everything turned out allright, but the next 25 minutes in the bus my puls stayed at a very high level. I am happy that nothing happend, and nobody got hurt, but I don't know how I would handle a similar situation if it occurs again.

I hope I will be able to defend or protect other people if need bee in the future, but since I have become a dad I have also becomed very caucious since I don't want my kids to loose their dad. I guess it's important to me to protect them too.

Enough of this. Just wanted to tell my stories and add that I believe we will do the right thing when the situation occurs based on our knowledge of ourself and the other persons involved.

deepsoup
04-10-2002, 05:41 AM
Originally posted by ca
Again, as a female, I would rather my 'rescuer' not rescue me by joining in the battle :eek:, but rather do as Aleksey suggests. Now, I will admit those who know me out there are rolling their eyes at my claim to femininity :rolleyes:, so you might want to use wives/girlfriends as a control group, but I think a person safely intervening from afar is preferable to immediate jump-in-fists-first kind of action.

Its certainly more use to the victim for the police to be called (especially if you can let the attacker know they're on the way, so its in his best interests to quit and get out of there) than it is for someone to steam in "fists flying", if there is any doubt about the outcome. Even if you're powerless to do anything but watch, which is better, one victim and one eye-witness, or two victims and no witnesses?

A while ago, as part of my job I was sent on a fire awareness course (a sort of fire-fighting 101 for people responsible for public buildings). Someone was asking if you discover a fire, how you should decide whether to tackle it yourself, or evacuate and call in the fire service.

I think the advice given applies to this situation too:
The instructor said he wouldn't expect an amateur ever to make a conscious decision to tackle a fire. If it's right for you to tackle the fire you wouldn't consciously make a decision, you'd just be straight in there, almost instinctively, before even thinking about it.

If there is any doubt in your mind at all, you shouldn't. So if you find yourself thinking "should I, shouldn't I?" the answer is "you shouldn't".

Sean
x

ronmar
04-10-2002, 03:24 PM
hi

I didn't mean you should jump in with fists flying when you witness an altercation. I just think it is good to do something. A distraction often works wonders as some of the above examples show.
I once intervened when a mentally ill person was punching and shouting at a young man in a shop. I didn't do anything physical, just the fact that I intervened on the side of the victim seemed to calm the man down a bit until the police arrived. What amazed me was that no-one else was doing anything. There were plenty of people and even a large security guard present. Unfortunately they all seemed to regard the fight as being nothing to do with them, although they were all keen to watch.
What if the attacker had pulled a knife and stabbed his victim before the police had arrived? These kinds of situations can escalate to very nasty conclusions very quickly. I think you should phone the police and do something to intervene if you possibly can.

dc20
04-11-2002, 12:20 AM
OK, putting on my cop hat and jumping in... I believe it is reckless for a would be civilian rescuer to attempt to physically intervene and put themselves in a 3-on-1 fight. Even as a cop, on the job, I would not do that without A.) calling for assistance FIRST and B.) employing some sort of "equalizer"...like OC spray, baton, etc. Regardless of how much we would all like to help someone in that kind of trouble, you do the victim no good whatsoever by wading in and getting your butt kicked right alongside his. You have not helped him, and now someone has to rescue YOU. People often ask my opinion as to whether or not they should purchase a gun for self-defense...I usually tell them to buy a cell phone instead. You can always call for help, no one ever accidentally shot themselves or a family member with a cell phone, you can't get in trouble for carrying a concealed cell phone...you get it. As a civilian, you are normally much safer, and more likely to actually help someone, by keeping yourself safe, call for help, and be a good witness. That can really help!

:straightf

MaylandL
04-11-2002, 12:36 AM
Originally posted by dc20
OK, putting on my cop hat and jumping in... I believe it is reckless for a would be civilian rescuer to attempt to physically intervene and put themselves in a 3-on-1 fight. Even as a cop, on the job, I would not do that without A.) calling for assistance FIRST and B.) employing some sort of "equalizer"...like OC spray, baton, etc. Regardless of how much we would all like to help someone in that kind of trouble, you do the victim no good whatsoever by wading in and getting your butt kicked right alongside his. You have not helped him, and now someone has to rescue YOU. People often ask my opinion as to whether or not they should purchase a gun for self-defense...I usually tell them to buy a cell phone instead. You can always call for help, no one ever accidentally shot themselves or a family member with a cell phone, you can't get in trouble for carrying a concealed cell phone...you get it. As a civilian, you are normally much safer, and more likely to actually help someone, by keeping yourself safe, call for help, and be a good witness. That can really help!

:straightf


Absolutely. Thank you for this post. As my sensei has said to me many a time, it doesnt matter how good you are, wading in without knowing the situation can get you killed, especially when there is more than one attacker. ITs also the attacker you dont see.

Call for the Police and leave it to them and then provide a credible witness report, they are the ones with the training and back up.

Abasan
04-11-2002, 07:26 AM
This is an interesting post, albeit a very theoretical one. Most ppl I believe, when faced with such a situation will react honestly to their instincts. Fight or flee.

Anyway, that aside, I read in a book once which was written by a cop (USA). He said that the police are not in anyway obligated to come in to your rescue during such assaults. Most do of course because of moral obligation and the power & responsibility that comes with such an office. But legally, they are not obligated.

Using the phone to call the police for help may be a good idea under such circumstances. How much time does it take though to complete an assault? Unless the attackers are of course sadistic ppl, the assault would be over in a couple of minutes... I would think. In that couple of minutes, only a super cop would arrive in time to save the day. Its like first aid really. Call a doctor by all means, but it won't matter if that guy bleeds to death while waiting for the professionals to arrive.

I've engaged a third party assault once, back in UK. I was walking back to my apartment when confronted by a scene. A woman in danger, and a man the apparent attacker. In I went, grabbing the guy with one hand, and the other about to punch him. (sheesh, I didn't even think aikido at the time.) anyway... long story cut short, the woman was a prostitute who stole the guy's money. He wasn't assaulting her, he was trying to get his wallet back. Luckily I didn't hit the guy, or I would have found myself in prison. Although he got his wallet back, his money was gone. And I didn't have the guts to apprehend the woman, cause I don't know what the law is going to make on all this.

The question is, how do you know the assault is what really is? Sometimes, gang members have been known to throw a fight in restaurants that owe them protection money. Try and get involved in that!

Sometimes, undercover cops are doing a guy who may be a dangerous felon. Sometimes a bouncer is doing a guy for being a prick. Whatever it is, things are not always what it seems to be, and care must be exercised before 'wading' in.

Thats my thots on this matter anyway.

dc20
04-11-2002, 09:49 AM
In response to Abasan's post...I don't know who wrote that book you read, but he probably wrote it because he lost his police job and had to make some money to recover from the lawsuit he lost. Legally not obligated to intervene in an assault? As a police officer? Stand by and watch somebody get pounded as a uniformed, on-duty cop, and you will soon be giving the victim or his family your house, your car, and all your money after they sue the beejesus out of you and win. If you want to talk legalities, in the US (land of lawsuits), you could quite possibly be sued even as a civilian witness who observed the beating and turned a blind eye. They'd have to know who you were, how to find you, be able to prove that you could have done something (call 911), and that you did nothing...not outside the realm of possibility.
I hope the author of that book was actually pointing out the more accepted tenet that police are not legally obligated to get themselves hurt or killed to help someone. Not the same as not intervening at all. Like I said in my earlier post, you help no one by getting yourself hurt or killed. The victim still gets pounded, and so do you. Much better is to be smart and be safe, and use the tools we have at our disposal as police officers to actually help the person...rather than be the second victim. Off soapbox...end of post!
;)

ronmar
04-11-2002, 05:50 PM
Whats the point in phoning the police if you don't go over to the assailants and tell them "I've just called the police, stop what you are doing"
Why walk on by because you are 98 percent sure that nothing untoward is going on. All you have to do is ask and that remaining 2 percent doubt will be taken care of.
Whats the point in not doing all you can to help another person, just because you are a bit scared.
We only hear about people helping others in this kind of situation when they become another victim, and never about the countless times when a fight is broken up, or a mugger scared off. Criminals do not like an audience for their crimes and I still think you are obliged to help if you possibly can.

dc20
04-13-2002, 07:31 PM
That is correct. Criminals do not like audiences or witnesses to their crimes. Unfortunately, running away from that witness may not be the only solution that occurs to a violent criminal.
:(

Speireag
04-13-2002, 10:55 PM
Originally posted by dc20
I hope the author of that book was actually pointing out the more accepted tenet that police are not legally obligated to get themselves hurt or killed to help someone.

Actually, there's a court decision on that. If my library weren't packed just now I'd dig it out for you. It's not a reference to specific officers who witness a situation and fail to act. It's a reference to the police generally. The plaintiff called the police for help and they didn't respond for quite some time because they were busy with other calls which had a higher priority. He sued, claiming that the police had a duty to protect individual citizens. The court found that the police did have an obligation to protect the citizenry as a group, but did not have a duty to protect individual citizens from harm in all individual circumstances. I recall that part of the reasoning was that it would put a burden on the police to be everywhere they were wanted, which is clearly impossible.

I agree completely that you and I, as sworn officers on duty, are of course legally obliged to act in many specific circumstances where the average citizen is legally free to walk away.

Abasan may have been referring to any of several books or article by Massad Ayoob. He is a sworn officer (currently part time) and had a full-time career as an officer. He is a nationally-recognized expert in the legal, ethical and practical use of lethal and non-lethal force. I have met him and taken classes from him, and I think that he's well worth listening to.

Not the same as not intervening at all. Like I said in my earlier post, you help no one by getting yourself hurt or killed. The victim still gets pounded, and so do you.

Yes. When I taught Emergency Medical Technicians, I taught them that rule number one was safety for themselves, because if they got injured not only could they not help the original patient, but they compounded the entire treatment situation. It takes more than one typical ambulance crew to work a patient under the worst circumstances. In many small towns, a "disaster" is defined as "two people in immediate need of medical intervention at the same time".

Now that I teach police officers, I teach them the same things. Get backup. Don't go out on a limb alone, and preferably not at all. If you're responding to an emergency and you don't get there in one piece, you just screwed everyone's chances of getting a good police response, including your own. And so on.

With all that said, I think that there are times when bystander intervention is appropriate. I think that there is a place for civilians who carry weapons. Offhand, I can think of several cases where bystanders prevented injury, or further injury, or actually subdued the right person. I can also think of times when bystanders got themselves hurt and helped nothing. It depends almost completely on the bystander. The ones who achieved good outcomes understood their own abilities and when to stop intervening.

In my experience, most martial arts teachers actually know little about the legalities of force, either lethal or non-lethal. (NOTE: This is a GENERALIZATION! Some are very competent and knowledgeable in this way.) Most think they know more than they actually do. Many know a lot about close-quarters survival tactics, or hand-to-hand combat, but once you open the camera focus to take in the surrounding area, or the legal aftermath, teachers typically are out of their depth. That is NOT to say that they can't make good approximate decisions on these situations, and many do. But very few have studied it formally the way a few civilians have and the way most police officers are required to do.

If you feel an urge to intervene in such situations, I certainly sympathize; look at my career choice! But be smart. Prepare and train ahead of time, and know what your limitations are and where to draw the line. When I say "prepare and train", I don't mean more time on the mat. I mean time with a specialist who knows about the legal and ethical use of force. Massad Ayoob is one; he teaches all over the country. In the San Francisco Bay Area, there's a fellow by the name of Peter Alan Kasler, if memory serves. Based on my reading some of his writing and a limited correspondence, I'd take his course if I were in his area.

If you have the power to apply force, you also have an obligation to understand when, why and how to apply it. The obligation only increases if you're using a lethal weapon like a knife or a bokken. When you're in a situation, if you don't know what to do, back out. Right then is not the time to learn. I really, really liked the analogy which someone posted earlier about when to fight fires. If you're asking whether you should, then you're out of your depth. Back off and get help as soon as you can. If you feel better intervening from a distance, do that. Yell, "Hey, here come the police!" Even if you're lying, it's likely to change what's going on, and maybe for the better.

When it comes down to it, we can probably construct a plausible scenario where just about anyone would intervene, even if they didn't know how. What would we do if you saw someone in the act of killing a child, even if intervention meant a great risk to us? I would hope that we would intervene! But most such situations aren't so black and white. Conversations like this one are a good first step. Now go get some more education, right? If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. :)

Hope this helps,

-Speireag.

George S. Ledyard
04-14-2002, 02:08 AM
Many of these posts skirt around the real issue. If a serious attack were being made on an individual, he will be dead or at least permanently injured before any other help can reach him. In our society we are conditioned to place responsibility for all areas of our lives in the hands of others, the specialists. We are expected to cede responsibility for our safety to the police, it is generally frowned upon to either arm oneself or develop the requisite skill to take on ones own defense.

The real issue here is what do you do at the moment when someone else needs your help? If you lack the skills to effectively protect someone else you are condemned to rely on others. If you know you lack those skills, you should carry a weapon and know how to use it. So you called the police... you said "it's not my job to get hurt" they get paid to be at risk. Well the police may simply take too long to get there and now you have failed to act, instead chosen to shift the responsibility. You can complain that the police didn't get there soon enough but the fact is that you were the one in place at that instant in time. The fact is that the police are law enforcement personnel. They normally arrive after the crime has been committed, only seldom do they get to prevent crime. If you think that your defense or someone elseís is up to the police you will be filing complaints after the fact.

I don't understand the idea that it isn't our place to put ourselves at risk for someone else. As martial artists that is precisely what we train for. I donít mean that you have to jump right in and fight. There are plenty of other things you might try. I am not talking about being naÔve. If you intervene you ARE at risk. You could die. Donít intervene if you arenít willing at accept that that is a possibility. But it is the job of a warrior to place himself at risk in order to protect someone else. The ordinary citizen is basically helpless. They have no skills and they have no practice in developing the clear intention it takes to take this risk. In fact they are trained to go the other way.

What the hell did you just spend five, ten, fifteen years in that dojo for, just to sit back and say ďitís someone elseís jobĒ. In my opinion, if you have the skills you have the responsibility to help just as those firefighters and cops went into the world trade center even as it was crumbling. If you donít have the skills, why not?

guest1234
04-14-2002, 07:00 AM
Ledyard Sensei,

Sir, with all due respect,I think the 'call the police' group is coming from a slightly different place than you perceive-- and we may be all coming from different places within that group. But here is my take on it, first with a personal example:

I was married to a man who liked to beat his wives. I knew he could get violent. And I knew first hand how violent. And his violence would increase if he thought someone was 'taking her side'. I lived in fear that some well meaning man would, at the wrong time, intervene, push him over the edge, and instead of just beating me, he'd shoot me and my rescuer. Even if I could be sure the rescuer had as much skill (and size) as you, I much, much, much prefered that anyone interested in helping me get somewhere safe and call the police, and make sure he knew the police were coming.

I was going to reply earlier that I felt for the police who had pleaded with us not try to do their job: rarely do onlookers feel compelled to do mine...they all gather around to get in the way for us to get to the victim, but they often don't attempt even the simplist first aid, or CPR. It would be nice if they knew how to do it, and that they did. But it is nicer that they aren't making my job worse, either. And first aid and CPR don't require decades to get good enough at it to do something; maybe you can only get safe and call the police, and yell out the window that they are coming...but then when the bad guys run away, wouldn't it be great if you knew how to stop the bleeding? That info might be just as important, if not more, than the harder to get proficiency in martial arts or even firearms.

Anyway, just my personal opinion. I didn't back when I was married (nor still) want a bystander to just stand there, but neither do I want him to jump into the fray. I want him to avoid becoming a victim himself, something that would give me severe emotional and mental harm, and to make sure help (including police and medical) arrive.

As for us arming ourselves...well, I've seen even police, who are highly trained and do this every day for their living, make mistakes and shoot an innocent person. I've patched up some of those, and children and adults accidently shot by friends and relatives, and sometimes not been able to patch them up.

I have the deepest respect for you, sir, I really do, but even you I would prefer to see call the police.

Kat.C
04-14-2002, 10:00 AM
Colleen, it must have taken an immense amount of courage to get out of that situation. I am glad you did.
I just wanted to second your opinion; Interfering may hurt the victim more. If you jump in to help you may stop that attack but you don't know what will happen later. Police are trained to deal with not only the immediate situation but the cause. Call them. I know they don't always succeed but they have the best chance.
As for responsibility, well how responsible is it to jump in to a situation if you don't know what is going on? Keep your own families in mind before risking yourself, you have a greater responsibility to them.

dc20
04-14-2002, 12:51 PM
Joshua,

I know exactly the court case you are referring to, which says police in general are not liable for a citizen in general being victimized. That refers to the "obligation to protect" and "special relationship" standards applied to police. What I was referring to is when, for example, you arrive at an active fight with...let's say three "beaters" and one "beatee." You now are aware of the crime and have a "special relationship" with the victim, and are legally obliged to act. But in the same scenario, with police unavailable (or never called), there is no special relationship established and police are not liable.
I am simply saying that we have a wide range of options available that constitute action (from calling for help, to shooting them all). Civilian or police should understand their options in order to choose the best one according to their physical size, skills, weapons, etc. Then you can make a decision how best to help someone. It is very rarely by offering yourself as a sacrifice.:dead:

George S. Ledyard
04-14-2002, 01:33 PM
Originally posted by ca
Ledyard Sensei,

Sir, with all due respect,I think the 'call the police' group is coming from a slightly different place than you perceive-- and we may be all coming from different places within that group. But here is my take on it, first with a personal example:

I was married to a man who liked to beat his wives. I knew he could get violent. And I knew first hand how violent. And his violence would increase if he thought someone was 'taking her side'. I lived in fear that some well meaning man would, at the wrong time, intervene, push him over the edge, and instead of just beating me, he'd shoot me and my rescuer. Even if I could be sure the rescuer had as much skill (and size) as you, I much, much, much prefered that anyone interested in helping me get somewhere safe and call the police, and make sure he knew the police were coming.

I was going to reply earlier that I felt for the police who had pleaded with us not try to do their job: rarely do onlookers feel compelled to do mine...they all gather around to get in the way for us to get to the victim, but they often don't attempt even the simplist first aid, or CPR. It would be nice if they knew how to do it, and that they did. But it is nicer that they aren't making my job worse, either. And first aid and CPR don't require decades to get good enough at it to do something; maybe you can only get safe and call the police, and yell out the window that they are coming...but then when the bad guys run away, wouldn't it be great if you knew how to stop the bleeding? That info might be just as important, if not more, than the harder to get proficiency in martial arts or even firearms.

Anyway, just my personal opinion. I didn't back when I was married (nor still) want a bystander to just stand there, but neither do I want him to jump into the fray. I want him to avoid becoming a victim himself, something that would give me severe emotional and mental harm, and to make sure help (including police and medical) arrive.

As for us arming ourselves...well, I've seen even police, who are highly trained and do this every day for their living, make mistakes and shoot an innocent person. I've patched up some of those, and children and adults accidently shot by friends and relatives, and sometimes not been able to patch them up.

I have the deepest respect for you, sir, I really do, but even you I would prefer to see call the police.

Thank you so much for your heartfelt contribution. I completely get where you are coming from. In point of fact I would have to make a very quick assessment and then go with my instincts when it came to intervening. That would especially be true in a domestic violence situation.

On the other hand I am not one to put huge amounts of responsibility on the police. I train these guys and am quite familiar with their capabilities. Most of the time I would probably call them because my interevention would not be necessary. I am not going to place myself at risk lightly.

Twice when I lived in Washington, DC I interevened in domestic violence situations. Both involved guys beating up their girl friends on the street. One was serious in that he seemed intent on doing some real damage. In that case other men and women from the neighborhood arrived at the scene at the same time to help and we simply dissuaded the fellow from continuing his actions until the police arrived. My training came in to play only to the extent that the consequences of his continuing to beat this woman would have been real and not empty threats and he knew it.

In this instance that woman could have been dead if we hadn't intervened. He had picked up a post that supported a divider chain on the lawn and was hitting her with it. Fortunately when he grabbed it it turned out to be plastic and she wasn't seriously hurt. But he clearly hadn't grabbed it with that in mind. And if it had been a metal post she would have been maimed long before the police arrived. As it was they were there in about four or five minutes. They arrived and we stepped back. I would have had some real personal issues with myself if I had felt that I had to hold back and simply watch her being beaten because I hadn't the skill or intention to help.

But I am also aware that the issues involved are quite complex and I would always act with serious forethought about the consequences.

ronmar
04-14-2002, 01:49 PM
I read everyone's posts and find myself agreeing with every one on some level. I liked what Colleen had to say and I think I will be taking a course in basic first aid as soon as possible. I just want to be able to help in some way, not necessarily jump in and be a hero. That sort of action would be stupid in a lot of situations.
However, I think that George Ledyard hit the nail on the head. You have to take responsibility for your own actions and not just rely on the authorities. It is a very different thing to intervene in a pub argument, and perhaps prevent a minor assault, than it is to wade in and try to stop a drug related execution. In the latter example you will get yourself killed, no matter how good a martial artist you are. I feel most of us should be able to choose when is a good time to intervene and when is not.

Kat.C
04-14-2002, 02:06 PM
Colleen addressed this issue in her post and I felt it needed to be mentioned again as people often don't think about it. Intervening in an attack could result in a weapon being brought into play. In the small village that I grew up in there have been a few shootings. One time two people got into a fight at a bar. Others stopped the fight and one man walked out to his truck got his gun walked back to the bar and killed someone. I do not recall who he shot, but I believe it was the man who he had attacked. Please be careful if you are trying to help, you do not know what your actions may provoke the attacker into doing.

guest1234
04-14-2002, 02:24 PM
Ronmar,

Great, good to hear that! You'd be surprised how handy it can be, not just on the street or in the dojo, but at home, work, etc. Sometimes the ability to stop arterial bleeding, or perform CPR, while simple to learn, can mean the difference between life and death. And while I've never broke up a fight, or stopped a mugging, I have stopped on the side of a road and saved a life. And that is a really good feeling. Take it from me, there is a reason doctors develop a God-complex :rolleyes: and the feeling can be addicting.

gadsmf@aol.com
04-14-2002, 02:42 PM
Some very interesting threads here on a very difficult subject. I am fortunate enough never
to have been exposed to a situation of physical violence to myself or others, or at least those situations that had the potential of physicality, I was at least able to diffuse by talking down the half hearted would-be trouble makers.
However,I find myself agreeing strongly with George Ledyard. Why do we do martial arts? If we want to get fit we could take up roller blading or swimming etc.If we want to enhance our spirtual energy we could do Yoga or Tai Chi. I suspect we do Aikido because as well as the above reasons we also wish for the ability and strength to defend ourselves and others.
As an RN I have a professional (and also legal) duty to aid anyone who needs help during a health emergency both in and out of hospital. As a martial artist (albeit a crappy one) I feel I have a moral duty to at least consider intervention where, once evaluated, there is at least a chance that it may help. I can't dodge bullets or break baseball bats with my shin, but I can put myself and my Ki in between a victim and the assailant(s) and say "the cops are on their way, leave this person alone"

George S. Ledyard
04-14-2002, 03:14 PM
Originally posted by Kat.C
Colleen addressed this issue in her post and I felt it needed to be mentioned again as people often don't think about it. Intervening in an attack could result in a weapon being brought into play. In the small village that I grew up in there have been a few shootings. One time two people got into a fight at a bar. Others stopped the fight and one man walked out to his truck got his gun walked back to the bar and killed someone. I do not recall who he shot, but I believe it was the man who he had attacked. Please be careful if you are trying to help, you do not know what your actions may provoke the attacker into doing.

This is absolutely true. There are many instances in which someone tried to step in and ended up dead. You don't get involved unless you are willing to accept the possibility that this can happen. No matter how good your training is you could be dead. That is true for you as a civilian and it is true for the police officer that responds. It is even true for the EMT that is there to help. I had a DT student who was an EMT and she has had several instances in which she was attacked by the very subject she was trying to help.

For a lot of Aikido people our training is metaphorical. It is something that teaches us to be more centered, less violent, able to see the futility in being oppositional, etc. But many Aikido people really don't train with the idea that the techniques themselves would be applied to defend themselves or someone else. I train with the idea in mind that this is a real martial art and I could concievably be called on to use it in the defense of someone who is not able to defend themselves. If I am in a situation in which there is a higher liklihood that I will need to use my training I react accordingly. I do part time work as a private investigator and some of that work involves protective details. When I knew that the subject we were potentially dealing with might be armed, I carried a firearm. If I simply expected someone who might be violent but not necessarily armed I carried an ASP baton. It depended on the nature of the detail. But it isn't a matter of wishful thinking about the powers of Aikido and conflict resolution.

I see so many dojos where the practice simply has nothing to do with application at all. In fact actual application of technique is considered irrelevant as Aikido "isn't about fighting". In my opinion that statement is merely an excuse to cover up training that is inadequate.

guest1234
04-14-2002, 05:40 PM
Originally posted by gadsmf@aol.com
Some very interesting threads here on a very difficult subject. I am fortunate enough never
to have been exposed to a situation of physical violence to myself or others, or at least those situations that had the potential of physicality, I was at least able to diffuse by talking down the half hearted would-be trouble makers.
However,I find myself agreeing strongly with George Ledyard. Why do we do martial arts? If we want to get fit we could take up roller blading or swimming etc.If we want to enhance our spirtual energy we could do Yoga or Tai Chi. I suspect we do Aikido because as well as the above reasons we also wish for the ability and strength to defend ourselves and others.
As an RN I have a professional (and also legal) duty to aid anyone who needs help during a health emergency both in and out of hospital. As a martial artist (albeit a crappy one) I feel I have a moral duty to at least consider intervention where, once evaluated, there is at least a chance that it may help. I can't dodge bullets or break baseball bats with my shin, but I can put myself and my Ki in between a victim and the assailant(s) and say "the cops are on their way, leave this person alone"

Why do Aikido if your goal is self defense? As has been mentioned over and over on this web, there are MA much more easily and quickly learned for SD purposes, or even a self-defense class at the Y. Or carry a gun. Or pepper spray. You do Aikido for self-defense. I do not. I carry a cell phone and act intelligently for self defense 'in the street' and a 9mm for self defense in a combat zone.

If I am ever attacked, and rather than get away (which I feel fairly confident of my ability to do), I must stay and save the sorry a** of someone putting their Ki between me and the assailant, I will not be very happy.

paw
04-14-2002, 08:23 PM
Colleen,

I have great respect for the honesty and courage it took to give the forum your personal example. Thank You.

Warm Regards,

Paul

George S. Ledyard
04-14-2002, 09:33 PM
Originally posted by ca


Why do Aikido if your goal is self defense? As has been mentioned over and over on this web, there are MA much more easily and quickly learned for SD purposes, or even a self-defense class at the Y. Or carry a gun. Or pepper spray. You do Aikido for self-defense. I do not.

I agree with you. In my own case however I can't say that I do Aikido FOR self defense. I haven't had to use it yet and I don't really expect to. The reasons that I do Aikido would probably sound all ethereal and New Age-ie. I was an Asian Religions major in college, almost tried for a Phd in Buddhist studies but decided it was impractical as a way to make a living (so I ended up teaching Aikido which is about the only thing less practical, hah hah).

It's just that if I am going to spend my entire adult life training in some wierd Japanese martial art with all sorts of cool energetics and mystical twists I darn well want to be able to handle myself if I need to.

Bruce Baker
04-20-2002, 01:36 PM
I think we all agree.

Get help before you risk your life to help another.

If verbal warnings work, fine.

Of course, men are stupid enough to forget the danger of jumping into a fight and becoming a victim or hero?

This doesn't mean a woman should be that stupid too.

Leave jumping into a fight to the men.

We men have enough stupidity for the whole family ....