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Stuart Turner
09-29-2011, 04:54 PM
I very nearly had to break up a fight whilst waiting for a bus today. Thankfully, the situation was defused before it escalated into fisticuffs, but it got me wondering...

The principles I've been taught in aikido work well when applied against an opponent who is directing an attack at you. Irimi, tenkan, all that jazz - if you've got fists or feet incoming, there are tools to deal with it. What I haven't ever learned is how to deal with attacks that are directed at somebody else. Being a fairly innocuous guy, I reckon I'm far more likely to have to break up someone else's fight than survive one of my very own, and I can't at this point see how to apply the skillset I've acquired from aikido to that task.

I'm not going to ask the inevitable "have you ever used your aiki skills to take someone out in real life" question, but I do wonder if anyone out there has explored this, and what they've found.

Richard Stevens
09-29-2011, 05:35 PM
A number of restraint techniques found in the Aikido are used by members of police forces (taiho-jutsu) to successfully restrain suspects. Could those techniques not be applied to break a fight. Of course, there is the possibility that restraining someone would end up getting the restrainer drawn into the fight.

Janet Rosen
09-29-2011, 06:33 PM
I used to break up incipient fights decades ago doing concert security and street patrols. But once a fight breaks out, it depends...
If it is two people waling on each other, well, I wouldn't necessarily try to do much other than summon help. But if it is one person getting attacked by another....The chances are you will start by interceding verbally/energetically, in which case the attacker may will break it off to either abandon the scene or to come at you (so there's your familiar scenario), or the attacker will ignore you, in which case you can use your discretion depending on situation to summon help (which may be the safest thing to do) or to make a greater effort to intercede. At some point you will be enough of a nuisance that he will simply give up and go away or you will become the target.
If there is a victim about to be really really hurt or killed, heck, hit the attacker over the head with something really heavy.....

Ketsan
09-29-2011, 09:21 PM
I find irimi nage is awesome for dragging one person off another, especially the tachi dori henka where you can move straight into a rear naked choke if he wants to carry on fighting.

Michael Hackett
09-29-2011, 09:41 PM
Aikido usually works best when you are being attacked by another, but some aikido applications work well to intercede in an on-going event. Ude garame and sankyo come to mind as both are used extensively by law enforcement for just that purpose. As Alex mentioned, iriminage into a rear naked choke works well too. Janet's "Hail Mary" is almost always effective, but may have legal consequences after the fact.

Tim Ruijs
09-30-2011, 02:02 AM
An example on how to use Aikido to 'intervene':

many years ago on a seminar one of my first teachers had a very heated discussion with one of my fellow students who could not cope at the moment.
I literally stepped between them and took the heat. Another student directed the 'attacked' student away. But as you can guess I then got all the heat. Next thing that happens is that my current teacher walks past us and asks the offending teacher if everything is ok (while moving past him). He took all the projected energy away from me and basically defused the entire situation. That made a lasting impression on me.
(Hope you can picture the situation a bit.)

Aikido is about diverting, blending energy, any energy.

worrier
09-30-2011, 03:51 AM
An example on how to use Aikido to 'intervene':

many years ago on a seminar one of my first teachers had a very heated discussion with one of my fellow students who could not cope at the moment.
I literally stepped between them and took the heat. Another student directed the 'attacked' student away. But as you can guess I then got all the heat. Next thing that happens is that my current teacher walks past us and asks the offending teacher if everything is ok (while moving past him). He took all the projected energy away from me and basically defused the entire situation. That made a lasting impression on me.
(Hope you can picture the situation a bit.)

Aikido is about diverting, blending energy, any energy.

I like your explanation very much. I've often thought that it's not so much about the fighting or technique itself, as much as it is about the correct energy, so to speak, and the situation you describe (if I am picturing it correctly) is exactly a proof of that. Though it's always useful to know some defensive techniques in case you're a good enough person to try and stop a fight between others.

SeiserL
09-30-2011, 05:07 AM
IMHO, enter and blend into the line of attack and then its business as usual. Its rather preempted and proactive.

Abasan
09-30-2011, 07:07 AM
Janet's last advice should not be taken literally I hope. As practicioners of Budo you'll be doubly liable. Go for behind his knees and drop him, from there you have many choices for controlling. But hitting someone's head with something heavy might be a quick way to get a murder charge...

Tim Ruijs
09-30-2011, 07:21 AM
When physical interaction is required because the attacker is about to seriously injure (kill?) the other, there is probably not much time for a fancy solution. Basically anything goes to prevent the attack (shout, push, shove, kick, throw something).
But keep thinking!
Killing the attacker only makes things worse (for you).

Ketsan
09-30-2011, 02:57 PM
Really this is a thread about bringing someone down who is preoccupied with something else and isn't in a position to defend themselves against your attack. You have all the advantages of space, time, suprise and positioning, unless you do something really stupid this isn't a fight you can really lose.

In fact in one situation I pointed this out to the idiot concerned. He was threatening my friend and I very obviously moved in behind him and he said "What are you doing?" and I said "I'm waiting for you to hit my mate so that I have an excuse to drop you."

Needless to say he instantly recognised that he was in a no win situation where violence was going to quickly and brutally lead to his own destruction and suddenly he became a more reasonable person.

So often in these situations simply pointing out to them that they're outnumbered and in a bad position where their own attack will create an opening that will inevitably and irrevocably lead to their defeat is enough to give them pause for thought.

As Sun Tzu said if you acquire and maintain a dominant position from which you can attack but not reasonably be attacked and you leave your opponent a way out they're probably going to find an excuse not to fight and so you can subdue your opponent without needing to fight which is the epitome of martial skill.

Hence in so many conflicts it's not the side that fights best that wins it's the side that moves fastest and manoeuvres best be it Napoleon's campaigns, Blitzkrieg tactics, chess, go or just an Aikidoka.

Lyle Laizure
10-01-2011, 08:38 AM
Maybe I missed it but if two people are fighting and you, an individual, restrains one that leaves the one you are restraining vulnerable to the other combatants aggressions and you potentially liable for injuries caused to the one you are restraining.

Michael Hackett
10-01-2011, 10:11 AM
Lyle has a point. If two people are engaged in mutual combat, I have little interest in becoming involved unless it is in my home or one is losing so badly that he is in grave danger. On the other hand, if one is being attacked and victimized by a second, I may intervene.

Abasan
10-01-2011, 10:27 PM
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=285082498173799&set=o.126894987384552&type=1

Hope this gives you an idea of what an encounter would look like...

genin
10-04-2011, 05:33 PM
You can try entering the conflict by being the most aggressive person. Your energy will overpower the others, and they'll defer to you. Say something like "I don't care who's fighting who, because all ya'll are about to get shot!" Statements like that will be offputting to the combatants and your invovlement will likely change their perception of the situation.

Also, manipulating the combatants minds with words is another technique you can use to diffuse the situation. They may not be focusing on you, but when they start hearing "The cops are on their way" or "security is coming", that will certainly distract them and deter them from engaging in violence.

Btw, I don't recommend threatening to shoot people, but in most cases whoever has the loudest bark is who wins the battle. Most conflicts are just puffing up and chest pounding anyway, so it'll likely never come to violence.

Michael Hackett
10-04-2011, 07:38 PM
Wow Roger, not a good idea in my opinion. It might work IF you are armed, IF you have a valid reason to use deadly force, and IF you are willing to carry through. If any of those conditions are missing, you may well find someone calling your bluff, or pulling out their own firearm. Your second suggestion has some merit, but your first one is simply bad advice and I don't support it at all.