View Full Version : Have you ever had an aggressive challenger come into class?

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09-09-2017, 05:22 AM
Hi Aikiweb,

I was wondering, has anyone had an aggressive challenger come into your Aikido class (whether you're student or sensei) and demand a challenge/fight or just cause trouble? How did you deal with it? Did you talk them away, have to physically remove them or call the police etc? Thankyou.

09-09-2017, 01:50 PM
This has never happened in our dojo, maybe becuase our sensei is too friendly, warm and old. but i've heared that once Steven Seagal has experienced such kind of a situation.
There is an awesome similar scene in the "Sword of Doom" movie in which Toshiro Mifune brilliantly distracts a virtuoso challenger who came into his class. I think that's a must-watch for any martial artist.
One can also find notable advice from master Gichin Funakoshi in his book: "Karate-do: My way of life" in a chapter in which he talks about "winning by losing".

09-09-2017, 05:00 PM
Not a challenger as such, but I once had a guy come in who bragged about being a master and how he could do 20 kicks per second, etc. I said he was welcome to watch the class and gave him a seat. He got bored and didn't come back.

09-09-2017, 07:28 PM
Not aggressive but we had 5 young, strapping, seriously buff guys with varied and significant martial experience come through the door. Sensei used to teach the sciences at a TCM college and these guys were invited. The rest of us watched them stroll in and we groaned, in anticipation of a pissing contest with a group of young, strapping, seriously…

Not to worry this was not sensei’s first rodeo. The first half of the class was swari waza movement and stability drills. Tuckered any adventurism right out them, spent the rest of the night on tanto defense. A great time was had by all; two became dojo members.

Michael Hackett
09-12-2017, 02:43 PM

Your dojo would be one of the dumbest places in the world to approach as a challenger. Muryasz Sensei is a wonderful teacher and a seriously tough practitioner. And you have a number of veteran students who are also warm, friendly and extremely competent. It would actually be pretty funny to watch someone behave like a violent jerk in your dojo.


09-13-2017, 08:02 AM
We did have that happen once, a guy who showed up one day, paid a mat fee, and proceeded to "instruct" his partners (one of whom was a godan) on the first two techniques. Then Sensei (who didn't just fall off the cabbage truck) called him up to take ukemi for the next technique, which was a continuation of what we'd just done. Knowing where Sensei was going to go, he followed with his attack and made contact. What followed was downright scary. The guy apologized profusely, left after class and has not been back.

09-13-2017, 08:41 AM

Thank you for the kind and gracious words. Being unaffiliated, we tend to live in our little bubble. Always nice to get an external vote of confidence. Yours was a complete surprise and pleasant note on which to end the day.

Sensei continues to revise material and create new and innovative drill sets to develop body skills. At the beginning of the summer I went to the instructors pinning clinic put on by Roy Dean and Josh Gold’s dojo (good clinic by the way). In prep, the old judo man Muryasz emerged for a few weeks (sensei studied old school judo from age 12 through high school). It was humbling to be pinned, at will, in so many different ways by a 75-year-old man. He had this little smile on his face the whole time, I image he was reliving part of his youth. Things he had not done in a very long time were bubbling out of his kinesthetic memory; it was very cool.

This is a good occasion to relate a story of his. In the mid 1970’s he had a dojo in Pacific Beach. One afternoon a large and solid guy came in with and air of something not quite right. Sensei went to talk to him and found himself responding to a series of aggressive and escalating questions. Always in the active present, sensei noticed that every time sensei raised his arms, even slightly, the man would raise his head and upper body as well. So, under hard questioning sensei talked about throwing and used his body motion to get the guy in sync. At the climax of the story sensei moved closer and raised his arms and the “visitor” bolted upright and threw himself back over some chairs. Sensei helped him up, asked him if he was ok, and would he like to step on that mat and learn how to do that. The guy turned around rather quickly and bolted out the door.

The takeaway is that touchless throws are possible, but very rare. Typically requiring a mind lead setup and are never a guarantee. But when you do pull something like this off, the afterglow feels great and you have a nice and useful story to tell.

As the likely enforcer in the dojo, it is good to know that the guy running the show has a deep bag of innovative tricks to at his disposal to diffuse and redirect those with less than virtuous intent. Doesn’t hurt that he looks like Obe Wan Kenobi either, messes with your subconscious.

09-13-2017, 11:30 AM
Bracknell Dojo, one very warm evening we had all the dojo windows open, a large group of local yobs had gathered outside, they then put their heads in the open windows making loud Bruce Lee type noises, they were totally ignored, I assume they then dared each other to enter the dojo, two of them ran on to the mat complete with big boots, they were immediately met by two Dan grades who took them down to the mat in immobilisation, they were held untill they loudly apologised for all to hear, one of the Dan grades followed the yobs out of the dojo, he then kindly invited the rest of the group to come and have their turn. We never saw them again.
Henry Ellis
Co-author ' Positive Aikido'

09-14-2017, 07:49 AM
What followed was downright scary. The guy apologized profusely, left after class and has not been back.
Can you explain what actually followed please?

09-15-2017, 11:47 AM
Can you explain what actually followed please?

No one got injured, just chastened, let's leave it at that. Some people don't have the imagination to understand why you shouldn't do certain things, but when they do them and the answer is literally in their face, they usually figure it out.

Susan Dalton
09-17-2017, 09:13 AM
I wrote a column about one experience: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16570

Janet Rosen
09-17-2017, 12:32 PM
I wrote a column about one experience: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16570

Lovely, yes, even on re-reading.

09-18-2017, 09:32 AM
I wrote a column about one experience: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16570

Oh, that's brilliant.

Susan Dalton
09-22-2017, 11:08 AM
Thanks, Mary. I have another one:http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/themirror/2005_06.html

I didn't handle the situation as well as Sensei did, but I did manage not to engage.