View Full Version : The Real World: How to Reconcile?
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02-13-2005, 10:46 PM
About six months ago, I have been assaulted once by a man who had intent to do me harm. He is a former Marine and was much bigger than me. My back was to the wall. I had only been training for two months at the time, and rather than try to defend myself, when he lunged at me, I stepped off his line of attack, entered, and managed to slip past his right shoulder, and ran... cowardly maybe, but I didn't get broken in the ordeal. Since then I replayed the situation again and again in my mind, and wondered about it.
Last night, one of my best friends was robbed at gunpoint about two miles away from my apartment. Now this incident reminded me of my own, and though very different, it has brought some ugly thoughts back up to the surface.
I don't understant how there can be people this twisted out there to do such things. I accept that they do exist and hope that this knowledge helps me avoid encounters like this in the future, but when they happen the range of emotion fealt is no small matter.
When I had my encounter, I was defenseless. When my friend had his, he was defenseless. For him, no amount of martial arts training would have helped him out, since any movement at all might risk a bullet. Even if he had been carrying a weapon or something, he was forced into a position of vulnerability before he would have been able to react. When I had my encounter, if I was well trained for many years, perhaps it would have helped me. I won't pretend that even now after several additional months of training that I am anywhere near the level of being able to defend myself yet. Maybe someday when I know more, but not yet.
How do you reconcile what goes on in the real world, vs your own world? We all live our lives, with our friends/loved ones. We go to the places we like to go to and do what we want to do. For the most part, we live pretty well. That is our world. But there is plenty of nastiness outside of our world. There are people who are not good people, and who would steal, hurt, or even kill. Very rarely do we have to confront this reality, but it is out there. That is the real world.
My question for people is not about "How do you use Aikido to defend yourself?" I have read enough threads about that to know that that isn't the point, and that isn't what I am interested in right now.
My question is, for those of you have have been confronted by harsh reality, how do you fit in in with your life philosophy? How do you accept that there are people out there whose desire is to do harm to others, while still maintaining a positive attitude towards people? What would the Budo answer be? I suppose that I am not looking for an answer per se, but I am interested in understanding what other people's experiences have been and how they have responded. What there thoughts were afterwards.
Though I am a regular reader of these forums, and semi-regular poster, I am remaining anonymous because of the personal nature of these experiences, and the desire to protect the identity of my friend who was robbed. My post is long enough, so I will leave it at that.
I have not personally been attacked in any way, but started aikido way back when after a friend got raped. Had visions of applying startling and bonebreaking techniques on an attacker who had no idea who he was messing with. Taught him a lesson, Ha!
Anyway, in and out of aikido, learned that that's not what it's about. Think now that the knowledge that I could very possibly defend myself gives me a confidence which would deter would-be attackers. Found myself in an elevator with a shady character the other day. Had a can of soda in my hand - thought to myself "swap that in his face and he'll think twice". Not aikido, necessarily, but situational awareness. Aikido training makes me feel strong and able - whether that's real or imagined doesn't really matter; the trick is that I believe it. Generally find that acknowledging people's existence with a direct look, a nod, or even a smile turn frowns into more pleasant expressions. Work in civic center area, lots of funky characters around. But they exist, must acknowledge that fact even if it hurts my sense of what human dignity is. The squalor and degradation in this advanced society is as hard to reconcile with my life as the bad people.
Not that I see attacks and threats everywhere, couldn't live my life that way. I fly, though I am not fond of it, irrational as that fear may be. The fear that makes some people see Spongebob Squarepants as a corrupting moral influence would be so stiffling that I'd be forced to sit behind my closed door at home. Can't do that. Too many exciting and beautiful and fun and invigorating things to do, bad people be damned. Use your awareness to aovid obvious situations. You got out of your encounter safely. Your friend got robbed, but not hurt (except emotionally, of course). Stuff is just stuff, life is irreplaceable.
02-14-2005, 12:04 PM
One of the lessons here is that, at the risk of raising some hackles, martial arts do not work. It is interesting to consider that at all times you are alive only because someone else is letting you continue to live. During your day many people around you acquire power over your life or death, and in many instances you acquire power over other people's life and death as well. Martial arts seem very ineffective when you consider many of the ways you are likely to die (car accident, cancer, gunpoint). We can still agree that martial arts provides incredible value to each of our lives. I believe people should spend some time focusing on what martial arts has to offer other than personal protection. It is a beginners mistake to believe that budo will allow one to determine one's own destiny. Only by working together and sharing, giving and accepting life and death responsibility with others and then executing your daily actions with moral fortitude can you mitigate the great burden of constant mortal threat. This is why man came together to live in caves in the first place, and why my brothers and sisters come together in the dojo every evening.
02-15-2005, 09:16 PM
As much as I hate to regurgitate what important people have said instead of writing my own opinion, this statement makes sense and it is close to what I am thinking.
I believe it is possible to replicate the aikido we do in the dojo, but it would take such a high level of experience to achieve the proper flow, given the opposition of your opponent. So, in the meantime:
ATEMI - STRIKING (The moment of contact becomes a strike).
"The founder, Ueshiba Sensei, said, In a real battle, atemi is seventy percent, technique is thirty percent. The training that we do in the dojo is designed to teach us various sorts of techniques, the correct way to move our body, effective ways of using our power, and how to create a relationship with the other person." [This quote is repeated on page 19 of "Aikido Shugyo", also by Shioda Gozo].
From the biographical book "The Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba", written by Ueshiba Kisshomaru (translated and reprinted in Aiki News #62).
Aikido is a training method - the dojo is completely unrealistic; real confrontations are far more complex and less predictable and the emotional state of the people is entirely different. It's a way of training timing, awareness, distance, reactions and body movement, not a way to do 'shiho-nage' etc. The most impotant of these is awareness (zanshin). Without awareness, no matter what you have trained in, it is easy for someone to attack you. Randori, confidence in your self-defence abilities, a relaxed but confident attitude, regular high pressure aikido training - all these can help awareness.
I was lunged at once by someone with a knife, and if I had not had the instinctive reaction to move off centre line and strike I would probably be dead today. Martial arts will not make you invincible but I believe (especially in aikido) regular training can improve your chances of reacting in a way which can give you more of a chance. Use these events as a spur to focus on the IMPORTANT aspects of martial arts, so that you get beyond the technique obssessed technical side. Eventually it will make you a better martial artist. Don't forget, your objective in a confrontation is not to do 'shiho-nage' or 'ikkyo' but to leave the confrontation unharmed (both physically and psychologically).
Now, it seems the problem isn't self defence (you seemed to do that effectively), it's coping with conflict (during and afterwards). I know the feeling myself, where anger or fear washes over you after a particularly frightening event. What helps me is this:
- I always consider around 5% of people to be truly altuistic, 5% of people are truly sadistic and 90% of people are mostly just self-interested. Don't let some people's bad actions colour your approach to everyone
- hate will cause you more damage in the long term than any minor injuries; bad people are often unhappy or psychologically disturbed (not that this excuses them, but the point is that violence is related to suffering on their part because they want something they feel they can't get by other means).
- people are really just animals with hightened social awareness and intelligence; most have patterns of behaviour. esp. if he was a former marine he may be used to more violent patterns of behaviour (but still, it doesn't necessarily mean he is tough).
- everyone is going to die, so there is no loss or gain in any ultimate sense, so it's best to realise they haven't 'put something over' on you because, just like you, them, and any ancestors you or they have, will all be lying in coffins.
Hope this helps,
02-16-2005, 05:40 AM
One of the lessons here is that, at the risk of raising some hackles, martial arts do not work. It is interesting to consider that at all times you are alive only because someone else is letting you continue to live. During your day many people around you acquire power over your life or death, and in many instances you acquire power over other people's life and death as well. Martial arts seem very ineffective when you consider many of the ways you are likely to die (car accident, cancer, gunpoint). .
I take your point Benjamin, While I agree that there are no guarantees I believe that there are martial arts that do allow you to influence the probability in such situations.
Some of the modern street scenario arts practice specifically for these nightmare scenarios - the dialogue is a vital ingredient of such practice and a stranger that you hardly know holding a blade to you throat and asking for your effing wallet can create feelings very close to those experienced on the street..even when its happening in a class.
Dojo is just dojo and no one can really say how things will pan out.
I have experienced in real life situations where an aggressor has played out almost word for word scenarions that I have practiced in the dojo.
As a result the impact of adrenaline and shock has been greatly reduced which has highly improved my chances allowing me to either talk them down or anticipate their actions so that I get a pre-emtive strike in as I've talked them into believing I'm going to quietly submit.
Whether traditional aikido practice helps as much in such situations is questionable but I believe it must help to a degree.
As previous posters have pointed out, the chances of pulling off a dojo technique in perfect fashion are extremely slim.
If you accept the techniques as mere tools to practice the bases of tenkan, irimi and atemi then if you can take any action incorporating some or all of these you have increased your chances of surviving greatly.
Just my thoughts.
02-16-2005, 05:43 AM
ps. Ian Dodkins - good post. Agree very much with those thoughts.
02-16-2005, 05:56 AM
Running away is not cowardly. It is a self defense strategy. It certainly worked for you. Feeling confused and frustrated after an attack is very normal. What you did was perfect because not only did you live, you did not even get hurt physically.
Redifineing what is self-defence can help us reconcile our choices in difficult stuations. O' Sensei said: "The best strategy relies upon an unlimited set of responses." Congratulations on defending yourself sucessfully!
02-16-2005, 05:47 PM
Now, it seems the problem isn't self defence (you seemed to do that effectively), it's coping with conflict (during and afterwards). I know the feeling myself, where anger or fear washes over you after a particularly frightening event. What helps me is this:
Ian...good points. Thanks,
02-17-2005, 08:30 AM
IMHO, I tend to realize the map is not the territory. Meaning, that at one time you had a mental map of your real world, something happened which you cannot deny that does not fit into that world map. Expand the map. When the map matches the territory we do fine. When the map doesn't match the territory, we try to get the territory to do what we want it to. Its easy to change the map and accept what is.
02-17-2005, 09:20 PM
...How do you reconcile what goes on in the real world, vs your own world? I say don't, just drop the baggage which you've picked up along the way... Simply let it go and don't dwell on the "what might have been"We all live our lives, with our friends/loved ones. We go to the places we like to go to and do what we want to do. For the most part, we live pretty well. That is our world. But there is plenty of nastiness outside of our world. Indeed and this is one of the reasons why people like you and me train, to (in some small) help prepare ourselves for that; god forbid situation.[/quote]There are people who are not good people, and who would steal, hurt, or even kill. Very rarely do we have to confront this reality, but it is out there. That is the real world.[/QUOTE]The fact that you are aware of this fact makes you 'forewarned'
02-17-2005, 10:16 PM
You know, about a year ago I had a decision to make. I wanted to go into the army, the reasons are as follows.
1. There was a war going on
2. The job I wanted to do was one that would defiantly be sent to war
3. I wanted to fight.
4. I wanted to kill.
5. I wanted to purposely cause extreme bodily harm to other individuals just for the h*** of it. Cause I wanted to.
Days before I was to sign my life away for government use I thought hard about where I want my life years from now. I always knew I wanted to get married and have a family, to lead a happy life with my spouse. I started to think, maybe I won't be so happy with myself if I put myself in a position to do the horrible things I mentioned earlier, maybe I will miss what it is I want out of this life. I fortunately took another route with my life and I am happier for that decision. Well about two months later I was walking around my college campus at night; I had just gotten off work and was walking home. I turned a corner and standing in a stairwell was a man in black with a ski mask on and what looked like an assault rifle in his arms. You know what I did? Well first I stopped and just looked at him for a moment. Then I decided that if I ran he would defiantly shoot. So I looked him in the eye and smiled, nodded my head to him and walked about an arms length away from him just right on passed him. I can not tell you the dread I felt when I passed him, I thought I would see out of the corner of my eye the gun being raised and me feeling a bullet in my back. But no, I turned the corner and walked away. I called the police after I was sure I was well away from the person.
This got me thinking. At first I wanted to go and kill people, and then I come find here in my hometown there are people that might be willing to kill others without remorse. I always knew there were those kinds of people out there, but like everyone else I never gave it much thought. Well after this incident I became more and more aware that I myself don't think I could do anything like this. And did I do the right thing? I just walked away! I mean I took a hard martial art for 10 years. I have been taught how to kill people with one powerful strike. And yet I walked away. As time passed I became happier and happier with my decision. I don't want to hurt anyone. Yes, there are people out there that will hurt people. But I won't. It has to start somewhere, and one person does make a difference. What if I went to Iraq and killed even one person? My decision those months ago affected many people. If I had killed someone, well it certainly would have made a difference to him. How about to his family, friends, children. Think about that person, and imagine if he died when if he had lived would have had even one more child, I would have killed that child, the childís children and so on and so on. And even the other side, I might have been killed, and that would most assuredly have an effect on me. =0)
So people will still be out there that prey on others but always remember the decisions you make do have an effect. I feel the budo way to cope with this is just to make my life the best I can and try and do my best to make my presence the most positive I can. Some tips to prevent these kinds of situations are to walk with purpose, make eye contact and smile. Shifty people, murderers, rapists, and so one don't make eye contact because after that they might start sympathizing with their victims. If someone really worries you go and introduce yourself. I would suggest using a fake name though. Just "Hi! My names Amanda what's yours?" Just personalizing with someone reduces your risk of being victim of those lightning quick attacks. I think the budo way is just to live your life the best you can cause you can't get the attention of all the horrible, bad people out there and change them. But if enough people start being nice and pleasant with the people they meet it will catch and the bad people will still be there but maybe before some turn bad someone else has touched their lives enough for them to make a better decision.
I know this is a long winded answer, I apologize, but I hope it has helped. I think I touched on what you asked. If this doesn't make sense to you ask I'll explain better. I am not very proud of why I wanted to go into the army but I took no action and have changed my views, and that makes me happy with myself.
I hope you are happy with your decision, look at it this way. It happened, nothing you do can change that. Emotionally someone was hurt, physically no one was hurt. Ideally no one getting hurt at all is best, but at least you donít have the added emotional conflict if you had killed him, or even maimed him. So please, feel happy with what you did. There is no right answer or solution to something like this, but you did one of the best things you could do. I hope I have helped.
02-19-2005, 12:18 AM
Perhaps your first instincts were just because of youth and inmaturity in this journay called life. To destroy and kill is easy. To preserve and give life, is much harder. Becoming a weapon that gives life and preserves life is a lifetime of development, not just physically, but emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and psychologically.
As a combat experienced military officer of over 16 years, I know first hand through the blood of my own and the blood of fallen comrades and enemy, the greater sacrifices that have and haft to be made. But it is not senseless as some would make you think. We do not train to be brainless, senseless destructors.
We are Warriors, sworn to protect the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies foreign and domestic. We are the first to suffer anxiety for human society, and the last to seek personal pleasure. Purely BUDO. Aikido plays important part to every aspect of my operational planning and actions in the field. We are to preserve life, preserve freedom, to liberate the oppressed and tortured. Sometimes the surgical strike or cut is necessary to remove evil that can not be changed into good.
I'm sorry that you felt that attempting to join the Army would have made you a senseless killing machine, but those we're your thoughts. Perhaps if joining the Army meant preserving peace, ensuring freedom, giving the children you hope to one day, the same limitless oppportunities we Americans are spoiled with... then perhaps you'd feel differently.
You made a wise and honest choice for yourself. You weren't ready to serve in the Armed Forces.
Yes we teach our young soldiers 'techniques' and 'methods'
that can cause destruction. But with that great skill, comes even greater responsibility. A "weapon of life" is all the difference. That is why the people of Iraq and the people of Afghanistan have the right to vote... that is why the people of Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Thailand have survived the Tsunami aftermath... we, the USofA, used our wepaons to GIVE LIFE. I was there as a Strategic Planner on the combined Task Force to ensure it.
Don't lose your faith in the military service.
Aikido is a wonderful way to learn and to grow.
I wish you well, and superb success on your journeys.
There's a wonderful book written by Mitsugi Saotome Shihan,
"The Principles of Aikido" and George Leonard's "Way of Aikido". Both simple reads, nothing too crazy as some books can be. But subtle and sincere.
02-19-2005, 03:13 AM
Dear Anon - you ask good questions. The fact that you can even ARRIVE at this predicament bodes well for you. There are some great quotes from folks far more articulate than I; I can't, however, remember them as I have been having a conversation with Stole's. Yes it CAN be hard to reconcile what you are becoming with the world at it is. It may well seem hopeless; useless. But, at one time, it was thought hopeless that there would civil rights in the US for people of color, that women would have the right to vote, that ANYONE could advocate for those less fortunate. Yet, these things occur because people keep fighting for it. All is not yet well; in fact all are NOT equal in this country. But changes have been made by those who hope for a better world. You, too, can be a catalyst for change. I've done the military thing, and I've even worked in a prison. It sounds trite to say something about "walking in another man's (or woman's) moccasins", but it is true. There is more to that person who assaulted you, and more to the person who assaulted your friend. they existed before that moment, and one might presume that existence may well have been full of horrors that neither of us can imagine. I think that the sense of "centering" Aikido, of not engaging violence with violence but a redirecting of energy, are still useful philosophies. Not easy ones, but useful. I guess what I am saying is, that I've seen the wreckage of human lives. I have the luxury of compassion - usually. Don't get me wrong, I am hell on wheels, and can be quite the b****h, but I hope and strive for that sense of peace. There is a great story told in Ram Dass' "How Do I Serve?" as well as a book by an Air Force guy about being a warrior. It's on this website, too, somewhere. I won't waste more space but it involves an angry, violent drunken man on a train in Japan. And to take up more space with my boring drivel - there is another story that I've read from Ram Dass - ( and I am paraphrasing)a great fighter went to a Shinto priest and said "Priest, show me heaven and hell!" The priest said, "Why should I? You are a worthless sack of scum, you have no right to speak to someone of my station" The samurai grew VERY angry and drew his sword, ready to kill and said, "Priest, you will die for your insults!" As the samurai held his sword above his head, ready to strike, the priest said, "That is hell." Touched, the samurai lowered his sword gently, tears in his eyes. "And that", said the priest, "is heaven."
Hope that helps somewhat.
02-20-2005, 03:32 PM
I'm sorry that you felt that attempting to join the Army would have made you a senseless killing machine, but those we're your thoughts.
Let me clear up. I did by no means think it would make me a brainless killing machine. I am sorry if I gave this impression. I wanted to join so I could have the opportunity to kill people. Not become some murdering psycho. ( In a sense) and I sensed this in myself and, yes, I decided the armed services weren't for me at this time. I came to the realization that I was going to go in for the wrong reasons. If I decide to take the step and join I hope it will be for the right reasons this time. To protect the country the best way I can. I just decided that I didn't want to do something that will feed the destructive side of me. Go to the Spiritual forum and read The Aiki Spirit and the Two Wolves, you will see what I mean. I do feel that if I or my loved ones were threatened that the right thing to do is defend them, even if it means the destruction of another life. But I no longer feel in any way, shape or form that it is right to seek out the steps to take another's life. I hope this helps and is relevant to the post and clears up any mis-conceptions about myself. It takes years to build a reputation but only moments to tear it down.
02-21-2005, 04:48 PM
Anonymous User IP: --.42.140.164:
Without thinking about it, I believe you did use your martial arts training, mixed with some good common sense. A quick and effective escape is the simplest and by far the SMARTEST response.
It's not cowardly at all. Some of the most elite and dangerous military units in the world will gladly run from a fight if the situation allows. Why would you, as an individual, be any different?
03-05-2005, 05:26 PM
Me again, original poster here.
Thank you to all for the interesting responses. I enjoyed reading them all, and they have offered various sorts of insight as to what I experienced. Thinking about the incident, and then reading another thread up here about the "Pizza Brawl," I can just think about awareness. I am a high energy person, always on my toes, and I am rarely caught by surprise.
I left out some details of my attack. My attacker had until about a week earlier been dating a friend, and was violently refusing to leave her apartment. She and I were removing some of her belongings, while he was away at work. Several things were missing, the police came over, said they couldn't do anything about the situation, told us to take some pictures of everything, and then left. We think he had someone watching the building tip him off, because he showed up immediately after the police left. My friend panicked and locked herself in the bathroom, leaving me in the open and defenseless. We both knew enough to know that his man was irrational, violent, and was passionate about doing one of us harm.
When he came through the door, I immediately retreated deeper into the apartment, and the moment of decision didn't come until about five seconds later when my back was to a wall in the master bedroom, and I escaped. The entire time, I was aware of what was going on, and though my situation was far from "good," nothing caught me by surprise.
My other friend, when robbed at gunpoint, was first approached by the man who asked him some directions. My friend was unable to help him out, and continued on his way, putting his back to the person. I am not blaming him for the robbery at all, but noticing a difference in awareness. It was at this moment the man grabbed his arm and put the gun into my friend's back.
My current thoughts are that there are two times when a person would attack another and the two parts of my story show both times.
1) The guy that attacked me was violent and irrational. Possibly mentally ill. He was in a fit of rage and passion and made no effort to hide his intent. Whethor by metal defect, drug abuse, or just an evil heart, his intentions were clear to read. In many situations, it would seem easy to defend against such a person, even if it means slipping past him, and then escaping. The key is to try to avoid a violent clash. My case may have been a bit of an exception, with my back to a wall.
2) The guy who mugged my other friend was extremely rational. He use calculating strategy in the mugging, and successfully hid his intentions until he had an opening (my friend turned his back) to exploit. In such a case, it seems the best course of action would be to be "more aware" of your surroundings, and if any questionable circumstances arrise (a large shady guy with his hands in his pockets asking you weird questions), that you don't take your eyes off him and keep a safe distance. I will point out that there have been many times I was in the same parking lot as the mugging, and had a "bad feeling" about some of the people hanging around there. Speculation more than anything, but I have always had my guard up in those places.
Anyway, I guess I am currently concluding that humans are humans, subject to desperation, irrational passion, and at times cold hearts. At other times, humans can be a source of great inspiration. At any rate, I know to keep my guard up when necessary, down when safe in order to experience all of the positive, without further subjecting myself to the negative. Just my current thoughts, perhaps age, experience and wisdom will change them :)
Anyway, thank you to all of you who have posted your ideas, insights, experiences. I do appreciate it!
03-06-2005, 07:55 PM
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil,
For I am the meanest sonofabitch in the valley.
Death is only bad for the people you leave behind.
Be not too attached to this reality for it is only temporary and you are but a speck in this universe.
03-08-2005, 08:56 AM
I am in High School, in a rather shady area. There have been many recent events around here. There have been drive-by shootings. And some kids around here carry knives. I am VERY careful not to make someone angry. Because up against a knife, i am sure that i would freeze up during an attack. Aikido makes me feel safe inside myself. It's practicality in a fight is somewhat reassuring. This is not the intended purpose of aikido, but many people never forget that it has uses to defend yourself. Anonymous, you are right, it is very dangerous to defend yourself at all against a firearm. However, there are moves that can be used. I have only been training for 3 weeks but i have been studying aikido on my own. I am not very liked in my school and some people would love a chance to try and beat the crud out of me. And that is really why i do NOT feel safe at all in my school. People can be close-minded and egotistical. Especially high school students. People call people horrible names, therefore some people see no other option but to fight. To tell you the truth I do not want to fight. But on the other hand, I really hate to say this, but i would love to have just one fight and other people can see that i am not one that will stand back and be a walking mat. You all know that feeling at one point or another.
05-08-2005, 06:37 AM
You dodged the guy and ran, that's good self defense. You didn't need to fight, and you survived, that's good self defense. Anything that gets you out of the situation with all your bits intact is good self defense. Your friend gave the guy his wallet, didn't get shot, that's good self defense.
Just a thought.
05-09-2005, 04:50 AM
Violence should NEVER be a first choice solution to any problem. The fact you are typing this post indicates your "SELF" defense worked (your SELF was defended). There are those out there that will want to do others harm. To live a life ignoring that fact is foolish. The biggest difference between being a victim and a survivor is awareness. The police often use convicted rapists and muggers to illustrate these points. Without much effort, these career criminals can identify victims watching a video of people walking down the street! It is not rocket science, it is human behavior. Predators can sense the weakest in the heard by their mannerism and actions. To avoid being a victim, don't act like one.
As for violent confrontations, how far are you willing to go? Winning in a violent confrontation is easy-WHOEVER RAISES THE LEVEL OF VIOLENCE THE FASTEST WINS!
We can talk about one-punch kills and preserving the enemy, and philosophically that is the morale high ground, but being dead doesn't help your philoshophical stand point. It is one thing to believe in harmony and trying to blend with our attackers, but when faced with a psychopathic maniac, you better be prepared to get violent or you're going to get dead.
Being a warrior means you have to ability to decide life and death, but will choose life at every available occurance. There are times however that choosing life is not an alternative. Can you choose death? Can you kill or seriously maim someone? Can you live with the implications of these actions? Can you live with yourself after that? These are not easy questions. It is easy to say you would kill someone, it is another reality to actually do it.
As for Jay, I joined the military for exactly those reasons! Guess what, at 18 it was all bravado and bulls***t. After a few trips to a few really crappy places, my "I want to be the first kid on my block to get a confirmed kill" (Full Metal Jacket) attitude did a 180! The military trains you for combat. You learn to kill, efficiently and effectively. I also learned to build hospitals and orphanages in Africa. I learned to do clown face painting in Okinawa. I learned to respect other cultures I would have never experienced without the military. Don't sell it short, but I commend you realization. Rethink it with an objective mindset and talk to people in the military, not just the recruiters.
05-13-2005, 10:04 AM
Umm, not to split hairs about the success of his defense strategy... When he bolted out of the apartment, did he leave that girl alone locked in the bathroom?! :blush:
05-14-2005, 02:10 AM
Yes, when I escaped, I did leave her alone in the bathroom, with that lunatic right in her hallway. No, that was not my "bravest" moment, and that bothers me to this day. Though from the point when she locked herself in the bathroom, denying me any sanctuary, protecting her was not exactly high on my agenda. Perhaps I am trying too hard to justify my conduct but I was in immediate danger at that point, and she at least had a barrier and a cell phone.
For what it is worth, when I was outside of the building, I was already on the line with a 911 dispatcher and as soon I saw the guy leave and I rejoined her in the apartment, locked/deadbolted/chained/etc, safe, and waited for the police to show up. He just harassed her though the bathroom door on that day, and then left. Nobody was hurt, other than ego...
(It is worth pointing out that I was talking to a friend on the phone up until the guy busted in. When I suddenly hung up, probably to call 911, he realized something wasn't right, and left work and was rushing over to help.)
For those who are interested in how the story ends, the police do nothing for several months. She moves to a new location, he finds her, and consistently breaks into her new apartment with a crowbar and harrasses he. One day, she woke up to find him standing over her bed stairing at her! Eventually he vandalized her car, broke in, stole her pepper spray. The next day, he caught her at home and even gave her a few bruises (not strikes, but he restrained her with his hands so he could "talk" to her). The police make a full report, but the district attorney decided that photographs of bruises, the prior police reports, physical damage to her apartment and car, and even a suicide note left in her car was NOT enough evidence to prosecute the creep. The best they could do was to tell her to file a personal protection order, which he violated a few months later, and was FINALLY arrested for. He was sentenced to 5 months in prison, and is not allowed to leave the state for another five years.
She has now moved to another state, and we no longer talk (too much history/drama with her makes for a non-peaceful mind). Anyway, that is how the story ends up. I would give more information, but I wish to stay anonymous both to protect her privacy, and my identity, as well as my other friend from the mugging. Besides this forum, where I can remain anonymous, I have not discussed this with anyone but those trusted people close to me. I haven't even talked about it to to my friends at my dojo.
For me, Aikido isn't really about using martial self defense or anything (though I am sure I have daydreamed a bit about such things). Aikido probably does help in a such martial encounter, but that has never been the issue. To me, it is about finding balance, and applying that towards everything in my life. Ultimately, this encounter, unpleasant though it was, has given me the unique perspective of knowing I may be about to die at another person's hostility.
I think that that life has deeper spiritual struggles to overcome than the superficial stuff that bothers us everyday. This presents the challenge of overcoming it and still finding peace. I will probably think about this encounter for the rest of my life, but I feel the harsh dose of reality may bring me closer to finding a true more inner peace.
Maybe I am babbling now, but I do appreciate ALL of the wisdom and input that has been shared in this thread and thank you for your willingness to share your thoughts with me. I look forward to perhaps one day sharing the mat with any of you ;)
05-16-2005, 10:49 AM
Oh, okay. I didn't know she had a cell-phone. It wasn't my intention to pick on you. :sorry: I have quite a few moments myself that were not my "bravest". :rolleyes: You were definitely right to call the uniformed men with guns and sticks that are paid to deal with guys like him. If you had dealt with him physically, there's the possibility that YOU could end up in jail! The police can't always be around, and sometimes legalities tie their hands and prevent them from doing their jobs. :( I think we should all think very seriously about training to take care of ourselves and others when the authorities aren't available. Thank God that you and she are both okay, and if you're ever in south Florida, you'd be perfectly welcome on our mat too. ;) Take care.
05-18-2005, 02:01 AM
James, don't worry. I know you aren't picking on me :). Also, I don't blame the cops for the inability to handle certain things, they have to think about so much in the legal process, that sometimes things "get through." So I understand their predicament.
Especially in this situation, the authorities tried to convince my friend to get a court-issued restraining order, but she refused to until months after the more serious situations occurred. Had there been one earlier on, the police would have had much more ability ealier on. In fact, once she finally got the order, the guy was arrested simply for calling her on the phone within weeks of being served, and the situation QUICKLY was taken care of.
So I agree that we must all be prepared to accept and deal with whatever comes our way, and rely on no single one plan. Escape works sometimes, Aikido works sometimes, law enforcement works sometimes, having a defensive weapon works sometimes, even giving in and surrendering your wallet works sometimes. The most important thing is not only to be competent in and aware of your means or protection, but having good judgement over their use in appropriate situations.
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