View Full Version : Reactions from strangers?

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08-25-2005, 03:11 PM
I just got back from practice. Every day I walk past an assortment of homeless, junkies and other residents of the common civic center area to get to class at noon. When I am on my way to class, they don't usually acknowlege me, but on the way back I always get a greeting. And today - I was smiling at one of them, he was sitting in the sun eating an ice cream, and I swear he said "Thank you for receiving me. Have a nice day, now." I just thought that was really odd, coming from class (where we frequently work on receiving).
So, do you experience that complete strangers react to you when you come from class? In what ways?

08-25-2005, 07:23 PM
Well considering you train in San Francisco, I'm not surprised at the awareness of the local homeless people!
Unfortunately I cannot answer with personal experience, its dark, I get in the car & go home. I hardly ever see anyone after training...

08-25-2005, 08:12 PM
sometimes after class i get a 'oh you look terrible, could i help you with anything?'
ya know cause im all sweaty and frazzled and my gi is half falling apart.

08-25-2005, 11:40 PM
sometimes after class i get a 'oh you look terrible, could i help you with anything?'
ya know cause im all sweaty and frazzled and my gi is half falling apart.
Do you actually wear your dogi in public?

Here its ok to do so for short bits. To the car and from the car to the appartment with a short diversion to buy a can of beer. Soaking wet with that "frazzled"look always gets me quick beer service.

Tim Ruijs
08-26-2005, 05:38 AM
This summer some friends, my wife and myself visited France to attent the (one week) seminar of Alain Peyrache. Practice was from 9:00-12:00 and sometimes we did not change clothes (showers too busy) and walked back in our gi's (no hakama). This walk passed several stores and terraces where people sometimes actually stopped their business to check us out :D Some pointing, others giggling.
That night having drinks at one the terraces they knew who we were and were received ever so friendly :cool:

Susan Marie
08-26-2005, 06:00 AM
Sometimes after class I stop at the grocery store before I go home. I normally change into a t-shirt, but keep my gi pants on. There’s a vagrant called Red who calls me “Ninja” when he sees me outside the store.

Another time at the store, after a particularly strenuous training session, my hair looked like bedhead and I felt pretty grimy when I ran into a guy I’d gone out on a date with a couple of weeks before. All I could think was, “Sh*t! I look terrible!” He never did call hmmn.

Anita Crowhurst
08-26-2005, 09:45 AM
Last year I attended an intensive week long course at the dojo. We went for a meal on the last day at a local pub. We were knackered with doing so much practice & the littlest things made us hysterical. I think the locals & staff thought we were on drugs!!

Chad Scott
09-15-2005, 08:43 AM
After practice, I have to take the Tokyo subway and then the train into the suburbs. Usually nobody sits next to me since I'm all sweaty and probably smelly too..... :)

09-16-2005, 03:49 PM

don't any of you people train in Dojos with showers? :D

Now me, I usually look better after practice (after a shower and wearing fresh clothes. Before that I simply look like a hairy psychotic man wearing a funny dress)

The public have had numerous opportunities to watch me practicing my pretty hanmi stance or tsabakis in bus stops and train stations.

My neighbours (an unusual species of particularly nosy and backwards small-town German) have been plunged into even greater confusion by the half-naked hairy guy weaving and cursing his way about the front garden whilst waving funny wooden sticks at opponents only he can see...

All in all, people continue to treat me like the obviously mad and potentially dangerous eccentric... in this respect nothing has changed.

Does this count as a reaction?

09-29-2005, 06:25 AM
The public have had numerous opportunities to watch me practicing my pretty hanmi stance or tsabakis in bus stops and train stations.

Same here. Me and my "imaginary aikido-friends" work on our techniques while waiting for a bus or a train or standing in line at a local grocery store. People usually take a very slow, cautious step back. :D

Anat Amitay
09-29-2005, 06:45 AM
Actually, here it's not much fun to train out in parks and so where there are other people, unless we're a big group. If not- mainly teenagers come up and ask: ninja? karate? what are the wooden sticks for? etc...
practice usually ends late so not many people around to see any of us in strange uniforms or anything. The pub some stay on for a drink in, is already familiar with this strange mismatched group, so no strange reactions there.
Most reactions come when training takes place in public places, on hours when there are more people around. And with the local characteristics, they're usually more of an annoyance than someone who might become truely interested in what we're doing.

09-29-2005, 06:58 AM
We've got a big window in the front of the room we train in. It faces a hallways where lots of college students walk by. And I've witness everything from little kids making faces to people undoubtedly asking their friends "Are they doing Judo in skirts?" to people attempting Shiho Nage.

09-30-2005, 06:40 PM
I've gotten parents taking their kids aside on my way back to BART. "That boy is wearing a dress (hakama, it's for iaido). You don't want to be like that." Unless it's the one time I forgot to remove my blade after leaving class. "Woah, look! It's a real life samurai!" Good thing I didn't meet up with police! Never been called "ninja", but we were do ing some weapons in the park and got some strange looks.

Robert Jackson
09-30-2005, 08:13 PM
Back when I was a 6-5th kyu we demoed at an Arts Festival. I wore my dogi up to the festival, not wanting to change there, I had my Hakama and belt tucked in the bag. I ended up at the rear gate. I approached the gaurd and ask where I enter. His response: "You must be demoing. You're supposed to enter the front gate but, you look like you could whoop my butt if I made you do that, here go on in."

Paula Lydon
10-01-2005, 08:45 AM
~~When it's slow at work, I also practice (as subtly as possible) movement, technique on 'air' uke, stretches, etc. Since I work in a retail pharmacy...yes, I've gotten odd looks as if to ask if I'm sampling the merchandise :).

10-26-2005, 12:11 PM
So again, fresh out of class yesterday, and walking to the elevators at work, someone I don't know walks by and smiles and says "Why are you so happy?"
Aikido just makes me feel GREAT, physically and emotionally, and the sheer "Tigger-bouncy happiness" (someone else used that app. term in another thread and it is really perfect) it brings about must be slightly contagious - or at least it is very visible. Is that how aikido is supposed to affect the world at large????
I, too, practice fierce responses to imaginary attacks in the office kitchen, and someone always seems to walk in on me. Peculiarly, our long hallways always seem like an invitation to roll, which I mostly can withstand except on the occasional casual Friday. However, I have my 4th kyu certificate on my cube wall as the first thing people see, so I think most know what I am doing and that they are in no danger...

Ron Tisdale
10-26-2005, 12:46 PM
~~When it's slow at work, I also practice (as subtly as possible) movement, technique on 'air' uke, stretches, etc. Since I work in a retail pharmacy...yes, I've gotten odd looks as if to ask if I'm sampling the merchandise :).

:D Knowing you a little bit, I can see you doing this! :p Don't worry, sometimes I go in the back of the computer room and do basic movements.... :cool:


10-26-2005, 02:05 PM
I have a colleague at work who is of a different office-politics faction and tends to tease me about my clothes, hair, lifestyle, etc. (Not about my work, though--we keep this relatively friendly.)

The other day she stopped me in the hall and said, "You've finally lost weight! You look great--what did you do?"

"I took up martial arts."

"Ah! Maybe I should do that too."

And I stood there smiling sweetly at her while thinking, "Yes! Nikyo, sankyo, yonkyo...I've been wanting to do yonkyo on you for years....what an opportunity!"

In general when I come out of class bouncy and happy, people do seem to react to it. And they think I've lost weight even though I actually haven't (lost 15 pounds the first year but never any more). And guess my age wrong (I was asked for ID the other day, and I'm 42) which sure doesn't hurt my feelings any.

The one thing I've found is that if I carry a weapon, no matter how hard I try to treat it as a big mop-handle, people react to it as a weapon--last time I walked to the dojo with my jo one of the guys who hang out at the bus stop said, "You gonna hit me with that?" I bought a weapon bag--don't know yet if it will help.

Mary Kaye

10-26-2005, 11:55 PM
A friend and I both ride motorcycles. I don't own a car. Everywhere I go, I have to carry stuff exposed, or at least somewhat. My friend has a handy "sword fitting" on his sports bike. Basically the blade is parallel to the line of the bottom of the tail. Hanging out there in all it's glory, he gets some very interesting reactions from motorists as he rides by. We often joke about just strapping two swords across our backs and pretending to be Muntant Ninja turtles riding down the road, just to scare more motorists :P

Mine are usually in a weapons bag, so attract less notice than his does.

Steve Mullen
10-28-2005, 04:09 AM
I think the best reaction i ever got wasn't from a stranger but one of my university lecturers. After a 'play around' (an informal aikido session with a few fellow aikidoka) I has to go straight into his lecture (complete with weapons) since they were in a bag i thought i could escape, expecting him to make the same mistake as most and view them as a pool cue. no sooner had i sat down (almost bowing on my way in) than i knew i was busted, because the title of the criminology lecture was 'armed youth' (AAAAARRRRRGGGHHHH :eek: :eek: :eek )

SO i tried to keep my head down and get on with the lecture, half way through the lecturer liked to give us a break to stop the concentration levels dropping, after this we all came back in only for me to be asked what was in the bag by the lecturer, after MUCH persuasion and failed bluffing the truth came out, that pretty much spelled the end, for the next 10 mins i was stood on my chair showing some 200 people the array of weapons i had with me at the time (thankfully i hadn't brought my 'live blades' with me or we would never have got back to the lecture.

Obviously after the lecture all the guys i sat with were desperate to have a try of some of the weapons, my reply.......... "come to the class" :D