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I know I've promised to continue some topics, but, hey, they require quite a bit of thought.... so in the meantime, reading around in the free membership section of Aikido Journal (thanks, Stan, for those of us who have to squirrel away some moolah to afford 29 dollars or so a year, we can begin reading a bunch of great stuff)
Anyway, I was glancing through an article about women instructors and suddenly another of my famous memories some of you seem to like a lot (thanks for the validations so far...) returned to my conscious mind.
This wasn't in the YMCA where we trained, fortunately, and it wasn't a physical confrontation, fortunately, at least I don't think it would have even approached that, but a confrontation none the less...
Yep I was really proud of our little group, we had some really good students and fortunately the stuff I was able to pass on to them seemed to hold their interest .... Anyway, to relax and unwind after trying to exit in time for the Y staff to go home .... (we were fortunate to be able to have two hours at the end of the day and had to close class at ten and be out by ten thirty, if you wanted a shower you really had to hurry, and we had to fold up the mats and put them to one side ....)
Well enough background. As the title suggests, we used to go to the Brass Rail, an Italian restaurant just up the hill to the west of the Y. I had my dad's car, and the students thought I didn't drink at all but that was because I had to drive myself home. Anyway I remember really loving Eggplant Parmigiana.
Okay a bit more background because I need to give the old New Haven Aikikai of East Haven (near I-95 exit 50 I think) credit for coming down during our first years to help build a dojo at the Y, and also for starting the Brass Rail tradition with us. I wanted to give them credit for Marianne's formative years in Aikido in that there were two or more archers launching her career (blog entry entitled The Arrow) including myself. But credit belongs to the students, as in the case of Marianne, for coming to class day after day, week after week, etc. and dedicating themselves to absorbing all they could.
Anyway, a few years later the wait person (lady) there knew us really well and if we had to wait for a table that would accommodate us for beer, food or both, she would call us over as soon as one became available. Then one man stood up far to the left and near the table we had been told about by the wait person. (Eek, trying to be politically correct, I've made a confusing pun, sorry)
He seemed to be focusing his challenge on me, because I seemed to be in charge of my group.And since a couple of people might have had gi's with them, he seemed to know it was a martial arts group, and if I remember he was with some sports club, I forget what sport.
I took off in the direction of the ladies room and phones. It was also the rear exit. When I got home (years before cell phones) I called the restaurant. One of my students had no idea why he was summoned to the phone, not realizing I had gone home. I figured the challenge had been directed at me, so I left and the students were fine with their beers, food, conversation.
Not as exciting as some of the legends of budo masters avoiding conflict, but it was rather neat to realize, sometimes this kind of thing works in daily life in a public setting. Glad it wasn't a dangerious one!