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-   -   When is it time to step in? (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11580)

Aran Bright 01-08-2007 06:01 AM

When is it time to step in?
 
I once trained in Hapkido, yes Aikido's distant korean cousin, and at the time of doing my first grading I had to sign an oath. It stated, amongst other things, that I would act with courage in the face danger. This meant that if I saw someone weaker than I in trouble, I would help. And I don't just mean helping with the groceries.

This has stuck with me more than any other moral standard I have wanted to up hold in MAs as I believe it is the most difficult judge.

There are many discussions about what is the right and wrong thing to do in a fight, but I wanted to know, when is it the right time to step in, to intervene?

Aran

SeiserL 01-08-2007 06:26 AM

Re: When is it time to step in?
 
Quote:

Aran Bright wrote:
when is it the right time to step in, to intervene?

IMHO, that is a very personal question that each of us need to ask ourselves. A lot depends on our own level of maturity, courage, and intervention skills. The right time, if possible, is before it escalate. I have seldom regretted too soon, but I have regretted too late.

Jim Sorrentino 01-08-2007 06:45 AM

Re: When is it time to step in?
 
Hello Aran,
Quote:

Aran Bright wrote:
There are many discussions about what is the right and wrong thing to do in a fight, but I wanted to know, when is it the right time to step in, to intervene?

To begin, you should find out what the law, both criminal and civil, says about self-defense and defense of others. When (if ever) does the law permit you to intervene? How much force may you use? If the assailant tries to retreat, what does the law allow you to do?

Next, you should talk about this with friendly members of your local constabulary. The police I know all tell me that one of the most challenging tasks they face is stepping in to stop an act of domestic violence, because often, the victim will turn on the police when she (or he) sees the police using force on her (or his) spouse.

Also, remember that it may not be clear just what is happening. A couple of years ago, a friend and I were on our way home from an aikido seminar when we saw a woman struggling with a man on a side-street. We pulled over, jumped out of the car, and ran toward the couple. I hollered at the man to stop and shined a bright flashlight in his eyes, while my friend yelled for the police. It turned out that the two were a couple of pot-heads fighting over the location of their stash. They kissed and made up quickly, the woman assured us that all was well, and asked us (nicely) to leave them alone. The police didn't show up in the fifteen or so minutes we were there, by the way.

As for the right time to intervene, that seems easy: as early as possible while maintaining a position of maximum advantage. As one of my firearms instructors put it, "Shoot as quickly as you can, but as slowly as you must. You can't win a gunfight by missing."

I hope this is helpful.

Jim Sorrentino

Peter Goldsbury 01-08-2007 07:49 AM

Re: When is it time to step in?
 
Quote:

Aran Bright wrote:
I once trained in Hapkido, yes Aikido's distant korean cousin, and at the time of doing my first grading I had to sign an oath. It stated, amongst other things, that I would act with courage in the face danger. This meant that if I saw someone weaker than I in trouble, I would help. And I don't just mean helping with the groceries.

This has stuck with me more than any other moral standard I have wanted to up hold in MAs as I believe it is the most difficult judge.

There are many discussions about what is the right and wrong thing to do in a fight, but I wanted to know, when is it the right time to step in, to intervene?

Aran

Hello Aran,

Are you sure that this was what it meant?

I think there are issues here that are cultural, for want of a better term, and can readily imagine a situation in Japan where people who have attained shodan would never think of becoming involved, especially in a domestic squabble.

In Japan, I can also act with courage in the face of danger, though I never signed an oath to do so (and I would have problems with being required to sign such an oath at shodan level). Among the acts of courage I envisage is the decision not to stand and fight--and I can think of many situations here in Japan where it would simply be foolhardy to stand and fight (on the assumption that such decision would be made on the basis of a foreign view of the situation).

Examples that come to mind here are, eg, an argument on the street involving a man/several men and a woman who is in serious danger of physical violence. But they are all members of gangs and the violence is an internal gang issue. Would you step in, as a foreigner, and try to solve such a conflict on the basis of your oath?

EDIT. On the basis of Mr Sorrentino's post, I should add that the use of firearms in Japan is simply not an issue: any intervention would necessarily have to be unarmed.


Best wishes,

charyuop 01-08-2007 08:16 AM

Re: When is it time to step in?
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
Examples that come to mind here are, eg, an argument on the street involving a man/several men and a woman who is in serious danger of physical violence. But they are all members of gangs and the violence is an internal gang issue. Would you step in, as a foreigner, and try to solve such a conflict on the basis of your oath?Best wishes,

I guess the idea of intervene is to save someone else, not being killed along with the person in danger.
It is up to you to judge your skills and being realistic about them. Overestimating your own skills can get you killed.
The fact that you can do a Randori doesn't mean that in the street you can actually face 3 or 4 people at the same time. Ask your Ukes to actually mean to kill you in a Randori which may mean all 3 or 4 punching at the same time, one punching on the back of your head while you getting rid of someone in front of you...unless you have really good skills it is hard to do it in the streets.

I think that the idea of helping someone shouldn't include an idea of sacrificing your life to do that. You would be of more help calling for help, like police, and in a second moment thinking about helping the person in danger...which can also be done by yelling "police's here!!!".

Adam Alexander 01-08-2007 09:08 AM

Re: When is it time to step in?
 
Quote:

Aran Bright wrote:
I once trained in Hapkido, yes Aikido's distant korean cousin, and at the time of doing my first grading I had to sign an oath. It stated, amongst other things, that I would act with courage in the face danger. This meant that if I saw someone weaker than I in trouble, I would help. And I don't just mean helping with the groceries.

This has stuck with me more than any other moral standard I have wanted to up hold in MAs as I believe it is the most difficult judge.

There are many discussions about what is the right and wrong thing to do in a fight, but I wanted to know, when is it the right time to step in, to intervene?

Aran

I don't know the answer to your question. If I did, I doubt I'd put it any better than any of the previous posters. However, I think I can add some insight.

I wonder if the reason that you have a hard time feeling the right time and circumstances to step in isn't the same reason that you hold tight to the idea of "getting" to step in. I'm not saying that intervening in someone else's business is universally wrong, but being a legend in my shower is a favorite pastime of mine.

Being a hero is very rewarding.

Also, I don't know if it's just me or if it's universal, but I found that the lessons I've taken from instructors are far more reaching than technique. When I was instructed by someone who was arrogant, I became more arrogant. When instructed by someone more politically savvy, I became more politically savvy (not perfect or good, but better).

Maybe that Hapkido instructor was teaching you more than technique.

Al Williams 01-08-2007 09:57 AM

Re: When is it time to step in?
 
Quote
I guess the idea of intervene is to save someone else, not being killed along with the person in danger.
It is up to you to judge your skills and being realistic about them. Overestimating your own skills can get you killed.
Gianluigi Pizzuto

I understand your viewpoint. However, getting hurt is never a reason not to act. Doing the right thing means that you may get hurt. Mind you my perspective is a bit different from yours.

wayneth 01-08-2007 10:38 AM

Re: When is it time to step in?
 
I think the right time for someone to intervene is that second when you feel that the person is in serious danger, from whatever threat i.e. a gang, domestic violence, a drunken attack etc. And that you don't feel that anything can rebound back onto you i.e. the person attacking you, the law intervening against you etc.
Since what is evidently increasing in many countries, is the carrying of weapons (knives mainly); this being especially so in Britain. People have to be more and more careful when they perform what could be considered one of their civic duties. Like Jean de Rochefort said "being a hero is very rewarding", but isn't there some extent where we also have a sense of self protection; almost like something that is built into our mind saying that there could be danger if you intervene?
I remember watching a TV program called Crimewatch (a UK based TV show appealing for witnesses to particular crimes across Britain) where there was an argument in the middle of the street between a man and a women, a man intervened for some particular reason and as a result the man got severely beaten up alongside another intervening women helping him.
Today, society has considerably changed although I can not say of places like Japan or America. People are now becoming almost more aggressive possibly because society is demanding it from them, for whatever reason that may be.
For me the right time would be when I now it is safe to do so, although that may seem bad or whatever, self-preservation is the bottom line to our lives.
Sorry for parts which may seem confusing but it seemed right when it was in my head.

Wayne

Ketsan 01-08-2007 11:10 AM

Re: When is it time to step in?
 
When there's clearly a situation and there's nothing else to be done.

I stepped into a situation back in may/june. I posted it up here so maybe the full post is still about, but basically it boiled down to this: I was walking home from a night out very early in the morning, 1am maybe 2am, when I heard this woman screaming for help from behind this group of flats near my house, thought it was nothing but decided to have a look anyway. Turns out there's a woman being dragged along the floor into one of the flats by the biggest dude I've seen for ages.

My memory is of standing watching for a minute or two thinking about it but in reality it couldn't have been longer than a couple of seconds. It occured to me that he couldn't be allowed to drag her into the house because it seemed obvious that things would get really bad at that point. Calling the police would have taken a couple of minutes and another maybe five or ten minutes for them to arrive, far too long, there wasn't anyone else around so it was basically up to me.

So there was clearly a serious situation and nothing else to be done except step in.

charyuop 01-08-2007 01:42 PM

Re: When is it time to step in?
 
Quote:

Alistair Williams wrote:
I understand your viewpoint. However, getting hurt is never a reason not to act. Doing the right thing means that you may get hurt. Mind you my perspective is a bit different from yours.

I didn't mean do something only if you have 100% certain victory. I have been doing Martial Art only for a couple of months, thus I am sure in the streets what would come out of training would be close to nothing. But if I see a situation where a man is beating up a someone else I am sure (of course it has to happen to be sure...) that I might intervene even knowing I will get mi ass kicked, but with the hope that with the one in trouble we might pull out of there safe.
What I meant is...if I see the same situation with the attacker with a knife in his hands, I doubt I would intervene, coz I know with the knowledge I have I would end up dead for sure. Or if the attackers are 3 or 4 I will for sure not intervene knowing that I will have hard time Vs 1.
Maybe after 2 or 3 years of training I will get more aware of my skills and I might decide that the risk is worth it if the attacker has a knife or there are 2 attackers. But still stay away if the attacker has a gun...

I know it is not easy to explain it, but what I mean is not stay away till you are sure not to get hurt...but don't throw yourself into a situation just because someone needs help. It is no use to the person in need if you jump into a situation where you start with a 0% chances of getting out of there alive.

Kevin Leavitt 01-08-2007 02:46 PM

Re: When is it time to step in?
 
Here is a good story I think. Not related to a fight, but certainly speaks of the type of courage we need when we have to make decisions quickly without regard for our own personal safety.

New York Subway hero:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/...n2324961.shtml

Al Williams 01-08-2007 09:56 PM

Re: When is it time to step in?
 
Quote:

I know it is not easy to explain it, but what I mean is not stay away till you are sure not to get hurt...but don't throw yourself into a situation just because someone needs help. It is no use to the person in need if you jump into a situation where you start with a 0% chances of getting out of there alive
.


I'm not saying that intervention requires you jumping in. When a situation arises that requires your intervention there are three simple rules that you can apply over and over again.
1. Assess
2. Plan
3. Reassess

Your may be able to intervene by throwing objects at the attacker giving the victim time to escape. Call others over and go in on mass. You must never think that intervention involves a physical alteration.

Intervention is a big call and you are the only one that can assess the situation. I have to intervene when working. The type intervention is dependant on who I'm working with and what tools I have at my disposal. When not working and faced with the same situation my type of intervention will of course be different.

Aran Bright 01-08-2007 10:45 PM

Re: When is it time to step in?
 
After having read through your replies I can identify two factors that seem important. One is to think of non-violent ways to intervene. What was it? "the police are on their way".

The other is to understand the laws involved in a particular situation.

One incident where i was glad i didn't 'step in' was on a bus. A drunk and angry man was unable to find a seat and starting abusing people because no one would stand up for him. He then stormed to the front of the bus and started slamming on the doors and swore at the driver, a lady, to let him off. I was in the middle of traffic at night and the driver could not open the doors because it would have put him and many others in a dangerous situation.
Mind you the drunk didn't appreciate the favour being done to him and started swearing at the driver. I swore he was about to hit her and was about to jump up when the driver said, "i remember you, your that same guy that gave me trouble on the XYZ last month, your never getting on a bus I'm driving again and I'll make sure that anyone I know doesn't pick you up". Apparently this was the right thing to say because he suddenly realised that he could be identified and that he may have to start looking for a different way home. He continued to swear and carry on but was certainly much more controlled after this and got off at the next stop.

I was then very apparent that had I got up i would have just escalated the situation which, quite honestly, the driver had under control the whole time. She was trained and experienced in handling the situation and did exactly the right thing, and so did I.

Perhaps sometimes we need the courage to trust others?

However I still think that we have to be prepared to act but just going the biff is never going to be a good idea. Has anyone else got any suggestions?

Aran


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