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robin_jet_alt 09-08-2011 08:50 PM

Aikido Failure
 
This morning I was waiting for the bus in Shibuya station and there was a guy sprawled on the pavement with his face down and his arm at an awkward angle. He was dirty, but not incredibly so. He might have been homeless, but if he was, it didn't look like he had been for very long.

There would have been thousands of people going past that stretch of pavement this morning and not one of them stopped to see if he was alright. I was a few meters away waiting for the bus, and I couldn't tell if he was asleep, unconscious or dead. From his position, I would say that he wasn't just asleep, but I can't say for sure. He may have had too much to drink and passed out.

So, what did I do? I got on the bus. I wanted to get to work on time. I made the wrong decision.

What is Aikido for if not for situations like these? To me, budo is about more than facing an attacker. It is about standing up and taking responsibility in difficult situations. This was a difficult situation, and I could have checked to see that he was okay, called an ambulance if necessary, or if not, then at least given him a bottle of water. I could have taken responsibility, but I didn't, and I regret it.

There is a word in Japanese called hanmen-kyoushi (反面教師). It is a person who does the wrong thing, and you learn from their example and do the opposite. Please use me as such.

Janet Rosen 09-08-2011 09:32 PM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
And next time you may make a different decision too...

robin_jet_alt 09-08-2011 09:37 PM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Quote:

Janet Rosen wrote: (Post 292009)
And next time you may make a different decision too...

I hope so

thisisnotreal 09-08-2011 10:34 PM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Do not be too hard on yourself.
It is hard to know how much of the world to let in.
If you have eyes to see, there is never ending need and sorrow before us.
We can spend our entire lives in the service of others. Are we to?
Maybe yes. Maybe yes, when you can.
Fear is real, as well. I don't think we can really be brave without acknowledging the fear.
And to really conquer fear, you have to know why, and for what you overcome.
And as to your loss on that day?
..i think You have know how to lose, to know how to win.

chin up brother.
your struggle now is more real than the thousands that passed by that man on that day.

do what you can when you can, and do your best.
wish me luck too.

David Orange 09-08-2011 10:41 PM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Quote:

Robin Boyd wrote: (Post 292006)
There is a word in Japanese called hanmen-kyoushi (反面教師). It is a person who does the wrong thing, and you learn from their example and do the opposite. Please use me as such.

It seems that the overall gestalt of the moment told you to let it go. It would take care of itself. And you understood that at the moment. Don't get hung up on it now. Stay with now so you can deal with the next thing that comes up.

Gambare!

David

MM 09-08-2011 10:59 PM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
And perhaps your life would have been devastated in some way by helping that person. Life's funny and tosses curve balls all the time.

Reminds me of a zen (I think) story.

===
A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her.

The senior monk carried this woman on his shoulder, forded the river and let her down on the other bank. The junior monk was very upset, but said nothing.

They both were walking and senior monk noticed that his junior was suddenly silent and enquired "Is something the matter, you seem very upset?"

The junior monk replied, "As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?"

The senior monk replied, "I left the woman a long time ago at the bank, however, you seem to be carrying her still."
===

We all do things we shouldn't do, or don't do things we think we should. Learn from them but don't carry them around. :)

sakumeikan 09-09-2011 01:17 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Hi Robin,
It was Xmas time, the snow was falling heavily and was bitter cold.I was driving along a road when I saw a figure approaching me. It was an elderly gent who was walking in manner that suggested he had a few drinks too much.
I drove passed him, felt a bit guilty and turned back and asked him if he wanted a lift home.He got into the car assisted by me.I then took him to his home.I knocked on the door and his wife answered .I told her I had brought her husband back and he was a bit under the weather.I helped him into his house , said good night and proceeded on my journey .I thought no more about the incident.
A week later I received a letter from the mans wife.She told me her husband had died.He was a haemophiliac and he knew the condition would kill him someday.She called me the Good Samaritan.I do not know how she acquired my postal address.
The above incident took place over twenty years ago.Every time I pass by the mans house I am reminded of the event.
Robin, I never assume that anyone in a bad way is drunk.It could be anything , a stroke, heart attack etc.The saying goes , there but for the grace of God go I.Do not feel bad about your decision , I am sure you will know how to act should a similar situation occur in the future. Cheers, Joe.

robin_jet_alt 09-09-2011 01:29 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Quote:

Joe Curran wrote: (Post 292030)
Robin, I never assume that anyone in a bad way is drunk.It could be anything , a stroke, heart attack etc..

Hi Joe,

You are absolutely right. I have no idea what was going on this morning. It could have been anything from a homeless person having a nap, to someone who suffered a stroke and died. I wish I had stopped to find out.

Tim Ruijs 09-09-2011 01:57 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Perhaps a deep down fear of not knowing what to do when you got to him? The uncertainty of what is actually going on?

robin_jet_alt 09-09-2011 02:41 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
I think it was more tiredness than fear. I haven't had enough sleep all week and I just wanted to get to work and sit down. That sounds terrible when I say it... fear sounds much better.

I'm sure the uncertainty had something to do with it though. Maybe he was fine. I would have looked pretty dumb waking him up if he was just asleep, and I would have been late to work.

None of that is any sort of excuse though...

Eva Antonia 09-09-2011 02:46 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
One autumn day, maybe two or three years ago I went home from work along the Brussels channel. I always go by bike, and it was dark and rainy, and I rode through a park that was completely abandoned at that hour. Then I saw a guy lying motionless on the small grass strip separating the bike path from the water.

I thought he maybe had fallen ill or had been attacked or whatever and that he might need help. So I got off my bike and approached the guy, and when I started to ask if I could do anything for him, he stretched out both arms and asked me to lie down with him in the cold, wet grass. The guy was just totally drunk and totally enjoying himself lying around at the board of the channel. It was one of the most absurd scenes I ever lived through.

But then I reacted because I was alone and there was no one except me who could have helped the guy, had he then needed help. If there were thirty other people I'd probably have gone on, just thinking that someone other might have more time, better capacity to help or whatever...human nature is strange.

Have a nice day!

Eva

robin_jet_alt 09-09-2011 02:58 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Quote:

Eva Röben wrote: (Post 292039)
One autumn day, maybe two or three years ago I went home from work along the Brussels channel. I always go by bike, and it was dark and rainy, and I rode through a park that was completely abandoned at that hour. Then I saw a guy lying motionless on the small grass strip separating the bike path from the water.

I thought he maybe had fallen ill or had been attacked or whatever and that he might need help. So I got off my bike and approached the guy, and when I started to ask if I could do anything for him, he stretched out both arms and asked me to lie down with him in the cold, wet grass. The guy was just totally drunk and totally enjoying himself lying around at the board of the channel. It was one of the most absurd scenes I ever lived through.

But then I reacted because I was alone and there was no one except me who could have helped the guy, had he then needed help. If there were thirty other people I'd probably have gone on, just thinking that someone other might have more time, better capacity to help or whatever...human nature is strange.

Have a nice day!

Eva

It's a well known phenomenon called "bystander syndrome". It was well documented in the Kitty Genovese murder in New York. I guess this is a classic example because I would say well over 1000 people walked past him this morning and did nothing.

Aikirk 09-09-2011 03:09 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Don't be to harsh on your self. I firmly believe that our help is not worth much if we don't have energy to spare, and it sounds like you needed to tend to yourself a bit before worrying about others.

Put yourself first and make sure you are well balanced and full of energy, and then I'm sure you have the ability to do something about it next time. Remember this: You cannot give others the help you need yourself.

Tim Ruijs 09-09-2011 03:25 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Quote:

Simon Kirk Sřrensen wrote: (Post 292041)
Don't be to harsh on your self. I firmly believe that our help is not worth much if we don't have energy to spare, and it sounds like you needed to tend to yourself a bit before worrying about others.

Put yourself first and make sure you are well balanced and full of energy, and then I'm sure you have the ability to do something about it next time. Remember this: You cannot give others the help you need yourself.

That is about the first rule before helping some in trouble:
1. make sure you are safe
2. make sure victim is safe
3. order someone to get professional help (and have him/her report back)
4. attend to victim
or something along those lines anyway

Aikirk 09-09-2011 03:35 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Quote:

Tim Ruijs wrote: (Post 292042)
That is about the first rule before helping some in trouble:
1. make sure you are safe
2. make sure victim is safe
3. order someone to get professional help (and have him/her report back)
4. attend to victim
or something along those lines anyway

Yes, and I believe that in this situation his mind was not "safe". I hope he can take this experience and turn it into something useful. The experience could be a hint, that the way he lives and treats himself isn't what's healthy for his mind and body. Aikido is not very effective from en unbalanced state.

Hellis 09-09-2011 03:50 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Just curious ?

Why is this a " Aikido failure " ? It is a human failure seen in many towns and cities in this day and age.

Henry Ellis
Aikido Articles
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/

sakumeikan 09-09-2011 05:06 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Quote:

Henry Ellis wrote: (Post 292045)
Just curious ?

Why is this a " Aikido failure " ? It is a human failure seen in many towns and cities in this day and age.

Henry Ellis
Aikido Articles
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/

Hi Henry,
I guess we do not live in a era when helping someone is the norm.I never saw old drunk guys get left on the pavement for hours when I was living in the Gorbals[as a boy].Somebody always lifted them home, merrily , I may add.People nowadays are inclined to pass by on the other side of the road.You could get murdered in the street in broad daylight and no onlooker would interfere.Sad state of affairs.
Cheers, Joe.

robin_jet_alt 09-09-2011 05:13 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Quote:

Henry Ellis wrote: (Post 292045)
Just curious ?

Why is this a " Aikido failure " ? It is a human failure seen in many towns and cities in this day and age.

Henry Ellis
Aikido Articles
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/

You are correct. I guess what I mean is that as people who supposedly practice budo, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard and take responsibility where necessary.

Hellis 09-09-2011 05:16 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Quote:

Joe Curran wrote: (Post 292052)
Hi Henry,
I guess we do not live in a era when helping someone is the norm.I never saw old drunk guys get left on the pavement for hours when I was living in the Gorbals[as a boy].Somebody always lifted them home, merrily , I may add.People nowadays are inclined to pass by on the other side of the road.You could get murdered in the street in broad daylight and no onlooker would interfere.Sad state of affairs.
Cheers, Joe.

Hi Joe

They were different times, today that drunk could be a junkie and a dangerous one at that, we didn't need to worry about aids either..
Being a good samaritan is not always rewarding - a friend of mine helped a drunk in trouble only to find he was later accused of stealing the grateful guys wallet..yeah - I guess we do live in different times.
If it is of any comfort - It will never get any better..:straightf

Regards

Henry
Aikido Articles
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/

gates 09-09-2011 05:19 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
My partner was driving home late at night got lost and ended up in a rough part of town. Saw a lady staggering along, she turned the car around, it was late at night. By the time she made it to the lady she had collapsed. Turned out the lady had been mugged and stabbed. Lara stopped the bleeding gave CPR as she couldn't tell if she was still breathing. The Ambulance staff stated that she would
have certainly died without help.
It is damm easy to say," it will be fine somebody else will deal with it" it is much harder to set up out of your comfort zone and act. aikido or any MA can decrease fear and enable one to keep a level head, although choosing to act or not to act is a personal thing. Takes some moral backbone to set up sometimes.
At least you had an urge to help, sure next time you will !!!!!!

Henry is right of course. Keeping common sence and assessing the situation rationally is a tough call.

SeiserL 09-09-2011 05:28 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
We all need to keep training to have the courage to do the right things.

gregstec 09-09-2011 10:17 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
IMO, I believe that if you have awareness, you will feel things around you - one of the most powerful feelings is that of danger. Regardless of what something looks like, I would go with what felt right at the moment - I have never regretted this approach.

Greg

Demetrio Cereijo 09-09-2011 10:36 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Quote:

Lynn Seiser wrote: (Post 292056)
We all need to keep training to have the courage to do the right things.

Ditto.

Reminded me this article:

http://www.bugei.com/virtue.html

crbateman 09-09-2011 11:33 AM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
It is hard to know what the outcome would have been if you had chosen a different action. In a situation like that, I would try to think of how I would want to be treated in similar circumstances, and govern my actions accordingly.

As Ellis Sensei has eloquently stated, it's not an aikido thing; and not a budo thing. It's letting your conscience be your guide. Don't be hard on yourself, as you were not in the wrong; you just didn't have the opportunity to run an inner dialogue and introspection. You will be better prepared if you encounter a similar situation in the future.

donhebert 09-09-2011 12:58 PM

Re: Aikido Failure
 
Hi Robin,

A teenaged Aikido student I once knew was asked to explain the fundamental essence of Aikido. His response was that Aikido was a practice that fostered the ability to respond to any circumstance in a way that would create the most good. I have always admired his amazingly thoughtful answer and have been humbled to try and to live up to this ideal.

A good portion of my own life seems to be on a path that I call, with some self irony, "The Way of the Mensch" and I can say from experience that trying to be helpful to other people is full of perils. For example (and I say this with all due tolerance), I have been spit at, reviled, misconstrued, blamed and once, while tending to an intoxicated woman I encountered lying in the middle of a frozen road, nearly bitten. I have also been thanked and repaid in kindness. I have also passed people by. So you might say that, for me, being a person of conscience is a bit of a pain. One never knows for sure what the outcome will be. That fact you are troubled by your experience comes with the territory and I believe that the world needs more people like you.

I have become more cautious over time and a bit more realistic and thus I like the post from Tim Ruijs where he lists his rules for helping someone in trouble. To these I would add:

5. for specific interventions, make sure you have the skill required by the situation to actually make a useful difference

I am sure that good can flow from people who are willing to be uncomfortable in service of their ideals. Also, a sense of humor helps. I wish you the best.

Don Hebert


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