Re: Ueshiba vs. Gun Squad
About this time last year, I was at the bookstore with a friend of mine. My friend, Greg, has never studied the martial arts in a formal setting, but he was a bouncer for many years. I finished shopping before him, and while he was waiting in line at the cashier's, I went to the reference desk to see about a book I had ordered. No one was behind the counter, so I stepped up and looked on the shelf to see if my book had come in.
While I was standing there, a fellow came to the counter and started asking about what to do about a problem he was having with the telephone company. I explained that I did not work there, and stepped from behind the counter. I told him that no one was here at the counter, but he probably needed to talk to the telephone company. He gradually became more agitated, telling me about his problem and that he needed it fixed before the weekend (this was a Friday). It became obvious that the fellow needed his "med.s" and apparently hadn't taken them. My friend shot me a questioning look from his place in the checkout line, and without looking directly at him, I gave a little grin that all was cool. Keeping my hands at my sides, I dropped my center of gravity as close to the center of the earth as possible, and continued to try to explain to our "patient" that no one here could really help, and he needed to talk to the phone company, all the while watching my friend in my peripheral vision.
Our "patient" continued to get more agitated. He was about my size and clearly disturbed. The only question was, that if something goes down, do I really hurt him, as in a disabling kick to the knee or multiple punches to sensitive areas, or do I try some Aikido that I have never tested on a similar nut-case. If I had been alone, of course, there would have been no question. But, as Greg was backing me up, I would try to simply restrain the guy, unless he pulled a weapon.
Our "patient's" excitement progressed to the point that he made a little feinting, lunging move to try to draw me into something. I could tell it was a feint, and did not move my hands from my sides. The "patient" continued ranting. But something miraculous happened: Greg disappeared.
This was not the result of adrenaline induced tunnel-vision. I had kept him in my peripheral vision the entire time, and I could still see everyone else around me. My friend was just not there. Our "patient" could sense something weird had happened. He looked all around him, and he did not see Greg -- he just wasn't there. The "patient" rambled on for a minute and then left the store. Then Greg walked up, out of nowhere, and asked "What was that about?"
I have read interviews with more than one of Bruce Lee's students describing how they would be preparing to spar with him, then, without him seeming to move, he would be behind them, slapping them in the head. And I know the story of Ueshiba O-Sensei and the Mongol brigands (though I had not heard about the arms inspectors and gun master Sato). It is easy to attribute these stories to exaggeration, like Ninja movie myths. Like it is hard to believe someone could drive his hand through ten slabs of concrete -- until one has seen it.
All I know is that I "saw" Greg disappear, in a relatively benign encounter. I am confident that Ueshiba O-Sensei could access capabilities at least equal to those of my friend, in a life-and-death situation. Then, of course, there is God. Or if one prefers, "All is (in the) Void."