Re: What He learned from his near mugging
Thanks, Mary. And wow, Ellis, I am so glad you are telling about your experiences in Japan, in the dojo and out among Japanese people going about their daily lives, which are diverse, to make an understatement.
I have two stories that pretty much prove I was lucky not to be seriously injured or worse. The first one, when I told it later to dojo friends, caused them to ask, "and then what technique did you do?"
They were so disappointed at my answer, "I just stood there" But you will see that maybe it was indeed the thing to do.
I was a relative newbie at New York Aikikai, although I had taken class in downtown Ithaca from our judo teacher's cousin who didn't really explain aikido,he just threw us, since we knew some ukemi from judo, which we also took from him there in addition to the Cornell class with Raoul. But it was a very valuable three months and influenced the rest of my life, so to speak.
Sorry about the long lead in, but actually it's the leading that is the point! We had to learn to hold on without tension, in order to be uke and if you took three classes a day sometimes at NY Aikikai that could be even an hour and a half of following nage around if there were a lot of tenkan turns in the techniques of the day. Anyway that's how I saw it.
I lived on the upper West Side at the time and had gotten off the subway and was crossing a street. On the next corner was scaffolding around a building, you know, the pipes supporting planks or whatever and I was concerned, like maybe I should cross the avenue to a more visible sidewalk...
Suddenly my purse flew by and my hand was still holding on, and my arm just seemed to get longer and longer, so That was the Aikido part. The more the teenage kid pulled, the more relaxed my grip got and the longer my arm seemed to get.
Why was this a non violent situation? Probably brains, although it was stupid of me to have the travelers check number list In the purse with the travelers checks.....
I think the general safety courses that the police might offer might say, just let go if it's kids and they are just purse snatchers that just want to run off with it.
They ran off without it.
I noticed previously that there were some pre teen and or teenage kids of mixed ages and something had told me usually kids hang out with their own age unless they are up to something. So if I had done a technique the others would have attacked me to defend their friend. Since I didn't they probably dispersed for fear of a cruising cop car catching them.... so I was lucky.
Later they had an information session at the dojo for the general public to learn about Aikido. This was back in the late sixties. A woman, seeming middle-aged and with what sounded like a European accent said, "But you must hold on to the bag tightly..." Well, it takes some time and practice to learn the tensionless grip, which babies do naturally. Ever try to get your pinkie finger away from a baby?
Maybe later for the other story. This one got real long but it might be interesting for some of you to note what newbies sometimes pick up from Aikido and end up using.