Taken by surprise
O Sensei's teacher had been said to have lived his life like a hunted animal. Takeda Sensei would always have a weapon next to him, even in the bath-tub, would make up the bed as if he was sleeping in/on it while he would be sleeping with one eye open in a shadowy corner of another room etc.
Perception, prevalence, predicting, looking ahead. Nobody would come closer that ma-ae and everyone a potential attacker.
Yes, nobody can live his life like that (today, in our "modern" society) without being diagnosed with some sort of nerve/brain dysfunction.
On the other hand...
I was down the local s/m with both kids and, while they were very close to me as the place was extremely crowded during the rush hour, i distracted my attention from them in order to reach and get a packet from a top shelf. Upon returning my eyes on the kids next to me, a person i know was standing immediately behind them and had rested his arms on their shoulders. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia some 15 years ago and he had been in and out of mental institutions. He attempted to murder his parents in the past and he had to be restrained for quite some time.
Feeling one: panic, sudden increase of all sorts of hormones.
Feeling two: how to prevent an attack to my kids by me attacking first, although he was standing behind them.
Feeling three: he looks calm, let's work on that.
He greeted me in a very warm way and i returned the greeting looking into his eyes while at the same time pushing my kids slowly but steadily behind me.
When they were "secure" behind my mass i offered my hand for a handshake. He shook my hand and i held it firmly while talking to him. He said he is working in that s/m and that he is feeling a lot better. He even got a fiancee and they will get married next summer.
After a minute or two of chit chat i let go of his hand, he returns to his post.
Gut feeling: strange, cannot be explained. Been doing Aikido for quite some time now and i just discovered i cannot be in full alert all the time, just cannot! The body, the mind, both, need some slack from being alert and in defcon 5 all the time. And it was that time precisely that something nasty could have happen.
Almost a month later, i still cannot help but wonder what might have happened that afternoon. And i still get chills...