Re: What He learned from his near mugging
As much as Ellis's story about letting potential bad guys go may have ended up with someone down the road getting hurt, Ellis, as a gaijin in Japan, did what kept him out of jail.
At the Kodokan, in 1978, Sato sensei (no, I don't know his given name - it was 1978, he was rokudan, I was ikkyu, but he was with the police) was regularly teaching sessions at the gaijin dojo. He showed us a few things of "self defense" where - if a Japanese person attacked us, we could defend ourselves without actually hurting the citizen. As we were foreigners, (and he was a cop - oh, I've said that already) if any of us laid a hand on a citizen and left any welts or made them go sleepy-bye or leak red stuff, WE, the gaijin, would be in jail, and no matter how aggressive the citizen was, he or she would be the aggrieved party.
So, as much as it may have taken extra restraint, Ellis probably did the right thing - stopped an attack, kept himself whole, and got home in one piece. It probably helped a LOT that he could do the language. At the time, I couldn't. Still can't. Advice? If you're going to go to Japan for any length of time, learn the language.