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Old 03-05-2005, 10:45 PM   #11
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Location: Elgin, IL
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 165
Re: Without this, No Aikido

If ya'll don't response to this thread I am posting a response that I made in a Yoshinkan group regarding Aikido and fighting. I think it is some what related to this topic


From: charles burmeister <chuchucharlie@...>
Date: Tue Mar 1, 2005 6:10 pm
Subject: Re: Aikido in a fight

Sorry, this post is long!

I find this topic amusing in many respects. It seems that the majority of people responding to this topic have not been in an altercation since studying Aikido and or have never been in a altercation in their whole lives! I know that all the posters do not fall in this category, but there seems to be a lack of actual brawling experience...that is a good thing.

I have been in two "fights" since starting Aikido (Since I have discussed these situations previously with my sensei I don't think that they will cause him any embarrassment).

The first was when I was a lowly white belt and just started studying in Yokosuka, Japan. For those that don't know, Yokosuka houses a U.S. and Japanese Naval base. I am a former Marine from Chicago and at the time I was a civilian working for the Dept. of Defense. Most sailors had a certain amount of disdain for me for several reasons but mostly because I could come and go as I please, grow my hair any length, could halfway speak the language and..I was a former Marine. You could probably add quick wit and sharp tongue to that list as well ; )

Anyway, of course I found myself in a situation out on the "honch" (the bar district directly adjacent to the base). A disagreement between me and a sailor escalated and we decided to take it outside. As soon as I stepped out of that bar and went off to the sacred battle ground to quell this peasant uprising, I stopped applying Aikido. We all say that Aikido is not the techniques themselves but what we learn from the techniques, right? I disregarded any other avenues of approach I may have had and settled on what should have only been "my last resort". That fight.

What started as a fight between me and one person quickly turned into me and 3 angry sailors! Now, I'm only a lowly white belt right? I definitely don't have techniques to fall back on other than street fighting from growing up in Chicago and Marine Corps training. I did have one other thing going for me as well...kihon dosa and atemi. I had a strong enough foundation at the time to be able to keep moving and not have my balance taken from me.....for a while! By
the time they got me off my feet, they where too tired to do any damage. They actually walked away looking the worst. However, I felt defeated...I lost control of the most important

Just when you think you have learned a lesson, right...My second altercation! Now I am a Ni dan! Same "Honch", same bar, similar scenario. This time the sailors are from a visiting tender ship (repair ship). In my experience these ships, along with aircraft carriers, are the worst when in port because they have both women and men aboard! Young, male sailors become very territorial.

Me playing pool with a female sailor while her male consorts watch. They get jealous and start to chime and my friend bait them with no real intention to fight, however, the situation escalates and I find myself taking that walk to the "sacred battleground"...again! This time is much different though. I offer the sailor a truce - a way out. He declines and takes a big 'ole
round house swing at me.

Aikido TRAINING helps out!

The punch seems to take an eternity to get to me. When it does, I get off the line of attack and apply a nice, crisp, backhand atemi right on the tip of his nose. He looks bewildered and strikes again. I do exactly the same thing right down to thumping him on the nose just like we practice during shihonage. He bleeds and eyes water and I say to him, "look I really don't want to fight. I just want to drink my beer with my friend and play some pool. Lets go back in."
He agrees and we went back the amazement of everyone we where joking around and bought each other a round of drinks.

Again...I feel defeated. I lost control of me for a split second and allowed for it to go too far. Either way, I still feel that once I stepped out to the "battlefield" I stopped doing Aikido and was only applying physical techniques or movements. These were not situations where I had to fight. I disregarded the principles that Aikido teaches us.

These are the lasts fights I have been in since and I still learn from them today.


Charles Burmeister
Aikido Yoshinkan Yoseikai

"Calmness is trust in action"
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