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Old 05-20-2013, 06:14 AM   #57
Robert Cowham
Dojo: East Sheen Aikido and Kashima No Tachi
Location: London, UK
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 281
Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
And, in fact, this is very much on topic. The stories we tell ourselves (and others) about what's going on, what others are thinking, what their attitudes and motivations are, are the fodder of the false reality on which we base decisions about what threatens us and how to deal with it. And we see, in this case as in the large majority of "but what if some drunk guy starts grabbing my wife" scenarios, the will to believe that things are a certain way, in order to confirm our biases, far exceeds the rational impulse to not (for example) render titanically stupid judgments about what an entire city full of people were thinking and feeling.
I understand your viewpoint - though I think the article was responding more the the authorities method of response than of ordinary citizens. A couple of my aunt's friends who live fairly close to Waterstown said how it strengthened a sense of community in some way.

Perhaps this should be a new thread - but what is the best way to respond to terrorist attacks? What is the best way to respond to threats? Or indeed what are just good ways? How can you react sensibly to minimise threats while also not giving terrorists potential benefits, including publicity, disruption and inconvenience to the general population?

On a related note regarding airport security:

"I once put this question to Jacques Duchesneau (the former head of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority): say there is a bag with play-doh in it and two pens stuck in the play-doh. That is 'Bombs 101' to a screener. I asked Ducheneau, 'What would you do?' And he said, 'Evacuate the terminal.' And I said, 'Oh. My. God.'
"Take Pearson. Do you know how many people are in the terminal at all times? Many thousands. Let's say I'm (doing an evacuation) without panic which will never happen. But let's say this is the case. How long will it take? Nobody thought about it. I said, 'Two days.'"
A screener at Ben-Gurion has a pair of better options.
First, the screening area is surrounded by contoured, blast-proof glass that can contain the detonation of up to 100 kilos of plastic explosive. Only the few dozen people within the screening area need be removed, and only to a point a few metres away.
Second, all the screening areas contain 'bomb boxes'. If a screener spots a suspect bag, he/she is trained to pick it up and place it in the box, which is blast proof. A bomb squad arrives shortly and wheels the box away for further investigation.
"This is a very small simple example of how we can simply stop a problem that would cripple one of your airports," Sela said.
I've been affected by Heathrow closures due to bomb threats myself.

More on topic:

I basically don't encounter physical threats or situations in my life. What I do encounter on a very regular basis is challenges to my personal integrity or ethics or morals - often as throw away remarks made by someone. Finding a consistent way to respond to those, and not just letting them slide is not easy and takes continual effort, thought and review, and I fail often. I do believe there is something about challenging myself physically in Aikido and related arts that benefits me mentally. It's worth being pushed outside one's comfort zone sometimes. For me, training (solo) with a live blade challenges me and forces focus - and that brings benefits, as does paired training in kenjutsu.

I've always like Diane Skoss's article:
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