Come on, he is a master of the thought-provoking anecdote, and his various writings on Terry Dobson were always meant to bear testimony on their friendship and how a great practitioner of aikido Mr Dobson was, not as attempts to put him on a pedestal.
Not to criticize anyone individual who does tell stories like the one in the thread, but it does put someone on a pedestal, intentionally or not. That is why I think such stories should be prefaced, because it is human to read such a story as written and not walk away with admiration if you see that violence solves a problem.
What if Terry was a woman, how do we expect women to act in such a situation. Do we encourage her to act as Terry did, to go over there and man-handle some guy? And honestly, Terry didn't feel his girl friend had the abilities to protect herself, and needed to rough up the guy. If Terry was a woman, we wouldn't expect woman to retaliate on someone else behalf for an assault- threatening words, gestures, and throwing a beer bottle.
We can look at Terry's action in a more common way out side of Aikido. His actions where about old fashion chivalry and a hot temper who choose to act in a violent manner to intimidate. Yea, you can throw in some male ego too-not that is a bad thing.
If you hold to Aikido philosophy, or even those of some religions, many society. Even though I understand Ellis's point. Terry's actions are violent and not acceptable. They didn't resolve anything other then stuff within Terry and his girlfriend, i.e. they felt better as a result. It wasn't the best way to resolve a conflict by greater standards.
Repeated stories of the same person will often make them bigger than life. They often don't capture the reality of what is being told. They also don't provide complete context of the events told by the story, they are usually one sided and come from the bias view point of the story teller. They often mislead the reader into misconceptions etc. Stories then are for the most part not accurate accounts of realities or facts, and shouldn't be seen as such. Because stories can be very misleading and untruthful.
Stories are wonderful things, we use them to inspire, teach, persuade, entertain, tell history, provoke thought, etc. But, they also and do create fantasy and don't accurately show reality. We can say stories like those of O'Sensei catching bullets created allot of misconception leading to the unrealistic views of Aikido and the abilities of Aikidoka and conflict resolution. That is my point, I am not wanting to criticize, but rather point out the effects of stories and how they affect readers. That is why they should be prefaced.
To add, think about all the stories that where once believed as fact, to be later discoved the author used a writer's (artistic) license, wasn't Oprah fooled as many sometime ago by someone who wrote a book as a true story and it wasn't.