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Old 12-05-2007, 02:35 AM   #1
Roman Kremianski
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Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

I was walking in a subway station close to midnight after working late. As I was walking, I didn't realize it, but a big part of my Aikido was already not present. With some Xzibit pounding in my ears, I adopted my music listening habit of both hands in pockets with head straight down to the floor.

Mid verse, I felt something hard bump into me and the music abruptly stop. After working a 12 hour shift, I was pretty much zoned out at this point. I looked up mildly to see that a guy was briskly walking away from me holding my headphones. I thought it was a prank, so I began walking after the guy. While walking, my mysterious snatcher turned around and gave me a huge grin while speeding up at the same time. At this point, I became irritated. I increased my pace, with the intention retrieving my headphones via clinch and several knees to the body.

Suddenly I staggered backwards as I felt a hand grasp my backpack. Genuinely pissed off as someone has now twice touched my belongs, I heard a voice say "Not so fast" and wheeled around to find about 6 of the guy's homies around me. Scenarios started buzzing in my head like math equations. Many started out with snapping the arm holding my backpack, but almost all finished with me getting shit kicked on the ground or stabbed. Something in my head clicked, and I simply walked through the small crowd out into the street and home.

It's not really the $19.99 I lost on the headphones that bugs me, but the condition my awareness was in prior to the encounter. Despite no longer doing Aikido and pursuing MMA, my brain still managed to keep me in reality.

Last edited by Roman Kremianski : 12-05-2007 at 02:45 AM.
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Old 12-05-2007, 05:33 AM   #2
Amir Krause
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

You did the smart thing.

And you should not be so dissapointed with yourself. Living in state red or yellow all the time does have a price too.

Amir
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Old 12-05-2007, 06:18 AM   #3
Mark Uttech
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Giving up awareness is always the first mistake.

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 12-05-2007, 07:01 AM   #4
crbateman
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Your problem actually started before your lapse in awareness. Fact is, a crowded subway station is not the best place to display your electronics gadgetry, as it leads others to temptation in a place where opportunity is good. On or off the mat, an ounce of forethought outweighs a pound of hindsight. Fortunately, your reasoning kicked in quickly enough to prevent a further problem and hasten your exit from the situation. Things can be replaced, lives cannot. You have learned a valuable lesson for what amounts to a bargain price: Put your valuables out of sight. Xzibit will understand.
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Old 12-05-2007, 07:15 AM   #5
dps
 
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

I am glad that you survived the encounter with no harm done to you. I would say that your Aikido
Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
. Something in my head clicked, and I simply walked through the small crowd out into the street and home.
got you out of a potentially lethal situation, whereas your MMA
Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
. Scenarios started buzzing in my head like math equations. Many started out with snapping the arm holding my backpack, but almost all finished with me getting shit kicked on the ground or stabbed.
would not have.

The difference between Aikido and MMA?

David

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events not of words. Trust movement. --Alfred Adler
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Old 12-05-2007, 07:34 AM   #6
DonMagee
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Do you really need any martial arts to know not to pick a fight with 6 guys in a subway?

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 12-05-2007, 07:54 AM   #7
Dewey
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
...
It's not really the $19.99 I lost on the headphones that bugs me, but the condition my awareness was in prior to the encounter. Despite no longer doing Aikido and pursuing MMA, my brain still managed to keep me in reality.
Ah yes, zanshin.

All too often, it's just merely (as well as poorly) translated as "awareness." It's meaning is so much more complex that it defies adequate translation. More of a shame is that it's not frequently spoken of enough in dojos.

Zanshin is an essential survival skill...regardless of the art/style studied. It's more important in the real world than it is in the dojo. Perhaps in today's self-defense terminology, we can equate it to the self-defense or survival mindset.

FWIW
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Old 12-05-2007, 08:23 AM   #8
Marc Abrams
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

This incident clearly illustrates the difference between self-protection and self-defense. I am currently putting together a self-protection course for women and will use this as a case example. One of the issues that I highlight is that if the person (s) have made contact and self-defense options arise, it may already be too late.

1) Proper preparation: Are we prepared to go and do what we are going to do/go in a manner that allows us to protect ourselves?

2) Situational Awareness: How aware are we in our environment? I personally think that the personal music devices are invitations for predators to seek us out.

3) Self-Protection: What tools do we have to be able to protect us from others entering our personal spaces?

4) Self-Defense: What tools do we have to be able to defend ourselves from others in our personal space.

The fact that you can talk about the incident, and do not have any physical reminders of the event, means that the outcome was in your favor. The real questions are:

1) What have you learned from this incident?
2) How can you prevent a similar incident from happening in the future?

Marc Abrams
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Old 12-05-2007, 09:18 AM   #9
Aikibu
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

I am glad you're ok Roman...Martial Awareness should be the goal of any practice Aikido or MMA. Hopefully you'll keep your head up from now on and your "radar" on. I was at a shopping mall late last week and noticed small groups of young men scoping the late night crowd It looked harmless but you never know... and all that matters is I know and I am aware...Outstanding Judgement on your part not to sacrifice your being for a pair of headphones...

William Hazen
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Old 12-05-2007, 09:48 AM   #10
Mato-san
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Relaxation saved another life "WOW"

Before you drive or steer your vehicle, you must first start the engine, release the brake and find gear!
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Old 12-05-2007, 10:29 AM   #11
Amir Krause
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
I am glad that you survived the encounter with no harm done to you. I would say that your Aikido got you out of a potentially lethal situation, whereas your MMA would not have.

The difference between Aikido and MMA?

David
Do you really believe that????

Somehow I bllieve every sensible person would have acted the same way once he realized the situation.

Amir
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:14 AM   #12
charyuop
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Dang, you missed a chance to try a real life Randori...how coward!!!

Kidding apart, I am glad those idiots where happy with what they got and didn't go for more.
True in the place you were and the time of night it was it would have require a little bit more of attention by your side. Anyway, I wouldn't want people who talk about Martial Art awareness to cross the border line. I was about to do it when I started Aikido and started reading books about Budo and MA in general.
Awareness is a good thing, but watch out coz the step between awareness and paranoia is not that big.
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:17 AM   #13
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Your Aikido got you out of a potentially lethal situation, whereas your MMA would not have.
The first plan had nothing to do with MMA. If I were to do something with the arm holding my backpack, it would have most likely been a variation of shihonage practiced in the dojos thousands of times, rather then a strike. A big point of my post was to show that you don't need to be an Aikidoka to do Aikido in real situations. Any MMA guy would have done the same, even if they've never heard of Aikido.
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:27 AM   #14
Dewey
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Gianluigi Pizzuto wrote: View Post
...
Awareness is a good thing, but watch out coz the step between awareness and paranoia is not that big.
True enough. I completely agree. Martial awareness, zanshin, self-defense mindset...whatever you want to call it, can easily deteriorate into paranoia if one doesn't keep up with their required doses of reality.

It's one thing to prepare yourself physically and psychologically for the possibility of an attack/assault...it's another to expect it and even look for it around every corner. Obviously, this does not apply to law enforcement & military...who intentionally put themselves in harm's way.

I've met some self-defense "nutjobs" before...scary stuff. Luckily, many of them shy away from Aikido...it's not brutal enough of a martial art for them.

Last edited by Dewey : 12-05-2007 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:33 AM   #15
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
Scenarios started buzzing in my head like math equations. Many started out with snapping the arm holding my backpack, but almost all finished with me getting shit kicked on the ground or stabbed. Something in my head clicked, and I simply walked through the small crowd out into the street and home.
O Sensei:

"A person who in any situation perceives the truth with resignation would never need to draw his sword in haste."

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:35 AM   #16
Mato-san
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

put it in practise..... yes?

Before you drive or steer your vehicle, you must first start the engine, release the brake and find gear!
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:59 AM   #17
James Davis
 
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
I didn't realize it, but a big part of my Aikido was already not present. With some Xzibit pounding in my ears, I adopted my music listening habit of both hands in pockets with head straight down to the floor.
That's how the werewolves get you! Don't you watch movies?!

Looking at the floor when we walk can sometimes lead predatory types to assume weakness on our part. Keep your head up, even when work has kicked your ass. It's not just yourself that you have to worry about. A lady, an elderly person, or a small child can be assaulted too. They may need you, if not to defend their life, then to be a witness at the very least.

Nice job adapting to the situation and getting home alive. I'm glad you're alraight.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 12-05-2007, 12:00 PM   #18
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Gianluigi Pizzuto wrote:
...
Awareness is a good thing, but watch out coz the step between awareness and paranoia is not that big.

The "step" isn't that small either. I think it's important to engage in awareness exercises on the street regularly. I try to pretty regularly and find it actually quite relaxing. Usually when I'm walking from the parking lot to my work place. I vary the path I take to my building. I focus on breathing and "feeling" my environment. I try to notice people before they notice me and sometimes go through some practice scenarios in my head. I't takes a little practice and discipline to be aware of whats going on around you with all the distractions we have in life. .
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Old 12-05-2007, 12:01 PM   #19
Aikibu
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Gianluigi Pizzuto wrote: View Post
but watch out coz the step between awareness and paranoia is not that big.
I disagree... The gap between awareness and paranoia is as big as the Grand Canyon and you can only cross it on the bridge of fear...

One thing Roman appeared not to do is panic...Although he got caught with his guard down he weighed his options and chose the best course of action givin his situation. There would appear to be a bit of luck involved as the gang did not want to escalate the encounter and Roman walked away. that being said a paranoid man would have freaked (or perhaps not left his hidden closet at home LOL ) and perhaps overreacted. Roman had training and did not, and was nice enough to attribute it to Aikido though any good Martial Training would teach you about Martial Awareness.

A part of Martial Awareness is about knowing what to do with fear...Paranoia is all about fear and not knowing how to deal with it in a "healthy manner."

WIlliam Hazen
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Old 12-05-2007, 12:26 PM   #20
ChrisMoses
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Roman, I'm glad you made the smart decision and kept your head. I'm at a loss however as to how to shoehorn anything you've described into the term "Aikido".

Chris Moses
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Old 12-05-2007, 01:12 PM   #21
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Roman, I'm glad you made the smart decision and kept your head. I'm at a loss however as to how to shoehorn anything you've described into the term "Aikido".
Chris,
All Budo, Aikido and otherwise, is about being "present" and aware. 90% of "real world" self defense is not being caught by surprise. Being out on the street but lost in your own little world with your head phones on and paying no attention to anyone or anything is not good Budo.

When I lived in DC and was training at the dojo there, I had to take the metro home late at night and walk from Dupont Circle to my condo a few blocks away. I was always aware of everyone on the same block I was, who got on and off the train, etc. I was always amazed at how people would walk around at night there and have no idea what was going on around them. Sometimes on my way home, I would walk past people from behind and they would never have looked to see who was coming. Any decent martial arts training should be teaching you to pay attention.
- George

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Old 12-05-2007, 01:16 PM   #22
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Gregg Block wrote: View Post
Gianluigi Pizzuto wrote:
...
Awareness is a good thing, but watch out coz the step between awareness and paranoia is not that big.
Actually, these are two totally separate things. Awareness is about how you reach out to the world and open yourself up to it. Paranoia is about resisting, closing off from, rejecting what you see there. Never is simply "paying attention" a form of paranoia. But being fearful of what you encounter often is.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 12-05-2007, 01:27 PM   #23
ChrisMoses
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Chris,
All Budo, Aikido and otherwise, is about being "present" and aware. 90% of "real world" self defense is not being caught by surprise. Being out on the street but lost in your own little world with your head phones on and paying no attention to anyone or anything is not good Budo.
That's exactly why I didn't see anything like "aikido" or any other type of budo and I certainly wouldn't call the scenario a "partial sucess with Aikido". Roman let one guy pull his headphones right off of his head, then still didn't notice that he'd been surrounded by six other guys, one obviously close enough to restrain him by his backpack. That doesn't sound like someone doing Aikido, that sounds like a lucky victim. I don't see how this could be described as an example of how Aikido 'worked' in a real encounter.

Chris Moses
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Old 12-05-2007, 03:24 PM   #24
Aiki1
 
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

I feel differently than most of what has been said about this. Half of my Aikido training/teaching is about how to "find yourself" and "do Aikido" when you Are in fact taken by surprise, freaked out, have lost your center, and are about to be overwhelmed - which is just as likely to happen as anything else.

Awareness is most desirable, of course. But life can certainly be totally unexpected, and often is. To me, the "greater" facility or skill is to understand what to do when you "don't" have your "wits about you." We call it Chaos Aikido training, and to me, it's representative of what a huge part of understanding what "going with the flow (of life)" is all about. It's when the -unexpected- happens that one's true relationship with Budo and Aikido shows itself.

Larry Novick
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Old 12-05-2007, 03:30 PM   #25
Dewey
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Re: Partial sucess with Aikido on "the street"

Quote:
Gregg Block wrote: View Post
Gianluigi Pizzuto wrote:
...
Awareness is a good thing, but watch out coz the step between awareness and paranoia is not that big.

The "step" isn't that small either. I think it's important to engage in awareness exercises on the street regularly. I try to pretty regularly and find it actually quite relaxing. Usually when I'm walking from the parking lot to my work place. I vary the path I take to my building. I focus on breathing and "feeling" my environment. I try to notice people before they notice me and sometimes go through some practice scenarios in my head. I't takes a little practice and discipline to be aware of whats going on around you with all the distractions we have in life. .
Interesting! Sounds like my favorite game I do at work. I call it "radar." I work as a contractor at a major Midwestern aerospace manufacturer. In the assembly plant whenever there's people walking behind me, I like to guess: how many, what gender, their bodytype & weight, and especially their "mood"...all based upon their footfalls. Then I discreetly make a visual confirmation to see how accurate I was. Try it...it's fun and addictive! Another one is trying to focus on how many machines I can count running simultaneously based upon their distinctive sounds.

This is how I keep sharp.

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
I disagree... The gap between awareness and paranoia is as big as the Grand Canyon and you can only cross it on the bridge of fear...
[cut/edit]
A part of Martial Awareness is about knowing what to do with fear...Paranoia is all about fear and not knowing how to deal with it in a "healthy manner."
That's it in a nutshell. An essential aspect of real self-defense training that's often not talked about because us men don't like to admit that we get scared. It's a normal & very healthy human emotion. Learning what to do with it is where the work begins.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Chris,
All Budo, Aikido and otherwise, is about being "present" and aware. 90% of "real world" self defense is not being caught by surprise. Being out on the street but lost in your own little world with your head phones on and paying no attention to anyone or anything is not good Budo.
Amen!

Makes me think of that famous scene in Kurosawa's Seven Samurai when the lead samurai, Shimada Kambei, conducts the interviews to recruit the remaining members of the group...with his apprentice hiding inside the doorway ready to club the interviewees over the head as their one and only test.

Last edited by Dewey : 12-05-2007 at 03:33 PM.
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