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Old 09-21-2012, 12:16 AM   #1
SteliosPapadakis
Dojo: aikido-dojo-nippos
Location: Crete
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 97
Greece
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Taken by surprise

O Sensei's teacher had been said to have lived his life like a hunted animal. Takeda Sensei would always have a weapon next to him, even in the bath-tub, would make up the bed as if he was sleeping in/on it while he would be sleeping with one eye open in a shadowy corner of another room etc.
Perception, prevalence, predicting, looking ahead. Nobody would come closer that ma-ae and everyone a potential attacker.
Yes, nobody can live his life like that (today, in our "modern" society) without being diagnosed with some sort of nerve/brain dysfunction.
On the other hand...
I was down the local s/m with both kids and, while they were very close to me as the place was extremely crowded during the rush hour, i distracted my attention from them in order to reach and get a packet from a top shelf. Upon returning my eyes on the kids next to me, a person i know was standing immediately behind them and had rested his arms on their shoulders. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia some 15 years ago and he had been in and out of mental institutions. He attempted to murder his parents in the past and he had to be restrained for quite some time.
Feeling one: panic, sudden increase of all sorts of hormones.
Feeling two: how to prevent an attack to my kids by me attacking first, although he was standing behind them.
Feeling three: he looks calm, let's work on that.
He greeted me in a very warm way and i returned the greeting looking into his eyes while at the same time pushing my kids slowly but steadily behind me.
When they were "secure" behind my mass i offered my hand for a handshake. He shook my hand and i held it firmly while talking to him. He said he is working in that s/m and that he is feeling a lot better. He even got a fiancee and they will get married next summer.
After a minute or two of chit chat i let go of his hand, he returns to his post.
Gut feeling: strange, cannot be explained. Been doing Aikido for quite some time now and i just discovered i cannot be in full alert all the time, just cannot! The body, the mind, both, need some slack from being alert and in defcon 5 all the time. And it was that time precisely that something nasty could have happen.
Almost a month later, i still cannot help but wonder what might have happened that afternoon. And i still get chills...
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:30 AM   #2
JJF
 
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Dojo: Vestfyn Aikikai Denmark
Location: Vissenbjerg
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Denmark
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Re: Taken by surprise

I believe your aikido training is part of what prevented you from hitting the man. And it is also most likely one of the reasons that you ponder the situation so much now.

Don't think you failed because you had those instincts. Be happy that you succeded at handling the situation - not just react on an impulse.

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 09-21-2012, 10:32 AM   #3
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
Location: Stamford Connecticut
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Re: Taken by surprise

Thank you Stelios, for sharing your perceptions of this meeting in the supermarket. You were able to keep the attention of the other person while moving your kids to safety. You treated the other person like a person, like another human being, but were still able to be in a protective role. You are happy the other person has progressed but you are still cautious in your thinking and actions. Jorgen made a very good comment for you! You are a very wise aikidoka, physically, mentally and spiritually.
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:48 AM   #4
Rob Watson
Location: CA
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Re: Taken by surprise

Parents are always unbalanced by percieved threats to their children. Those without children will never know this state.

There are many registered sexual offenders (http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/) easily located. When I see them on the streets my blood runs cold. Eternal vigilance in all things ... practice 100% awareness even while asleep. No one claimed it would be easy or even possible.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:12 PM   #5
aiki-jujutsuka
 
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Re: Taken by surprise

Quote:
Diana Frese wrote: View Post
Thank you Stelios, for sharing your perceptions of this meeting in the supermarket. You were able to keep the attention of the other person while moving your kids to safety. You treated the other person like a person, like another human being, but were still able to be in a protective role. You are happy the other person has progressed but you are still cautious in your thinking and actions. Jorgen made a very good comment for you! You are a very wise aikidoka, physically, mentally and spiritually.
I agree with Diana well done in how you handled the situation; since I started AJJ my awareness of potential threats has increased. I don't listen to music anymore when walking because it blocks my sense of hearing, which is so important when discerning danger, I also read body language far more analytically. I try and remain calm but do practice visualization at times in how I would respond to hypothetical scenarios if I perceive someone might be volatile or prone to angry outbursts.
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:55 PM   #6
Shadowfax
 
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Dojo: Allegheny Aikido, Pitsburgh PA
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Re: Taken by surprise

I learned to be aware of and proactive about dangerous situations long before I started taking aikido. Living with a undiagnosed, and therefore untreated, schizophrenic alcoholic abuser will do that. Aikido training has just helped me be able to not live life as if every person around me was a potential threat. Being continually on red alert is a exhausting way to live. Being alert and aware and still relaxed and able to respond is really a gift.

The way you handled this was perfect. The guy was not given anything to react to that was negative and wit that sort of person you really want to keep low on the radar s as not to give them a reason to start making up stories in their head about people being out to get them.

Last edited by Shadowfax : 09-21-2012 at 02:57 PM.
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