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Old 10-20-2001, 10:53 PM   #1
arvin m.
Join Date: Apr 2001
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Achieving harmony: To what extent?

Hello everyone hope y'all doing fine!!

As martial artistes, particularly aikidoka, we constantly strive via our practice of the the art to achieve the vision of O Sensei, that is, the establishment of a peaceful, harmonious society. I would hence like to pose this following scenario

Say im in a bar and i see some smaller guy getting pushed around for no reason, or maybe lets ratchet this up a bit, im on the street see someone about to get pounded by thugs. As a martial artist, I took an oath to protect the weak with my technique and knowledge of the art. I see disharmony being propagated in front of my eyes thru the violent actions of others. Do i therefore "fight" ie use my technique to restore this harmony?

In essence do we use force to stop force? Ours arises out of goodwill, and an agressor's out of ill intent...any comments? Should this be how martial artistes like us behave? Or should we just be placid, maybe call the police? (it might be too late...)
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Old 10-21-2001, 07:01 AM   #2
mj
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Hmmm, very generalised scenario.

I don't think it's possible to say.

The least harm would be caused if the victim just took a couple of hits, and the thugs went on their way.

Put it this way, say it was an adult assaulting a small child?

What if it was a parent?
It's all to confusing.

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Old 10-21-2001, 08:43 AM   #3
guest1234
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Yeah, let's say it's this fairly big guy, kinda rough looking, and he's pulling on the purse of this skinny little woman, who is screaming bloody murder for help. Why aren't those onlookers helping her, we think, as we pound the guy, who starts yelling at us in some foreign language---which we of course don't understand---mixed in with a few 'stop!'s.

Once he's down, she kicks him in the ribs before dashing around the corner as the police pull up. They were called by someone as you were pounding the guy. Turns out he is a newly naturalized citizen who works 18 hours a day to support his family, and since his wife was killed in the WTT collapse has been also raising their four children alone. The skinny little woman is a known (to all but you) crack addict who took his entire days wages at knife point and was making her (now) succesful get away.

I'm not saying you should never intervene, but perhaps 'fight' should not be the first thing (only thing) in one's differential of actions.
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Old 10-21-2001, 12:15 PM   #4
aikilouis
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Colleen, vous etes formidable !

Ouch ! Ouch ! Not on the head !

Louis R Joseph
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Old 10-21-2001, 07:55 PM   #5
TheProdigy
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No reason not to intervene. You have to assume who seems to be the victim, really could be the victim! I don't think you need to pound on the aggressor either. Essentially, if you must get in the mix do so. If you get attacked for jumping in at tryin to stop the violence, then use your training. Neutralize the attack w/ minimum harm done to everyone and try to go from there.

Of course, this is just my somewhat idealistic approach to how it should be handled. If you've only been practicing a yr or 2, maybe your best bet would be to get some help in it yourself. Really a judgement call as to whether or not to intervene.

Just my thoughts,
-Jase

Jason Hobbs
"As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life."
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Old 10-21-2001, 09:31 PM   #6
TomW
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Smile

Here's some food for thought by Terry Dobson on the subject:

-- URL to copyrighted material deleted --

Tom Wharton.

Last edited by akiy : 10-22-2001 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 10-22-2001, 06:35 AM   #7
Ghost Fox
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Let me put it this way. Would Morihei Ueshiba do nothing? Would Musashi do nothing? Would Gandhi do nothing?

"When good people do nothing, that is evil enough." I forget who said this, but if we want to make the world a better place we can just stand idley by. I'll stop here before a begin another sermon.



I tend to agree with TheProdigy, but I would probably call the police first on my cell phone. That way if I get the crap beat out of me, at least the cops know where my body will be.

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Old 10-22-2001, 06:38 AM   #8
ian
 
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Hi Tom, couldn't access that site for some reason.

As an "aikidoka" I wouldn't say I strive for a peaceful, harmonious society in the way you (Arvin) infer. And I have made no vow myself to protec "the weak". (Maybe the strong are those that can take a good beating without blinking an eye lid, and not even care about it!). I think it is fair to say that Ueshiba was trying to propogate peace etc. However many "aikidoka" don't follow his exact spiritual beliefs.

For example, I would consider life to be harmonious in its existence already. You can't resist the natural yin/yang of our existence (that is why aikido works). Try to be too much of a goody goody, and people will resent it - leading to 'evil' deads (especially if they see you as interfering).

Things happen for a reason (cause & effect), and a cultured reaction to events tends to suggest that we deal with the less proximate causes of the event. Maybe we should help people not to be aggressive?, maybe we should train ourselves not to be disturbed and feel compelled to act by such events ? etc etc. However all this is still not looking at the 'original' cause.

For me, I try to practise behaviours which I feel are beneficial to my psychological well being (and thus establish good karma). It is purely selfish in one way, but it means that I often act in a benevolent manner. This also means I sometimes get into fights protecting others. But it also means I'm free to apologise when I'm wrong and make a mis-judgement (which none of us can avoid). Most importantly though, it stops me looking at people as 'good' and 'evil' (which seems a horrible dichotomy we have absorbed by manipulative religions which wish to dehumanise others), but see others as less or more able to practise behaviours which are psychologically good for themselves.

This has nothing to do with social responsibility, trying to get to heaven or trying to be better than anyone else. Its because I benefit from it and because I believe my behaviour should naturally eminate from myself - from who I am, not from a set of manipulative social codes. It also allows me to adapt to the situation at hand and learn from experience, instead of categorising events.

There is a zen saying which goes something like, "by all accounts you may steal a poor man's ox or take food from a hungry man".

However you are obviously how you are, just as I am as I am (and we're probably both too over analytical!), so no worries!

Ian
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Old 10-22-2001, 10:23 AM   #9
AskanisoN
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Hi All,

One thing that concerns me the most about this senario is the perception that law-enforcement and government have of martial artist and "black belts" in general. Depending on where you live, it may not be a good idea (if you are not the one being assaulted) to take matters into your own hands. If you live in the U.S., you might want to check your local and state laws. I say this because life is not always ideal. YOU may be the one going to jail for assault! And I don't know about you folks, but thats the last place I'd want to have to use my aikido!

As for myself, (unless someone was being literaly stabed or beat to death in front of my eyes) I would be more inclined to get help first than take it apon myself to resolve the situation. A more experienced aikidoka might feel differently.

Best to All,

Scott
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Old 10-22-2001, 06:20 PM   #10
Jim23
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
Yeah, let's say it's this fairly big guy, kinda rough looking, and he's pulling on the purse of this skinny little woman, who is screaming bloody murder for help. Why aren't those onlookers helping her, we think, as we pound the guy, who starts yelling at us in some foreign language---which we of course don't understand---mixed in with a few 'stop!'s.

Once he's down, she kicks him in the ribs before dashing around the corner as the police pull up. They were called by someone as you were pounding the guy. Turns out he is a newly naturalized citizen who works 18 hours a day to support his family, and since his wife was killed in the WTT collapse has been also raising their four children alone. The skinny little woman is a known (to all but you) crack addict who took his entire days wages at knife point and was making her (now) succesful get away.
Hi Colleen,

When does the book come out?

Jim23

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 10-23-2001, 06:03 AM   #11
ian
 
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Personally I think your own ethics system is more important than the law. If you save someones life, is that worth going to prison for?

(Maybe its the law that is wrong, rather than the individual!)

Ian

P.S. according to Colleens scenario, the law would probably say the man was in the wrong and should have let the crack addict run away (esp. since she was armed) and report the theft to the police.

Maybe it is wrong to attack someone (or use force to get what you want) whatever the cause!

Last edited by ian : 10-23-2001 at 06:07 AM.
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Old 10-23-2001, 09:10 AM   #12
Richard Harnack
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Smile Since you asked for my opinion

Here are a few things to be considered:
1. You were correct in assuming as a trained person it is your responsibity to intervene. Here's why.

You have some "protection" under the general "good samaritan" common sense assumption. If you see someone bleeding arterially, and you make a good honest attempt to stem the bleeding, you are "protected" even if they die because you were acting as a good samaritan.

The codicil to this behavior is if you are a trained medical person and you "pass by" because you are afraid of being sued, you stand a chance of losing your license because you are now in violation of your licensure.

As a trained person, you are responsibile for your training. Thus, even if you step in to help someone in trouble, you cannot use any more force than is required to subdue the assailant.

2. Even in the case of the bit of melodrama detailed above, your best mode of behavior is to subdue the apparent assailant, while keeping the "victim" in the same general locale.

One bit of practical advice, when and if the police arrive and ask all to surrender to them, do so.

If you were successful in subduing the one person, retrieving the purse and keeping the other person in the vicinity, guess who is standing there with the purse in their possession?

If need be, go to the station house and let it all be sorted out there. You will be inconvenienced and embarrassed, but you would still have done a good thing.

3. Lastly, the built in assumption most have made in their discussion here is that you will have to "do Aikido" on someone.

Perhaps before you jump in with your most vicious nikkyo, if you were to ask in a voice from your center, "What is going on here?" you might bring and end to the situation and actually find out what is going on.

I grant it is no where nearly as adventuresome and romantic, but it oftentimes is the most effective course.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 10-23-2001, 05:44 PM   #13
deepsoup
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Re: Since you asked for my opinion

Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Harnack
1. You were correct in assuming as a trained person it is your responsibity to intervene.
Please forgive me, Richard, if I'm misunderstanding you here. My comments aren't aimed at you, or anyone else posting to this thread, but that line got me thinking..

In the scenario originally described, you are not a 'trained person' to deal with that situation unless you are a police officer or somesuch. And if you were, I suspect the first thing you'd be trained to do is call in, possibly requesting backup, before getting involved.

This question (whether or not to get involved) crops up quite a bit in martial arts forums, and people sometimes talk about whether they should get involved, whilst assuming that they could, if they so chose, wade in and dispense justice in a Batman stylee.

The underlying assumption, that if we decide to beat up the bad guy we're actually capable of doing so, is terribly dangerous.
Sometimes, bad guys who beat people up for real are very much better at it than good guys who simulate beating each other up in the dojo.

Personally, I think if it is right for you to intervene, dive in there and defend somebody, or whatever, the chances are you will do it without even thinking. You either do it, instinctively, or you probably shouldn't do it anyway.

Maybe this is missing the point a little though. Rather than worrying what to do as a 'trained person', we should think more about what to do as just a regular person.

Sean
x
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Old 10-23-2001, 10:17 PM   #14
TomW
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Talking

Sorry everyone, apparently I ran into a minor copyright issue.

The story I am refering to is the one about Terry Dobson on a train in Tokyo during his uchi-deshi days.

If you haven't read it, it's well worth it.

If someone happened to type "Terry Dobson" into some place like....say...google.com, that someone might find a suspiciously similar story.

Of course, I didn't tell you any of this and I was never here.

Regards,
Tom Wharton
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Old 10-24-2001, 12:46 AM   #15
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by TomW
Sorry everyone, apparently I ran into a minor copyright issue.
Then I believe that 42.3519% of all Aikidoists have violated that copyright. That story has been all over the place for years.

Quote:
Originally posted by Colleen Annes
Turns out he is a newly naturalized citizen who works 18 hours a day to support his family, and since his wife was killed in the WTT collapse has been also raising their four children alone. The skinny little woman is a known (to all but you) crack addict who took his entire days wages at knife point and was making her (now) succesful get away.
Or,

he's a known abuser of women. His wife, for the first time is fighting back. You don't intervene. Tomorrow, in the newspaper you read about an OJ style murder which you could have prevented.

Quote:
Originally posted by Colleen Annes
I'm not saying you should never intervene, but perhaps 'fight' should not be the first thing (only thing) in one's differential of actions.
And now, I present, "Erik's translation of what they say vs. what they really mean".

"I want to learn self-defense."

translation

"I want to be able to win a fight."
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Old 10-24-2001, 08:59 AM   #16
Richard Harnack
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Do symbol Re: Trained person

Quote:
Originally posted by deepsoup


Please forgive me, Richard, if I'm misunderstanding you here. My comments aren't aimed at you, or anyone else posting to this thread, but that line got me thinking..

In the scenario originally described, you are not a 'trained person' to deal with that situation unless you are a police officer or somesuch. And if you were, I suspect the first thing you'd be trained to do is call in, possibly requesting backup, before getting involved.
Sean
x
Sean -
By "trained person" I meant anyone with sufficient amount of skill which they are comfortable utilizing to abate a bad situation.

Usually, certain types of boxers and professional fighters are held to a higher standard to refrain from using their skills outside of the field of competition. However, the same professional, if through their intervention could mitigate in a positive fashion a negative situation, would be expected to help out.

As to amateurs, most of the martial arts community, we are liable for our training both positively and negatively.

Positively in that we can be reasonably expected to intervene in a situation where our efforts would make a positive difference.

Negatively if we use our skills in excess of what is called for.

No matter how you slice it, you are responsible for what you know. With increased knowledge, skill and ability also comes the duty to behave in an ethical and responsible manner.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 10-24-2001, 05:05 PM   #17
deepsoup
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Re: Re: Trained person

Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Harnack

By "trained person" I meant anyone with sufficient amount of skill which they are comfortable utilizing to abate a bad situation.

Usually, certain types of boxers and professional fighters are held to a higher standard to refrain from using their skills outside of the field of competition. However, the same professional, if through their intervention could mitigate in a positive fashion a negative situation, would be expected to help out.

As to amateurs, most of the martial arts community, we are liable for our training both positively and negatively.

Positively in that we can be reasonably expected to intervene in a situation where our efforts would make a positive difference.

Negatively if we use our skills in excess of what is called for.

No matter how you slice it, you are responsible for what you know. With increased knowledge, skill and ability also comes the duty to behave in an ethical and responsible manner.
Hi Richard,

I dont think I want to add anything much to my previous post, except to say that in every important regard, I agree with you.

You said "as a trained person it is your responsibilty to intervene", and I would prefer to say "as a person, it is your responsibility to do what you can".
The difference is slight, but, pedantic swine that I am, I think it's significant.

I dont feel any special responsibility attaches to being a martial artist. (In most of our cases an amateur, and, lets be honest with ourselves, basically pretty inept martial artist.) We just have the same responsibility of every other, ordinary human being: to help out if you can.

Your training (along with a million other factors) may have a bearing on what options are available, and how little or how much you can do to help. But it has no bearing at all on your obligation to do it.

Sean
x
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Old 10-25-2001, 04:19 AM   #18
ian
 
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I'd agree with you Sean - I have known of incidents where old women have stopped men fighting; in fact being perceived as 'weaker' can often help to stop fights more effectively because it is considered less socially acceptable to attack 'weaker' people.

This thread also made me think of the holocaust. Many Jews were persecuted in Germany (put into all Jew housing, and being segregated as 'Jews' etc). At the time many people would have thought, yes, maybe this is for the greater good of Germany; and many would have gone along with it because they felt they didn't know enough about the situation to act. I think it is always true that you'll never know everything about a particular situation. However in-action is as much of a choice as action. And I for one would not blame someone for acting inappropriately because they mis-understood the situation - and (as mentioned) that is why verbal action is probably the best 1st response.

Ian
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Old 10-25-2001, 04:46 AM   #19
ian
 
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Just to illustrate my two previous points; these events happened to me:

1.
I was in a pub and saw two men kicking another man who was groaning on the floor. It was very crowded but nobody was stopping it and I was several meters away. I stood up at my table (even though my friends were telling me to keep out of it) and shouted "Oi" at the top of my voice. The two men stopped and turned towards me (at which point I was actually quite bemused, cos I didn't expect them to stop - and could think of nothing else to do except to shout f**k off). However this had bought enough time for the bar staff (who was a small woman) to chuck the two offenders out. Later I found out that they had attacked him for over-hearing the assulted men saying a sexual comment about one of the girlfriends of the attackers. (Something like - I'd give her one). Maybe they thought it was justified - but I didn't and I was happy I intervened. (also shows the benefit of ki-ai!)

2. I was in a night club when I saw a very large man pushing another badly beaten man(blood litterally pouring out of his face) across the dance floor. Fearing for this mans life I jumped the big man from behind in a choke - it was then that I realised the big bloke had a ear-piece (obviously a bouncer, and he was escorting someone out after a fight). I let go very rapidly and tried to apologise and explain (though the noise was too loud). However he understood my body language (hands open etc), though he was still obliged to throw me out. However he did it very gently with a 'type' of kote-gaeshi hold (with absolutely no pressure).

In both cases I was glad I acted.

In fact, I think it is often EASIER to assess situations when it is someone else being attacked because you can think 'very little justifies that type of physical abuse', whereas often if you are attacked youself you ask yourself 'what did I do wrong'.

Aikido most be one of the few martial arts where you can actually produce a graded response to violence and therefore enables you to back down from a situation in which you have misinterpreted it!

Ian
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Old 10-25-2001, 08:17 AM   #20
Richard Harnack
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Talking Repsonsible persons

Sean & Ian -
First off Sean, my pedantic is bigger than yours .

While it is desirable that all people intervene in situations requiring such, I do hold it to be a greater responsibility for a trained person to so before anyone else. The level of intervention is to be determined by the skill of the person and the circumstances.

Ian, in all of my years of training and in conversations with other martial artists, the usual phrase preceding any description of how they had to use their training is "I was at this bar/pub and..." The main variant of this phrase being "Me and my buds/chums were drinking the other night..."

My theory is that if you want to avoid fights do go where they are most likely to occur, ie. bars, clubs, pubs, soccer/football matches, etc. (By the way I see Arsenal is up in their ratings )

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 10-25-2001, 09:11 AM   #21
andrew
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Re: Repsonsible persons

Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Harnack
(By the way I see Arsenal is up in their ratings )
They're lacking just that little edge to finish lesser teams off though. Too many comebacks happening against them. Doing just fine in Europe, mind.


andrew
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Old 10-25-2001, 02:23 PM   #22
Richard Harnack
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Talking Arsenal et al

Quote:
Originally posted by andrew

They're lacking just that little edge to finish lesser teams off though. Too many comebacks happening against them. Doing just fine in Europe, mind.
andrew
Andrew -
If it was not for the BBC World Service featuring Daljit at 10:30 PM our time, I would not even know that much.

Thought I'd just tweak Ian a bit.


PS: I see Italy is doing very well, thank you. That being my "Mother" country.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 10-26-2001, 04:28 AM   #23
ian
 
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Yep Richard - caught me out. I think alcohol and fighting definately have a stong relationship. However I don't actually try to avoid fights. Since I was quite young I've actually enjoyed fighting (as I think is quite natural for many young men). However I do feel that forcing people to obey you (physically, verbally or manipulatively) is inappropriate so I don't ever start any! Also - my hangovers tend to be very severe now so I try to avoid drinking excessively!

Ian
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Old 10-26-2001, 08:41 AM   #24
Richard Harnack
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Thumbs up Drinking & Fighting

Ian-
I assume by your address and your post that you are still relatively young compared to me, although I am relatively young compared to most mountain ranges.

Hence your propensity to believe that fighting is something young men do, fallacious it may be, is somewhat understandable.

I trust that you have not destroyed any football venues.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 10-26-2001, 10:30 AM   #25
Abasan
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Wink

Hello, (i'm a newbie, so pls forgive any mistakes).

Actually i've been in such a scenario before. back when i was in the UK. Walking back home after getting dump by my girl, i came across a scuffle right in front of my building. it was a pakistani man and a caucasian girl. My mind was distraught, plus the guy my girl dump me for was a pakistani as well (you can see what i'm getting at), so i acted instinctively and shouted oi. No one else was helping. I thought the guy was at fault so i grab him and pulled a punch (aikido just didn't come to me just then, sorry). But i didn't hit him, instead the guy said not to. the girl was robbing him he said.

Now i found myself in between them and pushing the girl back from trying to hit him. and by then a crowd has gathered, everyone jeering at the man. (most of the time, we assume the guy is at fault for assaulting women). Apparently its true, the girl robbed him and by the time it was all sorted out, the guy ended up with an empty wallet and the girl ran. I decided against running after her, otherwise i'll get into the assault scenario, and sheepishly exited the place.

Although, it was not the best ending, i did what i did at the spur of the moment and in the end the guy suffered. At that moment, you just don't have time to debate about the condition of your spirit or the legalities of it. There was need, and you must act. I guess i acted wrongly, although i meant well. sometimes, we have to think about that. we may mean well, but in the end our actions create harm through our ignorance.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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