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Old 01-28-2012, 07:29 AM   #1
Mary Eastland
 
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What He learned from his near mugging

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Old 01-28-2012, 09:01 AM   #2
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

Nice article and good points.

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Old 01-28-2012, 10:13 AM   #3
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

Very nice story... totally spot on.

The only problem I have with these stories is that Aikido folks always recount them as great examples of how Aikido works. There are a huge number of thee stories around, going way back to Terry Dobson's famous Tokyo subway train story. Everyone loves them. They are wonderful stories of people showing love and compassion or keepin their cool, staying non-aggressive, etc All the values we hold dear as Aikido people.

My issue is that almost never in these stroies is there any discussion about what if it hadn't worked that way? What was truly admirable about Terry's story about the old man on the subway was not what most Aikido folks seem to take from it i.e. that if we are just loving and kind, everything will be just great. What was impressive was that the old man CHOSE to be compassionate and loving at great personal in the face of anger and potential violence. There was no guarentee that the end would have been a happy ending. He chose to act the way he did because that was how he lived his life. He could just as easily ended up beaten to a pulp.

What would have happened in this story if the guy really had had a gun and had stood up and followed our "protagonist"? Was that really the best response? I might have chosen to stay seated up close where I could better control the interaction IF he truned out to be serious. If a guy has a gun, distance is not necessarily your friend unless you can actually run away. In a train, you can't make enough distance to be safe yet you can render any skills you might have useless simply by making that distance. In these non-violent Aikido stories there is almsot never any discussion of what would have happened if things had gone differently.

I point this out because most of the time the stories told about Aikido fall into two groups. First, there are the stories about how Aikido training is credited with resulting in outcomes which neeeded no physical technique. The folks who are serious about Aikido as conflict resolution and really focus on non-agression and non-violence love these stories and teell them as a way to illustrate how putting out good energy results in making the world better. Unfortunately, often these attitudes often have the flavour that back in the old hippie days many of my freinds took towards anything natural i.e. "if it's natural, it's all good", which totally ignored the fact that the most deadly poisons known to man are organic and occurr quite naturally in nature, that tornadoes, hurricanes, flloods, tsunamis are all "natural" and yet are incredibly destructive, at least to most human endeavors. So, the attitude is often, "see, if we are all just nice to each otherm if we put off good karma, everythig will be great". This was just exacty the attitude the Jews had in Germany before the war. They simply couldn't fathom how a group of such outsanding productive law abiding citizens could be so persecuted. Each time things got worse, they told themselves that they couldn't get any worse than that. Good people don't have things like that happen to them... Well, of course they did and they do.

Of course, there are all sorts of other stories told by folks who actually did have to use physical technique for self defense. Seldom are these stories of combat between folks who are trained. This isn't surprising... most violent assailants are not "trained" fighters but rather predators who have a few tricks. Don't fall for the tricks and they don't really have many skills. You hear almost no stories like the ones from Shioda Sensei's time in China during the war in which he had to use his training in a life and death encounter with gang members who really knew how to fight. I don't normally have a problem with this either... Most folks will never in their adult lives use a technique for self defense. So making street application of Aikido technique the focus of one's training seems to be a bit silly and misses the larger point of what O-Sensei wished the art to be I think.

What I am getting at here is that these stories represent two archetypes of Aikido practitioner. They seem to be generally quite separate. The group that seems really focused on Aikido as conflict resolution, a non-violent martial art designed to bring world peace, or at least peace to our own lives, very seldom seem to be the ones that have much if any to apply technique in a martially effective manner. Their practice is often so removed from reality that it isn't really following its own martial paradigm much less preparing one for any kind of real self defense encounter. One of the reason we don't hear more stories of how Aikido didn't work is that the folks who tried to use it and it didn't come through for them quit the art and went elsewhere. Much of law enforcement restraint technique is based on Aikido. I used to hear all the time from officers how that "wristy twisty stuff" doesn't work on the street. Well, actually it does, but you have to be good enough at it that it does. In most places I go where the "spiritual" side of the art is most emphasized, folks look at you like you are profaning something sacred if you talk about how you need to make these technique effective. If the art is beautiful, flowing, non-aggressive, it works, right? Stuff like proper use of atemi waza or how a technique could dislocate a joint is just way too earthy and "applied" for these folks. It's ends up being an art in which people talk constantly about conflict resolution but have taken even a hint of conflict out of their practice.

On the other hand, the folks that seem interested in the whole self defense side of the art, who sort of make their training interactions into pseudo combat situations like pretend samurai seem to have little or no interest in the non-technical side of the art. They make fun of the "aiki bunnies", ignore virtually everything O-Sensei said about world peace and even more arcane spiritual matters, and focus on being able to hurl each other to the mat effectively. If they quote O-Sensei it is exclusively the stuff he said about power, about control, about being undefeatable, etc These folks spend a lot of time wondering how their Aikido would work against MMA, Kali, BJJ, Capoeira, attackers with pruning shears etc. I have to say that I often find these folks to be very un-thoughtful about what they are doing. Yet, I will say that the best martial artists I know, without exception are very thoughtful people.

So we have an almost Jungian disconnect between these two aspects of Aikido. One is the "shadow side" of the other. I think we need to reach the point at which we understand that in O-Sensei we had the resolution of these seeming opposites. O-Sensei was the ORIGINAL "aiki bunny". Don't take the easy path and say he was simply eccentric and that no one could understand him or that he was a mystic and off in space, not practical, etc The folks who do this just want the technique without doing the work to really understand the implications. They are never top level in my opinion.

The folks who just love O-Sensei's spirituality almost never quote anything he said about the martial side of the art; never. What they hear is world peace, love, harmony, conflict resolution, bringing people together etc. Can you see how these two groups tend to be very selective about what parts of O-Sensei's message they actually heard.

What I was taught was that Aikido represented an art that carried both streams, the martial and the spiritual. That deep spirituality based on Aikido required deep technical understanding and ability and that deep martial skill necessarily entailed deep spiritual insight. Given that there are very few places one can go in which these two streams are united on the instructional level. We find ourselves in the position of necessarily needing to train with a number of different teachers in order to develop both sides of the art. In general, very few of the folks I train with address both sides of the art equally well.

Anyway, this is always what comes to mind when I hear these Aikido success stories. People hear them and I don't think they ask the right questions and they arrive at what I think are the wrong conclusions. Nothing wrong with the stories... just how they end up being perceived. Anyway, that's my take on it.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 01-28-2012, 10:37 AM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

In the situation in the article what is unsaid but HAS to be said is: 1. You can only entertain that calculation IF you are utterly prepared to be wrong and shot on the spot and 2. You have decided it is worth it.
I write this as one who routinely enjoyed the freedom and dangers of roaming streets and subways of NY from age 13-19. I was always calm and often bluffed or stood my ground or joked, and always had good outcomes but also knew I had little besides attitude to back it up AND that I was damn lucky.
Were a gun pulled on me with order to come away (away from witnesses) I have no doubt I would, as a friend did, verbally call his bluff : if you are going to shoot me, do it here, now (and yes now with some training I might try a takeaway IF the calculus favored it) ...but if I thought there were a gun and it was over a phone or computer? No thanks.

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Old 01-28-2012, 10:44 AM   #5
Ellis Amdur
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Train Story #1

I was on a train in Tokyo, coming home from muay thai practice, hanging on a strap. A big man, Japanese, came onto the train, built like a light heavyweight, with an old army jacket. He looked at me and literally bared his teeth. I looked back at him, and he walked up and punched me in the stomach. I was doing three hundred opposite knee to head crunch sit-ups in a set, and it didn't hurt. I just looked at him. The car was almost empty and he started prowling around, muttering about foreigners, and how he was going to kill me, who did I think I was starting at him, who did I think I was hanging on the strap like that, thinking I was special.
[And I was thinking - wow, Terry Dobson Train Story! Wait 'til I tell Terry!] And then he stepped closer again and somehow dropped something, a book, edged back and seemed to gather himself. With perfect zanshin, I lowered my knees, picked up the book, and has he came closer, said, "You dropped this."
His mouth dropped open, and he took the book. He stared at me in astonishment, said, "I can't believe it. I'm all set to beat the shit out of you. I hit you, I verbally trash you, and you do something decent for me????! I can't believe a guy like you exists. How about you and I get off the train and go out and rape a woman."
The doors opened - not my stop - I got off the train - he started to follow - I said, "f..k off," shoved him back on the train and the doors closed.

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Old 01-28-2012, 10:55 AM   #6
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Train Story #2

Riding home from muay thai. Three really drunk guys, loud and stinking - laborers - stagger onto the train. One guy loudly wants to be my friend, wants to practice English, won't leave me alone, breathing on me. He asks me why I won't talk to him, and I look him dead in the eyes and say, "Anta nya, hanashitaku neh." ("I don't want to talk to some thing like you")
He punches me in the stomach. It doesn't hurt. I was doing three hundred opposite knee to head crunch sit-ups in a set. (I know, this is kind of getting to be a theme). I am tired and pissed. I give him a two handed shove, and he flies through the air just as the train has pulled into the station and the doors open. He lands - sort of. One leg is out of the train on the platform, bent double, the other sinks down to mid-thigh between the platform and the train. Everyone is staring with their mouths open. He's screaming in terror, and perhaps because he's so low, the conductor at the end of the train doesn't see him and whistles that he's closing the doors and the trains about to depart.
I leap forward like a tiger (hey, it's my story and I'll choose to describe how I leap!), grab him under the armpits, yell, "STAND!" and pluck him up and out of his dilemma. He was dangling in my hands, and I thought, "Where the hell do I put him?" My first instinct was on the platform and then the doors would close and we'd drive off, but his two friends, mouths open and drooling drunk, were still on the train. So I put him back on.
Everyone heaves a sigh of relief in that typical "I'm not really watching and didn't see anything" Japanese way - . . . . . and I had a new friend. He was all over me. "You saved my life. I love you. You are the best gaijin who ever lived. Let me hug you. Please, just one hug. We can go out drinking. We still have money left, right guys? (two nods, drool training off one chin and snot off the other's nose). C'mon gaijin-san. Drink with us. You saved my life, I owe you forever."
The doors to the train opened. It was the last train. I was fifteen stops from my home. I RAN off the train. The doors closed. Walking, I arrived home at 3:30 in the morning.

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Old 01-28-2012, 11:05 AM   #7
Ellis Amdur
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Train Story #3

I used to carry my training equipment in a furoshiki (a large handkerchief, really). Very old-school. I was coming home from the Aikikai one night, and I was tired. It hadn't been the best day. I'd had an unpleasant hour practicing with Miyamoto-san, and Yamaguchi-sensei had found fault with every thing I did. And I was tired.
I got on the Seibu Ikebukero line, and all the seats were full. But then, as I walked down the car, I saw this guy with a "punch pama" (his hair in tight little curls, the vogue among gangsters), with his legs widespread, taking up two seats.

So I put my furoshiki up on the rack above him and sat on his right leg.

At the last moment he yanked it back, and I sat down on the seat.

He stared at me and I ignored him. There was a very pretty girl sitting on his other side. I sank into my own thoughts. He started talking, and I glanced over and saw that he was leaning over the girl, talking to another chimpira (low-level gangster) on her other side. They were "ignoring" her, both leaning in, talking about what they liked to do to women and then, shifted to what they were going to do to me. "F..king gaijin. They may be big, but we got Japanese spirit. They are all flesh, whereas we are all heart. We can take him. We can take him. We CAN take him.!" I know it's just about to go down and I'm ready to tho' down. The train is shaking, the train is shaking, my hands are shaking, the train is shaking. The girl is shrinking into herself, trying to disappear. The train is shaking.

And somehow, the shaking of the train, loosens my furoshiki, and my black belt, which was actually grey (which means "he's been around awhile"), which I'd rolled up into a corner of the bundle, unfurled like a huge lizard's tongue and it was dangling right in front of the punk's eyes. He looked at the belt, he turned and looked at me. He looked as his friend. They looked at the belt. They looked at me. I smiled. They got up and ran off the train.

I used to fantasize about rescuing beautiful girls since I was five years old. And there she was.
I smiled at her.
She looked at me.

And ran off the train.

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 01-28-2012 at 11:14 AM.

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Old 01-28-2012, 02:27 PM   #8
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

@Ellis...those stories are so weird thay have to be true....thank you for sharing them and thanks for your new columns.

@ George...My feeling about self defense is not to second guess what happened. He was there and he was safe. He was paying attention and knew what to do...who are we, who weren't there to say that we know better than him?

Last edited by Mary Eastland : 01-28-2012 at 02:29 PM. Reason: Ron said I needed a question mark.

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Old 01-28-2012, 03:42 PM   #9
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Re: Train Story #3

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
I used to fantasize about rescuing beautiful girls since I was five years old. And there she was.
I smiled at her.
She looked at me.

And ran off the train.
Best. Story. Ever.
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:19 PM   #10
Diana Frese
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

Thanks, Mary. And wow, Ellis, I am so glad you are telling about your experiences in Japan, in the dojo and out among Japanese people going about their daily lives, which are diverse, to make an understatement.

I have two stories that pretty much prove I was lucky not to be seriously injured or worse. The first one, when I told it later to dojo friends, caused them to ask, "and then what technique did you do?"

They were so disappointed at my answer, "I just stood there" But you will see that maybe it was indeed the thing to do.

I was a relative newbie at New York Aikikai, although I had taken class in downtown Ithaca from our judo teacher's cousin who didn't really explain aikido,he just threw us, since we knew some ukemi from judo, which we also took from him there in addition to the Cornell class with Raoul. But it was a very valuable three months and influenced the rest of my life, so to speak.

Sorry about the long lead in, but actually it's the leading that is the point! We had to learn to hold on without tension, in order to be uke and if you took three classes a day sometimes at NY Aikikai that could be even an hour and a half of following nage around if there were a lot of tenkan turns in the techniques of the day. Anyway that's how I saw it.

I lived on the upper West Side at the time and had gotten off the subway and was crossing a street. On the next corner was scaffolding around a building, you know, the pipes supporting planks or whatever and I was concerned, like maybe I should cross the avenue to a more visible sidewalk...

Suddenly my purse flew by and my hand was still holding on, and my arm just seemed to get longer and longer, so That was the Aikido part. The more the teenage kid pulled, the more relaxed my grip got and the longer my arm seemed to get.

Why was this a non violent situation? Probably brains, although it was stupid of me to have the travelers check number list In the purse with the travelers checks.....

I think the general safety courses that the police might offer might say, just let go if it's kids and they are just purse snatchers that just want to run off with it.

They ran off without it.

I noticed previously that there were some pre teen and or teenage kids of mixed ages and something had told me usually kids hang out with their own age unless they are up to something. So if I had done a technique the others would have attacked me to defend their friend. Since I didn't they probably dispersed for fear of a cruising cop car catching them.... so I was lucky.

Later they had an information session at the dojo for the general public to learn about Aikido. This was back in the late sixties. A woman, seeming middle-aged and with what sounded like a European accent said, "But you must hold on to the bag tightly..." Well, it takes some time and practice to learn the tensionless grip, which babies do naturally. Ever try to get your pinkie finger away from a baby?

Maybe later for the other story. This one got real long but it might be interesting for some of you to note what newbies sometimes pick up from Aikido and end up using.
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:27 PM   #11
Diana Frese
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

and thanks to the others too, and Mary Malmros, who posted while I was struggling with my narrative... the topic of self defense in real life is real important.
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:44 PM   #12
tlk52
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

my actual mugging :

1989 nyc on 8th ave across from the port Authority station. 5pm summer/broad daylight with lots of people around. i was @ a nidan practicing at NY Aikikai 39 years old 5'9" 165.

I'm a pianist and was on my way to rehearsal carrying a keyboard and went into a deli to buy bottled drinks. the 2 muggers must have marked me because as I came out of the delicarrying the keyboard and groceries, with no talk or warning, (I'm reminded of the Terry Dobson quote about carrying a baby and groceries when it hits the fan) a very tall guy (6"5") went in front of me as if he was walking in the deli.

As I went around him he grabbed around my neck from behind locking his arm with his other arm and tried to pick me up. I suppose that their technique was that the big guy picks them up and the other guy (6" 185) gets the goods/wallet/can hit them from the front or whatever

I dropped my weight and he couldn't pick me up, I tried the koshi nage directly forward over the right shoulder, like the one tohei used to teach in the 60s

(similar to the one at 47 sec http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tKhG-eSDTU)

). However, he was so tall that though he went forward his feet were still on the ground, but he never changed what he was doing and just kept trying to choke me and lift me up. I was able to leap forward and try it a 2nd time/ went all the way to the ground and he flew over my head on the sidewalk...so far so good

but, i was still carrying the bottles and when I went down to the ground one broke, cutting deeply through the webbing of my fingers/i was looking into my hand when at that moment the 2nd guy did get my wallet/they ran off/I got in a cab and went to the hospital and fortunately recovered.

I leaned a lot.
*it took me a few seconds to realize that he was actually attacking me/not a training partner/that he was trying to harm me...
*and then about ma-ai, awareness,
*...and forgetting about the bottles was really dumb!
*also maybe koshi wasn't the best technique on a guy that tall but he was really holding onto my neck for dear life and was stronger than me

there it is

Last edited by tlk52 : 01-28-2012 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 01-28-2012, 05:29 PM   #13
gregstec
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

I can see it now - Ellis' next book: "My Life on a Train"

Truth really can be stranger than fiction....

Greg
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Old 01-28-2012, 05:38 PM   #14
Janet Rosen
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

Thanks Ellis and Toby for great stories. Diana, I had an experience like your's under different circumstances - I was holding a banner as part of a Code Pink action at an event and someone took umbrage and tried to snatch the banner from me. Without thinking about it, I dropped center and relaxed my grip - the grabber went staggering backwards , losing his grip on the banner, which I simply reclosed my grip on and stood there smiling :-)

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Old 01-28-2012, 06:01 PM   #15
Diana Frese
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

Thanks, Janet, and I am going to tell all my friends your story, it's great. Dropping center is often the prime defense to take the other person's balance even if only for a second and so what Toby did first could have saved his life if they had intended bodily harm. Koshi nage on a tall person? Well it worked the second time and the attacker was still off balance due to Toby's forward movement. The important thing after the dropping center was he did something that was spontaneous and I imagine instantaneous. Too bad about the cut on the hand, musicians were always worried when they trained even, but what I always hear is the most important is to save your life, even if in doing so you get injured.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:34 AM   #16
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
@Ellis...those stories are so weird thay have to be true....thank you for sharing them and thanks for your new columns.

@ George...My feeling about self defense is not to second guess what happened. He was there and he was safe. He was paying attention and knew what to do...who are we, who weren't there to say that we know better than him?
Hi Mary,
My point was not to second guess anyone's actions. I pretty much take the view that if something worked out, it was the right thing. Often in these things there are multiple "right things". Anyway, make all sorts of decisions under pressure like that, the process pretty much bypasses the rational part of the brain. Almost never can anyone tell you exactly why they did what they did unless they were trained to process under pressure.

I always like Ellis's story about the predator on the train... Ellis was aware, left no openings, and the result was a classic Aikido story of non-violent outcome ny neing impeccable. Except that this was a genuinely nasty person and almost certainly went off and hurt someone far less able to cope with him than Ellis. Was this REALLY the best possible outcome?

I had the same thing with one of my police students. He got called to a ocal mental health facility where a guy had showed up saying he felt like going downtown and shooting someone and the he had guns in the car. The staff got his car keys and kept him busy until my friend arrived. He confronted the guy, who had now pulled a knife, and went through the whole drill about putting down the weapons, truning around etc. The guy ignored him, kept coming down the hallway towards him, and finally, my friend made the decision to shoot. The moment his intention changed, the guy put the knife down and truned around and submitted. My friend had done everything he was trained to do, had stayed cool, didn't panic. exercised restraint, and finally was decisive when it was time. The outcome was just what it should have been.

The problem was that this particular guy was a crazy Neo-Nazi who, two months later walked into a Jewsuh Community Center in LA and shot some children. So, once again, was this really the best possible outcome? Iknow my friend doesn't spend much time second guessing himself, he did his job exectly as he was suppsoed to. But I know he has thought about the fact that he had this guy in his sights and had he pulled the trigger, those children would not have been shot.

I think these stories often have a more complex dimension to them than is generally perceived. The whole non-violence issue is interesting... I think that people prefer the simpler initial result that conflict was avioded. But the fact is that most criminals repeat their offenses over and over before they are caught, The average rapist, for instance, has committed fourteen rapes before he gets caught. So, anything that would have interupted that string of victims would be a good thing.

Only about 1% of the popluation has any interest in martial arts training. Of those folks only a small percentage stays in long enough to acquire any real skills. So, statistically, the chances of a predatory type running into a trained martial artist is very small. On some level, I find the stories about the martial artist who succesfully avoids the conflict and walks away unsatisfying. The one person the predator encounters who actually has the skills to handle that predator and he walks away. It is virtually guarenteed that this same predator will go off and find another victim, one who has little or no ability to defend himself or herself.

Anyway, each person makes his own decisions in these things. I don't think there is any right answer.
But the discussions should be a bit more nuanced than they often are.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:14 AM   #17
Alec Corper
 
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

I'm sorry that these kinds of stories are not occasionally balanced by the other side of the equation. However, I doubt that many of the people here would want to read the horror stories that result from meeting real predators. Of course most of those people are either dead or too traumatized to want to write a cute story about how they used "calm and assertive" (a la Dog Whisperer) behavior to survive a real assault.
I am not dismissing that it can work but let me embarrass myself with an event from long ago that shows how complacency and superiority can creep up on a martial "artist". Way back in my twenties, over 30 years ago I got in an argument at a party. The guy squared up and gave me plenty of warning, which by the way almost never happens in a really serious situation, and I followed my Sensei"s instruction, ( and the ridiculous legal requirement in the U.K. at that time) and I warned the guy that I was a Black Belt (ooohh shiver). He changed his demeanor immediately and we cooled it out. A minute later whilst chatting with someone else he hit me with a bottle, which by the way didn't break like it does in the movies, I went down and he kicked the s**t out of me. I was lucky this was the 70's and no one joined in, nowadays it would probably not go down that way.
O.K. I know I showed no zanshin, my am ai was lousy, and my head too soft but I was a fighter then, not aikido, but contact Chinese boxing 15 hours a week, it made no difference. There are people out there who have the will to do harm and , as George has indicated, if you mange to deflect or outmaneuver them, it's going somewhere else.
I love Aikido precisely because it attempts to reconcile a peace desiring way of life with a warrior practice, and I have always believed that they should go hand in hand. In my mind it is a middle way we seek, and I believe it was Tacitus who said, " those who love peace prepare for war". I have no problem with people who insist that Aikido is about resolving conflict without doing harm but we do ourselves a disservice when we preach that side only. Life is not so simple. I am not a police officer but I struggle with the role of a martial artist in our society, and the older I get the more of an issue it will be.

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:17 AM   #18
Mark Uttech
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

Quote:
Alec Corper wrote: View Post
and the older I get the more of an issue it will be.
Onegaishimasu, that one sentence has become a real focus for me.
In gassho,
Mark

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Old 01-29-2012, 04:14 AM   #19
Dave de Vos
 
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Hi Mary,
Only about 1% of the popluation has any interest in martial arts training. Of those folks only a small percentage stays in long enough to acquire any real skills. So, statistically, the chances of a predatory type running into a trained martial artist is very small. On some level, I find the stories about the martial artist who succesfully avoids the conflict and walks away unsatisfying.
The one person the predator encounters who actually has the skills to handle that predator and he walks away.
I tend to agree that the skills of a martial artist put him/her under a moral obligation to protect his/her fellow citizens in (potentially) violent situations.

Quote:
It is virtually guarenteed that this same predator will go off and find another victim, one who has little or no ability to defend himself or herself.
If the martial artist succesfully intervenes and stops the predator before really bad things happen, it may leave insufficient cause for prosecution and long term imprisonment of the offender. So unless the martial artist physically damages the predator to a degree that will prevent him from finding other victims ever again, intervening may not make much of a difference for future victims (like your story of the crazy neo-nazi).

Extending the responsibility of the martial artist from (potential) victims right now to potential victims in the future places a heavy burden on the martial artist. My feeling is that a martial artist should not be held responsible for this, because it's largely out of his/her control.

Last edited by Dave de Vos : 01-29-2012 at 04:19 AM.
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:34 AM   #20
RonRagusa
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I always like Ellis's story about the predator on the train... Was this REALLY the best possible outcome?

I had the same thing with one of my police students... My friend had done everything he was trained to do, had stayed cool, didn't panic. exercised restraint, and finally was decisive when it was time. The outcome was just what it should have been.

The problem was that this particular guy was a crazy Neo-Nazi who, two months later walked into a Jewsuh Community Center in LA and shot some children. So, once again, was this really the best possible outcome?
Hi George -

Had Ellis taken the time to consider the future implications of his actions it would have taken him out of the moment and probably put him at greater risk. Now it's entirely possible that Ellis' antagonist did go out and prey on someone else. It's also possible that he went home and put himself to bed or got run over by a bus while crossing the street. The same holds true for your student at the clinic. Being focused and totally in the moment probably saved his life.

I know you aren't saying that either of these men are responsible for or in any way contributory to imagined or actual future events. You do seem to be implying that one should consider the future implications of a particular course of action as the situation develops. But when it comes to self defense isn't that what we are trained not to do? Should we not narrow our focus to the immediacy of the situation and do what is necessary to extricate ourselves in a manner that minimizes the risk of harm to both us and our attackers?

Subsequent events notwithstanding, the best possible outcome was achieved by both Ellis and your student within the context of their respective encounters.

Best,

Ron.

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Old 01-29-2012, 08:45 AM   #21
David Orange
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
...My feeling about self defense is not to second guess what happened. He was there and he was safe. He was paying attention and knew what to do...who are we, who weren't there to say that we know better than him?
A major part of budo is reflection on things that happened, consideration of what we might have done better to avoid the situation from the beginning, or recognition that what we actually did was not the best we could have done. It's the same as practice.

David

Last edited by David Orange : 01-29-2012 at 08:56 AM.

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Old 01-29-2012, 10:27 AM   #22
Michael Hackett
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

I agree with Mary Eastland's posting. While David Orange makes the very valid point that it is valuable to reflect and examine the experiences of others and ourselves as a learning device, we should still be careful not to "Monday Morning Quarterback". Those who aren't there haven't the benefit of perceiving all that is there or using all of their senses to assess the situation. There certainly were many subtle clues and conditions present that helped the orignal subject make his decision at the time. Many of those clues may have been received on a subconscious level that he didn't even note during the event. Only he had the benefit of the totality of the circumstances and even the most gifted writer would fail to present all of the evidence that was available to him.

With all that said, I don't think his actions would generally be a wise course. Street criminals often aren't afraid of being identified by witnesses and just act. As I thought about his account, I wondered what state of mind he perceived the suspect as having, whether the suspect had both hands in the pocket of the hoodie or not, or what the nature of the potential witnesses might be. It worked, so I suppose it was the right course of action at that moment for those involved. On the surface it appeared overly dangerous to me.

I was once told a tale by a Washington DC Metro Transit cop about an attempted mugging on their system. When confronted, the victim began berating the suspect about infringing on his turf as he, himself, was a mugger working that station and that the suspect was screwing up his business and had better leave immediately to find his own venue. Supposedly the suspect apologized and left. Whether true or not, I'm sure I wouldn't have had the presence of mind to pull that one off!

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:07 PM   #23
Robert Cowham
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

I remember enjoying Karl Geis sensei's "Book of Twelve Winds" many years ago (and as a result looked him up when in Houston quite a few years ago, and had a great practice).

Anyway, as I recall (forgive paraphrasing - and anyone with book to hand feel free to correct) he tells the story of being stopped and grabbed by a policeman who was overly aggressive and started to try and shake him. By centering himself he made it very difficult for the guy, who pretty quickly stopped as he was getting tired. Karl wanted to report the guy, but on talking it over with some of his students who were also policemen, was persuaded otherwise. Some months later he read that the guy had been overly aggressive to someone else who had grabbed his pistol and shot him (and possibly others I can't remember). Karl regretted not at least reporting the guy - he was an "accident waiting to happen" and as a policeman should not have been allowed to work out his private issues on the public.

It's a hard sort of situation to handle well - particularly if it comes on you unawares. The only way I can imagine having the presence of mind to do the right thing in any such situation, is if I have pre thought through the ramifications etc. I can think of people on the mat who have been overly aggressive, if not downright dangerous, and while I survived without serious injury, I let them carry on - didn't make any form of stand, or highlight that they were totally out of order. If you start throwing in higher ranking people, awkward situations - it get's a lot more complicated.

Food for thought...
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:29 PM   #24
matty_mojo911
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

Life is a roll of the dice. Walk away from the mugger, he leaves, great Aikido. Walk away from the mugger, he shoots, or stabs you, sad for you, sad for him. Take on mugger - you win and he losses - great Aikido. Take on mugger - he wins you lose, Aikido lacking (perhaps), you sad.

What if? But....

You rolled the dice, and it worked out for you. Lots of people do the same, it works for some, and not for others.

The reason I say this is that the long, dribbly posts about this story are just that - you can say what you like, a lot of luck is involved. Yes it can be mitigated, but when dealing with an unknown mugger, with an unknown weapon you aren't mitigating risk, or practicing good Aikido, just rolling dice.

"Many who deserve to live, die. Many who deserve to die, live. Such is life and death."

Any active duty Police Officer, or soldier, will tell you this.
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Old 02-15-2012, 01:04 AM   #25
bob_stra
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Re: What He learned from his near mugging

I stumbled across this recently. Makes an interesting bookend to the original article

http://www.cagepotato.com/awesome-st...ag-last-month/

Quote:
The crazy thing is, in spite of getting KTFO TWICE, the dude woke up and tried to attack Guy again.

“I went back over to the girl and picked her up because I accidentally pushed her when I was trying to get her out of the way and the guy starts rolling over crawling towards the knife. I kicked the knife about two or three feet away and he started crawling towards it, so I had to go after him again,” Mezger said with an incredulous laugh. “I swear to God, just as I punch him in the face to knock him out the third time, the cops pull up and they pull out their tasers and I’m like, ‘No good deed goes unpunished.’ I got tased for trying to help this chick out. [No], I didn’t get tased. Things got worked out. [I was] like, ‘I’m the good guy, not the bad guy.’ That was basically it.”
There's a photo of Guy's hand showing the cut he sustained. It's not pretty, but if you're interested, click HERE along with alternate analysis HERE

Last edited by bob_stra : 02-15-2012 at 01:09 AM.
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