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Old 11-03-2012, 11:21 AM   #1
aiki-jujutsuka
 
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a close encounter

Last night on my way home from training I stopped off at a local supermarket to pick up a few things. It was about 10:40pm and the supermarket was fairly empty. I parked my car and began walking into the store, outside were four guys all smoking. I walked passed them and picked up a handbasket and entered the store. They immediately followed me in, which I thought suspicious but carried on looking for my items. I could hear them joking about what I was wearing (just a regular winter jumper as it was quite cold), which again unnerved me triggering a myriad of thoughts about what I would do if they became confrontational or tried to intimidate me. As I had just finished training, various techniques ran through my head but then conflicting thoughts also ran across my mind clouding my judgement; I began to worry about being outnumbered (we don't learn multiple attacker techniques until high dan grade); whether acting pre-emptively was going against the principles of AJJ, whether any of my Jujutsu techniques would work under stress, whether I was being paranoid or whether dismissing these thoughts as mere paranoia would be a fateful mistake should they attack me! I turned into another isle but the four guys didn't follow me to my relief and I managed to finish my shopping undisturbed.

I guess the most obvious conclusion to draw from this experience is don't shop late at night alone, but there may come a time when we will need to use our training; when that time comes how do we control our emotions and clear our thoughts? Were my thoughts normal? I don't mind admitting I felt quite insecure momentarily as I seriously considered using my training in self-defence. Has anyone else experienced similar situations or had similar thoughts or insecurities? Had I not been a martial artist would any of those thoughts even occurred to me? Are these types of thoughts a positive or negative effect of being a martial artist?
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Old 11-03-2012, 12:14 PM   #2
Brian Beach
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Re: a close encounter

Did you have these type of thoughts before training? How did you handle it before you had these new tools?
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:05 PM   #3
Krystal Locke
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Re: a close encounter

First, check your breathing. Yup, still happening, check. Second, reassess the sitch, turn a corner, stop and casually acknowledge the potential attacker/s ( a "Sup?" nod has worked wonders for me), change the dynamic of the situation a little bit without engaging the potential baddies directly to see how they react. Maintain an advantageous distance from the folks and a good relationship with your exits. Move toward cameras or company. Walk your attacker into a well lit, occupied place or one that will have evidence of you being there. ATMs see a remarkable amount of shit, and someone looking to jack you might not notice that they are being manouvered into camera range.

Sounds like you had a perfectly common experience, and you handled it just fine.
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:28 PM   #4
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Re: a close encounter

Wed night. Halloween. 8:30 pm. I am siting in my living room watching tv when I hear someone on my front porch. I think that despite the fact that my light is not on and trick or treat has been delayed until Saturday for my town that it might be some kids looking for candy. There is a knock on the door and my gut gets that "danger" feeling. So I open the front door but hold onto the storm door to keep it shut. And there is a man standing there. He reeks of marijuana. He says to me ,"hey I was just wondering if you wanted to talk... or something."

I know exactly what "or something" means. It isn't the first time this has happened and this is not the only male in the neighborhood who has arrived on my front step looking for "friendship".

I very calmly and in a cold voice, say to him that I am not interested in chatting with him and that he should leave and then closed and locked the door. Between my obviously not being friendly, being alert and leaving no openings, and my dogs alerting he changed his body language quite a bit and decided it was a good idea to leave my property.

The first time this happened was before I started training in aikido. The guy that time actually tried to come into the house. I was pretty shaken up to the point where I stopped spending time in my yard and started keeping my doors locked at all times. I later heard that he had approached the older woman next door to me as well and had been rather direct about exactly what he was looking for... and it wasn't just someone to talk to.

What has my martial arts training changed? Well I was certainly a lot calmer and clearer minded during the encounter. And a lot less upset after it, although still not really okay. I kept the door between me and him. The earlier time I didn't do that. I was a lot more aware and a lot more able to think clearly and start to plan. And yes I did spend some time reviewing various aikido techniques that might have needed to come up had he not just left when I told him to as well as thinking it was time to get my old shot gun out of the closet and clean it and start practicing....
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:32 PM   #5
gregstec
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Re: a close encounter

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Wed night. Halloween. 8:30 pm. I am siting in my living room watching tv when I hear someone on my front porch. I think that despite the fact that my light is not on and trick or treat has been delayed until Saturday for my town that it might be some kids looking for candy. There is a knock on the door and my gut gets that "danger" feeling. So I open the front door but hold onto the storm door to keep it shut. And there is a man standing there. He reeks of marijuana. He says to me ,"hey I was just wondering if you wanted to talk... or something."

I know exactly what "or something" means. It isn't the first time this has happened and this is not the only male in the neighborhood who has arrived on my front step looking for "friendship".

I very calmly and in a cold voice, say to him that I am not interested in chatting with him and that he should leave and then closed and locked the door. Between my obviously not being friendly, being alert and leaving no openings, and my dogs alerting he changed his body language quite a bit and decided it was a good idea to leave my property.

The first time this happened was before I started training in aikido. The guy that time actually tried to come into the house. I was pretty shaken up to the point where I stopped spending time in my yard and started keeping my doors locked at all times. I later heard that he had approached the older woman next door to me as well and had been rather direct about exactly what he was looking for... and it wasn't just someone to talk to.

What has my martial arts training changed? Well I was certainly a lot calmer and clearer minded during the encounter. And a lot less upset after it, although still not really okay. I kept the door between me and him. The earlier time I didn't do that. I was a lot more aware and a lot more able to think clearly and start to plan. And yes I did spend some time reviewing various aikido techniques that might have needed to come up had he not just left when I told him to as well as thinking it was time to get my old shot gun out of the closet and clean it and start practicing....
Sounds like you need to move....

Greg
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:00 PM   #6
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Re: a close encounter

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Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
Sounds like you need to move....

Greg
I suppose you could look at it that way. Someday I just might. But for now I really can't.
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:08 PM   #7
gregstec
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Re: a close encounter

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
I suppose you could look at it that way. Someday I just might. But for now I really can't.
Understood - and I know from past experiences that there are constraints that keep you from doing what you want - however, it sounds like you are not in a secure area and there is very little you as an individual can do to change that - just try to stay safe until you can manage to do something about it.

Greg
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:29 PM   #8
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Re: a close encounter

Yeah that's the general plan. Actually the area is not terrible. Its not the worst place I have ever lived by a long shot. I just seem to attract really creepy people wherever I go. Attending an aikido seminar in another state I once had a guy hang out of his second story hotel window and call down his room number to me and ask me to come up and visit him. There are plenty of other stories....some similar, some just weird, some worse. Can't for the life of me make out why. But I take my safety pretty seriously.
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:04 PM   #9
Richard Stevens
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Re: a close encounter

A few months ago I decided to get gas in a "bad" area of town. I've never had an issue and usually just get someone asking for money. As my back was turned running my card through the reader some guy ran up and jumped in my car. I always take the key out of the ignition, but for some reason I thought he was going to start it and drive off. I grabbed him by his coat and yanked him out of the car and he went nuts and started screaming and swinging at me.

All I remember was using the old "ear muffs" boxing defense and then he swung really wide and I slid under. I come from a judo background and he literally fell right into a standing sankaku jime. I locked it in the mean Marine Corps way and squeezed as hard as I could. I'm pretty sure he went out completely or close to it because his legs went out from under him. I wasn't prepared to carry his weight and he pulled me down and my face slammed into the the corner of my car door and cut it deep.

I ended up sitting the guy on his ass and the owner of the gas station came out and helped me sit the guy up while he called the police. No serious injuries as the cut just needed to be glued, but it left a pretty apparent scar right next to my eye.

No techniques or strategy went though my head. The only thing that I was thinking was to stop him from pulling a gun. The UK guys may think I'm crazy for not creating distance, but I literally have never seen someone in Indianapolis use or even pull a knife. However, I've seen plenty of guns and have been held up at gun point (for $1, literally). As it turns out the guy wasn't armed and was high as a kite.

If I would have had my head on straight I would have realized that I had my keys in my pocket and my car wasn't going anywhere. I should have just backed off and called the cops.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:30 PM   #10
Janet Rosen
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Re: a close encounter

Grew up in Brooklyn in the 60s and 70s. Lots of street and subway experience, all hours day and night. No better way to develop martial awareness and learn to read intent, to project intent, to project invisible. The only time I was ever mugged I was WITH my boyfriend and had my guard down.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:58 PM   #11
gregstec
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Re: a close encounter

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Grew up in Brooklyn in the 60s and 70s. Lots of street and subway experience, all hours day and night. No better way to develop martial awareness and learn to read intent, to project intent, to project invisible. The only time I was ever mugged I was WITH my boyfriend and had my guard down.
yeah, those boyfriends only have one thing on their minds; and protecting you from muggers is not it
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:36 AM   #12
aiki-jujutsuka
 
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Re: a close encounter

Thank you to everyone who has relayed similar stories and I am thankful everyone has managed to remain safe in their respective 'encounters'. Richard, while gun crime is slowly growing in the inner cities here in the UK, knife crime is far more common still and infact over the last year or so there has been at least 5 reported stabbings (some fatal) in my hometown. There were two very high profile stabbings over the Christmas period 2011, which led to 'revenge' stabbings earlier in the year and sadly the most recent case was a 17 year teenager from the school where I work being stabbed at a houseparty in a nearby town over an argument to do with alcohol and mobile phones. So as you can imagine I am very grateful for my knife-defence training as it is a very real threat in my part of the world.
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:28 PM   #13
Michael Douglas
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Re: a close encounter

Quote:
Richard Stevens wrote: View Post
... I should have just backed off and called the cops.
No way.
You did the right thing, but messed up your balance completely and smacked your own face into your car. Don't do that.
Apart from that : gold star!
Choke 'em out!
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Old 11-04-2012, 03:03 PM   #14
James Sawers
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Re: a close encounter

Ewen:

Not sure about the level of martial arts you currently have, but a lot of martial arts has to do with attitude and intent. If you are faced with an attacker(s), are you willing (assuming you are able) to do what is necessary to protect yourself so that you can be the one to walk away? Are you willing to actually hurt (break limbs, pluck out eyes, etc), if not kill, someone else to protect yourself (forget for the moment all the potential legal issues that may come about AFTER YOU walk away)?

When I read your description I was impressed that you had a sense of situational awareness of the situation, but to me you missed some of the obvious, too. Why just rely on your technical training (at whatever level), you are in a supermarket full of potential weapons, including the basket you said you were carrying? Most everyday items can be used as weapons, why risk injury to your hands or other body parts. If need be, you can always use them. Defense comes in many forms. Getting to camera covered areas, as someone mentioned, is a good idea for after the fact, if you need to prove self-defense or identify suspects, and may dissuade potential attackers, if they are aware that they are being filmed. Call 999, if you have a cell phone. Better to look foolish than dead, if it turns out to be a false alarm. Mingle with others, as also mentioned, but that may only delay the inevitable if they have targeted you.

Again, to me, it is back to attitude and intent. If confronted, and you can't retreat, then you need to make sure that your attackers realize that you are not a victim and will not surrender without (significant) cost to them, even if you know that defeat is inevitable.

On that happy note, good luck....!
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Old 11-04-2012, 03:35 PM   #15
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Re: a close encounter

James, thank you for your insights. In fact I did think of using my basket as a weapon or at least to try and control the distance. I always work on the principle of fight your fight not your opponents. Upon reflection I think I was being over-sensitive as if they wanted to be violent, I'm sure they would have tried something outside of the store rather than in it. Nevertheless, I am thankful for the heightened awareness my AJJ has brought me. If I had no other option and I had to resort to physically defending myself then I would hope I would be prepared to use whatever force necessary. However, I guess you can never know until it happens.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:11 PM   #16
James Sawers
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Re: a close encounter

Quote:
Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
. If I had no other option and I had to resort to physically defending myself then I would hope I would be prepared to use whatever force necessary. However, I guess you can never know until it happens.
Quite true, you will never know for sure till it happens, but, at the very least, you should, I think, be prepared to fake your (violent) self-defence intent.....Most people are very conservative about attacking others, hurting others, getting hurt themselves, a good fake can use that to your advantage. Experienced bad guys will tend to use a blitz attack, catching you unawares (if they can) and overcoming any potential defences you may have, so you situational awareness is a good defence to start with.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:58 AM   #17
Brian Beach
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Re: a close encounter

Quote:
Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
Upon reflection I think I was being over-sensitive as if they wanted to be violent, I'm sure they would have tried something outside of the store rather than in it.
When I first started Martial Arts I had "hammer syndrome." I had a hammer and everything looked like a nail. Good job not overreacting.
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