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Old 11-08-2002, 09:47 AM   #1
fullerfury
Dojo: Aikido Suimei
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Subway incident

While awaiting the local train on my commute home from Center City the other day, I noticed a couple with two small girls next to me. The mans demeanor was emanating an aggressive energy. I dismissed it and continued to discuss the day's events with a female colleague also awaiting the train. A few moments later I noticed the man staring down another commuter and heard him say something like "what are you looking at? Do I know you, what is your problem". The innocent commuter seemed to be doing nothing more than staring into the crowd and casually observing people. This man with his wife and daughters( as I presumed the relation to be) was obviously a very aggressive and angry individual used to intimidating people. My response to this was to get very tense. A lot of thoughts were running in my head. What do I do if this guy starts an altercation? Should I intervene on behalf of the innocent commuter? Should I mind my own business? If I intervened what affect would it have on the guys wife and kids? What would I do if I intervened? Even after many years of martial arts training, I felt almost under control by this guy's aggression, as if he had totally dominated my spirit with his aggressive energy. As it turned out, nothing became of the incident, however I felt as if I had somehow failed. With all the years of hard training, when it came down to it, I was unsure of how to react, I was unprepared.

Has anyone had similar experiences? How should one prepare them for such a conflict?
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Old 11-08-2002, 10:38 AM   #2
Jason Tonks
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Alright there Garrett. I've had similar experiences to that as I expect have many many others. You shouldn't feel you have failed because everybody feels the same way in these situations. Fear is felt, adrenalin kicks in and self doubt can threaten to overwhelm us. Nothing came of the situation so that was a good result. I think what is really eating at you is the thought of what you would have done if you had been on the actual end of the verbal grief. What this guy was after is fear, if you give him that he'd be all over you like a rash , if not physically then definitely mentally and as you have alluded at this can often be worse. The best option is to talk him down in positive and assertive manner. Always remember you are stronger than you think you are. You just need to tap in to that extra bit of spirit and most people (not all) will get the message and leave you alone.

All the best

Jason T
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Old 11-08-2002, 11:21 AM   #3
fullerfury
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Hi Jason. Thanks for the insights.

"What this guy was after is fear, if you give him that he'd be all over you like a rash , if not physically then definitely mentally and as you have alluded at this can often be worse. The best option is to talk him down in positive and assertive manner"

I agree with you, that this guy was looking for a reaction and for whatever reason feeds off of the control of others through fear tactics. Given the view of the innocent observer, or the one being verbally abused, would it be best to ignore the attacker?... look the other way? Or is this a sign of weakness to the aggressor and only goes to strenghten his desire to assert his dominance? If the agressee does not find the right words quickly to positively and assertively thwart off the attack, what should he do? And at what point does the victem( for lack of a better term) need to reverse the roles and become the aggressor?
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Old 11-08-2002, 01:02 PM   #4
gasman
 
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if i see people who attack other people i intervene if i can

its amazing what a good shouting can do to such people


a long, loud and powerful YAMEEEEEE!
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Old 11-08-2002, 01:45 PM   #5
kendo52
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Hey Garrett,

My take on the incident is that it is just another chance to train. It actually enabled you to train whatever it is you feel like training. If your in the mood you say or do something. If he starts beating on his kids, you irimi...immediately and without reservation. If he addresses you, irimi-tenkan as Jason said or just irimi like the gasman.

I think that personal freedom to take ukemi(by talking to him about his anger - if your talented enough) or become nage and give him a lesson in control (again if your talented enough) is what's imporatant. You can look at the situation as a gift given to you to enable training.

All of your personal training had led you to that moment. I say embrace it and do whatever you choose to work on. Maybe your training enabled you to choose NOT to say something! when before you would have felt compelled to "rough him up". I don't think one can ever tell the design of the absolute.

There is only one enemy in these kind of situations - fear. If the situation becomes training though - no more fear. At least that's the way my body seems to work.
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Old 11-08-2002, 02:10 PM   #6
shihonage
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Re: Subway incident

Quote:
Garrett Fuller (fullerfury) wrote:
Has anyone had similar experiences? How should one prepare them for such a conflict?
Yeah, pay attention to your breathing (not shallow), and visualize yourself as bigger than the other bully.

In fact you're so big, that you envelop all his intentions and actions. Your behavior and positioning dictates how he will attack.

At that point he will become somewhat predictable.

Look slightly past him, to see his every movement, but not directly at him.

He has nothing to grab on to (like "Hey whatcha looking at ?") and yet he knows he's being monitored (as opposed to passively observed).

If he does attack, he should be never given clarity in the moment.

Last edited by shihonage : 11-08-2002 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 11-08-2002, 04:38 PM   #7
ronmar
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.

I think this incident shows up a definate weakness in your training. You need more of a challenge in your training. More uncertainty with respect to outcomes in would be good.

In other words I think it would be helpful for you to trigger your adrenal response more in training. This could be done in two ways. The first would be to engage in active competition where you are unsure of the outcome. This would help you to adapt to stress in a combat situation. The second option, if you are opposed to competition, would be to simulate some aggressive encounters in your training. For example, have all the other students gather at one end of the mat with you at the other end. Each could approach you and verbally abuse you in a realistic manner. If you wanted to take this further they could then launch a realistic attack which you could attempt to counter. It would be better if you tried this sort of exercise with people you are wary of in training.
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Old 11-08-2002, 05:03 PM   #8
shihonage
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Re: .

Quote:
Ron Marshall (ronmar) wrote:
For example, have all the other students gather at one end of the mat with you at the other end. Each could approach you and verbally abuse you in a realistic manner. If you wanted to take this further they could then launch a realistic attack which you could attempt to counter. It would be better if you tried this sort of exercise with people you are wary of in training.
This sort of approach would require everyone to wear padding, groin protectors and helmets.

Also, no matter how well you know the person, this will disrupt your relationships with them, and affect your overall training negatively.

This sort of exercise should be done outside an Aikido dojo, and not with Aikido people.

Otherwise, all this trash-talking and fighting leaves subconscious residue in people which makes it more dangerous for you to train with those people the next day and trust they won't accidentally break your arm in shihonage.
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Old 11-08-2002, 06:23 PM   #9
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Re: Subway incident

Quote:
Garrett Fuller (fullerfury) wrote:
A lot of thoughts were running in my head. What do I do if this guy starts an altercation? Should I intervene on behalf of the innocent commuter? Should I mind my own business?
I honestly can't believe you're even asking that, unless this guy looked like the Incredible Hulk or something. (and even then...)

"If the world is a dangerous place, it's not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." -- Albert Einstein.
Quote:
Garrett Fuller (fullerfury) wrote:
If I intervened what affect would it have on the guys wife and kids?
A beneficial one, I'd imagine. Even if they don't appreciate it at the time.

To do is to be. (Nietzsche) ... To be is to do. (Descartes) ... Do be do be do. (Sinatra).
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Old 11-08-2002, 08:56 PM   #10
fullerfury
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wow...I really didn't expect so many great responses...very insightful. I am most impressed...and it has really got me thinking about a lot of different things...

I really like the idea of training myself to be able to calm my fight or flight instinct through visualization and deep breath. I have never put a lot of effort into that aspect of my training...perhaps I am ready to give that a go.

On another thought...as much as I like to imagine being able to jump to the rescue of someone in need, and I believe I would if the situation merited it and it was extremely obvious - like some one being pummeled by some bully - it is difficult to discern when is the right time to intervene, helping to alleviate a potential problem, and when it is the right time to just watch and be ready, helping to not aggravate the situation. That and the natural adrenaline rush from the fight or flight instinct I believe has caused the most internal strife ( not that I have lost any sleep over this...just pisses me off that I had conflicting emotions and feelings - and it got me thinking..."after all this training...and I still was unbalanced internally")...It is very hard to determine what is the right thing to do and if you can do the right thing unless it is happening at the very moment, and I suppose, you are in the moment and just being and doing...
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Old 11-08-2002, 09:08 PM   #11
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Its just like that famous Aikido story...

You remember the one, about the aikidoka training in Tokyo who saw a drunk accosting other passengers. His fists tightened and he thought that this was the type of thing all his training had brought him to. Just as he was about to administer justice, aikido-style, an old man asked the beligerant drunk why he was so angry. The man was taken aback, but the old man persisted, asking him whether he could do anything to help. The drunk confessed that his wife had left him, and he had lost his job and turned to drinking.

The aikidoka felt sick inside. He was about to hurt an untrained man who was already kicked down. As he turned to leave the subway car, he looked back at the drunk, now lying with his head on the old man's lap, crying. The old man was softly stroking the drunk's hair and reassuring him that times would get better.

Enough said?
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Old 11-08-2002, 10:49 PM   #12
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I think one thing that could help is kamae. In yoshinkan this is the most important part of our training. Not only is it a very strong posture, (teaching us the more relaxed you are the more powerful you become) but it makes us aware of whats around us, what our opponents intentions are, and shows everyone else around us our spirit, or how confident we are with our own abilities.

When we practice kamae, we look directly into the other persons eyes. We look at them with an immovable mind. When we do this we should be very calm, and controlled, and we should be able to apply this to any situation. If any of you have had the priviledge of standing in kamae with a high ranked or very experienced Aikidoka, you will have probably experienced the overwhelming power that they give off just by standing there.

Obviously just practicing kamae isnt going to be enough, because kamae is a representation of who you are and the confidence you have in your abilities. Training hard with the right mindset is a big part of it.
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Old 11-08-2002, 10:56 PM   #13
Kevin Wilbanks
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I've read Dr. Gazebo's story before. While it has a heartwarming ring to it, I doubt whether a little compassion would do much for the subway guy or his family. I've been in similar situations where I witnessed a man being abusive to his kid, or his wife, or a mother barely restraining herself from beating her kid on a bus. Let's get real here. These people are sad, twisted, and they are willing to put those who are relatively helpless within their sphere of influence through a life of hellish torment because it gives them some kind of minor thrill or feeling of power... the spouses and children of these people are basically just horribly unlucky: royally screwed. When I've seen it, I've had fleeting fantasies of threatening, humiliating, or beating the crap out of the offender, but it's just movie stuff. You know that the end result of such a confrontation would just be them going home and taking it out on their family even harder. To put it bluntly, in many cases, if you really wanted to do their family a favor, the best thing to do would be to kill them, to erase them from existence in some way that would cause the least trauma to those under their influence. How many here weren't happy when Karl whacked the abusive boyfriend with the lawnmower blade in Sling Blade? Of course, if you went around rendering those kind of verdicts on people you encountered and carried them out, you'd end up as a whole different order of monster... so, I think that realistically you have to limit your intervention to cases where there is immanent physical danger.

Another whole issue to look into is the extent to which you feel responsible for everything that happens around you. While social conscience might be a good thing, is it a good thing if you feel like every incident that enters your consciousness is somehow your responsibility? Realistically, very little is your responsiblity in the sense that you purposefully had some hand in the creating the situation at hand. If you think harmonizing the subway guy and his family is your responsibility even though practically you are uninvolved and virtually incapable of altering the situation, is this a good way to live?
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Old 11-08-2002, 11:17 PM   #14
shihonage
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Re: Its just like that famous Aikido story...

Quote:
David Chandross (DrGazebo) wrote:
You remember the one, about the aikidoka training in Tokyo who saw a drunk accosting other passengers.
If I see this story one more time, I will go insane, fly to Tokyo, and start harassing people on trains.

Last edited by shihonage : 11-08-2002 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 11-09-2002, 04:29 AM   #15
darin
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Re: Its just like that famous Aikido story...

Quote:
David Chandross (DrGazebo) wrote:
You remember the one, about the aikidoka training in Tokyo who saw a drunk accosting other passengers.
Plenty of drunk salarymen on the trains in Tokyo. Especially the last trains for the day. Those are the trains to avoid. Its so crowded you can't move and occasionally a drunk would vomit on everyone. Didn't see any fights but there is always the odd grumpy guy around. Sometimes they shove you while getting on the train etc. One teacher I was working with told me he had someone shove him really hard. They guy just smiled as him as if to say "what are you going to do now..." So the teacher grabbed him by the arse and shouted "omae wa ore no onna!" Which means "I am making you my bitch!".

What pisses me off the most is the young kids and salarymen who sit in the those seats for elderly people, injured or women with a child. My friend used to hit them on the leg with his umbrella to get them to stand up give up the seat to an old lady.

Probably the worst thing on the trains are the chikan (perverts). Did you know that they have women only trains in Tokyo?

Anyway a train ride in Japan is still safer than other countries. You don't get the hard crime such as violent robberies and asaults like in Australia.
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Old 11-10-2002, 08:37 AM   #16
Tim Griffiths
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Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
I've read Dr. Gazebo's story before. While it has a heartwarming ring to it, I doubt whether a little compassion would do much for the subway guy or his family.
Although it would be nice to feel compassion, that's really an issue for you and your karma. What's more important is to display compassion, like a therapist or police negotiator. You (usually) want to reduce the other person's violent energy, not increase it, regardless of how you feel about them.

I want to see a post from that old guy on the Tokyo train, saying "Yeah, do you know how long it took me to dump that drunk? He went on and on whining about his pathetic problems until I wanted to break his neck. I only got away because he passed out on the train floor in a pool of vomit. What a loser".
Quote:
Let's get real here. These people are sad, twisted, and they are willing to put those who are relatively helpless within their sphere of influence through a life of hellish torment because it gives them some kind of minor thrill or feeling of power...
Oh well, in that case let's just kill them. And their friends. And the people who owe them money.
Quote:
...I've had fleeting fantasies of threatening, humiliating, or beating the crap out of the offender, but it's just movie stuff. You know that the end result of such a confrontation would just be them going home and taking it out on their family even harder.
Yes, for that reason I never try to prevent muggings or rapes, because that would only mean the perp would go and do it to someone else, yes?
Quote:
if you really wanted to do their family a favor, the best thing to do would be to kill them, to erase them from existence in some way that would cause the least trauma to those under their influence.
There isn't a smiley with the kind of stunned expression I want to put on now. You WHAT?

"I'm sorry Mrs Jones, but your son was acting like an asshole on the train, so I put him down like the sick dog he was".
Quote:
How many here weren't happy when Karl whacked the abusive boyfriend with the lawnmower blade in Sling Blade?
Those of us who didn't want 'Sling Blade' for a start...
Quote:
Another whole issue to look into is the extent to which you feel responsible for everything that happens around you. While social conscience might be a good thing, is it a good thing if you feel like every incident that enters your consciousness is somehow your responsibility? Realistically, very little is your responsiblity in the sense that you purposefully had some hand in the creating the situation at hand.
That's a very limited definition of responsibility. By that definition there's no social responsibility, like voting, or obeying laws you didn't create.

You're also doing the trick of taking the extreme case and using that to deny all cases. No-one is saying that every incident that enters your consciousness is somehow your responsibility, but that doesn't mean that no incidents that do aren't.

So what are you advocating? Apathy, murder or some combination of the two?

Tim

If one makes a distinction between the dojo and the battlefield, or being in your bedroom or in public, then when the time comes there will be no opportunity to make amends. (Hagakure)
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Old 11-10-2002, 11:38 AM   #17
Brian H
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Garrett,

I had a similar incident. I was riding the train late at night and this incredibly angry guy was at the other end of the car with a woman and a child.

The kid was about two and was passing the time by climbing up in one seat then hopping down, crossing the isle and the climbing up on a seat on the other side.

The kid kept this up for a few minutes until the train lurched and the kid fell down and began crying.

The Man (can't call him "father") picked the kid up by one arm, cocked his fist back and began screaming at the kid. The man was not going to hit the kid, he just wanted to be a "big man" and scare him. The role of bully obviously came easy to him.

I yelled down the car "Hey, why don't you hit me instead?" and walked to within ten feet.

He stopped what he was doing and the kid ran to the woman and sat quietly with her until the whole group left the train. Nobody said a thing to anybody. Some of the other people on the car nodded "thank you" to me, but the woman just stared at the floor and the man just stared at me.

That I was bigger than the man didn't hurt, but I would bet the fact that I was armed to the teeth and wearing a police uniform helped out too.

I did not get further involved, because I was en route somewhere else, and nobody had committed any actual crime. Stopping someone for "poor parenting" or "behaving like an ass in public" is pretty marginal police work, but I did stop the kid from getting yelled at.

This happened almost a decade ago and still comes to mind every once in a while.

What bothers me is: What happened when they got home?

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing
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Old 11-10-2002, 05:12 PM   #18
Deb Fisher
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Brian H wrote:

"What bothers me is: What happened when they got home?"

Get real - he probably beat the tar out of everybody when they got home. Men (people, really) batter because they feel weak. Your response has great mouth feel, it kept all the unimplicated people from having to watch this insane violence, it reminded the whole family that this violence is inappropriate, and for this reason it was arguably the right thing to do.

But you know, it also gave him something to work out on the 'weaker' people he surrounded himself with. By the time he got home, he was probably convinced that the entire humiliating episode was the wife and/or kid's fault.

That fact, as well as the fact that bullies are asking for attention, complicates the issue. I have enough personal experience with abusive people to know that *anything* one does winds up being fuel for a very intense fire.

I'm not sure that means that ignoring violence is wrong - I just think it's a very complex problem.

Deb Fisher
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Old 11-10-2002, 05:26 PM   #19
Hanna B
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Quote:
Sigurd Rage (gasman) wrote:
if i see people who attack other people i intervene if i can

its amazing what a good shouting can do to such people

a long, loud and powerful YAMEEEEEE!
Is it not better with a language that the person understands - or are the actual words of no importance?
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Old 11-10-2002, 08:37 PM   #20
Bruce Baker
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What to do ...

What to do is not always what you do when you think you should do it, is it?

That means ... either your gut feeling for the situation is right, or you were indeed being drawn into the sphere of anger by this abusive angry individual.

If you were unsure about the situation and thinking with your emotions instead of your head, then I would say you do need to examine what got to you emotionally, and what do you need to do to change this.

On the other hand, if intervention was the way to go, be it verbally, or physically, then why did you or others not join in with repressing this angry individuals roughshod treatment of other passengers?

Training is merely training. It doesn't contribute to your moral fiber, or your basic interaction in times of need with the society at large, that is something you learn from experience and from the gut feeling in your stomach.

There are times when you can sympathyize with others, and there are times when you should remind them they are out of line. The only thing about speaking up is that ... you need to be able to back up what you espouse.

There is no right or wrong when you have let a situation pass and no one gets hurt, but how did it affect others on the train, or how did affect your thinking as to what you should have done, verse what you did?

Consider the many ways that are available to handle such situations, what to look for to alleviate them, and maybe learn to react with your head instead of letting the adrenelin run amuck. Knowing how to really hurt someone comes in handy in this type of scenario, why do you think I keep telling everyone to learn the depth of Aikido's art to incur injury?

Aikido should be used to avoid injury, as in learning most knowledge adheres to safe practice standards, but should you need it, do you know how to use it to your full advantage?

Work on your fear, and the practice will increase your knowledge. How to handle trouble will take experience ... and time.
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Old 11-10-2002, 08:43 PM   #21
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Hi Garrett...long time no see! How's it going up there in Norristown?

Anyway, I agree Deb, Bullying is a complex subject.

I teach martial arts to a group of "at risk" youth that are either bullies or subject to bullying.

It is a learned behavior. Esteem or lack of it plays a big part.

While a certainly support Brian's intervention, and appauld it....you are probably right in that it was a short term intervention. (and Brian is well aware of it I know for a fact).

To the guy doing the bullying, Brian appeared to be a bigger bully. That is usually how it starts, most bullies are picked on or dominated by other bullies. (Alpha dog syndrome). So I would submit that Brian probably did nothing more than intervene in the current situation. This guy will continue to bully his child, although probably not in public as much knowing that their are people out there like Brian that are willing to stand up.

To modify behavior we need a long term approach. Unfortunately, for adults, it is very hard to intervene until someone is hurt or files charges etc.

As to Garrett's situation....

Well, I don't think you did anything wrong, or that it reflects poorly on your years of training. I have had the opportunity to intervene in a few different situation. One where are actually used a "lock" to remove a person from a esclating situation. Other times I have used words. But, mainly, I have just stood by much like you and watched to see what might happen.

Unfortunately, regardless of all our skills etc, we cannot turn every situation, and every person to see harmony or peace. Sometimes it requires force, sometimes words, sometimes doing nothing is the only option.

I think when the time is right, you will instinctively use your skills without thinking. (That is what happened to me).

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Old 11-11-2002, 01:26 AM   #22
Edward
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Re: Subway incident

Quote:
Garrett Fuller (fullerfury) wrote:
I noticed the man staring down another commuter and heard him say something like "what are you looking at? Do I know you, what is your problem". The innocent commuter seemed to be doing nothing more than staring into the crowd and casually observing people.
Always remember, the dog that barks does not bite. Knowing that, the best policy would be just to ignore them.
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Old 11-11-2002, 03:00 AM   #23
PeterR
 
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Re: Re: Subway incident

I don't know Edward there are some pretty big German Shepards out there that I wouldn't want to risk testing out your theory on.

Now if we're talking about your yappy Toy Poodle - fair game.

Peter (medium sized mongrol) R.
Quote:
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
Always remember, the dog that barks does not bite. Knowing that, the best policy would be just to ignore them.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 11-11-2002, 03:14 AM   #24
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Quote:
Hanna Björk (Hanna B) wrote:
Is it not better with a language that the person understands - or are the actual words of no importance?
Depends on where you enter the conflict. Of course, speaking in a language the agressor understands is the best. "yame" means "stop" in english, or "stopp" in norwegian, or "halten sie bitte" in German.

I was at an after party once; two different groups of friends met at this pub and after a rather moist evening out decided to continue at my mate's flat. In the group were at least two uninvited individuals who took advantage of the fact that not everybody knew eachother and tagged along (gate crashed). One was a young agressive anarchist sporting tattoos in his face and wearing combat boots. I stopped drinking at this point because I felt some control was needed at this party.

As long as the party lasted there was no trouble but this boy was bragging about demonstrations and fights and demonstrating (very very bad) sidekicks. Another friend of mine did an excellent job of talking him down every time.

In the early hours my mate wanted to get some sleep and we started asking people to leave.

The boot boy was sleeping in the sofa and I started to wake him up. He was not responding, but I knew he was awake so my mate and I started lifting him up. At this point he became very hostile and my mate wasnt exactly helping the situation because he got angry too. A few bad words were exchanged and suddenly this boy threw my mate across the room so he fell over some empty boxes. He followed and my mate got up from the boxes with his fists raised.

This is where I entered. I went between and first stoped my mate with my hand, then in a split second I did a kaiten and an irimi while at the same time screaming "THIS IS ENOUGH, IVE HAD IT WITH THIS SHIT" at the very top of my lungs. I got the eagle vision and my intention of attack was so clear that the boot boy was forced across the room into the corner. I did not atucally touch him. Still screaming/talking, I gathered my senses again and saw him standing in a stupor in the corner, not knowing what to do or where to go.

I followed in, put my eyes to his eyes and asked him if he understood my message. He nodded, but was still so confused he couldnt move.

In the end I had to give him a hug and calm him down, I said "forget about it, just get out". And he did.

I also use my voice alot in my doorman job. The voice carries intent. If the intention is clear then the message comes across. But I try to do it as gently and nicely as possible, smiling if appropriate.

Like, clearing the room after closing hours: I make a loud whistle to get attention, then: "RIGHT, TIME EVERYBODY. ITS BEEN REALLY NICE TO HAVE YOU ALL HERE BUT NOW WE ARE CLOSING. PLEASE PUT YOUR JACKETS ON AND MAKE FOR THE EXIT"

Its taken me some time to prefect this, but now I can clear the entire pub in 10 minutes, it used to take me 20.

I think its called KIAI.

irimi. irmi tenkan. irimi tenkan kaiten.
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Old 11-11-2002, 07:55 AM   #25
TomE
 
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another two cents (partly OT)

Quote:
Sigurd Rage (gasman) wrote:
One was a young agressive anarchist sporting tattoos in his face and wearing combat boots.
From your description, that must have been someone who's *really* into anarchist theory... I realize this is off-topic so I'll try to keep it short, but this is something I feel rather strongly about, because I still hear too much bullsh*t and too little serious information about it: anarchism is a social theory that can be traced back as far as the origins of Christianity and Taoism, not the combined scenarios of Mad Max I through IX - no matter how many ignorant little bastards abuse it as an excuse to just do whatever the hell they want without regard or respect for anyone else.

Being to some extent part of the local punk/anarchist scene myself, I shave my head and wear combat boots too (the first for practical reasons, the second because it's the only pair of shoes i have, and the only pair that has ever lasted me five years and will probably last ten more as long as I replace the soles when they're worn through) and I get called everything from "nazi" over "hooligan" and "vandal" (did I mention I usually wear dark clothes too? Black Blocs, y'know) to "punk". Believe it or not, there are many people in the movement who -despite their looks - are actually intelligent and have ideas and alternatives that actually make sense - often more so than some good obedient citizens who go about their daily routine without even knowing why. Looks aren't everything.

Anyway, I'd be more than happy to discuss this further in a separate thread in the general forum if you wish. For now, let's get back to the original topic:

I've been writing and rewriting a reply to the latest reactions, but wasn't really satisfied with it so I didn't post it. Basically, it went along the lines of Tim Griffiths's reply.

I am aware that stopping a bully may cause him to abuse his wife & kids even more as soon as there's nobody around to stop him anymore. But still... will not stepping be better? Sometimes it's better to increase the pressure and force something to a breakthrough/conclusion, rather than let it fester. Since it's obvious that this situation isn't likely to have a happy end anyway, I'd still step in. And I'm well aware that it could end badly too, like his wife finally snapping and stabbing him with a kitchen knife and being sent to jail, with the kids being placed in an institution (that's not exactly what i mean, but the correct english word escapes me right now), or him beating her to death... whatever.

Of course I can afford to be all rational about it, sitting here comfortably behind a computer right now - maybe I'd react differently when I'm in the middle of the real thing. But still...

As Kevin said earlier - you can indeed not take responsibility for everything that goes wrong. But when you see something turn bad right under your nose, and you know you have the means to do something, I think you damn well have the responsibility to step in. Nobody can foresee everything and yes, perhaps your actions will eventually lead to worse despite all you good intentions - but as long as there's also the chance of improving something, that is no excuse for not acting, IMHO.

To do is to be. (Nietzsche) ... To be is to do. (Descartes) ... Do be do be do. (Sinatra).
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