Nihon Goshin Aikido ~
Pointing at the third & forth kanji down, she looked at me and said, “Yes, it means ‘life protector.”
“Life protector?’ I thought it meant ‘self defense?”
“I think they are the same kanji.” She rechecked, looked back at me and nodded, “Yes, they are the same.”
It was an eye opening conversation.
So, “Life Protector” ~ could be alternated with “self defense;” that brings a whole new dynamic to our study.
Along those lines, consider this scenario originally published in Aikido Journal:
I had a very interesting conversation with an aikido black belt. This young man, exited his apartment building one night to find six attackers beating up a lone man who was on the ground and bloodied. The aikidokia immediately entered the fray to help the victim; successfully dealing with a couple of the attackers.
After their initial surprise, the remaining four thugs stopped attacking their victim, and turned all their fury on him.
The victim, given an opportunity to flee, did what victims do. He got to his feet, and ran away as fast as he could; leaving our aikidokai alone to fend for himself.
Although he did take a considerable beating, the aikidokai emerged without any permanent damage other than a black eye and several noticeable, but short term cuts and bruises on his face.
So after the tale was presented on the Aikido Journal forum, the question was asked:
“Assume you were the aikidokai, how would you have responded?”
The comments were mixed. While there were certainly some who would have mustered a martial response, very few people it turns out would have actually come to the aid of the victim by inserting themselves into the fray. I found some posts sincerely defeatist, and some quite alarming ~ especially this one, which I have posted below:
“It is not a movie, it is not a dojo guys- it’s real world danger. So don’t even think of rescuing someone you don’t know ~ when you do not know what the attackers are capable of. Please don’t be deceived by the fact that you are training in budo.
There is very little chance you will succeed in situations like this. In most cases, physical techniques are the very last thing you should rely on. As an aikido practitioner we should utilize the strategy of aiki. What’s that? It’s about not leaving any openings in your actions that can cause additional damage to him or to yourself, first trying solving the problem mentally.
The sequence of actions could be:
1. Seek help, if there are no people visible around,
2. Call the police and ambulance, or ask somebody to call it for you if possible,as you don’t want to loose time.
3. Keep your distance, but make the attackers know that they are not alone,
4. Shout a loud kiai if you can,
5. Show them your mobile phone informing that the police is on their way. In most cases they should flee.
6. You might also try to affect their conscience, yelling that the man is your friend, and you are not going anywhere, and if they will continue the man is going to die.
Really, you don’t have to play a hero in situation like this by attacking a group of people to defend another man.”
On so many levels, the response I posted above was simply horrific. All six of his suggestions could be considered reasonable actions of the untrained and un-coached noncombatant. To which the question must be asked: “If all you plan to do are the options limited to those who are untrained, why are you even training in the first place?”
Of course, this is why our attacks must be realistic, and our training sincere. We are, after all, not training for a good death, but to protect our life, and the lives of others. No man asks for a situation like the one described in the scenario. We pray daily for peace on the earth, but we all must respond according to our highest calling when the moment of truth comes.
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A Few of My Favorite Responses:
“I once came across this guy beating his girlfriend up. She had a bloodied nose and he was repeatedly smacking her in the face, I intervened and managed to get in between them, to stop him from smacking her, he was non violent towards me, however, imagine my surprise, when said female, punches me in the head from the rear and starts pulling my hair (It makes me laugh now). She was easy to deal with, and she ended up sitting back on the tarmac, and I made a quick exit, to leave the love birds to it. There is a lesson in there somewhere.”
“First of all, I would like to say to the young man that helped that victim, “Good work!” There are too many people that are frankly, cowards, and not only would not have helped, but would not have even called the police. As a former bouncer, I can tell you firsthand that when you are one against many, you appreciate any help you get, and resent anyone that could have helped you, but chose not to. I have high regard for his spirit!”
“Weapons. Plain and simple. Train them. Learn them. Use them. In a real fight like that, you have to dominate immediately. Any weapon, or anything used as a weapon, is a great equalizer against bigger, stronger, and multiple attackers.”
“I have seen first hand the hypocrisy of aikidokai that claim to train as a martial artist, but think me poor for having used Aikido a LOT in fights.
Crazy, they call me. I say, eh. This is supposed to be a martial art, period. Martial arts include the use of weapons. “Bu” literally means “holding the spear at bay” or something along those lines.
Most people who train martial arts do so with the expectancy of never having to deliver the goods, under duress. They have “fun” and their classes are “safe.” I read in one of Saito Sensei’s books that “it would have been preferable to have been beaten up in a real fight than go to one of his classes at times. Well, there is a reason for that.
This is the scenario we’re training for.... Right?
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