Real life stories

Date: Sun, 12 May 1996 13:27:45 -0400
From: Hiroaki Izumi <>
Subject: Re: sword story

This is in regards to the bokken & jo discussion going on. It's a little story from down on Texas way.

Once, at this budo dojo, there was a man practicing Kendo with the many folk there. Everyone knew he was Yakuza but he was a nice enough fellow, though rather a bit old fashioned. Everyone figured he had been sent to America for some slight transgression in Japan or to cool off after some problems with the law. His term in the USA ended and he went back to Japan. A year later, he return to Texas, but he was all broken up and his knees were no longer as functional as they used to be. It must have been a very bad beating. He could no longer function in the Kendo arena so he took up Iaido.

One day, in the dojo, as he was practicing Iaido, a new judoka, trying to get to the judo area walked behind the Yakuza. He inadvertently stepped over the man's katana (live blade) as he passed. The Yakuza, in the wink of an eye, stood up while drawing the sword and pressing the judoka against the wall with the katana against the poor soul's neck. People nearby heard the Yakuza whisper to the judoka, "Since you are ------- sensei's student, I will not kill you this time, but if you dishonour me in such a way again, I will cut you in half." Or something very close to that. Needless to say, the new judoka never showed up at the dojo again. The Yakuza left after some time too.

Bonking a person on the head as a lesson to be careful with sword ettiquette is not so bad. It's a better lesson than having your head or hand cut off.

Another story:

I was doing a kendo kata demonstration with my Sensei at a folk festival one year (many years ago) with live blades. As I was walking into the demonstration venue, a stupid big jerk thought to have some fun and tried to pull my katana out of the saya as I passed by. It didn't leave the saya since I had my thumb over the tsuba as usual. My natural instinct was to put on a defensive nikko. Unfortunately, due to the rapidity of the incident and my instinctive reaction, I broke the idiot's wrist. Fortunately, a cop was there and saw the whole incident. The cop asked if I wanted to press charges and commented on a nice move as the idiot lay writhing on the ground. I said I figured the man had learned his lesson and to just get him an ambulance.

Did I overreact? Perhaps, but if the idiot had succeeded in pulling the katana out of the saya in that crowd, one of the little kids in the area would probably ended up having their head cut off accidentally. The idiot learned not to fart around with katanas and all the little kids running around were safe. It wasn't a bad ending after all.

Date: Tue, 14 May 1996 14:34:45 -0400
From: "Cynthia Williams, DC" <DRCINDYW@AOL.COM>
Subject: Road tested

On 05-14-96 Mike Burke wrote:

<<Picture, if you will, the "Martial Artist" who massacres anyone who happens to touch him (and I use "him" 'cause this picture of Inspector Closeau comes to my mind). I was sort of like that after I came back from Viet Nam...until I had trained in Aikido for a while. Some of my friends used to sneak up behind me and put a choke hold on me and then laugh at my "martial arts". However, the few times that people tied to blind-side, sucker-punch or otherwise attack me, I somehow "knew" and acted appropriately. A couple of times this happened and my attacker was neutralized before I was really conscious of being attacked. I know I didn't "over react", even though (on one occasion...>>

This brought to mind a jewel of an occasion...

I had just taken (and passed!) my Shodan test. A patient (male about 50 yrs old) and I were standing in the treatment room and he was asking questions, just chatting. Suddenly he says, what would you do if I did this!? And in comes a full fist to my stomach! I spun to the right, grabbed his wrist, and eeerrrkkkk ..... (brakes screetching) stopped right in mid-technique.... where he was *about* to be put through a rather nice wall. (There *wasn't* a lot of room to maneuver. We were in the space between a traction table and a treatment table) "Clyde, what in the *hell* did you do that for?" "Oh, I just wanted to see what you would do!" "My God, don't EVER do that again! ONE of US could get hurt!"

Even "out of context" *things* happen!

Date: Sat, 25 May 1996 01:16:20 -0400
From: Joe McParland <>
Subject: Re: Being Attacked

About ten years ago I was at the Univ. of Michigan (Ann Arbor) when there was a big problem with racism. A group of ignorant caucasians posting papers about campus, sliding them under doors, etc. The black population had some real cause to be protesting (there was a different protest everyday, but this one had merrit).

Well, it was April and I was walking back across the quad from the library in the evening with my briefcase (was doing taxes). A dorm-mate was walking his girlfriend across the quad back to her dorm. A group of 12 black highschoolers were walking up the main street in front of the union building and began shouting some fairly rude comments directed to the white girl (I state it that way because that is how they expressed themselves, not because of a personal bias of any sort, so no racist flames, please).

While perhaps it would have been in my friend's best interests to simply ignore the crew and continue heading off in his original different direction, as fortune would have it, he opened his big macho mouth...

One broke from the group, ran accross the lawn, and began a punch - BUT, too bad for him my friend had managed to obtain a mid-level tae kwon do belt... One shot to the face sent him for a loop to the ground. Of course, that was interpreted as an open invitation to the rest! He put one more to the ground with a shot to the groin, but was then overwhelmed, girlfriend standing dumbfounded in shock off to the side, odds now 10:1.

I circled by unnoticed and grabbed the girl, instructing her to run to the library and get security. Then I came through as if walking by and threw my briefcase in for a block to a fist approaching my friend. Now 9:2 (he was angry but busy holding his hand).

Taking a couple of punches, I managed to get it into my friend's head that we had to retreat about 1/2 a block to the union building's side (open at that hour) entrance. It seemed to last for approximately - oh, forever, plus or minus.

A commical note - one kid actually picked up a bottle from the street and, you guessed it - just like the movies! - broke it up agaisnt some brickwork. Unlike the movies though, he only cut up his own hand! 8:2.

Some lost their bravery seeing the others; 6:2. Some stood off as we got close enough to the building; 4:2. I got a lucky shot <G>: 3:2. Then we made it to the door and inside.

My friend was ahead of me looking back as I entered, and I saw a very shocking expression! Wham - another bottle to the back of my head this time! Failed to even stun, so imagine the surprise when I just slowly turned around and glared at the clown! That was the end of their bravery....

... and the end of the show.

Two important observations -

  1. I knew no Aikido at the time, though I'd heard of its existance ('86). Even without knowledge then, I think I would have handled the thing in a similar way today with knowledge - i.e., retreating to safety asap! [Though perhaps I would have dispensed with more than two of the group...]
  2. The attacks that were actually presented to me at that time were genuine - that is, designed for real harm. In retrospect today, I'm sitting here giggling! The attacks were trivial and would have been easily handlable given my only-3rd kyu-though-ready-for-2nd level of training in Aikido. The 4-on-1 randori we practice in the dojo is far more fierce that what I experienced that day - but things were a bit slow motion at the time...

Hmmm... now that I think of it, my first randori preceded any training by 10 years! I may have to place my vote for Aikido effectiveness now.

I think now that, given the way I responded in actual conflict, for me to study any other art would have gone against my nature which was displayed that day - peaceful, protective (at least of myself and friend), and thinking. Not a slam on tae kwon do, but rather on my friend and his instructor: This fool had the idea to trade insults with a small "gang" while alone in the dark with his girlfriend present, and then stood there tossing a few punches and kicks as if he believed he'd finish them all off. [What a punch though - geesh!] Wrong idea, wrong philosophy, wrong training, etc. He clearly hadn't made the level we strive for...

Well, we lived - hardly a bruise. The girl at least made it to the library safely and unnoticed, but was so confused we found her later just standing in the lobby, never having called security or police.

[She could probably stand some correct training too!

Date: Sun, 26 May 1996 12:48:06 +0900

Subject: casual deflection

Hi gang

I was coming home around 8 p.m. on Saturday night. At one of the busier train stations in Tokyo, I was in line to get a ticket. The space was fairly crowded with young people waiting for their dates, drunk red-faced middle aged men getting tickets for the train, a few homeless older men hanging out in the corner as well as the usual number of commuters. My ticket machine was the last in line of a dozen, just around the corner from the homeless fellows.

Immediately after punching the button for my ticket, one of the homeless men focused his attention on me. For those who don't live in Tokyo, as an American, 5 foot 8 inches, I am fairly conspicious. With my briefcase slung over my shoulder, my wallet and ticket in hand, I turned to head for the ticket gate.

It seemed in slow motion that this fellow took 3 or so steps towards me while reaching out to touch me--obviously on the breasts. He had this benign small smile on his face. Without any internal revving, I merely did a simple ukete--like a block, kinda-- Surprisingly he had no tension in his arm as anyone who was giving a comitted strike would have. His arm movement was simply redirected away from me as I walked away.

Running up the stairs to catch the incoming train, I wondered what he felt about the interaction since it was so casual. I didn't at any time make full on eye contact with him before or after the incidence. In the best of worlds it would be nice if he did not accost another woman--wouldn't that be a great consequence of one woman effectively easily dealing with a man's inappropriate behavior.


Date: Tue, 28 May 1996 22:33:03 -0400
From: Alex Rusinko Is It Confirmed <Hiriki@AOL.COM>
Subject: Re: Being Attacked

As a youth in Aikido I was around for the "dojo wars", the challenges, and the my style is better than your's.
I have used it on the street as a fighter. Used it in the war. Used it when other's were threatened or attacked. I have never (and I say this very,very humble) thru the grace of God and the training skills of my Sensei lost a fight.
I am so glad that my youth is over and I can become one with myself and my universe.
I tell of one story where I and some of my students were comming out of a Adult night school and heard screams comming from a woman for help.(I had the habit of teaching boken at the time and had my 200 yr. old Live Blade which I would practice with me. It was being carried by one of my Deshi.) I ran toward the screams and saw a man kicking a woman on the ground,she was trying to crawl under a car. I said hey what's going on and the man turned to me and said mind your own business. I looked at him and said I guess it is my business. ( I was only 5'5'' tall and alittle on the stout side) He said you fat,little, ########## I'll kill you so as he was reaching under the seat of
his car. I told him"It better be a sandwich he was reaching for because He was going to eat it" and as his hand came out it brought with him a Bowie Knife a real big one had to be 15" of blade. He said he was going to cut me up. So I calmly reached back and slowly drew my Katanna . And the street lights reflected off the blade like bright stars and the gentleman put his knife away and drove off leaving me and the woman alone. I called the medics for the woman (broken leg) and then went home. Crocidile Dundie or what mate?

Alex Rusinko

Date: Tue, 18 Jun 1996 15:07:26 -0400
From: "J. W. Ho" <>
Subject: Re: sparring

At 12:21 PM 6/18/96 -0400, you wrote:
>To Scott Kingston-san's question regarding Aikido sparring with his friends; >
>Lee Escobar-san replies (in part);
>>You will have many chances to test yourself in the dojo, meeting new >>challenges, and moving higher in your technique. There is no need to worry >>about that. At least you will have the opportunity to study correctly, and >>more safely in the dojo and learn from the experience without having to >>deal with hurt feelings or hurt body parts. >

This thread reminds me of an incident that happened last semester in my Japanese night class. During class one night, sensei asked us to write what we liked to do on the blackboard. I, of course wrote (in Japanese hiragana) that "I love to do Aikido", (we had to use the verb 'to do'). So questions were asked about each written sentence, and when it was my sentence that was to be explored, another student in the class blurted out what I wrote, along with a comment saying that "Tae kwon do is better for self defense applications, and Aikido is mostly meditation." I did not dispute this claim, but I simply stated why I practice Aikido and why it is good for me. During the breaktime (it's a 2 hour class), some other students were outside smoking and chatting like they usually do, and I was catching up on my reading assignments. That certain student started to show off how good he is with Tae kwon do to the smokers and chatters, one of the smokers said something like "why don't you spar with the Aikido student and see who's better", I heard this inside the classroom, but dismissed it because I just wanted to do my homework. But, a few seconds later, I noticed a crowd of people hovering over me, and the Tae kwon do guy tapped me on the shoulder and said "hey, let's see what you can do" but I just politely told him that I don't want to start anything with him and that I just wanted to go back to my work. He wouldn't take no for an answer, and immediately tried to put me in a chokehold, I didn't panic, and I asked him to let me go, but he just laughed and said to the other students, "see, Aikido is useless!" I asked him one more time to let go of me, but he just tightened his choke even more.
At this point, still sitting in my chair, I calmly did my kubishime sankyo movement on him, and I took him to the floor, then I said to him, "do you want me to continue, or shall I let you go with you not retaliating(sp) on me?" He replied quickly and almost with a tear in his eye said "please let me go, and I'm sorry for choking you!" At that point, I let him up and shook his hand, and said "I would be willing to discuss martial arts with you after class, in a civilized manner if you wish." He kind of smiled, and retreated back to his chair quietly, shaking his hand in pain. I went back to my work, and the other students were silent and sat down to their own chairs just as our sensei came back in from her coffee break. She asked, anything exciting happen when I was gone? To which, nobody replied but they all looked at the Tae kwon do guy and then to me. And I replied, we had a nice chat about martial arts! She smiled and continued with class. Okay, this is getting way too long than I expected, got to hurry and get to work now, later, peace.


Date: Sun, 15 Sep 1996 09:21:00 EST
From: Chuck Gordon <>
Subject: Re: Tyson & Aikido

At 20:29 09-14-1996 -0400, Christopher wrote: >the officer and slinging him around the room. The officer finally resolved >the situation with a good old fashioned uppercut to the drunk's chin, after >which a submission was employed and the cuffs, which barely fit around the >guy's wrists, snapped on.
>The officer still believes in Aikido, and still practices. He, like Mr. >Rusinko, just knows the difference, better than most of us, I'm sure, >between theory and practice.

A personal tale of aiki-woe:

Back in the late 70s, I was a respiratory therapy tech working midnights in a SW Missouri hospital. About 3 a.m., the ambulance brings into the ER a strapping young fellow courtesy of the police dept. He had been fighting outside a local bar and had been taken into custody fairly uneventfully. Some time later, a jailer saw him slumped over the toilet apparently unconscious. One initial exam, he was unresponsive but presented a fast heart and rspiration rate and occasional twitches and mumbles. After the doctor had examined him, he woke up. I got there after he had KOd the doc, thrown the nurse across the room (clearing a gurney in the process) and had begun destroying various pieces of expensive medical equipment. I arrived about the same time as the night maintenance guy and we moved into the room to try to control the patient. The maintenance guy rushed in the got a broken jaw for his efforts. I wasn't as impulsive and took my time. He swung, I made shiho nage and tried to pin him. He got up and swung again. I redirected and made nikkajyo. He laughed and pushed me away and punched again. I reverted to my kempo training and we slugged at each other for a while. He gave me a straight shot and I made kote gaeshi. He fell, grunted, got up, shook me off and threw me across a cabinet. I felt my hand close on something cold and slammed it out of right field up against his head. It was a bedpan, unfrotunately, a full one. He went down. Finally. Later, a blood workup showed massive amounts of PCP among other recreational substances. He had several broken bones and had his jaw wired shut. The aiki techniques I used worked, but it didn't matter. He felt nothing. Only a massive shock (the metal bedpan upside his noggin) cut through the drugs enough to let him know he was badly injured and needed to lie down for a while.

The moral: If you train with ANY idea of self defense -- Never neglect atemi skills and always be ready to exploit your environment. One of the first things I tell people about self defense (after the FIRST thing: you're gonna get hurt) is never to underestimate an attacker and never to categorize an attacker. Be ready to do whatever is necessary to secure your position and preserve the integrity of your corpus. If not, then just plain don't get into those situations (yeah, right).

>Personally, my favorite street technique is a good solid kick to the clackers.

I've found that the groin is one of the hardest places to kick accurately and strongly. I teach people to aim a bit higher, right above the pubic crest into the bladder. It's not nearly as painful in some ways, but is damned effective and a much easier target. Show of hands: How many guys have ever gotten tapped in the gwebbils? How many of you instinctively and religiously protect the boys? Tough target.

later ...

Date: Sat, 14 Sep 1996 20:29:03 -0400
From: Christopher Watson <>
Subject: Re: Tyson & Aikido

>It's quite clear to me that the people on the list who made funny >ha ha's never had a boxer come after them or are shaking in their tabi at >the thought of facing a boxer. Sometime it's better to listen then speak. >Or as my third grade teacher said " Brisk talkers are usually slow >thinkers , there is no wild beast more to be dreaded than a communicative >human being with nothing to communicate. > Raffaele's question was valid and as a Sensei and police Academy >Instructor I have had to answer these questions with techniques. >Not everone attacks shomen uchi.
> Alex Rusinko

Very true. To illustrate...

We've a few police officers at our Charleston hombu. One of them is a strapping young man himself, at least 300 pounds. And yes, he one night found himself being tossed around a living room by a six-foot-whatever, 400-pound-plus husband who was plastered out of his mind -- just picking up the officer and slinging him around the room. The officer finally resolved the situation with a good old fashioned uppercut to the drunk's chin, after which a submission was employed and the cuffs, which barely fit around the guy's wrists, snapped on.

The officer still believes in Aikido, and still practices. He, like Mr. Rusinko, just knows the difference, better than most of us, I'm sure, between theory and practice.

Personally, my favorite street technique is a good solid kick to the clackers.

Yours in artful testicular trauma...


Christopher Watson
Suenaka-Ha Tetsugaku-Ho Aikido

"One does not need buildings, money, power, or status to practice the Art of Peace.
Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train."

Morihei Ueshiba

Date: Thu, 3 Oct 1996 22:49:31 -0800
From: B Corwin <enso@EARTHLINK.NET>

Subject: Re: Aikido in everyday life stories

Ben Trissel wrote:
> I am speaking to a group of high school kids next week regarding > practical uses of Aikido. I intend to relate stories of my time with the > Guardian Angels, and how Aikido affected how I dealt with people on the > streets...what I would like tho', if possible, is some outside anecdotes > from y'all, about how you have used Aikido in yr life. I would also ask > for no war stories, rather, just day-to-day stuff.

Ok Ben, here's one of my favorite stories that I like to use:

When my daughter, Hannah, was in yochien (Japanese preschool) she managed to find herself in fights with the boys on a pretty regular basis. Since she was the only white kid in the school, well, they just didn't know how to take her. Typically, on the playground, when a Japanese girl was swinging on a swing and a Japanese boy would walk up and tell her to get off the swing, so that he could use it.... well, the girls would typically just get up and move, turning the swing over to the little boys.

Of course, Hannah, not being educated that it was necessary for girls to do this would object when told to "get off the swing" by these little fellows, and she would insist that they wait until she were finished using it. This didn't go over very well, and as it turned out, she got beat up over it fairly regularly for a while. One little boy, in particlar, enjoyed kicking her. He would follow her around school and just kick her repeatedly.

So one day after school she decided to confide in me about all this troubble at school. She said she was tired of being kicked and didn't want to go back there. Well, I moved the furniture out of our little six mat tatami room and proceeded to teach her how to tenkan. We practiced for a few hours, and amazingly enough, she picked it up pretty quickly.

The next day when I went to pick Hannah up at yochien, well, the teacher was waiting to talk with me and she told me the funniest story. Apparently, this little boy had tried to kick Hannah again, and she moved to the side in a perfect little tenkan very quickly, which resulted in him falling abruptly and surprisingly on his derriere. He was embarrased and shocked, and amidst all the laughter of the other children, broke out in tears and ran to the teacher screaming at the top of his lungs. The teacher patiently asked him what had happened, and she couldn't hide a smile when she told me that through his tears he cried, "Hannah moved!"

I guess he tought that she was just supposed to stand there and take it! Its fortunate that these two managed to work things out and today are friends, but Hannah reports that he never again tried to kick her!

Date: Sat, 5 Oct 1996 03:58:10 -0500
From: Rex Green <>

Subject: Re: Aikido in everyday life stories

Hey Ben,

I don't know if this is what you're looking for, exactly, but here goes:

I'm a bounty hunter (unfortunately, I look nothing like Lorenzo Lamas) in Kansas City. Since I arrest people on a regular (read "daily") basis, I'm concerned about my safety, as well as that of my "customers". I'm constantly looking for advice from experienced law enforcement personnel about how to deal with "flaky" situations. The best advice I ever received was "learn Aikido".

Fact is, I'm so new to Aikido I don't even know what term applies to my level of training. I test for yellow belt next week, if that helps any. However, in that short amount of time I have learned a lot of valuable lessons that not only affect my self-defense strategies, but my whole outlook on the arrest process.

It goes like this...Arresting somebody is inherently aggressive behavior. As such, some delicacy is required in entering into a situation with a "client". This person is a criminal, and I'm trying to take this person to a place where he/she definately does not want to go. Ergo, things can get flaky very fast, and my attitude towards my "client" is extremely important. A basic understanding and embrace of the philosophies of Aikido can, and has, diffused a potentially dangerous confrontation before it starts. Something as simple as approaching a "client" with a smile on my face and shaking hands can send the message that I'm not there to hurt them. Of course, the "nice guy" routine only works part of the time.

One particular case comes to mind. I was sent to arrest an individual who had skipped bail, and was wanted on $13,000 worth of warrants. This gentleman, I'll call him Sonny, had eluded me for two days (which is a record for my "clients"), and I was pretty pumped up when I finally tracked him down at his girlfriend's house. I stuck out in the neighborhood (I'm white, everybody else is black, it sounds racist, I know, but you do the math) and when I approached Sonny, he pushed his girlfriend aside and ran into the house he was sharing with her. I had already looked at his rap sheet, and I knew he had a record of dangerous assaults, so I prepared for the worst. I had a passing motorist call 911 and request police backup. The KCPD won't assist in a bounty hunter's arrest, but they are more than happy to wait outside, ready to rush in if they hear gunfire.

Once the officers were in position outside, I entered the house by kicking in a back basement door. I was entering this house by myself, knowing that Sonny had a large dog and was probably armed. Talk about Ki saving my butt. On several occasions, I would relax, disconnect, and expand my awareness to "see" what was behind a door or around a corner. Mostly, my relaxation forced me to slow down and observe more closely.

At the top of the basement stairs, I came to a door. I relaxed and expanded Ki, and sure enough, I saw the shadow pass by the crack between door and floor. It turned out to be the dog (a German shepard, pit bull mix...Woof, nice doggy) who was sniffing at the bottom of the door, silently waiting. I found out later that this dog had been registered as "attack trained". I didn't want to shoot the dog, so I waited until it stuck its nose under the door and gave it a short burst from my tazer (a 90,000 volt stun gun I carry with me) on the nose. This got pooch's attention and sent him scrambling upstairs.

While I was clearing the main floor, I noticed with some amazement how well the basic movements of Aikido work for moving around corners and through hallways. I didn't want to give my position away, and by concentrating on staying over my center of gravity, I was able to move through the creaky first floor almost silently. Once I had gained the front door, I opened it to allow the officers to get a fix on my position.

Again, I extended Ki, and by concentrating and relaxing I could pick out any sounds that weren't a part of the normal "background". I could hear the officers' radios, even though they were well over 100 feet away. Finally, I heard what I was waiting for, the scrape of a boot on the upper floor, almost directly over my head, and the whispered command Sonny gave the dog..."KILL". I was able to grab a leash from beside the front door and duck around a corner as the dog came to the head of the staircase.

Again I relaxed and extended Ki and did the first thing that came to mind. I whistled at the dog and gave him a smile and a "com'ere boy". The dog came down the stairs about half way, wagging his tail like I was his best buddy. I thought I had the dog under control when I heard the faint, high-pitched dog whistle. The dog ran back upstairs, Sonny cussing him the whole way.

That's when I started talking to Sonny. He was upstairs with unknown weapons and one known big attack dog. I was on my own, trying to take him into custody. Unless you've been in this situation, you can't imagine the stress. I was trying to remember if I'd kissed my wife and six-month-old daughter goodbye that morning, and hoping that I'd get another chance. Several times, Sonny would scream down the staircase that he was going to "cap my a--", and would brandish a revolver. I asked myself on several occasions, "what would Sensai say right now?"

After what seemed like hours (but was only about 10 minutes) of talking to Sonny, I told him I'd holster my 9mm pistol if he'd do the same with his revolver. I said my hand was starting to cramp, and we were both so shaky anyway that we probably couldn't hit each other if we did start shooting. When he laughed, I knew I had him. He agreed that these warrants were small time compared to murder, and he loved his girl too much to make her wait while he served a life sentence. I threw up the leash and he secured the dog. Then he walked down the stairs with his hands up in the air, apologizing all the way.

I used more basic Aikido holds to control his hands while cuffing him, but was gentle enough not to hurt him. After I secured him in the car, I continued my "gentle" approach by letting him have a cigarette and talk to his girlfriend. By the time I turned him over at the police station, we were laughing and joking like old drinking buddies. When I brought him out of the house, one of the officers shook his head and said, "Man, I'd have never gone in that house solo."

Sonny is still in county lockup, but his girlfriend can expect to see him in a couple of months, instead of several years. The police secured two firearms from the upstairs bedroom where Sonny was barricaded...a 12 gauge shotgun and a .357 revolver loaded with hydra-shok jacketed hollow points. The dog is fine, and no other casualties resulted.

I'm training harder than ever at Aikido, usually 4 times a week. My wife has started training with me, and we not only practice technique, but discuss the philosophy as well. I can't begin to thank my sensai, Dr. Ron Sebring, enough. Though his teaching, I have learned more self control and awareness than I ever thought possible. The techniques really do work, but more than that, the philosophy works as well. If nothing else, it restates in a very real way the old adage that "The best way to defeat your enemy is to make him your friend."

Rex Green
Federal Bail Enforcement Agent
Kansas City, MO

Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1996 21:33:23 -0400
From: Terry Roberts <TerRoberts@AOL.COM>
Subject: falling in everyday life

Well, score one for Aikido in everyday life, at least for ukemi. It's now happened to me, too.

I tripped while jogging today, and went splat.

At first I was disappointed in myself that I didn't roll automatically. But then as I reviewed how I went down, I saw myself twisting and landing in breakfall position. Much better than a face plant. Especially for where I was -- in a sea of dried weeds (or can you call them weeds if you're in a natural area?) -- and how I was dressed (shoes, shorts, jogbra, sunglasses). And, come to think of it, a roll might not have been so much fun.

One advantage of falling like that is that you get a "written" record of what hit the ground, and how hard. Let's see: My upper calf is scratched the most (but certainly not badly at all), my forearm and upper thigh are next, and my ribs and upper arm got just a bit. Is that how you're supposed to end up??? My hands only got one poke, in the upper hand, so I must not have slapped. Probably just as well.

I'm curious, though, about not rolling. Other people have told stories about rolling automatically in a fall. Have my 10 years of Aikido gone to waste? Or were those rolls in bike or motorcycle accidents, when you're in a better posture for rolling? Have other people rolled when they've fallen from an upright position?

Terry Roberts

Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1996 22:25:37 -0400
From: Tony <>
Subject: Re: falling in everyday life

On Tue, 15 Oct 1996, Terry Roberts wrote: > Well, score one for Aikido in everyday life, at least for ukemi. It's > now happened to me, too.
> I tripped while jogging today, and went splat. > <<snip, snip, snip>>
> I'm curious, though, about not rolling. Other people have told stories > about rolling automatically in a fall. Have my 10 years of Aikido gone > to waste? Or were those rolls in bike or motorcycle accidents, when > you're in a better posture for rolling? Have other people rolled when > they've fallen from an upright position?

When I was 3rd kyu (I think) I was playing a game of touch football in mixed company near the beach. Low and behold, while running for the goal, my foot finds a rock and I head for the ground. On the way down, my mind went "Oh my, I'm falling" and my body automatically tucked into a roll. I stood up and everyone around me was gasping, "Are you all right?" I went "Huh? What's wrong?" Not even a scratch.

Since I was hanging on to the ball, I couldn't put my hands out. I did a no-hand roll without thinking. Amazing what a little practice will do.

Then again, there are the times when I fell splat on my rear end on the ice in winter. We don't want to talk about those. My ass hurts just thinking about it. :^)

Date: Wed, 16 Oct 1996 07:38:55 -0400
From: Howard Scott & Phyllis Aronoff <>
Subject: Re: falling in everyday life

>I'm curious, though, about not rolling. Other people have told stories about >rolling automatically in a fall. Have my 10 years of Aikido gone to waste?

Many years ago a taxi passing me clipped my bicycle handlebars. The bike stopped abruptly and I went headfirst over the handlebars. I didn't think about falling; I was worried another car would run over my bike. I did a perfect frontroll and came up on my feet (at a time when I still had trouble rolling in a straight line on the tatami). Had a small bruise on my forearm.

I'm also sure Aikido training has kept me from falling many times on the icy streets of Montreal winters. I've often "recovered" and stayed on my feet when I think I would have gone down before, by controlling my centre I think.

Date: Thu, 17 Oct 1996 09:48:50 -0400
From: Anita Carney <Macha9@AOL.COM>

Subject: Re: falling in everyday life

My son had a motorcycle accident at 70 mph. and came through with nothing worse than skin abrasions. He attributes his survival to Aikido. I started him when he was 7 years old. He is now 21, and I don't think he would be with us if not for knowing how to fall/roll instinctively through practice.


Date: Thu, 17 Oct 1996 09:32:22 -0700
From: Krystal Locke <>
Subject: Re: falling in everyday life

>On Tue, 15 Oct 1996, Terry Roberts wrote: >> Well, score one for Aikido in everyday life, at least for ukemi. It's >> now happened to me, too.
>> I tripped while jogging today, and went splat. >> <<snip, snip, snip>>
>> I'm curious, though, about not rolling. Other people have told stories >> about rolling automatically in a fall. Have my 10 years of Aikido gone >> to waste? Or were those rolls in bike or motorcycle accidents, when >> you're in a better posture for rolling? Have other people rolled when >> they've fallen from an upright position?

To which Tony replied...

>When I was 3rd kyu (I think) I was playing a game of touch football in >mixed company near the beach. Low and behold, while running for the goal, >my foot finds a rock and I head for the ground. On the way down, my mind >went "Oh my, I'm falling" and my body automatically tucked into a roll. >I stood up and everyone around me was gasping, "Are you all right?" I >went "Huh? What's wrong?" Not even a scratch. >

As long as we're pulling sports into it, where I believe there is both more of an "ukemi" mindset, and a physical preparedness, than in walking down the street...
Last softball season, I had an annoying chronic cramp in my left calf. Stretching didn't help, nothing, not even Tylenol 3 with a beer back made it relax. I played anyway(hardheaded that way, gambatte!), and sure enough, as I was hauling from center to right(our right fielder sucks, and it was a big game) for a catch, 2 steps off the ball, one of the heads of my gastroc decided to remove itself from my body. From that point on, *I* was unconscious(I do remember a feeling like a tire blowout sounds, popthwakathwakagrindstop). When I woke up, I had several athletic women looking down at me, telling me what a beautiful roll I had done, too bad the ball bounced off the glove, and what was wrong anyway? Prolly woulda face planted if my guardian angel didn't have such good ukemi, *I* had nothing to do with it. Interesting how ingrained and subconscious it can become. I feel that ukemi is the greatest physical gift I've gained from Aikido, after perhaps the centering stuff. It certainly has been more useful than, say, shomen uchi kotegaeshi, in my daily life. Glad to have both, but ukemi rules.


Date: Mon, 28 Oct 1996 18:01:03 -0600
Subject: one got away(real ain't easy)

Just had another fracas with a shoplifter this afternoon. After watching the guy put two $90 cordless phones in a dufflebag I went to wait for him outside of the doors to the store. Bad news: The cameras on the ceiling made it hard to judge the guy's height-6'2". Good news: there was another manager outside talking to a student. Well I surprise the guy and get an elbow and steer him back into the store. I now got an elbow and wrist(his right side) and my partner has his left arm. We get him in the store, down the stairs, and almost into the security room when his resistance intensifies. I'm 5'9" and grabbed fingers and wrist of his right hand but felt that I really could not control him with the horses**t sankyo (I hate sankyo) I was attempting to execute. Seconds before I had tried to use an ikkyo in an attempt to influence his direction but that was difficult with my partner yanking on his other arm. So we stumble around and the crook breaks loose and runs up the stairs four at time. I chased him 2 blocks but lost him. Tough running in work shoes. We recovered the merchandise. >From my experience I feel this guy has done hard time and has been in a lot of street fights. Escape was uppermost in his mind and apprehending him in mine. I've only been trainning in Aikido 2 yrs. and can see that skill will be forthcoming but Boy! nobody can tap-out on the street.

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 08:10:58 -0800
From: Krystal Locke <>
Subject: Re: Real Aikido

>Hi,folks.I wanna know if you have never used Aikido in a real attack >
>situation.I mean, have you used Aikido as self-defense martial arts ? >
>If so, have you tried to avoid conflict ? >
>I think it's different to apply a technique knowing the attack you are >
>going to receive , and instead react instinctively on the street when >
>someone wants to hurt you .
>Thanx anyone, lello.

Yes. In a bar, I was approached and invited to step outside by a woman dating an ex. She was drunk(point for me), and thought I had been laughing at her all night(untrue). I had about a year of Aikido under my belt(another point for me), and about 6 inches(3 points ahead) and 25 pounds of muscle(4) over her, so I felt good about the potential outcome of any, god forbid, physical conflict. Then she mentioned that some of her new friends, which had been my old friends, also thought I needed some mysterious kind of lesson. Hmm, severe alteration of odds. Plus, I hadn't been laughing at anyone, and I really had no earthly reason or desire to fight this upset woman. So, Aikido, enter into the attack. "No, I wasn't laughing at you, I really wasn't."( A nice square response, for the shapesters.) I blended, and I diverted energy from the original attack. " But, I can see how you might have thought I was, I have been getting kinda silly tonight, and having a roaring good time. Oh, meet so and so, my new romantic interest."( A little circle, with a big twist.) Take the attacker's balance. " You know, I think you are a much better girlfriend for my ex than I was, you two have much more in common than we ever did."( Big circle.) Control them until both are in a safe place. " So, see, I wasn't laughing at you, and no, I dont think my ex liked me better than you just because I make more money and have a better education, and certainly, I'd love it if you bought me a beer." Yah, halfway through my explanation of why I was laughing, but not at her, the real problem came out. She was insecure, and afraid that I was better for my ex because I had a better job, and am smart. She actually started crying and offered to buy me a beer. So, this Aikido stuff can really work, and without a situation coming to blows.


Date: Wed, 6 Nov 1996 10:45:53 -0600
From: Lisa Boucher <>
Subject: Re: Eye contact

On Tue, 5 Nov 1996, Arun Kumar Mathur wrote:

> In a confronting situation, whether it be in a street fight or in a simple > verbal argument, do most people look at their opponents directly in the eye? > There was someone at work who is known for being difficult to get along with. > He was talking with me yesterday and I noticed he started looking down and > even away from me the second I stared him directly in the eye.

I narrowly avoided being in a bar fight just last night. Some fellow (who, it turned out, was there with all his mates from the local police academy) was acting like a major jerk, and I, who have been experiencing lots of sleep deprivation and general stress over the weekend, told him as much. He seemed ready to try to pummel me, and was much bigger. (Of course, in Aikido this shouldn't matter, but I wasn't even really thinking Aikido, to tell you the truth, and I am a beginner anyway). I locked onto his eyes, and he actually backed away. He was still shouting at me, but he backed off. I kept eye contact with him until he left the vicinity.

Later bunches of people came by to talk -- evidently just about everyone had wished they'd said something similar to him, but were too afraid to do so. His police-type pals came by to apologise, and they made him leave the bar.

Since I practically instigated this situation, I suppose I was being very non-Aiki, but what was I do do? Let him walk all over me and my two friends? I was tired and pissed off, and he stepped over the line. I am not known for my aggressiveness, or even assertiveness, generally. I am not physically formidable. But I feel I scared the fellow, mainly because I wasn't willing to back down.

I'd be interested to hear how others would have handled the situation.



"Don't make us bite you in hard to reach places!" --The Tick

Date: Thu, 7 Nov 1996 09:42:16 GMT
From: Alex Megann <Alex.P.Megann@SOC.SOTON.AC.UK>
Subject: Re: We can't be chipmunks with a LIONS heart

Roni wrote:

"My favorite "real-life Aikido" story is one about S. Maruyama Sensei. When leaving the downtown Philly dojo one evening, he and a senior student were confronted by an intoxicated man (the neighborhood was a kind of skid row at the time), demaning money. The senior student told the man to bug off. The man took a swing at the senior student. Maruyama Sensei stepped in, threw the man in kotegaeshi, then carefully placed his foot under the man's head before it struck the pavement. After checking that the man was unhurt, the two left the area. On the other hand, I believe that he DID one time significantly injure a man's arm who wanted to "check-out" his Aikido (I have not fdetails on this, only third-hand hearsay). This RANGE of available responses is very attractive to me. YMMV."

I agree with this. The great thing about long-term training in a martial art, especially Aikido, is that it gives one the choice between different responses to threat, which for me makes up the ethical element of Aikido. Whether it gives me the wisdom to come to the right decision at the time is a different question altogether!

This reminds me of a story I heard about Chiba Sensei, from the time when he lived in England. There are many stories around concerning, umm, let's say his proficiency as a martial artist, but this one is a nice contrast. If I've left things out or misrepresented events, I apologise, but here is the essence of the tale as I heard it.

Chiba Sensei and some students were returning home after a class on the London Underground, and a drunk on the platform started haranguing him, making offensive - probably racial - comments, and seemed to be about to threaten him physically. The students had heard of incidents from Sensei's past, but had never seen him in action outside the dojo, so were excited to see what he would do. Would he fell the tramp with one blow, or would he break his neck with a spectacular iriminage? Chiba instead simply walked a little faster, seeming to pay the man no attention at all. When they were on the street, one student asked him why he hadn't used his martial skills to defend himself. He replied simply, "Why kill some idiot?"


Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 16:45:21 -0600
From: Wendy Gunther <>
Subject: Re: Effectiveness of Aikido?

Y'all have quoted so much of TG's original letter I don't have to quote more than this:
>This way I respect my my youth and intensity by bringing non-violence and >gentle technique into a more realistic challenge.

Time for me to jump in.

My friend Mike Serrano broke a prisoner's wrist using Aikido to subdue him at Riker's Island in 1995. What happened was he took the prisoner to the ground with nikkyo. The prisoner flipped himself back at Mike and the wrist being held in nikkyo broke. End of fight. The prisoner then sued Mike for cruel and unusual punishment and for use of excessive force.

I never heard how that lawsuit came out... Gordon, did you? Does Mike still practice with you guys in Brooklyn?

The funny thing is that Vicky Chiang could throw Mike all the hell over the place at will without his being able to do anything about it. Vicky is 4'9", 85 lbs sopping wet, can probably bench press a wet Kleenex if you don't ask her to do too many reps, and has been doing Aikido for over 25 years. Mike's friend from the force came and took a few classes, reported this fact back to the Rikers Island police, and Mike became a laughingstock for a little while. He told me privately his answer back was, "*You* get on the mat with her." They declined the honor while continuing to make fun of him; humans are strange.

I really liked Ikeda, the little I saw of him during the one seminar of his I attended. I especially liked how he could make tall persons look shorter than he is by capturing their centers through whatever part of them touched him. I hate to say this but sounds like his dans got a wake-up call. Maybe they need to be more like Helios Gracie, who is awesome from all I've heard... or maybe they need to be more like Ikeda.

Wendy, on a slashing break

Date: Tue, 7 Oct 1997 10:53:45 -0400
From: "Dr. Gerry Santoro" <>
Subject: Re: Any real life experiences ?


>I'm asking pple on the list if they have actually encountered any true life >experiences where they actually did use Aikidokan techniques to defend >themselves.. if so, please let me in on the incident..

Yes - twice.

Once I was at a crowded bar with some friends who are in a band. I was sitting behind their sound managers area when a fight broke out between two fullback-sized goons behind me. Since I am partially deaf, I didn't hear the fight with all of the other noise. I am also pretty small (5' 9").

One guy pushed the other guy such that he fell on top of me. I was sitting in a flimsy plastic chair that immediately began to fold under our combined weight. Without even realizing what was happening I moved in a way to redirect his falling mass over me and into an unoccupied area of the floor. (Similar to ueshiro kokyo-nage but seated.) I had been studying for 4 years at the time.

After I redirected the falling guy the bouncers broke through the crowd and stopped the fight. The rest of the evening I was approached by onlookers who could not believe that I had so easily projected this guy who was clearly twice my size. (Even I had trouble believing it.) I am sure now that being practice and relaxation had a lot to do with it. If I had had time to see it coming, and to develop fear response, I might not have responded correctly.

Another time my oldest son (6' 3" 250lbs) decided to challange Dad. (He was 16 at the
time and an avid weightlifter.) He told me he was angry enough to hit me so I invited him to take his best shot. He tyried to sucker-punch me with a roundhouse, which I easily caught with another Kokyo-nage, took him to the floor and held him in a Sankyo hold for 5 minutes while he screamed and kicked.

When he calmed down I let him up and ever since (he is 22 now and still lifting weights) he has been VERY respectful and we get along great! (I doubt he really wanted to hurt me -- I think it was more a rite of passage.)

I think the bottom line here is that you are at risk in ANY attack! It is NEVER desirable or honorable to fight. However - I have no doubt that Aikido, if practiced properly, provides a distinct defensive advantage. So I will live without fear, do what I have to do, and avoid conflict wherever possible.

Of course, now that I am an old man it only has to work long enough for me to draw my gun. (:-)



Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 09:36:22 -0600
From: Neil McKellar <>
Subject: Re: That initial drive...

Matthew asks:
> What was it that drove you to start Aikido?

The first thing I ever saw about Aikido was a friend of mine when we were both about 13 got a book out of the library on it (don't ask me the title). I wasn't interested because all the guys in the book were wearing skirts. :-) But I *was* interested in MA. There just weren't any schools in my town. (That's right. Not a thing. Last time I went back there, they had two TKD schools and an occasional judo class. Typical.) I got a lot of mostly useless books, though.

When I got to university I shopped around the various clubs. The woman at the karate booth (Wado Kai) asked me if I'd seen 'Karate Kid'. I said, 'Sure.' She replied, 'Well, it's nothing like that.' So I started out in karate. I hurt so much for the first four months, I thought I would never be able to move normally again. Plus side was that none of the shirts I brought with me to school fit. For the first time in my life, I had pectoral muscles. :-)

Fast forward a bit. Got a girlfriend (she took up karate, too). Met some friends who also like MA, but they're doing Aikido (Aikikai). Watch 'Above the Law' with them (cool, but what the heck is he doing anyway?).

Girlfriend agrees to take 4 months of Aikido over the summer, if they'll take 4 months of karate. A year passes and she's still doing Aikido and they aren't doing karate anymore. :-)

So, one night she comes home, hands me a steak knife and says, "Here let me show you what we did in class tonight." I should have been more suspicious. Next thing, I'm on the floor and I can't move. Strangely, the knife is still resting comfortably in my hand -- useless and more than a little frustrating. Almost as if she had said to me, "Could you hold that for me?" Anyway, that was my first experience with gokyo. :-) I was hooked, and I hadn't even come to class yet.

So, work took me to Toronto where I trained in karate and Aikido. After a year, I was back in Edmonton with my girlfriend again (long distance relationships suck golf balls through garden hoses). Continued to train in both for a few more years, but I came to realize it was time to pick one and focus on it. (Sortof brought on by the head instructor trying to find a way to ask me to take over one of the many clubs in town whose class times conflicted with Aikido. This was a common occurence. I was a shodan and it was common to stick shodans in out of the way schools -- kinda like tossing someone into the middle of a lake to teach them to swim. I was already handling a small afternoon kids krotty klass. :-) Bye-bye karate.

So why keep coming back? Even after the 4th time I trashed my wrist? Even though I frequently feel like the slow kid on the block (actually karate was that way, too)? Even though the falls sometimes scare the shit out of me (even after all this time)?

To steal a line from one of the yudansha here, that's like asking why do I breathe? I can't even imagine NOT training. What would I do with my time otherwise? :-)
Neil McKellar (

Date: Wed, 4 Oct 1995 11:44:57 PDT
From: Kevin Jones <>

Subject: Re: Aikido's effectiveness/ineffectiveness

There are many perspectives on this issue. As is true for many topics, I find that my attitude has changed many times during my study of Aikido - which I *hope* is a sign of growth and development :-) - and often these changes have been brought about by interaction with people who have forced me to look at things from a different perspective. Sometimes these people have been teachers or my seniors, but perhaps equally often they have not.

I used to believe that there was a "dojo technique" for learning principles and a "street technique" that was more dangerous and effective. A story that made me think follows: Feel free to make of it what you will.

About 10 years ago, I had a student in the dojo who was, shall we say, somewhat Aikido-challenged. He had great heart and was keen but he was not physically gifted as far as practice was concerned. Terry was 50-ish, about 5' 2", out of shape and a heavy smoker. He was the only person I've ever met who could get lost on Happo-undo (8 direction moving exercise) by the count of 1!

I liked Terry because he had fun in class, loved what he was doing and tried his best. He was not the person one would have held up as a prime example of how to perform Aikido, in any way. I think he made 4th Kyu by sheer determination and perseverance.

Anyway, Terry went on a trip to Jamaica to attend a conference, and the following is an incident he related to me when he came back - still wearing an amazed expression on his face as he was telling it.

He and a group of colleagues went for a look around the city. They were warned not to go into certain districts and not to go alone. They'd been to a number of bars and had had a few drinks. While walking through some part of town (it, of course, being one of the parts they'd been told to stay away from!), Terry had stopped to look in a store window. When he looked up, he noticed that he was alone and the group was some way away down the street.

As he started to head after them, a huge islander (in his words, "I think I came up to his waist!" - hyperbole being excused in this situation :-)) stepped out of an alley and said "gimme your money, mon".

Now, Terry is a Yorkshireman - which sometimes means given a choice between your money or your life, they think about it for a while :-). So he said "No. Your not getting my wallet".

He said the guy made some more threats and noises and then made a step forward to grab hold of Terry. Terry said he felt completely calm and stepped back and took hold of the guy's arm and moved it very gently, just as if he were doing Katatedori Ikkyo with a beginner in the dojo. He also said that if I'd seen the technique, I would have shaken my head and wondered if he would ever get anything right! The guy was dropped on his face and hit the ground with a thud - and it came as a complete shock to both of them.

Terry said the guy got up, looked at him most strangely and ran off. His other comment was "if I'd've hit him, he would have probably just laughed at me - and then killed me". Terry then set off down the road, caught up to his friends and stayed around the hotel bar after that :-).

He credits practice, calmness and softness with saving his life (or at least his money, and I'm not sure he differentiates :-)), and it was as much a surprise to him as it was to everyone else.

So, was Terry's Aikido - a basic technique done in the way a beginner would practice - effective? You have to decide for yourselves what effective means, I think :-).


Date: Wed, 27 Nov 1996 11:41:15 -0800
From: Marianne Ostermayer <>
Subject: Re: true stories

Michael_Paul_Corder wrote:
> Hi! I'm looking for true stories where aiki techniques were used in > actual situations. I'm also new so please overlook anything stupid I do. > thanks
A woman from San Diego Aikikai help some elderly ladies. She 'ikkyoed down' a woman who was stealing mail. The Aikidoist had just passed her 5th kyu test, and her problem was what to do with the 'uke', after all she was well aware, that she was not in the dojo, so she just sat onto her uke until the police arrived.


Marianne Ostermayer

Date: Fri, 6 Dec 1996 20:39:02 -0500
From: "Dean C. Harris" <dcharri@DTI.NET>
Subject: A more likely real situation...'cos it is-

This was in our latest schedule/newsletter: "STRAYING FROM THE PATH" Anonymous 4th Kyu:

While sitting out of Aikido training due to an injury at work I decided one night to head for a local watering hole instead of watching class. Shortly after getting there I spotted a friend (who unfortunately is a heavy drunk.) When I saw him he was across the barroom in a heated argument with a very angry patron who started to get really violent. Realizing my friend was too drunk to stand alone to handle this confrontation I called over to my friend questioning what was going on.

At that, the other guy shouted at me to mind my own business and threatened to come over and knock me out- now!! Being around 25 feet away I didn't feel very threatened and told him to stuff it. That's all he needed to hear, I guess, because the maniac instantly came charging across the room with the clear intent of knocking my head off my shoulders.

I do not know, at that moment, if I chose to do Aikido, or not, but I apparently stepped "off the line" with my right foot and while turning apparently cut his punch downward with my left hand. Maybe you can call it a tenka, or helping the flow. To my amazement the fellow went "flying" over 3 or 4 barstools crashing headon into the cigarette machine.

Well, I guess being drilled over and over to step off the line (special thanks to Frank J.) has some benefits. The fellow was eventually helped up- and he apologized. "Are you a Marine?," he asked. What I realized from this incident is that stepping off the line should not mean disappearing from the dojo when I am injured. I should have been at the dojo and not the bar. Well, I guess we all have to learn our priorities sometime.

Not quite as exciting as a death match between an Aikidoka and an Expert [insert deadliest human on planet here] but it is indeed real.

Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 15:38:22 +0000
From: Annas Alamudi <>
Subject: Re: Aikido and Self Defence

Just my thoughts on the matter...

A few months back, I was driving home when two men stopped me. I thought they were asking for donations (which is normal here in Indonesia). As I stopped, one stood in front of my car, while the other pointed a knife at my throat. He demanded that I move to the side of the road, and step out of the car.

I know that the warriors out there would have put the pedal to the metal and run over the man in front of the car, but I couldn't and wouldn't do that.

I stepped out of my car, talked with the men (another one appeared ot of nowhere), and basically said that I stashed my money in the car. They told me to get it. The man with the knife followed me to the car, where I took my steering wheel lock and used it as a weapon against him. How I got it to bear before he realised I was prepared to fight, I do not know, but I did it, and hit him with it. His friends helped him, so I fought them too. Soon after, one ran away, leaving the first (the one with the knife) unconscious, and another kneeling while holding his ribs, begging for forgiveness.

At that point, I felt literally sick, as basically I am not a violent person. I checked for the pulse of the uncounscious man, it was there, so I left. My greatest fear at the time was, "Shit, I'm a killer." It doesn't matter that it was in self defence, I felt bad about myself. I don't know what I would have done if he was killed.

A few days later, a friend told me that she was mugged at the same place, several weeks before. This helped me ease my guilt a lot.

Anyway, I recently took up Aikido, so I can defend myself with a clear conscience, without much danger to assailants.


Do what you feel you have to do at the moment, defend yourself, but be prepared for the guilt trip afterwards.

Once again, this is just my humble opinion on the subject.

Annas Alamudi

Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 15:16:24 -0600
From: "Michael E. Burke" <>
Subject: Re: Incident - Chiapetta reply

Chiappetta, Mark wrote:
> Mike:
> When you posted to Aikido-L about your incident, I assumed that you > would've been prepared to discuss it in the event that someone inquired. > I guess I was wrong. Sorry. By the way, the reason why I was interested > was twofold: 1) to learn how someone actually used their Aikido skills > to deal with physical conflict and 2) being a martial artist and CCW > permit holder, I am concerned as to the legal consequences of using > excessive/lethal force, in a self-defense situation, that results in > serious injury/death. All this so that I can be aware of the > consequences in the event that I'm forced to defend myself/wife. >
> Domo
> Mark
> >----------
> >From: Michael E. Burke[] > >Sent: Monday, December 16, 1996 1:47 PM > >To: Chiappetta, Mark
> >Subject: Re:
> >
> >Chiappetta, Mark wrote:
> >>
> >> Hi Mike:
> >>
> >> You wrote:
> >>
> >> >(I remember getting grilled very thoroughly and intensely by Mr. > >> Hirata of the Ki Society Northwest. I wrecked three people in a > >> fight while I was bouncing in a bar in Anchorage, got sued for > >> $800,000, and Mr. Hirata was almost called on to testify about the > >> "violent nature of Aikido". I thought I might be barred from Ki > >> Society dojos for taking unfair advantage of my opponents. Luckily, > >> I was able to prove that I acted responsibly.) > >>
> >> Would you mind sharing more details of what happened (for the 'just > >> curious' minded)?
> >>
> >> TIA
> >>
> >> Mark
> >>
> >> _S\o_
> >
> >It's probably not worth it for the curiosity. If someone needs the > >story, I'll probably just post it to the list. > >
> >Peace,
> >
> >Mike Burke
> >
> >

I am prepared to discuss it. I just didn't want to answer 25 personal messages.

(For you latecomers, I am answering a request by Mark to describe the incident by which I almost got on the wrong side of Mr. Hirata.)

Back in 1980, I had been earning a few bucks by bodyguarding Country-Western Stars visiting Alaska. The owner of the hotel at which most of these stars stayed also owned a couple of other businesses. Subsequently, she hired me as a bouncer in a strip joint called "The Great Alaskan Bush Company". (Did you know we have toally nude dancing in Alaska? You do now.) I was hired on an emergency basis. The previous bouncer was a real bad-ass who used to get into about three fights per night. After I got there, fights went down to about three a month, and it could have been less if the owner would have gotten rid of a hot-headed bartender.

It wasn't like I was really trying to mellow the place out, but even when I was in the mood for a fight and someone was getting out of hand, I would somehow get One Point as I aproached them and they would usually get a cup of coffee and leave quietly.

I had been there five weeks without actually fighting anyone (I did have to rush a couple of guys out, but nothing serious), when a customer grabbed one of the girls doing table dances by the crotch. This is a definite NO-NO! As I was escorting him quietly to the door, his brother tried to blind-side me. I mangaged to evade the punch with a very nice, unconsciously-done ikkyo. However, his head hit a wall on the way down, and then bounced a little off the floor at the bottom. And then the guy I was getting to leave tried to grab and punch me. However, I just kind of raised my arms touching his shoulders inside his grasp, and as I moved forward, he sort of came off the ground and bounced against another wall about three feet away. I then turned back to the guy who originally tried to punch me, leaned in and banged him alongside the head a couple of times to make him stop moaning and listen to me, pulled him up by an ordinary hammerlock and dragged him into the front foyer part of the bar. As I was trying to put cuffs on him so we could wait quietly for the cops, his brother (the guy I was originally escorting out of the club) and a couple of friends came up behind me and while they were directing their fists at where my head should have been, I blended to the side of the brother and propelled him into the wall (Bless those walls!). The other guy I managed to break a rib or two, the guy's wife managed to get her foot trod on, and then the clown who started the whole thing came off the wall at me again. The punch I landed on his nose looked just like the type we use in munetsuke. I swear I was punching in slow motion, but his head jumped back and hit the wall again, and since my fist hadn't really left off contact with his nose, it sort of smeared his face. The other bouncer came up, we put cuffs on everyone, had them arrested, etc....

They tried to claim I used excessive force. They sued us for $800,000, individually and the club. They ended up settling for $60,000. (The owner paid $15,000, the insurance company paid $45,000. I was all for not settling at all, but it would have cost a minimum of $55,000 to go to court, and if we got a Christian-oriented runaway jury, it could have been VERY expensive.)

My other bouncer said he's never seen anyone as cool in fight. Since I was known as "Mellow Mike" and he was known as "Mean Mike", many people were surprised that I was the one who produced the dramatic episode. One of my favorite dancers said it was scary to watch me go to work. I was not really conscious of much at all except I felt totally there. I could feel myself getting sucked into the right blending moves, but I was really "out of myself".

In all, I was in five fights in five months, and got sued four times. I'm not really a violent person, but I used to enjoy violence-prone, adventurous situations, and my reputation is totally exaggerated, and based on only a few, highly dramatic and visible events.

A few months later I was in Seattle, practicing at the Northwest Ki Society dojo. It turns out that Mr. Hirata had been contacted by the plaintiffs in this event. They wanted him to testify that Aikido was a deadly Martial Art, that I, as an Aikidoka was a dangerous person, and that I had no business being a bouncer because of the imminent danger to to the patrons of the bars I was working in. They lost interest when they found out about Aikido's real reputation, but Mr. Hirata remembered. He took me aside, verified that I was the Aikidoka in question, gave me a lecture about the responsibilities of being an Aikidoka, and made me explain in detail exactly what happened. Mr. Hirata was a very quiet man, but I felt that he was very upset. I was told by one of the senior students that if he hadn't been satisfied with my explanation, I would have been barred from Ki Society dojos.

I hope this satifies the curiosity of those who asked.


Mike Burke

Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 16:23:25 -0600
From: Crazy <>

Subject: Re: Incident - Chiapetta reply


<violence, meihem and murder snipped>
> I was told
>by one of the senior students that if he hadn't been satisfied >with my explanation, I would have been barred from Ki Society >dojos.

Bad, bad Mike! Giving Ki Society such a horrible reputation. Banging people into walls and such, punching them in the nose, using the Sacred One-Point for hurting people... I just can't believe it! Bad Mike! Bad! :-)))


Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997 09:33:43 -0600
From: "Michael E. Burke" <> To: Multiple recipients of list Aikido-L <>

Tony wrote:
> At 10:52 13/01/97 -0600, you wrote:
> >Wing Chun wrote:
> >
> >> Is this possible though? When Seagal takes on all comers in the > >> restaurant for example. Is this theoretically feasible? > >
> >Been there, done that, got the lawsuit. > >
> >Peace,
> >
> >Mike Burke
> >
> >
> I'd love to hear this story - go on Mike, you know you want to tell us! >
> - Tony

I'm amazed at the interst this off-the-wall comment generated.

Here's the reply I sent to Mickey (and copied for the others who asked). Let me point out that I was still drinking and drugging in those days (This happened in '79), and since I got sober in '84 I've retired from all the tough guy shit.

Michael Hughes wrote:

> >
> > Been there, done that, got the lawsuit. >
> Is this another bouncer reference?

Of course! I've never had enough money personally to make it worth while suing me alone. They have to sue me and the bar together.

Technically, this one wasn't bouncing. Soem friends and I used to bodyguard CW stars when they came to Alaska. We took Jimmy Hagger (You remember the Hagger twins from Hee-Haw?) to a bar called the Matador, and after a while a few guys at a nearby table decided to make him a not-so-identical twin. The resulting John Wayne was glorious, and a good time was had by all, except for the 13 people who went to the hospital, and especially the guy who needed 32 stitches in his head and treatment for a 1.5" skull fracture. The bar got sued for letting us rowdys in, and they sued us for using unnecessary force, but considering that we were regular patrons of the bar who never got in trouble, and since there were only three of us left to bully the "victims" after our other two guys got Jimmy H. out of there, they dropped the suit.

The facts are, if you lose you hurt, and if you win you get sued. I worked for a strip joint in Anchorage called "The Great Alaskan Bush Company" in 1980. In the first five months I got into five fights and got sued four times. (The last fight was with two guys and I messed them both up a bit, but they were biker types who knew how to lose a fight without whining. Besides, one of them had tried to shoot me in the back of the head with a .44 derringer, and one of my waiters snagged it from him when he pulled it out of his boot. I'd have really been pissed if he tried to sue me too.)

Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1997 16:16:49 -0800
From: "Kevin S. Leavitt" <>
Subject: Strength in Aikido

Hey I got something for ya!
(I'm a flowing with ideas today!)

This fall I completed U.S Army Ranger school. For those of you that don't know what it is it is the toughest school the army has...graduating from it is like earning your "black belt" in combat stuff.

Any our combatives training (martial arts) at the end we had to do this thing where every platoon picked one guy to represent them in ring. Being one of the biggest and the only one with a martial arts background in my platoon I was volunteered by my so called buddies.

They idea is no holds barred. The last one left standing in the middle of the circle is the winner. We did have a ref to make sure that no one got too serious with the punching kicking etc.

Any way the other four dudes..we as big and about 10 years younger than myself. Being Rangers..most of them were adept at fighting aka brawling agressively.

There was no way I was going to win against 3 other dudes each trying to be the winner by meeting force with force. So I just kinda stood there and let the situation develop.

One guy let go with a handful of dirt in one guys face and dove at him...they went at it. They other guy looked at me and started to approach cautiously.

I let him start to wrestle with me looking for openings. I also kept an eye on the other two who were off to the side trying to throw each other out of the ring. All you could hear was swearing and grunting and groaning from them.

Well this guy started trying to over power me and get me high and push me out of the ring. I just dropped to my knees and went limp....(guarding myself of course). For the next several minutes he attempted to muscle me around the ring.

In the meantime the other two grew tired and eventually one of them screwed up enough and got pushed out. I calmly sat there methodically and slowly trying to find the center of the guy on top of me. He was sweating and growing tired...his breathing became labored trying to pick me up push me and anything else.

Well the guy that was left on the other two approached us and jumped on our pile and started to push pull and ram us. I stayed as low to the ground as possible hoping that these two would get into it and leave me here. Well they did for a while I got up moved to the side at watched hoping they would not figure out what was going on.

Well my platoon mates were yelling at me because I wasn't in there scrapping and just sitting there being a wimp in there eyes. (I quess the smile on my face led them to believe I wasn't serious..I was having fun!)

After a while these two tired themselves out so much that they were just sort of laying there. Eventually I had to do something other than sit there so I kind of jumped in and tangled with them. Well They got a second wind and started to grunt groan and struggle again. eventually one of them sort of got pushed out and it was just one on one just the way I like it.

I was fresh and he was not.....Needless to say I won. I did not use strength or force...just my brain!

Interesting that my platoon criticized me afterward for not doing much...I told them that I thought the point was to win...some of them just didn't seem to understand this concept!

Date: Sat, 1 Feb 1997 18:47:31 +0200
From: "Ioannis N. Sismanis" <>
Subject: Avoid fight or lock down?

The story I am about to tell is quite unusual to me (it has never happened before). I was walking with my girlfriend through some kind of a park. It was noon and the sun was really bright (just like a nice spring day). There were couples sitting around enjoying the sun, and some loneny guys looking at them. One of those guys was observing a couple from a distance no more than 10 meters. He was holding a newspaper in front of him, but the only thing he wanted to "read" was the couple (you know kind of a mind-sick guy). He was looking periodically around him (didn't know at that time what). He was really nervous and he was occasionaly changing positions around the couple.

The park is near a "bad" neighborhood of Athens, and phenomena like this one are quite often. I believed (and still do) that people like him are people who are afraid (even their own shadow) and I really do not want to have any "business" with them.

My girlfriend and I stopped walking and we looked around for a nice shiny place to sit. Nearby (2 minutes walking) there is a University. Some friends of us were giving exams at that time and we wanted to wait for them. It was no more than 5 to 10 minutes before the end of the exam. We knew that this was a "bad" neighborhood but (silly us) we were tired and we wanted to relax for a while. Anyway it was noon, the sun was shinning, there were a lot of people around - we thought it was safe enough -.

While standing and looking around where to sit -having tottaly forgotten the guy- I heared some one behind me (and quite away) calling someone the
well-known greek dirty-words. I turn around (my 1st mistake) to look what was going
on. The guy was looking at me and his yelling at me (!). I decided to ignore him (I believed that this would calm him). He then started running towards us yelling
"what the f... are you looking at, you sh..,as..." (you get the point).

At that time I knew that troubles were on the way... The guy took of his jacket and pushed me (sort of kata-tori). His push was soft and I didn't want to apply any kind of technique (this was a decision I took in tenths of a second). The guy was really short (1.5 - 2 heads shorter than me) and he was wearing many rings in his fingers. I thought (and I guess I was correct) that the best way was to avoid any kind of conflict. He then stood with his right leg forward having his left arm ready for a punch. I was not feeling any threat from this little guy. He had pushed me with his right hand and now he wanted to defend himself with his left (!?). I told him I didn't know him and that I have nothing against him. My girlfriend (a little socked) started shouting at him (the 2nd mistake I suppose).

In the mean time I was looking this guy directly in the eyes without ever loosing him. I could see his arms trembling (I still don't know if it was from fear of from any kind of drugs). At the time I believed that he just wanted to "show off" (probably to himself). He kept on calling me various things,
threatening me that he was going to punch me dead,.... I asked him if he was going to win anything by doing that and he looked me stunted. I guess I was a little afraid but my voice and my body were hiding it. I wasn't trembling at all,
I was breathing deeply (with large breathouts -like KI class-) and ,believe me, I was trying to apply the 4 basic principles (to my mind and body). In his shortest move towards me or my girlfriend I was ready for the worst.

The guy lost interest in me and started shouting at my girlfriend to get lost. "Go home you little bi.." he said and started moving his arms. I got in the way (really close to him - I was breathing on him) and pushed him away. I told him that this was enough. I didn't threatened him at any point, or something like that. I was trying to relax-completely. He had nothing more to say and he backed off... I turned my back to him and went away. The story was over without a fight.

I was feeling strange. I could lock the guy to the ground from the very beginning but I did not. This could be a big mistake but since the end was good everything is good. On the other hand if I had locked him down... who knows?

I don't know what I 'll do if something similar ever happens to me. Propably I 'll do what I 'll see fit at that time (in matter of msec again).

I am posting this, seeking advice. If something similar has happened to you or you have any kind of opinion on the matter, I would really be very happy to read about it. Yannis Sismanis
National Technical University of Athens Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering e-mail: You can also reach me at

and at Have a game of dominate at

Date: Sat, 29 Mar 1997 11:37:24 -0500
Subject: Aikido-just beginning at 41! -Reply

>I have read with interest the various threads on this list. It is part of my >ongoing look at Aikido. My problem (?) is that I am now 41 and am >wondering if I have missed the boat in terms of starting to learn Aikido.

There is a gentleman in our dojo in his late fifties or early sixties who started practicing just a few years ago. He said it was rough at first, lots of aches and pains, but they went away after time.

Just as an aside, a young bodybuilding type took a swing at him a few months ago in the changeroom, and this older gentleman proceeded to put his head through the changeroom wall (not on purpose, mind you, that's just where the technique ended up). The young guy called the police, who just left after hearing the whole story.

-Ian Hayes

Date: Sat, 19 Apr 1997 09:40:23 PDT
From: Charles Ruhe <>
Subject: Off the mat Aikido

Hi all,

I just had an experience at work that I thought I'd share with the list. I think it's an example of applying Aikido principles off the mat, and I'd be interested in reading other people's comments or similar experiences.

I'm production manager for a small company that publishes 2 monthly newspapers and a quarterly magazine. Over the past 6 weeks, we've faced 5 major deadlines--both papers twice and one issue of the magazine. This is explosive growth for the company--when I started a year and a half ago, we just had one monthly paper, and we haven't increased our staff by much since then.

Now, as the company has grown, I've noticed that we often have a last-minute crisis, sometimes just an hour or two before the paper is due at the printer. This crisis leaves people angry or in tears, and usually ends up making us late.

On Thursday afternoon, as we were working hard to meet our final deadline on Friday morning, the boss came in to confront the production department about a mistake that had been made in one of the previous publications. I could feel the tensions in the department rising, as we were all feeling quite stressed by the deadline that was approaching, and were all very fatigued by 6 weeks of long days and multiple deadlines.

The boss finished his tirade and left the room. I thought about it for a second, then followed him back to his office, where I confronted him myself. We vented at each other for a few minutes, but I did my best to keep the exchange focused on the problems at hand, and I believe that I made him take the frustration he was projecting at the department back into thinking about what he can do to make the situation better.

What I noticed following my conversation with the boss was an immediate reduction of the tension throughout the company. We also made our deadline on time and without a last-minute crisis.

So what does this have to do with Aikido? I think I applied several Aikido principles to the situation, and I'd be interested in comments from other list members. I'm not claiming I did it expertly, or even consciously, but in thinking about it afterwards, I analyzed it like this:

To start with, I was aware of the potentially dangerous situation. I entered and connected with the boss. I maintained my center by keeping the focus on the current situation. I acted before the crisis had gained its full power, and I led the energy of the situation to a safe place, so that we all could emerge winners.

Anybody have a similar story to share?

Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 23:05:05 -0700
From: Krystal Locke <>
Subject: Re: When is Aikido not Aikido?

>In a message dated 97-04-22 18:29:39 EDT, Pete write: >
><< Don't expect to get the same results from a real attacker as you > would from an uke. Even if YOU do the technique the same, you get > very different results. For example, don't expect kote gaeshi to be a > "throw". A real attacker generally drops straight down to his knees > like a rock. No big pretty breakfall. It has a similar feeling to the > way someone drops straight down from a vigorous mune dori nikajo. >> >
>Just out of curiosity, have you ever done kote gaeshi to a real attacker? If >so, what was the attack (if I may ask) and if not, then on what do you base >this comment? I am not arguing with you or doubting you, I am just >interested in why you make this assertion. Why wouldn't the attacker do a >sort of poorly executed side fall, especially if you unballanced them well >with the beginning of the technique instead of just relying on the pain of >the joint manipulation to do all the work? Or if this is an actual situation >and not a hypothetical one, was this somehow not possible at the time? I >just thought this could be enlightening for those of us who have no actual >combat experience with Aikido. I think most of us have had similar questions >about the 'real life' effects of our techniques. >

I've done a real kotegaeshi to a real attacker, he flopped to the ground ungracefully, and gave me back my cookie. Same guy, just a few days ago tried to push me out in front of a car while we were waiting for the light to change. He pushed once, pushed again, and when he pushed the 3rd time, reaching his arm around my shoulder to do the push, I slipped my inside arm up and around his and got a bitchin katagatame. He dropped straight down, like a rock. And laughed.
Had another guy at work grab my wrist cross handed and say, "SO, what do you do for this???" I guess he didn't know that I had just walked across the street from an Aikido seminar, and we had just done 2 hours of nikkyo. He dropped like 2 big rocks, and left me the heck alone after that. I liked that. I work with idiots and assholes, and boy are they in great company with me...


Date: Wed, 23 Apr 1997 03:44:11 -0300
From: Vance <>

Subject: Re: When is Aikido not Aikido?

> Just out of curiosity, have you ever done kote gaeshi to a real attacker? If > so, what was the attack (if I may ask) and if not, then on what do you base > this comment? I am not arguing with you or doubting you, I am just > <snip>
> about the 'real life' effects of our techniques. >
> Todd

I have done a pretty harsh kotogaeshi on a "somewhat real attacker". What I mean is, he was drunk and aggressive, and I was unsure of wether or not he really meant me harm. He grabbed my wrists and tried to push me into a wall as he was doubtful of Aikido techniques. When I applied kotogaeshi he dropped very quickly to his knees and proceeded to try and pull his arm (hand) away from the grip. He quieted down after this and became sick, (from the pain or the liquor I don't know.) From this I would have said unexeperienced uke more or less always falls to their knees.

When a friend of mine and I trained in an atmosphere simulating a street fight, somehting happened that led me to believe it is imperative to unbalance the "attacker" before applying the kotogaeshi. (I know Aikido says to always unbalance regardless, but I was testing the techniques myself to see if this was true.) Against my drunk friend this was not hard as he would unbalance himself... against my training partner, this was like opening up a whole new can of worms. As I applied the kotogaeshi, he proceeded to keep coming in hard, raising his fist to try and hit me. I thought great, just what I want... come on, keep coming, that's it....... and bang, just when I applied the lock to initiate the throw, he used the palm of his free hand and pushed it against the palm of his hand on which kotogaeshi was being executed. For about 2 seconds we stared at each other, caught in a stale mate, not sure of what just happened, until he decided to enter again to which I finished using koshinage.

We tried again, and again he would counter the kotogaeshi with this simple, and never explored counter move. I struggled with it for a while, until I realized, I have to unbalance him to the point where the free hand cannot be used as a counter, and once at that point, not wait any longer to throw him. This causes you not to be as harmonius sometimes, because you can't wait for him to regain his balance so he can take a nice fall, you end it quickly and effectively.

Thus if I had to use kotogaeshi in a street situation, the attacker would have to be unbalanced to the point where I feel safe, then I would apply the technique right away. This would probably cause him to take a nasty side fall if he keeps coming in.

Date: Sat, 3 May 1997 17:44:15 -0400
From: "George N. Simcox" <kimas@EROLS.COM>
Subject: Re: Protecting others

At 05:43 PM 5/3/97 UT, you wrote:
>How does one use Aikido to protect others? Specifically, if you come upon a >situation where someone is attacking a person you would want to defend. Let's >say that someone has your mother against a wall and is hitting her. >
>I can think of two ways:
>1. Specific techniques for this purpose. I am not aware of any. Some >obvious adaptations come to mind, but they do not appear to be taught. >2. Get the attacker to attack you on your own terms. Atemi, screaming, >taunting, whatever, to get the attack diverted. >
>Your thoughts?

I would agree with the suggestions of Mr. Acker and can add the following commentary.

A few years ago I had a high schooler as a student who told me about a situation which was much like you discussed. He came upon a larger student who was challenging a smaller student. this smaller student was trying to talk his way out of the problem and the larger student, who had a reputation of being a bully, didn't seem prone to let the smaller student off the hook. when the "bully" started to swing at the smaller student, my student stepped behind the "bully" and, putting his arms around the "bully" from behind, simply put his hands in the space in front of the "bully's" biceps. When the "bully" struck toward the smaller student his arms were stopped in the first inch of movement by the restraining hands. My student indicated to me that he paid particular attention to not holding onto the "bully's" arms but rather, to place a barrier between the arms and the forward movement necessary to strike the smaller student. After several attempts to strike, the "bully" stopped trying to punch the object of his hostility and looked to his rear where he found my student. Since he wasn't being directly held, but only restrained, the "bully" had time to calm down, look about him at the gathering crowd and simmer down. The smaller student split the scene and the problem evaporated. The fact that the "bully" was a sophomore and my student a senior may have had an impact, but Roman (his name) was really surprised at how it turned out. His comment was that he made a difference without fighting or even getting angry.

I have taught classes dealing with, what I call third party Aikido using many of the techniques Jim Acker mentioned. A kata tori with the other hand posed to strike is ripe for a kote gaeshi by a third party. Also a "walk by" kokyunage where the third party passes behind the bad guy and, putting the hands on both shoulders, pulling downward (I would really drop both hands with Ki down on the shoulders) dropping the bad guy down without leaving and evidence of having been there. The possibilities are quite numerous if you use your imagination.


George Simcox Virginia Ki Society Ki is the Key for me. PO Box 10224, Alexandria, VA 22310
Inner bliss through softer contact - Don't out muscle them; out soft them.

Date: Sat, 3 May 1997 16:48:16 -0800
From: Mike
Subject: Aikido saved my life

Janet wrote:
> At 09:48 AM 5/3/97 +22325830, you wrote: >
> >The best tactic is to do whatever the guy with the gun says and hope he doesnt shoot you anyway.
> >
> >Rupert Atkinson
> >
> It is a sad commentary on life that I can think of very specific situations > where I would not follow your advice, Rupert; being accosted on an urban street by an armed man and ordered to go with him/get into a vehicle: I would take my chances getting shot down

> --janet

(please excuse the long narrative, I thought it was important)

I think this is really important advice. Someone else said something in this thread. There has been a lot of rewarding discussion going on about this and about using Aikido to protect others. I have been running a workshop in Golden Gate Park for the last couple of years where we experiment with this kind of stuff and it has been really successful for most participants. We bring a lot of things from other martial arts into it. Not techniques as such, but concepts. Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee's baby, stresses environmental training. I think every Aikidoka would find this kind of thing very enlightening.

In 1994, at 3:00 am after a long night of drinking, I stepped into a cab to come home. The club I had just come out of was a known as a gay hangout, and a local hispanic gang had staked the place out as part of an initiation. Rather than getting "jumped in" to this gang (as the cops would later inform me) it was the policy of this gang to beat up gay guys as ones initiation. In a flash some VERY large young hispanic guy gets in the taxi on the other side and jumps on top of me saying, "I've gotta kill you, I've gotta do it." and proceeds to attempt to punch at my face. At first I froze. How does one do Aikido on one's back? Luckily, and thanks to my past teachers John Saviano, and Paul Sylvain, my training just kicked in. He kept trying to reach behind him for, I would later find out, a knife. As he did I kept pressing forward and controlling the reaching arm with good old sankyo. The taxi driver tried to help but the guy kicked him once and sent him sprawling. I kept using controls to keep the guy busy and finally had an opening for an elbow atemi to the face, one of Saviano sensei's favorite techniques. I popped him hard, too hard.
Luckily he was stunned and got out. Just as he did a carload of his friends, and a bunch of people from the club clashed. The cops arrived seconds later having been called by the cabbie. Once he got out I went after him. I was on my feet now and really pissed. But he got into their car (that's when I saw the knife) and they took off.

I really didn't injure the guy, or truly control him in the Aikido sense but, because of Aikido, and the God of drunks, he hadn't managed to hit me once and my life was spared. After that I swore I would practice Aikido in different environmental situations. In a car, in a chair, everywhere, and that I would get other Aikidoka to practice under some truly realistic attack situations like "Model Mugging" does.

My humble advice:don't wait for Sensei. Please take it upon youself to further
Aikido by taking a self defense course and learning some of the important rules like "know when to go along and when to say no." Try your Aikido in different environments. Get some protective equipment and try some real attacks. Use one of those toy guns with the rubber dart in it (blank guns and paint guns can be just as deadly as a real gun at close range.) Do what ever it takes to save your life and the lives of others. Test your beliefs. (BTW my experience in doing this is that there is little difference between "hard" Aikido and "soft" Aikido and that the controls lend themselves very well to grappling and are the key to survival rather than atemi. When I atemied my attacker, I over committed myself. I would still atemi, but not as hard.)

Is anyone else doing this sort of training? What have you learned?


Date: Wed, 25 Jun 1997 14:30:29 -0700
Subject: For those quiet times...... Since it is so quite on here perhaps I could share a recent experience.

On weekends I work 2nd shift as a security officer at a local hospital. I took the job a month or so ago because it sounded interesting. The security office is in the ER and we get all kinds of crackpots and wackos off the street coming in there looking for free medical care. Most just trying to get a free fix on painkillers. Not a day goes by that I don't have to run somebody out of the hospital. Those situations are always a little tense because you never know how someone is going to react to being kicked off the premises. I would have to say that Aikido comes into play in nearly every one of those types of situations. Being aware of your surroundings, observing the subject properly, keeping balance and center with words and actions ect.

Most of the time it is pretty easy work and I have never had to physically remove someone from the hospital. However security calls into the ER itself are another matter. You never know what you will face or see going through those doors.

Last week I received a "STAT" call to the ER. When I arrived I was pointed to a room, and inside was a drugged-out-of-his-mind teenager, about 16 or 17 years old. He was a pretty big kid too. Big enough to be plenty wary of him.

He was cussing and swearing at everyone in the room, very verbally abusive. The funny part about that was he was doing it all to a rap. like Rap music.

I was plenty alert about now cause I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what was allowed from me, hospital rules and all. Remember I haven't been working there that long and this was my first call of this nature.

Anyway the upshot of it was that he didn't want to be there and the ER crew had to treat him. But he wouldn't cooperate at all. Eventually all the ER crew left the room except one Tech. So it was me and the Tech. This kid was really getting restless and wanted to leave. I was talking to him trying to calm him down. Well apparently I said the wrong thing to him cause he up and charged me. I extended "ki" with unbendable arm to keep him away from me. I had my right hand on his left shoulder and the other going under his chin in a mini-tenchinage. That really pissed him off and he took a big right handed cowboy punch at my head. It was like a typical yokomen strike. I blended with it and drove his fist down and turned him so his back was to me. I didn't want to hurt him yet so I just pushed him away. Also I had no idea what I was allowed to do, I had never been in this kind of a situation before. Usually we just follow the orders of the ER crew, but there was none there!! Anyway he turned and threw another punch, this time I caught his punch, blended with it again, but he began to struggle against it so I just went with him, didn't fight against him and suddenly found myself applying a monster sankyo on him and slamming him to the ground. I straddled his back, switched to a different variation that we had recently learned in class and he was pinned for good. He was struggling like a fish out of water. He reached back with his free hand and found that one suddenly pinned too. So I took out my cuffs and slapped them on. The whole thing lasted about 5 seconds. I looked up and saw 3 cops and the whole ER crew watching me. I thought I was really in trouble for what I did. The ER crew came in scooped him up and slammed him on the bed. And began putting the restraints on him. I was shaking like a leaf! So much adrenaline was flowing it was incredible. I couldn't write up my report on the incident for about 3 hours I was shaking so much.

I have never been in a physical confrontation in my life until this one. I have often wondered how I would react to one. And being drugged up as he was, he was incredibly strong. But flowing with him and not fighting against him won the day.

The bottom line though is that everything flowed. Didn't even have to think, all the skills were there when I needed them. Almost perfect class-like execution. Only a lot faster paced.


Mesa Arizona

Date: Wed, 9 Sep 1998 08:54:56 PDT
From: Kristina Morris <>
Subject: Fellow Sempai Attacked


All this talk about *real* atemi and *realism* in Aikido has prompted me to tell you all what hapened recently to a very nice man that I train with.

Tom was attending a barbeque party at a friends house, alone (he didn't take his wife and kids to this one), and there was a huge gathering in the backyard with a musician on guitar, hot dogs, hamburgers, cokes etc.....and he walked up to his host to say hello and grab something to eat. While in line, his host introduced him to another man who trained in Taekwando. They said hello to each other, and Tom got his hot dog in one hand and his coke in the other and started to walk towards the musician playing guitar to sit down and listen.

The TK guy (for God knows what reason he did this) came up behind Tom as he sauntered across the patio to the lawn area, and delivered a kick to the back of Tom's right knee. This kick knocked Tom down to the ground pronto. Tom got up (on adrenaline and sorely pissed off) with his back semi-turned to the TK guy who was standing behind him. Tom turned and delivered an ura ken blow to the guys lower jaw which knocked his head backward and simultaneously this guy stuck out his left arm straight forward to protect himself.

Well, Tom then took ahold of this left arm (very stiff left arm) and tenkan to the rear shikaku and proceeded to take this guy down into a basic ikkyo pin. The TK guy remained stiff and Tom manipulated the elbow to bend and pinned this guy good.

On the way down, the TK guy's face and shoulder ploughed into the patio (he forgot he had another hand to break his fall) and he started to bleed from his left eye socket.

Tom held him in this pin for ten minutes saying "I'm not letting you up until you have calmed down." Finally this man calmed down.

Tom got up; the other guy got up - bleeding and grasping his left wrist to his chest. Tom asked this guy why he had come up and kicked the back of his knee out, and this guy said that he *expected* Tom to block the kick. Tom said, "Yeah, sure. I'm carrying a coke and a hot dog at a barbeque, and I'm expecting to be challenged and attacked from the rear to prove myself!?"

So, the host was upset, Tom was upset, and the TK guy experienced Aikido. Tom's knee is blown and the doctors are scheduling surgery.

Nice, huh? How's that for atemi and realism? Another man I train with remarked that he never tells anyone he trains in Aikido so that someone doesn't challenge him to see what he will do.

Kristina Get Your Private, Free Email at

Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 00:50:06 -0500
From: Wiley Nelson <wnelson@AIRMAIL.NET>
Subject: Informal Budo interview of the Day

Tody at work a guy came by to talk to me about buying a baby Hann's Macaw. (I gotta fresh batch, just weaned from hand feeding)

I like to talk with the people who want to buy a real nice bird, to make sure they know what they are doing, and know what they are getting themselves into, so we visited for a while.

The guy's name is Gary Boswell, a local Private Investigator. He also does a fair amount of Bodyguard work. His clients have included a few interesting people, including
Tommy Lee Jones (a local West Texan), Randy Travis, Clint Black, David Carridine.

Further talking reavealed that he has significant martial arts experience, primarily P/K and wrestling, in addition to a military and law enforcement background.

And To top it all off...He is a former...Professional...ELVIS IMPERSONATOR!!!!

I had to call on this, this was too good to be true...

He did an impromptu rendition of "Love me Tender" for me.....

and it was DAMN good! I was convinced!

After I found this out, I couldn't resist asking him some Budo Questions(tm):

BQ: Has your background in martial arts ever been useful (in a physical sense)

in your role as a bodyguard.

GB: You mean like fighting someone who was stirring up shit?

Hell No!! Why the F*ck would I wanna do that. You get tangled up with somebody and you are no longer any use to your Principal (client). You're leaving them wide open.

BQ: How do you most often resolve conflicts?

GB: You're not there to RESOLVE anything, you're there to make sure that nothing happens to your principal. You're there to keep anything from happening in the first place.

BQ: How do you do this, mainly?

GB: You stay aware of the envioronment that you are in. You don't place yourself in an insecure position. You try to pick up on problems before they develop, you approach any potential problems preemptively. You have to "play the part", you aren't there to socialize or be anyones friend, you have to maintain the "presence" of someone that no one would want to f*ck with. You have to look like you are there for business. You make solid eye contact with everyone that comes close to you and your principal and size them up.

BQ: What if a "situation" develops?

GB: You can control most situations verbally, you try to redirect the attention away from your principal, Your primary strategy is to stay between the principal and the problem and get the principal to safety. If all else fails...well....that's why you carry the 9mm. You get tied up with one attacker..and who knows...there might be another one somewhere, you never close off your options or mobility.

I thought that was pretty profound for an ex-Elvis impersonator. :)

It seems to tie in with a number of recent threads, so I thought that I would share it, for what it's worth.


PS - I have this persistant mental image of David Carridine in his "Cain" character being guarded by a overweight, ageing, Spandex covered Elvis.....


Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 16:19:40 -0600
From: Wendy Gunther <wgunther@UTMEM1.UTMEM.EDU>
Subject: Re: pins and practicality

Chuck Who Should Know says:

>Pins are fine as 'street' techniques, if you look past the dojo application. >All pins can be throws, and all pins can be hishigi -- breaks.

Two stories from Brooklyn:

  1. An engaging guy who just liked to get into fights and who had done a lot of wu shu before he met us came and took 2 weeks of Aikido. He learned the rudiments of ikkyo. He came back in on a Monday and announced he had used ikkyo in a fight. He threw the guy, who landed on the ground, went "whoof", looked astonished, got back up, and attacked again. Engaging guy ikkyo'd him again. Same thing. Again. Same thing. Again. After about the sixth time, guy said he was thinking to himself, "Pins! I gotta learn pins!"
  2. Another serious student used ikkyo in a fight after about six months of training. He knelt to pin, and made a common mistake -- he leaned forward over uke's body, instead of keeping his back straight and his toes and eyes alive. Uke's 3 friends jumped him, he said, while his back was bent over, and beat him up.


Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 20:22:53 -0500
From: Maria DeRosa <>
Subject: Real life stuff

Hi all...

I've been quiet lately mostly due to a job change. I'm now working full time on an in-patient psychiatry unit of a hospital deep in the heart of Brooklyn. Yup...meeting some really, shall we say..."interesting" folks.

I had a situation occur that has left me thinking about my training.

An 18 year old male patient (impulse control disordered among other things) faked a punch/jab, which I just had to raise my arm to deflect. Then he grabbed my wrist, which I twisted out of. The second time he grabbed harder. I tried to twist out and instead...Voila...I found myself going into nikkyo. He let go. Another patient recognized the movement as being a martial arts move and was surprised to realize that I knew and could readily apply a defensive tactic. The first patient continued to be physically intrusive despite any kind of verbal limit that I tried. He then stepped right in my face. We're talking almost nose to nose.

Ok, so now I am directly confronted. I stood firmly and told him to step back. He continued to challenge me. I repeated my words once or twice more until he finally did step back. <Pfew>

Part of me is freaked out at how naturally I went into that nikkyo. Another part is grateful that I've learned enough to know how to respond in this situation. More than the deflection, the nikkyo and getting out of the grab, I was grateful to have learned how to be firm, not flinch or show fear. (I didn't say I wasn't scared! :-)

I'm left wondering in each situation whether I did "the right thing". If it happened again, how would I respond?

Is the Aikido I'm practicing which feels like a gentle and compassionate one, "enough" when I need to apply it in a self-defense mode?

I'm also uncomfortable with some people (especially patients) knowing that I study a martial art. I somehow feel "found out". Do many of you share that you are a martial artist with everyone in your life?

And the biggest question of all...just _why_ am I practicing Aikido? I thought I knew, but now I'm not sure.

Just my thoughts for today.


Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 22:00:13 -0500
From: Phil <>

Subject: Re: Real life stuff

Maria DeRosa wrote:
> Hi all...
> I've been quiet lately mostly due to a job change. I'm now working full > time on an in-patient psychiatry unit of a hospital deep in the heart of > Brooklyn. Yup...meeting some really, shall we say..."interesting" folks. >
> I had a situation occur that has left me thinking about my training. >
> An 18 year old male patient (impulse control disordered among other things) > faked a punch/jab, which I just had to raise my arm to deflect. Then he > grabbed my wrist, which I twisted out of. The second time he grabbed > harder. I tried to twist out and instead...Voila...I found myself going > into nikkyo. He let go. Another patient recognized the movement as being a > martial arts move and was surprised to realize that I knew and could > readily apply a defensive tactic. The first patient continued to be > physically intrusive despite any kind of verbal limit that I tried. He > then stepped right in my face. We're talking almost nose to nose. >
> Ok, so now I am directly confronted. I stood firmly and told him to step > back. He continued to challenge me. I repeated my words once or twice more > until he finally did step back. <Pfew> >
> Part of me is freaked out at how naturally I went into that nikkyo. > Another part is grateful that I've learned enough to know how to respond in > this situation. More than the deflection, the nikkyo and getting out of > the grab, I was grateful to have learned how to be firm, not flinch or show > fear. (I didn't say I wasn't scared! :-) >
> I'm left wondering in each situation whether I did "the right thing". If > it happened again, how would I respond? >
> Is the Aikido I'm practicing which feels like a gentle and compassionate > one, "enough" when I need to apply it in a self-defense mode? >
> I'm also uncomfortable with some people (especially patients) knowing that > I study a martial art. I somehow feel "found out". Do many of you share > that you are a martial artist with everyone in your life? >
> And the biggest question of all...just _why_ am I practicing Aikido? I > thought I knew, but now I'm not sure. >
> Just my thoughts for today.
> Maria
Hello All,
I'm new to the list but wanted to share my comment with this concern. I used to work in the field of Special Education. I had to deal with clients with MR, Autism, and more functional students with behavioral issues. I never told anyone I studied the Arts out of fear of being put under a microscope, or possibly losing my job due to misinformation.

The cat almost got out of the bag while doing a training session on restraints. I got to go up against someone who outweighed me by 50lbs. or so, in a scenario that left me alone responsible for his safety. I gently took him to the mat with a controlled take down and containment that left him in awe. I apologized to him telling him it was all I could think of at the moment. He told me I did well, but I kept my eye on the situation from then on.

I found myself using jointlocks and pressure points at various times to get the job done quickly and efficiently and never got caught, but always felt guilty. I feel that training was the only thing that allowed me to keep a cool head and implement some great training like weight underside and ki flow to help keep the patients safe. I just wouldn't have wanted to have to explain myself or my actions to anyone else who might not have wanted to get an education on alternative means. People forget that the mind is like a parachute, it works best if open.

Keep up the good work. I think you may want to remember discretion and control for sure.

Walk in Balance,
Phil Dehetre

Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 18:20:21 +0100
From: Keith Trigwell <>
Subject: Did I do right? Was Resorting to oher arts...

-----Original Message-----

From: Alexandre Sieira Vilar <warlock@RIO.NUTECNET.COM.BR>

Date: 17 April 1998 21:23

Subject: Resorting to oher arts...

>On Wed, 15 Apr 1998 13:34:31 EDT, SJAACARNEY wrote: >
>>I have seen people who know other arts resort to them under pressure, usually
>>during a test. Its definitely something to be discouraged. I know personally
>>if I didn't react well at the last second I would have had a broken elbow or
>>worse broken head.
> There was a Karate shodan here in Rio de Janeiro that started practicing
> Aikido. In his
>Aikido shodan test, during Jyu-Waza, he did a kick and a head-butt out of reflex
> when attacked,
>along with several Aikido technique.
> That makes sense if you consider he was very nervous, and was probably reacting
> as
>he would if that was a real fight. Obviously nobody got hurt, as he had good
> control over his
>Karate moves.
> You should all have seen the look on the faces in the kamiza. 8-) >

Its funny you should write this. I live in England and as anyone who lives here knows we have problems with law and order on a major scale.

Yesterday afternoon my girlfriend and I were walking through a shopping precinct where a student of mine (Mark) is the manager. I saw him and said hello which as it turned out seemed to be my crime. As the centres manager he has to get rid of the plague of theives and drug dealers that operate in there. So they don't like him to say the least but won't attack him because the police will come down hard.

He was on his way to ask one of them who is actually banned from the entire town under his bail conditions to move out when I saw him. I did not know this.

I said hello to Mark.. walked on and the next thing I knew this bloke was totally in my face screeching that I had "grassed his mate up". He didn't like the fact that I was a friend of the centres manager and I guess that made me the best target of his anguish, particularly as he is a clear 8 to 10 inches taller than me.

This man is on bail for firearms possesion, possesion of an axe, ABH, GBH, theft, drug dealing, perverting the course of justice and it seems the list goes on. He even recruits girls as young as 8 to steal from shops for him under threat of violence because they can't be tried for it.

I pushed him away for my "mai" but he kept coming. I couldn't keep him away from me and he kept walking into range, so I was in his range and then he carried on egging me on to punch him. But I can't do that...... I'm not like that..... It wasn't necessary.

Anyway he wasn't going to let me go, threatening to kill me etc etc etc. He me pushed a few times and fell over once, screeching all the time and in all honesty I found the whole incident disturbing.

In all I let him push me twice but it seemed all he wanted to do was beat me up so in the end, resorting to a tendency to lift my fists, I punched him in the face.

By this time all the shopkeepers were out of their shops. A scuffle ensued I got a sankyo on him (after much difficulty I might add as I've had a car accident and have lost movement in
my neck and right arm so the bastard had me round the neck while I had my fingers in his eyes.)

In short all my training seemed to give me was the confidence to stand up to him. He is and does definetly look a most unsavoury charachter (and has a lump on his face now). So I guess I won.... but I didn't use my aiki. I was too hesitant to knock his teeth out and I know its wrong but I think I should have donewhen I had the chance.

I feel absolutely embarrased and disgusted with myself for even being there let alone what I did.

What do you all think I should have done?


Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 09:34:10 -0000
Subject: Re: Another war story/ Why's it work wrong?

Talking of 'War stories'

When I was took up Ju Jitsu the first thing I ever learned was locks and escapes from Uke grabbing your right arm with his left. As I progressed I must have done these techniques a 1000 times. Anyhoo whilst at Uni I worked as a 'bouncer' for a while. There was rarely any trouble but on one occasion a 'customer' refused to give up his drink at the end of the night, after a few moments of quiet persuassion I simply reached down to take it off his table. He stood up (3 inches taller than me - ooops) and grabbed my wrist, I looked at him, looked down at my wrist and burst out laughing... it just seemed funny that someone had actually done this. He got confused and let go.