As a doorman (Bouncer) in the UK for the past 10 years and Aikido practitioner for 15 years, I have always got by, been able to do my job, never really had many conflicts. By my own nature, I am known in my home town as being the calmest, nicest, polite but firm, non swearing and understanding doorman in the nightclub circuit. So I am able to get things done, ask people to leave, refuse entry, etc., purely by being me. Quite good I think. Anyway, sometimes it does go as they say “a bit pear shaped ” so variations of Nikyo, Sankyo, Yonkyo, Shihonage, Irminage are employed, not to their full effect I add, I would lose my job!! but purely to control the situation or enable me to carry out unruly, unwanted guests of the nightclub as a last resort when the talking has broke down and they really dont want to leave or they, without warning, attack me, or my colleagues or another guest.
So finally to my point, I have been over the last 2 weeks been updating my grading syllabus’, admin, help guides for students, welfare policies, the constitution and the list goes on. So being, only human after all, it has taken a lot out of me. Too much coffee, no real sleep, long training/teaching sessions, 6 nights a week as a doorman, not eating properly. Basically, 2 weeks at the computer. Well, you can imagine. To be honest, I do try and live healthy, my father was diabetic and with kindey failure till Oct 2007 when he passed, so to that end over the past 15 years I have improved my lifestyle dramatically. I only drink maybe 2-3 alchoholic drinks a week.
Saturday night Feb 7th 2009, around 01:45 am, a gent enters the club, a bit wobbly for drink, but not too bad really, slim build, shorter than me by a few inches. So my usual approach, “Hello, bud, £1.50 on the door til with the young lady please,” my usual smile and firmness used he paid. The gent then tried to open the doors to the lower bar which were locked as they are in the middle of re-furbishing that bar. He continued to rattle the doors, get angry and swear. So I gently go over and say “It’s the upstairs bar only tonight, bud. This bar is closed.” There was a HUGE sign on the door I must add.” “But I always drink in this bar, he said. “Sorry, bud, it is only upstairs tonight.”
Now this is where it goes wrong, he muttered something about me under his breath as he walked for 2-3 steps up the first part of the stair case. Something along the lines of me being someone without a father and other rude words, you get the general idea. So I step up to the gent and ask him what he said. I dislike people who mutter about you as they walk off, but me being me, I just ignore it, it’s only words after all. So he asks. “Are you kicking off?” “Not at all,” I reply, “but I would like you to say what you said to my face.” To this he just smiled, a smile which says “Oh I got you now, you are getting grumpy.” I said “Ok, bud, sorry but I am going to have to ask you to leave.” He grabs the hand rail. “Make me!” Well, you can imagine what happened.
For a split second I got grumpy, took his shoulder and elbow then proceeded to remove him from the rail, which ended up with me ramming him into a wall to take a safe arm lock and walk him out while he was slightly out of sorts. This was my first mistake. He spun around real quick as he rebounded off the wall and took hold of both of my elbows and jacket material as he dug himself into a corner. At this point I lost everything I ever knew or thought I understood, and it became a struggle. If it was not for my colleague who appeared I would have been there all night I think. The gent was eventually walked out. I lost the basic principle of central stability, moving the legs not the arms. Every basic principle went out the window, to the point where, when I got a hand free to release his hand off my right elbow jacket material, I had no strength at all. I found it hard.
So Sunday I am sitting at the computer again checking emails, and thinking, I was a prize fool last night over that. That moment of conflict became a struggle. I handled it wrong. I normally ignore people muttering under their breath, I lost all basics. Normally, I would let them walk by themselves, and if it takes 20 minutes to convince them to do that by talking to them then so be it. I agree that I was totally sapped before I even started work, as I mentioned I had been real busy and not looking after myself at all. So I was not at my most energetic or awake I would say.
But I think that the events as they unfolded from the point of where I grabbed his shoulder and elbow was a lesson. Not sure if it was a lesson in being non-aggressive, or a lesson in Aikido in some way or another. But it did make me think a lot. I did laugh to myself thinking, “Oh dear what a plank I was!” Maybe it was just the poor lifestyle over 2 weeks that made me grumpy and tired and what he did to make me ask him what he said just pushed the wrong buttons. Who knows, but either way I did have an important lesson that night. MY SMALL MOMENT OF STUPID AGGRESSION WAS MY UNDOING!!