“Domestic Violence” by Nev Sagiba

There is nothing domestic about any kind of violence. Real violence is ugly, never “spiritual;” cute, glamorous or “glorious.” Simply disgusting and ugly, filled with stress, toxic biochemistry and fear. Tyranny in any form is no less despotic than that of a dictatorial regime.

The solution to violence is not as cut and dried as simplistic thinking would lead the uninformed to believe. Victims entrained, often from a very early age, to be victims, usually find it difficult to disentangle.

It’s not as simple as taking a few “self defence” classes or buying a gun, then going home and stopping dad, from sneaking into your room at night and raping you, or smashing you into a wall, as happens with so many thousands who are then scarred for life. Or your uncle or another “trusted” pillar of society from taking liberties abusing their position of trust. Or your mother from screeching incessantly and throwing things or other underhanded dysfunctionalites. Or dad punching you up, slapping or using any physical force, as a bereft way of “communication” or “discipline.” Or other mental illness induced, dysfunctional and detrimental, bullying activities.

There is a spiritual and mental component to being able to defend yourself in the face of real violence. Simple kata, techniques and forms will not be enough. At the core of training, over time, regular Budo restores and develops kokoro. Far more useful than a few forms ensnared by opinions. Kokoro is the living bridge which connects to the river of life giving energy and enables you to reclaim yourself.

The mental manipulations that often support violent habits are those of coercion, intimidation, cultivation of fear and even the spin that such activity is “normal.” The other side of a violent episode can often take the form of “rewarding” the victim thereby reinforcing the victim habit at very deep psychological levels. These entrenched habituations together with the attendant mental illnesses are often passed on intergenerationally.

Bullies suffer from a mental disease that leads them to suppose an entitlement to commit criminal activity and aggression. Often those returning from war have lost the ability to distinguish between peace and war circumstances and continue to behave as if at war, as well as displaying other psychological damage and trauma. Traumatized individuals are usually unaware of their damage and in denial of the fact they may be suffering from anything ranging from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, to very severe psychiatric illness. Role modeling, habituation and the nature of environmental adaptation being what it is, victims often “graduate” to become perpetrators.

So where does your judo, karate, aikido, wrestling , mau tai, chi gong and kendo come into this. Will such training somehow heal your innate violent tendencies or protect you from sick family habituations. Or will they make you into a potential criminal, a bully with added skill at brutalizing? Is training simply a way of sublimating your desires to commit violence? Sort of getting the violence off your chest for the time being? Or something else?

This is a very serious subject. Whilst despotic regimes force led by psychiatric laggards who impose their stunted will on a populace, conduct wrongful arrests, torture, rape, deprivation of liberties, murder and other atrocities, there are millions of homes which experience similar symptoms such as people being held hostage by their “loved ones,” being brutalized, manipulated, intimidated, raped and although not necessarily always associated, sometimes murdered as well.


In such circumstances, “martial art” is often as useful as a katana in a phone booth. Sometimes the added skill can be useful, especially in cases of severe violence and this assuming the mental state of the victim has managed to break through some rather entrenched survival submission habits. In many cases the eldest son, growing up, increasing testosterone and other evolutionary predispositions then stands up to an abusively violent father, often to defend the weaker members of the family. On rare occasions Budo combat skills can be useful at home, when shamefully necessary. Often, of necessity, they will need to manifest as bujutsu. Without appropriate legal backup, it can also go pear shaped as well and thereby further victimize the wrong persons.

And there was a time when “the law” favoured the very “breadwinner” who was also the perpetrator. I won’t at this time go into the stolen generation of daughters, their mysterious pregnancies and covertly illegal adoptions, and sons who kill fathers in order to stop the tyranny the law fails to. That is a subject in itself. People hope that if ignored for long enough, along with the victims, the problem will simply go away. But will it?

The so called “street” where all the assaults and robberies are said to happen, statistically forms the lesser part of the problem of violence. Violence and all its perniciously toxic seeds begins in the home. The immense social shame leads to multifaceted denial mechanisms and it is doubtful that in pointing out these widespread social malaises, this article will even be published. If the editor has the courage to do so, you will be reading it.

Our ancient instincts of cunning come from millions of years of violent survival and endless wars. These instincts are alive and well, in some way, under the surface of even the most peace loving, kindest, noble person. They are a necessary engine that drives life to protect itself. Unleashed chaotically they are dangerous. Suppressed more so. They need to be balanced, but observing our current state of evolution, and conscious and deliberate addressing of this disease as a science with due political will and sincere intent, this will take as many millions of years. We have a long way to go. Addressed consciously and deliberately as a discipline of true courage and personal integration, this balancing process can happen in one life.

In facing our own dark side, reenacting pretend violence respectfully and with due restraint in budo training is certain to achieve some solid measure of results over time. To name a few, regular budo training primarily reinforces the body-mind connection. This serves to activate ancient survival principles innate whether you are timid and oppressed, or not. Such training as a way of life, develops a relative immunity to the otherwise debilitating and submissive, or counter violent instinctive reactions usually triggered by acts of aggression. And serves to mitigate the mental anguish that would usually result in the innately reasonable person so subjected to personal injustices.

It may also build some measure of confidence. Sometimes false, sometimes valid. However, being upfront and facing real aggression daily can also link in to provide context to the original predispositions behind training. In a similar way training may lend perspective to real and uninvited violent circumstances.

This may enable a person to begin to think strategically instead of as a victim. Strategic thinking has many ramification, no less than developing the ability to remove oneself from the problem, taking legal actions, thinking beyond oneself alone and working to bring about suitable legal reforms for others in a similar plight, and other tactics and devices. It also helps increase self respect. This alone is empowering.

Training may also enable you to survive when faced with imminent violence that is transgressing your natural human rights, the natural birthright of personal safety.

Some perpetrators are more ill than others and often the problem will escalate. This means that one day they could cross the line and go beyond what is relatively safe. In that case you will need to move fast. Being able to move is good. Regular training could improve your chances of preventing harm and surviving.

No infringement, imposition, abuse or violence, is ever either OK or excusable. Morally weak defectives have no entitlements over anyone else, never did and will never have. No matter who they are or who they think they are. And although they too may need help, when under attack it is no time for stupid compassion, rather imminent action to survive.

The family should be a safe sanctuary, not a hiding place for cowards, bullies or the psychiatrically unwell. Family denotes a place of unity and constructive, loving, cooperation, not a divisive battlefield of pain, torture and mental anguish. But this is not always the case.

The ability to protect yourself in whatever measure, in the face of any and all violence, is essential. The ability to think strategically and implement security measures in advance of full contact happening, equally so.

Backup of any kind could increase your chances in the event of a final end-game confrontation. But early prevention is far better than allowing matters to slide into death dealing confrontation. Appeasement only makes the psychopath imagine they are powerful. It is not a good strategy. Nor is direct confrontation unless you are suddenly faced with no alternative. Strategic thinking and measured steps to deliberately and purposefully correct the problem are essential.

Regular training can facilitate this and skill and understanding so developed, can serve to minimize harm all round, thereby mitigating the potential for tragedy. An in-depth understanding such as presented in the book The Gift of Fear by Mr. Gavin de Becker will enable you to take definitive steps.

An Aiki attitude cultivated in regular training, and the deliberate seeking of understanding how to develop skills to manage violence ahead of the predictable conclusion; develops foresight and thus the ability mitigate violence in advance of it happening, by changing the right things before the end game can happen.

Recruiting skilled help is valuable, as is permanently leaving the danger zone using a properly prepared exit strategy. And in other ways taking charge of one’s own life to make such changes that will make further attacks impossible. Invoking due legal processes that can be enforced and understanding the basis for doing so with a chance of success. Taking steps to make physical changes that will place the perpetrator out of permanent reach. Unraveling the habituations that make being a victim a symbiotic disease that plays a dangerous game. Seeking and recruiting lawful and meaningful skilled help will also improve the chances of a successful resolution.

Facing the problem with prudence, aforethought and skill, instead of simply hoping it will one day change or go away, may be a testing path of self transformation; but combined with the addition of Budo training with aiki at the forefront of intention, it can increase the chances of successfully negotiating a lasting restoration of harmony. On this basis preparing oneself to become a warrior to meet the cards dealt by life, has meaningful value. Taking responsibility for the problem will empower you.

Even at home. Perhaps, particularly at home, this may sometimes be necessary. If it is, rest assured the problem will not go away by itself. It is your rightful human duty to do all in your power to wisely and cautiously reclaim yourself. And this fully.

Nev Sagiba


  1. Knew a big (beautiful), strong woman who worked as a landscaper. Her paunchy little boyfriend beat her up regularly. She could have squashed him. “The moral is to the physical as ten is to one” – Napoleon.

  2. Brett Jackson says:

    Thanks to the author as always for sharing the fruit of his training (his Kokoro) with us in these articles. So many of these reflections reverberate true in me and are potent reminders and encouragements. Per the author I too thank Stanley!

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