“You offended me..,” by Nev Sagiba

“You offended me, and this justifies my bad behaviour.” Not really.

Such lack of responsibility reveals the mental illness of the ape instead.

I remember well a schoolyard brawl.  In about the fourth year of primary school, a monumental brawl erupted, following which, one of the teachers was assigned the role of chief inquisitor and interrogator.

One by one she questioned each and every perpetrator in the presence of the others. And for a day, this was class.

Little did we know, an early exposure to jurisprudence.

Finally, after many long hours, the facts began to reveal themselves after whittling down to the root cause where it all began.

A girl. The sweet thing, butter would not melt in her mouth, finally confessed, “But she offended me..” And she had leapt scratching at her verbal assailant, instead of walking away.

Her friend, the meekest and the mildest then picked up a stick. And in interrogation, innocently made the claim, “But I was just holding it up like this..”

The teacher glared. “So you only wanted to look like the statue of liberty. You really had no intention to strike anyone? I find that hard to believe that you were not threatening..”

The luxury of taking offence, at mere words, can be a dangerous pastime. In bygone eras, such gave rise to wars, and death, and spilling of blood and tragedy unmeasured.

The problem, the stress, the suffering resides in the bearer of the offensive words and is merely a reflection of their state of mind. Often when analysed, a mere confession.

Why then take this pollution upon yourself? Why buy into it? Why react?

The immature will, because their buttons are raw and on the surface; and since they doubt their own worth, tend believe such insults.

As the teacher mentioned above concluded court that day, “Let me remind you all: Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me..”


The responsibility for action resides in the one perpetrating the action. That the words of someone else can drive you do misdeeds, is the argument of a feeble minded and irresponsible person.

The ability to respond resides in clarity of consciousness, a required responsibility in transcending the ape genes to become human.

Victory of yourself is true victory.

Nev Sagiba


  1. Brett Jackson says:

    A useful, poignant, example of victory over oneself that can be achieved in day to day events. Well-said, as always, and thanks to the author for noticing, filtering it through the aikido grinder, analyzing the output, and packaging it nicely for all to enjoy. Shows how aikido can integrate into one’s life and bear fruit prior to the outbreak of hostilities. Self-victory is not easy but our mat practice is the springboard. Taking ukemi in practice prepares us to take psychological ukemi off the mats while maintaining our calm center and dignity. Ideally. Still, it’s not easy for us mere mortals to overcome ourselves, though, hopefully, again, it gets to a point where it is relatively easy not to be much bother by boorish behavior and not to take it personally. Even so, those who egg us on, call us names, wave sticks in our faces, provoke us, etc, are asking for trouble, pushing their luck, cruising for a bruising, pulling the tail of the dog (there are lots of idioms for that behavior). It’s definitely not aikido behavior because it fails the test of respect or etiquette, like refusing to bow to your partner before beginning to practice with him or her.

  2. Moral of the story: don’t hit a mentally ill ape.

  3. We have taken offense when we take things personally.

    Why do we always think everything is about us?

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