“I kept imagining what had transpired and tried to conceive of some alternative courses of action that would have spared him this beating.”
This young man, an aikido black belt, was involved in an altercation in which he was badly beaten. He fortunately emerged without any permanent damage other than a black eye and several noticeable facial lacerations. Here is what happened as far as I can recall.
The man exited a building at night to find six attackers beating up a lone man who was on the ground and bloodied. The aikidoka immediately entered the fray to help the victim and successfully dealt with a couple of the attackers. However, the entire group stopped their attack and turned their fury toward him. The victim ran away leaving our aikidoka alone to fend for himself.
The group of six proceeded to pummel and kick the aikidoka until several people saw what was going on and intervened. Obviously injured, he was taken to the emergency room of a nearby hospital where he was treated.
Forgive me if I don’t have all of the details exactly right, but that is the gist of the story. As I lay in bed that night, it took me a while before I fell asleep. I kept imagining what had transpired and tried to conceive of some alternative courses of action that would have spared him this beating. I came up with a couple of scenarios that are, of course, pure speculation. Nonetheless, it occurs to me that it might be an excellent mental exercise to go through in case one should find himself in a similar situation that required immediate action.
Ironically, I was speaking with two other long-time friends at the same event who told me about a somewhat similar incident in which a couple of aikidoka confronted a gang to “test their skills,” and one ended up seriously injured and in the hospital.
So using this channel of the Internet where we can reach a worldwide audience, I would like to open the discussion to all of you to gather your feedback, which I highly value. Here are some relevant questions:
What are some possible alternatives that the young man had in the situation in which he found himself?
Was he right to act immediately by himself without first calling for help?
Have you ever found yourself in such a situation? What did you do and what was the result of your actions?
How can we use aikido in such situations where we feel compelled to physically intervene?
Please post your comments below.