“The Street – Many Shades of Violence,” by Nev Sagiba

“There is more to violence than, “the street”…”

When we hear about violence, often “the street” is mentioned, as if that’s the only place that violence takes place. Well I’m here to disillusion you. Only a small percentage of violence takes pace in the mythical “street.” But it is often serious, so not to be taken lightly.

Violence is all around us. Violence is when a line is crossed that infringes unto the boundary of others. Some violence is unconscious. Much of it deliberate. There are many shades of violence.

Whether bullying at school or the workplace, child abuse or domestic violence at home, sexual abuse or rape (most goes unreported), whether theft of any form, inflated prices or interest rates, any totalitarian tactic, the creation of unjust laws or the misuse of law to bring about a breach of justice, poor or unjust governance, the corrosive effects of poor relationships, office politics, poor job conditions especially around remuneration and occupational health and safety. Wherever someone becomes, “interested” in something not rightfully theirs, but belonging to someone else, deception, cheating, any form of exploitation, infringement, transgression and the causing harm of any kind constitutes violence.

In recent war footage on the news, I heard an anchor man say that the local inhabitants had the temerity to be engaging in “violence” while the invaders were bombing the smithereens out of them. Such a level of idiocy and mental entrapment borders on the microcephalic. The modus of war is aggression and violence on a grand scale. Whether plain dumb and hypnotized by propaganda or intended as deceptive “spin” such attempts at dressing it up as something else are never helpful. Any normal person would strive to defend the land of their birth. It’s the inalienable birthright of every sentient being alive!

The list of violent, violational and violatory possibilities is virtually endless and these are the battles of life everyone experiences and participates in to some degree or another, depending on where they live and the conditions around them. Violence always causes pain. Change is the nature of the Universe. When change moves too fast, spiritual blindness may arise and infringement will tend to happen. When it does, we have no alternative than to learn to “dance” with it as best we can, in order to protect our integrity.

There are two types of people, those who choose to stay victims and trade their liberty for a semblance security, in the hope of gaining the favour of those they imagine to be more “powerful” and thereby a very temporary illusion of “security” provided by the attacker (see ‘Stockholm Syndrome’:, and those who progress human evolution forging ahead and skillfully battling as may become necessary to protect their own rights and the rights of others from the parasitical and predatorial. This is a perennial battle innate in existence.

At its core, violence arises from a mindset of lack. A lack of clarity, from cowardice and fear, and from a consciousness of lack.

Then primitive instincts of the reptilian brain will strive to use force, manipulation or other dark means to seek a gain, which in fact constitutes a loss for all concerned. But the afflicted, lacking in conscious clarity will not see this.

There are many forms of violence in society and none are cut and dried black and white.
There are various forms of bullying, exploitation and abuse of power ranging from coercion to manipulation, either sexual or a desire to dominate or steal. The range of violence nuances may cause anything from psychological harm to often chronic physical injury or even death. Most of these cannot be addressed with “a technique,” iriminage, wrestling or atemi waza, since there are various shades of interpersonal politics involved that are often difficult to bring to the surface. Fear, shame, denial, psychological distress and other factors such as the mentioned Stockholm Syndrome or its near relative, Munchhausen by Proxy Syndrome: . Victims or past victims, if aware, often find it difficult to admit to themselves that they have been so afflicted.

It’s a paradox of psychology that many victims not only side up with their attacker, but turn to attack the rescuer! As a result, laws have had to be changed to protect police, for example in domestic violence.

Covert violence usually leads to rage in the desire to become free of manipulation. This gives rise to dynamic and overt physically expressed violence. It is a vicious cycle of interpersonal human abuse everyone has experienced to some degree and identifies well. Daytime pretense and play acting does not cover up the facts. Certainly it does not heal the underlying illness.

When dynamic violence erupts, it cuts a swathe of harm wherever it becomes expressed. Be this in a “street” assault or a public shooting of innocents as often happens in the lands most afflicted with mental illness caused by unreasonable societal stress. Such actions, of necessity must be curbed. In the event of police presence the perpetrator knows they are outnumbered. When soldiering they know they cannot escape their own chain of command. In the jungle, whether green or concrete, the determined-to-be-dangerous have already disregarded respect for life, dignity and just law and fear nothing. This makes them exceedingly dangerous.

It is essential to terminate the attackers ability to continue to render harm. This may affect him. If you fail to disable the attacker’s ability to render harm, they will harm you.

The truly violent only cease to be a risk when they can no longer have the ability to move and cause harm.

You must discern between the merely posturing who can be quelled with lighter methods and the truly dangerous where real and decisive skill must be deployed to protect and restore safety.

In war zones, violence is not only par for the course but the modus operandi denoting a deep psychic malaise in the human species. There is also the victimizing of people who are already victimized such as the actions of some soldiers, not the actions of protectors but of weak, frightened cowards and bullies. If a soldier is not a protector, then he is nothing more than a paid murderer, a gun for hire, doing the biddings of criminals.

In domestic environments violence statistics will vary from country to country, from culture to culture. Probably the kingdom of Bhutan has the lowest statistics of violence, proving that the goal of active human non-violence is in fact achievable. But their economy is based on gross national happiness, not what is currently construed as “productivity,” the entangling enslaving of people, resources and the theft of time and energy. This is not really “productive” in the true sense and constitutes much of the harm that is produced.

In most Western countries the statistics, on average go something like this (Taken from the Australian Institute of Criminology website at:

Most male victims (70%) were assaulted in non-residential locations, whereas the majority of female victims (58%) were assaulted in residential premises.

• Where the relationship between victim and offender was stated, 81% of female victims of assault knew the offender, compared with 49% of male victims.
• Assaults against females were more than twice as likely to be perpetrated by a family member as those against males.
• Male victims were much more likely to have been assaulted by a stranger (51%) than female victims (19%).
• Recorded assaults occurred most frequently in dwellings (42%), than on streets or footpaths (24%).
• Retail and other community locations accounted for 13 percent and nine percent respectively of recorded assaults.
• Recorded assaults were least likely to occur in recreational locations (6%) and residential locations peripheral to dwellings (3%).

Armed robbery and knife crimes are a too intricate study for a brief discourse such as this as is child sex abuse. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS 2005) Personal Safety Survey, 12 percent of women and 4.5 percent of men in Australia report having been sexually abused before the age of 15 years. This figure does not reflect the total number of incidents of child sexual abuse, as much child sexual abuse goes unreported. This is a shameful and covered up area where victims are generally psychologically scarred for life and not an issue to be either buried or taken lightly.

There is more to violence than, “the street,” about one quarter of acknowledged violent incidents. Whilst street assaults are serious and can have serious consequences these are the result of other factors that need to be addressed, mostly the more covert forms of violence, and insufficiency of mental calm that reveal a bereftness in our societies, and show us as a still incomplete and evolving species with a long way to go.

There is more to violence than “the street.” As you know, before it spills out into the street, it was cultivated in the home. The root cause of violence goes deeper than the myths of, “devils emerging from a hole in the ground.” The seeds of violence are sown in the mind of real and ordinary people. There it infested and crippled the fullest extent of the natural peace and joy and innate creative potential we are all born with.

Some seek a solution. Like you, many seek Budo. Others not. And these yield to distorted and distressed mental energy and give it vent. The sustainable solution resides not ultimately in counter violence. Whilst fighting fire with fire sometimes works for a while, without removing the fuel, without actual healing, it will inevitably resurge.

The usefulness of meditation as a habit is worthy of consideration for the adding of harmony.

For example as suggested here:

It has been found that violence tends to diminish in direct proportion to meditation conducted in a given location. Proper and authentic meditation practice decalcifies and unconcretizes the mind by enabling the witnessing of the stream of thoughts, sensations, feelings, changes and breathing.

Noticing the breath in the body-mind connection and allowing the mind to flow naturally in the moment as it was designed to do.(Or evolved, whichever you prefer, it’s all the same to me. Let’s not quibble over such sidetracking trivia as labels.) This aligns you with the resonance of the Universal Harmony.

How you respond to circumstances then changes as in resonating with a higher force, you maintain clarity. This is influential in the world.

To terminate the attacker’s ability to continue to render harm is the living duty of every being alive. That begins by harmonizing our own latent dark primal instincts that would in some way tend to participate in the violence by either running away from it, or denial pretending it does not exist, or simply submitting to it. Conversely to become a better bully than those perceived as bullies and tormenting them instead. Or even to fake it such as in the case of, “martial art” instructors, who never having served as protectors, are bereft of experience of real violence. Don’t laugh, such people really exist. I don’t know what they will do when that fateful day arrives when they will need their skill. Or how much merit lies in learning re-enactments from an inexperienced theorist. In any case, the laws of the universe invariably unleash consequences, making no dispensation for anyone. Experience, when it comes, if survived, will be a learning curve of immense value and awakening.

Necessarily, to survive as true humans, indeed thrive, it is essential to entirely leave the toxic thrall of the bully/victim/dishonesty syndrome and to learn to harmonize truthfully.

In this pursuit of this at an only physical level, there may be attendant risk where the development of hard and impactful skill merely adds to harm. The adverse effects on attackers when the recoil of his actions return, may, as history proves consistently, start another cycle of reprisals. Consequences. The law of reciprocal causality or karma. The natural and irrevocable Aikido of the Universe itself, Kannagara no Michi. It’s there whether you are blind to it or not. It always wins in the end. Mortals die. Often their future generations become targets of such reprisals. It seems as a never ending spiral downwards.

When you are imbued with stamina and high skill or endless resources, you may be able to wear out an aggressor, until for the time being he or they may change their mind about causing harm as a means. This is a preferred strategy to that of aggression, in other words, fear based counter-bullying.

One of the biggest secrets of Budo training, however, is that “physical” training conducted properly, will trigger the deep inner changes that demonstrably lead to healing, awakening, reconciliation, respect and such restoring of integrity that is predisposed to augment human dignity at all levels. Thereby violence is given no fuel.“Si vis pacem, para bellum!” Unless one is too far gone into mental damage, fear and torment, the preparation itself will transform your psyche to understand the inevitable consequences of action without having to go through the blood, guts, stench and risk of having to slog through the devilish attrition of contention.

Using the mind correctly and attuning to the infinite resource which is the Universe, may help you do this even better. But it has to be put into practice; and this by many before the effects of true Harmony begin to take over the world of humanity.

As with violence, Harmony begins first in the mind, heart and intention. How we choose to use our faculties, and the way mind and body connect to give rise to higher power determines the conditions around us. As human beings, we have the choice to make that that evocation entrusted to us.

When two or more make a decision to do whatever it takes to put Harmony into practice, it becomes an unstoppable participatory living stream, a synergistically magnified morphogenic force-field which remains unseen, except for the results which it manifests into our world.

Nev Sagiba


  1. Paul Jansson says:

    Hi Nev,
    I am always slightly disappointed when the newsletter does not contain a fervent Nev Sagiba letter. I find your letters to be a breath of fresh air in terms of your penchant for making useful connections between Aikido’s high aims and the biological, cultural and intellectual milieu.

    Regarding the following:
    “In recent war footage on the news, I heard an anchor man say that the local inhabitants had the temerity to be engaging in “violence” while the invaders were bombing the smithereens out of them. Such a level of idiocy and mental entrapment borders on the microcephalic. The modus of war is aggression and violence on a grand scale. Whether plain dumb and hypnotized by propaganda or intended as deceptive “spin” such attempts at dressing it up as something else are never helpful. Any normal person would strive to defend the land of their birth. It’s the inalienable birthright of every sentient being alive!”

    This position is, I think, much more than the misguidedness of one news anchor, or even one media outlet or one nation. It is an example of both the driver and the result of a calculated and (partially) controlled campaign to deceive, coerce and manipulate individuals and to set cultural norms. These “norms” which become accepted and invisible do not encourage empathy or love. They encourage self-righteousness, fear and ignorance.

    This modern iteration of what I have called a campaign is pervasive and holds much cultural prestige and power. It has many threads and has accomplished a high level of infection of people’s minds. There are, however, those that see through the deception despite its authority and prestige and its self-serving pronouncements of “truth”.

    As for the meditation, I agree with you as to its value – as does modern science. I just have to do it with a bit more regularity.

    Paul Jansson

  2. Congratulations Nev, on a well thought out, well developed and intrinsically relevant mini treatise on violence.

    Even as “Shit Happens” in life, so does the reality of violence, including the forms you mentioned. It is a part of the natural fabric of the Universe, and needs no grading, categorization or futile attempts by man to color it “good”, “bad”, “useful” or ” harmful”. Whatever “evil” results is always counterbalanced by “salvation” achieved. As you have been wont to say previously, practice, drill and rehearse the habits that represent your values. It remains the role of daily training to resolve all matters, and to remain in oneness with the cosmos.

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