About The Following Blog

The following blog has been written purely for those wanting a first hand knowledge of what it is like to step into the dojo for the first time as a complete beginner as a Martial Artist. Through practising a Martial Art, you will gain many things such as self-confidence, self-respect and life-long and good friends. I hope this helps you to see into an amazing world of which you have never seen before and that I have had the privilege of belonging to and knowing.
Although I have not put my name or any name to this blog, it does deserve a dedication- a dedication to those who help people to train, who teach, reassure and most important of all- those who never give up, no matter how many times they hit the ground or a mental brick wall, with themselves or others. But above all- those who are ready to begin their own journey, it begins with one step….

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Chapter 27: Aarrgh! I hate it when my Aiki training kicks in...

Oh dear, it would seem that my training is becoming innate in my brain. I found this on my work's Christmas night out. I don't usually join work colleagues for drinks after a meal as a rule because I don't drink. But my arm was twisted and I agreed to join them for just one.
As it was freezing, we went to a small newly renovated bar around the corner from the restaurant where we were. When we got there, there was an ambulance outside and there was blood in the doorway. At that point, I just thought oh great, this is a really good omen. The bar was packed, but everyone (apart from me and someone else) decided to pile in.
Now, I don't know if this is related to Aiki, but I hate crowds and confined spaces, so bars are a general no-go area for me. So, I thought well, alright-its freezing cold, I'll go in just this once.
It seemed okay at first, the bar seemed to empty relatively quickly as people went off to clubs and other bars. However, the rest of my work colleagues decided it was time to move on after half an hour, so off we went. Only it wasn't as easy as that.
On the way out, a guy who from the look of him was a little tipsy and somewhere around 35 takes a fancy to me and tries to grab me. I'm 21! For goodness sake, go bother someone else closer to your age. Good grief! As I've said before...Why, why, WHY do I attract the utter weridos? Anyway, I move out of his way. Unsocuku is generally good for dodging people. But this didn't work. He tries to grab me again. At this point, I'm seriously getting worried as the rest of his mates are surrounding him. So I realise I have two choices as I really, really don't like the look of this guy. I can either:

A. IF he grabs me do some technique and only if he grabs me
B. Set my 'circle' back even further from his

I settle on option B. I put my hands up to stop him from grabbing my wrists as he was trying to grab hold of my arms and I looked him in the eye. Thankfully, he backed off with an apology.
I breathe a sigh of relief and leave. But him and his mates follow us out and come after us. Two of them had their arms around two of my female work colleagues. At this point, I again get a little concerned as another one them approaches me. I just thought why do my work colleagues have to encourage these guys? Oh man, I wish these guys would leave us alone. He tries to get me to come with him to see one of his mates. Now, I may have been the last in line when common sense was given out, but I'm not so stupid as to go off with some random guy. So I simply say 'No thank you' and walk away. Now at this point, the first guy who tried to grab me apologised! He apologised! So I just said 'Okay, no problem' as I really really want to get rid of these guys. Then they wander off. At last!
The thing that worried me was how quickly my aiki training kicked in. Good, you might say...but strangely I don't. I'm really conscious that I might have had to do something had that guy grabbed me and then hurt him. I know some people may think oh, he was only being friendly, what's the big deal? Well the big deal is, I don't like utter complete random strangers trying to grab me.
So, if you don't know anything about martial arts I will try and explain about the theory of Aikido and its use in self-defence.
The idea of judging whether someone is a threat or not comes back to this 'circle' idea. Imagine there is a circle around and above you, say about a foot in diameter away from your body. That is your 'circle'. If anyone (like that guy) enters your 'circle', you have two choices. You can either retract your 'circle' (as I did) or you can deal with the 'threat'. However, just because someone tries to grab you, you have to realise potential threat from threat and threat from danger. With this guy, yes, I will be honest-I felt threatened, but he was only a potential threat. So, I retracted my 'circle' from him to restore the balance. However, he did enter my 'circle' again, so technically, he is now a threat. But again, I chose to retract, as I felt to floor or wrist lock this guy really wasn't beneficial to anyone, it would have only made the situation worse. However, had he grabbed me, he would have been a threat.
So, why the big deal? Well, I guess I trying to point out that as an Aikidocca in a situation like that you have a number of choices as I've said above. But I believe, as I think I've said before in this blog, DON'T go looking for trouble. Just because I could have taken that guy didn't mean that I should have done- its more about reading the situation.
However, I realise that some martial artists would floored the first guy to prove a point. But for me, there is no reason to do that and that is the philosophy of Aikido- If you do use Aikdio, do the Uke (attacker) no harm. They should be able to get up and walk away after you have applied the technique. I believe I achieved that that night- I gave the guy a chance to back off. But I won't deny, it was a very scary I hope not to be repeated.


little cricket said...

Hi Aikilass,

Glad things turned out alright. Your analysis of your Aikido thinking was interesting to read.

I hope you don't mind if I link to your weblog? I am a beginner at Aikido, and have been training for a bit more than three months now (I write about training at

I liked your blog title!


Patrick Parker said...

I have also enjoyed reading your blog. Your account of what it is like to be a beginner in Tomiki Aikido and the amazing concepts and adeas and skills you have developed - this is all really interesting to read.

I have linked to your blog in my most recent Promote Three feature...

Keep up the good work. Can't wait to

John Wood said...

My name's John and I'm a Nikyu in Aikido. I post over at I've been doing Aikido for a few years and it sounds like you've learned (in my opinion) the most important part of Aikido, when to use and not use it. You're right, most people would just floor the guy, but there's no need to. I even know other Aikido practitioners who would've just wrist locked the guy. I'm glad to hear you didn't. It's hard not to sometimes but with the ability to use something against someone comes the responsibility as to WHEN to use it.

Michael said...


Great story and I completely understand your concern. I've been doing aikido for several years now and I still worry because whenever I'm surprised (and unfortunately I surprise fairly easily) I tend to reflexively put my arms up in shomenate position, per my training.

I have nearly taken colleagues' and friends' heads off, the closst call of which he wasn't even trying to surprise me, he just did! Fortunately, while it startled him, no harm was done.

Years ago when I was just starting out I instinctly did kote gaeshi on a colleague joking around with me. I nearly threw her with it!

It can be a scary proposition, but I think training to follow uke/nage instead of trying to do a technique to uke/nage has saved me. Because they didn't do anything aggressive, nothing aggressive happened. Truly following uke's movements is what I try to focus on in training the most.

Great blog! I found you through my friend Pat's blog and look forward to reading more.