Great free EBook from Ikigaiway blog

Matthew Absokardu the author of Ikigaiway blog has recently released a free EBook titled “Surviving a Traditional Dojo” that I suggest to all of my readers.

The EBook describes in great details what a novice should expect when entering a traditional dojo with a lot of information about etiquette, behaviour that people in the dojo will expect from you, as well as what you should expect from them and from the master running the dojo itself.

I believe this EBook will also be interesting for people that are already part of a non traditional martial arts club to understand what and how other martial artists live their training.

If you are interested, and you should really, please go to the download page of the book and simply download it: as I said it’s free but it has a great value!

Road Rage and lack of common sense

BaldManLogical reasoning and common sense are usually great help in everyday life but this morning an event suggested me that it doesn’t apply to everyone.  The three following statements definitely apply to my way of thinking but I was proven wrong:

  • Approaching a car in a in a road rage can be anything between very dangerous to lethal.  Any body, regardless their shape, size and background can hold weapons of any kind in a car.
  • When I see a man from behind and his bald head seems to be linked directly with his trapezoids (muscles above the shoulders) without any neck, e.g. like Mike Tyson in the good old days, I would avoid fighting him unless I am attacked first.  I cannot see any good reason to approach aggressively a similar looking person, whatever he has done on the road.
  • Early morning at 6:30, when traffic in a small city like Cambridge is nearly inexistent, is so it’s unlikely to cause good reasons for arguments.

This morning at 6:30 I was travelling toward my usual Wednesday business breakfast meeting when I stopped, on a dual carriage way bridge, at the red light behind another car.  In the other lane I saw stopping a Ford Focus with a big guy in it and a couple of seconds later a Vauxall Vectra stopped behind.  Nothing wrong until the driver of the Vectra rushed out of his vehicle run the few metres to approach the other car and slamming a big slap on the side window at the driver side shouted “what the f%&k are you doing?”.  This person is in his late fifties to sixties, long haired and slim, wearing shirt, tie and suit trousers: I was between surprised and astonished about the whole scene.

At that point I see the big guy turning quite calmly toward his window that he is lowering while he is saying something I could obviously did not hear.  I also noticed a little baton, perhaps a kid’s baseball bat in his hands: he was probably suggesting the older man to get away or risking troubles.  To be honest, given the size of the bald man the older driver could have had enough problems evev without a weapon.  Nonetheless the older guy shouted a few more obscenities until I saw the big driver swinging the baton out of his window.

At the point the light turned green, I started moving forward with my car and the Focus’ driver did the same: nothing really happened but the old guy could have spent his morning at the hospital if the big guy decided to get out of his vehicle.

Now, I even like to believe there have been good reasons for this to happen but once more I am convinced, as I wrote recently, that a bit of common sense sometime would avoid lots of troubles.

Two good ways to avoid a fight

I am convinced that getting involved in a fight is something that should be avoided at all times.   There might be circumstances where fighting is absolutely unavoidable and I repeat something I have already expressed before: in a fight or flight the latter should be preferable if you are sure you can run faster than your attacker 🙂

What triggers a fight? Many different circumstances and reasons: in any case it takes more than one person to be involved.  Even if somebody is bothering you or threatening you in many, many cases you could avoid the physical confrontation by talking the situation down or simply walking away.  Unfortunately our pride plays bad tricks sometimes and we would love to be like inspector Harry Callahan, being able to state a few sentences and then punish our attacker to be in a way or the other.

The so called self defence should really be applied to situations when you are physically attacked and the only way of getting out of the situation is to stop your attacker with all possible means before he might cause serious injury or death to yourself or your loved ones.  While it is not often possible to turn and offer the other cheek very often it is possible to avoid a fight and walk home rather than risking to spend some time in a cell or in hospital as a result of a fight gone in one way or the other.

B.H is a friend of mine ex professional boxer and is surely a guy you would not like to be involved with in a fight.  With nearly hundred fights under his belt between amateur and professional is a person that spent more time in front of somebody that would like to knock him down than most street fighters will ever experience in several lives.  As it happened once a guy thought to have a good reason to punch him straight in the face.  This is a fairly common, not too exciting, experience for a professional fighter: probably similar to have a cup of coffee for the average office worker.  The simple end to the story is that the attacker was so surprised of B. not reacting at all to the attack and simply adding: “it takes a lot more to make me angry, and if I get angry I could kill you”.  This sentence made me think: it is true that a pro sport fighter is in business to harm other people for money (legally).  At the same time he will not necessarily react with anger to the typical situation where most people would go berserk.

Another similar experience happened to me personally: although I never been a pro I consider myself capable of seriously harming the average punter with bad intention that happens to be on my way.  A few months ago I drove out of my driveway in a winter, dark afternoon and somebody in another car was arriving at a distance that I failed to evaluate correctly so he had to slow down.  He blew his horn violently and repeatedly.  As I stopped at the red light a few hundred yards away I promptly checked in my rear mirror where the guy was and I noticed a car behind mine with no driver: in less than a second I noticed the guy was by my side window yelling at me what a “f*&$!%g idiot I was and blah blah”.  He was enraged and ready for a fight, inviting me to get out.  I apologise to him and said I did not see him coming (never mind he was probably faster than he should be), but he kept insulting me… after a 30 second or so and a few more insults he went back to his car, the light turned green and I went on to my meeting.  The guy was scary looking and enraged, nonetheless if he tried to grab me or injure me I could have probably got rid of him in no time, perhaps leaving him in the middle of the road… and then what?  He saw me coming out of my drive way: he could come back there and wait for me with a weapon and/or friends, he could burn my house down or anything else you can think about.  Are all these terrible consequences really worth the fact that he thinks I am a “f*&$!%g idiot”?  Not really, so I left him with his opinion and moved on.

The choices that B. and I took were safer in the end because we avoided, in different ways and circumstances, a fight that could be avoided: for B. being punched in the face is as normal as a hand shake; for me, while I don’t like to be called names, I can conclude that it is simply your opinion and it does affect my self esteem.