The strangers

One of our members made a good observation on the importance of attending seminars last night…

“I thought that I had made some progress in learning technique. I could usually handle the attacks in the dojo.
Then, at the last seminar, I had trouble handling attacks from strangers.
At that moment, I realized that I hadn’t so much mastered the techniques as gotten familiar with the students in the dojo.”

A very important distinction! Don’t assume that everyone has the same sense of timing and ma’ai as your friends in the dojo.

The reality of the streets

Here’s an informative academic study on “real-life” violence. We don’t teach fighting in the dojo — but Aikido is a martial art, so I found it of interest.

Here are police statistics from the UK for the top 10 male-on-male assaults (see study cited at end):

1. Attacker pushes, defender pushes back, attacker throws a swinging punch to the head.
2. A swinging punch to the head
3. A front clothing grab, one handed, followed by punch to head
4. Two handed front clothing grab, followed by head butt
5. Two handed front clothing grab followed by knee to groin
6. Bottle, glass or ashtray to the head, swinging
7. A lashing kick to groin/lower legs
8. A bottle, glass jabbed to face
9. A slash with a knife, usually 3-4 inch lockblade or kitchen knife
10. A grappling style headlock.

Routine Aikido practice includes effective responses to most of these attacks, as well as attacks with weapons and by multiple attackers — a rare but real possibility.

But another very important observation was on the statistical absurdity of training to fight in the street. Your martial art may have a 100 percent chance of improving your life, but the odds of your being involved in a violent confrontation unwillingly are minuscule beside risks like disease, car accidents etc.

The whole study is here.