Absolute Power

How I felt when I left the dojo yesterday!

How I felt when I left the dojo yesterday!

When I was leaving the LMAC dojo after our Ethridge Jiu-Jitsu class yesterday afternoon, there was a guy who appeared to be intoxicated walking down the sidewalk, and as I was heading to my Jeep, he was in close proximity behind me. He wasn’t threatening in any way, but we were the only people around, and I was acutely aware of his presence, so I thought “If he tries anything with me, he’s going to regret it!”. I had just finished rolling with my husband a few minutes before I left the dojo, so I was still in combat mode, and I felt as though my reaction time would’ve been much quicker than any attack the drunk guy might’ve tried to launch (and afterward he probably wouldn’t have even known what happened!), but thankfully he just kept stumbling along, and he didn’t touch me, so I didn’t have to hurt him.

It seems like something that only happens in movies, but there have actually been times when I’ve been at the dojo and misguided souls have wandered in, apparently looking for a fight. Alcohol is usually involved in their questionable decision to challenge martial arts, and although the people they threaten could most likely easily defeat them, I’ve never seen it come to that (although I have heard stories about it happening in the past!). In my experience, the people from the dojo are able to de-escalate the situation and keep the peace. For example, once when a senior black belt wasn’t wearing his gi, a potential troublemaker asked him what rank he was, and he replied “I’m a white belt, I just started a month ago.”, and I suppose since there isn’t any glory in beating up a white belt, the guy didn’t seem interested in fighting him anymore.

You would think that because the dojo has been well-known in the community for over thirty years, and has had a number of law enforcement officers training there, it would dissuade people from coming in and wanting to start trouble, but sometimes I think that might make it even more alluring. They’re barking up the wrong tree, because during my years of training, the only story I can recall where someone actually got into a physical confrontation at the dojo, it didn’t involve a challenger who wanted to fight, it happened when a guy stole a package from the mail slot and took off running. It was his unfortunate luck that Conan was there that day, and in addition to being trained in Jiu-Jitsu, he’s also an officer with the LPD, so he chased the thief, caught him, took him down, and held him there until on-duty cops arrived. It turned out that the package the guy tried to steal was a new black belt that Shihan had ordered, and the thief clearly did not deserve it, because you have to work a lot harder than that to get a black belt from the dojo!

"Jiu-Jitsu is like being a Jedi Knight...the knowledge is with you all the time--you dream it when you sleep, you can see it walking, it surrounds you. You go out alone but you are not alone because you have Jiu-Jitsu." - Olavo AbreuI’m really glad that I didn’t have to defend myself against the drunk guy yesterday, but it did feel good to not be afraid of the possibility, to not feel powerless, and to have confidence in my abilities. I wasn’t thinking “I wish a motherfucker would try something!”, because I know people who have had to use their Jiu-Jitsu in real life, and they say it’s a lot more difficult than you would think (and they don’t look forward to ever doing it again). However, it’s nice to know that it did work effectively for them in self-defense, and yesterday I was pretty sure that it would also work for me, if I needed it to.

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” – Sun Tzu


4 comments on “Absolute Power

  1. I think in that case I would have actually circled around and headed back into the building. It’s always a danger point to be trying to get into your car with a suspicious person too close to you. They could attack you while you’re trying to get the door unlocked, or they could be bent on carjacking you or maybe even shoving you into your own car and kidnapping you. If somebody is too close to me, and/or tripping my Spidey-sense in any way I immediately try to get distance and/or get to a more secure place with other people. I never worry about what they or anyone else will think about me doing an abrupt direction change and hustling away.

    • That would’ve been the smartest thing to do. I have to admit that I was happy I wasn’t far from the dojo, the garage door was open, and Joe was still there, so I knew that in the worst case scenario, if I yelled he would hear me, but if the guy wanted to carjack me, Joe might’ve not made it there in time. :/

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