Recognizing, avoiding danger

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Don Roley, Mar 16, 2007.

  1. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    I was going through some old magazines and making notes. In the Febuary 2000 issue of Hiden magazine I found the following quote by Hatsumi in an interview.

    It is not a new idea for most of us. We have heard it said in various ways at various times.

    But what about concrete examples? Each area might be a bit different. I would like to hear some ways people pass this type of thing on.

    For me, if I were ever to teach, I would make my students watch the video "Safe in the Street" by Marc MacYoung and read the book "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker. Then I would take them on a tour of some semi-bad areas and try to pass along some of the stuff that MacYoung and others showed me about the way people act and react to their surroundings.
     
  2. Jonathan Randall

    Jonathan Randall Senior Master

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    That's a good point.

    One thing to do is what the manager of the laundrymat near me (my washer broke) did after throwing an unruly customer out - she locked the door after him and then let us out one by one as we finished.

    I would add "Strong on Defense" by Sanford Strong because it's a great complement to "The Gift of Fear". Strong's book is about worst case, all your options suck, scenarios.

    I think this teaching your students this very important side of self-defence will do them a great service. Too many MA's get caught up in arguing the merits of TKD vs. Karate or MMA vs. Everything or Knive vs. Stick and forget that the 16 year old with a stolen handgun is a more lethal (and likely) threat on the streets. For myself, I know that awareness and avoidance is what I consider my self-defence strategy and my MA training is compartmentalized (in a way) as a curiosity that, if I am prudent, I don't think of as my "security blanket". Not that MA training is useless - quite the contrary - it can be a very important tool for those who do not have false or overinflated confidence in its efficacy in dealing with violent, armed crime.

    This is one area where you BBT folks have an edge, IMO, over many sport MA's - you train with weapons and against weapons and also cover awareness/avoidance issues more thoroughly.
     
  3. Bigshadow

    Bigshadow Senior Master

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    I recommend to everyone to read "The Gift of Fear". When I discuss things I talk about awareness and gut feel. However, I think learning to be aware and listening to one's feelings is much like trying to learn new eating habits. It is a personal journey and no matter how much one shows you videos and how much you read, you have to find within yourself the diligence to do rather than let let the old habits continue. I think the awareness and feeling are part of the total package of training.

    I am rambling, but I guess I am questioning the real impact of the videos and the books on those who read them. I guess it impact on a person is likely related to their current level of discipline.
     
  4. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    Which of course makes it a lot like taijutsu. You can lay out the information for others and some of the students are going to take it and expand on it, while others don't. But if you don't lay out the information, nothing will happen.
     
  5. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    I have to say that altho' a person can be trained to heighten their vigilance and to recognise certain threats in the environment, 'awareness' is something you either have or you don't.

    Perhaps I'm highlighting a semantics issue here, in which case I apologise for posting a distraction but I define 'awareness' to be an involuntary logging of your surroundings that is done on an instinctive level. I suppose that what I am saying is that if you have to do it consciously then it's being 'careful' rather than being 'aware'.

    Regardless, it's still an important lesson to try and get across to your students {so I don't know why I was bickering over definitions :blush:}. I do agree that it's probably the most important lesson of all, especially when coupled with what to do about avoiding situations. It's also important to make the absorption of the 'threat messages' low-key because if you're obviously 'scanning' then that makes it more likely, rather than less, that any unpleasantly intended individual will focus on you.

    For myself, in answer to the inherent question in post one, I'm not walking around in a state of constant fear but I am aware of what the general geography of my location is and who is in it. Again, I'm not consciously cataloguing threat levels but I do pay attention to those in 'unusual' postions or doing unusual things and note where they are in relation to me. The problem with this, of course, that if anyone is 'out to get me' then they will avoid doing anything non-mundane and thus slip through my 'radar' :eek:. That being said, I do have to admit that sometimes I steer clear of someone and have no idea why other than they just 'felt' bad.

    A big part of avoiding trouble is confidence, as has been discussed in the "why carry a knife you can't use " thread. This is not to say that you strut around belligerently carrying an arrogant aura with you. It's almost the inverse in fact; you carry an aura of calm with you. This is actually frustratingly hard to try and describe isn't it (?) but I call it my "I'm someone elses problem field" (with all due deference to Douglas Adams :D)!

    The best I can do is pass on some (embarassingly complimentary) comments made by a fellow student about me when she saw me out in the 'wilds' (i.e. shopping :)). She said that I had a "martial artists walk" by which she meant she could tell that I was relaxed, balanced, confident and was moving to avoid obstacles before they became obstacles, whether they were people or inanimate objects. Importantly, she noted that this had an effect on those around me too, specifically some obnoxious 'hoodie chav' types who gave me a look or two and moved away. I happen to think this last was a compliment too far but I hope is illustrative of the fact that if you don't think or move like a victim then you are less likely to be bothered by those who normally like to make people victims.

    Anyhow, I'm rambling without purpose here (it's been a long day) - I'll try and come back with a more cogent response tomorrow ...
     
  6. Bigshadow

    Bigshadow Senior Master

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    I agree, I saw that as well. You're right, you have to lay out the information, they will take from that what they are capable of taking at that time.
     
  7. Zida'sukara

    Zida'sukara Black Belt

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    Almost every time the danger is starting when I am already gone around the corner. But sometimes I do get in the state of danger, not personally but a friend of mine or just somebody else. I discovered that I am very good at making angry people relaxed again. I just pretend that I am very blond and didnt notice anything of the situation and than I just talk very friendly to the disturber with a few jokes or give him some compliments about his nice sweater. :)

    It truly helps, I think this is also a way of getting away from problems. It has helped me on my path of life. Actually I never had to fight in real life, only as a small kid when I was being bullied around but that was far before I got into Martial Arts.
     
  8. Cryozombie

    Cryozombie Grandmaster

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    I dunno guys, I read "Gift of Fear" and while I think there are some nuggets in it, I found it mostly anti-male propaganda.

    According to DeBecker, you know, we are all waiting to stalk and beat, kill, or rape a woman, and no woman should date us... why? Becuase we study martial arts, and thats a warning sign right there. I take exception to the fact that if a man initiates converstaion with a woman or offers her any kind of help without her approaching him first, he is "looking" for somthing...

    I was really put off by a lot of those types of ideas in that book.


     
  9. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    But I take it you did get a lot from it as well.

    I can see where you are coming from. Just about everyone who comments on the book can see how the act of seeing his mother shoot his father caused him to have the hatred of firearms he has. But of course, he can't seem to see it himself. That is the way things go.

    But you know, there is some truth to the idea that when men talk to pretty girls they want something. Whenever we talk to someone else, we want something. Even if it is to think that we are a certain type of person. When someone helps an old lady pull her car from the mud, they get the self image that they are the type of person that would do things like that. We all get something from what we do, or we would not expand the energy.

    DeBecker, because he probably deals with the type of people he does, lays it on a bit thick. But I think a thinking person can see the traps he is caught in and avoid them. That is just my opinion. But the fact that you see the problems with how he views life tends to enforce that opinion. In short, I would rather have someone who is my student read it than not.

    BTW- I know you have read The Unfettered Mind by Takuan on my recommendation. I have thought that it would be helpful in this case. But I am not sure. What do you think?
     
  10. Cryozombie

    Cryozombie Grandmaster

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    In the case of recognizing danger? or in understanding DeBecker?
     
  11. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    Recognizing danger.

    I believe that what Takuan wrote about living in the moment is pretty much what some folks call condition yellow. You are aware, but not paranoid. I was hoping you could confirm or deny what seems obvious to me. It would not be the first time I was wrong.
     
  12. Cryozombie

    Cryozombie Grandmaster

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    Hmm, I don't know if I looked at it that way... but it doesnt mean you are wrong.
     
  13. Bigshadow

    Bigshadow Senior Master

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    Having read the 'unfettered mind', I have been thinking about this post today. My interpretation is that living in the moment is being free from the past and the future so that one can have full awareness of now. Many people go about thinking of things they should have (done, said, thought, acted on, etc) or need to (do, say, think, etc), that it distracts the mind from the now. Takuan spoke of the abiding mind and of distractions, things that keep us from having ten thousand eyes. (Trying to remember specifics here). So yes, I would agree that "living in the moment" is a heightened state of awareness, but I am not sure of the condition yellow (for all I know it could be).
     
  14. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    Last Friday I arrested a guy who took two folding knives. He said he didn't have them, so I said fine, we'll call the police and let them decide. He then said all right, and picked up one of them from the bottom of his pant leg, after which he ran, and I lost him after giving chase for a few minutes. Today, I saw him get on the same subway as me about 90 minutes ago. He got off at the same station, looked at me quietly, and took up his cell phone, at which point I believe I was able to sneak away without being followed. We've got him on camera and I know approximately where he lives from his travel habits, so I figured that I didn't need the kind of trouble confronting him might lead to.
     
  15. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Recognizing and avoiding danger are extremely important. Getting in touch with and trusting your instincts is essential as well. Unfortunately so many people seem bent on not trusting their instincts. :idunno: It is also unfortuantely that so many people walk around in a daze and cannot pick up the subtle clues of danger. Hopefully if anything we can touch a few people and they will learn these skills and recognize and avoid that danger if they ever encounter it.
     
  16. El Guapo-san

    El Guapo-san White Belt

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    A couple of people have asked if I have used taijutsu on the street... and I say "Oh yeah!" Well, I did chuck one idiot around a bit, but the only that was hurt was his ego. That doesn't count. I'm talking about the recognising and avoiding danger bits. I go to Eastern Europe quite a lot, and having a healthy sense of awareness and intention there has inevitably helped me out.

    A great training excercise is to go walk around Moscow.... even the cops are known to grab your passport and not give it back if you don't them some money. And you certainly can't go using ganseki nagi to get it back either.
     
  17. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    I've long since decided to never ever set foot in any Slavic country again even if someone offers me payment for it.
     
  18. El Guapo-san

    El Guapo-san White Belt

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    Aw, now I'd divide them into former USSR, Balkans and Central Europe. There are some pretty fundemental differences. Does wonders for your training though.
     

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