We have a new
victim student. I am so tired and all I’ve done is have lunch and do a bit of Aikido. I’m feeling okay though. I feel like the dojo is coming back to life and there’s a good spirit about it. If I can muster up the energy I’ll go training on Wednesday too; if I can I want to get back to a solid three times a week and I’m giving serious thought to buying another keikogi so that I’ve always got a clean one on hand. I might even get my name put on it in kanji because I’m possibly training in Japan in 2017 and if I buy a keikogi now the chances of me buying a new one before 2017 are pretty minimal. Putting your name on your keikogi is a thing that you do if there is any risk of you training in Japan, presumably so that people in Japan, who may not know enough English to ask, know what to call you. I suppose if there are people from all over the world on the mat all speaking different languages it makes sense.
At the moment the one I have is either on my body, in the washing machine or on the line. I managed to spill wine on a white shirt on friday and so I ended up needing to bleach it with vanish so now my keikogi is a blinding white.
I’m reading this thing by an Aikidoka. He’s talking about a famous teacher but the line that grabbed my attention was when he’s talking about “wrestling with his own capacity for violence”. That’s an interesting concept. I think we all do as budoka. Gman and I occasionally train together, he’s a Karateka, no one is perfect, but we occasionally talk about the fact that we could easily go at each other full force: psychologically we’re both quite capable of destroying the other. It seems so odd to have the capacity to destroy your best friend, to be able to rationally, cold bloodedly inflict harm on them.
It’s definitely something that I wrestle with, perhaps wrestle with is too strong a term. I don’t struggle with it. I’m aware that I love violence but that paradoxically I have no desire to harm anyone. I suppose that because there isn’t a connection in my mind between anger, which is an emotion that I rarely experience anyway, and violence that I don’t fear that I will randomly become violent. I’m not going to lose control and lash out; in fact my training makes that nigh on impossible. Even if someone is hitting me I rarely feel the need to respond violently: I just don’t feel threatened and I become coldly detached. Punches to me really don’t feel much different from the pain of landing on the mat and that’s a constant in my training so there’s an awareness that the person hitting me will at some point stop and I will then get on with the rest of my day. Plus most people can’t actually throw a decent punch: they hit you rather than hitting through you.
Despite all this, or maybe because of it, my mind is an incredibly violent place, I think about it a lot. Thinking on it I think part of the problem with our society is that violence is quite rare and so it’s “sexy” young men when they are violent feel powerful and they feel that they’ve achieved something: for me violence is Monday, Wednesday and Thursday night and the odd weekend course. It’s an everyday part of my existence. I think that’s actually got me out of a few trouble spots. “I’m going to smash your head in” *indifference* “I’m going to kick the shit out of you” *indifference* “D’you hear me” *indifference*. People seem to find it unnerving when the person they’re threatening doesn’t react. Doesn’t get angry or flustered, or visibly afraid, but just silently watches them.
Actually there was one time I nearly lost it and hit someone. I was on the train back from an Aikido course and I was exhausted, I mean I was falling asleep, I’d had a bout of insomnia, and there was this couple two seats behind me arguing and suddenly he starts threatening to hit her and she’s threatening to hit him back and he’s getting very verbally aggressive. I open my eyes and I notice that there are no other guys around and all the women are looking at me; so I briefly made eye contact with them all and closed my eyes again, but this noise behind me just went on and on.
Eventually I got to the point where I just wanted to knock the guy out so I resolved that if he actually did hit the woman he was with I was going to get up, cold bloodedly walk over to him grab his face so that his head was steady and knock him out. I’m the kind of person who innocuously gets up, quietly walks over to a violent person, chokes them out without making a fuss and sits back down again with this air of ennui. Just like I would in the dojo, it’s just choking someone out, it’s not a big deal for me and as R points out I must be on the spectrum because it doesn’t immediately occur to me that not everyone around me does martial arts and so they’ll be utterly freaked out by this apparent sociopath choking out someone with total ennui about the situation, especially when they’re choking out some lunatic busily engaged in beating their gf up, someone that they themselves are utterly terrified of. For them it’s a shocking act of violence, for me it’s Monday, I’m probably on my way to Aikido anyway where I’m going to choke everyone and be choked myself, it’s utterly normal. It’s an almost banal situation as I see things.
Fortunately for him, though, my stop came before he decided to actually hit his gf and the strange thing is that I wasn’t going to knock him out for hitting her, I was going to knock him out for being so loud. I just wanted the noise to end and the moment a socially acceptable excuse presented itself I was going to silence him. I was actually mildly annoyed by this turn of events because I was rather looking forward to hitting him.
The one thing I can’t stand, though, when I’m fully awake and thinking straight is men being violent towards women. It produces, not anger, but a sort of deep guttural irritation in me. I think 9/10 times that I find myself willing to be violent are times when I see some idiot guy threatening his gf. Often half of the irritation is the way that everyone sorta looks at everyone else and something about me must communicate that I’m semi-willing to deal with the situation and then everyone looks at me.
Anyway, must try and sleep.