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You Can't Say No by Alison Lane

Alison Lane - Goshinkan Dojo, Byron Bay 
reprinted from Kiai Ki Society Australia Newsletter 1999 (6) pp11
On the way home from the dojo tonight I had an interesting opportunity to witness how the NON-application of Aikido principles can turn a minor conflict into a major confrontation. Here’s the scenario....
Drunk guy in the bottle shop (don’t ask what I was doing in the bottle shop, it had been a strenuous class after all!), not obviously aggressive or looking for trouble, just wanting the party to go on. He’s looking for an opening, hoping to get served... “So are you telling me that you can’t serve me because I’m pissed?” Bottle shop guy, he’s being the original immovable object, “that’s right”, stands his ground but doesn’t really look at the guy. In his mind he’s saying “Screw you fella, I’m in my rights and I’m doing my job so stay out of my face”, it’s subtle, but it’s there and the drunk guy knows it.
If at this point the bottle shop guy had made even a small concession, “hey mate, I’m sorry but that’s the law. It says that I’m not allowed to serve you and I can’t afford to lose my job” the drunk guy probably would have shrugged and walked away. But this lack of respect or acknowledgement is not good enough. So he tries again, “So you’re really saying you won’t serve me?”. Now the bottle shop guy blows it badly “No, and I’m not going to serve your mates either!”, now he’s thrown in a little barb, a small, unnecessary comment whereby he crows a little over his presumed victory and righteousness. And then he rubs it in by turning his back on the guy. Again, he could have shown a little understanding, he could at least have had the respect to face the
guy and look him in the eye. Unsurprisingly, at this point the drunk guy charges, and
with an impact reminiscent of a pair of fighting elephant seals they collide head on and commence to grapple. Now, realise that the attacker is decidedly tipsy. Had the bottle shop guy simply stepped to one side the guy would probably have fallen flat on his face, or at least run out of steam, but oh no, the bottle shop guy is in the RIGHT and with God and the judicial system behind him he is going to stand up for it.
So, they wrestle backwards and forwards (it is evident that while they are both gripping each other firmly by the lapels no one can possibly get seriously injured) while I wait patiently for service. Finally it looks like the CCs stand is going to get knocked over and the security guard steps in and escorts the drunk guy to the pavement where he yells out a few death threats, and Mr Bottle Shop’s colleagues clap him on the back and make appropriate comments like “ya nearly had him a good one there mate!”.
The realisation that this kind of thing goes on every day, in every city, in every country on this poor confused planet of ours makes me more sure than ever, that next week I’ll be right back on that mat learning, if nothing else, a little respect and understanding for my fellow human beings!