Monday, September 7, 2009

The Crazed Maniac

Over the years I have seen many people talk about the martial encounter with the drug crazed maniac. The spin is always that they are superhuman demons stronger than any human could be, and more savage.

On Saturday I was performing magic at an art festival. It was a hip low key crowd of several hundred. Everyone was dressed glamorous, dancing and conversing in groups and checking out the art on display. I was performing in my long robe and hakama. Various magical trinkets and scarves draped off me.

In the middle of my famed ring and chain illusion, a gentleman crashes through my performance. He was barely there. His eyes were blank and racing. He bumped into two or three people, shoving one out of his way. Apparently this gentlemen had a chemical and/or mental problem that was in the midst of being out of control.

I excused myself from my performance, telling the guests I was going to make sure this gentlemen was looked after. I walked to the main area and saw the man with the issues was gaining speed. He was running around like a pin ball. Running full tilt into people. He stopped, would rip things out of people's hands and and throw whatever it was. He was escalating and screaming aggressive statements.

Only one man in the crowd began to to anything. An older artist with a curled mustache was trying to wave the man off. "Go away! Sleep it off, get out of here!" he was vainly shouting to the guy. The rest of the crowd ignored the escalating spectacle. I looked around for security. None. I escorted an older lady to the nearest phone and had her call the police. The second she started I went back over to the gathering of people and the crazed individual.

I took a brief moment to size up the situation. The out of control man looked like recent military, young and strong. Judging by his ramblings he was in a post traumatic stress disorder loop, aided likely by some chemical he abused.

Again he shoved somebody. "Crap" I whispered to myself, wishing I was performing magic instead of being responsible for this.

I began peeling all my scarves and necklaces off. I tucked one scarf underneath my belt in case I had to use it as a restraint aid. I tossed my robe into the corner.

The older artist was now yelling at the man! I walked up and said "You need help?" The older guy looked desperate and said "yes, get him out of here" I swept up behind the out of control individual to continue to assess. He again started running at another female. I grabbed his hand from behind to stop him from going after the girl, he turned towards me aggressively and softly fell into the most lovely oshi taioshi/ikkyo motion. Although he went down slow, controlled and soft he looked stunned about his sudden altitude change and I prayed he was unhurt. I descended down to his level to aid in his relaxation. A holy man suddenly appeared, cradling the man's head and whispering that everything is OK.

I then could look into the man's eyes. He was not home. He was cycling through three phrases. And ending them with a scream and frantic kicking off his legs. He was burning hot. I discovered he was not mentally and physically organized enough to actually escape or fight. I moved to a position of minimal contact just making sure he could not stand back up but giving him maximum freedom so he would not feel trapped. We poured water over him to calm him, and cool him off.

After ten minutes we realized we had to move him. So me and the holy man hoisted the man up and led him out down the road to a quiet place where we could meet the police and talk the guy down. The police arrived, acted professional and decent to the man. He was taken away to a medical facility with a friend.

Now the wrap up. This is why I practice Aikido. There was a man endangering himself and others. I had the power to help. I aided the man and protected others. No one got hurt. I treated the crazed man with respect and dignity. He is likely a decent man, who served his country. I never stressed his joints. I used soft words, genuine goodwill and one soft ikkyo technique to protect the man's, and everyone else's safety.

The whole night I wished I had been performing magic. When I returned to the party after several hours, I saw the look in people's eyes. They were grateful I was there to gain control of the situation in a non violent way. They were grateful peace was reestablished. They thanked me for doing what no one else knew how to do. Wow, I was doing magic. The most important kind of magic not just tricks for the mind. I used the magical art of aikido to protect and serve.


  1. KUDOS! Bravo! Well done!

    I applaud you for making a tough call and stepping into a very difficult situation. Of all the outcomes possible in this scenario, it ended with the best one.

  2. Brilliant -- beautiful! Proud of you!
    True budo is Love

  3. Good job little Bro!
    I had a conversation with my guys the other day: How many people do what we do? To train in ancient arts with integrety and goodwill?
    -And the responsability that goes with that.
    We are all proud of you, Thanks

  4. wow! impressive, a quiet different approach other martial artist could have done in a situation like that, hats off!

  5. A success story amidst a very stressful situation. Well handled.

  6. You blended with the situation - doing what was necessary - no more, no less. Just like your art.

  7. Thanks for protecting our tribe baby. I always feel safe with you by my side.