Kenji's Story - Standing Up to a Raging Bully

I was lucky enough to attend both the 2005 and 2007 Impact Bay Area Men's classes. As a tall, thin, but non-violent gay man I'm not the picture of Butch; I generally go through life avoiding the places where I might end up in fights.

But just like you taught us, the attack happened "at home." On a sunny afternoon in San Francisco, in the Castro, about 2 months ago I was a pedestrian who foolishly interacted with a speeding car. We had our "interaction" and I assumed it was over, walking up the street away from the direction the car had come in.

Over? Wrong. I heard screaming and realized that the driver was stopped in the middle of Castro street, with his door wide open, standing there, taunting me, calling me names (I believe "pussy" was in there somewhere), and waving his fist. Self preservation kicked in and I moved up the block as fast as I could, dodging traffic, slipping behind a MUNI bus, weaving behind the bus shelter thinking that I'd eluded the raging driver. Phew. I relaxed and struck up a conversation with another pedestrian.

I felt a tap on my shoulder, and just as you taught me my potential attacker was attempting to get me to make the first violent move, saying something like, "Come on, come on you wanna go at it!!??.”  His car was still stopped in the middle of the street, again with the driver’s side door wide open (a block away from our altercation, so I knew this guy was raging). He was big, angry, and if I got into a fight with him I'd be lucky to get out of it without something broken or seriously bruised.

Before I knew what was happening, before I had a millisecond to think what to do, my arms flew up in front of me, almost as if being pulled by some invisible wires, with my palms facing him in that "I'm just trying to gently direct you away from me but I'm really keeping my hands extended so that if you come near me I can keep my distance and possibly strike you" pose, knees bent.

I faced him dead on and in another split-second, before I knew what was happening, I shouted, "I DON'T WANT TO FIGHT!!!" It's possible I shouted "NO!" but ImpactAutoPilot was now running the show. In yet another split-second my peripheral vision took in that there were people watching, and I took a calculated risk that the attention was going to be useful (given the neighborhood) and before I knew what happened I screamed: "HEY THIS GUY'S TRYING TO BEAT ME UP, SOMEONE CALL 911!!!"

Done. He got in his car and left.

Thank you.

Impact changed my life, and little did I know it's still with me. Dan taught us to think about, "What are willing to kill for, what are you willing to die for, and what are you willing to go to prison (or the hospital) for? Because all fights may end this way."

Mine didn't.

 

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