This is from a student who is currently living in Peru.
“As sometimes happens here–especially in the provinces–the taxi driver was a criminal who stopped so three accomplices could storm the car, take us hostage, and extort whatever money and inflict whatever damage they wanted.
I was having none of it, since I’ve experienced this before, so yelled to my colleague that we were under attack, grappled with the robber coming in the front passenger side and kicked the one coming in beside me (back door passenger side), giving my colleague and myself just enough time to scramble out his side over the third assailant.
No time to think and no technique consciously applied, but I was cool and confident thanks to your training, and managed to subdue/repel two attackers in their 20s. We rolled out of the taxi, even grabbing our briefcases on the way out, and walked away largely unharmed. (My colleague scraped his knuckles and was badly shaken up; I was fine.)
The irony is that 2 middle aged English teachers overcame four 20-something attackers. But I think your training is what allowed me to keep my head, react in time, and do something (?) that worked. I am reminded of your dictum that “techniques don’t work” because if I had tried to think and apply something out of a manual, I would have been lost. What I did might have been “repulse like monkey/golden cock stands on one leg in a taxi,” for all I know. When the first assailant grabbed me, he ended up with his head/neck pinned while I kicked out sideways. Inelegant but effectual.
So again, thanks for the training and encouragement through the years. (Yesterday, on a family picnic, I slipped away to do a little Qigong and go through the 24 form. Very quieting for the spirit and pleasantly refreshing) We’ve come a long way since you were trying to get me to move from the waist when I didn’t know I had one. Cheers, –Matthew”
In a later conversation, Matt said they felt a certain satisfaction that two middle-aged poets could get the better of 4 young brigands.
He then joked, “If they had asked nicely we probably would have given them the money. But those f@#%ers wanted our books!”
– Ian Sinclair