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01/17/2013: "The pizza delivery that almost wasn't"

As hard as it may be to believe, this story is 100% true. It teaches that sometimes improbable coincidences do happen, the power of ju-jitsu as a martial art - and the excellence of the training we get at Ju-Jitsu Dojo of Columbia.

I've been training at the dojo since it opened in 1990; this happened about two years after that. I'm also visually impaired - totally blind.

I'd just come home from a vacation visiting my mom, and decided to order a pizza. I called Domino's, ordered a pizza, and waited for it to arrive.

About 45 minutes later there was a knock at my front door. I opened it and said: "Can I help you?" And I heard someone making weird, incomprehensible noises.

"Can I help you?" I said, a little more forcefully.

Same noises.

I could feel my adrenaline level starting to go up. I thought: "What the hell? This is weird; what's going on here??"

"Excuse me," I said, "who are you and what do you want?"

Same noises... and the person reached out and put their hand on my shoulder.

At this point, my adrenaline level REALLY started to go up. I started to take a step towards the person and brought up my right hand to do a chin jab, followed by a technique which would have thrown the person back over my front steps and probably injured, possibly killed them.

As my hand came up, it brushed against something that I later realized was the pizza carrier. Also, at that instant the person let go, took a step back and made those weird noises again.

And then I suddenly realized that those "noises" are the sounds a deaf person makes when he's trying to communicate!

So I put my hand down, stepped back, paid for my pizza (including an extra-large tip), and the deliveryman went on his way.

One of the core ju-jitsu principles we teach is "perception, assessment, response". We say it in different ways, but what we mean is:
- Keep all of your senses open in order to perceive what's going on around you.
- Constantly assess and re-assess your situation based on what your senses - including what your "sixth sense" is telling you.
- Respond appropriately. Don't get locked into one response and ignore other information which would dictate a different response.

It would have been simple to continue with the leg sweep technique, and thus injure or possibly kill another human being. But thanks to good training, I was able to accurately assess the situation, even though I was at the point of initiating a violent response. And everyone walked away safely; no one was injured or killed.

That, in a nutshell, is the essence of our ju-jitsu training.

And the pizza was good, too.

As of 2013, the writer continues to train, and holds the rank of nidan (second-degree black belt).

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