This post is mostly for men.
You enter a public restroom at the airport, a hotel, or theater. There are five urinals against the wall to your right. All are vacant. The one closest to you is #1 and the one farthest away is #5. Urinal #5 is in the corner (next to the back wall) . All are vacant. Which urinal do you select?
If the select the closest one (#1), people entering and leaving the restroom will pass by you (behind you), and someone might stand next to you in urinal #2.
If you select urinal #2, people could stand next to you in urinals #1 and #3. People could also walk behind you.
If you select urinal #3, people could stand next to you in urinals #2 and #4. People could also walk behind you.
If you select urinal #4, people could stand next to you in urinals #3 and #5. People could also walk behind you.
If you select urinal #5, only one person could stand next to you (in urinal #4). The fewest number of people could pass behind you, but you would be next to a wall (to your left).
So which one do you pick (assuming they are equally clean, they all work, etc.)?
Urinals #1 and #5 are best in the sense that only one person could stand next to you. But urinal #1 is exposed to more potential traffic. And urinal #5 offers the poorest access to an escape route. But some people prefer to fight with their back against a wall to prevent a second attacker from sneaking up from behind.
Actually, in many restrooms all of the urinals are against a wall with the enclosed toilets behind them. This means that as a person stands facing a urinal, there is a door or doors behind him. Who knows who might be hiding behind a door -- an armed attacker?
What does this have to do with Karate? Everything. When he enters a public restroom, a Karate expert will always evaluate the risks, escape routes, wall placement, etc. He will check to see if there are troublemakers in the restroom.
One of our most vulnerable times is when we are standing in a public restroom using a urinal. What if a person wanted to stab us in the back? We could be looking the wrong way and our hands would be... occupied. What if the two people standing next to us were working with the attacker?
There was a scene in Terminator #1 in which Arnold Schwarzenegger's character entered a bar and was looking for clothes. Of course, he was supposed to be a robot. Using his robot eyes, he scanned the people in the bar looking for someone whose clothes would fit him. Through his eyes, we could see a computer grid superimposed over the people.
In a somewhat similar way, we must constantly scan our surroundings to be on guard for potential threats. Whether in a public restroom, a parking lot, or a line at a fast food restraurant, we must be on guard. We have to use "Karate radar," especially when using a urinal.
Charles C. Goodin
This post is mostly for men.
Posted by Charles C. Goodin on Monday, September 18, 2006