This week in France a worst case scenario unfolded for train passengers. A lone gunman emerged from one of the train car bathrooms with the intent to rob/kill the riders. Luckily, through bravery and strength of teamwork, six individuals were able to thwart the attack.
“The train company, Thalys, said the attack attempt occurred as the high-speed train, heading from Amsterdam to Paris, passed through the Oignies region in Haute Picardie, France. The suspect boarded the train in Belgium, Thalys said.
A French passenger who went to use the toilets in car 12 found himself face-to-face with a man armed with a Kalashnikov rifle that was strapped to his shoulder, Cazeneuve said.
‘The French passenger courageously attempted to overpower him before the aggressor shot the rifle several times,’ Cazeneuve said. One of the rifle shots wounded a French-American passenger seated nearby”.
The commotion between the French passenger and the gunman caught the attention of 51 year old Mark Moogalian. Upon seeing the weapon, Moogalian made the decision to rush the attacker in an attempt to disarm him.
“Mark Moogalian told his wife to ‘go’ and then ‘rushed towards the gunman to remove … the Kalashnikov.’
She added: ‘I did not see my husband get shot, it happened too quickly and I was pretty much hiding behind seats. But I look at my husband through the seats at an angle and he looked straight at me and said, ‘I’m hit!’ … There was blood everywhere. I ran towards him and I could see that he a wound on his back, I then saw another wound by his neck.'”
After Moogalian’s attempt, three Americans and one British businessman were able to beat, subdue, and disarm the gunman. The Americans were Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos. Stone is a US Air Force member, while Skarlatos is a member of the Oregon National Guard. Sadler is a college student at Sacremento University. The British man, 62 year old Chris Norman, assisting in subduing and restraining the gunman.
The Diversity of Action
Obviously an incident of this nature can inspire all kinds of debate, ranging from gun control, to terrorism, to the safety of international travel. Those topics, while worthwhile, are not the reason I am covering this event on IkigaiWay (there are better authorities to weigh in on those issues). My takeaway point is this – six people from very different backgrounds with very different skillsets all decided to act.
If you’ve ever studied the psychology of violence, you’ll know just how difficult it is to make yourself act in a situation like that. Pure fear can cause bodily freeze of course, but sneakier factors can also take effect. Normalcy bias can creep in, making you think that if you just act normal, the external factors will return to normal as well. You also have to overcome the bystander effect, wherein every person on the train will wait for someone else to handle the problem. Overcoming these mental freeze points in time to make a difference is no small accomplishment.
In this particular scenario, we have a businessman, a college student, a professor, an undisclosed passenger, and two military members all capable of overcoming their fear. Most, if not all, sustained injury in the process. Cuts from a small knife wielded by the gunman shredded the subduers, even though they outnumbered and outpowered him. The professor was shot; his life saved by one of the military members who applied pressure to the gun wound until help could arrive.
As martial artists, this event can serve as a stark reminder to continue our training and keep our tools sharpened. The only weapons we are guaranteed to have in times of crisis are our hands, feet, and minds. All other self defense means and methods must be built around that foundation.
Thanks to everyone who has been supporting “Tales from the Western Generation” throughout its launch! Any success “Tales” experiences is purely through the power of the martial arts community, and the desire for martial artists to learn more about their shared history. I’m happy to say that “Tales” achieved #3 rank after release on the Amazon Bestseller’s List for Martial Arts. The only book we weren’t able to beat was by Ronda Rousey, which, quite frankly, is understandable.
Now that folks have had a chance to check out the book, I’d like to get some more reviews up on Amazon. Amazon reviews are an important part of the process to increase visibility for a project. It helps potential readers understand what to expect in the book, and what kinds of reactions previous readers had to the content.
I’m a man who believes one good turn deserves another, so instead of just asking for reviews I want to up the stakes and create a giveaway!
How to Enter – Write a Review
Entering today’s contest is super simple, just write a review of “Tales” on Amazon! Any honest review is accepted; there are no qualifications in terms of what you write or how many stars you give the book. Although I hope “Tales” really impressed you, I wouldn’t hold it against anyone who reviewed the book less-than-perfectly.
To make your review, simply login to Amazon, select a number of stars, and then click the “write a review” button.
Sweet Sweet Prizes
Since we’re dealing with books in this particular giveaway, I thought it would be fun to focus on signed books as prizes. Check out the options below. Randomly selected reviewers will receive one of the following signed books:
Prize #1 – Enzan The Far Mountain (2 Winners Selected)
|“Chie Miyazaki is wild and spoiled?the pampered child of a cadet line of the imperial House of Japan. When she disappears in the United States accompanied by a slick Korean boyfriend, it sets off alarm bells among people in Japan’s security apparatus.The Japanese want the problem solved quietly. They seek out Connor Burke, prize student of the master martial arts sensei Yamashita. Burke suspects that he’s being used, but he accepts the assignment out of honor for his revered sensei.A covert search and rescue operation turns into a confrontation with a North Korean sleeper cell, and Burke finally discovers the secret that drove Yamshita from Japan so many years ago and the power behind the decades-old connections that pull Yamashita back into danger in the service of the imperial family.” See more.SIGNED BY JOHN DONOHUE.|
Prize #2 – Scaling Force (1 Winner Selected)
|“Conflict and violence cover a broad range of behaviors, from intimidation to murder, and require an equally broad range of responses. A kind word will not resolve all situations, nor will wristlocks, punches, or even a gun. Scaling Force introduces the full range of options, from skillfully doing nothing to employing deadly force. You will understand the limits of each type of force, when specific levels may be appropriate, the circumstances under which you may have to apply them, and the potential costs, legally and personally, of your decision.” See more. SIGNED BY RORY MILLER.|
Prize #3 – Tales from the Western Generation Hardcover (1 Winner Selected)
|“Every generation wonders about the exploits of the brave men and women who have gone before them. As the deeds of old masters are recounted, we are destined to ask – what kind of people were they? What were their goals and philosophies? What would they think about our efforts to preserve and grow the art of karate? This book seeks to answer some of those questions by encapsulating over 30 original interviews with senior karateka who experienced the old way of karate for themselves and helped bring it to the Western world.” HARDCOVER EDITION. See more. SIGNED BY MATTHEW APSOKARDU.|
That’s it! Right your review now and be entered to win.
I’m very pleased to announce the official release of “Tales from the Western Generation”! This book is a collection of over 30 interviews with some of the most senior karate practitioners in the United States. These are men and women who studied directly with the great masters of Okinawa, Japan, and early USA.
I’d like to show off what the book has to offer!
What is Tales from the Western Generation?
In 2008 I started Ikigai Way, and shortly after began pursuing interviews with martial artists that I found particularly interesting or impactful. After completing a handful of interviews I realized that there were some amazing individuals with unique stories that had a lot to share…but no avenue to share it! That’s when I decided to begin pursuing the stories of karate greats with more zeal and collect them all in one book.
“Tales” is the culmination of that effort, and breaks down like this:
Section 1 – History of how Eastern martial arts made their way to America. Prior to 1950 Judo was the most popular Eastern martial art in the United States. Despite thousands of Chinese immigrants during the gold rush era, Kung Fu remained a well maintained secret. In section 1 I explore how the importation of various Eastern martial arts affected the eventual growth of karate in the USA.
Section 2 – Interviews with the Western Generation. The crux of the book, this section features over 30 interviews with senior practitioners of various karate styles. The interview guests come from diverse backgrounds and studied with senior sensei in Japan, Okinawa, and the United States.
Section 3 – Conclusions. Using the wide context of the book, I draw certain conclusions about the past, present, and future of karate, applicable to individuals of all styles and skill levels.
|Hear Stories About Great Masters Such As:||___||Interview Guests Include:|
…and many more!
|Chuck Merriman – Goju Ryu
Ed McGrath – Isshin Ryu
Maynard Miner – Shotokan
Glenn Keeney – Goju Ryu
Victor Moore – Shuri Ryu
Cathy Cline – Shotokan
James Logue – Oyata Shin Shu Ho
Bill Hayes – Shobayashi Ryu
Nicomedes Flores – Okinawa Kenpo
William Dometrich – Chito Ryu
James Coffman – Matsumura Seito
Doug Perry – Shorin Ryu Shorinkan
…and many more!
Where to Get the Book:
You can get your copy of “Tales” at the following locations: