Sooner than you think...
Aggression is usually the cause. People who cannot handle their feelings of aggression tend to create these situations.
Aggression, a term derived from the Latin aggredior (to approach or attack), shows itself in hostile behaviour. This hostile behaviour is an attempt to assert ones own interests while overriding the interests of others. Aggression is a very widespread form of behaviour in the animal world. In the sphere of human behaviour, aggression is expressed as verbal or physical attacks against individuals, groups or objects.
Reaching for the mobile phone was probably an ill-considered action. In mid-January 2005 Mike K. was walking to his car, which was parked on a rented space right near his apartment. The access route was completely blocked with household rubbish, making it impossible to drive in or out. Mike K. had an urgent appointment, so he continued towards the car without a second thought, thinking that he would use the exit route from another apartment block to leave the parking area.
But then the following happened:
An African who was working there and had caused the piles of rubbish came over to Mike K. Naturally he asked the man why he had dumped all the rubbish there. The African wanted nothing to do with the whole thing and repeatedly mentioned another person, though there was no-one else around. Mike K. decided to take a quick photo of the chaos and took his mobile phone from his pocket. As he realised later, this was switched off for some reason. Unfortunately he did not take care to ensure that the African was not in the picture too.
It is clear to him now that he acted disrespectfully towards the beliefs of the African, but he did not realise this at the time.
Without thinking anything more of it he continued towards his car, when suddenly someone grabbed his shoulder from behind and shouted "Why did you make photo!!"
His reaction came automatically, as he controlled the attacker with a double (inside) Fook-Sao and turn.
Then there was a brief pause... In a loud, assertive voice, and still controlling the arms, he said "Take your hands off me at once!"
When there was no reaction he gave the attacker a precise but controlled double-punch on the chest from the double Fook-Sao position. When the latter continued to push forward, he drove him back with two or three chain-punches to create a distance between them.
Resolving the conflict
It would no doubt have been preferable not to allow the situation to arise in the first place. If Mike K. had not taken the picture, the African would not have grabbed his shoulder and nothing would probably have happened. Mike K. would have complained to his landlord and left it to him to deal with.
In this case Mike K. was obliged to show the African his limits with WT techniques, as there was a failure to communicate. Fortunately the African was subsequently willing to engage in conversation. He apologised to Mike K. for his behaviour and told him he thought it was not ok to have his picture taken, which was why he reacted in that way. Mike K. also apologised, as he had not realised what it meant to the African.
The pile of rubbish was removed that same day and access to the parking area was restored.
Text + photos: Anja Wolf