My Trip to Amsterdam

By Fred F. Feddeck

A short while back I took a trip to Amsterdam and was reminded of a valuable taijutsu lesson. Amsterdam is a very "unique" city in that the streets are very narrow and interconnect in a lot of odd ways. The buildings there are very close together, and there is no distinction between different "areas" of the city. There are no separate "tourist," "eating," or "museum" districts like we have in New York - but there is the red light district.

I really liked walking around Amsterdam and seeing all the different sights, people, and buildings. One night when it was starting to get dark and I was making my way back to the hotel for dinner, a fight between two groups of people broke out up the street from me. It was quickly spilling over my way, with people from behind me running forward to the fight. I don't know what the brawl was about, but I was not going to find out or wait for it to escalate and include me, so I quickly moved down a side street and away from the fight, moving in the general direction of my hotel at the same time.

Navigating through the maze of side streets, I then found myself not in the vicinity of my hotel, but in a very seedy area - seedy even by New York standards. I knew I was a "tourist" and the people there also knew it. This was a place I definitely did not want to be in, and eventually I did make my way back to the hotel and everything was fine.

Sounds like a let down to the story? What were you expecting? Well, I count it as a taijutsu "success" because I got out of a potentially bad situation without getting hurt and without hurting anybody else. However, what is most important is the lesson that I learned, which I thought about on the plane ride home.

No matter where you go, your taijutsu is there.

During my trip whatever had or had not happened, the only thing I had to "deal" with it was my own taijutsu skills. And in turn, the success of my skills and surviving whatever situation might have existed was determined by the time and effort I spend training and listening to my teacher and Soke.

The taijutsu that you have is a skill that is always with you and is not dependent on any machine, object, or tool, other than your own mind and body - which you always have with you. Therefore, work to make learning it and perfecting it a high priority in your life. You won't know what situation it might be needed in until you find yourself right in the center of it.