Techinical points: Yubidori, Sasoe, Rear Naked Choke

This is a story that I forgot about.  I was hanging out with some pals, exchanging some stories, and I was reminded of these stories.  I probably tried to block these out of my mind, especially the second instance, because it was a particularly nasty and brutal.  In the interest of full disclosure, I share with you:


In the course of my training and working security in night clubs, I have some to meet some very, very nice members of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, aka JSO, aka, the fuzz.  Their humanity has reminded cops are people too.  It’s sad that JSO has such a reputation for being rather not nice, with these shining individuals out there.  It’s because of them that I am always respectful to JSO whenever I cross their path.  Every officer that I have ever met knows each of the officers that I know, and they always speak highly of them.  That’s what makes these stories awkward to tell.   Anybody that reads this and thinks that I get a hard-on beating on cops, well, you’re wrong, and I don’t encourage it in anyway whatsoever.

STORY ONE:  This one is pretty cut and dry.  These two guys where fighting.  When me and coworker went to pull them apart and eject them, the one that I grabbed turn to attempt to fight me.  I don’t recall exactly what he tried to do, but I cut it short.  I just yanked him around by his fingers, first down to the ground, then upward, and I turned his body so that his back was to me.  He tried to spin around and punch me, but I struck him with an elbow to his head to loosen him up, and then just dragged him out by his fingers.  The whole time he was screaming at me “I’m JSO, I’m JSO!!!”  Turns out he was.  The hired officers that were working for us that night recognized him and gave the “ease up on him Autrelle” look.  I’m pretty sure that he didn’t go to jail that night only because of his job related connection. I imagined it was embarrassing enough to be handled so casually by a “mere civilian.”  After that, some off duty military guys that were there partying approached me and asked me what branch I was in.  I told that that I was a civilian, that I do Aikido.  They said that they had only seen the things that I had done in advanced military combatives classes, and I responded that that was just another day at the dojo for me, 3-Kyu at the time.  I remember being particular grateful for the training that I had received.

STORY TWO:  This guy, I wouldn’t mind seeing again, off duty, just so I can give a chance to apologize to me for being a jackass, or so I can whip his ass again.  I was at my station, near the dance floor.  I saw him slumped over a raised platform, throwing beer bottles in the floor so that he would have more room to pass out.  I approached and told him that he had too much fun for the evening, and that it was time to go outside and get some air.  I was the smallest person that worked there, so I always tried to be super nice first, because frankly, me alone, I’m not very imposing.  I quit those kinds of jobs because it really didn’t suit my personality, and I felt I was wasting my talents as a martial artist.  Club policy was pretty simple: anyone passed out is kicked out, period.  So when I make my plea, he tells me to “fuck off” and throws some more bottles on the ground and tried to slump back down on the platform.  I ask him again, and he tells me “listen, I’m JSO, I’m not going to play your game, and you can go fuck yourself.”  Then he starts grabbing random people for some reason.  Grabbing people is another no-no, an instant reason to get kicked out.  When I ask him again, he makes the same response.  I tell him “listen, I understand where you’re coming from, but it’s time to go.  I don’t have to do anything, I can simply get the officers from outside to come and get you.  I’m trying to be nice, so let’s just go for that walk.”  Bear in mind that I’m still by myself at this point.  None of my coworkers were there to watch my back, so I had to be extra careful.  A patron, a friend of mine, had walked up to observe.  I had a reputation for “putting on a good show.”  He kept cursing me, declaring his untouchable status, and grabbing people as they walked by.  So now I had to make a decision, becasue if he grabs the wrong person, a fight is going to start, and then I have to deal with that alone.  Everytime that he grabbed someone, he turned his back to me.  I decided that the next time that he turned his back to me, he was going to get it.

What does “get it” mean?  A couple of things.  For one, I’m pretty nasty when it comes down to it.  I had a very nasty reputation for whipping someone’s ass if they were out of line.  A very dark time for me that has taken years for me to reconcile with.  Second, there were basically two ways you got escorted out of the club: if you were near the front door, with all of the patrons and cameras watching, you got the “friendly service.”  If you were on the dancefloor, near the backdoor, no cameras, and you were really being violent, it was your ass.  This poor guy was the perfect candidate for the backdoor ejection.  So here’s how it all played out:

He turns his back to me, so I slapped the rear naked choke on him.  I have a really nice one, if I do say so myself.  I was known for putting people to sleep every weekend, to the degree that my employer asked me to stick to joint locks instead.  When I put him in the rear naked, I opted to not choke him out.  The hold can be used to weaken someone by cutting the blood flow to brain, without making them pass out.  This was practical for me, because I can still walk them out instead of having to drag them through a crowd.  I also like this position because once your have a good arch in their back, it’s hard to make effective counter action.  When I applied to hold and started to walk to him to the back door, he tried his best to fight back.  I was able to quickly assess that this person didn’t have a clue about martial arts at all.  He never once tried to tuck his chin, straighten out his posture, on counteract the choke, which were all his main problems.  He tried to rear elbow my sides.  The blows never even reached my body, and if they had, they would have had no power, since he couldn’t rotate his hips due to the arch in his back.  He kept this up, trying to fight me as I easily walked him to the back door.  When we reached the back door, I tightened the hold around his neck with my left hand, and hammered his nose with a closed fist twice with my right hand, and I said to him “now we’re going to play MY game.”  Keep in mind that these are anecdotes from a JERK.

When we go to the back door, I choked him out completely while forcing the door open with his face.  As he landed asleep, face down, I stomped his belly to make sure that all of the air was out of his chest.  Really nasty stuff.  Then the doors shut behind us.  There was just the two of us, outside, in the parking, me standing over him.  Since this is the employee parking lot, I had to wait until he woke up and escort him to the sidewalk.  When he woke up, he jumped up and ran toward a fence that was around the air conditioning unit.  He put his back toward it, and grabbed it with his hands.  He insisted that “my ass was grass, and that he wasn’t going anywhere.”  Well, he had to go somewhere, and I had to take him there.  So, I walked up to him and asked him to let go off the fence, that the fight was over, and it was time to go.  He cursed me and held his ground.  I decided that I would have to get him to let go of the fence somehow, to draw his hand out, sasoe.  So I hit him in his nose.  He called me a “psycho asshole.”  I hit him again.  The third time that I went to hit him, he protected his face with a hand, and that’s when I was able to safely pull him away from the fence.  Similar to shomenuchi when nage strikes and uke parries.  Anyways, he tried to go Hong Kong Phooey on my again, and I put him right back in the choke.  He squirmed around a but, so I put him on the ground, face down.  This is where things get pretty nasty.  I respect that no one should just accept getting their ass kicked, so I don’t blame the poor guy for what he said next, since the only resistance he could offer at this point were insults.  He cursed me and called me the “n” word a few times.

That’s when my boss finally came out.  The friend of mine that came to watch went and told me that I was outside alone handling a situation.  When he came out, he asked me if I was alright, and if I should have the cops come around to the rear.  I told him “yeah, this guy is a real ass, he needs to go to jail.”  What my boss actually did, I didn’t hear about until after everything was over.  I thought it was odd that it took the cops five minutes to come from the front to the back.  From what I was told, when my boss went inside and casually went to the bar and ordered some drinks for some women and started flirting with them.  When my friend asked him if everything was okay, he told him “yeah, Autrelle is out there whipping someone’s ass.  I’ll get the cops in a few minutes, I’m talking to these women for now.”  Being a bouncer is truly a license to ill.

In the meantime, I’m torturing this guy, because he won’t shut up.  Instead of just choking him out, I’m giving him something to remember me by: a severe case of road rash.  I’m grinding his face into the pavement.  The parking lot pavement where we dumped out and hose the trash cans out at night.  Finally, when the cops do show up, they pull him aside, look over at me, give me a wink, and I go back inside.  That guy didn’t go to jail either.  I suppose being JSO is an even bigger license to ill.

What I learned that day:

Never give your back to anyone.  Know how to counter everything.  Recognize the threats in any situation.

What I have learned since then: If anyone has abused the severity of martial arts it has been me.  While I am fortunate to have never been hurt in any fight, I recognize that most of my teachers would not have taught me the things that they did if they knew I was going to go out and use it that night.  I have to learned to have more respect for my teachers and what they have taught me since then.



  1. Pingback: “Anecdotes from a Jerk, Part 7″ by Autrelle Holland

  2. Kim MacGregor says:

    This has been difficult for me to read – & for more reasons than one.

    Persuant to the Natural Laws of The Universe, none of us have the right to inflict harm on anyone else & not least any member of our number who have been versed in the noble arts of self defence whatever they be. For those of us who are able, we have an absolute duty to defend others & ensure that gratuitous harm is not caused to anyone during such process.

    Fortunately a happy ending for the writer is shown by his contrician & hopefully modificationn of his future ways.

    In my experience I have found that the penalty normally dished out by nature for such indiscretions is not altogether insignificant & not only confined to one’s conscience.

    A teacher of mine once said “tread carefully but carry a big stick”. He later had cause to correct me by saying “I didn’t say hit anyone with the stick”, “tread carefully on your opponent means only kick him as hard as is absolutely necessary & no more”.

    The moral to the story is this – if we need to bash anyone, we rather need to improve ourselves & learn better techniques.

  3. autrelle says:

    Kind Lady,

    I could not agree with you more.

    The only goal I had in mind when I started telling these stories on my blog was to dispel notions of Aikido being ineffective in actual fighting. I hear it so often, even from people that teach Aikido, and it makes me sad. Aikido, is Budo, period. I didn’t know much about Budo at the time that these things were happening in my life. I just knew I was earning a pay check by choking people. I don’t have much of a saving grace to offer anyone that reads this save for that was a long time ago, and I was not the same person that I am today. The only positive thing I can offer is that these are stories of a person with average ability training in a very orthodox manner of traditional Aikido, and I hope that anyone that doubts the severity of what they are being taught will let that go, and just train.

    Thank you so much for your words. If you have more to say, on any subject, I would welcome it, warmly.

  4. Sven Wangemann says:

    I very much appreciate you posting these stories of yours.
    I greatly respect your openess and honesty to share your own thoughts about what you did that time.
    Being a martial artist myself for nearly 15 yrs (Aikido, Jujutsu, Krav Maga) I agree with you, that it is in fact necessary to rebuke false comments on the essence of aikido – which is budo and will always be.
    O-senseis teacher Takeda taught aikijutsu, which is basically aikido plus atemis, even kicks etc.
    Due to a lot of esoteric nerds in a lot of dojos aikido has been watered down to a mere choreography, which hasn´t got to do anything with the founders martial art.

    I believe you shouldn´t blame yourself to much for what you did: the sheepdogs job is to keep predators from the sheep if necessary by all means.
    Looks to me like that´s exactly what you did, nothing more nothing less…

    Good dog 🙂

    Greetings from Germany


  5. bruce baker says:

    Aikido is not always what we practice in the dojo, but on the other hand it is. We are teaching our mind and body to become familiar with movements someone might use in an attack, and in gaining that familiarity we are able to respond quickly without be the victim.

    We must remember that youth does cause people to act irrationally, and we will be jerks at times. Although, in reflection ten or twenty years later, we might think that faced with the same situation we would not handle the exact same situation the same way. We would, in fact, not be as violent, and handle it with more maturity, right?

    The dance, some dojos do is a piece of training that actually is valuable for training mind and body, but …. then there are pain submissions, there are pressure point applications, there is strategy of fighter choosing his response to the openings presented from an attack, and …. you don’t have time to think strategy! So you had better train to be ready and let that automatic defense/ offense instinct kick into high gear at the blink of an eye!

    Aikido is a very effective martial art and if one practices in conjunction with other studies your learned skills will retain validity for situations where you use those skills to keep yourself and other’s from harms way. I am not saying you won’t need to train in a different environment/ different styles. actually do a rougher tumble resistant type of training to realize the full value of what is hidden in the practice of Aikido, you probably will to realize the value of Aikido.

    You will absolutely positively have to spend time grappling, striking, and learn to insert distractions to provide openings that may be verbal or body language that are a distraction you would never normally use in the polite practice of Aikido.

    All is fair in love and war, just as all is fair out on them streets.

    Rules? There are few rules for those who think they are the privileged few and you are not, so keep that in mind for those particular situations. They will come up now and again.

    One is not a jerk if they can end a situation quickly with the least amount of violence. Jerk is applied when one seeks violence to teach a lesson, or doesn’t have the knowledge to end the situation and must resort to violence again and again. I guess that is my only real valuable comment. Either end a situation quickly or use tactics that control the situation.

    You don’t want to end up in jail, or with the blame, so act accordingly and it won’t be you in jail or in trouble.

  6. Craig says:

    I enjoyed reading your stories, as well as the follow ups. In addition to being reminded that you can’t fix stupid and drunk and stupid together is even worse, I thought that these guys were actually lucky that you were an aikidoka. I know a lot of aikido people are horrified when they read stuff like this, but they don’t choose to see that there was some restraint there. The drunk cops could have gotten a bouncer that preferred a savage beating resulting in a hospital stay. Nobody’s perfect and dealing with drunks will bring out the dark side quickly. Your job wouldn’t allow you to leave these people alone at the expense of the other patrons, and you did try to talk them out first. I think it was a great example of the life taking sword being the life givng sword in a modernized, night club kind of way.

    I agree with Ms. MacGregor about needing to improve our skills to the point of our being able to reduce the violence in our technique. Until we get there though, I’d rather students be able to defend themselves rather than being so opposed to violence that they’re defensless until some time in the future when they might acheive a super skill level.

    Thank you for a great post.


  7. Twisty McGee says:

    You didn’t use aikido for “actual fighting”, you blindsided and got in some cheap shots against fat, stupid cops who are the most useless fighters in the world as your stories, among many others, prove. I have two little stories of my own. Some bouncer tried to grab me and throw me out for no good reason one time and I broke his fingers so it’s kind of like your story but the other way around. Story #2. Another bouncer who reminded me of you was constantly assaulting patrons. One day he did it to a hunter. Elmer Fudd went to his truck and got his shot gun. I remember seeing the bouncer sprinting to the back door and then the back of his white shirt exploding into a bloody mess.

  8. autrelle says:


    I’m a lucky one, for sure!
    Honestly, you sound like the kind of person I would enjoy training with. If you’re ever in Jacksonville Florida, please look me up! This is a friendly invite, for sure. Best wishes to you.

  9. Jason says:

    Interesting stories Autrelle…

    Kim, can you please point me to a copy of the “the Natural Laws of The Universe” so that I can read them…

    Ooh, you can’t.

    Referring to a non-existent text is hardly a scientific method of rebuking Autrelle’s actions here.

    Having said that, in Australia we have a law here for security officers, on the use of force…”Reasonable use of Force”. I’m not sure how the laws are in the US, but I imagine they would be pretty similar.

    Autrelle’s actions in both incidents here WOULD be seen in court as “excessive use of force”, and Kim, yes, I think you would be vindicated in your thinking about Autrelle’s actions, as I believe you tried to offer in your reply.

    Autrelle man, they may have been dicks, but yeah…that was excessive use of force. It wasn’t really Aikido either mate.

    What it was however, was you trying to do your job as well as you could, given your level of development at the time these events happened. And yes, they are some good lessons there.

    I read the point of Autrelle’s text here to be a sort of a confession…and a sort of seeking of redemption.

    Aikido seeks to help one transcend the base nature of the actions Autrelle exhibited in the text…if he has learned and progressed from that, then the text has served its purpose.

    Twisty…good story mate. But I don’t believe a word of it. 🙂

  10. autrelle says:


    You make me laugh and learn, all at once.
    I can’t say more than that without ruining my reaction to your post here. Thanks so much for even reading this, Big Brother!

  11. Steve says:

    Great post I learned alot! Thanks =)

  12. autrelle says:

    Steve – glad you like!

  13. I enjoyed the stories a lot. I don’t have any words of wisdom or admonitions to be less of a prick or anything like that. In fact, those stories sound sorta familiar to me – they sound sorta like me.

    Congrats on surviving, fellow-jerk 😉

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