Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 11/03/2019


I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings. I was walking up Lafayette, talking to my mother after having stopped by the bank to get cash for a down payment for my acceptance into an invite only program at my dojo. Suddenly I feel the air exit my mouth as I’m slammed in the back by something. At the same time I hear someone screaming something unintelligible. My phone is knocked out of my hands and I whip around to assailant backing up and muttering something. I approach and try to make some hits on him before I realize what’s going on and begin to back up as he does likewise. I scream some profanities at him calling him a crazy person and finally turn around to retrieve my phone.

Luckily there were some tourists there who pointed out where it was and were helpful, if not concerned for their own safety. So, how did I do? In my own estimation I failed on both counts. I was not alert of my surroundings and I failed to defend myself. Furthermore, I reacted in anger when it happened rather than with the humor of Socrates when he had his ears boxed suddenly and lamented that one never knew whether to leave one’s house with a helmet on.

Really, it all boils down to a failure of awareness. I failed to be aware and I paid the price. It is strange as I believe I’ve given to the homeless man who attacked me so I am inclined to believe that a maraputta or other being was involved. I imagine that a being who could see my anxiety about carrying this large amount of money briefly overpowered this man’s mind to mess with me.

All in all it was a strange but instructive incident. More than anything it has taught me to be alert and not to use electronics or my phone in public. It is dangerous out there and I need to rouse as much mettā and heedfulness as possible.

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Shillelagh Studies

A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.