Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why do you get out of bed?

I was all set to come home after training tonight and write about the crazy man that followed me out of a Mexican restaurant and how I SWORE I was going to have to test my jiu jitsu skills just that instant, but something bigger popped up.

Class was good tonight. More sweeps and I got to work them on a guy that was 240+, so I HAD to get them right. We went over the...and someone please correct me on this if I'm spelling it wrong...Balalonga and scissor sweeps. I'm just not getting my hook right against the side of the torso on the scissor. I think it's because I've been seeing the move demonstrated, and stopping my knee where I see the instructor stopping his, but my shin is longer, so I'm a good 3" off where I need to be, and that makes all the difference. It really is a game of inches, isn't it?

Anyway, I was talking with one of the other ladies in class tonight and she was telling me that one of the guys had her feeling really, REALLY bad about her skills and had been making negative remarks about her being female. We talked for a while about how hard it is being female...not so much about the physical issues, but the toll it can take on you mentally. Just sitting in a room with that many men can make you feel like an outsider. You wonder if the guys dislike rolling with you because of your gender, or because you're too weak or too small or too slow. You wonder if, even if you've told them five times not to go too easy on you, if they still feel annoyed at not being able to go full gorilla with you. You push all that wonder and doubt down every class and go and train anyway.

We got to talking about some of the guys there and how great the higher belts were and how a couple of lower belts were getting a little...cocky...and it made me think about intent. That's been coming up a lot in my life lately...message at church, office stuff, family-ness. Everywhere. I had a huge fire at work today (well..."have", because it's still nowhere near out) but it was one of those issues where you really start to wonder if everybody's playing on the same team. No matter what I do or where I go, it all seems to come back to that.  

Why do you show up to work. Why do you show up at the gym. Why are you at church. What brings you to those community and HOA meetings. Is it to fill a desire you have? Is it to make yourself a better person? Is it to help others with their lives? I don't think any of those are mutually exclusive at all, but I look at the first question, and too often, that's the only one of any concern and the second two aren't even after thoughts. I don't expect people to be Mother Teresa, but the blatant disregard for the ripples they cause or even directly predatory behavior for the sake of soothing one's self...well...getting a break from that is part of the reason I show up to train my little 3x a week...and hearing that that's causing problems in a makes me sad. To be honest though, I also find it motivating to do my part in maintaining the great atmosphere at my school. 

My private was so timely. Getting to talk with one of the instructors just and age and the school's background, it really gave me insight into what's really going on around me and where I am in the big picture. The higher belts do such an amazing job of maintaining a physically AND emotionally safe training environment that I'm still being caught off guard. I'm also even more thankful now for the white belts that I started with who, despite my being slow and tired and and an anti-athlete and frustrated, still didn't show one twinkle of annoyance at working with me. Amazing. 


Anonymous said...

I go to work because it’s my responsibility.
I go to the gym because it’s my responsibility to myself.
I go to church because it’s my responsibility to God.
I go to jiu jitsu practice because it’s my passion.
I’m not quite so responsible about those two in the middle.

I think once a guy gets over the concept of grappling with women, that’s the first objection to disappear. Lack of physical toughness is probably the last. Personally, I least want to be partnered with someone significantly weaker than me who I’m afraid to hurt or who isn’t able or willing to take normal roughness that goes with jiu jitsu. Well, other than someone who I think will hurt me, but that goes without saying. The handicaps that someone brings to the mat may persist for a long time, perhaps forever, but eventually, acquired skill will make you a decent, and then a good training partner. Does your instructor assign partners when you roll? I think that really helps newer people, especially, benefit as much as possible from class. Because even if I really hope to not get paired up with someone, once the instructor tells me to train with him/her, it's a done deal and I don’t let my feeling show. It’s simple common courtesy and doing unto others, like your mother taught you. (I hope.) It's just the right thing to do. Once upon a time, each of us was a spastic, weak, slow, out of shape, or cocky white belt. If we forget, there’s often a senior belt around to remind us what that felt like.

Megan said...

Two things get me most about the situation... 1) the girl in question is tough. She takes blows and injury better than some of the guys. 2) The guy didn't seem to have any issues before.

I guess that's just another weakness for someone to overcome. Character can improve too.

Anonymous said...

That is odd. Maybe he let non-bjj issues get to him or miscommunicated what he meant to say. Character requires constant practice, too.

A.D. McClish said...

You know what, this really gets my blood pumping. I have encountered similar things before, and all I can say is what I have learned from what brief experience I have:

1. That guy is a moron. I can't wait until you can clean his clock. I even request that you video said cleaning when the time comes and post it so I can laugh maniacally from my computer room.

2. I know exactly how you feel about being an outsider. That's just how it is at first. But you'll work your way in.

3. You girls aren't the cause of the drama. The insecure guys who can't handle the fact that a girl might make them tap are the ones causing the problems.

4. That guy is a moron. Oh wait. I already said that.

Just keep training hard and don't listen to what he says. If he continues to be a jerk, tell your instructor. Then maybe he and his big mouth can get a taste of what it's like to be bullied. :)

Megan said...

DYING laughing @ 1

There's a good "upward chain" of problem reporting at my gym and they seem to know about problems before they hit the grape vine, or at least before they make it to my tendril. By the time I'd heard about this, it had already been addressed.

I'm definitely starting to find my "spot" in the gym, and I think that's why this bothered me even more. I just know there's no good reason for that kind of behavior...I's not like your butterfly guard gets better by beating up on other students. Stuff like this is definitely an argument for having occasional "women only" sessions.