Today was one of those days where work had me burnt and my gluts were sore from some squat work I'd been doing (making good progress on squatting with heels flat on the ground). I came in just hoping to make it through class. So after warm up and drilling (during which a separate white belt told me the way I was taught to choke was wrong...and proceeded to critique the technique of a blue belt), I was pretty spent, but I always push through "spent". The instructor paired me with white belt #1 who proceeded to yell across the gym, with a chuckle "she looks tired!". I motioned for him to come over. After I took his back a little while into the round and was working on an RNC in, a guy yelled from the side "does she look tired now?". I could have hugged him, but I was too busy working on a body lock. It wasn't worth injuring myself to prove a point, so the rest of the round, I just made sure to keep breaking him down and not letting him get anywhere near passing my guard.
The whole situation made me think of something I said to the lady that was having issues with a fellow green belt criticising her. I don't think I could have handled this properly a few years back. There's this delicate balance to walk of maintaining the proper behavior expected of your belt, not letting lower belt egos run rampant (you're not doing them any good if you do), not having guys go too easy on you, and not becoming a firey ball of vengeance every time you get tested...and goodness knows that's happening more and more now. I'm noticing it happens more with lower belts and when I'm the only woman in class...the higher belts already have a certain level of respect for me. But yeah...a colored belt really does translate to a target on your back. I think I'm going to get a patch that says "No, you don't get my belt if you tap me. Calm. Down."
It's got me thinking that maybe, just maybe certain newbies do need to be roughed up a little when they start...just enough to get some cracks in the egos.
I guess it's all just part of the evolution of a gym though. New people come and bring their personalities and faults and contributions and all those meld within the enforced rules of behavior in the environment. I just...look at this crop compared with the ones I came in with and the contrast is SO stark. My "class" was cooperative and helpful and generally respectful, with each other and with higher belts. I'm curious to see which of these new guys last and how long.