Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sexual joking on the mats and my problem with the full guard...

Full Guard

Oddly, the two areas aren't related...

I was talking with another one of the ladies last night and we started on the topic of sexual joking. I ran across this post on a jiu jitsu forum and it summed it up beautifully. (The poster pops around here sometimes. If you read this, you hit the nail on the head.)

It's a violation of boundaries, a breach of trust. We can press ourselves up against sweaty strangers on the mat. We can let them do things that if they take it a little too far, can result in not being able to walk right for the rest of our lives- or even LOSE our lives via a crushed trachea or something. The only way we can do things like this is if there is a mutual respect of the boundaries; a negotiation of "Safe Space". The violation of a gym's Safe Space is a worse crime than a boob grab. People who do that &$%# need to be booted right out of the school. 

Respect. It's the currency of BJJ. Violation of safety boundaries and violation of respect aren't really that different, and I'd be willing to bet that one feeds off the other. 

Also, while writing this, I realized my big problem with full guard. I have too many options. I get stuck in analysis paralysis and wait to be attacked (not always a bad option, but it's not working for me right now). So, I'm going to pick just two sweeps, two submissions and maybe transitioning to spider/open guard to focus on. I have a feeling that if I don't, the loop's gonna go all infinite.


Georgette said...

I think on a similar note is tickling. Look, I've never had a problem with the occasional off-color joke or reference on the mats (I'm talking about jokes generally or references to others, not jokes made about me or another female in the academy, which I have never, ever experienced.) But lately 2-3 of my guy friends HAVE actually effing tried TICKLING me while we rolled, usually in defense from a bad situation. It never ceases to amaze me. I always ask "really?? you'd tickle another guy??" and they always sheepishly say "no!" Well if you wouldn't do it to a guy, don't effing do it to me. Mother effer. It's not bad enough that you can probably MUSCLE out of things, but you have to add "condescendingly touch me out of things" to the list? WHAT THE EFF!


SavageKitsune said...

I love that term- "analysis paralysis". I shall have to steal that one!

Megan said...

Oooo...never had the tickling. I've heard about it, but never seen it. I'm not ticklish thankfully so I'd likely let out a "did you just try to tickle me?" and keep rolling. That sounds like something that's likely to happen after guys are comfortable with you, as opposed to the newbie-freak making sexual comments or innuendo. It's that condescension that I feel like you have to be constantly vigilant of. It manifests itself in SO many different ways depending on who's looking down on you. Tiring. It's got me VERY tired lately.

Thanks Savage, I owed you one:)

SkinnyD said...

Wow. I'd hate to be the guy who tried that, Georgette. I bet he still feels like an idiot every time he sees you.

Megan - I have that problem with closed guard, too. Also the problem that I am so deliberate in setting up my attacks that my opponent has about two minutes to figure out what I'm doing and how to defend it before I actually attempt it :)

SavageKitsune said...

That sounds like something that's likely to happen after guys are comfortable with you,
I thought the same thing. Depending on the guy, I likely would have interpreted that as a sort of affectionate goofiness rather than condescention. (It still deserves to be firmly quashed if you do not want them to do that sort of thing, though.)

Anonymous said...

One of my previous intructors is ticklish. A senior student who is one of his regular training partners has resorted to tickling said instructor on occasion when he gets tired of getting his ass handed to him, as it's the only way for him to gain the upper hand. They are both guys, and there's no question who's better, so it didn't seem condescending. They laugh their heads off, and then get back to serious sparring. No one else ever got tickled, that I'm aware of. It is a cheap trick, and we were usually too serious about our jiu jitsu to resort to those.

@Megan, Can you elaborate on the concept of Safe Space? I certainly think an intentional boob grab disrespects my person and is a hit against my gym's respectablility, policies, and atmosphere. How is violating Safe Space worse? Wouldn't they be the same?

Josh Kruschke said...

Megan hope you are having a Merry Christmas and wish the best for you and your family in the coming year.

SavageKitsune said...

@Megan, Can you elaborate on the concept of Safe Space? I certainly think an intentional boob grab disrespects my person and is a hit against my gym's respectablility, policies, and atmosphere. How is violating Safe Space worse? Wouldn't they be the same?
Megan can certainly elaborate on the concept if she wishes to, but since it was my quote to begin with, I'll make free with the elaboration first... :-)

You're standing next to some strange guy at a bus stop. Now because we live in a "civilized" society with laws and police officers and all, you have some baseline expectation of safety- some baseline expectation that this guy is not going to reach over and grab your boob. Yet most of us women will give the guy a once-over, not stand *too* close, and keep an eye out- because we don't know this guy, we have no covenant with him. There are the societal laws, rules, and expectations- but for all we know, this guy might be a sociopath, on drugs, or otherwise of the mind that these structures do not apply to him. Out in the real world at bus stops, there is always the danger that that random stranger might reach over and grab your boob.... and a smart woman is always mindful of that, and mindful to keep her eyes open and guard up.

On the mat at your BJJ school, your teachers and fellow students have created a Safe Space. There are rules lists on the wall, you may have had to sign some conduct agreements when you joined up, your teachers talk about things that are and are not allowed. Everyone there has entered into a set of spoken and unspoken agreements about what you're there to do, and what can and can't be done within that space. Violations, if any, are swiftly and decisively dealt with by teachers and senior students. Anyone who is not willing or able to stick within the parameters of the space will be weeded out fairly quickly. This pact, this Sacred Space, is carefully and consciously
created and nurtured/maintained so that within it, you can let down your guard and focus on practicing BJJ... which involves doing things that are neither safe nor appropriate to do with strangers outside of a structure like this. You can focus on your butterfly sweep, without having to maintain the constant awareness that at any moment, this guy you barely know might reach over and grab your boob.

I wouldn't go up to some strange guy at a bus stop and invite him to roll. But I can feel okay about doing that with some guy at my BJJ school, even if he's somebody's visiting buddy and I've never seen him before in my life- because we are within that space. We have a covenent, by virtue of being there. I don't have to regard him with that same wariness that I regard the stranger at the bus stop.

So to get back to your statement- if the stranger at te bus stop grabs your boob, yes, that's a violation and it's wrong. But you never really had any pact or agreement with that guy; you never had any reason to trust him. Yet if your classmate grabs your boob on the mat, it's WORSE, because he violated the pact between you... and violated your school's Safe Space. He violated your covenant, he violated your trust, he violated you while you were in a vulnerable state because your guard was down.

Am I making any sense?

Megan said...

@Joshkie...Thanks! Same to you and yours.

Thanks Savage:) I think you summed it up quite nicely.

Regarding the tickling...I have to admit, it's a double standard and likely confusing, but there are a couple guys there that I have that kind of relationship with...tickling would be no big deal. Others though, even those I've known just as well, I feel like it would be akin to the person who starts. "teaching" you how to perform a submission once they know you're in trouble.

A.D. McClish said...

I have never had a guy tickle me. Though, I have had a guy give me a wet willy. But he was already owning me at that point, so it was just an added exclamation point at the end of his already very clear statement! ;)

I hate it when people "joke" around when they are in a bad situation in a grapple and then suddenly get serious when the tables turn. GRRRRRR!

Anonymous said...

@SK, Yes, you make sense. I don't quite agree, but not to such an extent to justify getting into a long philosphical discussion. Fortunately, I that the vast majority of jiu jitsu practitioners I've run into either respect women or stifle any unacceptable tendencies while at practice, such that I can't tell.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been in a situation where anyone's tried to tickle me. Though I did once ask if that was against the rules. LOL I mean, if you're getting squashed like a bug and someone is on top of you and you give them a little tickle to get them to move...:D

I kid I kid I kid.

I was only in one situation where I felt skeeved. There's an older guy at my gym and I was asking what instrument people played. He answered "women." Ummm niiiiiiice /sarcasm. Then when we rolled he kept making these "oh yeaaaah" comments. o_O I like to THINK it was a cross cultural misunderstanding--Korean is his only language, but it FELT skeevy.

Megan said...

That is creeptastic. And is this "Skeeve" word new or something? I JUST finished looking it up because I heard it for the first time today, and now I saw this.


Great post. Just found this now. I will re-link this from my blog.

It frustrates me when I encounter sexist jokes on the mat. It doesn't break the ice at just makes it worse for "that guy." ;)