Monday, October 17, 2011

I...don't think I've ever been quite so personally offended...

And when I say personally, I mean something specific to my individual person. Something more particular than race, gender, age, profession...the normal things we tend to get offended over. It was two little words. Two tiny little, non-offensive words cut straight to my core:

"Calm down."

I heard them at a private last week and I was honestly taken aback. I'd like to say offense isn't what I felt, but to be 100% honest, mix it with a healthy dose of embarrassment, and that's what it was. It made me realize that this was one of those areas where my ego is up and running full blast. (Thanks to Liam and Jodi  for helping me pin that down.) I hadn't heard the words really since I was testing for my green belt and was so nervous that I was rushing my way through an already botched tripod sweep.
"Calm down." I heard Parrhumpa say gently from his chair.

...and I was so... embarrassed. But not in a "pants down" kinda way. No one else likely batted an eye. Inside though, I took it as the outing of a crack in the strongest part of my armor. I am "the calm one" after all. I always have been. I'm logical, stoic, well skilled at managing my emotions for what they are, so when KickboxerInstructor softly urged me to "calm down" again last weak, I felt painfully exposed and weak...of character. I'm SUPPOSED to be more stable on the mats. I'm one of the older students, so if don't have that, what makes up for the bad knees and horrible cardio?

Harajuku area, just outside the Meiji shrine (one of my favorite places ever)

That calm maturity is something I've come to prize even more since I've spent a bit of time sitting in on the MMA class. I've been paying close attention when there's a decent age gap between two of the guys, and especially when that gap lies somewhere around the 25 year line. There's a solidness of movement and purpose after that age. A necessary and beautiful efficiency that makes the exuberance and excess of youth seem silly and futile.

...and thinking that I showed a bit of that futility makes me wince a bit.

I will forgive myself though. While I am older and calmer, I'm still young as a grappler, so keeping my cool is a skill that I acknowledge I'm still developing.


Liam H Wandi said...

Well put and thanks for the mention, even though the link was a no-go :( ;p

It's amazing how instructors can shine a light on these things :)

Anonymous said...

Not to invalidate your feelings or anything, but that comment can mean a lot of different things- so it might be helpful to avoid jumping to a conclusion.

I get told that a lot, but multiple different people. I *know* that in my case, it's not a lack of "stability" or being spazzy or anything like that. In my case, it usually means that they see me being too tense or straining too hard. Some variation on being too hard on myself.

A.D. McClish said...

Don't be too hard on yourself. It isn't a weakness of character. It's a natural part of learning how to move efficiently. A friend of mine told me that same thing the other day when I was straining too hard--using too much strength and not enough technique--the other day. My problem was holes in my technique. I didn't know what to do, so I was trying to force my way out. I don't know what your situation was, but if it was anything like mine, I felt embarrassed, but then later I started thinking of what I could do in that situation next time. All we can do is keep learning!! :)

Megan said... jumping done. I think they mean exactly what they said, and I think it was a fair assessment. I'm not blaming them for my reaction at all or claiming that they meant any offense, just relating what I felt.

@A.D. It sound like the same situation. Not knowing creates so many crazy, pointless reactions.

@Liam...give it a shot now:)

Jodie said...

Thanks for the link back and for sharing your thoughts.

I'm with you- I usually like to play a medium paced technical game, so it is always a shock when one of the guys points out that I'm wound up.

Megan said...

Maybe that's a better word..."shock". Seeing myself any other way just throws me off.