Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lines in the Sand

What is your line in the sand - you know, that thing which you absolutely will not tolerate? I'm not necessarily asking about the thing that will make docile you become a fighting machine - just the thing that makes you say "Aww - HELL to the NO!" Do you have any idea?

One of my lines is bringing or causing harm to my child. Been there, done that - so I know it revs my Mama Bear Mode engine and makes me go from 0 to 60 in about .4 seconds. It's not pretty, but as my bark really is much worse than my bite, no physical altercations have resulted to date (although I did think about choking my ex-husband waaaay back when the divorce was getting underway). Hey - sometimes a healthy fantasy life is one way to avert catastrophy.

It's becoming more obvious that another line for me is being talked to like I am a three-year-old. No Cybil-like morphing happens, but...well...the same level of pissivity is there without a doubt. Condesension is so unnecessary IMHO and I just don't understand exactly how some have lived long enough to be so darn good at it.

I especially hate it in the dojo. I may be young in my art (coming up on eight years), but the reality is that at the end of the day, I'm still a grown-behind woman. Talking to or treating me any other way makes me shut down and not even want to participate or contribute anymore.

I realize that some folks think their time on the mat is time to work on some self-esteem building by trying to earnestly take others down a peg (in an effort to build themselves up) - but, seriously?!? Work that crap out with whomever it is you're pissed at, not with the person you are standing in front of in the training hall. Last I checked, the dojo was not the place to let your inner demons out to play.

If an instructor is "going through," that does not give him/her the right to take it out on you. "Student" is not the same thing as "Peon for Which I Can Vent My Pent-Up Frustrations" - nor should it ever. There's a reason that silliness is only allowed in military boot camps and fraternity/sorority pledge lines.

But how should such foolishness be handled? Etiquette and rei are important and richly protected/expected traditions in the dojo. Is it even possible to keep the craziness at bay while still observing the rules of the training hall and not killing your instructor or uke?

Just wondering - before I end up losing it...


  1. It depends on whether I am being driven by monkey brain crud or logic with out any emotional influences are involved. I just walk away. If someone in the dojo is acting with the monkey brain driving I simply do not attend to them at all.

    If I were Sensei of a dojo I would feel a responsibility to speak privately to an individual who may be over the line with me or others but if I am leading and remaining a good example I hope that this is not necessary.

    It, like many things, is complicated but in the end bad behavior is bad and should be ignored.

  2. LOL! 'But seriously?' Now that I've met you...I can actually see the expression and hear you say it. :)

    This whole post rings uber-true with me. From the 'mama-mode' to being the verbal uke for other egos. Thankfully, my dojo has none of that foolishness. I do admit, however, to coming off as a 'know it all' to strangers because I tend to state my opinion quite directly (and appreciate others doing the same). Males 'hear' it as a challenge, women as a put-down...but it's neither.

    I have wondered how to act when visiting other dojos and experiencing, or witnessing, this type of behaviour. As for related/sister dojos, I've actually expressed frustration to my sensei.

    'What do I do when XX does this? Can I return the favor?' The reply has been an unequivocal'yes'.

  3. Think of it as being a test of keeping a calm mind.

  4. If someone is speaking to you unjustly or condescendingly then remember it's their problem not yours - don't take it off them by getting upset. Let it flow over you then forget it, life's too short to let other people's bad behaviour screw you up. Chill!

  5. Great advice, all - but does it change if it is the Sensei delivering the foolishness?

  6. If it is the teacher that is speaking down to you then I think a private word after class would be in order.

    If it is a fellow student (even a higher kyu rank) then making clear that you expect to be spoken to in the same way you speak to them should do it.

    Will he be all, "whoa, what a bitch"? Probably, especially if it is a young guy. But hey, as much as we are told let go of our pride you must still hold on to your self respect.


  7. To your last question - is it the Sensei's normal mode, or a regular thing? My Sensei is a great guy 99/100 times, but capable of some grade A idiocy that last one percent. If that proportion was reversed, I'd be having a serious chat with him, and if things didn't improve, start hunting for a different dojo. If it's a visiting sensei, then I'd try to practice patience to the best degree possible.

    Noting: Being treated like a baby is one of my triggers too. I'm the youngest in my family by almost a decade, and my brothers have no idea how often I've wanted to throttle them when they revert to treating me as their kid sister. Hello! I'm middle-aged!