How to Piss Off Your Training Partner, Part 2

In Part One of this guide, I mentioned my top-three annoyances when training with another practitioner. In this part here, we’ll look at some more gripes I have. Given the feedback (I asked for and received in spades :-). Thanks guys, keep it coming!) they seem to be pretty universal. So here goes another round of ranting, continuing the list from the previous part:

still-pissed-off

4. Endless counters. Bert mentioned this in the comments section and it ties in with #3 “They block the technique(s) you’re supposed to be learning.” But this time they go about it in a sneakier way. Instead of flat out resisting, they drag you into an endless counter series “If you do that punch, I can block like this. And if you then kick me, I’ll evade like this”. And it goes on and on. The reality these guys fail to see is that every technique has at least one counter. So of course you can always do something about it, in theory that is.

In actuality, there’s only so much time to do the counter they have in mind. Time is measured in milliseconds in a fight. By the time they recognize what they should do to counter your attack, you could have hit him several times already.That’s how it works in real life, but they of course prefer their dojo-fantasy.

On top of that, they’re predicting the future again, as mentioned in #2. Of course they can counter what I do when they know upfront which technique I’ll use. But when I can pick my techniques at random, I land on them every time. And then they don’t understand why their counter doesn’t work. Shees…

5. “This doesn’t work.” This is such a classic, it feels redundant but I’ll mention it anyway. Imagine you’re trying a new technique on a partner and he starts the dance by saying your technique won’t work on him. Obviously, he can back this up because he knows exactly what you’ll be doing. (There’s a theme here…) The obvious flaw in his reasoning isn’t clear to Mr. Genius so I’ll spell it out: you’d have to be a real poor schmuck if you can’t mess up your partner’s technique when you have advance warning of what he’ll do. There’s nothing to it; anybody can pull that off. Take away the advance warning and then see what happens to our rocket scientist… Pfff….

6. “We do this too, but better.” This one was also brought up in the comments and is another pet peeve of mine. It’s when you work with somebody who’s new but already has some training, when you train at another school and they want to show you they are just sooooo much better than you. Or when you’re at a seminar with people from lots of different systems and their ego needs to know they’re top-dog. Basically, whatever you are practicing, your partner tells you he already knows it and then proceeds to show you other stuff. The worst offenders are usually those who have really crappy skills. They think they know it already but are so far from it, it’s pointless to explain it to them.

I once taught a seminar about basic combinations and how to use them with good tactics. There was a teacher who participated and when I asked him if he was having fun, he said it was too basic and he already knew these combinations. I didn’t have the heart to tell him how wrong he was . He was competent alright but he couldn’t get the timing and flow of the combinations to work, it wasn’t even close. Because of that, he didn’t get the results we were training for. He made the classic mistake of seeing only the similarities he already knew instead of the differences I was showing him.

Yup, he already knew it all. It was unfortunate then that he got scored on all the time and had no defense against my student who did do what I showed…

7. “I don’t want to hurt you honey.Restita brought up an interesting perspective: male-female interactions. A lot of guys don’t know how to train with women or girls. They are often way too soft, refusing to attack with at least a minimum of speed and power. I even had a student refuse to train with a young lady because “He didn’t hit women.” I told her to have fun and smack him around as hard as she wanted. She did and he changed his mind after a while (of course, I monitored what was going on both during and after the smack-fest.) Female doesn’t automatically mean weak. If you think it does, you haven’t met enough women… Besides, it’s a matter of respect to your training partner; give her at least some effort so she can train in a realistic manner. She won’t be attacked by play doh opponents in the street so don’t act like one in class.

Another aspect to this is macho/asshole behavior towards female students. Like Restita said, calling her “babe” or honey”, probably with an arrogant smirk on his face. What’s up with that? I prefer my students over-chivalrous reaction to this kind of stupidity. A minimum of respect between partners isn’t too much to ask.

8.“I don’t want to you to think you suck honey.” Frederick made an excellent remark: some students go to the opposite extreme of denigrating a female student by pretending everything they do works great,even (or especially) when it’s clear to everybody she’s doing it wrong. It’s denigrating to women and a double standard to the men in the class. Sure, there is a learning curve for everybody; you can’t expect students to pull off a technique right away and sometimes you have to give them a self-esteem boost by letting them “win”. But over-acting doesn’t help women either. They need honest feedback to know if their technique works or not. Acting in a “I better drop as soon as she touches me because she’s a girl”-way doesn’t help anybody. And it’s sexist to boot.

9. Work on another technique then the one shown. In all fairness, this sometimes happens without doing it on purpose. Especially if you’ve been training for a while, you tend to default into certain techniques when the intensity goes up. But some people do this deliberately: the teacher shows a technique and they proceed to do something else. In the mean time, you don’t get to study what the teacher showed you because Mr. Nice Guy decides that he wants to do other stuff. How much more difficult does it get: Teacher says, students does. Period. Mr. Myagi had it right…

10. 150Mph baby!! YIHAAAH!!!! This is for all the studs and jocks out there. Let me put it clearly: You don’t learn a new technique by always doing it as hard and as fast as you can. You don’t even train this way with techniques you’ve been doing for years. Yes, there is place for hardcore training and personally, I love it. But that isn’t the only way to train or even the most efficient. Not by a long shot.

There’s tons of value in practicing at a lower intensity, especially when you’re learning something new or your partner just isn’t as fast/strong as you. In the latter case, you learn absolutely nothing by cranking it up. You already know you can beat your partner and he obviously can’t match that intensity. So what’s the upside for you or your partner? Besides you wagging your pecker in front of him to show just how big it is? Wow, you manly-man you!

Once again, say it with me and with feeling: pffff….

That’s it for part Two. It turned out a bit longer than expected thanks to all the great comments. In part Three I’ll focus on how to deal with this shitty behavior.

Feel free to spread the word and invite other people to come join the fun and rant away.

.

Comments

  1. Sara K. says:

    Related to #7: It drives me crazy when I’m trying to do my fall after being thrown and my partner tries to “protect” me by holding me up by my arm. Because I’m petite and he’s worried the floor’s a long way down and the fall might hurt. Yeah, it’s not the *floor* that’s going to hurt me, it’s you hauling up on my arm and trying to dislocate my shoulder that’s the problem. Just let me fall. If I haven’t been trained how to, why would sensei let me train in this technique in the first place? And the shorter guys I’ve asked haven’t reported this problem, so I don’t think it’s size-releated. Just seems to be the “protect the girl” instinct. Which is kind of sweet, but has no place on the mat.

    Thanks for letting me rant, Wim. :-)

  2. Sara K. says:

    Related to #7: It drives me crazy when I’m trying to do my fall after being thrown and my partner tries to “protect” me by holding me up by my arm. Because I’m petite and he’s worried the floor’s a long way down and the fall might hurt. Yeah, it’s not the *floor* that’s going to hurt me, it’s you hauling up on my arm and trying to dislocate my shoulder that’s the problem. Just let me fall. If I haven’t been trained how to, why would sensei let me train in this technique in the first place? And the shorter guys I’ve asked haven’t reported this problem, so I don’t think it’s size-releated. Just seems to be the “protect the girl” instinct. Which is kind of sweet, but has no place on the mat.

    Thanks for letting me rant, Wim. :-)

    • Too true. And then they probably don’t get why you’re upset with them for getting you injured. “But, but, I held you up?!”

      Rant away Sara! :-) And give my best to your hubby!

  3. The women ones are definitely true. Most of the people I train with are great, but every once in a great while I feel the male/female undertone thing and I don’t like it all.

    The other night a comment was made about me “checking my nail” during bunkai. I wasn’t checking my nails. I was quickly evaluating where a jagged beater bo had just ripped a huge chunk of my skin off my thumb and making sure I wasn’t bleeding all over myself and more importantly my partner. That kind of comment never would have been said to another guy.

    A long time ago, when I was a new brown belt, I was sparring a teenage white belt with no control. My instructions were to be a moving target and let them just try out their techniques. I asked him to watch the placement of his kicks (I was nursing a baby at the time and he seemed to think my chest was his primary target) and he just kept wailing on me. When I said something again, his dad, another white belt said, “take it easy on her son.” I wanted to kill them both. It had nothing to do with me not being able to handle myself and everything to do with him having no control. I was supposed to be taking it easy on them since they were new white belts and I was brown, but I felt like doing anything but taking it easy after that comment. It was a true exercise in mental control for me.

  4. The women ones are definitely true. Most of the people I train with are great, but every once in a great while I feel the male/female undertone thing and I don’t like it all.

    The other night a comment was made about me “checking my nail” during bunkai. I wasn’t checking my nails. I was quickly evaluating where a jagged beater bo had just ripped a huge chunk of my skin off my thumb and making sure I wasn’t bleeding all over myself and more importantly my partner. That kind of comment never would have been said to another guy.

    A long time ago, when I was a new brown belt, I was sparring a teenage white belt with no control. My instructions were to be a moving target and let them just try out their techniques. I asked him to watch the placement of his kicks (I was nursing a baby at the time and he seemed to think my chest was his primary target) and he just kept wailing on me. When I said something again, his dad, another white belt said, “take it easy on her son.” I wanted to kill them both. It had nothing to do with me not being able to handle myself and everything to do with him having no control. I was supposed to be taking it easy on them since they were new white belts and I was brown, but I felt like doing anything but taking it easy after that comment. It was a true exercise in mental control for me.

    • @BBM. It’s just a sad fact of life that MAs attract macho idiots. Not all of the men in the arts like that but I’ve sure seen a lot of them. As soon as a woman steps onto the mat, their IQ drops 50 points and the testosterone skyrockets. I can only apologize for my fellow men and hope you don’t get to meet too many of the Neanderthal among us. ;-)

  5. Minding these issues is a good exercise for teachers as well. You have to learn which people are capable of laughing things off and which will store it away as an insult, sexist or otherwise. Men and women both get punked from time to time (it’s inevitable). It can be very tricky, especially when trying to keep everyone light and motivated.

  6. Minding these issues is a good exercise for teachers as well. You have to learn which people are capable of laughing things off and which will store it away as an insult, sexist or otherwise. Men and women both get punked from time to time (it’s inevitable). It can be very tricky, especially when trying to keep everyone light and motivated.

Speak Your Mind

*