Monday, August 6, 2012

It's Hard Being Anonymous

Here I am in NYC--surrounded by BJJ clubs. And no one will have me.

It's not that I haven't tried. I've e-mailed and re-emailed and forwarded e-mails. Some people haven't responded. Some have said, "Yes, you are welcome. Ask So-and-So for more info." And So-and-So hasn't responded. Then some have said, "No, unfortunately, unless you are a member or a member of an affiliate or a guest of a member, or you want to shell out huge money for a private, essentially you are not welcome."

Oh, how I long to wield the power of Shark Girl:
     "Yes, hello, I am Shark Girl. Perhaps you have heard of me or read my wildly successful blog? No? Oh . . . um . . . well . . . ahem. Let me start over. I write a blog and would like to visit your program. Afterward I will probably write about my experience on said blog, thereby giving you lots of free publicity as the cool, welcoming BJJ school you most surely are."

Who would refuse? But I can't do that because then I have to sign that waiver. You know, the one that says if someone kills me, the school isn't responsible. And I have to sign it with my real name. Believe me, I've thought about just putting down "Shark Girl," but something feels illegal about that. And when I say I am just some female blue belt visiting the city, the open arms, well, they are folded.

So instead, I am sitting alone at a restaurant because I turned down invitations to B'way plays in the hopes that someone, anyone, would respond to my BJJ query and let Shark Girl kick some tail (or get her tail kicked) and add to the bruise collection on my legs which is already raising eyebrows at my staid classics professionals conference. "Oh, dear, Muffy! Could it be? Don't tell me that poor woman is anemic!"

Anyway, it's restaurant week and instead of writing a review of that BJJ school, I'll write a review of the restaurant where I am eating. Stay tuned, New Yorkers, you know who you are.

Oh, and BJJ schools, you should really learn to be more open.

13 comments:

  1. Steve Koepfer at NYC Sambo is famously open to having people of all grappling creeds and schools train with him.

    I've met him in person and spoken to him many times. He's a phenomenal person and a great teacher.

    If you can't BJJ, go Sambo! Or samba. Whichever you can.

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  2. I was in NYC and dropped in at Renzo's place. I didn't feel the need to secure any prior permission to attend; I just made sure to show up at a scheduled BJJ time and introduced myself as a guest visiting from out of town. I paid my mat fee and promptly got drummed in class. :)

    Maybe the whole e-mail thing is getting lost through the cracks. Crazy; I know, but I can totally see it happening.

    Perhaps skipping the e-mail and just calling ahead would work out. Of course, you can always reveal your true identity and have schools begging you to visit them. ;)

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    1. I agree. One of the e-mail fallacies is the belief that all e-mails are received in real time. Not all of us choose to stay connected to that electronic leash 24/7/365. Of course a business has a grater need to stay connected than does an individual.

      Another fallacy (one which I'm sure you encouter as a teacher) is the belief that since I've e-mailed you, you automatically agree to whatever the hell I'm asking for. ;-) "but.....but I e-mailed you!"

      You might want to have Shark Grrrl hoodies or other swag available to pass out to your NYC hosts.

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    2. Hmmm...hoodies and swag! now I have to come up with a logo!!

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    3. Something like this, but sporting a blue belt.

      http://www.southhillsswimclub.com/southhills_images/Shark_Logo_32.jpg

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  3. ....and if you don't want Muffy to knock over the tomato aspic at the symposium while gawking at your battle scars, go old skool and wear a pair of those opaque academic "blue stockings". ;-)

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    1. lol!!!! I should qualify that my colleagues are actually quite interesting and variously cool people. I just like poking fun at the stereotype!!!

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  4. I'd be very surprised if you weren't welcome at the big NYC schools, like Renzo and Marcelo. Did they both turn you down, or just not respond? As I can definitely believe the latter (I know that RGA in London wasn't always great with email) but would be shocked at the former.

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  5. I did not contact every BJJ school in NYC. I did approach four or five in the area I was staying. I will not mention names as I understand that sometimes $h!t happens and perhaps if I had e-mailed or called on a different day I would have been made to feel at home.

    I think it's interesting that sometimes clubs in small towns are really welcoming. Perhaps in more metro areas they are busier or territorial or . . . whatever.

    Really, I was just disappointed I didn't get a chance to visit a school in a different area. But I did have a great dinner!

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  6. I'm so sorry I'm only reading this now! You absolutely would have been welcome at my school!

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  7. You should have not mentioned you're a blogger, and just shown up at Marcelo's school, paid the mat fee ($40) and trained as much as you could. They answer their email realtime (office staff are all purples and browns I think) and if you don't mention the blog name, no one would have given a patoot who you were or where you trained. And Marcelo always rolls with visitors so you could have rolled with him! Man, you missed a good one!

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  8. You should have not mentioned you're a blogger, and just shown up at Marcelo's school, paid the mat fee ($40) and trained as much as you could. They answer their email realtime (office staff are all purples and browns I think) and if you don't mention the blog name, no one would have given a patoot who you were or where you trained. And Marcelo always rolls with visitors so you could have rolled with him! Man, you missed a good one!

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