Friday, May 20, 2011

A Kick in the Teeth

The other night I got a kick in the teeth. A couple weeks ago I was dropped on my head. I wouldn’t care too much but afterward, I had to stop sparring. For one I was afraid I had a concussion. For the other, images of a toothless smile were popping into my head. At the end of the month I have an appointment with my dentist for a custom mouth guard. It would be my luck to lose a tooth before then.
            Both of these incidents happened with the same person—a new white belt, about two to three months in. The first time, he lost his balance. It was balance the second time, too. His foot slipped and—crack!—met my tooth. I’m starting to think I shouldn’t roll with him anymore.
            Although he might be a newbie spaz (And really, who isn’t? Certainly not Shark Girl), he has not had similar “accidents” with the other guys. This leads me to believe that I am special. Of course, he felt bad afterward—both times. No one wants to be That Big Guy That Hurts the Tiny Girl in class. But you know what newbie dudes want to be even less? That Guy That Got His Ass Handed to Him by a Hundred Pound Old Lady. That’s what I figure.
I suppose I should be flattered. Does he think if he’s not careful I could school him with my nasty jiu jitsu skills? In situations when my Magic Reguard is about to activate, he desperately flails and loses balance, leaving me as collateral damage. Is he just a newbie spaz?
Ladies, how do you deal with these situations? Guys, help me out here. Is he worried about his manhood? Or are we just a couple of newbie spazzes and this is how we roll?

Much Love,
Shark Girl


  1. Man...I'm terrified of loosing/chipping a tooth. Can you get a boil 'n' bite one in the meantime?

    I'd go with your theory that he's terrified of losing, or even just not defeating your nasty jiu jitsu skills. Honestly though, it doesn't matter.

    Have you ever tried asking him to go light? That's helped me with a couple guys.

  2. I read this a while ago

    It may explain why guys can be alright training with other men, but then not so good when training with a woman.

    If you think you're going to get hurt when training with him, don't. It's not worth it. Either say no thank you to him or if you can't do that talk to your instructor.

  3. @ Megan: I haven't been able to wear the b-n-b. I keep cutting it down; it gags me. How do the guys you ask to "go lightly" react? Do they automatically do it? Do you have to keep asking them? Do they wonder why you don't ask the other dudes to go light?

    @ Laura: What a great study! That makes total sense. The part where it showed how both guys and girls attributed the woman's punch to immaturity, but guys attributed the man's punch to provocation is especially interesting. So, waht do we do with this information as we roll with guys?

  4. What I think this information means is that new guys are dangerous because they feel that they are judged by the other guys in class to be less macho if they are 'beaten' by a woman. Hopefully after a guy has been training long enough they will realize that no one is judging them for 'losing' to a woman. But, that only works if the attitude of the gym is inclusive and women are seen as part of the team.

    What this means for me is I try to avoid rolling with new guys. I will occasionally drill with them, but sometimes they are still too aggressive. So I use it as an opportunity to learn to speak up for myself or to practice being patient if I am in no real danger of being hurt.

    It also meant that I needed to speak up to my coach and let him know what was going on. He is not a woman and our gym has had very few women achieve coloured belts, so he didn't understand the experience. So now when I roll with the new guys he watches from nearby and is often commenting on the roll to let us know he is there.

    Sorry for the length...

  5. For me, there have been times when I have asked my instructor not to put me with certain guys because I think I will get injured grappling them. And I echo what these other ladies said. Sometimes guys just flat don't want to be beaten by a girl. When a guy gets in that frame of mind, he isn't thinking about being a teammate. He is thinking about winning, whatever the cost. That gets dangerous.

  6. @Laura: I think the instructor kind of knows, but isn't quite sure how to handle it--like you said, I'm the only girl @ the gym; this prob. hasn't happened to him before.

    @AD: That's a great point about being a teammate. I think he is starting to get it, but the phenomenon will most likely come back all the time, when the new dudes come in, so it's good to know how to handle it.

  7. my instructor used to scold me whenever i would seek out the new guys. He saw trouble a mile away and once i had been training for a year he didn't watch over his shoulder as much because he knew I had gotten a little better at protecting myself. They will wear you out, they will frustrate you, and they'll probably injure you but like it or not you can learn a thing or two rolling with them. I know it sounds weird. It helps you adapt, makes you think quickly and safely. I try not to leave my head/neck too exposed because they love to grab and squeeze. But i've also been advised to work my sweeps and pressure on them. If it helps you can say before you roll to take it easy, not to roll so hard. I've even told new guys before that if they feel like they're tiring out really fast it's because they're muscling it too much and they need to slow down and think more.
    Cheer up shargirl. I know it seems like a lose-lose. If it helps you'll look hardcore if you're toothless and start fighting :)

  8. I was going for the "don't-i-look-so-sweet-i-couldn't-joint-lock-a-fly" trap, but if I have to be toothless, I guess "hardcore" is okay.
    I like how you show the learning that can be done with the newde (new + dude). The guy I'm specifically talking about here is pretty much a giant compared to me and is using his muscle to foil my technique. I think that's why I'm getting injured. But you are right, there's learning there, too. Even if it's just learning to say, "take it easy on me." You know how they say, "Have something you are working on with every roll"? Well, mine with him could be "not losing a tooth." That's a great goal.
    Thanks, Shakia!


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