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#413463 - 12/31/08 04:28 PM A question on MA culture
screamingflea Offline
Dont call me babe

Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 49
Loc: USA
Since my first day in my class (I've only been at this for a lifetime total of a month or two,) I've felt like a stranger in a strange land on several levels. It's nothing to do with anyone in the class - everyone has been incredibly welcoming and encouraging. But I get a strong dose of culture shock with some topics, and I've chosen to keep my guard up on some things until I get a better feel for the overall culture.

I'm the only woman there, and I know I'm one of the kewl kids because of all the testicular humor going back and forth. Honestly, I feel flattered. The other day I came in and the teacher mentioned that he saw his neighbor jogging that morning with no bra and I said "Cool!!" in all sincerity.

Which brings me to my question ... I scoped the room a little bit when I said that to see if anyone picked up on it, but I couldn't tell. Is the MA world gay-friendly? I ran into one of my classmates by chance today and we were talking about various love interests; I didn't want to, but I chickened out when it came to the personal pronoun. I didn't say "she," and I'm a little mad at myself for it.

Not that I plan to start crooning Indigo Girls tunes and evangelize, but my patience is short for this kind of skulking around. It's disrespectful to myself, to my mate, and to the people I'm lying to. And as I'm still trying to find my way in this group, I have other things much more worth keeping to myself anyway.

So ... I'm not asking anyone to speak for my own dojo (unless you recognize me from my couple of posts!) but what kind of controversy am I likely to stir up if I adjust my grammar? If anything I think a little money might change hands since I give off that vibe anyway.

So I'd love some feedback on this ... but I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to hold out. Closets are tedious, very tedious.
_________________________
"A body at rest can not be stopped!!" - The Tick

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#413464 - 12/31/08 04:39 PM Re: A question on MA culture [Re: screamingflea]
bcihak Offline
Member

Registered: 08/12/07
Posts: 298
Loc: Illinois
Do not worry about it. I know in my school it would be less than nothing to worry about. If it becomes a problem with this school go find another.

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#413465 - 12/31/08 05:15 PM Re: A question on MA culture [Re: bcihak]
BlackPaladin Offline
Member

Registered: 01/02/07
Posts: 29
Don't take this the wrong way, but a disproportionate number of women who participate in sports at the level you are at are lesbians. Stereotype, but true for many cases.

I bet they more than likely already assumed it, to be honest. It is no big deal. Some are hoping you are bi, I would imagine!

Continue to be you.

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#413466 - 12/31/08 05:20 PM Re: A question on MA culture [Re: screamingflea]
JMWcorwin Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/13/07
Posts: 731
Loc: SoCal, USA
I think you'll find that the MA community in general terms is no more or less gay friendly than any other. If you find yourself with a good group of open minded people it shouldn't even be an issue. So maybe the MA community might be slightly more open to voluntarily take up some of the torture we do every day with a smile. I know it wouldn't matter where I'm at..

I would say do what is comfortable for you and if they can't handle it then maybe you're in the wrong school. Personally, I don't think you need to mention it... it's a non issue; you're training partners. Especially your first couple months in. You are not honor bound to share anything other than the training with your classmates. After you've been there for a while and if you gain some really close friends, then once again, it's up to you.

My 2
_________________________
There are no PERFECT techniques, only perfect execution for the situation at hand. ~Corwin

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#413467 - 12/31/08 06:14 PM Re: A question on MA culture [Re: screamingflea]
Cord Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
If you are not in a 'closet' in other areas of your life, then no reason to be so in your MA class. The people in that class are teachers, lawyers, bin men, Mcdonalds workers, builders, brain surgeons poets and politicians. They are as varied as the life outside the dojo from whence they came.
On those grounds, you are no more, or less, likely to encounter prejudice in the class.
If you are comfortable with who you are, then be who you are. If you choose to hide that, dont get mad with those who have done nothing wrong, be mad at yourself for lacking confidence to give them the benefit of the doubt.
_________________________
Don't let the door hit ya' where the good lord split ya'
http://cord.mybrute.com

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#413468 - 12/31/08 08:46 PM Re: A question on MA culture [Re: Cord]
screamingflea Offline
Dont call me babe

Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 49
Loc: USA
Thanks everyone.

It's not that I was planning to make a big announcement. I've spent the last several years working very hard to winnow out friends who can't handle certain aspects of my life; differences of opinion are fine, conditional acceptance is not. So censoring certain aspects of my life all over again is a very alien feeling and I don't like it at all. So if anything, I'd simply be true to the pronouns ... "I have a date this weekend, she's really nice." Nothing big.

I really appreciate the feedback. I do feel very comfortable with these guys, but it's good to be able to double-check the social norms on a larger scale too. At some point I may check back with the same question on other issues.
_________________________
"A body at rest can not be stopped!!" - The Tick

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#413469 - 12/31/08 08:54 PM Re: A question on MA culture [Re: screamingflea]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
If you have enough time to think about these things in class...then you aren't training enough. In a serious school, it could be years before you found out anything personal, meaning....totally irrelevant to training, about others training there.

Try leaving your issues at the door, and if you want to participate in the patter and add a social dimension to your training...then do so honestly and expect the same from others.

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#413470 - 01/01/09 01:10 AM Re: A question on MA culture [Re: harlan]
screamingflea Offline
Dont call me babe

Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 49
Loc: USA
Quote:

If you have enough time to think about these things in class...then you aren't training enough. In a serious school, it could be years before you found out anything personal, meaning....totally irrelevant to training, about others training there.




By that definition, this isn't a serious school. Several students are coworkers at the same company, from temps to middle management. And people do hang out together outside of class (and work.) The teacher is certified by Vlad and gets regular refreshers and seminars. I don't think training and socializing are mutually exclusive.

Quote:

Try leaving your issues at the door, and if you want to participate in the patter and add a social dimension to your training...then do so honestly and expect the same from others.




I'm not sure whether I should feel defensive on this or not. I don't consider this an "issue" in the sense of a neurosis. It's more of a feeler as to how to best fit in with a new culture. Also, there are many "issues" that can not and should not be left at the door. I also have PTSD, and as a health and safety issue I made a point of taking the teacher aside privately to let him know when the flashbacks started rolling in. His response was utterly considerate and professional, and has a lot to do with my decision to stay and slog through that. In order to be able to do these physical exercises, a certain amount of trust is critical; for someone in my position, not just any random person can pin me to the floor. I could care less about their actual views on homosexuality, but a little bit of friendliness goes a long way.

One could dismiss something like that as "drama," but we can't selectively ignore aspects of ourselves out of convenience. And with a form that so heavily emphasizes keeping the body loose, anything that creates enough mental tension inevitably finds its way into the body. What I'm seeking now is my own best balance for feeling as comfortable as I can with this particular group. I have no intention of lying about anything, just choosing my level of disclosure.
_________________________
"A body at rest can not be stopped!!" - The Tick

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#413471 - 01/01/09 07:11 AM Re: A question on MA culture [Re: screamingflea]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3331
Loc: Poland
I understand what Harlan says in that I have trained in a number of schools and it has never occurred to me to consider someone elses sexuality if they weren't wearing it on their sleeve (example, a work colleague of mine started at the same TKD club I trained at and he was extremely camp and flew the flag... I don't believe he had any problems).

Personally I tend to avoid questions or comments about sexuality as I don't know how the other person is going to react, particularly when rolling on the floor with me. So it seems a little strange to me that the coach would make a joke about a bra-less jogger when there is a female in the group.

If, as you say, you aren't evangelising then I wouldn't worry about mentioning it in conversation.Perhaps being the only female it makes it less of an issue than if you were male. Indeed, they might feel more comfortable.

If they DO have a problem then you know they aint worth dealing with.

Good luck and have fun.
_________________________
See how well I block your punches with my jaw!!

Supporting everyone saying "nuts to cancer"

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#413472 - 01/01/09 12:58 PM Re: A question on MA culture [Re: screamingflea]
Cord Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
Quote:

I don't consider this an "issue" in the sense of a neurosis. It's more of a feeler as to how to best fit in with a new culture.




Its not a 'new' culture. It is an activity participated in voluntarily by members of a culture you already deal with every day.

If anything, the MA environment tries to teach respect of self and others, and many who are drawn to it like it for that reason.

Personaly I would spend more time and energy on getting good at your art. I doubt anyone will talk behind your back for being gay, but not getting stuck in and devoting yourself to your training will probably raise a few eyebrows over time
_________________________
Don't let the door hit ya' where the good lord split ya'
http://cord.mybrute.com

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