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I was curious to hear how people train their killer mentality without actually taking it out on their training partners. I dont really subscribe to the barbarian/berserker mentality for my fighters as I feel it can make them sloppy and tend towards too much emotion in a fight. I do however put out the though of being more like what we imagine a serial killer to be like. Picture more Dexter vs Conan and youll get the idea. If you can get past the serial killer term, the idea is to be calm and collected while still maintaining that killer attitude. Why I think this works well is it becomes a dimmer switch in training, with my people being able to turn it up or down depending on what they are faced with. The hardest part is to figure how much or how little to apply in sparring. Even there though the attitude of being a serial killer still works and even allows for the person to scale it back. The part thats most important and the part even I still work on is the clinical detachment while maintaining the killer aspects. So how do you do it? 

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I 100% get what you're getting at with the Dexter vs. Conan example, but I chafe at the serial killer comparison because I believe you have to actually be quite empathetic to be a good fighter. You have to know what fear and pain and shame feel like to be able to impart them on your opponent - and to a softer degree your partner in training scenarios. But yes, definitely not the "beast mode" of the Conan approach.

I've found that for myself, a degree of insistence is what works the best for me in training. I'm slightly pissed off, but not in a way that's directed at anyone or anything. It's just that my version of slightly pissed allows me to let go of judgement, I think. There is a kind of Hannibal Lector quality to feeling the emotional and energy state of your partner and calmly guiding them toward the deep end. Like, "you look close to quitting, let me just nudge you a bit." I've personally had a hard time learning how to have that "killer instinct," or your version of a kind of sociopathic instinct, in aiding your partner's weaknesses because it feels shitty. For a very long time, if I knew that what I was doing was putting my partner in an emotionally difficult place, I'd back off. Even though in part of my mind I know that's no favor at all. There's a fighter at my gym who is the universal little brother. He's literally the little brother of one fighter, but he's the youngest (without being the 7-8 year olds, who are kind of their own set), and he's a butterball who gives up and hates being tired, so Kru Nu is always working to toughen him up. Like, if he can't finish the morning run in 1 hour, he has to run more. A few times, he's been running on the road, all of us in the van with the doors open just kind of crawling alongside him. It's punishment, for sure, but it's not just him. If Alex comes in behind so-and-so, he has to run extra or do pushups or whatever also, and he's kind of a "star" of the gym.

So, I struggle with this because I have a compassionate impulse to get out and run with the little brother. Just so he has a partner, a friend, something to make it less all-eyes-on-you. But I also know that a lesson is being taught and by jumping out and doing that, it comes off as "motherly," which I 1 million percent do not want to associate myself with in the gym. It's that same struggle when I feel my partners wanting to quit, or having a hard time, or hitting an emotional wall. I've been there. And I've had people ease up on me - so I know that just lets me stay exactly how I am. And I've had people not ease up, and I know that helps me grow. So, it's a weird version of "serial killer compassion," as it were. 

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11 hours ago, Coach James Poidog said:

I was curious to hear how people train their killer mentality without actually taking it out on their training partners

In my mind, I'm bashing your face in. People that know me, reckon they can tell, when I switch on the killer as you put it, James. They say they see it my eyes. I seem to flow better when I put it on. 

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9 hours ago, Jeremy Stewart said:

In my mind, I'm bashing your face in. People that know me, reckon they can tell, when I switch on the killer as you put it, James. They say they see it my eyes. I seem to flow better when I put it on. 

I think most people do. The "game face" as its called. I always wondered how deep people went though. In a fight, its pretty much kill mentality until the bell or your opponent is unconcious. How does one train that with control? What are the visual or auditory cues to get you to scale it back before you hurt a teammate? The reason I ask is because for everyone its different. Not the kill aspect but the control aspect. Also, we always hear about the different ways to condition our minds towards battle, but what about battle at the right time? 

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12 hours ago, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:

I 100% get what you're getting at with the Dexter vs. Conan example, but I chafe at the serial killer comparison because I believe you have to actually be quite empathetic to be a good fighter. You have to know what fear and pain and shame feel like to be able to impart them on your opponent - and to a softer degree your partner in training scenarios. But yes, definitely not the "beast mode" of the Conan approach.

I've found that for myself, a degree of insistence is what works the best for me in training. I'm slightly pissed off, but not in a way that's directed at anyone or anything. It's just that my version of slightly pissed allows me to let go of judgement, I think. There is a kind of Hannibal Lector quality to feeling the emotional and energy state of your partner and calmly guiding them toward the deep end. Like, "you look close to quitting, let me just nudge you a bit." I've personally had a hard time learning how to have that "killer instinct," or your version of a kind of sociopathic instinct, in aiding your partner's weaknesses because it feels shitty. For a very long time, if I knew that what I was doing was putting my partner in an emotionally difficult place, I'd back off. Even though in part of my mind I know that's no favor at all. There's a fighter at my gym who is the universal little brother. He's literally the little brother of one fighter, but he's the youngest (without being the 7-8 year olds, who are kind of their own set), and he's a butterball who gives up and hates being tired, so Kru Nu is always working to toughen him up. Like, if he can't finish the morning run in 1 hour, he has to run more. A few times, he's been running on the road, all of us in the van with the doors open just kind of crawling alongside him. It's punishment, for sure, but it's not just him. If Alex comes in behind so-and-so, he has to run extra or do pushups or whatever also, and he's kind of a "star" of the gym.

So, I struggle with this because I have a compassionate impulse to get out and run with the little brother. Just so he has a partner, a friend, something to make it less all-eyes-on-you. But I also know that a lesson is being taught and by jumping out and doing that, it comes off as "motherly," which I 1 million percent do not want to associate myself with in the gym. It's that same struggle when I feel my partners wanting to quit, or having a hard time, or hitting an emotional wall. I've been there. And I've had people ease up on me - so I know that just lets me stay exactly how I am. And I've had people not ease up, and I know that helps me grow. So, it's a weird version of "serial killer compassion," as it were. 

Thanks Sylvie, thats exactly the kind of personal explanation I was looking for from people when I wrote this. Ive had the same issues in training as well as being a coach. Even coaches need to exhibit this kind of mentality with fighters or people that too easily give up. Slippery slope for me as a coach. It means I have to really know the person Im pushing, what are their goals, how are they built mentally, and can I break the chains theyve developed without breaking them in the process. 

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4 minutes ago, Coach James Poidog said:

The reason I ask is because for everyone its different. Not the kill aspect but the control aspect. Also, we always hear about the different ways to condition our minds towards battle, but what about battle at the right time? 

A big variant is how Muay Thai teaches/trains domination, not aggression. You can use aggression to dominate, but only to a certain degree. You don't (often) get a "killer" mentality for this reason. It's all about controlling the other person, imposing yourself. This is really a different world than a lot of western thinking. But it's worth pointing out.

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6 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

A big variant is how Muay Thai teaches/trains domination, not aggression. You can use aggression to dominate, but only to a certain degree. You don't (often) get a "killer" mentality for this reason. It's all about controlling the other person, imposing yourself. This is really a different world than a lot of western thinking. But it's worth pointing out.

Totally agree. I think also western mentality has a lot of mix with domination and aggression. So many cant have one without the other, and that just in regular day life. The teaching of domination without aggression is such a huge aspect of martial arts. 

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29 minutes ago, Coach James Poidog said:

The teaching of domination without aggression is such a huge aspect of martial arts. 

Maybe there's a way in like this. Most of aggression = domination comes from imposing pain, or the idea of that. But, there are so many other things. I'm not going to let you breathe (when you want to), going about taking away someone's breathing pattern. I'm not going to let you stand where you want to, moving them off their spot when you see them settle. I'm not going to let you rhythm when you want to, or on your tempo. Just three.

1. look for breathing.

2. look for standing in a spot

3. look for rhythm

Many people don't ever really LOOK for those things, they aren't trained to do so. But, if you get them to start to see it, then it can become a target, even a fun target. And then they can feel how it is domination.

If you made a mental exercise. Walk into a room with people you are familiar with (work, the gym, school), and have a conversation with someone you know. But decide in advance to move them physically, while you are talking. Come with me, put your hand on their back, as we talk. Stop here, while we talk. Move them back, gently, while we talk. You use the customary space of talking to move the person, position them. This is fighting. If anyone did this exercise they would immediately understand domination without any aggression. Purposely interrupt someone every time they start talking in a conversation. You can do it rudely, or aggressively. This is counterstriking. This is breaking rhythm. It doesn't have to be aggressive, in fact it could be fun to see just how gently you can do it.

Sylvie in the few times she's taught would show how if you stand too close to someone when you are talking to them, they will move back. You can use this to steer someone, without them really realizing it. It's just using energy and proximity. Aggression is like the crudest tool in the box. I know you know all this, but just some random thoughts.

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15 hours ago, Coach James Poidog said:

I think most people do. The "game face" as its called. I always wondered how deep people went though. In a fight, its pretty much kill mentality until the bell or your opponent is unconcious. How does one train that with control? What are the visual or auditory cues to get you to scale it back before you hurt a teammate? The reason I ask is because for everyone its different. Not the kill aspect but the control aspect. Also, we always hear about the different ways to condition our minds towards battle, but what about battle at the right time? 

I have always had the ability to switch it on and off, as well as the mental clarity in training not to go over board on my partner. I really don't train it, I guess because of the areas I have lived the majority of my life in, you have to have it and keep it honed. So for me it is definitely a subconscious thing, no special mental exercises or physical cue training. I would make the assumption one of the visual cues associated with sparring would be the look of fear your partner may express orva look of surprise, like Whoah, Dude and audio cue would definitely an exacerbated sound of pain. I'm a very controlled type of person and never engender these experiences in a sparring partner unless they're being complete dicks.

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I am interested to read this.  I always thought of the killer instinct as more of a buried quality that is either there or not (perhaps dependent on trauma or some combination of genetics and nurture).   Then the instinct should be trained for self-control, but there are examples of people who don't like fighting but who must for economic reasons (in Western boxing; I'm not familiar with how people talk about it in Thailand.  You can distinguish domination from aggression and that is elegant but it still takes a certain amount of aggression to want to push people around.  You typical submissive person does not try that).  I've definitely seen fighters at the gym quit fighting cause eh, they are not really fighters?  Too sweet?  Have you had athletes you could not bring this out in?  Is this why you ask the question, James?  

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38 minutes ago, threeoaks said:

You can distinguish domination from aggression and that is elegant but it still takes a certain amount of aggression to want to push people around.  You typical submissive person does not try that).

Hmmm. If you are responding to my thought experiment it really shouldn't involve pushing people around anywhere. The whole idea is to develop a sense of domination, which is really just control over your environment, submissive people are also trying to control their environment as well, they do it hrough submission. In my example this is done without aggression, which means you aren't pushing against anything. A good example I can take from my bartender years. I used to bar tend during some shifts in NY in a very small service bar (making drinks for waiters) where customers would come and kind of corner me, and talk to me. Ha, I'm not the talkative bartender type at all. One night I just decided to see if I could move the person in front of me who was jabbering away - it really was only maybe 4 feet across, the little bar space, I tried to move them to the left and to the right. I would talk to them and look off center, slightly to their left to move them slowly across the bartop, and then slightly to the right, and like a cat with a laser they would move to be in front of my gaze. I felt trapped, it was my degree of freedom. I wasn't really pushing them. I'm not sure that classifies as aggression. Maybe? But, I think it's something far below aggression. It's just the natural desire to control the environment, and there are many ways to do it. Not just aggressively.

When a fighter like Samart is just drifting backwards, teep juggling his opponent over and over, looking bored, leading them quietly around the ring like a dog on a leash, is this aggression? There are moments of aggression in his style to be sure, but the domination he exhibits is the same as me looking to the right, and to the left. I think the confusion is the idea that as a fighter you need to tap into some fundamental, probably repressed aggression, and then stay in this aggro state for long stretches, in order to fight. No, not really. Not in Thai style at least. You have to learn how to control the space, control your opponent, and control yourself. Yes, you can use aggression. Yes, you can tap into repressed energies, as a tool, but it isn't fundamentally that. I think there is a lot of misleading about aggression in fighting, it necessity, etc. Is there fighting with absolutely ZERO aggression, probably not. But if you watch some of Somrak's fights you seem almost none. Dieselnoi when asked about Somrak said: He's a tall person who refuses to fight you!!! And basically implied, he's a nightmare for that reason.

This stuff goes way, way back for Thailand. The oldest recorded fight between a farang and a Thai is from the 18th century when a French Man challenged a royal champion. The Thai champion just retreated (and probably teeped and whatnot) the French boxer became totally enraged. It was so humiliating that the Frenchman's brother then apparently hopped into the ring to simultaneously attack the Thai. I wonder who was dominating whom?

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27 minutes ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

Hmmm. If you are responding to my thought experiment it really shouldn't involve pushing people around anywhere. The whole idea is to develop a sense of domination, which is really just control over your environment, submissive people are also trying to control their environment as well, they do it hrough submission. In my example this is done without aggression, which means you aren't pushing against anything. A good example I can take from my bartender years. I used to bar tend during some shifts in NY in a very small service bar (making drinks for waiters) where customers would come and kind of corner me, and talk to me. Ha, I'm not the talkative bartender type at all. One night I just decided to see if I could move the person in front of me who was jabbering away - it really was only maybe 4 feet across, the little bar space, I tried to move them to the left and to the right. I would talk to them and look off center, slightly to their left to move them slowly across the bartop, and then slightly to the right, and like a cat with a laser they would move to be in front of my gaze. I felt trapped, it was my degree of freedom. I wasn't really pushing them. I'm not sure that classifies as aggression. Maybe? But, I think it's something far below aggression. It's just the natural desire to control the environment, and there are many ways to do it. Not just aggressively.

When a fighter like Samart is just drifting backwards, teep juggling his opponent over and over, looking bored, leading them quietly around the ring like a dog on a leash, is this aggression? There are moments of aggression in his style to be sure, but the domination he exhibits is the same as me looking to the right, and to the left. I think the confusion is the idea that as a fighter you need to tap into some fundamental, probably repressed aggression, and then stay in this aggro state for long stretches, in order to fight. No, not really. Not in Thai style at least. You have to learn how to control the space, control your opponent, and control yourself. Yes, you can use aggression. Yes, you can tap into repressed energies, as a tool, but it isn't fundamentally that. I think there is a lot of misleading about aggression in fighting, it necessity, etc. Is there fighting with absolutely ZERO aggression, probably not. But if you watch some of Somrak's fights you seem almost none. Dieselnoi when asked about Somrak said: He's a tall person who refuses to fight you!!! And basically implied, he's a nightmare for that reason.

This stuff goes way, way back for Thailand. The oldest recorded fight between a farang and a Thai is from the 18th century when a French Man challenged a royal champion. The Thai champion just retreated (and probably teeped and whatnot) the French boxer became totally enraged. It was so humiliating that the Frenchman's brother then apparently hopped into the ring to simultaneously attack the Thai. I wonder who was dominating whom?

Yeah I guess I see passive aggression as aggression flat out.  My point of view comes from being annoyed at American white females for using the tool of victim behavior as a powerful weapon.  I love passive aggression in, like you say, the Samart backing up, the Thai Champion enraging the French boxer, and you as a bartender. I do it myself.  I just think on a meta level there is a habit of princessy victimhood in my own culture (and i don't exempt myself) that can be remedied by experience of harnessing direct aggression (hence my posing martial arts for women).  You can expand the phenomenon of aligning with the powerful, acting submissive to do it and throwing other to the winds (aka cultural passive aggression) in early U.S. voting rights (black women didn't get the vote - who did that?  White women), current states overturning abortion laws (all white women doing it, disproportionately affects women of color).  But I am going far afield from James' question.   Sorry James. My final thought is one has to be able to use all kinds of concealed and overt aggression in life and in fighting, and not rely on just one.

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1 hour ago, threeoaks said:

I am interested to read this.  I always thought of the killer instinct as more of a buried quality that is either there or not (perhaps dependent on trauma or some combination of genetics and nurture).   Then the instinct should be trained for self-control, but there are examples of people who don't like fighting but who must for economic reasons (in Western boxing; I'm not familiar with how people talk about it in Thailand.  You can distinguish domination from aggression and that is elegant but it still takes a certain amount of aggression to want to push people around.  You typical submissive person does not try that).  I've definitely seen fighters at the gym quit fighting cause eh, they are not really fighters?  Too sweet?  Have you had athletes you could not bring this out in?  Is this why you ask the question, James?  

I've always thought the same. You either have it buried somewhere inside you or you don't.  Some people fake it but they come undone especially when things don't go there way.

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48 minutes ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

This stuff goes way, way back for Thailand. The oldest recorded fight between a farang and a Thai is from the 18th century when a French Man challenged a royal champion. The Thai champion just retreated (and probably teeped and whatnot) the French boxer became totally enraged. It was so humiliating that the Frenchman's brother then

That really exemplifies the western idea of domination.  It's really a macho thing. I myself like the I will get you to do what I want with out you even realising it was my idea and not your own. To me that is real domination and control of your environment.  However when it comes to physical confrontation I am the total opposite,  I like to impose my will and assert my dominance in a quick and timely fashion, there is very little subtlety involved.

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On 6/8/2019 at 5:41 PM, Coach James Poidog said:

I was curious to hear how people train their killer mentality without actually taking it out on their training partners. I dont really subscribe to the barbarian/berserker mentality for my fighters as I feel it can make them sloppy and tend towards too much emotion in a fight. I do however put out the though of being more like what we imagine a serial killer to be like. Picture more Dexter vs Conan and youll get the idea. If you can get past the serial killer term, the idea is to be calm and collected while still maintaining that killer attitude. Why I think this works well is it becomes a dimmer switch in training, with my people being able to turn it up or down depending on what they are faced with. The hardest part is to figure how much or how little to apply in sparring. Even there though the attitude of being a serial killer still works and even allows for the person to scale it back. The part thats most important and the part even I still work on is the clinical detachment while maintaining the killer aspects. So how do you do it? 

makoto_horimatsu_20190606205819.png

I am interested to read you understand this as a trainable quality rather than something you have innately or not.  I would love to read your experience with bringing it out in people (though I know you are asking for others’ point of view).

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13 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

Maybe there's a way in like this. Most of aggression = domination comes from imposing pain, or the idea of that. But, there are so many other things. I'm not going to let you breathe (when you want to), going about taking away someone's breathing pattern. I'm not going to let you stand where you want to, moving them off their spot when you see them settle. I'm not going to let you rhythm when you want to, or on your tempo. Just three.

1. look for breathing.

2. look for standing in a spot

3. look for rhythm

Many people don't ever really LOOK for those things, they aren't trained to do so. But, if you get them to start to see it, then it can become a target, even a fun target. And then they can feel how it is domination.

I know you know all this, but just some random thoughts.

Real good thoughts, and no I dont necessarily know this either or maybe I do but its not foremost in my brain at the moment, so its great to see it written out. Its just excellent tactical training. Maybe thats it too, tactical is domination without necessarily having aggression.   

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4 hours ago, threeoaks said:

 Have you had athletes you could not bring this out in?  Is this why you ask the question, James?  

I ask outve general curiosity because Ive actually had so many different people exhibit different responses to this. Yes, Ive definitely had people that couldnt (or maybe wouldnt) tap into this and Ive had some that tapped into it too much lol. I was the latter and more conan but had to learn to be more dexter. Im definitely someone that can scale back my aggression and domination depending on the person's needs in front of me. And thats how I see it too. From a coach's perspective, its about the needs of my students. Thats also part of why I ask these things, to be able to use what I find here for them. Currently, I have one fighter that has as close to a perfect mentality when it comes to this as Ive ever encountered. He is just that way as a human. Rarely gets overtly emotional, but can show as needed. Hes easily able to be dominant with clinical detachment. He keeps that detachment even when its not going his way. In his last fight he got his nose broken during the second round. It wasnt until the end after finishing his opponent that he then asked me "Hey coach, can you look at my nose? Is it crooked?". He knew something was wrong but just put it aside til the job was done. I find all of that, all of this psychology fascinating. 

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3 hours ago, threeoaks said:

But I am going far afield from James' question.   Sorry James. My final thought is one has to be able to use all kinds of concealed and overt aggression in life and in fighting, and not rely on just one.

No, thats the point of these actually. Just let it spill out lol. Its like round table discussions. The idea is to pose something and see what comes out. Thanks for being such a good interactive person. I for one appreciate it. 

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3 hours ago, threeoaks said:

I am interested to read you understand this as a trainable quality rather than something you have innately or not.  I would love to read your experience with bringing it out in people (though I know you are asking for others’ point of view).

This is ongoing for me. Ive had success and failure with this, which is why I pose the question to fish and see if theres anything I can use to be more succesful with it. Kevin gave gold in what he said above which will definitely help me with people that dont necessarily like the agression aspects of fighting (negative connotations to their past, etc). Being able to teach them how to be dominant (positive) without the aggression (negative) is an excellent skill set I can develop further because of the things you guys have said. 

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19 hours ago, Coach James Poidog said:

Kevin gave gold in what he said above which will definitely help me with people that dont necessarily like the aggression aspects of fighting (negative connotations to their past, etc). Being able to teach them how to be dominant (positive) without the aggression (negative) is an excellent skill set I can develop further because of the things you guys have said. 

My spinoff thoughts on this!

 

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