Sometimes teaching is so much fun and the best part is often watching the students figure stuff out as they're doing it. Remembering the times I've done that myself and looking forward to doing it again - its watching people give themselves over to learning that makes me excited to go to class.
A couple of fun things happened the other night. First I'll say that we don't get much direct hands-on contact in level 1 against a strongly resisting opponent. Our focus is more on teaching basic techniques, getting people up to a fitness level that will allow them to perform, and instilling a fighting spirit. We strike pads & choke each other, but we don't get down & get funky too much.
So sometimes just for fun I'll very quickly show people some basic ground positions (usually mount, guard, half guard, and side guard if I remember that one). Then I'll set them up on their knees with their partner & say "GO". I tell them not to try to finish anyone off, the goal is just to "dominate your opponent". Once you've accomplished that just reset & go again. The real goal, of course, is to get them used to putting hands on someone who is actively trying to make them submit. I stole this from Matt, btw.
So on to the fun things: #1 - Girls always look pissed off when they do this exercise. Guys can usually keep a pretty passive face or even grin like a monkey the whole time, but girls generally look like they're about to pop. This is true of myself as well, I can't keep a neutral face & perform well. So you'd think I'd know this but the other day these 2 girls were wrassling & it was ON. You'd think they had a vendetta. I almost stopped them a couple of times because I was so sure they had really become really angry with each other. Once I finally made them stop they started laughing & hugging & giving each other feedback on how to do better in the next round.
2# - Similar situation with the guys. I'm walking around monitoring, mostly just making sure nobody kills their partner when I come upon a couple of guys. One has the other in a fierce headlock on the ground. He is cranking hard. I say, "Time! What are you doing?!" The guy looks at me like it's Christmas morning & I'm Santa Claus and says, "I'M DOMINATING!" His opponent/partner, who can now breathe again laughs and agrees. Everyone is being such a good sport, it was just awesome.
At the end of class a female who had been unable to perform a technique in spite of several tries pointed out her failure. The Dominator said (and this is all in caps because he bellowed the whole thing), "THAT'S OKAY! I FAIL ALL THE TIME! I FAIL AND I FAIL AND I FAIL AND THEN I WIN! I FAIL AND THEN I DOMINATE! YES!"
I guess I'm really writing all this because I'm so grateful in general for my students right now and for this class in particular. I confess I'm a little stressed out lately. But every class I get to see people struggle and triumph or resolve to try again. They face their fears, they help each other, they forgive readily the random accidental smack in the face. They work hard and with a great attitude.
So, thanks y'all for showing me for showing me the best of yourselves and making me excited to come back and do it all again.