I love slapping people.
It's fairly rare that the opportunity
to do so presents itself.
I have a strict policy of no men being present in the room during the ladies-only class, but Miss Smurf has been after me for some time to put a guy in the fight suit and bring him in to let them practice striking a live human. So last weekend we finally did it.
Big J (not the same guy as Big Daddy J) put on the suit and choked our females then took his beating like a champ. However, one lady didn't feel comfortable striking him, so I offered to let her hit me instead. The price of admission, however, was that I was gonna slap the crap out of her. Now it might appear that I was just trying to slap somebody, which was probably not the case. Once one lady decided she was game, several others followed.
The truth of the matter is that after a lifetime of being told to play nice, hitting another person, even when being attacked, can be extremely difficult for female students. Learning how to hit an actual person instead of a pad is an important part of one's self defense education. It just so happens, however, if you slap a woman in the face & drag her around by her hair she tends to override her hesitation to strike pretty quickly. We weren't doing hair grabs that day, so I just made them close their eyes, gave them a good hard slap in the face & grabbed them by the throat. You should have seen them come after me! I was so proud. My right shin is all swollen and black and blue because they all kept kicking me there for some reason. That got old pretty quickly but, let's face it, I was not exactly in a position to complain.
Also, I'm happy to say that on a personal level it was an accomplishment to be the padded attacker. I ended up taking the role on so suddenly that all I had time to put on was head protection & a mouthpiece (hence the bruises) but I felt great anyway. I remember the first time I ever saw one of the padded suits in the first self defense seminar I ever attended. "That guy is crazy!" I thought. "I'd never do that!" Later I'd occasionally see instructors don them during training and even though I never expected to be that guy, I started to envy them a little for being willing to take some battering to help their students learn. Even through the suit you still get banged up. This year I decided I wanted to be that guy. The only rules I gave them were don't punch me in the throat and don't strike me in the back of the skull at the base (i.e., please don't kill me). And they didn't! So last weekend made me really happy both for my students and for myself.
2 THINGS I AM NOT LYING ABOUT:
1 - If you have an emotional meltdown in class and start crying, I don't mind. Neither does anybody else. I've done it. Loads of people have done it. Lizard brains are strong and they do what they want, when they want. In fact, watching people work through a post traumatic stress episode, come out of it, and then have the courage to come back to class to face the same situation again in an effort to master their fear is one of the most inspiring things I've ever seen. It makes me proud to work with them and pushes me to work to be a better instructor to be worthy of training with them.
2 - I respect people who refuse to participate in class when they feel unsafe or overwhelmed by what we're doing on the mat. Think about it: everyone else in the room is doing the technique, rooting each other on, etc. And one person stands there and says "Nope. I'm not doing that." It takes a certain amount of backbone to be the only one who won't go along, and I like people with a backbone.