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He’ll Be Wrestling With That Lesson For A While

, , , , , , | Learning | December 11, 2021

Just out of college, I took a job teaching high school and served as assistant wrestling coach for a couple of years. For some reason, we got more than our share of students with “questionable” decision-making skills.

We were hosting a tri-match. For those unfamiliar, three teams compete in three sessions to produce three separate team results. In the first match, the wrestler from Team 1 competes against his counterpart from Team 2, in the next, it’s 1 versus 3, then 2 versus 3, and then it repeats. The second round starts off with 1 versus 3, then 2 versus 3, then 1 versus 2, etc., until everyone has wrestled twice. Obviously, some wrestlers compete in consecutive rounds while some get the middle round off.

We were about to start the second round when we noticed that the boy scheduled for the third match, who had already had a tough bout in round one, wasn’t present. I found him in the locker room, just finishing wolfing down a sub sandwich. This was not one of the ones you get from a well-known national sandwich chain; rather this was from a local shop that made large, heavy, greasy products. When I yelled at him, he responded:

Boy: “But Coach, I was hungry!”

I dragged him back to the gym and let the coach know what was up. He just shook his head and told the gourmand to get ready. I didn’t think anything of it when he went over to the other coach and spoke briefly.

Two matches later, it was time for our hero to take the mat. Having already competed for six hard minutes, with insufficient warmup, a stomach full of heavy food, and a REALLY strong opponent, the inevitable happened. Forty-eight seconds into the second period, the sandwich made its technicolor reappearance. It was obvious he had barely masticated it as we could identify individual components.

During the break for cleaning the mat (and forfeiting the match), the coach turned to the squad and pointed out that one should not eat right before wrestling. Fifteen minutes later, the meet continued.

After everything was wrapped up and the coach and I were walking out, I asked him if he’d told the other team’s coach about our wrestler’s condition.

Coach: *Smiling* “That would be unethical.”

Have You Tried A Punching Bag, Instead?

, , , , , , , | Learning | November 19, 2021

I took Tae Kwon Do for several years until I left for college, and at the time of this story, I was either a belt away from my black belt or had just gotten my first Dan. I was studying Olympic-style Tae Kwon Do, which is more sport than defensive art. Its sparring rules are designed to encourage interesting fights to watch more than to teach practical defense. Because of this, a number of things that are practical in a real fight, like grappling and punching, are either illegal or unable to score points when sparring.

Recently, we had a new person taking classes: an old friend of the person who ran the dojo who already had a black belt and training in a few different martial arts. He was always trying to get people to agree to bend the sparring rules to allow things he was taught but aren’t legal in our sparring, like grappling or punching to the head. By itself, this wouldn’t be too big a problem, except he wasn’t very good at taking no for an answer and would try to use these techniques even when his sparring partner didn’t agree to change the rules. He only did it with advanced belts and did it infrequently enough that, while annoying, it never quite reached the level of his being properly punished. Being friends with the owner likely helped him, as well.

On the day of this story, more for fun than anything else, we were doing two-on-one sparring matches, with two lower belts against one higher belt. I was going up against our master’s friend and had been paired up with a young girl who had only been sparring for a little while and still had the hesitancy that is often seen in new sparrers. While in a real fight, two on one is a massive advantage given the rules and limits of sparring, and with my partner’s lack of experience or aggression, I didn’t think she would be able to contribute much to the match. That meant the fight would mostly come down to me versus my opponent, who was far more experienced, which meant we would almost certainly lose the match.

I was worried that my new partner would be intermediated if our foe started using illegal moves she wasn’t ready to deal with, so before the match started, I politely reminded him that we wanted to stick to legal moves only without any of the stuff he liked to add.

My opponent seemed to take this as a challenge; the very moment the fight started, he dive-tackled me and grappled me to the floor. Not only was this illegal, but it was also rather foolish, as it put him on the ground and tied up with me while my partner was still free. Rather than trying to break his grapple, I instead did my best to tangle his legs and arms up with me so he couldn’t get up and told my partner to start kicking him while was defenseless. He had just turned an almost guaranteed win if he had just followed the rules into a rather inglorious defeat at the hands (feet?) of someone barely experienced enough to be allowed to spar at all.

Luckily for him, my partner seemed to realize how unfair the situation was, and as I said, she wasn’t remotely aggressive, so her “kicks” were barely more than taps, more demonstrating the damage she could do than really trying to inflict harm. Despite this, I could see our opponent growing increasingly infuriated with every strike.

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I wasn’t able to keep my opponent tangled on the floor forever. Eventually, he managed to untangle himself and get up, at which point he went at my partner full force. He was clearly angry and not holding back nearly as much as an experienced black belt should against a newbie sparrer. I was honestly worried he would hurt my partner, so I rushed to get up and knock him away from her with a push kick so I could get between the two of them. Luckily, time ran out seconds after I’d knocked him away and the match ended before anyone was hurt.

My partner wasn’t badly hurt; he had landed a few very solid blows on her padding that winded her, but they didn’t cause any lasting harm. She was, however, terrified and upset at having been chased down and so viciously focused on, and I still wonder if he would have harmed her if it wasn’t for my intervention and time running out. As far as I was concerned, he had gone too far this time.

Despite being nothing more than a high school student, I went against my instincts and spoke to my master about his friend and my concerns after class was over that night. He agreed with me that his friend had pushed too far this time and told me he planned to have a “talk” with his friend. I don’t know what that talk entailed, but I noticed that the friend stopped coming to class not long after that.

Dad Gets An F

, , , , , , , , | Right | September 15, 2021

I work in the childcare area at a gym. There is a three-year-old who is walking around flipping off the teachers and other kids in the room. He also has said, “F*** you,” to a few of the kids. When the parents pick him up, I have a conversation with them. 

Me: “Hi there, I hope your workout was good. Can we chat really quick?”

Mom: “What’s up?”

Me: *In a quiet voice* “I just wanted to make you aware that we had a few problems today with [Child]. He was flipping off some of the teachers and other kids, and I caught him using the F-word.”

Mom looks baffled and Dad has an “Oh, crap!” expression on his face.

Mom:What?! That’s impossible! He doesn’t even know that word. I’m home all day with him and I don’t use that word! There’s no way he used that word or flipped anyone off.”

Mom continues to rant at me, implying that I’m not telling the truth.

Dad: *To their son* “Were you flipping people off and saying ‘f***’?”

Son: “Uh-huh!”

Mom: *To her son* “Where did you learn that from?!”

Son: “From Dad when he yells at other cars!”

Dad looked like he wanted the ground to open up and swallow him, and Mom stopped yelling. They quickly left, with Mom now yelling at Dad.

Your Lack Of Motivation Is Not My Problem

, , , , , , | Friendly | September 15, 2021

I’ve been training for an upcoming charity obstacle course. Luckily, there is a circuit class running on a field right by my house. I’m early and watching over the equipment while the trainer runs home to fetch something.

A middle-aged woman walks over to me.

Woman: “Do you have to do that here?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Woman: “The running around.”

Me: “Oh, the class? It’s not mine, actually. I just attend.”

Woman: “Well, you shouldn’t! It makes me feel bad.”

Me: “It what?”

Woman: “I can see you all from my house, running and jumping around. It makes me feel bad about myself.”

Me: “Okay? I mean, you could join us. First lesson is free.”

Woman: “No. Why should I? You should just stop!”

Me: “Okay, I’m not going to bother talking with you anymore. If you don’t like it, don’t watch.”

The houses aren’t even close by; she must have been straining to see us. I turned back to see her kick a medicine ball out of frustration only for her to hurt her foot and limp the long walk back to her house.

She Gets A Lot Of Exercise By Running (Her Mouth)

, , , , , | Friendly | September 8, 2021

I’m a bit of a fitness nut. I’m not in the best shape, but I’m fit and I enjoy it. I’ve only ever trained at home, and a new outdoor class is really popular online, so I email the instructor and turn up for the next session 

I catch up with the instructor before the lesson, explain who I am, and tell her that this is my first fitness class. She puts me near the other newbies and tells me to follow along as best as possible.

One newbie has overheard my conversation. 

Newbie: “Hi, I’m [Newbie]. This is my fourth week. It seems pretty intense, but you can stop for breaks whenever you want.”

Throughout, [Newbie] offers “advice” on how I should be doing the moves, although I’m sure I am doing just fine. [Newbie] is barely managing herself.

At the end, [Newbie] gives me her evaluation, which I didn’t ask for.

Newbie: “Not bad, but try to get the moves right and your knees up. I would say you did okay.”

Instructor: “Amazing first session. Are you sure you’ve never done this before?”

Me: “It’s my first proper class; I’ve done plenty of virtual stuff.”

Instructor: “Seriously, absolutely great. Not a thing wrong. [Newbie], could we try to be a bit more controlled in our movements?”

The instructor walks off. [Newbie] isn’t happy with me.

Newbie: “You lied. You made me look stupid!”

Me: “No, you were listening in on someone else’s conversation and made yourself look stupid.”