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Getting pushed around

(23 Posts)
wishihadacat Fri 05-Jun-15 20:16:36

I joined a martial arts class and really enjoy it BUT there is a woman there who is a problem to me. She is pretty much a beginner like me but she wants to tell me where to stand, pulls me by the sleeve or shoulder to stand in front of her (I think she likes to stand at the back of the class so that she can copy others in front of her in case she makes a mistake in front of the instructor). She constantly refers to me (I'm in my late middle age) as 'Darling'. She is overbearing and almost threatens me, saying that she used to do martial arts and was really good then, that she likes to punch people and hammer them (while looking at me pointedly!) She says she is a born winner and in fact does seem to usually win most things she does.

I'm a quiet kind of person and I'd normally keep away from someone like that but I can't - because we are at the same level I have to stand near her.

I really like everyone else in the club and don't want to leave, but my heart sinks when I see that she is training on the same day as me. I don't know what to say because I don't want a scene - I'm mortified by the idea that people will know I can't deal with her and think I am a wimp! I've tried to get on with her but I think she has decided I'm someone she can push around and she seems to like to do that. Everyone else seems to like her but I don't see her being with them the way she is with me. I'm embarrassed - I haven't been bullied like this since I was a child!
How can I deal with this as an adult without it becoming a scene?

Casimir Fri 05-Jun-15 20:21:06

Martial arts. Accidental palm strike to the face. Apologise profusely. Look her right in the eye so she knows.

ItsTricky Fri 05-Jun-15 20:21:39

Quiet word with the teacher/leader?

Jelliebabe1 Fri 05-Jun-15 20:27:45

When she next tells you to move or do something just say "no that's fine I'm okay here thank you". And if she refers to being better again just say " well we're both the same level here ". Can you chum up with someone who's at your level and ask to partner them if you need to pair up? Might just help to distance you! Good luck.

wishihadacat Fri 05-Jun-15 20:32:33

I wish I had the confidence and skill to do as Casimir suggests. But its not me.
.....All my excuses and 'yes, but's

The5DayChicken Fri 05-Jun-15 20:34:55

"I'm not a child and you're not the instructor". I doubt she'll want to cause a scene if you say it to her plainly.

wishihadacat Fri 05-Jun-15 20:36:55

I'm feeling better already. There are things I can say and do. Many thanks all.

SorchaN Fri 05-Jun-15 20:45:15

I wouldn't want someone to pull my sleeve or put their hands on me in any way (except in the context of the sport). If she's grabbing your sleeve, just say "Don't grab my sleeve." If she tells you where to stand, just say, "Actually, I'm going to stand here." Ignore the boasting - just pretend you can't hear her.

She pushes you around because she can, and the only way to get her to stop is to be polite but firm. It takes practice (can you practice with a friend?) - but it does work. Sometimes it helps to practice specific phrases, like "Don't do that; I don't like it." If she does it again, repeat: "Don't do that; I don't like it."

I think in situations like this it helps to imagine the other person as a two year-old. Set clear boundaries and stick to them, and it shouldn't take long for her behaviour to change.

hiddenhome Fri 05-Jun-15 21:09:02

Martial Arts aren't about fighting. They're supposed to follow the path of wisdom, peace and self control. Development of the mind is as important as development of the body. She's a total arse and should join a boxing club, or perhaps do some cage fighting.

I agree that you need to be assertive and direct. Look her directly in the eye and tell her to stop. Don't apologise or even be polite. Tell her she needs to stop it right now.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Fri 05-Jun-15 21:16:05

Have a word with the sensei. She's aggressive, undisciplined and frankly a danger to herself and others.

Cinderling Fri 05-Jun-15 22:00:14

I'm a quiet kind of person and I'd normally keep away from someone like that ... I'm mortified by the idea that people will know I can't deal with her and think I am a wimp!

It's really obvious that you are a beginner wink In a couple of years time when you have a black belt you'll be very confident of your good judgement in steering clear of trouble instead of confronting it head on.

In the meantime work to your own strengths. By that I mean, say or do what feels ok to you and put the negative self-judgement aside. I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't confront the bully (it can be effective) just that you shouldn't put yourself down if you need to handle it a different way.

MrsNextDoor Fri 05-Jun-15 22:15:33

Just totally ignore her unless she touches you...then you pull your arm back violently and say "Get off me!!" in a loud, shocked voice.

People will look...keep looking at her and then say "Keep your hands to yourself!" and immediately put your back to her face. She won't try it again i promise.

Fatmomma99 Fri 05-Jun-15 23:54:30

I'm a bit smiling, iwishihadacat about a mousy lady doing self defense! Good for you flowers.

There's good advice here.

I'm sure if you are assertive you'll be pleasantly surprised. And "telling teacher" in this situation would be good too - they should intervene. I'm sure they don't want to lose you because you're too uncomfortable to attend their class.

Good luck and ker-pow!

wishihadacat Sat 06-Jun-15 10:51:44

I hesitated to post my problem on here because - yes, because I thought it was being a wimp to moan about this. I spend a lot of time, really, thinking I'm being a wimp - mm, I'm average looking, late middle aged, female, medium sized, don't like confrontation. I do not have the makings of a Bruce Lee! But I like the martial arts thing - I like that I'm getting a bit fitter and that I get to think differently about myself there - Like I could defend myself maybe if I couldn't run away and if I had to hit someone it might hurt them a bit now rather than make them laugh.

But this person was upsetting me because, I think, maybe I have made her an embodiment of all the negative stuff about myself - like she proves to me that no, I'm still the same wimp, always will be. I'm worried that soon I will have to do real sparring and get hit - maybe by her! Im worried that I will get punched and then wimp out and give up, which would upset me because I don't want to, I really value my martial arts lessons. Maybe the extent to which she upsets me is a good bit to do with me as well - not that what she does is OK, but the effect it has on me is not the one that perhaps it might have on others, because of all the mental stuff I have about being a wimp. I think about things too much.

I'm really grateful because everyone's advice on here is good and makes me think I'll be ok, there are things that I can do - I feel better about it now and I'm calmer. And Cinderling has opened my eyes really. I'm not as good today at martial arts as I might be in the future and that maybe includes my attitude. I'll try to keep away from her, not move when she tries to pull me about and say get off if I need to, and just focus on what I'm doing when I can't avoid her, unless something really outrageous happens and then I'll do some of the other assertive things above and have them rehearsed at home, just in case, so they are ready. Still not sure about 'telling teacher' though, but I'm not discounting it. What will he think of me? Not sure I can face it.

I'm glad I did post on here as you have all helped me a lot - more than I thought might happen really. Many thanks all.

Silvercatowner Sat 06-Jun-15 12:21:09

I'm average looking, late middle aged, female, medium sized, don't like confrontation Hmmm..... me too. I might try this. Thanks OP.

Cinderling Sat 06-Jun-15 16:49:53

Good to hear that you have some strategies prepared and feel a bit more confident about it.

I was being a bit tongue in cheek in my post. What I was trying to say is that you already have some of the skills that other people don't learn without years of training. Seriously, the physical skill set is only a small part of it - the cop on and good sense that you already have is only going to make you more formidable as you progress. At the moment you think you're wimp because you feel like you don't have a choice, or that you don't have the power to do anything else.

I'm sure you've seen the karate kid at some stage? What do you think lovely Mr. Miyagi would do? Probably the same thing as you - put space between himself and trouble, ignore as much as possible, realize that it was her problem not his, and only deal with it on a physical level if he was left with no other choice.

Don't completely rule out a quiet word with the teacher. They are generally well used to idiots with attitude and don't appreciate them. Generally speaking, and while there are exceptions, people who train extensively in martial arts don't particularly want to teach bullies/ street thugs/ muggers etc skills to make them more effective at hurting other people. Teachers want to impart skills but also the judgement, wisdom and self-control to use them as little as possible. However, in some dojos exceptions are made for cutting idiots like this down to size.

Good luck and please do post back in a couple of months when you wipe the floor with her

wishihadacat Sun 07-Jun-15 07:15:40

Cinderling Thankyou for writing this lovely post. You are a bit of a Mr Miyagi yourself!
And Silvercatowner - despite what I've said about this one person who is difficult, martial arts classes (karate in my case) are fantastic - fun, challenging and absorbing. I think you'll like it if you go.

Psipssina Sun 07-Jun-15 07:47:17

I'd mention it to the instructor.

Seriously. They can have a word - they won't be afraid of her and will keep an eye on what goes on and probably put her in her place.

It sounds really unpleasant.

Don't threaten her or slap her or anything. She'll just take it as an affront and up her game. She sounds like a jerk.

Littlegreyauditor Sun 07-Jun-15 10:26:14

You get people like this in martial arts OP, all attitude and bullshit. Invariably they like to throw their weight around and hit hard. Also, inevitably, they don't like to be hit themselves.

When I was teaching I used to let one of my junior black belts loose on them, preferably a tiny teenaged girl, particularly if they were an arsey, mouthy bloke. Not to hurt them, of course, merely to remind them that the most unexpected people can put you in your place.

I know you don't want to tell tales, but it is possible in a big class for subtle arseyness to go unnnoticed, so draw attention to it. Loudly. "Why are you grabbing my arm?" declared in a strident tone, or "Stop pushing me around".

If it's any consolation her type rarely lasts long once the gradings get harder and her victims get a bit of confidence. I always find it is the quiet, self contained types who end up the most lethal. wink

Good luck with your training OP. Don't let this tinpot terrorist hold you back.

nectarina Sun 07-Jun-15 10:54:52

I think if you were to see this as part of the training - an opportunity to face your fears of feeling like a wimp, it would help you loads. You can do it.

wishihadacat Sun 07-Jun-15 18:53:25

Yes, I'm actually starting to see this as more about me needing to alter, not her. Keep out of the way, keep myself focussed on what I'm there to do, use the strategies above if I have to, speak up if I need to and just keep going, doing more and thinking about bad things that might happen less. I've had a really fun time today at training - it was great and I came home buzzing. She wasn't there but I think I'm gaining perspective now and would have had fun even if she was.
So many thanks, everyone.

Clarella Sun 07-Jun-15 18:57:18

grin Casimir!

Ime in martial arts groups, a member like that is known to everyone, and many avoid training with them. I just used to smile and nod and make sure I didn't get paired / feign sudden sore knee. I don't know how easy that is in your group.

Clarella Sun 07-Jun-15 19:04:03

I agree with another poster that martial arts are not about the fight. There's an inner understanding especially about the purpose of the moves, and it is the embodiment of assertiveness - ie not being aggressive, not being passive but being assertive. She sounds aggressive, and hasn't got the whole point of martial arts.

Read about assertiveness (mood juice website is good) and try applying it to her.

Martial arts are great; it's so much more than the moves and exercise.

Funnily enough I'd like to go back to my training (3 years since due to ds and illness) but I know a similarly aggressive person now trains there (he'd trained there years ago, moved away and is back). I'm trying to muster the brain power to work out how to deal with him!

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