In my classes with teachers and anyone learning English, I try to teach them not to say “I don’t understand” because it blocks communication. What I mean is that by saying “I don’t understand” you throw up a wall and the person has to start all over again. Instead I try to have them rephrase or use words like “So what you mean is…” or “Do you mean…” so that they’re opening lines of communication rather than shutting down that avenue completely.
Sadly, what we preach is not always what we do. In my BJJ class I often find myself saying “I don’t understand.” Today I was aware of it, but I was also aware that I do certain things as defense mechanism. I have never been an athlete (except in college I did a massive amount of TKD), and the geek lifestyle is a bit…sedentary. Additionally, people with muscles are to be feared because they can beat up tiny geeks. People with muscles are the ones we got to mock for not being able to write an essay. Yay stereotypes! >_<
So in my classes I do feel DUMB. I feel like that stereotypical dumb jock who is trying to take Latin. Except now I’m the nerd girl doing a sport. Brain=smart. Body=dumb.
So right now when my instructor shows us moves I’m the idiot who has the blank look on my eyes. >_< Sigh. I’m really trying hard not to put a wall of communication up and instead today I started asking questions: “So we’re supposed to put our foot here, then push here, then turn here?” One point for the nerd girl.
In not-wholly-unrelated news, I am super excited. I just set up free private lessons for myself–one hour per week with a brown belt. Free because I’m trading him English lessons for BJJ lessons. Sometimes it really does pay to live in a foreign country! The cool thing is that he’s one of the top two belts at my specific school. He teaches the evening classes. So I’m going to be getting good quality instructions! Woo hoo! I’m so excited! That’s going to start in September. Score two for the nerd girl.
That’s what happens when a nerd girl goes about putting her brains to work in a sports class. She trades academia lessons for sports lessons. 🙂