I often leave seminars with a feeling of ambivalence.
And this is exactly what happened last week as I attended a really good self-defense clinic about an hour away from my home.
The good feelings are usually first. They are a result of having just learned some great stuff, having met with some great martial artists, and having tons of exercise-induced endorphins pumping through my system.
What’s not to be happy about? Right?
Well, the second emotion that hits me is usually frustration with myself. And not because I’m overly critical with my technique--because I know that it is not perfect. Rather, the feeling is because I am upset with how I react to different training partners than those I am used to. As I have mentioned before, I train in a very small dojo, where one becomes very comfortable with one’s instructors and/or peers. When I am at a seminar, I train with many, many different people, and my reaction to this is very inconsistent. With some people, I feel immediately comfortable, and the mutual learning goes smoothly. With other partners, it is neutral, and likewise, the training remains solid. However, for some reason, with just a few, (and here is the crux of the matter), I get shy and even a bit intimidated at times. And not so much physically intimidated—the environment is always friendly--but rather socially intimidated. I start to feel awkward with my partner and am overly apologetic and/or overly polite. I get quiet and uncomfortable, and I'm generally a guy who is comfortable in most social situations. And this doesn’t go by rank, either. It could be while working with a white belt or fifth degree black.I guess I just worry about what ramifications this could have outside the dojo. Could it hurt my confidence in real life...? Could it make me a weaker person in a real confrontation...?
Or is it all just good for me. The whole overcoming one’s comfort zone etc. But it’s difficult to totally overcome, especially since opportunities for such group settings only come up every few months or so.