While reading Glenn Sack's blog today, I came across the following entry that was Glenn's take on an article Feminism may go too far in girls vs. boys. The author of the article writes about her experiences of watching a girls soccer team playing a boys soccer team, and how the girls used every physical tactic - including illegal and unsportsmanlike punching - possible while the boys appeared to hold back and not retaliate or play as physical as they would normally.
Glenn relates his own experiences with the following:
I had a vaguely similar experience playing against a girls' team when I was a kid. It was a soccer game between my team, probably consisting of 12 and 13-year-olds, against a girls' team from the next level up, probably 14 and 15-year-olds. I played goalkeeper, and with a few minutes left in the game their team broke through and a girl had the ball maybe about 20 feet in front of our goal.
I certainly wasn't the most athletic of goalkeepers. However, I was sure-handed and I knew how to position myself and break up plays from having played fullback/defense for many years. Normally in this situation I would charge and slide-tackle the opposing forward and knock the ball away. This time I rushed out to do it and, as I was about to slide into her, my guy programming kicked in and instead I slid off to the side, allowing her to score.
We lost the game by a goal and had to endure a bunch of "girl power/we beat the boys"-type celebrating. I've always been a pretty good sport about losing, but I remember watching this and thinking "Are you kidding me? Didn't you see me give away that goal?" I thought about saying something but realized that it would immediately be seen as boy-as-sore-loser-to-girls type sour grapes.
I experienced the exact same thing when I was a new student in my Kenpo self-defense class...
My first experience was learning a judo throw, the tomoe-nage. While serving as the "throwee" for a female student (who was higher ranked than I, I was a white belt that had just started training for only a month or so), and given that I had learned gymnastics when I was a young boy, I followed my natural instinct and "went" along with her attempt to apply the throw, and I literally used my own push off to somersault myself as she made her attempt to throw me. The result was I did a dramatic mid-air flip that made it look like she had thrown me with spectacular ease.
It looked even more dramatic when the other students training at the time did not have the advantage of such a willing (and capable) partner. Everyone else in the class, men and women alike, struggled with attempting this new technique. Had I simply relaxed and played the role of "dead weight" as the other partners did, her technique would not have looked anywhere near the results that happened when I "helped."
Yet the entire class and my instructor all gasped in amazement, and everyone began to congratulate her on her proficiency, and she literally basked in her false sense of achievement. And looking at her in the eyes, I know she knew I helped her...yet she ate up the praise and took all the credit.
A few months later, we had sparring training, where we would engage in "restrained-contact" kick boxing in full padded gear. This same girl asked if she could fight me. At that time, she was a green belt, which in our system, is a full 3 grades of skill level higher than a white belt...but when I stepped into the ring with her all geared up and we began to spar, I was tentative and psychologically inhibited by my misguided sense of chivalry....and I basically held back and half-heartedly engaged her.
She, on the other hand, opened up her entire arsenal of attacks and was easily declared the "winner" by my instructor afterwards.
A few months later, while our class was having an after-training party where we were all having drinks and socializing, she made some kind of comment about how she would beat me up again if I wised off to her. At THAT point, I made up my mind that the next time I was her partner, I would NOT make it easy for her, and if we were to ever spar again, I would forget the fact that she was a female and just let it go.
A short while later, my instructor set us up for another sparring session...except this time I went all out and unloaded on her at will. I absolutely outclassed her, despite the fact that she had been training for years while I was still a comparative newbie...the only difference was that I no longer held back. Her arrogant pride and condescension over having "beat" me previously overrode my chivalrous programming, and I beat her to tears...literally. She began crying after a few minutes in which I blocked and countered all of her attacks with ease. Now, it was "restrained" contact, so I never struck her with even 50% of my potential power, so I didn't physically hurt her. She was crying I think because here I was, a white belt newbie for which she had received her share of "YOU GO GIRL!" from our classmates and instructor because I had held back in our training and made her look far more effective than she really was. The thing is, she began to believe her own bullshit.
But when she faced me again, and I no longer felt obligated to be chivalrous, I quite simply destroyed her delusions with my naturally superior athletic ability and physical power.
The funny thing is, here I am, 10 years later, and I now teach my own class, and I have women of all ages as students...and more than a few of them are indeed "feminist" minded. Yet, when I teach my class, I make it a distinct point to disabuse these women of any and all notions that they can go toe-to-toe with a physically stronger and/or larger man and prevail simply because they've trained in my school. Some will argue with me...at first. But I've found that a first hand demonstration is the fastest way to open these ladies eyes to the difference between reality and feminist-inspired fantasy.