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justwanttotrain 12-18-2008 05:37 PM

How to Say No
 
Hi,

I need to increase my repertoire of ways to say "no" to unwanted advances on the mat. The usual ways aren't working with one individual, who seems to think if he asks often enough, I'll cave. I'm happily married, but even if I weren't, I can safely say I'd have no interest in going out with this individual. He is married as well. We are about the same rank. I have gone as far as asking him to quit asking, which he agreed to do, but the next class he was back at it again. I haven't told anyone at the dojo about this and I don't think anyone has noticed. It's not the type of dojo where the sensei, the dojocho or the senior students would get involved on my behalf. I would rather this not be blown up into some big really ugly divisive issue, but it's getting really difficult to focus on training when I'm constantly dodging this guy.

So does anyone have any really good ways to say "no" that might stick?

Thanks!

NagaBaba 12-19-2008 09:43 AM

Re: How to Say No
 
Say 'no' very loudly in front of instructor and all classmates :)

dave9nine 12-19-2008 09:52 AM

Re: How to Say No
 
i agree with the above.....he only feels safe harrassing you because no one else notices....if you raise your voice to the extent that heads turn, he will (should) get the message....
good luck...

Janet Rosen 12-19-2008 09:54 AM

Re: How to Say No
 
" Mr. ___ , I am married and I'm here to train and if you do not stop bothering me I will report you to the head instructor." Delivered loudly and firmly. And never engage in ANY conversation with him, period. And back up your ultimatum by reporting it; it IS the instructor's business to know this is happening, even if you cannot make him deal with it.

Janet Rosen 12-19-2008 09:55 AM

Re: How to Say No
 
of course, this brooklyn girl wouldn't phrase it so nicely herself :-)

justwanttotrain 12-19-2008 10:14 AM

Re: How to Say No
 
OK, wait, wait, wait. I've conveyed the wrong message here. He isn't harassing me. He just wants me to go out with him, which isn't going to happen. And he keeps finding new ways of asking, which is annoying.

If this had happened at any of the dojos I previously trained in (in different cities), I could have asked one of the senior students or the dojocho to get him to quit. In this dojo, it's very clear that interpersonal relationships on and off the mat are the problem of the individuals. I've witnessed new students attempting to get help with more serious problems than this (like other students being too rough with them) and were told to "work it out".

So it's really up to me to back this guy off. Threatening to report him carries no weight, b/c he knows as well as I do that I'll just be told to "work it out". If I do it loudly or try to involve others, I believe the powers that be at this dojo would view it negatively b/c I would be distracting others from training. We're not supposed to be talking on the mat anyway. He's doing it under the radar. If I blow things up, it's me who is in trouble, not him.

So, I'm looking for the most final "no" I can find, that doesn't get me in trouble. Thanks for any and all advice.

Mark Gibbons 12-19-2008 10:28 AM

Re: How to Say No
 
Quote:

Anonymous User wrote: (Post 221430)
OK, wait, wait, wait. I've conveyed the wrong message here. He isn't harassing me. He just wants me to go out with him, which isn't going to happen. And he keeps finding new ways of asking, which is annoying.

So, I'm looking for the most final "no" I can find, that doesn't get me in trouble. Thanks for any and all advice.

From the description he is harrassing you. That's what the word means. Admitting it might help you solve the problem. I don't know how to say this nicely, but victims worry about getting in trouble when dealing with these situations. Getting in trouble by being open and loud about it will at least have other people watching what is going on. Janet had good advice.

Mark

brunotex 12-19-2008 10:32 AM

Re: How to Say No
 
The next time you practice with him, "unintentionally" slap him in the face, kick him, or scratch his face. At least 3 times...

Apologize a hundred times, and tell him that you are not focused on the technique because you are tired of thinking a definitive way to say "no" to him...

I have seen that work out really well....

Robert Jackson 12-19-2008 10:52 AM

Re: How to Say No
 
Be loud, be vocal, be very direct, make sure the Chief Instructor know whats going on, and if his wife ever comes to the school walk up and ask her to please get her husband to stop asking you on dates.

Voitokas 12-19-2008 11:34 AM

Re: How to Say No
 
I'd try:
1. "Look, Rob (or whatever his name is), I'm happily married and that's not going to change. You need to stop asking me out because it's making it uncomfortable to train here."
2. If you think that your husband can do it without causing a scene, I'd ask him to talk to the guy outside the building after class sometime. If it were my wife having the problem, I would say "Look, Rob, you're making Justwanttotrain uncomfortable. Are you asking her out? Because she's married and that's not really okay. You say she has the wrong idea? Okay, but whatever you're doing is making her uncomfortable, so please stop." Or make a date and bring your husband.
3. It is absolutely your senpai's job to deal with this sort of thing. I wouldn't go to the dojo-cho first or even necessarily an instructor; I'd go to someone who's senpai to both you and Persistent Guy, preferably male (males talk to other males in a different language; it sounds like "ook-ook" to the untrained ear, but it's really very complicated), and someone who's always at practise, and explain the situation. Say, "look, I don't want to make a situation here, I just want to train". This sort of involving someone else should be appropriate in even the most conservative of dojo.
4. Keep going up the ladder if nothing happens, emphasizing that you don't want to make a scene, but just want to train.
5. If those things don't work, and if the dojo-cho tells you to take care of it, I'd quit the dojo and tell them that if Persistent Guy ever leaves, you'd love to come back.
6. To exhaust the possibilities here, I guess we should mention that of you giving Persistent Guy an injury that will prevent his coming to practise for a while. As Mark says, the guy is harassing you, and that has no place on the mat. However, violence also has no place on the mat. The idea that you are entrusting your safety to your training partners is sacred and necessary, and it would be absolutely wrong to break the sanctity of that trust. If your ethics permit, I suppose kneecapping him in an alley or in his apartment would be fine and would effectively solve your problem, but the risk of him trying to press charges is too great. I'd definitely say that it's not worth the risk.

I hope that you can get him to stop bothering you so you can just train. Good luck!

Voitokas 12-19-2008 11:41 AM

Re: How to Say No
 
P.S. For what it's worth, I wouldn't do any of that loudly, or during practise. I disagree with many of the above that making a scene during keiko is the way to address this. If he were touching you inappropriately, then yes, a loud and vocal scene might be called for. Asking you out (or insulting you or anything verbal)? Just say "sshhh" and talk to him after class. You do have every right to be angry and frustrated and indignant because he is harassing you, whether he's aware of it or not - but surely on the mat is not the place to deal with non-physical issues.

justwanttotrain 12-19-2008 12:40 PM

Re: How to Say No
 
Brunotex: Thank-you. This is exactly the type of response I'm looking for. And as many types of theme and variation as I can come up with so when the first one fails to work, I have others at my disposal.

Mark, Janet and others: Thank-you for you advice as well. I can see that you are trying to get me to see the problem differently, which I was entirely unprepared for. If I am a victim, I don't feel like one. I still think I have failed to describe the culture of this particular dojo well enough to convey that others are just not going to concern themselves in what is seen as *my* problem. And they will be annoyed at me trying involve them.

Voitakas: Thank-you also. No way I'm involving my husband or there will be charges pressed :-). I'm also unwilling to actually injure someone on or off the mat unless they are out to injure me. And I don't really want to let this guy run me off because I've never trained at a dojo with this many high ranking people and there are a lot of things I like about it. I'm not crazy about this "work it out" without bothering anyone else attitude, but I have figure out how to work within this framework if I am going to continue to train at this dojo. So, I'm back to my original request, theme and variation on how to say no until this guy finally gets it.

Thanks everyone

Janet Rosen 12-19-2008 01:16 PM

Re: How to Say No
 
If you are determined to find another path to keep training I suggest totally not speaking to him. Period. Total freeze out. If he says ANYthing, stare at him blankly.

Voitokas 12-19-2008 01:58 PM

Re: How to Say No
 
Quote:

Janet Rosen wrote: (Post 221444)
If you are determined to find another path to keep training I suggest totally not speaking to him. Period. Total freeze out. If he says ANYthing, stare at him blankly.

That sounds like the best idea yet, actually!

Lan Powers 12-19-2008 02:09 PM

Re: How to Say No
 
quote....Mark, Janet and others: Thank-you for you advice as well. I can see that you are trying to get me to see the problem differently, which I was entirely unprepared for. If I am a victim, I don't feel like one. I still think I have failed to describe the culture of this particular dojo well enough to convey that others are just not going to concern themselves in what is seen as *my* problem. And they will be annoyed at me trying involve them......end quote

This is SO unbelievably impersonal.

If the persistant-one is asking "soto-voice" on the mat during keiko, then a very soft, VERY direct no (preferably as nikyo is holding his attention) might make sure he gets the point.
Emphasise that you don't want to have to address this again
(before you release the nikyo).
for what it is worth, I hope he gets the point before things actually grow uglier.
Lan

justwanttotrain 12-19-2008 02:28 PM

Re: How to Say No
 
Quote:

Janet Rosen wrote: (Post 221444)
If you are determined to find another path to keep training I suggest totally not speaking to him. Period. Total freeze out. If he says ANYthing, stare at him blankly.

Wow, I hadn't thought of this one. And I don't even have to break any rules to do it.

justwanttotrain 12-19-2008 02:36 PM

Re: How to Say No
 
Quote:

Lan Powers wrote: (Post 221452)
quote....Mark, Janet and others: Thank-you for you advice as well. I can see that you are trying to get me to see the problem differently, which I was entirely unprepared for. If I am a victim, I don't feel like one. I still think I have failed to describe the culture of this particular dojo well enough to convey that others are just not going to concern themselves in what is seen as *my* problem. And they will be annoyed at me trying involve them......end quote

This is SO unbelievably impersonal.

If the persistant-one is asking "soto-voice" on the mat during keiko, then a very soft, VERY direct no (preferably as nikyo is holding his attention) might make sure he gets the point.
Emphasise that you don't want to have to address this again
(before you release the nikyo).
for what it is worth, I hope he gets the point before things actually grow uglier.
Lan

I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean by impersonal. Did you think I was being inappropriately impersonal in my response or that the dojo culture here was impersonal or something else that I'm not seeing?

The nikyo point is well taken. I'm thinking that maybe I should exhaust all my non-physical options before escalating the situation to using physical means, even if it is non-injurious. I'm not entirely sure what I will do if he were to respond to anything physical like this or like Brunotex' suggestion with a mirrored physical response of his own.

Guilty Spark 12-20-2008 05:53 AM

Re: How to Say No
 
Next time he asks again give him a very big warm smile and say this
"I'm getting tired of saying no. If you ask me again I'm going to call your wife and ask her to say no for me"

Mary Eastland 12-20-2008 07:47 AM

Re: How to Say No
 
It sounds like you have done a fine job of saying no. He is having a hard time hearing no.
The truth talked about from my center always helps me in situations like this.
For example: (Lets call him Guy)
"Guy,...You keep asking me out. It's grossing me out and making it so I don't want you as a training partner. I am married. If I was not married I would never go out with you because you are willing to cheat. I don't cheat. Stop asking me out right now. Never ask me out again."I love irimi...it is so direct.
Good luck.
Mary

justwanttotrain 12-20-2008 07:55 AM

Re: How to Say No
 
Thanks Guilty Spark, I'm putting this one under Janet's Freeze Out in my list of non-physical responses.

I did find out last night that there might be a way to pursue this issue through official channels. I confided in a woman who is about the same rank as me, but is married to one of the senior students. She told me that his persistent requests would not be addressed, but I could seek help to get him to quit talking to me during practice. Apparently talking on the mat is breaking the rules to the degree that senior students, etc will get involved. She did warn me though, that if I bring this up I will have to confess to talking on the mat myself (when I was telling him "no") and might be in some trouble also. She was apologetic about this, but explained that "that's how it's done here". So I'm not sure whether to take this avenue or not.

Thanks again for the help

Tony Wagstaffe 12-20-2008 09:43 AM

Re: How to Say No
 
Quote:

Anonymous User wrote: (Post 221430)
OK, wait, wait, wait. I've conveyed the wrong message here. He isn't harassing me. He just wants me to go out with him, which isn't going to happen. And he keeps finding new ways of asking, which is annoying.

If this had happened at any of the dojos I previously trained in (in different cities), I could have asked one of the senior students or the dojocho to get him to quit. In this dojo, it's very clear that interpersonal relationships on and off the mat are the problem of the individuals. I've witnessed new students attempting to get help with more serious problems than this (like other students being too rough with them) and were told to "work it out".

So it's really up to me to back this guy off. Threatening to report him carries no weight, b/c he knows as well as I do that I'll just be told to "work it out". If I do it loudly or try to involve others, I believe the powers that be at this dojo would view it negatively b/c I would be distracting others from training. We're not supposed to be talking on the mat anyway. He's doing it under the radar. If I blow things up, it's me who is in trouble, not him.

So, I'm looking for the most final "no" I can find, that doesn't get me in trouble. Thanks for any and all advice.

Find out where he lives and write to or telephone his wife!!:rolleyes: ;) :D

RonRagusa 12-20-2008 10:36 AM

Re: How to Say No
 
Quote:

Anonymous User wrote: (Post 221430)
OK, wait, wait, wait. I've conveyed the wrong message here. He isn't harassing me. He just wants me to go out with him, which isn't going to happen. And he keeps finding new ways of asking, which is annoying.

Uh... that's the very definition of harassment.

Ron

SeiserL 12-20-2008 03:12 PM

Re: How to Say No
 
No thank you.
Please don't ask again.
I'll have to talk to Sensei about your sexual harassment.

justwanttotrain 12-20-2008 03:44 PM

Re: How to Say No
 
Hi,

Mary: Thanks! I'm queuing this in my list of responses to have on hand.

Tony: Thanks as well. I'm queuing, but I should probably check and make sure he's not in some kind of an open marriage or something first.

Ron and others: Thanks. I don't understand why some folks are so intent on labeling this as harassment. It doesn't change my situation any at all, whatever it's called. Why is this word so important?

SeiserL: Thanks. Tried the first two and it didn't work. Reporting it to sensei isn't going to work unless he's going to intervene, which I'm told, he won't. But thanks.

Janet Rosen 12-20-2008 06:32 PM

Re: How to Say No
 
Quote:

Anonymous User wrote: (Post 221502)
I could seek help to get him to quit talking to me during practice. Apparently talking on the mat is breaking the rules to the degree that senior students, etc will get involved. She did warn me though, that if I bring this up I will have to confess to talking on the mat myself (when I was telling him "no") and might be in some trouble also.

I knew something was really troubling me about this whole thing and this really nails is for me. I've visited, and some yrs ago very briefly trained at, a dojo with a pretty strict no talking during practice rule. But I never felt like I was gonna be disciplined or in trouble, sheesh....
Its weird enough that the rule is invoked so that the person being spoken to is guilty for any response (talk about blaming the victim!) but I have to say that the very notion of a grown up getting "in trouble" smacks to me of a very unhealthy dojo environment. Clearly YMMV and you are choosing to train there, but this is just plain strange to me.


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