Tagged: Anna Valdiserri

Anna Valdiserri: Gatekeeping

Here’s a must-read from Anna Valdiserri:

One of the most common entry price people fail to pay is that of “experience”. You do not have enough experience to be entitled to an opinion on the subject. Your opinion is inherently invalid because of your lack of experience. Just shut the hell up and listen to us, the Experienced People!

… except that I thought the entire point in self-defence teaching and training was to prevent people from going through certain experiences. I appreciate that some things cannot be fully grokked unless you have gone through them; however, I thought it was our job as teachers/trainers/bloggers/wafflers to bring people as up-to-speed as possible without them having to go through shit. I thought it was why we taught the subject in the first place. And I thought reducing the discrepancy between our students’ understanding and the reality of the situation was one of the ways in which we could measure the quality of our teaching…

Continue reading at Swimming In Deep Water

Anna Valdiserri: Protected Status In Dysfunctional Groups

Anna Valdiserri:

I’ve always found double standards incredibly icky. I understand that sometimes genuinely ok people have unavoidable personality quirks they make up for in other ways. Hell, I have unavoidable (at present) personality quirks I constantly try to make up for. Nobody’s perfect. I also understand that people with specific skillsets may be highly useful to a group even though they have conspicuous failings. However, at times there’s a fine line between putting up with Joe because is really good at coding though he has the social skills of a potato, and “Uncle Joe is fine, really; just never, ever leave him alone with the kids…” At some point, a very rigid line HAS to be drawn, and the more lines have been deleted to accommodate people’s ‘quirks’ the more difficult it gets to pick that point. When I see that kind of attitude becoming the norm in a group, rather than the exception, I get worried; is that line going to be drawn before or after someone gets hurt? And when a group is asking people to tolerate the misbehaviours of those in power just because they are in power… no. Just no.

This kind of thing can get very toxic very quickly in instructor cadres or long-term students. Keep reading at Swimming In Deep Water.

Anna Valdiserri: “There’s nothing you can teach this sort of people!”

Anna Valdiserri:

A self-defence instructor muttered that to me, in exasperation, about three older ladies who’d come along to his seminar. He’d grown exasperated because, when asked to practice patty-cakes knife disarms, the ladies in question had baulked.

They had a damn good reason not to play: they all suffered from severe arthritis and osteoporosis. One could barely use her hands even for everyday tasks, and when she did, it hurt her. The others were still relatively functional, but their ability was declining. For them to practice what he was teaching would not only have been unpleasant, but severely unrealistic. If their lives depended on them being able to use their hands to disarm an opponent, they were dead, and they knew it…

Continue reading at God’s Bastard

Valdiserri’s blog is a must-read, check it out. She also wrote a couple of books