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  • Writer's pictureJackie Bradbury

THAT GUY: The Scaredy-Cat

So you're pairing up in class to learn a new technique - we'll call it a wrist lock.

You stand still and allow your partner to figure out how to apply the lock.  He does a good job of putting you in the lock - nice and tight, lots of control, and painful - no injury, just temporary pain.  You shake it off, and now it's your turn.

Your partner immediately shifts before you even get a chance to figure out the mechanics of the lock.  It doesn't work. You shift around, trying to get the right angle, and eventually, maybe, you half-ass it (you're pretty sure the lock isn't being applied properly, mind you) and your partner squeals in agony.

Congratulations, you've paired up with The Scaredy-Cat.

The Scaredy-Cat isn't injured or has some sort of trauma in their past.  The Scaredy-Cat is just afraid of feeling any pain at all, and doesn't trust you or anybody else to have the judgement or the skill to not injure them.

The thing about the Scaredy-Cat is that they're just fine with putting YOU in pain or risking your injury.  It's not a general problem with the idea of hurting folks.  It's just not a two-way street.

The Scaredy-Cat will change the distance when you are working a technique to make sure you're always in the wrong range (in case you mess up and accidentally hurt them somehow).

The Scaredy-Cat taps before you've put the arm-bar in place.

When you are working locks, the Scaredy-Cat will either move to counter before you can figure out how the lock works OR will overreact to the first slight feeling of pain.

The Scaredy-Cat will wince and close their eyes when learning how to block with weapons.

The Scaredy-Cat will shift to make your throw or take-down that much more difficult (and ironically, risking injury to the Scaredy-Cat).

The Scaredy-Cat will overreact to any small injury, bruise, or bit of pain whatsoever.

The Scaredy-Cat does not want to feel the slightest bit of pain whatsoever.  Not that any of us enjoy pain...

Wait a minute, I know some of you people.  Let me amend that.

Not that most of us enjoy pain a lot...

The Scaredy-Cat does not understand the difference between pain and injury.  They don't know that a small amount of temporary pain now helps you learn two things - that pain isn't really that scary in the first place, and that in a bad situation, pain by itself may not prevent you or the bad guy from doing injury to one another.

A huge problem with working as Scaredy-Cat's partner in drills is that you'll never get to do the technique properly. Either it gets countered immediately, before you have a chance to figure it out (after all, everything has a counter), or they overreact so badly that you can't tell if it's working or not.

I've run across three Scaredy-Cats in my training.  Luckily, a Scaredy-Cat doesn't tend to last a very long time in a martial arts class - either the Scaredy-Cat eventually relaxes and learns the difference between pain and injury and gets over it, or they end up pursuing another far less risky hobby.

Have you dealt with a Scaredy-Cat?  Have you been one?  Tell us your stories in the comments!

Use the "THAT GUY" category to find all of the THAT GUY posts on TSC!

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