This week at work, there was an old piece of wall covering (think paneling) that needed to be broken in half and thrown away. I laid it down on the floor and started folding it back on itself until it snapped with a loud pop. The VP of Business Operations came out, and she told someone “No, you have to hold it so he can chop it like this” as she made a karate motion.
I said, “Nah, I don’t do that.”
“I thought you were in martial arts.”
“I am, but we don’t do any striking. No chops, or kicks.”
“So what do you do?”
“We go for submissions. Attack the arms, or chokes.”
“Oh, you mean, like bending fingers back?”
“No. Fingers are too small. No small joint manipulation.”
“So what do you attack?”
“I try to break their arm, hyper-extend their elbow, or choke them unconscious.”
She looked at me and said “You’ve got a bit of a mean streak in you, then.”
Then as she thought about it, she said “You have to be close to the person to attack an arm.”
“Yep. Judo throw, or wrestling takedown.”
She kind of jokingly backed away from me at one point when we were talking about this. It made me laugh. In her mind, for the past 14 or 15 months, she thought I was someone that practiced punching someone in the face, or kicking them in their head. She thought that was fine. But she thought me going for submissions meant I had “a mean streak.”
As I thought about it after work, it made me smile. I have almost the opposite thought. Watching striking seems more violent to me, than practicing BJJ, but I can see how when you describe it as “hyper-extending someone’s elbow” it doesn’t seem all that playful.