Ask Maggie Moo: "What if the Black Belt Doesn't Like Me?"

3:48 AM Moo 0 Comments

It's been a while since I've responded to one of these, but this week's question comes from J.C about dealing with a difficult situation in the gym.

Question: I train at a gym with about 5 black belts. The main black belt is wonderful and treats us all well. One of the black belts really doesn’t like me and it bothers me. I feel like I am really well-liked at my gym and I am so kind to everyone. I know it’s stupid because we've never had a falling out, or exchanged mean words and I’ve always attended his classes and thought they were great. He isn’t flat out rude or unkind but he just sort of treats me like I don’t exist. If I ask a question during class he laughs it off, rolls his eyes and moves on to the next person. I haven’t done anything to him, so I’m confused and obviously a little sensitive. It makes me not want to attend his classes and it’s very uncomfortable in social situations. He is cold, short and distant with me but warm and friendly to other students. To the point of literally being the only one who doesn’t clap or say congratulations when my main black belt mentions my tournament successes. Yet, he will be the first to congratulate every other student. I  go out of my way to say hello and to make sure I’m always very respectful. What should I do? Sometimes it’s so uncomfortable I want to quit just to avoid the drama. Do I leave it alone and just deal with the awkwardness? Do I bring it up to the main black belt? - J.C.

First of all, if you have done nothing to harm him you are not responsible for the way he feels about you. Have you ever heard the saying “what people think about me is none of my business?” I get it; it is definitely uncomfortable, especially when one of the best parts of Jiu Jitsu is the team bond and family atmosphere. I’m certain there are people I train with/have trained with who don’t like me probably through no fault of my own, but as long as I treat them with respect and kindness- I'm staying true to my nature. And if they don’t like me? That is on them. Seriously. Their loss. People go through all sorts of things in their outside life- death, job loss, break ups, depression, etc. that can affect the way they feel about themselves and others. Maybe he is envious of your easy nature. If you are well liked there, focus on the people who like you. Support the people who support you. Black belts, of course, are looked to as leaders and mentors but in the end, they are people too, flawed, imperfect and also guilty of allowing emotion/pettiness, etc. to get the best of them. No one is obligated to like you, but they must respect you. For a black belt who literally deals with “customers” or practitioners all day long, he should be much better at his poker face and at the very least able to treat you with decency. His flaw is just that- his!

If you have gotten to a point where you are so uncomfortable you do not want to train, perhaps pull him aside and ask him “have I done something to offend you?” I am a big believer in the direct approach. If you are not comfortable with that, bring it up to your black belt. Maybe he has some perspective you are not considering or would be comfortable mediating the situation. Most people just want to train in a drama-free environment and the sooner you have that, the better you will feel. Most importantly, do not obsess over it. His damage is not your job to fix. You have stated that you love your gym, your main black belt and all of your training partners. Put your energy into those people. And whatever you do, do not quit. You are going to be a black belt someday and you will know how to treat your students- with kindness and respect.


Team Texas: Stephanie Trevino

3:28 AM Moo 0 Comments

Name: Stephanie Natasha Trevino

Rank: 4 stripe blue belt

Where you train:
 Every where. My home school is Midtown MMA, I cross train a lot because of my schedule, Team Tooke’s, Revolution (my daughter trains there and they feel like my second family)

How long have you been training?
5 years. I used to take time off when I was bodybuilding

Favorite Gi?
My hyperfly, honestly the reason is it is my lightest gi and when you are trying to make weight, it comes in handy.

What’s in your gym bag?
Everything.  I train multiple times in a day so I have a gi, several changes of clothes, face wipes, deodorant, all my notebooks and razors in case I need to shave my legs on the go. Ha.

Favorite submission?
Chokes, chokes all day…. Cross collar or paper cutter

Favorite thing about the Jiu Jitsu community in Texas?
How amazing everyone is. So welcoming and just like one big family.

What’s one thing you would change about the Texas Jiu Jitsu community?
Easy. Have all the fierce women not be scared to be fierce. See there is a group of tough and aggressive competitive women who like to train and try to kill each other. We love it. That is not always welcomed and many times we are seen as too aggressive, too strong or you name it. With the women’s group we run, we are trying to change that. 

What is your greatest accomplishment?
Going back to school for my PhD it has always been my lifelong dream. Also taking a chance and starting my business. 7 years later, I am thankful for it.

What has been your biggest struggle in Jiu Jitsu?
 I would say my size and my strength puts me at this weird in between phase where I don’t know if I need to hold back or go harder with some.

If you could give any advice to your white belt self, what would it be? Compete. As much as you can, get out there and do it.

What motivates you to train on days when you just don’t feel like it?
Motivation? Nah, all discipline. Discipline is a muscle like anything else, you have to force it and before you know it, it becomes part of you. So, if I have a day I don’t feel like it, I tell myself STFU and train.

If you could take a private lesson with any Jiu Jitsu practitioner who would it be? 
Josh Hinger Why? His methodology, the way he views competition and his mindset, they are exactly where I would want my mindset to be.

Who is your favorite competitor to watch? 
Lately Vagner, but I am not real savvy about watching too many competitors.

Who is your favorite TX competitor to watch? (outside of your current affiliation)
My favs are in my affiliation though! Honestly thought I would say my friend Vanessa Lopez, she is just so technical and crafty!

What’s your perfect Jiu Jitsu playlist? 
A little rap, a little house, just variety! I love it all.

What do you remember about your first day of Jiu Jitsu?
 My son had been training there for a while so I already felt welcomed, it was a great experience.

What do you remember about your first tournament?
 How terrified I was, I never knew nerves like that.

What is your post-competition meal/restaurant? 
Anything with alcohol, my favorite would be Mexican food.

When you’re not training Jiu Jitsu, where can we most likely find you?
Working out. Yoga. Or at home cuddled up with my sexy boyfriend and rubbing on his hairy chest. That makes me happy.

Anything exciting coming up?
Master Worlds! Then focus on the next step and plan on my competition schedule.