Dear Gym Bro: An Open Letter

Dear gym bro,

Yes, I’m a woman.

Yes, I’m smaller than you.

Yes, some of my strikes aren’t as strong as yours.

True, you’re not likely to face an opponent my size.

But yes, I deserve to be here. I’m smart enough, strong enough, and fast enough to be here.

Yes, I can hold my own.

And no, you won’t be wasting your time if you partner with me (if you’re smart about how you train).

Suck it,

Kaci


In beginning Krav Maga classes, I’ve noticed something in the way some guys approach class.

These are the cocky guys with something to prove.

Other women have reported guys telling them they don’t deserve to be here. That women have no right do this. That they can’t. It was hard for me to imagine. My gym is amazing at filtering out ego.

A few weeks ago, I was in a level 1 class. Our instructor asked us to pair up and I turned to my right. Everyone was already partnered. I turned to the guy on my left. He looked through me to the other side of the room. We were the only two people left. I extended my arm, pointed at him, and with a smile on my face said “Do you have a partner?”

His neck stretched as he strained to look over my head searching for another person.

“Uhhhh…” He looked back over his other shoulder and then behind me again.

My heart sinks.

“No, yeah, I guess we can partner,” he said. His attitude oozed disappointment.

Luckily, I’ve been at my gym a long time. I’m not intimidated by machismo. If anything, it fuels me. The kind of guy who would attack a woman is filled with this same ego.

He had no idea I had all these feelings vibrating through me. Anger. Frustration. Righteousness. I got through the class. I viewed the experience as another way to train. Don’t let him see the raw emotion. Don’t let him feed on it.

Now when we’re in the same class, I look through him. He had an opportunity to learn from me, but he chose to let his ego get in the way. But I learned plenty from him. I learned to focus my energy and emotions into my strikes.

You are no better than me and I deserve to be here.
I have every right to train.

Anyone who makes you feel like you don’t deserve to be here should mean nothing to you too.

Get through the experience. Learn what you can from it, but move on. They aren’t worth it.

Stay safe, but don’t take crap from anyone.

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