Monday’s Martial Madness: The Art of Saying Dumb Things (a.k.a. What NOT to Say in the Dojo)

You ever just say something that seemed like a good idea before it left your lips but caused a chain reaction that ended up in blood, sweat, and/or tears? No? Well your life must be normal.

For some reason, martial arts instructors (sensei’s) inherit a twisted sense of “fun” and contrariness when they first put on their black belt.  Maybe it’s part of DNA of the person handing them their belt and it’s passed on like a virus.  Maybe it was already there and just ACTIVATED by the smell and feel of that new belt.  They’re enthusiasm for making us work hard and actually LEARN stuff is unparalleled anywhere else in the world.

The nerve.

Whatever the case, I have said some pretty dumb things in the presence of my sensei and wish that I had just kept my mouth SHUT.  You’d think after the first time I’d learn my lesson but NOOOOO.

Someone please install a dumb idea filter soon!


To save the rest of you from the pain of wishing you could take it back, I’ve developed a helpful guide of what NOT to say in the dojo or with in earshot of your instructor/sensei.

Oh, you think they aren’t listening?  HA! You are dumb my friend.  Get a clue!

Some of these I’ve actually said out loud, some I made up for fun, but I’m probably right.

ME: “My (pick a body part) is sore from my workout today.”

Sensei: “Oh, your thighs are slightly sore from lunges? 10 sumo squats now!” (Okay, well, I mean sensei really isn’t a jerk who likes to torture people for fun.  He’s just looking out for us, right? RIGHT??) (Because we need strong legs for everything we do!)


ME: “Sensei, we really need a Swiffer to mop up all this sweat off the mats.”

Sensei: “It’s a good thing that old school guy is here.  Time to wash the mats (in the most awkward way possible.  I exaggerate.  I just don’t like washing the mats THAT way.  Who am I kidding, I just don’t like washing the mats, PERIOD)!” (Because EVERYTHING we do is training!)


ME: “I was wondering if you could explain the principles of Seoi Nage (that would be Japanese for ‘shoulder throws’)?”

Sensei: “Sure, come on over here (I get thrown), now let me break it down for you.” (Because we really need to experience the technique to understand it!)


ME: “It’s my birthday today!” Sensei: “Get ready for birthday grappling!” Let me explain this phenomenon.  I have no idea who started this, or if any other schools do this, but if it’s your birthday, and you are at class, you get to grapple with every student for one minute, including sensei, from lowest rank up.  Imagine if 5-6 people show up for class, plus sensei (who is better at grappling than everybody else and will pin you in 30 seconds FLAT), that’s 5-6 grueling minutes of grappling with every body type. Grunting, sweating, and trying to keep from getting pretzeled and give a tap out.  BECAUSE FUN.  Oh, you LIKE grappling for you birthday? You need help. (Because birthday grappling is our tradition, and it’s fun!)


ME: “I really need to work on my upper body strength so I can punch better.” Sensei: “Ten push ups (with every striking hand position we use.) Fist, blade of hand, fingers, and etc.” (Because proper striking technique is important!)


Alright, now look sensei’s of the world stop being, so… so… RIGHT about everything being good for us! Give us a break!



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