Thursday, May 23, 2019

Is mall walking still lame if you do it in Australia?

When I was young, I was training three times a day - judo, running and weightlifting. Occasionally, I would run indoors at the University of Minnesota field house around the baseball field. There weren’t many female athletes back then, so I got a lot of stares. Most days, though, I ran outdoors, below-zero weather or no.

At the time, my parents were living in Illinois and in the winter they went mall-walking for exercise. An hour or two before the stores were open for business, while the employees were getting ready for the day, the doors would open for senior citizens and people with disabilities to walk through the mall, including the stores, to get their daily exercise. I was never going to be that lame.

Today, I went mall-walking and it wasn’t even an accident. I planned it.

 Oh, the humiliation of it all!

If it returns a little coolness level at all, yesterday, I went to a wildlife sanctuary and fed wallabies and a pandemelon which is an animal I did not know existed until yesterday, and which spell-check refuses to recognize.  I went yesterday because I knew today was supposed to be cold and rainy. I decided I could go to Phillips Island when it was warm and sunny and go walking in the mall today for exercise.

Speaking of which, I read a book by a European author who said,

“Americans call walking hiking because it sounds so much cooler and more athletic. I am a hiker, now, I am no longer a walker!”

So, yeah, I actually went walking around the wildlife sanctuary and then the mall and today I am mall hiking.

My point, and I semi-have one, is that as we get older, the same type of exercise might not be appropriate. I have had my thumb and my knee replaced in the last decade. For those people who say,

“I’m 80 years old and I still do judo.“

Well, good for you.

I feel no need to pretend I’m 25 any more or that I don’t have a job that requires me to spend 8-10 hours a day at a desk.

If I did judo today the way I did forty years ago, I would definitely break off several pieces of myself.  I don’t get up and do 50 push-ups and 50 sit-ups first thing every morning. On an ambitious day, I might do 25 but I’m just as likely to say, “Oh, fuck it” and take a shower.

(To be clear, I take showers on days I do push-ups and sit-ups, too. I’m not stinky. I just take them after.)

I know Dave Roman just recorded a podcast on adult judo students. His main point was that you need to treat them differently, and that is true.

You need to treat yourself differently as you get older as well.  Most of those people who are still on the mat past 60 are doing a lot of standing around and a little bit of teaching. I think that is perfectly okay. In fact, I think it could benefit judo a lot if more people let the younger black belts teach and went mall-walking instead, even if that is in Australia. That,  however, is the topic of another post.

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Monday, May 6, 2019

Who pretends to hate successful people? (and why I seldom ask Ronda for anything)

Credit where credit is due, I owe this epiphany to two people - comedian Kevin Hart, whose autobiography, I can't make this up, I highly recommend , and two-time judo Olympian, Pat Burris.

AnnMaria in judo gi

I was a teenager and had just won the U.S. Open. It was the second time I had made it to the finals and my first gold medal at an international event. I'd also won the junior nationals, senior nationals and collegiate nationals that same year.  It was a good year.

Pat said to me,

"About now, people you have never met are going to start trying to pick fights with you and you are going to have to learn to ignore them."

I thought he was nuts. Why would someone I didn't know want to start trouble with me? That didn't make sense. Still, I listened to Pat because  he was OLD - like, he would be 30 in a few years so he obviously knew stuff.

He told me that random guys would get in his face and try to start shit with him (not wise, if you know Pat). He eventually realized that people were doing it to get attention. He explained it to me like this,

"If you are on the podium, on the Olympic team, the best player in the country, people at tournaments are looking at YOU. So, anyone who is around you gets attention. Random Joe from East Nowhere Dojo starts a fight with you and you kick his ass and people don't know who that guy is but they think he must be somebody because the best judo player in the country is fighting with him."

Random fact: Judo used to be a much bigger deal in this country, but I digress, even more than usual.

As I said in my last post, Ronda gets this 1,000 times over.

What does this have to do with haters, Kevin Hart, or Ronda?

In his book, he writes about everything he had to do to learn to be a comedian, about  driving for hours to New York City after working selling shoes all day, sitting in clubs to listen and learn.  After he had made it, he had lots of "friends" and relatives who wanted to add his name to their TV shows or other project they wanted to pitch.

The part that stopped me is where he talked about how THEY were trying to profit off of HIS work without doing any of it.

My husband has cautioned me against ever reading anything anyone says about Ronda on the Internet.

You see, we know her. We know that she is incredibly hard-working, intelligent, talented, kind, honest and generous. She has her faults, as does anyone, but her good qualities vastly outweigh those.

Why do random people who have never met her pick any error she ever made and bring it up over and over instead of her myriad of successes? Why do people take quotes out of context and make her out to be less of a good person?

Very few of these haters are actually haters. They are just like the people Pat Burris and Kevin Hart pointed out. They are trying to use her hard work, fame and name to get attention for themselves. Every time someone uses her name in a headline about how she isn't or doesn't or shouldn't be X they are hoping for clicks on it so they can benefit off of her years of hard work building a name for herself through actual accomplishments.

I don't want to be that person, which is why it's very seldom that I or any of the family ask Ronda for anything, even for charity (although this auction for Gompers Judo is an exception) and if you look at our company website she only comes up when it is something particularly relevant.

Last six blog posts from 7 Generation Games website

7 Generation Games blogs this week

For many people who post diatribes against someone successful, on the Internet or in print, they don't believe a word of it,  it is all about using THEIR hard work in developing a following, THEIR accomplishments that draw people's attention to get some measure of recognition for YOU when all you have actually done is throw mud. (Not you, the reader, of course , because you are a person of exquisite taste and education reading this blog.)

The other day, I asked Ronda how she dealt with it  She knows who she is, what she has done and what motivates he haters of successful people. She said,

"Mom, you always say that success is the best revenge. Personally, I think apathy is the best revenge and I never think about those people AT ALL. "

You can get our Family Textbook (of our family group text) here for $2.99 It's hilarifying

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Who hates strong women? A lot of people act like they do

For much of my life, I have had haters who I have never met. My daughter, Ronda, has the same thing, times one thousand.

Who hates strong women?

There are four types of people who either hate strong women, or pretend they do. Two of those particularly hate strong, successful women. The other two are poised to tear down anyone successful. They are equal opportunity haters.

Type 1: Women who gave in and gave up

Nice women who have played by all of the rules they've been told or imagined hate women who break those rules. These are the women who have bought into the belief that they have to fit into some kind of mold because they are women. They hate us because we show up their excuses for the bullshit these are. 

It's not specifically women who chose to be stay-at-home moms or "half of a couple" that I particularly have issues with. Some women that is what they wanted to do and we get along fine. That life choice doesn't appeal to me any more than being an architect or a classical cellist, but hey, you do you.

The women who hate on people like me are those who use their gender as an excuse, and deep down, they know it. 
  • "I can't have a career because it would be unfair to my children. I care about my family too much to do that."
  • "I'm not going to be one of those man-hating feminists competing against men."
  • "I was going to go to college / compete internationally / found a company /write a book - but then I got pregnant."
  • "The odds are stacked against women founding a company. The degree of sexual harassment is toxic. Men are 50 times as likely to receive investor funding." 
  • "I couldn't speak up in that meeting because the men wouldn't listen to me."
When someone like me or my daughters comes along, gets married, has children, wins medals, earns degrees, speaks our minds and writes books, they are FURIOUS.

Who do we think we are? 

Didn't we get the memo saying we can't do these things? What if the people who they have been telling for years that they owe them, or they deserve pity because of all these foregone opportunities start to wonder why if these women could do it, why couldn't they?

These are the same women who will be writing angry tweets and comments that I am 'not a woman-supporting woman'. They are the ones who  say I am blaming the victim when I say that when a man touches you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable you should tell him the first time that you don't like it and don't do it again and the second time tell him if he doesn't take his fucking hands off of you that you'll break his arm/ tell his wife/ sue him for every dollar he ever earned.  (Obviously, I'm not talking about rape or child abuse, which is a completely different and tragic thing, but rather the guy who stands too close, puts his arm around you etc. If you can't tell the difference, you are part of the problem.)

These are the women who whine that, "You don't understand what it is to need a job, " or "It's easy for you to say."

Then they see that I was this way when I was a widow with three young kids or that Ronda was like this when she was completely broke or that Maria had the same attitude when she was starting out as a journalist.

 If we need to speak up, demand the opportunity to train, call people on their bullshit when they say women have equal access to funding, appear on a hundred TV shows to get sufficient exposure, we'll do it. When these women DON'T do it, they've left it for us to do.

It's not that we enjoy being the designated bitch in the room nor that it is any easier for us but we choose to be bitches that get shit done instead of a do nothing bitch.

Types 2 & 3: People who feel threatened

Ronda has a good saying about those people, "I'm not going to diminish myself to make you feel bigger."

Generally speaking, people who are comfortable with their own talent and accomplishments have zero issues with anyone else's success. I was going to call this type, "men who feel threatened" because there are men who hold on to being a man as something that makes them superior.  There are men who, from the looks of them, couldn't beat up the average house cat, putting down female martial artists and athletes as, "She couldn't beat the 54th man on the roster."

I once got into an argument with my grandfather who insisted women couldn't have union jobs because they were too weak. I pointed out that he was over 60, I was 20 and could lift way more weight than him. I offered to go to the gym, lift weights and prove it. He just shook his head and insisted that I could not possibly be stronger than him because I was a woman.

Men who have little to feel proud about except some imagined male superiority hate strong women because they challenge the one thing these guys suppose they have going for them. It's the stereotypical guy in his mom's basement posting on the Internet that some woman is ugly or not talented when the truth is he doesn't even have dreams as good as her real life.

Weirdly, though, there are men (and women) who are plenty successful but they can't stand anyone being MORE successful than them, like life is a competition. So, even if they make $200,000 a year or are a world champion, they get angry because why is SHE making more money, why did SHE get that job? From my personal experience, it seems like women and people of color get more of this vitriol, maybe because they have had to overcome more obstacles so their success is even more of a threat. Still, these people seem to be equal opportunity haters in that they tear down anyone successful.

If we're honest, though, I think most of us feel a little envy from time to time. A while ago, I started making an effort when I hear of someone else's success to eliminate any thoughts on whether they had advantages I didn't or if I could have done that or anything else and just think, "Good for her!" or "I hope he is happy about that."

It actually makes me a slightly happier person than thinking about it any other way.

As for the fourth type, the pretend haters, they are a special case so that will have to wait until the next post.

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