Etiquette Awkwardness: The Bow Out - alldaybjj

Etiquette Awkwardness: The Bow Out

Jiu-Jitsu is a great tool to address anxiety; but can also create some in its own right as well. It wasn’t until one of my friends brought up how she gets social anxiety during the bow out that I realized this etiquette/formality creates some sort of small weird/awkwardness at the end of class.

Picture this: You’re in class and there’s about 30-40 other people there with you. You only know maybe 25% of people’s names because you’ve been there for some time now and are one of the higher ranking belts. White belts have come and gone since you started and some start to look like others… so you hesitate to address them by name because you aren’t 100% sure of their name. Then you get to the end of class and everyone is lining up to shake hands. As it gets to your turn, you start with your professor, followed by the other black belts (who you should know their name)… and then everyone else. Since things are moving quite fast, you either: don’t have time to address those that you know by name, don’t have time to make eye contact, or even get caught in a weird hand/forearm shake/shoulder bump…

I really wouldn’t have thought anything of this, since I came from an academy that was so small that it was impossible to not know everyone. But the more we started to break down the awkwardness, the more I started to notice it and recognize what I’ve been unintentionally doing… and it started giving me some anxiety. LOL.

I don’t always make eye contact with people… especially those I don’t know. Also, I’m the shortest person in class so my eye level is usually at other’s chest/arm pits. Since I don’t like getting caught in awkward forearm grabs, I’ve now been stepping back to make sure that I actually shake someone’s hand rather than grab their forearm or to avoid the shoulder check/bump. I’ve been trying to make an effort to know everyone’s name but don’t always have the time to address everyone by their name and thank them in the bow out. In the case that I don’t know someone’s name, I usually just say, “good job…”

What this has taught me, though, is to make an effort to learn everyone’s name. Regardless of whether or not I teach… but it is also a good rule of thumb for those who do teach to do the same (and perhaps goes without saying). But in the case of a large academy where there are many, it will take a lot more effort. And perhaps it’ll make things less awkward when bowing out…

Lea Young
 

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