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Kuwabara Kuwabara!*

I shifted my nursing career to fitness a few years ago, in the hope that the chances of being stressed out unnecessarily, would be at its minimum. And most of the time, everything goes smooth sailing.

In teaching and coaching, your main source of pressure is getting to your clients or class timely -or if you are a Zumba instructor, what Salsa music to use on your next playlist. Nice isn’t it?

However, prolonged periods of high sunshine creates thunderstorms. Every now and then, lightning strikes!

I was teaching one of my functional movement classes, showing off some moves where I focus more on ‘trying’ rather than actually achieving a move, flawlessly.

One of my students, who was already a regular to my classes, suddenly blurted out and refused to do the move altogether. I was curious about this new disposition. We’ve done the same move for weeks and she never protested, well not in that manner she manifested. I also knew she brought in someone to workout with her that day.

She said her body wasn’t proportionate with her arms. I disagreed nicely.

I said, “Try!”

She said, “No!” and sat on her mat watching the rest of the group attempting to carry on. (I name thee, mat tantrums!)

Didn’t push on her further as her body language and facial expressions were clearly not in my favour that time. All I needed was a curtain shower and a silhouette of someone with a knife to complete the scene! The rest of the class carried on as you all know by now, I see every one in class!

So after class, I decided to ask her if she’s ok. She said that she had multiple “medical” conditions which prevented her from doing the move I asked earlier. Again, I said I was familiar with all her pre-existing conditions ( as I screened them before) but they don’t affect the task I was asking her earlier. She said the moves are impossible. I pointed it out that she was progressing beautifully in the last few weeks and that the people she works out have shorter arms than she has (pointing to myself!). She mentioned this to me weeks before and briefed her on how best to approach it. I tried to ask and offer a quick assessment to see where she was having a challenge with but she started raising her voice saying that her body proportion wasn’t correct and that she would not want to unroll her mat again! She also blocked all my decent reasoning to explore the possibility of me helping her out. All my attempts were blatantly halted by a lot of negativity. Her male friend also tried to intervene but immediately told him that I am basing it on how I was seeing his friend move and just wanting to help out. Her friend was about to further defend her but I interrupted and pointed out that his friend was actually doing well up until that day.

Silence.

In the end, I just offered her to stay in front of the class next time so we could find the best way for her to maximise her workout with her “limitations”. She had a bit of an eye roll. I thanked her and her friend for coming and to enjoy the rest of their evening.

So after everyone left, I found myself shaking -and with anger! I wasn’t really sure why. On the way home, I kept thinking and reflecting why I am really affected by it. I had more stressful confrontations in the past.

I kept asking whether I said something wrong or whether I should have said nothing at all. Also asking myself whether I have said enough it should have said less. And these thoughts went on and on and on.

This affected me too much that I wasn’t able to enjoy my food later that night. I wanted to know why I am reacting badly to such situation, especially with Zen-ish me!

So called it an early night.

Woke up with a better configuration and that ugly feeling gone. This new redemption did not make me stop thinking on why I reacted the way I did the day before though. This time, without the angst.

Firstly, I kept asking myself why I am still bothered with it. I particularly do not dislike her. I also wasn’t castrated in front of the class. Certainly, I wasn’t giving a bad instruction. Then I somehow seem to settle that it is because I was expecting everyone to think how I thought and that everyone one would have a go! I did not take into consideration that people could still resist change or appear to be ‘strong’ in front of their loved ones or friends. I forgot to take into account that she may have told this significant person with her during the class that she’s probably better or lesser abled in their midst. Due to our social distancing, my “hands-on” approach wasn’t there. Maybe it would have worked better if I can have physical contact and guide her through. (At least with this justification, I could blame Covid-19) However, I knew I am a good coach and could conjure a spell, even with a stare. (Well, almost!)

I may never really fully realise the reasons for my reactions but the fact that my prolonged thinking about it made me realise that these things do happen. Maybe sometimes, some arguments are better left unattended and some remarks need not to be entertained. Maybe she has other issues and found the best moment to bring it out that time was, towards me!

In the future, I would need to make sure that I do not take things maybe not personally and focus on the rest of the class, who were actually taking all those good tuition seriously. Maybe I was focusing more on the lost lamb too much.

I just hope she finds her way back in my classes and not waste her efforts wasted. There are times, and I’ll talk about this again in the future, that people around you affect your productivity in all aspects of your life.

For the meantime, I will try to find ways on not creating electrical charges whilst teaching.

*”Kuwabara kuwabara” (桑原桑原) is a phrase used in the Japanese language to ward off lightning.