I just wanted to share this (long, sorry!) story with any ladies out there who have been told they can’t compete with men or are too “fragile” physically or psychologically to stand up for themselves. I was almost crushed by a man who cheated on me, but in the end I got revenge on my him in the best way possible—by humiliating him physically, I not only got back at him, but strengthened my own sense of self and worth. Here’s my story.
First of all, my ex should have known how good he had it. I’m twenty-four, blond, 5’ 9" tall, and about 125 pounds. I’m very pretty and I get a LOT of attention from guys, but I was always loyal to my BF. We had been dating about a year when he decided he wanted to learn a martial art and take judo classes. We had been talking about doing more things together since we had different work schedules and didn’t see each other as much as we wanted to.
I thought judo would be great for me, too. I’ve never been especially athletic and it wouldn’t hurt to know how to defend myself, plus it’s something we could do together, so I said I would take classes with him, thinking he’d be all for it (I also said it would be fun and sexy to “spar” together outside of class). But he was less than thrilled. He said “you’ll just hurt yourself; you’re too skinny; I don’t want you grappling around with other guys in class …” all these excuses he could think of to get me NOT to take the classes with him. But the more he protested the more I wanted to do it. I resented his classifying me as “weak and fragile.”
Yes, I’m a “girly-girl” in that I like to wear my hair long and like nice clothes and shopping, etc. But even though I’m not a traditional “jock” I do work hard to keep my figure … I’ve always gone to the gym to lift light weights and keep myself toned and I run at least three miles almost every day so I’m well-conditioned. So I said “well, it’s not your decision … I’m going to take the classes and I’m sure I’ll be sparring with other girls so don’t worry about the guy thing.” He said “fine, whatever … you won’t last past the first hard work out anyway.”
This was around the time things started to go bad for us.
He avoided talking to me in class, and would almost pretend like he didn’t know me. It turns out there were only three other girls in the class, and about ten guys, so I did have to work on moves and techniques with some other guys in workouts but it was no big deal. Everyone did it and accepted it. But my BF was becoming increasingly distant and seemed resentful that I was taking the classes.
After a few weeks in I also started to realize that I had a knack for judo. Our sensei was continually complimenting me on my technique and I learned a lot of the throws quickly. By contrast he often had to correct my BF for sloppy technique and admonished him not to “rush everything,” as he seemed to have little patience for learning the intricacies of the moves and throws.
He also had trouble getting through the workouts, which were pretty brutal. We did a lot of running and push-ups and an especially grueling bit where we had to lie on our stomachs and drag ourselves across the full length of the mat using only our fore-arms—no legs allowed, and by the time we got to the end we were all gasping for air. But my jogging had me well-conditioned and even though it took me a long time to get across the mat, I noticed there were a number of times when my BF couldn’t even make it across. He had to stop halfway, and as punishment he had to run extra laps, which often ended with him walking and holding his sides in obvious pain. He, of course, knew I had made it across the mat, and it infuriated him. After class he was always angry and sullen and would lash out at me at even the slightest thing I said. I never said anything mean or mentioned the mat exercise, but even something like “want to grab a pizza?” would be met with a cutting remark or a sullen “No, I’m tired. I’m going home.” (We lived in separate apartments at the time.)
So even though we were taking judo together once a week we started seeing even less of each other. When we first started we would almost always go to one of our places together after and spend the night, but then that ended. He would always drop me off at my place and drive off. The other nights of the week, too, he would always be out if I called, and when I’d ask him the next day where he’d been he’d say “are you checking up on me? Don’t be such a clingy bitch” and a few times he was so mean I was brought to tears. I just couldn’t understand why he was being so cruel to me.
Then it became obvious when a friend of mine told me she had seen him out at a bar making out with some girl, and leaving with her shortly after. At first I was devastated and didn’t know what to do. I cried a lot before finally confronting him and he just denied it, but his behavior didn’t change, and eventually I found a bra in his apartment and then he confessed.
Turns out he’d been sleeping with this girl for weeks while we were going out. A number of times he even went right to her place after dropping me off after judo class. When I asked him why, he said I had it coming because I was “crowding him” by taking judo with him when it was “his thing” and that the girl he was screwing understands that it’s not feminine to do things like martial arts and I should have listened to him when he told me not to take the classes. He said it was my own fault, and he said I should drop the classes now that we would be breaking up because it would be too “awkward” to see each other once a week there.
I was too stunned to say anything at the time and just ran out, crying. The days leading up to the next class were excruciating. I did think about quitting and just forgetting the whole thing but then I got angry and realized if anyone should quit, it should be him! I resolved to show up and stick with it whether he liked it or not.
The next class he looked surprised—and not very happy—to see me, but said nothing. The next day he called me and said “what do you think you’re doing? If I were you I’d drop out of the class like I said.” I told him I had no intention of doing so, and added, with some satisfaction “If I were you, I’d work on my conditioning so I could get all the way across the mat for once,” and hung up.
So now there was clearly a LOT of tension between us. We’d show up at class and say not a word to each other, but every now and then I’d see him looking over my way, looking really angry that I was there. The other judo players knew we’d been going out and now were quits so there was this weird vibe hanging there.
Then his new girl friend started showing up near the end of classes. She was a little pixie of a thing … pretty enough, but the kind of giggly little air head he clearly wanted ME to be. He would make a display of coming over after workouts were done, and lifting her over his shoulder and spinning her around and she would scream and laugh and be like “you’re so strong!” and the rest of us would just roll our eyes but say nothing. At any rate, he was obviously trying to get under my skin, and I resolved to bide my time because I had an idea, and with a little help from my sensei, I knew it would be the best revenge.
We were nearing the end of our session of classes and we were having an in-class tournament before taking our tests to earn the next belt level. There were four of us girls and we were to face each other and the boys would take on each other—with various belt levels matched up (newbies like us would fight each other; the more advanced yellow and green belts would fight each other, etc.), but a week or so earlier one of the girls had injured herself in class and wouldn’t be able to compete.
So now there was an uneven number of girls, and the plan was to have the three of us compete round-robin, but I went to the sensei after class and said “I would like the opportunity to enter the boys’ tournament. There are an uneven number of white belts on the guys’ side so I could even that out, and I think I can compete. Karen and Suzie (the other two girls) are OK with that and are happy to fight each other … and they also think I can do it.”
My sensei was a great guy. He never said much but he was very supportive of me, and he knew what I was getting at without me having to say it. He just smiled and said “You really think you can do this?” And I said “Yes.” And he said “I think you can, too.” There were only three boys that were white belts, including my ex, and I had no doubt which one I would be assigned to fight.
Part 1 | (Part 2)