What’s Negative is Positive

     Feedback is important.  How we handle it is even more important.  I’ve received lots of feedback tonight.  Most of it was positive.  Some, by most people’s standards…  was negative.  Both are good and very important.  If I don’t know what I’m doing right, then I will feel like a failure.  If I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, then I can’t fix it.

     I trained at the Katy school today.  I got to train with Demon.  I always love training with Demon.  She’s close to my size and she has some mad BJJ skills.  Plus she’s a girl, not a fragile girl, but a strong confident girl.  She told me that my hair smells nice.  Positive feedback.  I’ll keep using that shampoo.  I also got to roll with one of the blue belt guys.  We’ve rolled together before, but it’s been a while.  He now trains primarily at the Katy school, and I’m still at the Pinemont school.  During the role, he tapped me with several leg locks.  Positive feedback?  Yes!  Now I know that I need to protect my legs more.  After the roll he said, “Damn girl!  You’re getting pretty good.  You’ve made a lot of improvement.”  More positive feedback.  I’m on the right path.  I need to stay on it.

     Then there was this email about my new page…  “What Would It Take?”  Some people may find the letter rude and negative.  However, I don’t.  I have a tendency to over simplify ideas.  The letter points out areas in my thought process and speech pattern that some people wouldn’t understand.  She has given me a valuable opportunity to clarify my intentions, and thought process.  If it sounds as it I’m being rude, I’m not.  I’m just being blunt.  Her letter is in bold and my responses are not.

Ma’am, 

-I have some suggestions for you concerning this project.  
*Suggestions are the intended goal. 
-You are obviously not surveying a random sample.
*No, I’m not.  I’m mindlessly throwing an idea out there, in hopes that people will listen, get passionate about it and run with it. 
-How extensive is this research?
*It’s not extensive at all, yet.  Hopefully, people with a knowledge base and skill with research will pickup the torch.  I’m not a researcher. I don’t like research.  But I do realize that it is a necessary evil in order to get things done.
-Why don’t you flesh out your survey more based on responses to your web page
*The  purpose of the page is to explore (group brainstorming) and create interest in the topic.  So that someone with a knowledge base and skill set in surveys will pick up the torch and run with it.  I don’t like surveys.  I rarely take them.  But again, I realize that it is a necessary evil in order to get things done.
– and hand out paper surveys to female spectators at the Houston Open?
 *I have to work forty plus hours in that seventy-two hour period.  That’s what most people work in one hundred and twenty hours.  So that’s not logistically possible for me.  However, I do think that is a great idea and someone should do it.
-I believe you are going based on blog posts?  
*Yes, it is a blog.
-And also at sports bars on a UFC night. These women and girls would be non-bjj-practitioners who are familiar with the sport at some level.
*I don’t spend much time in bars, so I wouldn’t know.
-I think you would need to ask some more questions of this group.
*You are right, but I don’t go to bars, I wouldn’t know what to ask this group.  That is why I’m updating the web page as new information / questions comes in.  I’ve already added two new questions. 
-I don’t find the questions on your web page to be very informative (once answered).
*Demographics in say Texas, would be useless to an instructor in Korea.  You would use different sources to target people of different ages, relationship status, parental status.  Hence questions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
-What do you really want to know? Whatever it is, come right out and ask it.
*I want to know demographics mostly.  Ages, locations, relationship status, parental status.  What you like and don’t like about BJJ.  What you like and don’t like about schools.  These questions can be answered by BJJ practitioners and non BJJ practitioners.  I thought the questions were simple, but I don’t think like everyone else.  That is why I asked for feedback.
-Here are some sugggestions. Probably too many.
*What you have to say is important to me and in no way could it be limited.
-Have you ever considered participating in bjj? Why?
*There is an option for this answer in questions 6, 7, 10.  That is why I choose open-ended questions.  You get more truthful and fully explained opinions.
-Have you ever taken or considered taking a women’s self defense class? More than one? 
*I’ve taken two women’s self-defense classes my self.  I find them to be rubbish.  Most of the techniques only work for big men.  Not little bitty old ladies like myself.  BJJ, however can work for anybody.
-Are you sure bjj is not for you? Why?
*If they really know that BJJ is not for them, I don’t think they will fill out the survey.  They also would not be in the target audience.
-If you are interested in bjj now, why haven’t you taken an intro class?
*Redundancy of questions 6, 7, and 10.
-If you took an intro class or had a friend show you bjj moves, but don’t belong to a school/club, why?
*Redundancy of question 7, and 12.
-If you took an intro class, signed up with a school, but don’t go to class at least once a week, why?
*Redundancy of question 7, and 12.
-If you are interested in bjj and someone invited you to try a class, and you refused, why?
*Redundancy of question 7.
-Do you participate in any organized sport or physical activity or exercise such as dancing, running, gym classs, soccer, etc. at least two hours a week?
*This is a good question that identifies specific target audiences.  It gives the instructor ideas as to where he can advertise.
-If an all women bjj class were offered, would you try it? Would you go regularly?
*The subject of the page is Women’s BJJ Programs, not coed.  To ask this question seems redundant to me.
-If a female friend asked you to try bjj with her, would you?
-If a male friend asked you to try bjj with him, would you? 
*To me a friend is a friend.  I don’t consider sex, race, culture etc.  To me it seems like you are asking the same question twice.  Most schools already encourage people to bring friends.  I think the instructors have this one covered already.
-If your son or daughter asked you to try bjj with him/her, would you? 
*This is a very good question, that identifies a specific target audience.
-You could also survey female competitors about why they train, if they plan to continue training, if they are happy at their club, switched clubs in the past, if they stopped training at some point and why they started again, etc . . . 
*The target audience of this blog includes female competitors.  Like yourself, they have explained the answers to most of these questions.
-Oh, and me:
1. USA
2. 30
3. No
4. na
5. none
6. the complexity
7. profuse sweat and body odor. I much prefer training with someone wearing a gi and rashguard than otherwise. 
8. depends
9. $100/mo if I had no alternative. $60 is more reasonable, since most places charge $100 to $200/mo for many more hours of mat time and the YMCA is only $45/mo.
10. I’m hooked on the sport at this point, and want to be insanely good. I initially started bjj because I needed something to do and wanted to do a martial art. A friend recommended bjj over stand up martial arts.
-Good luck with the project. It would be nice to have a more scientific answer about why so few women do bjj. I have some hypotheses, but I think you’re better off “fishing,” as defined in this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/science/08conversation.html?_r=2&hpw
*Thank you very much.  You had a lot to say and every word is important.  I do hope this project encourages people to do some scientific market research in the area of Women’s BJJ programs.  I’ve also added a place for links to such research.  Sadly, I haven’t been able to find any.  If you do some research or find some.  Let me know and I’ll add a link.  I looked at the link you provided, but sadly I don’t have the time to read it at this time. 
 
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4 Responses to What’s Negative is Positive

  1. I left comments to two of the questions that sounded vague. For example: how much would you pay to train 2 hours per week. ??? I currently train anywhere between 6 and 12. I would HATE if I could only train 2 hours per week. So is this my only option? are we talking for a women’s only class in addition to a coed?

    So I would write something like this:

    If there were a women’s only class offered one, 2-hour class per week and the cost was separate from the regular, co-ed BJJ program, would you attend? How much would you be willing to pay?

    I think the question about dates/times is a bit too specific for the general approach you’re looking for and I would recommend eliminating it. There are great generalities that can be gleaned from nearly everyone else, but this is so specific to schedules/regions/etc.

    Here are some other good questions (in my opinion):
    1. How were you introduced to BJJ?
    2. When you FIRST started doing BJJ, what kept you coming and what turned you off. (I find this question to be about HOOKING women on BJJ and not repeating 6/7. To further clarify, you could add a “Currently” to question 6/7. “What do you currently find offensive…” etc. These are two separate ideas and two important ideas–we want women to START, we want them to STAY and we want to MAINTAIN. The maintaining part may be the easiest (hopefully) because you get a room full of addicts who are engaging in the addictive behavior together–how to get them addicted and coming back after their introduction is key.

    I would combine questions 3/4 into one, 2-part question as you have with question 5.

    You can also change questions 11 and 12 to be something like:

    What things have made you consider quitting a school? What things have kept you at a school? or “What do you like about your current school?” or “What things would you change about about your current school” or even “What things would you change about any of the schools you’ve been to?” Then the “Have you ever quit a school? If so, what factors contributed to you leaving?”

    I’m rambling. I like to ramble.

  2. Oh, and the other thing is–some of the schools in the past may have had AWESOME things that they did, but you specifically only ask about CURRENT schools. You limit the responses to THAT school in particular, but if you’re trying to glean further insight, asking what ANY schools have done right will yield a more productive answer. There may also be things about a current school that are causing someone to think about quitting, so if you ask “What things would you change” it elicits negative aspects about ANY schools attended, as well as productive answers. If someone is reading this and they see “OMG THE BATHROOMS WERE HORRIBLE” it’s a little different than “I would have a cleaner bathroom, brighter lights, a dry floor to walk on, slippers, etc.”

    Anyway, I’m rambling again. Did I mention I like to do that? 😉

  3. I’ve updated the page to include some of your incites. I’ve done martial arts for so long that I don’t think about what noobs or non-practitioners experience. Thanks for the help on that. Also, questions 8 and 9 are giving people fits. I added a notation at the begining of the questionaire to explain their purpose in more detail. I plan to update the page as new information comes in. I have to think about some of the responses that I got today. I also have to copy some emails over to the comment section. Thanks again for your help.

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