"I'm 59 kilos," I wrote to him indignantly, after he unjustly accused me of being much shorter and lighter than him. "I stand by the assertion that if I were younger, faster, a better athlete, and better trained, it should be absolutely possible for me to hold my ground."
"Still doesn't matter," he wrote back.
To justify my assertion that it was at least theoretically possible for a woman to hold her ground in a fight with a man, I sent him this video of Lucia Rijker fighting Somchai Jaidee.
Now, he knocks her out in the second round, but I think it's fair to say she holds her ground.
Here's what's interesting about this. Lucia Rijker is one of the toughest women in the world. She's a four-time world championship kickboxer and two-time world champion boxer, undefeated in 54 fights, with 39 KOs. She's trained with Lennox Lewis, Oscar De La Hoya, Mike Tyson. They call her "The Most Dangerous Woman in the World," "The Queen of Lightning," "Lady Ali," and "The Dutch Destroyer."
Somchai Jaidee is an absolute nobody. I challenge you to find any information about him except the single fact for which he's known -- he knocked out Lucia Rijker.
This was Rijker's only professional defeat. Mind you, it's the only time she fought a man. This does seem to lend support to Nixon's assertion.
But this isn't actually my point.
My point is that it's psychologically interesting to watch that video. I'm pretty desensitized to the idea of men sparring with women and roughing them up, but even I find it hard.
A guy in that situation simply can't win. Somchai's facing an inarguably tough opponent who is more than capable of inflicting serious damage on him. They're well-matched for weight, and she's by far the more experienced fighter.
But the crowd hates him for fighting hard and hates him even more for winning. They're completely on her side. If he doesn't really fight, she'll slaughter him. But when he protects himself and his record as a fighter, he ends up looking like a guy who hit a chick, and no one likes men who hit women.
If a guy in that situation loses (legitimately), it's a total humiliation. He got beaten up by a girl. If he wins (legitimately), it's worse than a humiliation. He beat up a girl, which is for very good reason an absolute social taboo in any civilized society.
Winning certainly doesn't look like any kind of honorable athletic victory for Somchai here. He fought well and won fair against a tough opponent. But look at his face, when he holds up the trophy at about minute 5:38. That's not a guy who's feeling proud of himself, even if he deserves to.
(By the way, you can't tell from this video, but Rijker is actually a very good-looking woman who doesn't look like a man at all.)
I should remember this when I feel frustrated that guys around here don't seem all that eager to train in an enthusiastic way with women.
Of course they don't. They have huge social and emotional reasons not to want to, and that's exactly as it should be. No one wants to live in a world where men think, "It's fine and very manly to hit chicks." The taboo against hitting women is an excellent one.
Still, it creates a dilemma for women who want to train in a realistic way, and for men who have to figure out what to do with them at the gym.
You see this phenomenon even more in this video:
I'm not sure who they are, but either they're completely poorly-matched, because he doesn't have a clue what he's doing, or he simply can't bring himself to fight back. He misses chance after chance, and he ends up bloodied and obviously hurt.
Again, he just can't win. If he kicks the crap out of her, he looks like a bully. If he doesn't, he looks the way he ends up looking here. The social expectation is that a guy that size should be able to control a feisty chick like that without really hurting her -- except that in reality, if she's as strong and aggressive as this woman obviously is, that's not so simple to do.
A guy who wins a fight with a girl, no matter how much bigger or stronger she really is, and no matter how much better an athlete she is, gets absolutely no credit for being fast or strong or tough or well-trained, even if he really had to put up his best fight. He just gets credit for being an asshole.
You might expect me to take exception to some of the comments posted below that video, e.g., "Ladies, unless your name is Gina Carano, stay out of our sport."
I don't, actually. I can completely understand the sentiment. The game is rigged against the men, and I can perfectly well see why they're not happy about it.
I don't have a good solution to the problem. I am certainly not going to suggest that it's a flaw in our society that most men find it very difficult to hurt women.
I appreciate it that the guys at my gym are trying their best to cope gracefully with my being there. They're giving me a chance to learn something I really want to learn, even though it's awkward for all concerned.
It speaks well for them that they're willing to try.