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Martial Arts Student Refuses To Be Partnered With Classmate Who Has Swastika Tattoos

People Practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
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Every now and then, we find ourselves working alongside, or being in the company of someone with very different political beliefs than ours.

Even if we disagree with many, if not all, of their views at a fundamental level, it’s often best to put political differences aside.

That way, it’s easy to find common ground or work together.

In some cases, however, the views of others might be so offensive to us, that even sharing a room with these individuals seems like an impossible task.

Such was the case for Redditor NotTrainingWithNazis, who found themself paired with a new student at their martial arts class.

Upon seeing what this student had tattooed on his arms, however, the original poster (OP) absolutely refused to work alongside him.

A decision which did not sit well with their instructor or several of their classmates.

Wondering if they were overreacting, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for refusing to train with a Nazi?”

The OP explained how they angered their instructor by refusing to work alongside a classmate over what their instructor viewed as political differences.

“So I practice BJJ for a couple of years, mostly attending classes that require a Gi.”

“This means that our bodies are pretty much covered, this is important.”

“A new dude has joined our gym recently.”

“I saw him in a class but did not roll with him.”

“Last week I attended a no Gi class and the coach pairs me up with new guy.”

“New guy wears a sleeveless rash guard, lots of tattoos on both arms and legs.”

“I look at this tattoos and there is a big black swastika on his arm.”

“As I take a closer look there is also the SS symbol.”

“The one that looks like thunder bolts.”

“Some other symbols here and there as well like the Celtic Cross.”

“I tell my coach that I want to be paired up with someone else.”

“Coach finds me a new partner but after the class asks me what is wrong.”

“I tell him that the guy has lots of Nazi tattoos and I don’t roll with Nazis.”

“Now the coach is mad at me for bringing politics into the gym.”

“I told my coach that he is bringing politics into the gym by allowing a guy to walk around with a swastika on his arm.”

“Some guys from the class are behind me, some think I am making a big deal out of it.”

“AITA for refusing to roll with a Nazi?”

“Not in the USA.”

“Where I come from, Europe, there are still Nazi sympathisers.”

“A minority but a vocal minority.’

“Also you can easily roll with a long sleeved rash guard, the climate here allows it no need for no sleeves.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to practice with their Nazi classmate.

Everyone agreed with the OP that this was far beyond a matter of different politics, and the OP’s instructor should have been more sympathetic to their concerns in interacting with this classmate.


“What kind of psychopath thinks swastikas and SS symbols are politics?”

“Is your coach from 1930?”- ErrantJune


“There is a big difference between ‘bringing politics into the gym’ and someone emblazoning themselves with symbols of genocide, racism and hatred.”- Ilikecosysocks

“NTA and that’s not politics that’s just blatant racism.”- alissa2579


“Your coach is in the wrong.”

‘Big time.”

“You didn’t bring politics into anything, and your coach not seeing how this could be a problem speaks a lot about his views.”

“I’d suggest switching studios but I know how hard it can be to find a new place and build a new relationship at a different studio.”

“And for the new guy to have those tattoos and not want to hide them scares me that he would have the audacity and feel comfortable enough to do so.”

“Especially at a new studio.”- Mission_Spray


“Admittedly, I’m Jewish so there is a bias, but regardless, if you felt uncomfortable for any reason, you are well within the right to ask to be switched.”

“I also don’t feel like that kind of thing should be promoted, but I’m sure you don’t really have a say in who the gym should or shouldn’t allow.”- No-Long5784

“There’s a difference between ‘bringing politics into something’ and dude with WHOLE A** SWASTIKAS ON HIS BODY.”

“His tattoos started it.”

“You don’t get giant tattoos of swastikas in your body unless you WANT to make other people know you’re a Nazi and be intimidated by it.”

“That’s the whole point.”


“And if that gyms not careful, then one Nazi will bring his friend Nazi, and that friend will bring another Nazi.”

“That’s how places become known for being friendly to Nazis.”

“Get out now.”- Sensitive_Ad_1063


“I’d almost guarantee that there is at least someone in the class who is there literally to learn to protect themselves against a fear of someone like him, or at least like his tattoos represent, if they don’t represent him, coming after them.”

“If I went to that gym and that member was tolerated, I’d find a new gym.”

“You’re trying to help the coach do the right thing.”- Hestiansun

“The Nazi guy brought politics into the gym tattooed across his body.”

“You’re just responding to it.”

“Ignoring that kind of statement is just as political.”- oldcreaker


“He is obviously strong enough in his belief that he had those symbols permanently inked on his skin.”

“This isn’t someone who is subtly racist, he is obviously overtly racist.”

“Would you be expected to roll with him if you were jewish?”

‘Sorry but I don’t see how you refusing to pair up with this guy is bringing politics into the gym.”

“He did that by not covering his tats.”

“They are offensive and he should be asked to cover them at all times in the gym.”

“It’s no different than if he had a tattoo of a naked woman in a class with minors, or if he had KKK tattoos in a class with people of color.”

“It’s not appropriate to display.”

“If he isn’t willing to keep them covered then he should expect that some people are going to refuse to partner with him.”

“As a gym owner they have a choice, either stand up for equality or stand with racists.”

“It’s pretty simple.”

“They are either pro equality or not, there is no neutrality on this.”

“You can’t respect everyone’s right to believe what they want in this situation because that’s siding with racism.”- absoluteandyone

“NTA .”

“I myself have done BJJ before an injury, i was in the 16-18 class and there was an 18 Yr old that had lots of very offensive, racist and sexist tattoos, I refused to roll with him.”

“You shouldn’t have to be forced to roll with someone you feel offended or uncomfortable with.”-TwinTrouble222


“Nazis don’t get the benefit of the doubt.”- exquisitehashbrowns


“You don’t have to train with anyone you don’t want to.”

“If being around someone like that makes you uncomfortable, you shouldn’t have to be put into that situation.”

“Stick to your values and beliefs and don’t let what others think sway you, especially if you believe that this guy is active in his nazi practices.”

“If your teacher can’t get behind that, find somewhere else to go do your thing.”-AllUserNamesTaken442


“Tell the teacher this is not about politics, it’s about being against an ideology that killed MILLIONS based on that gigantic sh*t about superior race.”

“Honestly, f*ck the nazi and this idiotic coach.”- chanandlerbong16


“You didn’t bring politics into the gym, this guy covered in Nazi tattoos, however, did.”

“You are absolutely not making a big deal out of this.”

“Like, what their reasoning here for telling you that you’re making a big deal out of it?”- MageVicky

“NTA and find a new Gym and a new coach.”

“This isn’t politics, this is about basic human decency which the nazi lacks and apparently so does your coach.”

“F*ck Nazis.”- mezlabor

“The f*ck? How is this guy okay with Nazis in his gym?”


“F*ck the Nazi and f*ck your coach.”- garbanzoismyname


“This is not politics.”

“This is morality.”

“The fact that your coach thinks it is just politics doesn’t say good things about them.”- bamf1701

It is a bit unsettling that the OP’s coach didn’t quite see the severity of this situation.

Especially considering the sacrifices so many made to put an end to the horrific actions associated with the very symbol tattooed on their classmate’s arm.

It might be in the best interest of the OP to look for another studio, where they know this won’t be a problem.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.