View Full Version : Need some compelling arguments...

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04-22-2003, 09:09 PM
That my sister should be allowed to take aikido with me. My brother plans to start next month, but my mom doesn't think she should join us.

Reasons I've gotten out of her are these:

* She'd be the only girl
* She's only 14
* She's small (but only a couple inches shorter than sensei)
* She'd be the only girl
* She might have to mooch some money from mom and dad

Okay, folks, here's where you come in. I need something to show mom to let my sis start. Stuff from you ladies would especially be appreciated. I think it would be good for her, but I can't convince mom...and dad seems to want to let mom decide.

Thanks in advance...I'll just let her read the thread, so you can "talk" to her, if you want...(I remember the article Why Women should Weild Weapons, but I can't find it...)

04-22-2003, 09:55 PM
Well, in my opinion, your sister is the one who is going to have to decide if those things would bother her (well, except for the mooching one... but there are a lot more useless things that a 14-year-old girl could waste her parent's money on :) )

As for being the only girl, it's really not bad at all. I was "the only girl" for quite a while, and it didn't matter because I was respected and wasn't treated any differently. In fact, I didn't realize that I was "different" most of the time. One day I looked around (after about three months of training) and realized, "Hrm... I'm the only girl here... *shrug*" and went back to training. I think the bigger obstacle was not having anyone I knew there, and feeling like a sort of outsider. Your sister would be lucky to have two of her brothers to support her while she's learning the ropes (even if they're learning them with her.)

Size is not much of an issue in aikido training. I've worked with some very small women, some of which I've treated like china dolls, some of which I've had to be on my toes with because I knew they'd kick my ass if I lost my focus for even a moment. :) And you learn how to read people -- recognize what they want, and how they need to train -- and you comply.

I don't really see what the issue with age would be, unless she's so immature that she would become a disruption to the dojo. And the gods know that there are people in their fifties that are so immature that they become disruptions to the dojo.

Ultimately, it should really be up to her. It may be helpful for her to try a few classes (I don't know about your dojo's policy, but that's usually acceptable) and see how she feels about it. She may find that the things you listed may not bother her at all, but aikido just isn't her thing. If she wants to train, I don't see a reason to bar her. I was a fourteen year old girl at one point. I wish I had had something like aikido at that time in my life. Maybe I wouldn't have felt the need to make some of the mistakes that I did.

Just some ramblings. Hope everything works out.



By the way, here's the link to the article:

04-22-2003, 10:33 PM
Well; let's see if these can help:

1) She may very well be the only girl; from the Aikido side of the equation, that's no bad thing at all. Women have no disadvantage in this art; if anything, they have an advantage due to their generally smaller size and more compact framework. Also; they have a major advantage in that their center of gravity is centered in the hips rather than the chest as in men. This gives them excellent balance and stability. Also; women tend to be a bit more analytical and controlled than men; meaning they don't get disoriented in unusual situations - say the middle of a roll - as quick as men, and can recover faster.

Being the 'only girl' is rarely a problem either. Most dojo's I've attended, men greatly outnumber women. I can see the concern; when women are greatly outnumbered by men; some boorish individuals can take that as an opportunity to bully, harrass or attempt to dominate them. This may indeed happen in the schoolyard, on the street or at work; I have never - repeat never - seen it happen in a dojo. Quite the opposite; women seem to bring out the 'big brother' phenomenon in us guys; the tendancy to protect and guard them.

Mind: I'm not saying bullying never takes place in dojo's; I'm sure it does. I've just never seen it. Upshot: a lone woman at a dojo is in an extremely safe place - safe in all descriptions of the word. That she is 14 reinforces that fact.

Another point that should be considered is that this is still a largely male-dominated world; in my experience; women who take up activities such as this, in which they are in the minority yet on a purely equal footing in a positive environment, tend to handle the male world much better, due to their experience in the matter.

Now as to her being 'only 14': The perfect age to start! She's small, light, likely flexible and immortal as only a teenager can be. She'll learn faster, retain more, and have bags more fun than if she started at a later age.

As for her having to 'mooch' money from the parentals; dojo fees aren't that much, all things considered. You have to (or may) buy:

Quarterly dojo fees. A Gi. Perhaps a jo and/or bokken. That's it really. Imagine if she wanted to play hockey? Skates, pads, jersey, helmet, gloves, sticks, pucks, ice rental, skate sharpening etc., etc.

Or if that's perhaps too much; is sitting at home playing on the computer - or whatever - really a better option?

If she wants to do it; she should be allowed. She's in a safe, positive environment with a fun social element. She'll learn good skills, get some exercise; learn what all too many people her age do not - respect and discipline. All in all, a good tradeoff for a few bucks on the parent's part. :)

Hope this helps!


04-23-2003, 05:08 AM
(I remember the article Why Women should Weild Weapons, but I can't find it...)
It's still linked from the front page (Tip: the "News" section) :)

04-23-2003, 05:14 AM
The founder of Aikido was only small in hight, it wasn't a problem for him at all.

In a dojo a young girl would be a lot safer than in many other places, especially hanging around in streets.

Vulnerable people (like young girls) are an easy target for criminals, and Aikido training would only be an advantage (although I hope that such a situation will never happen, of course).

I've been trying to find a link to a demonstration by Hendriks Sensei for some Aikido 'girl action' but couldn't find it. If other gyys here know where it is couod you please post the link. It looks very convincing to me.

Kung Fu Liane
04-23-2003, 05:48 AM
i can kind of see where your mom is coming from, mine was exactly the same about five years ago. i started martial arts when i was fifteen, and there weren't many girls...in fact there were three of us, myself and two friends. my mom was dead set against the training, and especially with the thought of weapons. she thought it was dangerous and not suitable for a small girl, but becuase my friends were allowed to go, she was persuaded. now, she lets me have weapons in the house, and she even bought me by first bokken as a present.

if your sister wants to learn but your mom objects 'cos she'd be the only girl, then perhaps your sister could take a friend along to class? your mom will probably feel better if there is another girl there to look out for your sister, and even if her friend decided to quit, once your sister has been to a few classes, how can your mom turn round and say no later?

as for starting at 14, i'd say its a perfect time, wish i'd got that extra year in.

is it possible that your mom has a slightly misguided view of the martial arts? maybe she thinks they are violent and thats why she objects to your sister attending class. you could always suggest your mom comes to watch your sister's first class, that would probably put her mind at rest.


04-23-2003, 07:10 AM
It's still linked from the front page (Tip: the "News" section)
Hey, it is! I swear it wasn't there last night... hehehe, or maybe I was just too tired and missed it.
is it possible that your mom has a slightly misguided view of the martial arts?
Not really...did you read my aikido paper I wrote? Mom is my English paper... :] She knows aikido isn't violent.

And as for my sister bringing a friend, she already thought of that, but doesn't have any friends who would want to do it.

04-23-2003, 11:12 AM
That my sister should be allowed to take aikido with me. My brother plans to start next month, but my mom doesn't think she should join us.

Reasons I've gotten out of her are these:

* She'd be the only girl

* She's only 14

* She's small (but only a couple inches shorter than sensei)

* She'd be the only girl

* She might have to mooch some money from mom and dad
I agree with what the others have said, but let me also provide my female perspective. I love training in aikido as a woman. I find that aikido is a great art for a woman, or young woman. It is an art that doesn't force us to overcome our opponent with strength.

The challenge of learning a martial art and becoming more and more adept in it, will help develop her self-esteem and confidence. By regarding one self highly we are less likely to project ourselves as victims -- whether its verbal or physical harrassment.

An aikido dojo,is usually a safe place to be when it comes to being the only woman in class. Actually, it is good that men outnumber women so that we have more male training partners to practice with. We learn about different male body types and learn how to respond appropriately.

As far as her size, I have seen and know some very powerful female aikido practitioners. They don't have to be tall, big or very muscular to be effective. In fact by not being muscular as most men are, a woman more likely learns to used the principles of aikido more than resorting to one's muscular strength. So if she is in a confrontation, i.e. an overly aggressive boyfriend, she will know that she does have a chance of getting away from him.

And 14 is a great age to start aikido. Where I train, we have a children's program and we start them as young as 5 or 6. Being 14 will give her the maturity to pay attention in class (versus younger children) and give her the intellectual ability to understand the deeper concepts.

And as far as the money mooching goes, tell her not to worry about it. The benefits of a higher self-esteem, being physically active, learning to defend oneself, and learning to be in a male dominated environment all outweigh the amount of money that will be spend on her training (as others mentioned it would be gi, dojo registration, and monthly dues). She could be spending a lot more money on other activities than she would in aikido.

Plus, she has her two brothers watching after her. I took Tae Kwon Do as a young girl and trained along with my brothers. It was something that brought the three of us closer together.

I hope this helps,

Katie Jennings
04-23-2003, 11:46 AM
I'm 15,only 5 foot 6, although there are some other women in my dojo (i'm very lucky that way), none of these things have ever bothered me that much, although my nan was uncertain at first about allowing me to train. A year later, the only thing stopping me from training is a broken collar bone. (did a goshi-nage and it went,well,wrong)


04-24-2003, 09:13 PM
Mom said she can start!

So, next week, our class will be up to 6!

My brother's starting, too.

Thanks for the help! :D