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anonymous
10-12-2004, 11:31 AM
I would like to share with you a concern I have and hopefully get your point of view on the subject:
I've been practicing Aikido for 3 years now - it makes me very happy and has become an important part in my life.
Three months ago I found out I am pregnant, which is something I was looking forward to.
After considering all aspects and consulting with my Sensei (he was one of the first to know) - I've decided to continue practicing Aikido for as long as I can. We've decided I will decrease the amount of lessons (no more consecutive lessons), eliminate the dangerous techniques (no more brakefalls or koshi-nage) and sit whenever I feel tired (which happens a lot…). I also told everybody I have a backache and that the throws should be very slow and in control. It's only until I'll be able to tell them the real reason, which will be quite soon.
I'm accepting the fact that something, even though I'll be very careful, might go wrong and that "Aikido is not a chess game" (I quote my Sensei).
My questions, therefore, are not about the medical aspects - there are several threads here about this issue. My questions are more on the ethical and social aspects of the subject:
1. Most of the Aikidokas in my Dojo are male. I'm not sure how will they react to the idea of working with a pregnant woman. Any thoughts?
2. In one of the threads, a Sensei wrote that he didn't allow the pregnant Aikidokas to train regularly, only in private lessons. I respect his opinion (after all - it's his Dojo), but it got me thinking - am I putting too much burden on my Sensei and my partners by choosing to train? Is it selfish and inconsiderate of me to put them in this situation?
Training so far feels excellent - no physical discomfort and I keep learning about my center with every transition my body goes through.
I would be very happy to hear your thoughts on the subject and sorry for posting anonymously…

maikerus
10-12-2004, 05:59 PM
When I first started training - I guess I'd been doing Aikido for a year - one of the regular students found herself pregnant and continued training until about her 7th month (I may be wrong on this - it was long time ago). She did this with the full support (and care) of her doctor, the instructor and all the students in the dojo. She trained as you suggest...no breakfalls. Lots of body movement. Nice and slow.

I know that I thought it was fantastic that she continued to train after she found out that she was pregnant. For one, she was a friend of mine so I was able to see her often as her pregnancy developed and two, she continued to do what she wanted to to the best of her ability throughout her pregnancy. That, plus the health benefits of training I think really helped her mentally and physically while she was pregnant.

My few yen...

--Michael

mj
10-12-2004, 07:02 PM
What kind of Aikido is it?

Nick P.
10-12-2004, 09:42 PM
<WARNING!>
Now that I have your attention....

My wife continued to train (like mentioned above; no ukemi, sensible training, etc) into her seventh month. At the end of one class, we were putting away the mats (as usual), and she blacked-out.

Luckily many students were around her, and she managed to sit down with her back against a wall for support, but while I was asking her if she was OK, she did not respond; her eyes were open, she was breathing normally, bu her lower lip just kind of quivered. Cell phones were being retrieved from bags, and moments before I was going to yell "CALL 911, AND GET AN AMBULANCE HERE NOW!" to my good friend, she came out of it.
She was groggy, a little disoriented and didn't feel well. Within an hour she felt fine, she assured me.
She went to her OB the next day and he confirmed the baby was fine. Thomas is now 8 months old and fine.

My wife is one of the fittest people I (and many of our Uber-fit friends) know, and tenacious, but she was caught by the level of the demands pregnancy placed on her, not to mention trying to keep up a fraction of her training.

If she would not have been talking to someone at the time she blacked out.....<shudder>.

So yes, continue to train, but please remember the mats will still be there waiting for your return.

Nick P.
10-12-2004, 09:51 PM
AND CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

-duh

L. Camejo
10-12-2004, 10:14 PM
One of my students recently became pregnant as well. At first we considered the option of her training without any breakfalls, but I later decided it was best for her to stop training altogether.

The reason for this was because of how extremely tiring it was for her as she is still working (doing a very physically and mentally taxing job) and had no car, meaning transportation difficulties as well. Even though she really wanted to continue training I advised against it. Also, because of the sort of Aikido we do, she would have to just sit down during randori sessions due to the way we do randori. A tanto tsuki that landed could have some detrimental effects for her. Another thing I thought about was that even though the majority of the class would be supportive of her condition, some may feel cheated having to take up the role of Uke alone when training with her, and I did not want her to be feeling uncomfortable with this as well. I pretty much told her what Nick spoke of above - the mats will always be there whenever she is ready.

Just my thoughts. Congratulations to you and I hope it all works out fine.

LC:ai::ki:

anonymous
10-13-2004, 12:54 AM
For the record - I still do Ukemi, i.e. front and back rolls and very gently (until my body will tell me otherwise).
Mark - The affiliation is Aikikai and my Sensei teaches us to work softly as a rule (unless we get carried away at Gi-waza, which is also nice from time to time :)
Nick - Thanks and congratulations to you too. Do you know what was the cause of your wife's blackout? Was it the low blood pressure or something else?
Larry - So far I've been doing the practice with a lot of awareness - sitting a lot when I'm tired (even slightly), working slowly and skipping the "tricky" techniques. What I would like to know is something you've mentioned in your post about Aikidokas feeling cheated by working with a pregnant Aikidoka. Is it that different from working with someone who is elderly or has some physical disability?
Again - Thanks for you replies.

creinig
10-13-2004, 04:12 AM
1. Most of the Aikidokas in my Dojo are male. I'm not sure how will they react to the idea of working with a pregnant woman. Any thoughts?

They'll be extra careful. If they aren't or if they are put off by this, well, there's their long-awaited chance for improving their personality ;)

Hanna B
10-13-2004, 07:35 AM
If I found out I had been training with a pregnant woman and she did not tell me, I think I would be angry. If you do not let me know, how do you expect me to adjust accordingly?

Once a woman I trained with tried to "teach" me while we were training by showing that she could hit her in my stomach. Her "punch" was from a very awkward angle and it had no strength in it at all - I was going slow to figure things out, she critisized that I was "standing there for so long" and tried to punch my stomach to get me moving. I answered by showing her that I was in a much better position to hit her belly than she was to reach mine. The whole situation was a bit unusual, but I have been in similar situations training with people eho try to "teach" you while they obviously have no clue. It might not be the most elegant solution, but I have often been told by men that the best way to silence such "teachers" are physical, not verbal.

What if I did that, and later found out that she was pregnant at the time. Boy, I would feel bad.

Actually, I do not understand how your teacher can let you train without telling the class you are pregnant. I have trained with women who trained during the major part of their pregnancy. One could not wear her hakama in the end, and borrowed a white belt as she could not tie her usual one.. We adopted a lot, never made a pin with her on her belly for long time but onely very bried. She liked training feeling so heavy.

The comment about being "cheated" concerned a women (if I understand correctly) who no longer took ukemi at all... the last month she trained we did often not perform the whole techniqe, but only the beginning so she did not have to go down so many times during a class. I trained a whole seminar for Saito sensei this way, simply because it was too crowded on the tatami to take full ukemi... but noone complained that it would be bad training because of this. I have trained in similar ways when people had injuries or slight handicaps... no problem. As long as one changes partners regularly, I see no problem at all with his.

Don't feel that it is bad to adopt training to your circumstances. Enjoy it.

philipsmith
10-13-2004, 08:17 AM
Current advice is to remain as active as possible during pregnancy.
Some caveats (which it sounds like you're already following).
Avoid getting over-tired, monitor your blood pressure avoid contact to the abdomen.
Recent studies have shown that an active healthy mother will generally have an active healthy baby.
As for partners training with you feeling "cheated" - I agree with you; why is that different from practising with the elderly or someone with an injury?
Good luck with the pregnancy and birth.

anonymous
10-13-2004, 11:38 AM
Hanna, you don't know how much I wanted to tell the Aikidokas in my Dojo about my pregnancy. Believe me, they are the people I desire to tell the most. The problem is that in the first 3 months there are statistically a lot of miscarriages (around 12%-15% of the pregnancies ends then). It's too hard to share the joy of the news and then deal with the pain of informing everybody if a miscarriage happens. So don't be angry on someone for wanting to know that everything is ok before braking the news.
It's the longest 3 months in my life... (and 6 more to go).
When I'll tell them - it's going to be in front of the whole Dojo and I'll apologize to them for misleading them about my back. I hope they'll understand.

BC
10-13-2004, 01:12 PM
Congradulations!

One of our dojo members is currently pregnant with her second child, and is continuing to train just like with her first pregnancy. Again, no breakfalls, and she practices at a relatively easy pace and rests if she feels fatigued. One thing she shared with me is that she is careful to choose training partners - basically only practicing with ones who she knows will practice in a safe manner, and she always informs them that she is pregnant. I can understand your reasons why you choose not to share the news until the end of your first trimester. Until you do share your good news, you can always ask your partners to take it easy, as you are "tired," which is probably the truth anyway. I know, because my wife and I just had our second child recently.

As far as partners feeling "cheated," I view that reaction as mere selfishness. While I love a good vigorous practice, I also occasionally intentionally practice at a slower pace if I am trying to work on a particular aspect of a technique (balance, center, flow, etc.). So I don't mind taking the intensity level down a notch or two once in a while.

Bronson
10-13-2004, 03:22 PM
How can people feel cheated?!?! This is the perfect opportunity to learn how to defend against a pregnant woman attacking you. Strange and mysterious things happen to a womans hormones during that time, often changing them for brief periods into psychotic knife-wielding lunatics....PERFECT! :p :D ;)

Train safe for as long as you can and don't worry about other's feeling cheated...that's their problem.

Besides, they'll probably end up with another person to train with after a few years...what a bonus :D

Bronson

NagaBaba
10-13-2004, 03:37 PM
Three or four woman from a our dojo did train until 8 or 9 month without any problem. Good idea to train as long as you can.

MaryKaye
10-13-2004, 07:07 PM
A caveat, though:

A first-kyu student in our dojo recently had her second baby. When we found out she was pregnant we asked if she would continue to train, or at least take the low-impact Ki Development classes. She laughed and said "When I was pregnant last time, I had no brainpower and no energy. I'll see you in nine months or so, but I'm going to take things easy."

So, it's great to decide to train, but if it becomes a source of fatigue and stress rather than a pleasure and a help, don' t be hard on yourself. Everyone reacts to pregnancy differently.

Mary Kaye

Jeanne Shepard
10-13-2004, 08:44 PM
One of my fellow dojo members trained through her pregnancy. She did not disclose it to others til after her third month for the same reasons, miscarriages happen mostly then and for not just because of physical accidents, sometimes just because the fetus isn't viable. She took it easy, and just let people know she wasn't 100%.

Jeanne

Josh Bisker
10-13-2004, 09:13 PM
congratulations!
so is one's center twice as powerful with two people occupying the same hara?

L. Camejo
10-14-2004, 12:38 AM
What I would like to know is something you've mentioned in your post about Aikidokas feeling cheated by working with a pregnant Aikidoka. Is it that different from working with someone who is elderly or has some physical disability?

Hi Anon,

Sorry I took so long to get back to you. I see you already have some pretty good reactions to the "feeling cheated" concept.

Hanna B and Robert Cronin allude to what I was refering to. The majority of Aikidoka I know, including myself will have no problem adjusting our practice to suit someone with an injury, disability or anything else that may hinder them a bit.

However, as Robert suggested, there are the selfish ones who come to the dojo for only their own edification and may take the position of "paying their dues to train and not to practice half of the technique" by being Uke alone and being overly and extremely careful when training in any of the situations you indicate above. As you stated, there is nothing different with folks who have disabilities, are elderly etc. the types of people I am referring to will see these people in the same light as someone who is pregnant - a hindrance to their going all out.

In these cases I tend to make it my business to be Uke for the pregnant person in question rather than run the risk of the person getting hurt by an over exuberant Tori. To date I still do deep and thourough investigations whenever any of my students get injured outside the norm, so if there is a possibility of this I take responsibility by being that person's training partner for the session.

The fact is, due to the nature of our training style there are some areas that elderly folks, pregnant folks etc. just cannot participate in. For this reason we have separate testing syllabi for women and elderly Dan grades. For things like resistance randori especially, these folks are advised to take a rest or practice kata if they are unable to handle the intensity.

I agree of course that those who are unable to train with pregnant folk, elderly folk etc. are missing something in working on the inner aspects of their own training.

LC:ai::ki:

anonymous
10-14-2004, 02:02 AM
So far I've done some "testing" - I told two guys in my Dojo that I feel close to about my pregnancy.
The first guy kept his eagerness to train with me afterward which made me very happy. He wasn't trying to avoid practicing with me like I was afraid of.
The second guy was someone who is considered a strong and a fast Aikidoka. We've practiced Shomenuchi Irimi-Nage and he was doing it quite fast for my taste (the Ukemi felt perfectly ok, but the balance was taken a little bit too much for what I wished then). I reminded him twice about my "back pain", but he continued working in the same manner. It wasn't because he was being mean, it's probably because he knew me to be able to handle much more power then what he was doing and he did try to make is slower. Then I told him (in the middle of the technique) that I was pregnant and boy - did he become gentle after that! It was amazing and hilarious to see that guy becoming as soft as a kitty (even more then I wish him to be).
I'm aware of the fact that some will try to avoid practicing with me when I'll brake the news, but that's fine by me. I do not wish to train with people who do not trust themselves or wish to train with someone in my condition.
Bronson - you’re a killer.
Larry- I knew you weren't referring to yourself, but there are people like these everywhere (Dojo, office, etc.) and it's better to avoid them, which is easy because they are trying to avoid you as well... A win-win situation :)

Hanna B
10-14-2004, 04:40 AM
So if you have a miscarriage, you expect them to never find out... may be true, maybe not. If this woman did have a miscarriage, and I had been punching her in her stomach...

it would most probably have nothing to do with it. Most early miscarriages happens because something is wrong with the foetus anyway. But still...

anonymous
10-14-2004, 06:49 AM
Hanna, you've just raised one of my biggest dilemmas.
The chance of having a miscarriage due to a hit to the stomach or so during practice is extremely rare (especially in the early months, when the womb is still inside the pelvis). But still, I did take in consideration that something, however rare, might happen during practice. That's part of life and I'll need to deal with it the same way as if I'll have a car accident or any other traumatic injury (God forbid).
It becomes a greater problem when we're talking about my partner during the injury - that's exactly the burden I was talking about when I've started the thread. I will never blame someone for an accident (they do happen, as we all know), but he/she might feel responsible for it and that's the hard point. We'll both have to live with my decision to practice and the consequences of it, but I'll be the one that laid it on him/her… Not an easy thing.

Nick P.
10-14-2004, 10:35 AM
Nick - Thanks and congratulations to you too. Do you know what was the cause of your wife's blackout? Was it the low blood pressure or something else?

We still don't know what caused the blackout, but the message, to us at least, is clear; each person is different, and each pregnancy with the same person will be different. Enjoy the pregnancy, but take care of yourself and listen to what your body is trying to tell you.

Good luck!

thomas_dixon
10-14-2004, 06:51 PM
While Aikido may be an important part of your life, I think you'd have to make a choice between Aikido and the baby's assured health. and if a woman was pregnant, i wouldn't throw her...at all...


I suggest you lay off aikido until after the baby is born. (my personal opinion.)

GaiaM
10-14-2004, 07:31 PM
While Aikido may be an important part of your life, I think you'd have to make a choice between Aikido and the baby's assured health. and if a woman was pregnant, i wouldn't throw her...at all...

I disagree with this statement on two counts:

First of all, many studies and good ol' common sense say that staying active during pregnancy is one of the best ways to assure an easy pregnancy and healthy mother and baby. Aikido is like anything else - there are risks and benefits. As long as one trains wisely and doesn't take hard falls (or perhaps any falls towards the end of the pregnancy), I expect the benefits would generally outway the risks.

Secondly, IMO it is not your position to choose what a pregnant woman does or does not do during her pregnancy. Ok, if you are really uncomfortable throwing her then you should just say that and train without throws or with a different person. But personally, if I were pregnant and did my research and thought about it and decided to continue training in aikido, I would hope that others in the dojo would respect that decision. If someone was concerned I would want them to approach me about it outside of class. This is the way to show respect for the decisions people make about their own bodies.

Personally, I hope to train if I am pregnant someday and I expect that the physical and emotional support of the training and the dojo community will probably be very important to me during that time.

Gaia

PeterR
10-14-2004, 08:23 PM
Sorry Gaia but I disagree.

Yes activity is good for pregnant women but breakfalls and other components of training can be quite extreme, especially in some dojos.

As much as a woman has a right to continue to exercise anyone (and why does it sound like you are assuming its a man making the decision) can decide that they do not want to risk hurting a developing child or anyone for that matter. In actual fact tori should be making that decision with everyone they practice with every time they do a technique.

It hasn't happened yet but if a visibly pregnant woman came to my group, based on the intensity of the practice, I would strongly suggest another form of exercise even if they were used to our form of Aikido training. Take the time to explore something else.

I do think Aikido provides quite a bit of lee way but the group practice should not suffer because of an individual. There are many instances where one should stay away from practice.

thomas_dixon
10-15-2004, 12:51 AM
I agree with peter.

While you say Aikido is good exercise and all, it is not the best exercise for pregnant women. Even cutting back on Aikido wouldn't help..If getting a perm, bleaching your hair, using anti-lice medicine, smoking, etc. would all hurt a developing child, Aikido could do a lot of damage.

Good common sense would say a non-violent (which whether you'd agree or not, getting thrown to a mat is in some sense violent IMO) exercise, like exercise classes for pregnant women (which there are many) would help her stay fit much better.

Secondly, IMO it is not your position to choose what a pregnant woman does or does not do during her pregnancy.

This is why i said it was my opinion. I don't know this woman, how could I tell her how to live her life? She asked how people would feel, and I answered my honest opinion, that I would not train with her, because If I knew I was at fault for causing a miscarriage because of my ignorence in the matter, I'd have to live with that for the rest of my life.

I'm sorry if I offend with with any of my previous statements, or what I'm about to say, but if you trained pregnant, I could not and would not support you in any way. You're doing more harm to yourself and the baby than good, and even though it is your body, it doesn't mean anyone has to support you for what you do with it, especially if it's an inane act. Do you support a crack addict who continues to do anything for drugs? No...You support a crack addict who does their best in realizing their situation and trying to become rehabilitized. Same with pregnant women. When you realize that doing Aikido becomes a purely selfish act, as in the long run it benefits neither of you, then you stop, have the baby, then continue Aikido. This as once stated is my opinion.

Tricia Escobedo
10-15-2004, 02:23 AM
Hi anonymous.. I am a shodan at Dogwood Aikikai in Atlanta, where I have practiced for nearly 7 years. I am four months pregnant and am still training. Here's my two cents on the whole pregnancy thing:

I understand your concern regarding not telling your fellow aikidoka. I went through the same thing. Earlier this year, my husband who is a nidan at the same dojo was terribly worried about an errant tsuki to my belly so I decided to tell early (9 weeks) and then had a miscarriage the next week. Just what I was trying to avoid! But my dojo is my family and they were incredibly supportive. Of course the miscarriage had nothing to do with aikido and is very common, as you know, especially with first pregnancies.

My opinion -- if you are at three months, you are just about out of the 1st trimester and your miscarriage chances have already decreased, especially if you have heard or seen the baby's heartbeat. If -- God forbid --you do have a miscarriage, have a friend or your instructor tell your dojo because you will be too emotional to announce it yourself. But I would tell, just my opinion. Good thing is you told your instructor, which is most important.

This pregnancy, I still practice but not as regularly. Maybe 1-2 times a week. Our dojo has a soft mat and we practice hard falls. For me, no breakfalls, no koshi throws, and limited front/back rolls, just as a precaution. I concentrate on not getting overworked and if my heart rate is too high, I take a break.

I continue to teach class once a week which is, of course, easy on the body. I decided to take up Iaido (art of drawing the sword) to help complement my aikido. That gets me in the dojo and active with no ukemi. I am enjoying that tremendously.

I am very comfortable as a senior student setting my own pace during class, as all our instructors and students are very understanding. If I am tired, I tell sensei and sit out that technique or the rest of class for that matter.

I do not feel like I am taking away from anyone's practice. It is much easier when the dojo is aware of your condition. The guys that are training for upper kyu tests next month -- and need to throw -- do not work with me as often. And that is fine. They need a strong uke and that ain't me. I choose my techniques more carefully than my partners as we have a great dojo and anyone who may feel uncomfortable working with me has every right to bow into someone else. I don't care, that is their right.

Aikido is for everyone and if your condition takes away from someone's practice, they have many other partners to chose from. You shouldn't worry so much about their training.

I've read many posts on this and heard everything from women who quit training to women who practically give birth on the mat. I think it also has a lot to do with how advanced you are in the martial art -- that is, if you are still a beginner you might want to take it easier. This being my first (successful) pregnancy, I'm going to play it by ear. I am waiting to hear back from a former female aikidoka and see what her experiences were with her 3 pregnancies. Please feel free to email me -- dishies@excite.com -- I'd love to compare notes as it is hard to find a fellow aikidoka that is expecting :)

And congratulations!

Hanna B
10-15-2004, 03:52 AM
It becomes a greater problem when we're talking about my partner during the injury - that's exactly the burden I was talking about when I've started the thread. I will never blame someone for an accident (they do happen, as we all know), but he/she might feel responsible for it and that's the hard point. We'll both have to live with my decision to practice and the consequences of it, but I'll be the one that laid it on him/her… Not an easy thing.

This is exactly why I think it is your training partners' right to be informed, so they can make a choice - if they want to play on the extremely safe side, ten times more carefully than you think is necessary, they should have the right to do so.

Yes activity is good for pregnant women but breakfalls and other components of training can be quite extreme, especially in some dojos.

As much as a woman has a right to continue to exercise anyone (and why does it sound like you are assuming its a man making the decision) can decide that they do not want to risk hurting a developing child or anyone for that matter. In actual fact tori should be making that decision with everyone they practice with every time they do a technique.

It hasn't happened yet but if a visibly pregnant woman came to my group, based on the intensity of the practice, I would strongly suggest another form of exercise even if they were used to our form of Aikido training. Take the time to explore something else.

Everywhere I've trained, it has been OK to train without breakfalls... and some people have not done them, for various reasons (fear, age, injury). How well it works to adapt training to various conditions, probably depends a lot on how the training in the dojo is. This might have something to do with style of Aikido, but at least as much it depends on the practitioners. In a group of young competitive males adaptation to training with injury or pregnancy is probably quite a bit more difficult than in a group where some people have reached their 50s.

I also agree on what has been said, that a more experienced practitioner often finds it more easy to adapt training. I usually advice beginners to stop training when injured, as they'll learn all forms of bad habits while trying to protect their weak joint for instance. More advanced practitioners are more able to make case-by-case decisions.

Hanna B
10-15-2004, 04:02 AM
The fact is, due to the nature of our training style there are some areas that elderly folks, pregnant folks etc. just cannot participate in. For this reason we have separate testing syllabi for women and elderly Dan grades. For things like resistance randori especially, these folks are advised to take a rest or practice kata if they are unable to handle the intensity.
You have separate testing syllabi for women because they might be pregnant?!? Or they always have different testing requiremensts - what is the reason for this?

anonymous
10-15-2004, 04:04 AM
I hear you all and everything you say, from the reserved to the supportive, is true simply because that's your own opinion. I wasn't trying to convince anyone that I'm doing the right thing, but to get different opinions on the subject.
The decision to keep practicing wasn't in advance - in the first pregnancy you don’t know what to expect, so I was glad to learn about myself that I'm able to continue practicing with no physical discomfort and even with great enjoyment. It still feels so good!
I followed my doctor's advice - he said that pregnancy ain't a disease and I'm not sick. What was good for my health before the pregnancy is good for me now, as long as I don't over do it. So Thomas, it’s not the same as smoking, which is never good for your body, pregnant or not.
I don't know for how long I will keep practicing, but if I do go on - it certainly won't be out of selfishness. Aikido suits us all, right? It's the people who don't necessarily suits to other people...
Yesterday I went to an important medical check and all seems well (thank God), so today I'm going to tell the Dojo. It's a big day for me.
I don’t know how will they react, but I'm confidence that the Aikidokas that will continue to practice with me will share the same harmony as before (though a slower one).
Hanna - I'm 2nd kyu now. Do you call it experienced enough?
Tricia - Congratulations, my fellow to the experience, I'll contact you shortly :)

PeterR
10-15-2004, 04:11 AM
Hi Hanna;

Well I'm the oldest at 42 and ages range between that and 17. The Shodokan training style is pretty much group driven. Opting out here and there is quite disruptive. Still you will find me quite accommodating to individual needs but I must balance this out with what's best for the group.

The other consideration is that I am responsible for any and all injuries. Whether that be broken bones, heart attacks or miscarriages. I have to make a risk assessment and consider if its a risk I am willing to take.

Hanna B
10-15-2004, 05:02 AM
The Shodokan training style is pretty much group driven. Opting out here and there is quite disruptive.
This is quite different to how I have trained, so I guess things like this is a bigger obstacle in Shodokan environments (or your Shodokan environment, at least) than in many others. How dojos differ with the age and walk of life of the dojo population is interesting, though. I find that I seldome thrive in dojos dominated by young males, for a variety of reasons. But that's another thread.

Hanna - I'm 2nd kyu now. Do you call it experienced enough?

anon, ranks can mean many different things in different places. Less than two years of regular training I would say people should realise that they can not really judge how training can be adapted, over that I guess it is individual...

Pauliina Lievonen
10-15-2004, 07:44 AM
I haven't got anything to add, really, except for congratulations! I just suddenly thought of the fact that almost half of our dojo membership consist of women in their early thirties...I'm surprised that we haven't had any pregnancies yet! :)

kvaak
Pauliina

GaiaM
10-15-2004, 03:57 PM
Peter and all,
It sounds like your dojo, and perhaps all Shodokan dojos, is quite different than those that many of us train in. At my dojo we have people up to age 70 and down to 10 all in the same classes. Practice is generally partner based (so if I'm working with a yudansha it's fast and strong, if a beginner or injured or older it's slower and gentler) and when it's groups sensei often asks us to split according to rank or ability. So it sounds like we are perhaps both in the right... At your dojo it would not be appropriate for a pregnant woman to train and at mine it would.
I certainly respect the right of nage (tori) to bow out of training with someone if they were uncomfortable, but in my dojo i would expect that anyone who was past the beginner stage would be able to adapt their training to be safe and respectful. Also, opting out of a technique or just sitting out for a while is not disruptive (although not encouraged for healthy young folks). We have an elderly member who often sits out close to half of class. We all enjoy training with him and no one feels put out.
I'd be curious to hear from other Shodokan folks if these differences are true across the board.
Gaia

L. Camejo
10-15-2004, 10:07 PM
You have separate testing syllabi for women because they might be pregnant?!? Or they always have different testing requiremensts - what is the reason for this?

Hi Hanna,

The difference in testing requirements for Dan grades apply to "Women and older people" on the part of the syllabus that requires freeplay which goes from zero resistance to high resistance depending on which test is being done (tanto kakari geiko, hiki tate geiko or tanto randori geiko in increasing order of difficulty). In these situations the women and elderly folks got to do extra kata for their grading instead of the free play element. My website has the syllabus here (http://www.ttac.0catch.com/syllabus.htm). If you look at any of the Dan syllabi you will see the
"women and older people" specifications.

The reason for this is because the resistance tanto randori is like practice for competition as well and requires a certain degree of fitness, mental and physical strength and flexibility, technical skill and martial spirit to be successful at it. It can be very taxing on the body after a while. Peter may have the exact and official reason as to the reason for the 2 different syllabi, but this has been my experience.

Gaia, as far as other Shodokan dojos go, in ours we tend to train in kata much like any other dojo you'd find. The actual techniques may be slightly different but the way of practicing slowly and with cooperation to get the techniques correct is the same. I think Peter's is similar if not the same. The change comes when we start to practice freeplay, especially what we call randori, which involves much resistance and constant countering of techniques in a strong effort to throw your partner without being thrown yourself.

In these situations, there is no such thing as being thrown "softly" your Ukemi skills must be spot on. Like Peter indicated above, allowing people to practice in these sort of conditions, whether pregnant or not becomes a risk to be assessed by the instructor, other issues may also cause a person to be unable to partake in this sort of practice. I have on many occasions been asked by students who were either aged or unfit to sit out randori sessions as they became winded, dizzy etc. from the rapid movement. In my dojo, I may allow pregnant women to train in kata practice with no ukemi, but not at all in free play. Again it comes down to the risk assessment.

Just my thoughts.
LC:ai::ki:

PeterR
10-16-2004, 04:31 AM
I have no problem with people bowing out of practice if they have difficulty - half a class is better than none. We also adjust quite a bit to the skill level/condition of your partner but there are limits. A point where its best to bow out and not practice.

Hanna B
10-16-2004, 07:57 PM
The reason for this is because the resistance tanto randori is like practice for competition as well and requires a certain degree of fitness, mental and physical strength and flexibility, technical skill and martial spirit to be successful at it. It can be very taxing on the body after a while.

Fitness, mental and physical strength, flexibility, technical skill, martial spirit... all of which women are supposed to have less of? :rolleyes: You and me surely live in different worlds! I could understand if one picked female or at least small stature men for women, though.

L. Camejo
10-16-2004, 08:32 PM
Fitness, mental and physical strength, flexibility, technical skill, martial spirit... all of which women are supposed to have less of? :rolleyes: You and me surely live in different worlds! I could understand if one picked female or at least small stature men for women, though.

Hey Hanna,

This is my interpretation of what I see on the Shodokan syllabus that comes from Shodokan Honbu in Japan. It is not my rule. I admit that my interpretation of why they put this condition in can be wrong, but it is there, and there probably is a reason for it, else I may just have an old version of the testing syllabus and it may be that this situation no longer applies. As I indicated before, maybe Peter Rehse or Hori, who are physically close to Shodokan Honbu may be able to shed some more light on the subject. The distinction may have been made for women because at the time women did not compete in the Shiai portion of tournament, I don't know the official reason.

A similar condition is also placed on the Shodokan Honbu website here (http://homepage2.nifty.com/shodokan/en/shinsa.html) the only difference is that women and older people are allowed to be Tori, but not Uke, and this is only for Shodan which tests Tanto Kakari Geiko (lowest level of randori against tanto as practiced in most styles) and tanto hiki tate geiko which is the medium level, including light to medium resistance by the person with the tanto. Having only now seen this I will edit my syllabus to suit, but the rule hasn't changed that much.

On another note of my experience with this, I have yet to see women and older people (as indicated in the Shodokan syllabus) as well as young vibrant members of many other Aikido flavours stand up to the rigours of Tanto Randorigeiko without extensive practice and physical/technical training in this method of training. It may just be my experience as I am sure there are not that many physical factors that can affect the performance of a man over a woman or vice versa (though US Naval Special Warfare Command may disagree with me:)). However, pregnancy is one of those factors, hence the reason I don't let them take part in freeplay. It's safer for all involved.

Oh and I can assure you we live in the same world. :confused:

Just my 2 cents.
LC:ai::ki:

Hanna B
10-17-2004, 07:36 AM
No, our training worlds are not the same. I am sorry.

However, pregnancy is one of those factors, hence the reason I don't let them take part in freeplay. It's safer for all involved.
The possibility that I might possible get pregnant once or twice in my life affecting my training all of my life? Gee. This is the only time I have heard of something similar.

If I am on the pill, will that affect how I am allowed to train? If I have a (what is it called, some coppar stuff in the womb to prevent a fertilised egg to implant)? If I have a sterilisation performed? Come on, this is absurd.

Probably this follows logically from the "group centered" approach, where everyone is supposed to train the same - if you make an exception, you must have a group that can have the same exception. I much much rather train in environments where things are adapted on bases of the individual, not on gender or either easily determined subgroup of the human species that you belong to...

anonymous
10-17-2004, 09:49 AM
Mission accomplished! :)
At the end of the practice on Friday (which was surprisingly crowded) I set in front of my Dojo and revealed my condition. The experience itself was a bit embarrassing, but liberating… :) Anyway, everybody were amazing about it.
I'm constantly looking for ways to adjust my training to my physical condition - today I'm helping in the kids class and I'm thinking about putting more effort into my weapon training.
Hanna - you can never feel too confident (it might cause carelessness), but after 3 years of continuous practice, I know my abilities enough to make the choice and feel comfortable with it.
Paullina - thanks, I believe that that it will happen in your Dojo sooner then you think...
Larry - it's very interesting to hear your side of the story. My Dojo is more like Hanna's Dojo - we have people from all ranges of sex, age and ability. That makes my situation much more acceptable then in a Dojo like yours. But to be honest - I would rather not be cataloged, but to be given the opportunity to choose what kind of training suits me. Grouping can be good (for example: beginners and advanced), but grouping by sex/age sounds too totalitarian to me. My 2 cents.

sarah07
10-17-2004, 07:58 PM
Congratulations to those expecting! I hope all goes well whether you are training, pursuing other activities or opting out for a few months.

As far as my 2 cents is concerned - I can understand completely a womans right to have control of her own body and also think it is an excellent idea to keep up with as much exercise as is possible and safe. If one can find a dojo willing to accomodate and work with a pregnant woman, no problem (although I think it is important for all memebers to be aware of the pregnancy after a certain point).

If however, a dojo is not willing to accomodate pregnant women due to the style or intensity of training, group ethic or possible risks involved then I think this must be respected. At the end of the day the responsibility lies with the dojo-cho as often they are the ones held responsible if something were to happen. Albiet a tough call to make....


[QUOTE=Hanna Björk]

Everywhere I've trained, it has been OK to train without breakfalls... and some people have not done them, for various reasons (fear, age, injury). How well it works to adapt training to various conditions, probably depends a lot on how the training in the dojo is. This might have something to do with style of Aikido, but at least as much it depends on the practitioners. In a group of young competitive males adaptation to training with injury or pregnancy is probably quite a bit more difficult than in a group where some people have reached their 50s.

QUOTE]

I have not been training long at all, but even so I can not imagine practicing Aikido without following through with a breakfall when taking ukemi in techniques where it is required. It was one of the very first things I learnt (and am still learning, as my abdominal muscles will attest..!) and it soon becomes apparent that in order to participate effectively in randori you need to have your ukemi up to scratch.

I think the difference possibly has more to do with the 'style' than the 'practitioners' as there are few styles outside of Shodokan that include randori in their practice, although I am no expert.

Lastly, Peter's Shodokan Himeji dojo where I have started my training is by no means exclusively comprised of 'young, competitive males'. We have an increasing number of women participating regularly and the dojo environment is not intimidating in the least. Rather, everyone gets along with respect, consideration, focus and the attitude that we are working together, not against each other.

We also like to throw in a little humour, for good measure :D


-Sarah Moon

PeterR
10-17-2004, 08:14 PM
Now this is getting silly (quick edit to point out that Sarah posted just before I did).

The Shodokan syllabus is a product of Japanese society which in many ways is far more accommodating than Western societies. The operative word is the syllabus is may - meaning the option exists. Honbu dojo accommodates anything from teenage to sixties, male or female. In all my years I have seen someone opt out of the randori component in a test below sandan only twice - once a woman, once a man. A young fit lady, and trust me they are there in droves, is expected to do and does randori. The way its written in the syllabus is I suspect the easiest way in Japanese to suggest that there is room in the Shodokan family for the less gung ho. The English is just a direct translation.

Hanna - we are talking about pregnancy not method of birth control.

PeterR
10-17-2004, 08:41 PM
In an ongoing attempt to get a good representative picture of current dojo members we are taking them every practice. We are missing a few people from the picture taken last Saturday (we have 20 members) but - well I take umbrage at having my views and style of Aikido being pegged as nothing but testosterone driven under 30 young men.

I've up-loaded the picture to the Image galleries - subdirectory Dojo images - and waiting for Jun to approve. For the impatient you can also go to our Dojo Homepage - shown below - which has older picis.

L. Camejo
10-17-2004, 11:03 PM
Lastly, Peter's Shodokan Himeji dojo where I have started my training is by no means exclusively comprised of 'young, competitive males'. We have an increasing number of women participating regularly and the dojo environment is not intimidating in the least. Rather, everyone gets along with respect, consideration, focus and the attitude that we are working together, not against each other.
We also like to throw in a little humour, for good measure

Thank you soo much for posting Sarah, you have added a very unique point of view here for us. The post you made that I have quoted above also explains exactly how we train at our dojo. The women in our class, though not at black belt level yet, perform very well in all aspects of training and are among some of the most proficient and longest lasting members of our dojo. If we had a testosterone driven drill camp I'd think they'd be long gone.:)

Now this is getting silly

I can't agree more.

The possibility that I might possible get pregnant once or twice in my life affecting my training all of my life? ....

If I am on the pill, will that affect how I am allowed to train? If I have a (what is it called, some coppar stuff in the womb to prevent a fertilised egg to implant)? If I have a sterilisation performed? Come on, this is absurd.

It is very interesting how individual perception works imo. How some people can see not allowing women who are pregnant to train in hard resistance randori for their own safety as an attack on all women and their ability to train for their whole life, bringing into the mix things like contraception and other medical procedures that have absolutely nothing to do with the point being discussed, Aikido, the dojo or the price of gas imo. It amazes me how you utilised a very innocent post to launch a crusade on women and wider social issues that obviously affect you very much. It is becoming evident that you have some deep seated issues regarding this concept Hanna and it has affected your perception of one of my earlier posts to the point where you may have misconceived the training method we employ totally.

The same rule I apply to my pregnant students I apply to my students who have serious injuries that are in the process of healing. In our dojo safety comes first regardless of how much you think you can handle. When folks snap joints, break bones and get other injuries in class I always have to ask myself if it could have been prevented and how it can be avoided in future, their safety to a very large extent (if not totally) is my responsibility. A major part of that is pre empting situations that can result in injury. Regardless of how good a pregnant student thought they were I would not allow them to (even remotely) possibly endanger their unborn child. If men got pregnant the same rule would apply.

I much much rather train in environments where things are adapted on bases of the individual, not on gender or either easily determined subgroup of the human species that you belong to...

This is exactly how we train. The pregnancy/training intensity question is taken on a case by case basis. There are those who may be able to partake in randori while pregnant, but as a law they do not receive falls. As I indicated earlier, how one perceives things may be coloured by how one has experienced things in the past. We do not victimise women because they are pregnant Hanna, If you feel this is what we do I am sorry. Like Peter eloquently indicated, I really don't appreciate my Aikido being labelled as a testosterone driven under 30 boys club.

Anon: I am happy all worked out well at your dojo and I wish the best of health to you and the baby.

LC:ai::ki:

Qatana
10-18-2004, 10:57 AM
[QUOTE=Larry Camejo]Hi Hanna,

The difference in testing requirements for Dan grades apply to "Women and older people" on the part of the syllabus that requires freeplay which goes from zero resistance to high resistance depending on which test is being done (tanto kakari geiko, hiki tate geiko or tanto randori geiko in increasing order of difficulty). In these situations the women and elderly folks got to do extra kata for their grading instead of the free play element. My website has the syllabus here (http://www.ttac.0catch.com/syllabus.htm). If you look at any of the Dan syllabi you will see the
"women and older people" specifications.

The reason for this is because the resistance tanto randori is like practice for competition as well and requires a certain degree of fitness, mental and physical strength and flexibility, technical skill and martial spirit to be successful at it. It can be very taxing on the body after a while. Peter may have the exact and official reason as to the reason for the 2 different syllabi, but this has been my experience."

I do not see the word "pregnant" anywhere in this statement. And if my 74 year old teacher was told he was not Allowed to participate in randori or anything else in the dojobecause of his "age" i'm sure a few asses would be kicked in short order.

Hanna B
10-18-2004, 01:36 PM
Qatana, why do you quote almost an entire post to prove that the word "pregnant" does not exist in it, only to omit the sentence
However, pregnancy is one of those factors
? I can not see this as a very sincere method of discussing.

Peter, Larry originally posted that the syllabuses were different - no "may" there. If the "may" was clearly esplained later, then I missed that and apologise. Describing it as optional certainly gives a nicer sound to it, but this was not how it was originally described. Also, if you can make exception for women, for older men - why not for different handicaps, for personality, for any reason? Then we are IMO discussing individual treatment.

Like Peter eloquently indicated, I really don't appreciate my Aikido being labelled as a testosterone driven under 30 boys club.
Now I did not say that, did I. But yes, the system you outlined seems to me like better fitted for a pretty homogenous group. If that is a misunderstanding, well then it is.

I originally wrote about different dojo populations, Peter got into talking about the Shodokan system and I agreed he might have a point; there might be a difference also between styles, not only between different dojo populations. I still do think there are - no, I have experienced the huge difference between training in mixed dojo population and in dojos where most everyone is 20-25 and male! This is a separate issue, I am sorry if I was unclear here.

When you are saying I confuse pregnance with methods of birth control - yes you are right, this is getting silly. I do not think I have to explain that my point of course was that it is extremely silly to have pregnancy in consideration for a woman who actually is not pregnant, nor in risk of becoming so. I was answering Larry, not you, and he clearly stated that
pregnancy is one of those factors
that would explain the different testing syllabuses, and as an explanation as to why he does not let women take part of "free play" (randori, I suppose).

Well well, I guess we've travelled this road just about to its end...

Hanna B
10-18-2004, 01:43 PM
Back to topic... anon, good to hear that it seems to work out for you!

Qatana
10-18-2004, 05:38 PM
Hanna-

because i was only quoting those two paragraphs. The criteria for "different" testing says "women & older people" in the paragraph i quoted. Nothing about "pregnant" women.That was all i was saying.
Why do you feel the need to correct something that completely agrees with your position in the matter?

thomas_dixon
10-18-2004, 06:23 PM
Theres no point in trying to open a closed mind if someones holding it shut.

I hope the best for you and your child, Good Luck!

L. Camejo
10-18-2004, 06:51 PM
Qatana, why do you quote almost an entire post to prove that the word "pregnant" does not exist in it, only to omit the sentence

? I can not see this as a very sincere method of discussing.

Agreed Hanna. It is great to discuss concepts with someone who maintains the integrity of the forum of communication. If one has a valid point one does not have to misquote someone to make it more valid.

Peter, Larry originally posted that the syllabuses were different - no "may" there. If the "may" was clearly esplained later, then I missed that and apologise. Describing it as optional certainly gives a nicer sound to it, but this was not how it was originally described. Also, if you can make exception for women, for older men - why not for different handicaps, for personality, for any reason? Then we are IMO discussing individual treatment.

I agree eith your points above Hanna. Firstly, I tend to defer to whatever Peter says regarding the Shodokan syllabus, since he is in direct contact with at least one of the people who should have been responsible for creating it imo. So I would trust his info over mine any day. As I indicated in an earlier post, it is very possible that my interpretation of what was written on the syllabus may be incorrect. Secondly, your point about making exceptions for some groups does raise the question of "If for one or two groups, why not others?" and this makes perfect sense to me as well, hence my request from Peter or someone in the know to get the "official" reason. I think the reasons Peter gave should be taken at a higher level of correctness than mine regarding official Shodokan stuff.

When you are saying I confuse pregnance with methods of birth control - yes you are right, this is getting silly. I do not think I have to explain that my point of course was that it is extremely silly to have pregnancy in consideration for a woman who actually is not pregnant, nor in risk of becoming so. I was answering Larry, not you, and he clearly stated that that would explain the different testing syllabuses, and as an explanation as to why he does not let women take part of "free play" (randori, I suppose).

Your earlier post makes perfect sense to me now Hanna and I see your point as it pertains to the different syllabus for Women and Older people. As I indicated in my previous post, I do allow women to take part in free play (in our training there are 3 basic levels of randori which I tend to group collectively as "free play") and I also indicated that they are pretty good at it. It's the pregnant ones that I don't allow for reasons of safety primarily, not because I think they are not skilled enough or unable or unwilling to do it.

I think in the end we were talking about similar concepts but from different perspectives, coupled with some miscommunication in some places. It's all good though.:)

Well well, I guess we've travelled this road just about to its end...

Agreed. :cool:

And if my 74 year old teacher was told he was not Allowed to participate in randori or anything else in the dojobecause of his "age" i'm sure a few asses would be kicked in short order.

This may likely be the case, but please please remember that when we say Randori it is absolutely nothing like what the rest of the Aikido world calls randori. There is no cooperation or taking of falls unless one is comprehensively put down after seriously resisting, attempting counters and techniques of his own at full force with full intent of putting his partner down as well. If your teacher could handle it at 74, I'd say more power to him. Even though the words are written on the syllabus, as Peter indicated, there are many women and older students who have been able to do the full force randori syllabus instead of the kata one. :)

Peace all.
LC:ai::ki:

PeterR
10-18-2004, 07:37 PM
A couple of points just to round things out.

The issue of visibly pregnant women training is not addressed in the Shodokan syllabus but is my policy. A risk I am unwilling to take. Fry me for it not the system. When we were originally translating the site there were phrases that felt wrong to my politically correct western ears but I wasn't meant to do a re-write. Shodokan Honbu is about 30% woman and in my opinion far more egalitarian than average in Japan and often far more than Aikido dojos I've encountered in the West.

Randori in the Shodokan context is quite unique in Aikido circles. At the higher levels there is no quarter given and frankly there are few women and elderly men that can withstand a young buck intent on showing what he can do. There are lower levels of randori required for Shodan and Nidan and if you will look at the syllabus - everyone must do those. There are however, enough woman with advanced Dan grades at Honbu that most woman will do Randori for Sandan and up but it is considered gentlemanly to give ladies the option.

Jo I seriously doubt your 74 year old sensei could survive Shiai, most Aikidoka are overwhelmed the first time and that's why we work up to it slowly. As has been mentioned any number of times it is a training method taken to its logical conclusion. Aikido itself encompasses far more than the skill set randori teaches. Randori is a very physical/aerobic endeavor and is heavily weighted to the young and fit. Of course there are a number of 60+ Shodokan members that continue to train in the randori method.

PeterR
10-18-2004, 09:03 PM
Now I did not say that, did I. But yes, the system you outlined seems to me like better fitted for a pretty homogenous group. If that is a misunderstanding, well then it is.

I originally wrote about different dojo populations, Peter got into talking about the Shodokan system and I agreed he might have a point; there might be a difference also between styles, not only between different dojo populations. I still do think there are - no, I have experienced the huge difference between training in mixed dojo population and in dojos where most everyone is 20-25 and male! This is a separate issue, I am sorry if I was unclear here.
Yes it is a separate issue and an interesting one.

I'm going to start a new thread under training (Group versus Individual) even though it could just as easily be placed under spiritual. If I did the latter there would probably be more confusion than necessary but perhaps some will see through the haze of my logic.

anonymous
10-19-2004, 02:32 AM
For the record - we don't do Randori in my Dojo, not to mention the kind of Randori Peter was talking about. We usually end classes with Gi-waza on the attack we were practicing during class and so fat I usually sat at this part. It was from the lack of certainty what my Nage will perform and the element of surprise to it. I only performed it with Aikidokas who knew my condition and had my full confidence. I will keep this guideline from now hence.

Theres no point in trying to open a closed mind if someones holding it shut.

I hope the best for you and your child, Good Luck!

I'm sorry for sounding closed minded to you, "determined" would have sounded much better… Thanks for your wishes.

Hanna B
10-19-2004, 04:09 AM
Jo, I guess I completely misunderstood what you wanted to say. :)

deepsoup
10-19-2004, 05:30 AM
Jo I seriously doubt your 74 year old sensei could survive Shiai, most Aikidoka are overwhelmed the first time and that's why we work up to it slowly. As has been mentioned any number of times it is a training method taken to its logical conclusion. Aikido itself encompasses far more than the skill set randori teaches. Randori is a very physical/aerobic endeavor and is heavily weighted to the young and fit. Of course there are a number of 60+ Shodokan members that continue to train in the randori method.
During the run up to the Osaka tournament a few years ago, some sports science students who took the British Shodokan squad on as a project put a heart monitor/data logger on one of our young bucks as he got into some shiai. They wanted to get some objective measure on how strenuous it was. He was (still is) an extremely fit young man, even so they were surprised to find his heart rate peaking up into the 200's.
There are a lot of people who'd be ill advised to push their heart rate right up as far it'll go, especially for really quite a marginal benefit. (Shiai is a valuable learning experience, but its hardly central to the curriculum after all.) I don't think anyone would really want to send a 74 year old into a sport lab to take a VO2 max test, what would be the point? Same applies.

As Peter says, randori is weighted to the young and fit. The 'competition' thing is most attractive, and most useful, for young bucks (of both sexes). In terms of their aikido, I get the distinct impression that they're expected to enjoy it, learn from it, but ultimately grow out of it and move on.

For older folks, the benefit may not be worth the increased risk of injury even if they are extremely fit for their age. Of course the individual may feel differently, skipping the randori is only an option after all, its not compulsory. Some people may need to persuade the grading panel they're up to the randori section - but then the whole point of a grading is to persuade people that your aikido is up to a certain standard anyway.
Theres plenty of opportunity for a vigorous oldie to demonstrate that they're up to it in the run up to the grading anyway, all they have to do is practice with a few young bucks and leave them sweaty and out of breath.

For pregnant women, if that increased risk of injury carries with it a risk of miscarriage, it just isn't worth it. We're talking about the grading syllabus here anyway, the time in grade requirements are several years at this level, gradings are frequent, so a pregnant woman who really wants the randori always has the option to wait a while and do it when she's not pregnant any more.

For what its worth, I'd really like to see that "women and older people" phrased differently. I think it gives the wrong impression, especially the "women" part, it implies that young women are less able than young men.
I know there was a time when women were dissuaded from getting into judo shiai, and female greco-roman wrestlers only got to join the men at the Olympics for the first time this year. I think the word "women" in that bit of our grading syllabus is an artifact from a few decades ago, of an attitude that has largely gone the way of the dinosaur. (An attitude for which, hopefully, total extinction beckons.)

Sean
x

Hanna B
10-19-2004, 07:03 AM
Peter, I have started another thread in the Training forum to cover another aspect of that topic... the "dojo demographics".

anonymous
03-09-2005, 09:56 AM
Six month ago I started a thread called "acceptance" and I want to update you about what happened through the passing months. I chose not to continue with the previous thread because it went off topic toward the end.

Quick summary:
I was at the beginning of my first pregnancy and decided to continue practicing Aikido with the approval of my Sensei.
I was not sure how the people from my Dojo will react to my pregnancy and whether it was fair of me to put them in such condition.

What happened since:
I told the whole Dojo about it when I reached the 4th month (then the pregnancy is considered "stable" and the risk of natural miscarriage lessen).
They were very supportive and helped me to practice regularly but in my own pace for the next few months.
Of course, I've noticed that some of them were trying to avoid me and it made perfect sense (most of my Dojo population are male). Some actually looked like they would rather meet the Terminator in the middle of the night then train with me… :) but to be honest - that was OK with me because I preferred to train with people that feels relaxed with me and therefore make less mistakes.
My Ukemi needed constant checking - I stopped doing forward rolls around the 5th month and back falls even later.
You know what? I even done my 1st kyu exam when I was at the end of my 7th month. Working as Nage felt natural all the way through, including techniques from Swari-waza, Hamni-handachi and Tachi-Waza. The only techniques I couldn’t perform were Koshi-Nage variations. I think it went well and it was something I wouldn't have believed me capable of doing if you'd asked me about it 6 months ago.
I'm now at my 9th month and I stopped training three weeks ago.
My Gi awaits folded in my closet for after the delivery. Till then, I still come to watch classes.

I think my experience is very personal and that doesn't mean it will fit all women in my condition, but I don't regret for a moment the choice I made. I really think it contributed to my current good health (thank God) and having almost no "Pregnancy side effects" like back pains or weariness.
Just wanted to share the second part of my story with you.

Now I'm about to take a new road and let me tell you something - I can't wait!