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Manon Oliver
04-16-2005, 02:15 PM
Hello all,

I would be interested to know if many women practise aikido. What is the ratio male-female aikidoka in your dojo? It seems that in our dojo the ratio might be about 8:1 ( or perhaps even 10:1).

I am curious to know whether this ratio could be country dependent. For instance: do comparatively more women practise aikido in e.g. the United States or in certain countries in Europe ( or Asia)? What does this depend on and why could women possibly be reluctant to take up aikido?

Anyway, any views on this subject would be more than welcome.

Thanks.

Manon Oliver

Don_Modesto
04-16-2005, 02:20 PM
Hi, welcome to the board. This has been discussed before so you can probably find prior discussions here:

http://aikidojournal.com/forums/search.php

http://aikiweb.com/forums/search.php?


http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/search.php?

Also:

koryu.com
ejmas.com
furyu.com
iaido-l (usenet)

p00kiethebear
04-17-2005, 12:01 AM
in our dojo the ratio is almost 1:1 in the adult classes. But about 2:1 in the kids classes.

Anat Amitay
04-17-2005, 12:31 AM
For two years I have been the only woman in my dojo which meant it was about 1:20 registered and about 1:10- 1:15 in each practice I came.
After that more women joined and it was about 1:4 or 1:5 between women and men.
I think that in some places the culture has alot to do with how many women and men you'll find in a certain MA. In some countries women will not be allowed to join MA's.

Zoli Elo
04-17-2005, 11:56 AM
The highest ratios most likely will be at university course or clubs. Though more case studies then statistics, the previous statement is seeming externally valid...

I have seen dojo in which there are more females than males.

ESimmons
04-17-2005, 12:44 PM
It all boils down to deoxyribonucleic acid, really.

Melissa Fischer
04-17-2005, 02:55 PM
Hi Manon,
At our dojo in the black belt ranks it's about 1:3 women to men, a bit lower in the general population, like 1:8. Our sensei is a man, Bruce Bookman, but most of the other dojos in Seattle have women senseis and I'll bet they have a higher ratio but I don't know.

Here's a fun link ;
http://p202.ezboard.com/bwomeninaikido

Melissa
www.tenzanaikido.com

malsmith
04-17-2005, 03:46 PM
in our dojo its probably roughly 1:8... but i think it might be intimidating for women to go to dojos where there are no or extremely few other women, i know when i first joined i was terrified to be in a room full of men i didnt know. so i think that if a woman or two start going to a dojo they might attract more women in.

Jeanne Shepard
04-17-2005, 07:21 PM
Probably for the same resons that there aren't alot of men in ballet classes.

Jeanne :p

Qatana
04-17-2005, 09:50 PM
Aw, Jeanne, they can't help it if ballet is too physically demanding!

Hardware
04-18-2005, 12:22 AM
We have a roughly 7-8:1 ratio (males:females).

In our parent dojo, when we go for gradings, there seems to be a much higher ratio of females to men, however when I've visited for regular practice, there was only one woman to roughly fifteen men.

I don't know what to read into it. Whomever wants to train, should. Regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religion, politics, etc.

In our dojo when we count during warm ups we've been known to hear, Japanese, English, French, Hungarian, German, Russian and Spanish.

Men & Women, (boys & girls in the kids; class) are all welcome. As for sexual orientation - well I really don't care or even want to know...

Sonja2012
04-18-2005, 01:47 AM
In our dojo it is probably a ratio of 8-10:1 (m:f), generally in our organisation it is a bit more equal, I´d say 4:1 maybe. However, the higher the grades get, the less women there are.

giriasis
04-18-2005, 09:46 AM
Probably for the same resons that there aren't alot of men in ballet classes.

Jeanne :p

Yep, or practice aerobics for that matter. :D

Where I train women are about 1:6 but are about 1:4 or 1:3 on the mat. At the USAF Winter Camp women seemed to be about 40%, many of whom were dan ranked.

silverstah
04-18-2005, 09:55 AM
In our home dojo, the ratio is about 50/50 - with the dojo head being a woman herself.

In our parent organization, the ration drops dramatically - although we women still have a fair number of extremely talented women to look to for constant inspiration. :)

As for why - I'm not sure! As a woman, I was attracted to Aikido because it has a natural grace and flow to it. Frankly, it allows women to draw some of our major natural strengths - our hips, our flow, our grace.

Paul Schweer
04-18-2005, 11:22 AM
Probably for the same resons that there aren't a lot of men in ballet classes.

Why aren't there a lot of men in ballet classes?

Paul Schweer

Sue Trinidad
04-18-2005, 02:27 PM
I have a couple of women friends I've tried to get into the dojo, to no avail. One in particular is very athletic and serious about her other training. (I know her through rowing, which isn't exactly an undemanding activity.)

But she and my other women friends say much the same thing: the idea of "fighting" doesn't appeal to them, and rolling and falling just isn't their idea of a good time.

Fwiw, age seems not to be much of a factor.

sue

MaryKaye
04-18-2005, 03:08 PM
We have maybe 3:1 or 4:1 on the rank board, but more like 5:1 on the mat most classes--though that's been getting better recently.

Any theory about overall societal attitudes or gender-related aptitude differences has to deal with the observation that some dojo have *far* more women than others. I attended a seminar of Mary Heiny sensei at Two Cranes Aikido, and I've never seen so many women on the mat at once--if they didn't actually outnumber the men, it was sure close. Despite strong efforts to recruit and retain women, my dojo can't match this. I don't know why.

Mary Kaye

ESimmons
04-18-2005, 11:20 PM
Any theory about overall societal attitudes or gender-related aptitude differences has to deal with the observation that some dojo have *far* more women than others.

..

Krista DeCoste
04-19-2005, 05:52 PM
We have about a 1:5 ratio at my dojo. I think fighting or anything related to it doesn't appeal to most women because we are socialized to focus on other means of acting in the world. Men are socialized to use force from an early age. Just look at the way toys are marketed to children and the number of female soldiers in the army.


Personally, I love Aikido and think more women would love it if they could give it a chance. I like that the emphasis is on movement and posture, not physical strength and size. I also think more boys would love ballet if they felt it was really OK to enjoy movement for it's own sake.

On the topic of gender orientation, I think it is healthy to realize that in any group there are LGBT folk. This should be respected, not feared (by expecting people to keep it secret).

Krista

Hardware
04-19-2005, 07:14 PM
...I think fighting or anything related to it doesn't appeal to most women because we are socialized to focus on other means of acting in the world. Men are socialized to use force from an early age. Just look at the way toys are marketed to children and the number of female soldiers in the army...

That's an excellent point that I saw demonstrated a couple of days ago.

I teach a two hour women's self defence seminar. During the last one, when we covered pressure & vital points, one of the women indicated that she thought the vast majority of women would have severe inhibitions with regards to poking someone in the eye, striking them in the throat, etc.

I reminded her that we're weren't considering these violent techniques if/when someone leers at them. This is for when someone has physically attacked them. In that context she agreed that maybe the inhibitions would fall away.

Men would not have to even be reminded of this..."Thumb in eye socket? Check. Will do!"

maikerus
04-19-2005, 11:00 PM
I teach a two hour women's self defence seminar. During the last one, when we covered pressure & vital points, one of the women indicated that she thought the vast majority of women would have severe inhibitions with regards to poking someone in the eye, striking them in the throat, etc.

I reminded her that we're weren't considering these violent techniques if/when someone leers at them. This is for when someone has physically attacked them. In that context she agreed that maybe the inhibitions would fall away.

There was a program developed called Model Muggers to help women deal with these inhibitions. Basically the instructor put on a padded suit and had women beat him senseless while he acted as a mugger or a rapist.

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0675/is_n6_v10/ai_12934048

Personally, I think men do have some inhibitions when it comes to eye gauging and ear biting. Perhaps not as much, but as we saw in the pizza parlour attack thread, one has to realize that one is under attack and really believe it before you can react. And then it may be too late.

cheers,

--Michael

RebeccaM
04-20-2005, 12:21 AM
I think there's two factors involved. First, maritial arts are perceived as a stereotypically guy thing - aggressive, competitive, size matters, etc., so you just don't see as many women in the arts as you do men. Please note that none of these factors really apply to aikido, but aikido is a martial art so that stigma may make women hesitate. Second, there's a vicious circle involved. Some, but not all women, get intimidated when they're the only female or maybe one of two or three females on the mat. So they don't train at dojos where they are out-numbered. Instead they go to a dojo that has more women and makes them feel safer. And thus we get dojos more heavily skewed towards one gender.

When I was still living in Seattle I was in the strange position of being 18 and the most highly ranked woman consistently training at my dojo. Many times I was the only woman on the mat. I never found this to be intimidating, but then again I'd been at this dojo for years, knew most of the people, and trusted them. I was, however, a little sad to be so out-numbered. In the years since things have balanced out a bit, but there's still a huge skew towards men in the adult classes. Boulder's got a better balance, though women are definitely out-numbered and it will sometimes happen that I'm the only girl on the mat, though very rarely. It was actually kind of a culture shock, albeit a refreshing one, to be able to train with so many women.

I guess the key question is what makes certain dojos seem more attractive to women than others?

Zoli Elo
04-20-2005, 01:29 AM
From my understanding the flow of women is greater than that of men, currently in America for Kendo. However, the overall stock of practitioners is still significantly more males than females.

As kendo is my hobby, well more so than aikido, I wonder why the above listed fact is true for Kendo and seemingly not for Aikido.

Randathamane
04-20-2005, 08:30 AM
Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

No idea.
Come on ladies! this should be perfect for you! Self defence and keeping fit as well as improving the whole confidence thing. Why not pop along and show us men how it is done...

It is not only a mans martial art. Sensei Pat Narey is 5th dan and a senior instructor at Renshin kan- the UKA headquarters!!!
(to all of you out there not familiar with this whole Dan concept, think of it as 5 black-belts [ with a rare title])


:ai: :ki: :do:

Nick Simpson
04-20-2005, 08:46 AM
Like any dojo, people tend to come and go but we generally have 2 or 3 long term female students on the mat. Whereas there is roughly about 10 guys or more depending. Trying to recruit students at a university clubs and society fair I got pretty much the same response from the majority of guys and girls, they all appeared to be too worried about breaking a nail, so I dont think its a gender specific thing neccesarrily, just depends on each persons individual attitude. Its weird, you show people a video of some nice pins and gentle techniques and they say aikido is boring and useless, so you show em a video of koshinages and big hard projections and they look at you as if your mad before running away...(maybe we are mad?) ;)

Rod Yabut
04-20-2005, 11:08 AM
About a month ago, I called up a dojo of another martial art to cross train in, while inquiring, the sensei jokingly to gave me his “sales pitch” that leaned toward the chauvinistic side, “I told my wife that if she ever passed away, I’ll just do aikido…” Intrigued, I asked why and he said, “Because a lot of women practice it.”

Training in seminars (not too mention the comment above), I always thought that compared to other martial arts, there are a lot more women practicing aikido as a martial art. As some of the posts above state, there are a lot of technical characteristics in aikido that comes natural to women. But in looking at the ratios that have been posted, I guess I assumed too much! In my own dojo, men outnumber the women aikidoka as well.

Imrana Muhammad Ali, Es
04-21-2005, 09:36 AM
Peace:

I would ask further, are the any muslim women practicing Aikido?

keep me posted...



kind regards,


Ms Ali
(215) 730-5292

Imrana Muhammad Ali, Es
04-21-2005, 09:58 AM
To answer your question more succinctly, though, refers me back to a movie. I Forget the name of the movie. However in the movie there is a scene in the movie where there is a women who fights a man. And of course there is a dialogue between the opponents.
In this discussion the women states that some particular man deserved to die at the hand of a woman, because he had no respect for women. Of course the man responds with this conversation about how the women failed learn anything after all the years of practicing. I was really a "dark" conversation as only martial artist can be dark. That is just because you can fight, you know your art and are competitve, doesn't make you a nice person.

Men and women alike. The question becomes however, how many
women do you see in a positon of power? That is, when is the last time you read about a women leading men into victory on a battle :) ground. Was it Joan of Arc. Do you recall her tortuous end?

That is why...it is so very important to encourage women in their work in the arts. To encourage them in the knowledge that their art should be a reflection of their devotion to the divine.

I suggest, in this wisdom our numbers would grow.

Peace,

Imarana

rob_liberti
04-21-2005, 10:23 AM
http://www.lothene.demon.co.uk/others/women.html

Jeanne Shepard
04-21-2005, 07:24 PM
Here's a question, do people want more women in Aikido? Men? Women?

Jeanne

Sonja2012
04-22-2005, 02:16 AM
Good question, Jeanne. I just want more *people* in Aikido, really. Which is exactly why we will be starting a beginner´s course in two weeks. I will be the teacher of it and also had to do the advertising for it with posters, flyers, etc. I had written quite a text about aikido and a female nidan of our club read it - she then asked me: "Hmmm, do you actually want to attract women with this? Because I am not sure if they will be interested in it when they read stuff about aikido being used by police as self-defense and stuff." She thought it should sound less of "violence" and physical martial art, I guess. That upset me a bit as it is *exactly* what would have attracted *me* to start aikido. Also IMO it showed how even women pigeon-hole themselves. Or maybe I am just kidding myself and she is right?! :confused: Dunno.

Nick Simpson
04-22-2005, 07:28 AM
On the pigeon holing thing, I kind of get what you mean (I dont KNOW what you mean, not being a woman and all ;) ) I know what would attract me to aikido and it would be big dramatic violent looking clips/pictures/demos of techniques with huge breakfalls that make a loud crash.

However when Im asked to help recruit for any of our dojo's I always try and consider what I tend to think of as the standard females point of view, so I include a mix of stuff: Pics of both guys and girls practising, soft techniques, hard techniques, how aikido is good for self defence as well as exercise and a social thing. I often try and use some humor cos theres nothing I dislike more than posters that take themselves deadly serious about training with their "master" and all that crap. I'll leave that for sokey hokey :p

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt.

On the other question, I think we hada muslim girl come along to training for a couple of sessions nearly two years ago. I dont think aikido was a particulalry good choice for her as her headware/scarf (sorry, I dont know the proper name) kept slipping off and causing a nuisance. She musnt have known about all the ukemi and expected it to be more like karate or something?

Amelia Smith
04-22-2005, 09:03 AM
In answer to Jeanne's question:

I would like to see more women in aikido, especially at my dojo. At the moment, I'm the only woman practicing there regularly (there are a few others who show up from time to time, or seasonally) and I'm getting tired of being the lone female in class. For the last few month's I've been really actively trying to get other women to join, but so far haven't had much success. I guess I'll keep trying.

SupremeWarlord
04-23-2005, 05:18 PM
I believe it is because of the "grappling" art of Aikido, in other words they don't want to join because a training fight is like playing "hacky-sack" to them.

MaryKaye
04-24-2005, 09:25 AM
One advantage of having a range of different dojo in an area, or even a range of different teachers in the same dojo, is that you can appeal to people--men and women both--with a wider variety of tastes. Some women really want to kick butt and take names. Others want something gentler. Aiming at "the stereotypical woman" however defined will fit some and not fit others. Better to identify what your dojo does really well, and advertise it with pride.

I think a much bigger barrier than physical roughness per se is the atttitude that men can "take it" better than women. Whether it's true or false, it's pretty discouraging--who would want to join a martial art where they'd be a permanent second-class citizen? The same thing can discourage older students. I think one of the best things a dojo can do in order to broaden its student population is diligently teach ukemi to each student in a way he/she can learn, and never cop out with "You're too weak/old to do it."

Finally, to answer Jeanne's question, I would love to have more women in our dojo (and also to have more men). But I don't feel starved for female training partners, as I did a year ago when I was usually the only one.

Mary Kaye

Natasha Bradley
04-24-2005, 10:29 AM
I am also almost the only female training regularly at our dojo at the momentand it would be good if there were more. We have a couple of beginners, but I'm the only one regularly attending the advanced classes at the moment. When I have a chance, I ask women who have come to take an introductory class and have said afterwards that it wasn't their thing, why it wasn't. One, a young girl wanted something with more strikes and another wanted to return to tai chi. Some are really enthousiastic for a few weeks and then disappear. I don't think has anything to do with male machoism.
There are at least five aikido dojo in our town, so if someone does want to try aikido, there is a large choice of styles. But women who enter a dojo are usually those are the women who are already interested in martial arts or aikido, I wouldn't know how to get women who are just not interested in MA over the threshold. Perhaps lots of public demonstrations? With women?

Natasha.

ruthmc
04-24-2005, 12:36 PM
I think a much bigger barrier than physical roughness per se is the atttitude that men can "take it" better than women. Whether it's true or false, it's pretty discouraging--who would want to join a martial art where they'd be a permanent second-class citizen? The same thing can discourage older students. I think one of the best things a dojo can do in order to broaden its student population is diligently teach ukemi to each student in a way he/she can learn, and never cop out with "You're too weak/old to do it."
I agree - you've hit the nail on the head there!

Fortunately, I now train at a dojo where everyone is encouraged, and I have blossomed. In the past I have trained under the attitude described above and it was very discouraging. And there were very few women or older people at those dojos :rolleyes:

Having somebody show to you that you can do it, and to do so in a non-judgemental way, is the ultimate encouragement and gets the best from people.

Ruth

Jeanne Shepard
04-24-2005, 09:04 PM
I believe it is because of the "grappling" art of Aikido, in other words they don't want to join because a training fight is like playing "hacky-sack" to them.


I don't think of Aikido as a "grappling art" and, even before I started I didn't then, either.

Jeanne

Zato Ichi
04-24-2005, 09:16 PM
I believe it is because of the "grappling" art of Aikido, in other words they don't want to join because a training fight is like playing "hacky-sack" to them.
Uh... maybe this is just senility setting in at an early are or one too many knocks to the head, but I have no idea what you're talking about. Seriously.

As far as the topic at hand goes: there are quite a few women at Shodokan honbu. Although there are more men overall, you can occasionally find more women on the mat then men, but these tend to be smaller classes (less than 20 people). I don't know if this means anything, but most of the women are roughly university age (~19 - 22) - outside of that age bracket, numbers tend to fall off sharply, and there is a large imbalance towards men.

Sonja2012
04-25-2005, 01:51 AM
For quite a long time I used to think that I would like to see more women doing aikido, simply to have more female role models. Some time ago, though, I realized that I don´t actually need that. Movement is not gender specific and therefore a man can be a role model for me just as well.
I don´t need more women to practice with either (in our dojo, I am fairly often the only woman on the mat). However, I would simply love having *more people* on the mat.

I believe that quite a few women in our dojo have stopped practicing because they eventually had babies. Not all of them stopped completely of course, but many of them did and most of the rest at least practice more rarely than before until the kids are older.

Bridge
04-25-2005, 03:54 AM
I'm one of only 2 women ay my dojo amongst around 15-20 regulars. There are two young girls who train with us too.

For martial arts in general I've noticed that clubs that have separate kiddies classes seem to have more women. Perhaps that's how the mums get into it? There are also women who get into it because their partners already do it.

cck
05-17-2005, 11:25 AM
I recently took a self-defense class at work, and it was really surprising to me how easy it became to start kicking, screaming and gouging people's eyes out, even when you had only been verbally confronted. Much easier than trying to resolve the conflict by voice and demeanor (which is what you might generally expect a woman to do). It was also a bit disturbing - my rational brain keeps telling me that the right thing to do is to talk your way out of it, leave, and not cause harm. But man did it feel good! Of course the guys wore all sorts of padding and a great big giant head to make it easier for us to grap a hold of the pretend "eyesocket" and wrestle them to the ground.
As an earlier post mentioned, a lot of the participants (two men, 12 women) had initial qualms about poking out eyes even in self-defense, but when the question was framed to consider the defense of children, the response was a unanimous yes. The BIG question then is: why would we women not consider ourselves worthy of the same effort? I'm still working on a satisfying answer to that one.
Anyway, big crashing high falls was what got me hooked on aikido -I observed class and just coveted the ability to do that! What had got me to observe the class was the rape of a girlfriend, the rationale being that I would not "let that happen" to me - see the presumption there? It makes me really sick that I would think that - as if she let it happen, for crying out loud. But unfortunately I don't think I am alone in this. I have no idea what aikido will do for me in a potentially threatening situation, but I feel confident, and even better, aikido simply makes me happy. I work in a civic center area populated be the usual colorful congregation of homeless, junkies, attorneys etc., and I go to class at lunch. I always get a lot of big smiles and hallos from people I walk by (I am NOT supermodel of the year, mind you!) - and I think it might be because I am so blissfully happy after class. It must be contagious.
I don't know why other women when exposed to it take no interest in aikido. But then there must also be a lot of men who do the same. I guess it's just not for everybody (how wrong they are!) - perhaps the relative "intimacy" is a bit disturbing to some? We don't have katas, you always work with a partner, there's really not much you can do by yourself to improve your physical manifestation of aikido. The "self-improvement" in aikido is not of a very physical and measurable kind (is that what testing is addressing?), it's very personal - you "feel" when you've got it and when you don't. Competition is so out of place, at least the kind where you compete to be better than others. I can see how that makes it a difficult activity for a lot of people.
My guess is that many women check out martial arts to begin with because for some reason they feel a need to be able to defend themselves. Perhaps they get discouraged because it takes so long to feel comfortable with techniques. If they were immediately exposed to things like "bus stop aikido" and other easily digestible techniques and even parlor tricks that do not require crashing high falls or even rolling, they might stick around long enough to fall in love with aikido? Does your dojo do things like that in beginner's class (I frankly don't know about my own dojo)? Or should we be opposed to such marketing gimmicks?
What were your original reasons for searching out martial arts? How did aikido address them?

Lorien Lowe
05-18-2005, 02:50 PM
...big crashing high falls was what got me hooked on aikido -I observed class and just coveted the ability to do that! ....I have no idea what aikido will do for me in a potentially threatening situation, but I feel confident, and even better, aikido simply makes me happy. ....My guess is that many women check out martial arts to begin with because for some reason they feel a need to be able to defend themselves. Perhaps they get discouraged because it takes so long to feel comfortable with techniques. If they were immediately exposed to things like "bus stop aikido" and other easily digestible techniques and even parlor tricks that do not require crashing high falls or even rolling, they might stick around long enough to fall in love with aikido? Does your dojo do things like that in beginner's class (I frankly don't know about my own dojo)? Or should we be opposed to such marketing gimmicks?
What were your original reasons for searching out martial arts? How did aikido address them?

Camilla -
you articulated very well some of the things that got me into the dojo, and some of the things that kept me. Oh, those big swirling high-falls! There's such a wonderful feeling of aliveness after some really extreme ukemi. I wanted to try a martial art, but I had no idea how much I would *like* it until I saw it.
My dojo offers a beginner's special where a person can sign up for three months at $30 less per month than the usual fee, in the hopes that they'll keep on coming long enough to get over the innitial hump. I don't know if it's an incentive or not; I was hooked after my first class, and there are still some people of both genders who quit after a month or so.

I'd like to see what other folks think of this possibility:
women and men both start martial arts for self-defense, but in general women are more likely to stay if/because they truly enjoy training (with self-defense becoming less important as a woman grows more confident in herself) and men are more likely to stay because they feel like they're accomplishing some goal (getting in shape, being virtuous, whatever). in general it seems like the people who are laughing as they get flung across the dojo are mostly women.

Note that I haven't thought this through a lot; I'm typing as I think. - I was startled last night by one of my dojo's sandans saying that one of the reasons that he came to the dojo so often was a sense of duty or obligation.

-LK

Bronson
05-19-2005, 12:13 AM
I don't know if it's an incentive or not; I was hooked after my first class, and there are still some people of both genders who quit after a month or so.

My girlfriend tried aikido for a little while and hated it. She would leave the mat crying from frustration. The practice wasn't ordered and structured enough for her and she never felt like she was "getting it". She has recently started kendo and is having a great time.

I'd like to see what other folks think of this possibility:
women and men both start martial arts for self-defense, but in general women are more likely to stay if/because they truly enjoy training (with self-defense becoming less important as a woman grows more confident in herself) and men are more likely to stay because they feel like they're accomplishing some goal (getting in shape, being virtuous, whatever).

Well, since you asked. It's been my experience that the people, male or female, who stick with it for more than a couple years get enjoyment from the training without having a specific goal in sight. The folks I've trained with, male and female, who had a goal in mind kinda fizzled out once that goal was reached or when they found out that their goal required much more work than they had anticipated.

in general it seems like the people who are laughing as they get flung across the dojo are mostly women.

Exact opposite for us. With, of course, some requisite exceptions :D

Bronson