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Unregistered
06-20-2001, 03:43 PM
Upon viewing the post regarding instructors dating students I am prompted to ask a more general question regarding issues that women face in the male dominated (and some say male organized) study of Aikido.

I am particularly interested in issues that would be specifically related to gender bias. Instructors dating students fits the category as would male students refusing to study under or work with female students, and other explicit or implict biases.

Ultimately I wonder how much of an influence these biases operate to keep the number of women at various dojos as a minority.

Many thanks for ANY input!

guest1234
06-20-2001, 04:53 PM
the only issue i have is being treated any differently because i am female, about the same folks would have if they were treated differently in the dojo because they were African American or Jewish. that includes people thinking as a female i am too weak or simple to say no if i am asked out and don't want to date. If folks don't want to train with me because i am female, or i am small, or i have three times the energy they do, all is OK, i find someone else...if the entire dojo is like that, i'd move on. People in a dojo are at different levels of skill in interpersonal interaction and growth, and you can't make them all grow up overnight.
luckily, few have ever treated me differently due to my gender, i guess this Aikido bunch is OK for the most part. The ones that do treat me 'like a girl' usually stop after my atemi connects with their body or they hit the mat with a thud :) although now that i think of it, one of the guys did ask me once (with me attending class every day) why no women ever come to class anymore...
i think the numbers of females is low because a) martial arts aren't what most women think of when they are looking for something to do b)you can't wear jewelry, makeup, or long nails---believe it or not, i've heard women quit for these reasons, c)you get really sweaty---again, hard to believe, but i've heard it said d) heard said by both men and women--it hurts to roll.
in addition, there are some who will end up out due to pregnancy, and finally, as usually the smaller folks on the mat, if they don't get good at ukemi pretty fast they can get seriously injured by the larger ones---a hazard for smaller males, but there are just fewer of them. on the positive side, i appreciated the extra ukemi improvemnt incentive.

Unregistered
06-20-2001, 06:16 PM
some women are afraid that men will find them too macho and therefore unattractive if they are into martial arts. I have actually heard women talk about this - like, if you could possibly beat a guy up, men will be afraid of you, and you'll never get a date. I have also heard about the no-makeup/no nails thing being a deterrent. Some women don't even like to go to the gym if there are alot of guys there, nevermind having to throw them on the ground and vice-versa. The first half (fear of being macho, no makeup) has to do with traditional ideas of femininity, and the second half (fear of men at the gym) I think stems from not wanting to be checked out/picked up on, etc when maybe they just want to think about their workout.

ian
06-21-2001, 05:29 AM
I think the women who don't like to train in aikido or go down the gym because they will be seen as macho are too self-concious. It is equivalent to men not doing dancing 'cos they will be seen as puffs.

Personally I prefer dedication from the students and aspects of self-conciousness and sex should be irrlevant to training. Often when women start training I think they find the close body contact uncomfortable at first (just as many think ukemi's are stupid). However, once they stop thinking about themselves and start thinking about the training sex differences dissapear.

Luckily the women in our dojo are of a range of sizes and agressiveness. (in fact I often find women more agressive as they are not as used to having to control their force to stop hurting people). It's stupid not training with women - it may be less likely you will be attacked by a women, but it doesn't exclude it (and aikido is one of the few martial arts where it would be socially acceptable for a man to deal with a woman; because you don't have to bash them to pieces). Also, aikido is about learning the concepts of body movement, and training with different body shapes/sizes is imperative.

Ian

P.S. I think what puts a lot of women of aikido occurs at the start of their training. Namely (i) that if there are few other females it will be seen as a male dominated martial art and will feel left out (ii) they are worried about getting hurt, esp. with powerful men.

In a well balanced dojo where people respect each other this shouldn't happen.

ian
06-21-2001, 05:34 AM
P.P.S. less women do sport in general compared to men, so this imbalance is not just in martial arts. Personally I'm not too bothered about the women that aren't willing to forgoe their own egos to train in a martial art, or are just their to develop a death strike to incapacitate others such that they try to redress what is foreseen as a feeling of powerlessness; luckily the women that stick at it usually become very focused and very good at aikido , and those are the ones I want to be training with.

Ian

JJF
06-21-2001, 06:01 AM
Are you serious ? do you actually know women who don't do Aikido becauce they don't want to be less attractive ? I'm stunned - but hey! so much for my understanding of 'the weaker sex'. Personally I have had a crush on a sempai who has left the dojo now.
Personally I try not to be any different while training with women than with men. I try to judge every partner and ajust my attacks and my technique according to the level of 'nastines' they want. Most of the women in the dojo i go to haven't practiced for a long time yet, so in my experience they are on the average a little less powerfull when applying a technique and have a harder time handling things when practice gets a little rough. Mind you that most of them are students in the low kyugrades and though it might have something to do with the fact that they are women it seems to level out when they get past the first couple of gradings. For example we have a female 3. kyu who is easily up to speed with every man in the dojo. I guess the whole situations is probably due to the whimpy men quitting a lot faster, while the women are better at staying put and owercome their fears ;).
We have a farely good male/female ration in our dojo. My guess would be perhaps 10 or 12 girls out of just about 60 students. In the 'regular' pool of members I actually think that there are about 5 girls out of 25 persons, so thats even better.
It is not my impression that we have any kind of 'sexisme' expressed in our dojo, though me being a male i might not be the best person to judge about this.
Hmmmm this post turned out a bit inconherent. If anybody want me to elaborate something please don't hesitate to mail me or post some questions here.
Best wishes to everybody

mj
06-21-2001, 04:58 PM
???
Are any Women going to reply to this???

Unregistered
06-21-2001, 06:48 PM
In over a decade in aikido, I have so far encountered one instance of male sexism. This involved a sensei in the East San Franciso Bay Area who'd become attuned to "gender issues," setting up a women's class (run by himself), "poetry" readings in circle, and the like. After he returned from an out-of-town seminar he'd been teaching I asked about how it went. His response? "Oh, it was great. There were so many women there, and we could really talk about feelings." Duh! Needless to say, the only students who got input on their technique were all male - by then, technique had pretty much ceased to matter in that dojo anyway.
Generally, to the extent that I have encountered any sexism, it has usually been from other women. I am usually careful and considerate and fine-tune my technique to whoever I am working with - beginners, kids, you name it. I also have no problem with weakening or strengthening my attack if asked to by nage. The only times that there has been any friction was with certain women who prefer the overcooked-pasta style of attack and can't deal with an ordinary firm grip - mind you, nothing macho or vicious. Faced with a male uke, these women probably would have no problem whatsoever, and at most would ask for a slight adjustment. With a woman uke, though, the same situation elicits a completely disproportionate, aggressive kind of response that seems to be mostly born of nage's own insecurity. This has happened to me several times in my aikido career, and not just with beginners, but also with upper kyu ranks. It seems to me that this is a problem restricted not only to aikido. Remember all these 80s debates about whether power was good or evil, and whether (inherently good) women should go in for (inherently evil and male) power? Any woman who didn't define herself as, primarily, a victim was considered to have sold out to "male norms."

Unregistered
06-22-2001, 01:11 AM
Are you serious ? do you actually know women who don't do Aikido becauce they don't want to be less attractive ?

I know someone who quit karate after two years because she thought she was getting too buff and starting to look and walk like a guy. I know alot of women who neglect their upper body workout at the gym - at least, no weights for the arms, for the same reason (don't want to have big biceps, it's unfeminine and therefore unattractive). The karate-quitter asked me if I was going to get a black belt, I said, well if I stick with it long enough, maybe so. She said "who would marry you then?". Mind you, this gal is from mainland China, which might explain the old-school mindset. Also, she might have been joking. But I'm not sure. Perfect analogy, men who won't dance for fear of being girly, that's the same mentality.

guest1234
06-22-2001, 10:21 AM
Originally posted by mj
???
Are any Women going to reply to this???
uhmmm...I AM a woman... :)
seriously, i don't think there is much sexism out there, especially considering that there are so many males compared to females, which usually breeds sexism in a group. perhaps because those who are really learning anything in Aikido are not going to see things just in terms of how much bigger/stronger men are, or how aggressive they can be. Or maybe my viewpoint is biased, since i've spent the last 17 years in a world where women make up 1-2% of the population...

JJF
07-02-2001, 08:38 AM
Originally posted by mj
???
Are any Women going to reply to this??? Hi everybody!
Been away for a while. I'm a bit doubtfull about how to respond to this (I'm no woman anyway ;)). But seriously: did I say anything offending or completely insane in my post ? Sometimes my lacking knowledge of english limiteds what I can express in these post so please let me know if I offend anybody. It certainly was not intended.

By the way: I guess one reason I was so supprised is the fact that I have practiced for a while now without getting buff at all ;)

Michell Knight
07-02-2001, 11:46 AM
There are 12 members in my dojo (approx) and I am the only female--my oldest daughter trained for awhile, then went off to college. My second daughter will begin training this summer. If I had any qualms about a "loss of femininity" or prejudice I would not have spopnsored my daughters. I have found jujustu comparible to ballet (which I studied for 12 years) in maintaining physical agility, tone, co-ordination and mental focus. As one of the senior students, I have not yet encountered any lack of respect from new students as I work with them during their orientation period or in assisting in their belt test training. I have had a few "doubters" wondering if they can out-muscle me, but, after a few pins and an ikkyo or two, they come around. Because of my size (5'9" and 125lbs) the message that technique, not muscle is an important basis for the art is quite apparent. Occassional laughter breaks out the first time a larger visitor's face breaks out in surprise as I have them uke for me and kata gruma puts them on their back. Again, kihon is proven to work! Another plus, when new techniques are demonstrated and practised, my size is perfect for just about any one to have me uke until they gain the confidence in their own kihon. Needless to say---I uke ALOT :) which I find very instructive on my own behalf: once you have felt a technique enough, you gain better understanding as nage. One final note, I also have gained the unbiased respect from my Sensei, who considers me his uchi deshi--often resulting in invitations to otherwised closed events/training.
Now, that I have rambled on...I will be glad to answer any questions or comments here or by e-mail. And, for any female wondering if she should train--I say yes! Do you lose the "female side" of yourself or bulk up? Ha! I am the envy of many of my female friends who are fighting health and weight problems--yet, very few want to take the risk to enjoy MA for all the reasons I have disputed!! And, the emotional and mental gains are beyond what I even expected! If any female feels prejudice at the dojo---train for yourself, practice basics and if the prejudice continues---find a REAL dojo!

07-23-2001, 04:35 PM
Originally posted by Unregistered
[snip]I am particularly interested in issues that would be specifically related to gender bias.[end snip]

I've been hurt by 2 women when training, one resulted in a permanent injury (strong sankyo damaged extensor muscles in my little finger).

Did I get hurt because I was surprised by the disproportionate response from my first attack? Did I attack in a condescending manner? Should I have attacked strongly? I don't know.

I DO know that I consciously stay away from women in seminars because they tend to have a lot of baggage on the mat.

guest1234
07-23-2001, 04:50 PM
Originally posted by JJF
Hi everybody!
Been away for a while. I'm a bit doubtfull about how to respond to this (I'm no woman anyway ;)). But seriously: did I say anything offending or completely insane in my post ? Sometimes my lacking knowledge of english limiteds what I can express in these post so please let me know if I offend anybody. It certainly was not intended.

By the way: I guess one reason I was so supprised is the fact that I have practiced for a while now without getting buff at all ;)

Your English is great, much better than most of our Danish...and your points were great. You just had the misfortune of replying after another male, and me, whom I guess seems like a male :) Must be all that bulking up...
(from carrying all that baggage?)`;)

mj
07-23-2001, 04:50 PM
Yeah, some women have baggage....
so do some guys, instructors, visitors, observers.... don't worry about it.
(Worry about your well-being of course!)

Unregistered
07-24-2001, 03:02 PM
IT's a very strange place where I train. All people, regardless of gender, are treat as....... humans. eeeeek!

Seriously though, that kind of crap would not be tolerated in the dojo I train in.

There is a difference for me in training between men and women, but the difference has more to do with physical structure rather than gender. I weigh in around 210 lbs and I have large forearms and my wrists are also larger than average and are hard to hold onto. When I work with a smaller person (usually women) I tend to focus more on blending as losing connection is a greater possibility. No problems in the dojo though........ all professionals. Thank Goodness.

mj
07-24-2001, 04:42 PM
Originally posted by Unregistered
I weigh in around 210 lbs and I have large forearms and my wrists are also larger than average and are hard to hold onto.

so... are you a woman or a man ;)

Outi
07-25-2001, 06:13 AM
I thought I'd write some of my views as a female here. I've been trianing karate for a couple of years and I've just started aikido a little while ago. I recently found this forum as well, and I'm glad I did although most of the time I understand just about as much here as when I'm training. Here it comes to the language as well, my English isn't that great.

Well, anyway. I've also attended some other activities where most participants have been male. The least biased environment has by far been at the dojo.
In karate training I often get remainded that my techniques are "girlish" (I train shotokan which is supposed to be and look strong), especially when doing kata. Some instructors remind me often some never. Never has anyone refused to train with me, although I have a feeling there are people that don't appreciate women participating any kind of martial arts.
For that short period of time I've trained aikido, I haven't noticed any gender bias among the people there. I've learned a great deal and I appreciate all the patience those guys have had with me; at times I and my perfect coordination skills just don't get it at all. looks easy when the instructor does it but I can't do a single thing right.

When I first started karate, I didn't know anyone there except a girl I went to school with years ago and she had already been training for years. So I knew no one and all the others were men plus I had no clue of what I was doing most of the time. That was my problem, and I'm very glad I didn't quit then. I thought of that many times, though.

Then again, I'm not your average girl to say why women are a minority. Getting started is the first problem, I'd say. That's about one's own personality and attitude and not many women want to do anything alone (that's most of my friends). And then the nails and such -- I've heard that too, but I haven't thought I would be any less attractive because training MA.


Outi
---------------
...only as much as you dream you can be.

Unregistered
11-17-2001, 01:02 PM
When I started Aikido, all the students were so afraid of hurting me that when they threw me, they would slow their throw down to ludicrous speeds, when for the male beginners they would use much more force. Now, though, most know that I can take a very hard throw (which are the only fun kind *grin*).
People often also think that I am very fragile, constantly asking if I am hurt when I've been thrown. Beyond this (which isn't really much) I have found that I am not treated any different when in the dojo, despite the fact that I am often the only woman in the class.

guest1234
11-17-2001, 06:01 PM
That reminded me of one night that I was training with the sensei of our dojo in another instructor's class. Sensei is a fairly large and very powerful 6th dan, who is always super careful with me as a partner, I feel like he's afraid of breaking me. The technique was yonkyo, and as he moved his hands on my arm I mentioned to him, out of habit with other students, that I don't feel pain at the pressure points, 'so you can't hurt me'. As I said that, looking at his powerful hands wrapped around my chicken wing like arm, I quickly added 'uh, Sensei, that's meant to be reassuring, not challenging...'

Abasan
11-19-2001, 03:41 PM
CA, you don't feel pain at pressure points? Ever? That's strange. Maybe some of those RyuKyu ppl can explain, they seem to know a lot about pressure points.

Anyway, I know I'm not a woman. But this thread is particularly relevant to me. I've been chided in the dojo for not taking extra care with women before. Although to my best knowledge I tried my best. Its just that for some girls, a bit is more than a enough to send them over the edge. This is not a generalisation though, as some guys are that way as well. But I guess, in the chilvarous (correct spelling??) world, men don't make women cry.

I also get told off a lot for gripping strongly (by women nages/ukes) in my previous dojo in UK. This women are by far bigger and stronger then most asian women here in my dojo. But then, I get confused. Aren't we suppose to, as ukes, make the attack as close to reality as possible? How can women train properly/know if their techniques are good, unless they can keep up with strong ukes?

This confusion used to bother me a lot because I wanted to practise sincerely with boys and girls. Now, just to keep ppl off my back, I really slow down with the girls which is really unfair, but saves my skin from scolding. :(

his powerful hands wrapped around my chicken wing like arm
was exactly like how I felt at times. Not that I have powerful hands like your sensei, but some of the girls have arms a third the size of mine. :p

guest1234
11-19-2001, 05:50 PM
Hi Amahd,

No, I never feel pressure point pain…my friends call me weird, one instructor pronounced me insensitive. I thought it was because it is hard for large fingers to find the point in small limbs/necks/faces, but a 16 year old male in my class made it clear HE could feel the pain, so I don't know why…I'm fairly tolerant of pain in general, so it may be it just doesn't hurt enough…it is funny to watch instructors try :D

I don't mind when guys are rough with me, for what it is worth…but then, I'm pain insensitive and bounce pretty good, so I only speak for me…
:rolleyes:

I guess the thing to do, if you are big in relation to your uke, is just ask if you are being too rough or too gentle, and their answer will let you know how they like to practice.

The main problem with my arm being so small, is it is sometime hard for bigger ukes to find room for both hands in morote tori :eek:, and once when I was uke attacking with a bokken for that same large sensei, he realized his hand pretty much covered both my hands and the one-fist distance between them...no room for him to grab the 'hilt' of the bokken:p

janet
11-19-2001, 07:29 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Abasan
I also get told off a lot for gripping strongly (by women nages/ukes) in my previous dojo in UK. This women are by far bigger and stronger then most asian women here in my dojo. But then, I get confused. Aren't we suppose to, as ukes, make the attack as close to reality as possible? How can women train properly/know if their techniques are good, unless they can keep up with strong ukes?

Hello. Well, my two cents on this: we are supposed to be partners learning techniques, not having a match of muscle strength. We have a mutual responsibility to be connected, uke with a dynamic, committed attack that is NOT the same as hanging on like a stiff bulldog. Iif my uke simply clamps down with lots of muscle on my wrist, and I cannot do the technique that sensei has demonstrated, then I have 2 choices: 1) ask uke to back off on the strength and give me an attack I can work with or 2) use atemi and switch to another technique depending on how uke reacts to my atemi.

Abasan
11-20-2001, 12:14 AM
Thanks for the ideas CA and Janet. Point taken on the bulldog thingey, pretty much something that I've avoided doing. But no more name calling pls, my sensitive heart can't bear it no more! :P

Good idea on the atemi and changing of techniques to suit the moment though.

Arianah
11-20-2001, 09:57 AM
ca, I don't feel pressure points much either, and I have pretty big arms, so I think it's just pain tolerance that makes the difference. I'm the big freak in my dojo because no one can pin me because my wrists are extremely flexible. My sensei has given up even trying, and some of my classmates have designated a rule for me: if my fingertips touch my arm, it's considered a "technical tap" of the mat. :rolleyes:

With regard to the ukes grabbing hard, I like a good, strong attack. I think that it's even harder to throw someone who barely grips you than someone who's cutting off circulation. ;) But I would recommend simply gauging your attacks to suit different people (there are few people in my dojo, so it's easy to remember who to be gentle with and who you can really lay in to; perhaps it is harder in a larger group).

I also like to practice with the people who don't throw themselves (falling because they know they are "supposed to"). I find that many guys will do this to make it easier on me, the weak little girl. :rolleyes:

Sarah

giriasis
11-20-2001, 04:01 PM
Ahmad,

I really like it when I get a strong grip because it really forces me to do proper technique. Even though I am a large woman, I still don't have the upper body strength to muscle my way out of grips.

However, I have found that sometimes I need to be directed by my more advanced and usually male partners in getting out of the grip. Otherwise, it just becomes a frustrating exchange and no training occurs. This might be the problem. They are getting frustrated. Yes, there is a way to get out but if you can't explain help them then your behaviour gets interpreted as counter-productive.

The degree which this should be done depends on the skill level of your female partners. If they are totally new, give them time to get the form of the technique. As they learn take the resistance up a degree, but don't totally lock out on them. As suggested ask them if they want a little more resistance, then be prepared to help how to do the technique right. If you don't know yourself (I don't know your skill level), then sensei should do the direction.

From experience, I usually appreciate my higher ranking male partners to provide resistance to their grips as long as the attitude is positive and non-ego inflating. Otherwise, I ask them to quit it since I have plenty of partners who are helpful.

Anne Marie

Abasan
11-20-2001, 08:43 PM
Anne,

Hmm... i agree absolutely that as uke, its not our job to frustrate our nage with superstrong grips. I also subscribe to your thoughts on gradually increasing resistance according to the skills of nage. Beginners won't have much of a problem with me, but only if they perform the technique according to its form. (at their level, form is more important then function). But at 4th kyu and above I put in more resistance to make it harder for them to do techniques wrongly.

However this somewhat arbitrary type of gradual increase in resistance is quite troublesome when training with strangers (ie other dojos) since you can't really tell their skill levels from their belts. I suppose in that atmosphere, your suggestion for uke to ask nage on their difficulty preference would be most applicable. I do however think that whatever the case maybe, nage at 1st kyu and above must be able to handle the extreme most resistance from any uke. Otherwise, his/her belt isn't worth anything and he/she might be an embarrasment to the sensei. What do you think?

I don't feel pressure points much either, and I have pretty big arms, so I think it's just pain tolerance that makes the difference.
and... not another one that doesn't feel pressure point pain. Is it just yonkyo or have you girls tested the other points in your arms and body? I've met some ppl who can virtually shrug nikyo's off because of their flexibility. I guess thats just good training for me not to take for granted that all our techniques would work for an attacker.

giriasis
11-20-2001, 10:18 PM
Ahmad said:

I do however think that whatever the case maybe, nage at 1st kyu and above must be able to handle the extreme most resistance from any uke. Otherwise, his/her belt isn't worth anything and he/she might be an embarrasment to the sensei. What do you think?

I completely agree with you. (However, I would not fault the student for the sensei's embarrasment [if you are not implying this, then forgive my presumption]. I would fault the sensei for not teaching them or for not creating an atmoshpere to teach them appropriately.)

I'm at 4th kyu and I am just now training to really understand how to really make techniques more effective. My sempai, no matter the gender, make sure I do it that way. (And after about two years in aikido the responses and variations to one technique are revealing themselves.) It should be that way. Otherwise it would be dance. What's the point if I can't do the technique against a stronger attacker? That's the whole point for me taking aikido. Yeah, I don't want to be at 1st kyu stuck in a katatetori attack and not being able to do shihonage.

Is your concern is that this is not happening in your dojo?

I guess I just want to let you know there are women out there in this world who appreciate the help (as long as it is not patronizing or ego-inflating).

Anne Marie

Abasan
11-20-2001, 11:26 PM
yep, I meant it that way. The sensei would be embarrased because he has not produced a quality student yet has given him a grading. A good benchmark of a sensei would be the students he produce, I say.

Yeah, I don't want to be at 1st kyu stuck in a katatetori attack and not being able to do shihonage.
precisely. And unfortunately you will encounter some people like that anywhere. I guess, certain ppl have just not made the effort necessary to improve themselves. The sensei would then be forced to evaluate his priorities (ie to grade to give a sense of progression for the student or to maintain a rigid quality benchmark). For me, the belt doesn't matter cause progress is from within.
But some ppl like wearing colorful belts on their waist.

Lastly, I'm very careful so as not to patronize women. But sometimes, this equality thing has gone to such absurd levels that I find myself (hypothetically speaking of course) in a fix. But I hope going about stuff with honest sincerity would be enough to mitigate any misunderstanding.

ranZ
11-21-2001, 10:26 AM
on the pressure points, i found a lot of my friends can't feel them also, most of them are women. I don't think it's so rare, maybe it's women's handicap :rolleyes:

on gender, i'm a women, but on the mat i'd sincerely ask the guys to grip hard, throw hard. Not because of baggage, but i want to learn this thing the right way.

Abas, if you get chided for being to hard.. i suppose that's the price u get for being right. I think women are suppose to train just the same way as men. No pain, no gain. (*if not, why take martial arts in the first place?*)

Thalib
11-22-2001, 06:38 AM
Many men and women in the dojo I trained are quite immune tothe yon-kyo pressure point application. Me, I just got used to it, it doesn't bother me that much anymore.

But the point in yon-kyo is not the pressure point, but the whole form of it. Being able to bother somebody else's pressure point is just a bonus.

Most of the women in the dojo I train don't like it when men just "fake" a fall. To them that's worse than not being able to do the technique. They feel like they're being cheated on.

They are also very critical to any Aikidoka that is just staging the technique. I guess this is because of my sensei's upbringing. In the dojo all men and women are equal.

Personally, I treat the women in the dojo with respect by not "faking" that a technique was done properly. As an uke, I have a responsibility to inform the nage if the technique was done correctly or not. This is true for men and women in the dojo.

Like Ran-chan said...
No pain, no gain. (*if not, why take martial arts in the first place?*)

Unregistered2
12-18-2001, 04:42 PM
Hey, I'm not the other unregistered, and not a woman. My dojo has quite a few women, and one of our two sensei is a woman as well. Both sensei have different Aikido, but are both IMO really good teachers. From the students side, the only thing i've noticed is that women have different basic lacks than men, senseis tend to work with them more on establishing a presence while they work more on the men on quieting their presence.. don't know how to explain, on ukemi, women can get really aggressive but at the same time their attacks are less violent than aggressive, while some beginnig men can scowl up a storm while offering a really wimpy attack.
that sort of thing.

I do have a question on how to make Aikido more attractive to women. My wife basically refuses to even consider getting on the mat, mostly because of the perceived lack of femininity on the part of the women that practice. I just wish she would try, Aikido really must be experienced, not talked about.

giriasis
12-19-2001, 01:14 AM
It's interesting that your wife doesn't choose to practice because of the perceived lack of femininity on the part of the women. I find many women in my dojo to be feminine, and these women are high ranking and have been practicing for years. These woman are petite and graceful yet their technique powerful. I guess I would like to know her definition of femininity. Aikido can be rather graceful and I have always viewed it to be a martial art that doesn't take this away from a woman.

I come from a dojo as well that has both male and female sensei, a husband/wife team as a matter of fact. He's 6th dan and she's 5th dan. Penny really prefers to emphasize the larger circular movements found in aikido. But I caution anyone from calling her a "flower" ;).

Anne Marie

Unregistered2
12-19-2001, 01:50 PM
I really don't know. I agree with what you say, yet it doesn't strike a chord with her at all. I don't know if its the fact that its a martial art instead of a "yoga" type class, or that the participants are involved in attack, or that because I'm sometimes over-enthusiastic and come home bruised up from breakfalls or have been roufhed up a little on shihonage, or because of the marks left by beginners trying to see if just squeezing a bit harder will make yonkyo hurt (and end up with finger marks all over my forearm (I don't mind it don't hurt that much) .

as I said I don't know. MA, are not for everyone I guess, and that's just her excuse. However I would really really like her to give it a shot, I'm sure once involved the gracefulness of the art will be apparent to her.

In any case , the women at my dojo are not large musclebound people either, she just finds the activity no in her taste for the reasons I quoted on this rather tricky subject.

giriasis
12-19-2001, 06:01 PM
Okay, I think I see what you mean. It's just that martial arts are not for her. I'm sure she can benefit from it, but she probably just thinks its too rough for her -- especially if your coming home with bruises. Heck, I wouldn't blame her. I would feel the same way except I grew up with two older brothers and took TKD when I was a kid so I'm just not intimidated. Just let her enjoy watching you do aikido, let her own curiosity build and maybe she'll try it in her own time. But if the whole martial art concept turns her off, there really isn't a point trying to get her to join.

Anne Marie

Unregistered2
12-21-2001, 11:39 AM
Well, thanks for understanding. I've been wanting to discuss this with our female partners in Aikido and have not had the guts to imply :confused that they're not feminine. I'm hoping to find a way of presenting the art that doesn't emphasize the martial (its there anyway , what I need is bait)

Unregistered3
12-21-2001, 04:24 PM
I can understand the fear of bruises, except its not a fear I happen to have, and I'm female. (I also like other somewhat risky sports, like downhill skiing). Have any of you women aikidoists had the experience of having a date or newish boyfriend become alarmed if they see that you have a bruise or injury, and repeatedly suggest that you quit if you get another or more severe injury? Just happened to me. Or having men not in the martial arts react somewhat uncomfortably when you tell them you do aikido? Or express doubt that women could ever be effective as martial artists? Happens occasionally to me. Not that I really worry about it, of course. Far as I'm concerned, that's their problem, although I can understand why someone who cares would worry about you getting injured.

I am however, QUITE sensitive to yonkyo, as I have skinny arms and people can press right to the bone on me pretty easily (and yes,I get bruises). I thought it was people with fleshy two-by-four wrists that don't notice yonkyo - well, at least when I try it on them...

guest1234
12-21-2001, 10:42 PM
Sometimes what attracts us and we are so excited to share is not what appeals to our loved ones...I will assume your wife has actually seen some classes, if not, that may be all it takes. If she still does not like it, you might gently ask what specifically she does not like (in a non-argumentative, non-judgmental, good listener kind of way). It may be as easy as assuring her that you find her so incredibly feminine that even without makeup and jewelry she will be a beauty on the mat.;)

shihonage
12-21-2001, 11:41 PM
Originally posted by ca
If she still does not like it, you might gently ask what specifically she does not like (in a non-argumentative, non-judgmental, good listener kind of way). It may be as easy as assuring her that you find her so incredibly feminine that even without makeup and jewelry she will be a beauty on the mat.;)

I noticed that this never works.

If a person is not interested, nothing you will say can make them take up Aikido.
Nothing.

My success rate is 0%, with the exception of a friend who actually started for a couple of classes but then college stuff took over etc blah blah blah.

The truth is, if the person was not DRIVEN to it to start with, they will always find excuses and let other circumstances and tasks take priority over Aikido.

guest1234
12-22-2001, 06:12 AM
Your are right, talking won't 'convince' someone to try, but sometimes it is just a misconception of what Aikido is about. I think especially for women, and perhaps even more so for wives/girlfriends of male Aikidoka...why?:confused:

I think a lot of guys get started for a variety of 'macho' (no offense meant) reasons, and come home singing praises of terrifying atemi, bone rattling breakfalls, pounding their uke...just watch me on the street, etc etc. Not the stuff that often appeals to women. And when you start to show your war wounds, they cannot imagine how this is fun.:rolleyes:

I had no interest in martial arts, and in fact saw no point in them until I was introduced to Aikido...and the guy who sold me on it obviously used a different approach with me than the other 40 new students, all great big Army guys, who showed up for our first class. As we stood around talking, me wondering why these 240 pound monsters were wanting to do Aikido, they started talking about Steven Segal. 'Oh, no" I assured them, 'I've seen his movies, that CAN'T be Aikido', 'see, Aikido is this peaceful, gentle art...':eek:

shihonage
12-22-2001, 11:27 AM
Originally posted by ca
As we stood around talking, me wondering why these 240 pound monsters were wanting to do Aikido, they started talking about Steven Segal. 'Oh, no" I assured them, 'I've seen his movies, that CAN'T be Aikido', 'see, Aikido is this peaceful, gentle art...':eek:

"All I'm trying to say is that when you are in the street, the reality is that you have to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. And if you think that you can go out into the street and have somebody come up to hit you from behind with a blackjack on your skull or come up and try to cut your throat, if you think that a philosophical view of peace and love is going to help, then you better wake up, because it's not.My answer is also, that the world can be a very ruthless, dirty, violent place, and if you cannot bring yourself to the level to be ready for that to the extent with which you are able, then you are living in a dream land. Become a writer and just stay in your house and read fiction all day." - Steven Seagal.

I think that he did his best to show real-life Aikido in his films (except "Exit Wounds").

It's not "violent Aikido", it's simply "Aikido applied".

Abasan
12-22-2001, 11:41 PM
You can drag a cow to a lake, but you can't make it drink

Just an odd random saying (paraphrased) I thought I might share with you guys...:rolleyes:

Unregistered
12-28-2001, 12:58 PM
Luckly most of the people that I have woked with don't mind working with a woman. But there is one woman who has complained that I am to small and she is afraid she is going to hurt me. It was than suggested to her that she take a youth or mixed class.
The same woman has never let me finish a technique. She stops me every time I move. Or almost move. Saying No where is your center, No you left this behind, or just no start again. Last week we were working on Shomenuchi iriminage ura waza. I did end up pinning her. The whole time she was saying no. Than that was wrong. I noticed how wrinkled her collar was and said that I was sorry. I guess I just had to much foward motion to stop. I felt ashamed. Did I do the technique or did I just pull her down? A few weeks ago I was told (while working with her) when working with higher rank and someone bigger it was okay to be more powerful. After two days of frustration I figured out what I should have done. Relax, stay focused and be ready for the next attack. Any other suggestions of how to deal with her would be great.
Being small also makes shihonage easier if the uke is a huge guy.

guest1234
12-29-2001, 08:57 AM
I think irimi nage is O Sensei's way of making sure the smaller nages don't get too sure of themselves because of shihonage:D

Again, this is the reason I prefer partners to be quiet and train. Unrequested help/advice is generally unwanted/ unnecessary help/advice. Unfortunately, no matter how often you tell one of those types, they are too in love with the sound of their own voice to care about what you need or want. My first sensei would tell us that if you wanted your partner to get how to do the technique, you should do it clearly and correctly when you were nage, and be quiet when you were uke. Good luck with her!

Arianah
12-29-2001, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by ca
Unrequested help/advice is generally unwanted/ unnecessary help/advice.
Perhaps, though I hardly ever request help from my partner, but if a sempai (or at least someone that knows what s/he is talking about) offers a little help, I am very open to receiving it, and often welcome it.

Originally posted by ca
Unfortunately, no matter how often you tell one of those types, they are too in love with the sound of their own voice to care about what you need or want.
These are the ones that I do not welcome the advice of. Those that like simply to point out how wrong you are and how right they are, who couldn't care less if you learn or not. But if someone is really sincerely trying to help, they would most likely stop giving advice if they knew you didn't want it.

Originally posted by ca
My first sensei would tell us that if you wanted your partner to get how to do the technique, you should do it clearly and correctly when you were nage, and be quiet when you were uke.
The problem with this sometimes, though, is that some people when they are uke are focusing completely on their falling. I know that when I am uke, especially for fast throws, I don't often pay attention to everything that nage is doing. I, myself, can't really learn a throw when I am uke; others may be able to. I like someone to sometimes verbally correct me. But that's just me. :)

Arianah

mike lee
06-16-2002, 12:55 PM
I've been living in Asia for the last 15 years and I've practice with a number of amazingly talanted female aikidoka. They all had similar traits:

1. They loved practicing aikido.
2. They practiced with a lot of enthusiasm.
3. They were optimistic people.
4. They challenged their fears.
5. They weren't bent on being self concious.
6. They were tenacious and tireless in their practice.
7. They maintained their femininity but were not weak.

Katie Jennings
06-16-2002, 01:23 PM
Just my tuppence ha' penny worth... i wonder if the men that discroimate against women would do so if i was black rather female??
:straightf

DaveO
06-16-2002, 03:44 PM
Hello! I find this thread particularly interesting, due to my own very limited knowledge of Aikido.
Most of my training in the fighting arts comes from the Army, and in my experience, size, speed and strength are critical in either avoiding or winning a fight. When I started Aikido a bit over a month ago, the member who worked with me most was (and still is) Jill, our senior student: a 1st-Kyu of middle years and all of 120 pounds soaking wet. It took me all of 5 seconds to realize how wrong I was about strength, size and speed as I wound up staring at the ceiling time and again. :D We have a few students at the Dojo; she is the only woman as of this writing, she is also possibly the most highly thought of person at the Dojo - at least, I think so.
Of all the Martial Arts, it seems to me that Aikido is perfect for women in today's day and age - a 'fighting' skill based on relaxation, calmness and efficiency. So much of it seems perfectly adapted to 'domestic' situations and other areas in which a woman may find herself in trouble.
Due to the low number of students at our Dojo, I've offered my skills as a recruiter in order to help bring in students. The hook I'm planning on using is the 100% demographic of Aikido - in other words, that anyone, regardless of age or sex can do it.
Therefore, I personally think that women should be encouraged to join Aikido - not only for the exercize, but for the factors of defence, safety and confidence it can provide. Not just women actively looking for a martial art - any woman at all. (I yap on incessantly about Aikido now; trying to recruit just about everyone I meet. hee hee!) A 50-year-old librarian isn't going to turn in to Stephen Segal, she WILL NOT become any less attractive (quite the opposite; most probably, moreso.) but she will gain benefits too numerous to mention.
I hope this is not just rambling, that it can actually help this thread. :)
See you!

SeiserL
06-16-2002, 07:02 PM
I am not female and we have only a few female students at the Dojo. Recently, at the Aiki Expo, I paired off with a young lady who was obviously well versed in karate. Her punch was powerful and forced me to execute getting off the line most efficiency. I returned the favor and the respect. The few women I have trained with have all been very good because they had to depend on their technique instead of their size and strength. In that respect, they taught me.

Until again,

Lynn