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Old 02-07-2007, 03:01 PM   #92
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,616
Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Kim Rivers wrote:
How interesting this thread has been. I found it amazing how amped-up an alternate spelling (which is becoming accepted btw) ruffled so many feathers. So much so that that became a point of contention rather than addressing what was really being said. Thank you to those who did not get stuck on symantics and continued to talk about the issue. "Women and everybody else in aikido".
The question is not semantic but in terms of budo, rather: What is the attack you are addressing? What is the enemy?

Don't get me wrong, I do not dismiss the legitimate need for serious discussion of gender equity (I avoid the term "equality", because, given the true differences that exist, "equal" is not really fair to either one). Frankly, I think it is a discussion that can never be over, because society always changes. When I was coming along in the Navy women did not serve on combatant ships. For instance, me, personally, in collective conflict (war) I view men as the more expendable gender (better used as "fighters" in Jon's phrase, even though not necessarily better as fighters in any given case), and thus disagreed with including women as combatants in terms of both "equity" or equality. Evening the balance of dead women soldiers to dead men soldiers, holds no appeal for me. But, I acknowledge that is but one point of view.
Kim Rivers wrote:
I was wondering.... the idea, or rather the accusation that I was not embracing aiki by choosing to use the term womyn. It does indeed make a differentiation. One that says I am an extention of no man and yes, that is political (sorry Jun if I am crossing the line here). But I contend that anytime a woman is treated differently on or off the mat because she is a woman that is also political. Is it any more aiki when that happens?
By your usage you are fighting the language and the language is not your real enemy. The conflict is not contained in the language, the conflict is in the chosen uses of the language, which is what I tried to point out.

Th conflict lies in the heart, not in the words, and the intent of the heart will come out words or actions, in one way, or another. In our timescales the language does not change on these words, only our uses and glosses on it do. Changing the language does not change the useage, the intent or the heart of the person speaking.

Kim Rivers wrote:
By challenging the norm and putting my views forth I am in the spirit of aiki inviting discussion and creating space for examining long held beliefs, my own first, and if others jump in on that and stir the pot with me then even better. I can't change anyone, but I can definately change myself. For me small choices like spelling of words have great meaning and help create a new paradigm in which I can exist.
But you see language is not a personal paradigm. Language is shared property. And it can be dangerous property to be in dispute over, too. "When in the course of human events... " were some words that recognized a very significant (and ultimately fruitful) conflict. Those words did not start the conflict they merely confirmed its existence and further defined its scope. That is the distinction, in my book: words should recognize and deal with a conflict that already exists, they ought not create a conflict in and of themselves.

A "womyn" can be as abused and beaten up by a sadistic beast as a woman can. Or a man. A woman Aikidoka -- not so much. Or a man. Nor need abuse be merely physical. One heart can wound another in words that cut deeper than any blade. Women have been occasionally known to excel in this sharp art. As Jon mentioned, there is is need for the spirit of budo there as well.

I was just calling attention to that, and the fact that you just made that verbal coup in passing, apparently without thinking much about it. Rather than making it a part of the conversation about that real and important conflict that you put into words, it became a conflict you created with that word. I find some lesson in all that, at least for me.


Erick Mead
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