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Old 03-15-2007, 07:35 PM   #97
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
after 4 pages, can we get into some concrete examples here? i'm sorry if i find this thread rather insulting, considering i don't even blink if i see a woman on the mat.

i'm sorry but if an Aikidoka actually takes the time out of his life to pursue the challenge of Aikido, and truly understand its core values, i don't understand how they see women as standing in the way. are we painting such a broad brush as to say that most men don't understand Aikido's core values? do men choose to learn it because it's the most badassed fighting system in the world?

in my experience, the one and only form of discrimination i've ever experienced came from who's wearing a skirt and who isn't. the number of shodans unwilling to work with beginners at seminars is revolting, and a much more relevant issue to Aikido discrimination than women vs. men.

not even the women in this thread are giving concrete examples. until i see proof that a woman was not allowed to take a test, was sexually harassed, was not allowed to teach, or was simply ignored, i have never experienced any such discrimination.

at the USAF's winter seminar a few years back, they made it a point to mention how far women have got in Aikido, and every female dojo owner was asked to raise their hand. the only shodan in my dojo is a woman. my Sensei is a woman. i've made female friends in class. i'm sorry, i just don't get it.

maybe because a top ranked Sensei started this thread, he might be seeing discrimination at the very top. but down where i am, i show up, work on my horrible ukemi, and go home. i'll probably see a woman somewhere along the path and won't think twice about it.
Of course you don't get it... but pretty much every woman out there does. Even when they haven't felt it themselves they understand what other women mean when they talk about it.

The piece I wrote on the subject was the single most responded to article I have written. I got e-mail from all over the English speaking world from various women. It was reprinted by my permission in the news letter of a karate organization because they felt it spoke to issues they had in their training as well. It sparked a discussion, which I was told about, on another forum for women martial artists. I guess the subject matter revolved around why they needed a guy to be saying these things for them? A valid concern but pretty much symptomatic of what I was talking about.

Look at the AikiWikki:
Look at the list of the top ranked non-Japanese Senseis and then look at the list of the top ranked female teachers. It would, at first, seem to indicate that there are a fair number of women out there who are getting acknowledged with rank, and that would be true. But if you look at the names and ask, who of those people are the featured instructors at the various events one attends, who takes the ukemi from the big guys when they teach, who of these teachers is on the seminar circuit, it's clear that its largely a boys club. It's not that easy for women to train in what is still a male dominated world. It's not that easy for them to establish themselves as peers with the male seniors when they do. Even when they get rank, they are often not valued the same way.

Just look at the list of things one should do at a dojo to attract and keep women students that Linda Holiday Sensei put together. Every item on that list is there because it isn't happening that way in the majority of cases.

Just because you are aware of it, doesn't mean it's not there, it just doesn't impact you.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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