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Old 08-24-2000, 03:51 PM   #51
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 168

I think seeing women on the training floor is cool.

I think seeing aikidoka training hard is cool.

I put those ideas on separate lines because to me they /are/ separate. Regardless of gender, attack without intent is a waste of time, an embarrassment, and potentially dangerous. So if we change our attitude or lose our focus with any uke for even just a moment, we run the risk of injuring our partner perhaps worse than the injury we were trying to "protect" them from. Now I know you are saying that losing our focus isn't the heart of the matter when we're talking about working with women, but I say, "Isn't it?"

If I change the trajectory of my punch, or second guess where my hand is going during an ukemi because of fear of what might get touched, my mind is focused on my partners gender, and not on my attack/my technique. It's the same if I go easy with a partner for any other reason than that the person needs more experience. If I go easier because of gender, then it is a failing on my part in not keeping the correct mindset.

As far as women on the training floor, I enjoy seeing that because it brings more body types to practice with. In my dojo, we run the spectrum of body types:
I'm 6'7", 250lbs., we also have
6'2, 320 lbs.
6'3, 200 lbs.
5'5 110 lbs.
5'4 140 lbs.
And everything in between. However, we have only two actively attending females. So when I train with a woman, I may be training with a new body type that I am getting used to, but that's the same as training with men, too.

What it comes down to, guys, is women have been working with their bodies longer than we have been working with their bodies, and they are more aware of their bodies than we will ever be, so they know better than we do what they can take and what they cannot take. I think you can be sure that you pay a woman as high a compliment believing that she is capable of doing something until she tells you otherwise as you insult her by never allowing her to show you that she can. (Then again, replace all of the 'she's with 'he' and the same truth holds).

The ONLY difference I feel working with women, and the only defensible difference I think anyone can raise, is that a technique is going to be slightly different done to a woman because of the way their body is proportioned (lower center of gravity, wider hips, etc.) But that just gets me back to body types...

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