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Old 05-14-2008, 02:48 PM   #76
misogi's Avatar
Dojo: Aikikai of Philadelphia
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 13
Re: Starting an all-women's class

Hi Ron,

I don't have time right now to go back and quote "negative" comments. It just appeared that some folk thought that this was some segregratory, descriminatory agenda-based mission. Let it be said that this is not the case and I did not feel this from your posts. I find your approach very constructive.

The reason why I find it interesting that they are mainly from men is that there is no way that a man can truly understand what it is like to be the only (or one of few) female on the mat. As a woman in the martial arts it is *usually* the case that you are in the minority, *usually* the case that you are weaker, often the case that you are confronted with someone much bigger, stronger and more advanced, often the case that some guy wants to prove himself by intimidating or hurting a woman, (the same guy does the same with other guys sometimes too, but as a female it is much more overpowering, and often incredibly intimidating - I don't think guys appreciate the power of the male/female dynamic when physical aggression is involved - and here I mean *aggression* in it's negative sense. This is usually only the case with beginners. As people get to know the dojo, it's members and is able to sort the wheat out from the chaff, these issues tend to disappear - often along with the newest female member...

I understand that Aikido does not require great strength. This is one of the main reasons why I love it so. However, when starting out, it is not easy to understand what you are doing and why.

I don't necessarily believe women only classes to be the answer to the problem. A beginners class will always have a mix - be it of genders, body types, personalities, physical ability...The point is that we are trying to make it a comfortable space for women to *start* - to let them get a feel, in an environment where they may raise any issues they might have about working with the opposite sex, how to deal with Sempai who may be rough, hitting on them, difficult to work with etc. I know these are issues in all dojo, and I also know that separation may not be the answer and must be short lived.
Again, this doesn't sit with me very comfortably.
But as a woman who has visited many dojo, trained with both sexes, and been thrown very hard and treated very roughly by guys (and a few females too!), I feel this is something worth offering to women who have never been exposed to the martial arts and may feel less capable than their male counterparts...

The horse has been well and truly beaten!!

Let's keep talkin'


If you know the art of breathing you have the strength, wisdom and courage of ten tigers.- Chinese adage
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