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Old 02-01-2010, 06:00 PM   #322
Toby Threadgill
Location: Evergreen, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 166
Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Lorien Lowe wrote: View Post
Aikido is not a 'western' martial art. It is a Japanese one. By the standards of honoring the 'traditional' ways of training, women should only sit in seiza with their knees together, should bow with their hands on their knees instead of at their sides, should not take positions of authority, etc. Aikido, like buddhism, has spread in part because it has adapted itself to the new contexts in which it finds itself.

I know this is a bit off topic but I take exception to this sweeping generalization of yours. I will not deny that in greater Japanese society woman have many sexist challenges to confront, but an investigation of the "traditional ways" in Japanese koryu culture will reveal the existence of women headmasters thru many years that have been held, and remain held in very high esteem.

Tobari Kazu, headmistress of a line of Shin no Shindo ryu jujutsu and Tenjin Shinyo ryu jujutsu was a good friend of my teacher and did not sit in seiza like some submissive geisha. She sat and carried herself like any headmaster of a classical jujutsu school. Takamura sensei had the most profound respect for her and took ukemi from her on several occasions. Her students included a stable of very powerful and impressive judoka that would not have been the least bit interested in her teaching had she not demonstrated the tenaciousness commensurate with her position as a koryu headmaster. I also met Nitta Suzuyo, headmaster of Toda ha Buko ryu, in Tokyo in 1994. Her students included people like Ellis Amdur and Meik Skoss. Ellis once told me she could be one of the most harsh and brutally demanding teachers he'd ever met. Imagine this barely 5 foot tall women dressing down 6' 9" Ellis Amdur and you get a picture of quite an amazing woman. Then there is the Tendo ryu, the Higo Koryu, Yoshin ryu and the Jikishinkage ryu schools of naginatajutsu....(Although the Yoshin ryu can be a bit foo fooey) All led by women who are hardly the picture of a dainty and submissive female.

To infer that aikido has adapted egalitarian ideals due to cultural realities outside Japan my be specifically true in some cases but it is not necessarily accurate in relation to the greater Japanese martial culture in the manner implied in your above statement.

(I hope this info makes you all warm and fuzzy.)


Toby Threadgill / TSYR

Last edited by Toby Threadgill : 02-01-2010 at 06:10 PM.
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