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Old 03-14-2010, 11:19 PM   #177
Linda Eskin
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Dojo: Aikido of San Diego, San Diego, California
Location: San Diego County, California
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 334
Re: Starting an all-women's class

Thank you, Anita, for the clarification. Hey, I remember broken records!

So, yeah, there are a few gender things in there. But mostly those are considerations that apply to everyone (not being particularly athletic, not being comfortable with one's body, fear of looking stupid...)

Here's the kind of idea I was thinking of, which might attract more women without be a "Women's Class," and which comes from one of the specific issues you mentioned: Offer a Kids & Parents class (which might be a challenge because they need to be learning in very different ways), or (if there's room - like two areas in the dojo) offer a Kids class and a Beginners class running concurrently. Those could address the difficulties of finding child care, the guilt of abandoning ones' kids for a couple of hours, etc. Actually, that's a lot like the kinds of things some companies have done to attract more women (on-site child care, flexible working hours...)

I totally admire and support your intent - to introduce people to Aikido who might really enjoy and benefit from it. I'm just trying to explore ways that don't reinforce the very notions we're trying to get away from - that there's something inherently so deficient about women that we require a special "remedial" course before we can join the regular classes with the "normal" (male) students.

I suppose a women's class could be promoted in a powerful enough way that it wouldn't have to come across as "watered down." An 8-week Aikido Boot Camp / Jump Start / Women's Intensive, or something? All the students could be given t-shirts like I saw recently in someone's Facebook profile. It showed two yudansha (both female? hard to tell from the image), with Nage doing iriminage, I think, and Uke flying through the air. It said "Thows Like a Girl."

Probably what we need is more data, and less conjecture. Start a class. Let us know how it goes.

Linda Eskin - Facebook | My Aikido blog: Grab My Wrist

"Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train." - Morihei Ueshiba
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