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Old 08-12-2002, 01:46 AM   #17
Joshua Livingston
Joshua Livingston's Avatar
Location: QLD Australia
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 34
I voted No. However, I wasn't thinking about a temporary women's class that would eventually blend in with the regular class.

Even with regular women, (meaning non-abuse survivors) I think this would be a good idea. The reason being is that I have taken martial arts for 13 (in dojo) years and have been to many different Dojo (had to move around a lot). In most cases, there were many more men than there were women and often no women at all. I think a big part of that is due to the fact that if you have no women at a Dojo it is hard to get some in, because you have to either have a group of women join, or a woman who doesn't mind being the only woman in the Dojo, and then another who doesn't mind being 1 of only 2.

I know that has to be a big barrier for a female to over come when they are the only female in a Dojo. I know that it would make me nervous as hell if I were the only male in a Dojo. I'm sure I would be the type to get used to it but then again I am an MA freak and most people are not.

It's hard to be a rookie at anything. It makes people very nervous when they are in an environment that they know nothing about, including how to act in it. On top of that you have to do things with your body that you never did before and for most Americans you have to get used to being in much closer contact with people than you are usually comfortable with. If you are an adult, it is even harder, because adults have most of the time gotten to a position where they know what's what in life and do not like to be in situations that make them feel like a little kid that doesn't know anything again. I've seen this discourage many adults and have told me that this was the reason (or something to that effect) that they did not join.

So there is a lot of stress involved for a woman who joins a Dojo with no other women. I think it would be a great idea to have an option of taking a women's only class until there are a good amount of women at the Dojo.

However, on the subject of battered women taking a private class because they want to learn to defend themselves; I don't think that would be a good idea because in most Aikido Dojo, the art is not self defense oriented and there are much better programs such as MADD that are designed specifically for those types of situation. There are however, exceptions where the Sensei knows what modifications should be made to conduct these types of classes, but IMO even if they think they know they should become certified by a legit organization just to make sure.

As for the male students giving unwanted advice: I've seen it done by both genders, and it is true that I see it more in men than I do women, however I also see a greater ratio of men in Dojo than I do women and If I counted how many didn't give advice I would come up with more men who don't than I would women who don't. But that doesn't really say anything, because like I said, I have seen a greater ratio of men in the Dojo. I think it is a mute point because people are so different depending on where they are and whom they are with.

I will say though that at seminars in Aikido (including 2 summer camps), I have only had 1 guy under Shodan tell me how to do something and I have had more women than I can remember tell me how it is. Doesn't really prove anything though.

Joshua Livingston
Aikido of Ashland (USAF)
Gold Coast Jujutsu
Capoeira Zambia Congo Group
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