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Old 08-04-2010, 12:30 PM   #40
Basia Halliop
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 711
Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

I think it is important to have graded women as a "model".
Not nearly as important as having technically strong ones, IMO... when I joined my current dojo there were no female black belts... I think the excellent 1st and 2nd kyu women were good 'role models' for me (as were many of the men each in different ways, also, e.g. one who was physically small, ones who had various difficulties at times but overcame them), though, and just as important was their treatment (and mine) by the Sensei and by the male students. A student who is clearly noticeably less skilled than the other students of their level (or apparent level, going by rank) is as much of an anti-role model as anything, at least I would have found it rather discouraging when I started if there was a noticeable pattern in that direction.

Besides, as a student if I was fast-tracked (assuming that's true and not just her guess, which is quite possible) I think I'd feel like I'd been cheated out of some training and learning... it's harder to take pride in an achievement you've been striving for if you don't really get a chance to achieve it. And I might feel like it was unfair that I hadn't gotten to learn as much at a given level, and to be able to look back on my tests and feel really proud of how I did in them.

One more note: if women are genuinely being scared off by feeling they can't do ukemi, then logically speaking a 'good female role model' would be one who has good ukemi and can reassure them that they will learn it too with time and practice, regardless of her actual rank. Although male students who initially struggled with falls but got better with time can also be equally encouraging.

Finally, having quality seniors, male and female is certainly an advantage to a martial arts school. I've seen, and trained with many skilled and talented female seniors that I greatly admire and wish to emulate. They make terrific role models for all the junior students without question. The thrust of my comment was keyed to the word "artificial". By that I was trying to convey that promoting a person beyond her skill level simply for the sake of gender would be self-defeating to the school.
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