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Old 12-07-2011, 06:42 PM   #3
Janet Rosen
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Re: On being Female in an Aikido Dojo

In my experience, the dojocho/chief instructor sets the tone and others will fall in line. Yes, there will always be one or two guys who think we are fragile - OTOH I find there are always one or two guys who don't understand that a very slender wrist will have tendons easily damaged if their usual hamfistedness isn't attenuated, and in both extremes, simple polite, friendly communication works.

In most of the dojos I've trained in, folks really are treated the same - size or awareness of individual quirks or disabilities play much larger role than gender.

We do have one evening class that tends to get a good number of young men (16-22) and I'm often the only woman that evening, and old enough to be their grandma. So I've asked the instructor to use me as demo uke at least sometimes each class so they can see I'm not a porcelain doll. It works. So you may want to quietly ask the instructor - maybe as a question about how he perceives your readiness to take that role and if there is anything you can focus on improving in order to do so.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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