Re: On being Female in an Aikido Dojo
Thank you for all the responses so far- its nice to hear from other Aikidoka females and of course from the male Aikidoka about this.
To address the responses in a random matter I'll start with Hanna B. I'm not interested in finding another dojo. Our area has 2 and I am at the one that fits me better; the point of this post was trying to cheer myself up by reminding me that there are other chicks out there trudging through it alone. And as Janet made me aware, I have the added benefit of being classifed (by most) as a young, tough female.
As for Mali, the notion that females are weaker when it comes ukemi is something that irks me. I'm a biomedical engineering student, so I have a pretty decent grasp of anatomy. Basically it comes down to it, males are stronger but females are more flexible- meaning injuries in the same sport are about even. However, females injures are usually knee and hip related while males take out their groins and upper body.
What I have noticed as someone who has played contact sports her entire life is that females without a history of sports tend to be very meek due to social conditioning when it comes to physical stuff while males without a history of sports, again, tend to be more reckless when it comes to physical stuff. When I watch white belts, I try to give the shy ones (which tend to be all the females we get) a bit more encouragement and explain the body mechanics that keep things safe. Now if I could only figure out how to get them to stick. X)
I'm with you on the partnering with the higher ranked person thing though. My BF has dubbed me a 'black belt chaser' because when it comes to partnering up I head straight for a sandan or godan when I can. They help a lot. The few female yudasha I've worked with at seminars proved to teach me just as much as the men, even though most where tiny compared to me.
Also its not the pants that bother me as much (I have drawstring waistline ones in a 5 from JK.) A 4 top fits me better but there still is the problem of .7 hip to waist ratio. So I'm considering getting a female top from Century.
kewms, out of over more than a dozen black belts (which oddly enough is half of our dojo) only one is female. She is older and has been out for the last year or so due to a combo knee/ back injury. I miss her, if in part because I got to watch someone who was barely 4 feet take down 6'5" men like they were nothing. In the short time with her, I had learned a lot.