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Old 12-08-2011, 01:20 PM   #15
Basia Halliop
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 711
Re: On being Female in an Aikido Dojo

It grates on me. Most of the time I just tell myself I need to be better, to train harder, to put in more hours at home to smooth away rough edges and to work on reflecting on the lessons more.
If you do basically like where you are, and don't want to leave there, then that's probably your best approach, IMO. It can be hard to stop worrying about what others think of you and whether they respect you or not, but to some extent the more you can stop caring about anyone else and just try to be good, the more they WILL eventually respect you more. (And regardless of whether they do or not, you'll get more out of the training, IMO).

E.g., the 'frailty' thing - guys, for the most part, at least nice well-brought-up-non-psycho ones, have been taught all their lives not to beat up women and that being respectful of them means not using physical force against them. That's a GOOD thing.

However, yes, it does get in the way in the dojo sometimes, and they need to be learn better or rather learn better judgment on when such behaviour is good and when it's just cheating you out of good training. They also need to learn through time and experience that you aren't as frail as they are afraid you are (and IMO it's fear of being responsible for injuring someone as often as it is genuine patronizingness - not that that doesn't ever exist too).

Best advice I can think of for that is to get good enough, in techniques and at ukemi, that eventually it speaks for itself. Also it helps once you have a few people willing to go less 'easy' on you. After a bit the others watch and start to see that nothing bad is happening.

(This is useful at seminars -- if I'm in a line with a bunch of strangers where everyone is going frustratingly easy on me, occasionally I have gone and searched out someone from my dojo -- bonus points if it's someone big and 'scary-looking' -- and let them smash me around a few times. After the initial shock passes (OMG he's going to kill her! LOL) the strangers relax and start treating me more normally).
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