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Old 12-08-2011, 01:26 PM   #16
Eva Antonia
Location: Brussels
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 212
Re: On being Female in an Aikido Dojo


I'm Belgian resident but thanks to my work had already the opportunity to train in some other countries, like Turkey, Aserbaidjan, Hungary or Côte d'Ivoire (this evening I missed training in Göteborg by some minutes ). Generally women are a minority, but I rarely got the impression that there is a sexism problem. Maybe that is due to the fact that I am, although thin, rather tall and strong, and don't have fear of any sort of ukemi. But then in my dojo there is only one other female who is like me, and all the others more or less REQUIRE soft and "female" treatment.

We have some four girls in their late teens and the same amount of boys. All of them are very skinny, have very thin wrists, and already due to their weight and lack of technique are easy to throw. BUT the girls attack softer, they are afraid of being hurt; for techniques ending with sankyo, nikkyo or something that could require a breakfall they always chose those partners of whom they are sure that they treat them gently. I always thought that I was of the gentle sort until one of these girls shrinked back with real terror from me when I bowed to her for some sankyo technique. I did not observe this behaviour in even one single of the boys.

So it wouldn't be so surprising if men get a prejudice against women if so many women behave this way, both wanting to be equal and emancipated and still requiring special treatment for female frailty. I am rather surprised and appreciate very much that most men still are able to differentiate between women who are as capable and as committed as themselves and the others who are just asking implicitly for getting away with some "aikido light". But for that you need at least to practice with the woman in question to find out what kind of spirit she is.

Then sometimes I get surprised at myself at underestimating some of the women with the soft approach. Once it happened at a seminar in Brussels that there was a small, very beautiful brown girl with a blue hakama and a long black ponytail, who paired up with me. She had this feathery touch and I thought it would be one of the "don't hurt me, please" girls. But then she was absolutely brilliant, took me down without that I even realised how she did it...after the seminar I found out that she was a 4th dan from Peru...That tought me a lesson in not always judging according to appearances.

I also know the problem with the waist of the gi. I just resolve it by tying the gi on the hip bones. They are much wider than the waist, and still there is more width below where the articulations of the thighs are, so nothing falls down. I suppose people who are too fat to tie the gi around their waist do the same. And then you can bind the belt and the hakame in the waist, so there is one knot less if the gi is 10 cm more downwards, which is another advantage.

Best regards,

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