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Old 12-08-2011, 02:53 PM   #17
Shadowfax's Avatar
Dojo: Allegheny Aikido, Pitsburgh PA
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 919
Re: On being Female in an Aikido Dojo

All I can say is I am very lucky in the dojo I am training in. We have quite a few females in the dojo including two Sandans (one of whom co-owns the place) and one, about to be, Nidan. Of the kyu rank students training regularly in the dojo I am most senior at the moment and we have one other female student. And we also regularly have Mary Heiny Sensei come to us to teach class and I get semi-private lessons with her. And Kayla Feder sensei regularly teaches a seminar within easy driving distance ,so I get to see her as well. I get lots of really amazing female aikidoka to train with.

All of the instructors in my dojo use me often for ukemi, as has Heiny sensei, and I tend to be a favorite for the guys when we are working on the really interesting unbalancing and connection exercises Ikeda sensei teaches, because I'm not easy to move. I have only a very few times sensed any attitude from a male student that seemed to be condescending and not from any regular student in the dojo, and they soon got over it.

My teachers are very interested in encouraging female martial artists.

Yes the gi fit is not perfect ,for me the issue is the chest but its not really a problem that my limited sewing skills cant manage. ( I have the rater pricey preference for Piranha Gear Karate Gi) And yes there are times when I am the only female student in class,(heck there are times when I am the ONLY student in class) but generally when the boys are laughing in the changing room I am siting with sensei having some sort of fascinating ongoing conversation about aikido.

I hope at least my post can encourage you in that not all dojo have the issues you face and there are indeed places where women are not so in the minority or stuck feeling a bit left out or out of place.
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