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Old 02-10-2012, 10:49 PM   #84
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: On being Female in an Aikido Dojo

Well, I can only speak for myself. There are some females in our dojo, but they're not in the majority. In the classes I teach I have about 30-40% females usually so my classes are a bit more balanced. My rule for myself and for students when I'm teaching is that they should give the attack that is up to the level of their partner. I don't care if you're male, female, neutered, 12 years old, 68, or from Mars. Initially if you have an uke you're unfamiliar with you work carefully until you find where they're at and what intensity they can handle. And you train appropriately to push them to get better.

I knew one your woman who pushed me to work more forcefully with her. She crumbled under one attack once when I tried to push her the way she asked. Yes, she got bruised, but got back up and said "let me try again". Fine. Then she crushed me...

Works for me.

And I've had big, brutish looking guys who get freaked out at even the smallest bit of real contact.

Yes, I will be careful with a smaller, thinner woman student I'm not familiar with. But I'll be equally careful with a smaller, thinner male student I'm not familiar with. Whatever they're up to is fine with me. I'm just there to train and learn. More bodies to toss around the better...

So yeah, I'm careful with smaller women. And kids. And smaller men. Cause I'm a big guy. And if I'm training with you and you want more intensity, just ask. It's sometimes hard to know how much a new training partner can take or is willing to work with. Regardless of your gender.

Sure, some treat you differently because you're female. But don't assume that the fact that you're being treated differently is necessarily because you're female... I don't want to hurt anyone I'm training with unnecessarily. And it can be tough to know how much to push someone you've not trained with much or with someone who doesn't give you feedback that they want a harder, stronger attack.

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