Re: Differences between female & male practitioners
Imaizumi Sensei's first student, Donna Carlson, is one of the unknown, female pioneers of Aikido in the US. She is in her mid seventies. She still trains. Many years ago, I nicknamed her the Dojo Dominatrix . Regardless of how much testosterone the guys feel like they need to display, she can shut their techniques down in a NYC second. She will complain about how sore she feels and when you attack her, you suddenly find yourself on the ground.
I seek her out, every time I am there. I have learned so much from her and still do. People who take the mistaken approach to thinking that gender is major criteria in martial arts effectiveness have a lot to learn. It never ceases to amaze me how many men will not work with her, or Sensei's wife (who also can crush you) because of their "delicate egos."
We are all different. The degree to which we allow those differences to limit our training, is the degree to which we will inhibit our learning. It is more important to me to work well with my partners so that we both learn, rather than become hung up on the stuff that really does not help our training all that much.