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Old 03-16-2012, 12:09 PM   #38
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,051
Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

Jackie Adams wrote: View Post
I figure from the feedback I get surveying people I know, having a finger on the pulse of society it might be useful to have separated classes because biologically, physically and psychologically there is a difference between the sexes.
Hi Jackie,

I think people are reacting to two things in that assertion:

1)It's a generalization that might be useful in some situations, but is a lot less useful (and sometimes actively harmful) in situations that always come down to the individual, such as aikido training. A generalization about what women or men are like is bound to fail frequently on the individual level; therefore, while it might possibly be a valid generalization, is it really helpful as a basis for teaching aikido?

2)Generalizations like this have a long history of being used proscriptively and with an agenda, rather than with some intelligence, sensitivity, awareness and an honest and sincere wish to provide all people with an equal opportunity to learn. Think of the results of generalizations like "black people can't swim well" and "women and girls aren't good at math". Now think of being a person who had to struggle to get the opportunity to learn that isn't being afforded to you because someone believes that generalization.

Jackie Adams wrote: View Post
One of the yoga places have only men and women yoga. The local commercial gyms have classes that target men and women separately. There are lots of women only clubs in town, the self defense shooting gun club for women is very popular. There are several successful all women martial arts classes and self defense programs too doing well.

From all that I see a pattern emerging, women and men want different things from their activities and don't necessarily want to mix gender.
I disagree that this conclusion follows from those observations. But if women and men do indeed not want to mix gender, why is that?

Mind you, I'm not arguing against separate classes. I'm saying that if separate classes are created for the wrong set of reasons or because of incorrect assumptions, the effort to produce a better learning environment for the students will painfully backfire.

Jackie Adams wrote: View Post
I would be foolish to over look what these things say about society. After all, I want to give my students an experience they are comfortable in. I don't want women feeling uncomfortable joining my school, especially if they have had a previous bad experience with men. I don't want women feeling as if they will experience a threat of sexual harassment, sexism or insults, and if those injustices happen to occur, they feel powerless with no voice. I certainly don't 't want them to think they will end up being bullied/dominated by men. If a woman feels she can wheel all that testosterone coming off new students or other students. I am not a sensei who is going to restrict a women from men or her power to choose what is best for her.
Not sure what "wheel" means here, but if your school reeks of testosterone, doesn't it make sense to fix that problem rather than accommodate it and indulge it? If you create a class for women because you accept that "boys will be boys", and what boys will be is a bunch of mindless hormone-driven lunkheads, is anyone better off, or has the problem just been fed and strengthened?
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