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Old 03-19-2012, 02:33 PM   #71
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

Quote:
Jackie Adams wrote: View Post
The point of the article and the information it gives matches with my thinking on training. You can't use the same teaching approach for both sexes. That being a fact, it would make sense to provide learning environments attentive to each sex base on how they learn.
My interpretation of the article was that it's based on statistical observations of male and female subjects, generally and within a structured academic learning context. The age range implied is preschool through adolescence. I'm not sure that there are implications for how men and women learn aikido.

Quote:
Jackie Adams wrote: View Post
I know some are going to object. I would like to see the counter argument showing it isn't true many more women feel comfortable going into a class with another female (or male/friend or husband) friend then alone.
I'm assuming that you mean your argument, since the article doesn't make arguments. I don't think the burden of proof is really on the rest of the world here, to be honest. Nor is it on you to prove your argument (although in the statement above, I think you've departed from your original argument, substituting "going to a class with a friend of either gender vs. going alone" for "going to an all-women class vs. going to a mixed-gender class"). If you want to use your belief as the basis for how you structure your classes, that's your prerogative. I think, though, that you might consider the limitations of the marketing adage "All you have to do is get them through the door." Like many other marketing adages, it's just not so. I can easily believe that many women with no prior martial arts experience would feel more comfortable with the idea of an all-women class, simply because most women are socialized to be uncomfortable with physical contact with a man who they're not in a close relationship with. But what happens then? I guess the idea is that gradually, these women develop enough confidence to cross over and train with men? Or do you intend to maintain a dual track perpetually? And if so, what happens to your students when they train outside your dojo?

Quote:
Jackie Adams wrote: View Post
More women joining an Aikido class for the first time can feel intimidated being the only female in a class of men. A class when surveyed by many woman come to the conclusion she would be uncomfortable in that class. Because it is mostly male students, if not all, even if there is a female instructor.
Really? I'd be interested to see the details of such a survey, methodology, etc. My guess would have been that many women would find the idea of training with men uncomfortable or intimidating. But when they observe a class, they would see that the reality is different: that partner practice is not a sexual situation, that bullying doesn't happen, etc.

Quote:
Jackie Adams wrote: View Post
Here we have a situation where a woman needs a class that fits her learning style, and yet has no choice to join a class of men - there are no classes for her learning style. Why should she have to make that choice? Why isn't there a class for her that understands how she learns best?
Again, you're equating gender with learning style, as if the two are indivisible and monolithic. The article you cited spoke of tendencies, not absolutes. Furthermore, it spoke of differences without attempting to quantify them, and certainly didn't state that they're diametrically opposed or incapable of being addressed within the same learning context. If you look at Kolb's learning styles, you'll see IMO much more radical differences in learning style than those described in the article -- give a teacher a class with five doers and five thinkers, and you're talking about a real challenge! And yet in order to teach aikido, a sensei must teach successfully to all four types.

Quote:
Jackie Adams wrote: View Post
The class structure I am setting up isn't going to be inflexible. Recognizing some students learn best under mixed gender classes is very much important. I will run 3 adult classes a week. A general class mixing both men and women, if they want. A women's and men's only classes for those who want it. Then the kids classes separate from the adults. The challenge I see upon the horizon is I will be facing the establish orthodox training philosophies of others. There is a difference in the way women and men learn.
A women's class isn't particularly unorthodox, they're pretty common. Our dojo used to have one, although it doesn't any more. Of the women who took the class, I think one part weren't going to continue training long-term no matter what (the usual attrition rate), one part were going to continue training no matter what (and did train in the mixed classes), and one part hid out in the women's class because of a perceived difference between those and the mixed classes. In fact, it may have become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the women's class became the refuge of a few very tentative people who created this idea in their heads that this class would be easier, simpler, not do hard ukemi, etc. Ukemi is hard, and working to improve your ukemi is hard, and this class gave these people a place where they felt comfortable -- because as you know, when someone just can't do good ukemi, you have no choice but to take it easy on them. A comfortable place is one thing, but a place where you can learn is not always comfortable. For a while, these tentative people made up enough of the students in the women's class that the class had to be easy just so people wouldn't get hurt -- but it couldn't last, and didn't. We don't have a women's class any more, but all those people had left before we got to that point.

Quote:
Jackie Adams wrote: View Post
There is a difference in the way women and men learn. My opinion is by recognizing there are different training and learning needs between the sexes it increases student learning and success.
So, what is the difference, as relevant to an aikido dojo? Put succinctly, what are the different training and learning needs of a women vs. a man?
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