Re: Holding Up Half the Sky: Women in Aikido
Just to support Mark's post -- I too had reservations about the UKA declaring a "women instructors" course, because as the quality of the aikido of the instructors speaks for itself, it seemed unnecessary to make any other classification (positive discrimination, if you like). However, as Mark pointed out, many of the senior UKA male instructors were there training and taking ukemi (Mr Smith himself observed all the classes), and it was a very successful event. Although it may well be relevant to the individual instructors in their own experience, their gender really made no difference to those of us attending the course. I hope this is what people would expect anyway.
In my experience the personal qualities of an instructor always supercede any generalisations that might be based on gender. Having said that, it's possible that female instructors are less prone to the tendencies of machismo that I find so unappealing in some male instructors I have come across. That in turn may go some way to explaining why two of the dojo where I train are headed by women instructors.