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Old 10-19-2004, 06:01 AM   #1
Hanna B
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 647
Different dojo populations...

In a thread in the anonymous section, I mentioned the impact on different dojo demographics on training. I very much prefer very mixed dojos, regarding age and gender. In dojos that are much dominated my young males, I tend not to like training. Well, I am myself a woman of 35... but what are these differences? What does different sexes of age gruops give to their training community?

I'd say that youth brings energy. It is good for the dojo. At the same time, young people tend to favor challenging training for the challenge in itself, such as doing ukemi over several people standing on their hands and knees, in a line. I find this dangerous, as people do it without having good enough ukemi technique for it. I have come across one person with a shoulder that will never heal, who got his injury in this kind of training. Young people feeling the need to show the group that they can do it... In the university dojo that I led for a couple of years, the guys who came to me with a few years of previous training someplace else did this kind of exercise sometimes when I let them lead warmup. They actually tried to offer me a simpler way of doing it, as they expected that I could not do tobi ukemi over even one person! LOL I think I did that for my fourth kyu test... but I did not teach it as I did not see it as important, and the main part of my students were not on the level in their ukemi where they would benefit from this kind of training. It seems young males will go for it anyhow.

Another thing that often strikes me about dojos dominated by young men is the time and energy the students spend on teaching their partner. Maybe I get an extra share of this compared with the dojos usual, as I am a female and these men not used to training with women get this idea I need "help" because I am a woman. I really do not know, but as far as I have seen dojos where people not only have lots of opinions on their partner's technique but also voice them tend to be dojos dominated by young men.

I sometimes feel that this kind of unwanted teaching is a way to establish pecking order. I am sure that is a component, at least. Is that something male? I think women have pecking orders too, but more subtle and defined in more hidden ways than who teaches whom. I hate dojos where this is the bread and butter, and I leave them swiftly. Is this a common experience among female aikido practioners? My guess is that it is not uncommon, but I am really just speculating...
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