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Old 10-19-2004, 12:01 PM   #2
L. Camejo
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Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,423
Re: Different dojo populations...

Hanna Björk wrote:
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?
Hi Hanna, due to the wording at the end of your point I'm not sure if this thread was geared towards women only or everyone, but I'll hazard a brief note.

Regarding the above, there may be something of a difference between what certain gender and age demographics bring to a dojo environment as against what one may prefer regarding that environment. You mention your age and it's interesting in that I've trained in mixed dojos like you were referring to, mainly in Aikikai where the approach to training by the women of any age were very similar to that of the men, in the sense of the pace of training, what is expected of Tori/Uke etc. There was a greater range of ages as we have at our dojo, but that did not seem to change much of what was going on. It was generally a nice mellow, not extremely energetic but by no means lethargic atmosphere. As found in most dojos (including ours), folks trained to the level of their partner. Now having trained with women who are in excess of their forties in my style of Aikido I've found the general approach to training a lot more energetic and along the lines of what you describe to be the domain of young males in your post. This is interesting in that it is possible that due to the different experiences of what one is taught to expect in training by one's teachers, the expectations of the individual, whether male and female may be different to what is being practiced from the beginning. In this case it's a matter of evolving beyond your known structures to embrace something new. This is why I tend to encourage folks to see what is out there as there are many ways to view the path, if not walk it. It does not matter what your age or gender is, when we walk into a dojo, much of what we expect and prefer has already been conditioned and we train where we feel most comfortable.

Hanna Björk wrote:
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.
Again, this is something that I have experienced across the range of Aikido, and in other martial arts as well, one has no gender in MA training, unless something undeniable (like late stages of pregnancy) shows up to make you see otherwise. To me it's not so much a matter of one's gender but of confidence and the belief that one can impart knowledge of technique to someone although they themselves are a student. One of the best (i.e. most powerful) throws I ever got was a Tenchi Nage from a girl at Capital Aikikai who was half my size and weight. Because we do the technique a bit differently than they do I had some problem with the leading and wrist movements and she promptly became my instructor for that portion of the session. I did not mind because my approach to training in other styles is "shut up and listen, don't assume you know anything". Of course the Sensei has the final word, but the student playing teacher thing imo had more to do with the individual's level of confidence in her technique than who was wearing the nuts. (And after that throw I had to wonder. )

Hanna Björk wrote:
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.
Establishing leverage, pecking orders and an unwritten hierarchy is a basic part of human (and animal) social interaction as I understand it. It is one of the few things that still exist as a commonality between modern and ancient civilizations and society - there is always a leader and his inner circle and then there is the rest of the masses. The environment that it occurs in only adds a few new variables to the base concept. From my experience in Aikido as well as other fora the need to establish a vertical system of understanding and relationship tends to appear naturally as a person's abilities are analyzed and judged by his peers. From my experience it does not matter what is the gender of the one who is trying to get one up on you. If you put people in certain situations where they feel superior (whether it be technically, time specnt training etc.), even in some very miniscule (or as you indicated) subtle way, an unspoken hierarchy is established whether we want to admit it or not.

These things are elements of human nature and not always indicative of certain tendencies based in age or gender.

Just my piece.


Last edited by L. Camejo : 10-19-2004 at 12:05 PM.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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