Re: Different dojo populations...
In my opinion EVERYONE in Aikido talks too much, and tries to ‘teach'. Not just the young males -- young, old, men, women, mutants, the guy refilling the vending machine -- anyone who steps on the mat suddenly has the annoying urge to ‘teach' you rather than just correcting their own techniques.
Your thread does bring up an interesting question though Hanna, what DOES create an Aikido dojo environment that is appealing to women.
It's obvious that very powerful, energetic waza with high ukemi, and crazy randori brings in the young men (and the men that are still young at heart)…but what do the women want in a dojo. While certainly some of that appeals to women as well (or anyone that chooses to participate in a martial art for that matter), it seems to me that there are more non-martial aspects that women crave more than men.
In my experience, Aikido dojos that have a larger number of female practitioners seem to have a few common factors (that I have noticed, but the women folk can correct me since I am only going by observation here):
(In order of perceived importance)
3. A clean, comfortable area in the dojo where everyone can sit and chat before an after class. Particularly an area that has carpet, comfortable couches and/or chairs, a coffee table, etc. -- that has been tastefully decorated (not rejects from somebody's basement, and not just a couple of benches).
2. A lower testosterone level (as mentioned by Hanna), where energetic doesn't frequently devolve into pure machismo, and Aikido class isn't modeled after Karate dojos with their piggy-back-duck-walking, and other ‘body/spirit-forging' exercises all the time (sometimes of course).
1. An approachable sensei that likes to answer questions, and can demonstrate the softer side of Aikido on a regular basis (and possibly moves a little more gracefully?).
Can some of the women Aikidoka pipe up and give their 2 cents?