Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido
Very interesting! Thank you for bringing up this subject.
I agree on many points, but I worry about "train women like this and train men like that" as Anne Marie said. Each individual is different…by way of personality, body structure, motivation, psychology, etc. I am attracted to the idea of harmony of mind and body. I am also interested in the martial aspect of the ability to avoid violence or protect if I have to. Another man or woman might be interested in Aikido for different reasons. I would want all aspects available to me when training.
I think the lack of women recognized in Aikido must have to do with cultural and historical traditions. I wonder what O'Sensei's philosophy was on this. I remember seeing film footage of women ukes working with him. Hmm. Now I wonder what happened to them? And, of course, it is not just in Aikido that women have been excluded. An example close to me is the history of women in painting. As you said George, regarding women samurai…how many women renaissance painters can you name? They existed. It really hasn't been until the early to mid 1900s that we see the O'keeffes and Kahlos being given the spotlight. That wasn't long ago. Similarly, it is amazing for me to think that it was only just in my grandmother's lifetime that women won the right to vote in the U.S. As in any minority situation, I think as more women break through the ranks, young women will see themselves reflected in the Aikido image. Then Aikido becomes a more realistic and attractive option. A young girl or a woman can say YES! that CAN be ME! But I think that it will take not only women breaking through the ranks but also taking positions of authority in organizations. Those, I imagine are few and far between.
Cheers, and many thanks to the women pioneers in Aikido who are blazing the trail!