Mike Sigman wrote:
How about simply inviting the best available teachers, regardless of gender? What does gender have to do with good Aikido?
Now that makes real sense in my opinion. Quality, not attempts to be overly PC as far as I'm concerned should be the requirement.
I think one of the primary things for a premier Aikido gathering like Aiki Expo should be quality of instruction and demonstration over anything else, as the event can easily become a benchmark for many who visit, of what "Aikido" is supposed to be all about, some of whom may not be aware of all the variances and peculiarities of the different methods of Aikido training.
If the majority of exceptional instructors were women I'd advocate there be more women than men there to maintain the level of quality to be honest. But again it comes down to the focus of one's program and aims when doing these sorts of expositions. I mean, this is the first year that someone from the Tomiki system is doing anything at the Expo as well, so I guess they are growing and learning as time goes along.
On the point of women in Aikido though, does anyone know what the actual ratio of male to female instructors is across all Aikido or in their own systems/organisations even? From how I see it the sheer ratio of all instructors of Aikido may have something to do with the pool that Stan Pranin can draw from to get to invite to Aiki Expo. And even then, it depends on who can make it to the event. There are a few variables imo. I'm not so sure if the ratio of male to female instructors in the world is not represented by the numbers represented at the Aiki Expo this year.
Then again, where does the lobbying stop? Similar to what Bryce said - when we have enough female instructors, will we then start asking why there are not enough african, hispanic, indian, christian, moslem, buddhist, hindu or [insert category here] instructors at the expo? To echo Mike above, what bearing does this actually have on our personal quality of training in good Aikido?
Personally I believe we must be the change we wish to see in the world.
Just some thoughts.