Thread: Equitable?
View Single Post
Old 03-02-2005, 03:00 AM   #38
George S. Ledyard
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Equitable?

Anne Marie Giri wrote:
I think you guys need to take some chill pills. Stop, breath, and relax. Mary's question was no way hostile, BUT your responses are.

I read Mary's question as a great follow-up to George Ledyards article discussed in this recent thread

Need I need remind you Mr. Ledyards main point was that we need to support women instructors, go to their seminars and invite them to seminars?

Now, I'm sure Stanely has his reasons and more of it has to do with logistics, but I don't believe that this takes away the apparent disparity of representation of gender. Given that there are plenty of women instructors that could fill the bill. While their numbers are few we do need to do what we can to encourage their participation.

Also, what does gender have to do with aikido? Some one here just stated that maybe there would be more women instructors if rank was based less on skill. That is the problem -- Women instructors are not seen as skilled. While, yes, ideally, gender shouldn't matter, given the state of gender bias in our culture, and apparently on this board, but in reality, it does.

And once again I will point out that all the negative and hostile posters on this thread have proven my point that if a woman raises this issue then such a view is met with hostitlity on these forums. Why weren't you guys this hostile with George Ledyard?

Ledyard Sensei, where are you now? All the folks who supported Ledyard Sensei's column, where are you now? It's this kind of hostility that women can face every day in the workplace, home, and, yes, sometimes, even in the dojo. Until this reality changes, gender will continue to matter.
Of course gender matters. Gender issues inform every aspect of our lives. In the case of the Expo however, I don't fault Stan for who you don't see on the list. Stan has tried very hard to get as wide a representation as possible.

The organizations you don't see represented have declined to participate. Ask them why. If you don't see your organziation represented ask the powers that be why they don't wish to prtaicipate because I know Stan invited them.

I know Stan invited women who didn't accept. One of the factors that goes with supporting women teachers is having teachers who make it easy to support them. Some of the most prominent women instructors belong to organizations that refuse to participate in cross organizational training like the Expo so there's no chance they'll appear. Another factor is that the character of the event is of more interest to male practitioners than female. I know at least a half dozen female instructors of Godan and Rokudan rank and not a single one of them has evinced the least interest in attending the Expo. None of them read or subscribe to Aikido Journal either for that matter. I have recounted how much great inspiration I got from the previous Expos and yet not one of them has shown any interest. You can make your own conclusions as to why this is...

This isn't just an issue with women... there are plenty of men who have been invited and won't come. Perhaps they felt they should have been invited over some other person to whom they are senior, perhaps they belong to an organization which is too political to participate, the reasons in my opinion are petty and they remain the losers. The exposure gained by the participants in the previous Expos could not have been duplicated. Instructors no one was previously aware of had national prominence over night. No single Aikido organization could have offered that to it's instructors. Those of us who particpated benefitted tremendously and we owe Stan a huge debt. Those that chose to stay at home missed out; that's not Stan's fault.

The training was absolutely fantastic! I am seeing elements from various Expo classes percolating through the Aikido of my fellow instructors. Yet, there were people who only attended the classes taught by the teachers from their own styles. There were folks who taught who were happy to have different people from different styles in their classes but who never got on the mat in anyone else's classes.

I look at the Expo as a unique event that only could be put together by Stan Pranin; no other person in the world that I know of has the connections to do something like this. If we wish to have an Expo to participate in we need to support Stan, support Aikido Journal, ans support the event. Almost none of the female instructors whom I know personally have done that, for whatever reason. I applaud the particpation of Pat Hendricks Sensei, Kayla Feder Sensei, and the other female instructors who did participate in the past Expos. In fact Pat Hendricks in particular impressed me no end by not only conducting professional level demos and classes but by being willing to get on the mat and try out the classes of the various other teachers. I would like to see more women instructors willing to participate like that.

I think there are men who are willing to support women teachers but those women need to make themsleves available, to be willing to put themsleves forward in order for that to happen.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
  Reply With Quote