Mary Eastland wrote:
Without men helping to make women be more equal in Aikido it is going to take hundreds of years.
Though I'm just a beginner, I've had experience with 2 dojos. One sizeable, and the other quite small. In my beginners class there were about 15 men and 2 women. From my experience everyone was welcomed and encouraged warmly and equally. I assumed the ratio of men to women was one that occurred organically; influenced by external factors rather than by anything taking place within the dojo.
From this woman's standpoint, it was, and still can be, scary. And that's part of the reason I train….to gain a sense of personal power in ‘aggressive' situations (or perhaps more appropriately to LOSE the sense of helplessness in those situations) and to experience a safe and healthy resolution to same. For me, if anything, * I* am the one that sells myself short on the mat with thoughts like ‘Oh c'mon, I cannot possibly move this great big guy.' And it's the men in my class that encourage and push me hard enough to get past those self-limiting thoughts. Their nonchalant refusal to accept my occasional ‘you expect a girl to do THAT?' attitude is something I am very grateful for, and one of the main reasons I wind up doing things I never thought I could.
When I feel at a disadvantage, or that something is extra challenging as a result of having smaller hands, being shorter, etc, Sensei shows me how to correct or adjust my technique to achieve the desired result. And on the flip side, sometimes being short seems to be pretty advantageous.
My experience, thankfully, has been that my Sensei and the men I train with treat me no differently than anyone else. That's something that I took for granted as the way things should be. I have never been made to feel less than equal by anyone in the dojo.