Thread: Equitable?
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Old 03-04-2005, 09:41 AM   #90
L. Camejo
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Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,423
Re: Equitable?

Gaia Thurston-Shaine wrote:
My two cents to the general picture: I agree with the folks that say the best way to get more women involved is for women to decide to be involved. I don't want to be chosen for special priveleges or invitations based on my gender but I am inspired by strong female presences in the aikido world. As I gain more influcene in my aikido community, I plan to encourage and hopefully inspire more women to participate, but equally so for men. I think we should acknowlege the desire to see more women on the mat and teaching and then we should all just get out there and train with each other, regardless of gender, race or anything else.
Very well said Gaia.

What exactly is PC about women instructors?
There is nothing PC about women instructors, they are just that - Instructors - no need to qualify imho. It's just that the attempt to create an artificial sense of equitable numbers to satisfy a requirement that really has nothing to do with quality Aikido training is what is the problem imho. But this has been indicated by others as well.

I do not agree that women need special treatment at all. All we need is a chance to prove ourselves.
Exactly. I think this whole issue is a numbers game really. It's not that women are any worse or better than men on a general level in Aikido, but I think that the numbers of women who do martial arts in general (whatever their reasons may be) is what is affecting the possible pool of instructors that can be tapped for things like the Expo. If we want more women to be involved they have to get involved and I don't see any armed guards at the dojo doors stopping them from entering. As Peter said, it is the Sensei's job to make the path available , up to you to walk it imo. From my experience the opportunity to walk the path is often proposed equally to all who enter the door, so it's not even a matter of getting a chance to prove oneself as a woman so much imho - the chance is already there, it's up to our female colleagues to get on the mat and use it.

Why is that? Is it really a failing, or possibly a lack of interest in our passive, consumerist society of women in taking responsibility for themselves instead of "renting" power?
We don't need to rent any damn thing. We've got it right here.
Agreed. Though it depends on what you define as power. To many, it's not found in Aikido whether male or female. Maybe this is part of why there are not as many women being drawn to the "empowerment" if any, experienced through Aikido training. Just a thought. A lot of women I know don't do Aikido because they either hate the idea of falling all the time or want to hit something and look good throwing a kick instead of a person. A matter of preference imho.

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?
Women are all of the above. Not a subgroup. Just people.
And, none. Should be none. Should be a NON-ISSUE.
However, on both sides, can you see a problem here?
I believe where we make something an issue it becomes an issue. If Jews and Arabs can train Aikido in peace in the middle east as part of the Aiki-Extensions program, it shows that only people who make things an issue have issues. In my dojo, the gender situation is a non-issue, as well as the other stuff that I mentioned above, when you walk in the door you are simply an Aikido student, nothing else is assumed. It depends on the people involved imho. From my experience there are folks who look at things and see points of division and there are those who look and see points of unification. I tend to fall into the latter group. The day we have the ratio reversed in favour of women I don't think it will affect my training at all.

The use of the Military is a good parallel to this argument I think, Does anyone have statistics of which armed force in the world have the most women on active duty in active combat capacities (not support forces mind you) and what the ratio is from women to men in this area? I personally think it comes down to there are just not as many women who are interested in martial arts training (much less Aikido), as there are men and this has something to do with social norms and a host of other factors including women (as well as men) who just don't like or are not attracted to the idea of MA training. My wife is one of them actually. It's her choice, I don't force her to train in Aikido, she seems to like Tae Bo and Mortal Kombat .

As many long time instructors here may know - many come in the door but very few may stick it through and even fewer to become an instructor, regardless of gender.

To quote Rodney King - "Can't we all just get along?"

Last edited by L. Camejo : 03-04-2005 at 09:47 AM.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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