Thread: Equitable?
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Old 03-04-2005, 11:49 AM   #95
Dojo: Bend Aiki Martial Arts
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 92
Re: Equitable?

Gaia Thurston-Shaine wrote:
While I realize that some people might like to see big guys getting thrown around, I don't think picking men based on ukemi ability has any logic. In my experience, women often have the most connected, smooth and all around great ukemi skills. Big, musclular guys often seem to be rather stiff and heavy and less likely to connect well to the technique. If the point is to look tough as nage to an audience of non-aikidoka, then perhaps this choice would make sense, but at a seminar choosing men because of their assumed ability makes absolutely no sense.

Since you quoted from a post of mine in order to make this comment, let me point out that I wasn't suggesting strong-brute Uke's or "the most connected" ukemi's, either one. I was suggesting that many demonstraters will try to use the most athletic person, least likely to get injured, so that the teaching point can be made without incident or distraction. Sometimes that's a female, but statistically it's not, as most people with experience would probably agree.
When I say "most connected ukemi" I expect that this is the most important aspect of ukemi, especially in a seminar situation when the instructor might not know the ukes they call up. Someone who is able to follow and stay connected no matter what the technique or style is going to be the best uke for the job.

I would disagree that a male is more likely to have good ukemi or be less likely to be injured or "distract from the lesson". In fact, I believe that the often more connected, looser, less "muscle-bound" (stereotype) ukemi of many females is less likely to cause injury to anyone.

Perhaps I have had unusual experiences, but I have seen seminar instructors choose a broad variety of ukes, generally starting with ones they know, then watching the class and picking ukes based on the ability and characteristics they observe. I have been called up for ukemi in many seminars, as a kyu-ranked female, sometimes by instructors I have never meant. I can only assume that they saw something in my ukemi that caused them to make this choice.

Gaia Marrs
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