Thread: Equitable?
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Old 03-05-2005, 01:18 PM   #119
E.D. Gordon
Dojo: Shobukan Maryland
Location: Maryland
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 41
Re: Equitable?

Mike Sigman wrote:
Men used to be the ones that worked themselves into an early grave supporting women and children.
Women do it too, now.. Yay.

I.e., we can state these social issues so that one side looks "bad" and the other "victimized" if we choose our phraseology, can't we?
Yep. Got my point nicely.

Honestly, Emily, O-Sensei didn't give a rip about gender parity in Aikido. I don't know of a single martial art whose founder did worry about gender parity.
I know. I've read Draeger, Stevens, Amdur, Saotome, Mol, et cetera ad nauseam. (Wasn't there for the hydrogen splitting. Came in after the hydrogen had been split up... )

A non-issue. I'm actually fine with it being a non-issue.. *sigh*
No, really.. it's supposed to be my point, but I'm not doing a great job of getting that across, obviously.

I started out in my aikido training seeking a certain female teacher I had met, a really promising sensei. I wanted to return to aikido after a hiatus, and went looking for her. When I got to the dojo, I found out on my first day that she was six months dead, of breast cancer. I spent my first class blinking back tears, and renegotiating my committment to training.
I remember the point in my training where I "settled for men". It's in my journal.
The women's dojo in town did a style of karate that killed my wonky knees, so they weren't an option.
Thus the title of my paper, half in jest, "Putting up with Men".
I came to love my male teachers (or hate them, as the moment required) and make a further iteration of my understanding that people are just people.
I, too, have survived abuse. I had to go through my black fear and rage and resentment. It took a while before I was really safe to train with, if someone scared me.. I was really a little crazy... I kept a tight leash on that monster, but my training was what taught me to ride it.

I would be egotistical to imply that abuse made me special. It happens far too often, too subtly, to be exceptional. To too many people. I think that it is what draws many to the martial arts, and that the best case scenario is that they regain their own power enough to grant it back to others, even at risk of harm to themselves. It can be beautiful, but it is terrifying to even begin.

I'm not suggesting that training is a replacement for psychotherapy, I got that too. It just helped me in a very kinesthetic way, to learn to walk directly into my fear, and look behind me.
I could not have done it without the men who got me there.

It's like trombone playing... just do it. Is this a challenge to combat?????? Just out of curiosity, what do you suggest for "support", Emily? Before you stated that you were an "egalitarian". So am I. I hope you're not suggesting that "we should treat women exactly like men, only a little better".
(for trombones too! )
Support for the art, whateveritis, by training.
Teachers supporting the art by, perhaps, developing better filters for applicants. Willingness to begin lower down the scale. More and more, men have no physical skills, but in recent history, women were the ones relegated to chairs for tasks, instead of fields. With many exceptions.

A lot of what we see as a "lack" of women in budo, is in fact, a result (symptom?) of social attitudes and issues. Our dojo has been 70-30 on occasion, more women. But mostly, I'm like Tigger.. I'm the only one.

I know, I know, I never bought the social crap.. but I grew up in a society which permitted me to survive, without buying it. Previous generations did not have that luxury, particularly the non-rich.

Someone mentioned aikido as a "rough and tumble" martial art. Well, comparatively, mostly, not really. Some styles truly are, and some in a good way, and some not. I rather like aikido's elegance and the ability to, if not transcend violence, at least keep it focussed on both personal interaction and the greater good.

My personal theory is that aikido is a "gateway drug" to the world of martial arts, and thus I don't mind if it has a genteel face. It has a good heart to back that up.

What martial art has more women in it than aikido?
It would be an interesting thing to look at.
(if you count Tae Bo, I will be sick at you.. )

(single combat: bubble guns at 10 paces.. )
ps: I skied today, and didn't even fall down once! Yay!!
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