Thread: Equitable?
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Old 03-05-2005, 04:52 PM   #124
Dojo: Sand Drift Aikikai, Cocoa Florida
Location: Melbourne, Florida
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 824
Re: Equitable?

Mike Sigman wrote:
I just looked back.... I didn't see a "flame fest". Can you point out where there was a flame fest versus a discussion with different people expressing different views than your own?
Start with Page One and Read...Most of the initial responders just jumped down Mary's back for her questions, they started with "why not start your own aikido expo" to your "what does gender have to do with aikido" and it degraded on down to there. It wasn't just one response, but the volume of them. If you read further, I noticed that Mary attempted to defend herself, but deleted them out of frustration. Obviously she got fed up and left. Actually, I know she did. And she has since thanked me for speaking up. No one was calling her names like in a true flame war, but the posts responding to hers very much dismissed her questions, skipping any real dialog. No one took the effort to understand her perspective, her view or reasoning for asking what she did. Rather they all just jumped to conclusions--mainly that she was out to bash Stanley Pranin and the AikiExpo. In fact, she was attempting to create a dialog about gender disparity in aikido.

Here's an example from one your posts:

"This better? I only meant to be friendly, not get my ass chewed because of your personal mine-field of beliefs."

Yes, I find such comments "hostile", then the conversation on Page 2 following Szecepan's typically absurd "troll-like" statements.

I must have missed this one.

I wasn't aware that some institutions were forced to meet quotas. Can you point me to which ones? Thanks.
I wish I could point you to the specific case cites of U.S. cases on employment discrimination. They do exist and I'm not pulling them from out of thin air. Basically, the law directs courts to allow for actual recruitment of say women or minorities (which ever group that was being discriminated agains) if a pattern and practice of discrimination has been proven in court. The institution (governent office, business affecting commerce) is required to hire "x" many persons of the specific category to make up for past wrongs. It's a legal doctrine. I don't have time to teach you employment discrimination law. Yes, I'm an attorney.

Say hi to Penny for me. I trained with her when we were both starting out in the mid-70's. Aside from that, I hope there's a focus on Aikido in your dojo and not a lot of tangents like "sexual awareness"...
Florida Aikikai is hardly known for being "lovely dovey" or new agey. Penny's classes would torture most who are not used to dynamic physical training. Peter's class are all about training hard, too. So are the other instructors, no "indoctrination" to worry about. However, we do have a strong female presence in the dojo and no one is forced into "sexual awareness" tangents. They just have to train with Penny, Leida, Janet, Gerry, Me, or any of the other women in the dojo, we definently make our presence known. And it's not by "flirting on the mat". What's not acceptable in our dojo is overt sexual come-on like groping a woman's breasts (or a man's penis for that manner, although I'm not aware of such a problem in the dojo). What is a key principle espoused by Peter is that you train at your uke's level of skill, that you train with everyone no matter the rank.

the conversation in the thread is really at the point where O-Sensei's admonition to worry about changing yourself and not changing others has been made.
I'm not forcing my view on you, I'm just asking you to consider them...hopefully so you can learn something from my perspective as a woman in aikido so you can learn that sometimes things are not always as good for us as you might think it is.

Do you think men should be trained at the dojo to be more aware of women's special needs? Granted, they do.
I think men just need to be more aware that they should treat women with respect. Treating someone with respect is not treating someone with "special needs". I'm not disabled -- mentally or physically. I'm just a different gender and sometimes male hormones have a way of getting in the way of my training.
Sometimes they're started by men and sometimes it's women doing the trouble-making, flirting, etc. Hopefully we needn't get into a lengthy discussion cataloguing evils done by either side.
Actually, I do not believe in creating a matriarchal paradigm to counteract the evils of the patriarchal paradigm of Western society because the resultant effect with bring about another set of problems. I'm about people interacting and working together with decency and respect as we, each as individuals, make up society and through acting with decency, respect, and, gasp, tolerance towards one another, society will grow and improve. "Society" is not evil in my book. Dysfunctional perhaps, but not evil.
That's a rather gratuitous mischaracterization of the people who don't take your view of the issue, isn't it?
Jumping to conclusions there aren't you? You're assuming I take an "us v. them" paradign. I don't, it's "us and them". Or rather just "us." We're in this together, men and women, but I think some men forget that there are women, too.

What "hostility" are you talking about exactly?
Um...hostility doesn't have to be foul language or name calling...but rather...a condescending tone. Hostility is jumping to conclusions and assuming the initial poster doesn't know what they are talking about, it's not taking the time to understand that person. And when that person shares her (or even his) experiences, they are told they are not relevant to the practice of aikido.

You Do a "rough and tumble martial art"?
Have you ever trained at Florida Aikikai? Quite a few in my dojo profess to put the "harm back in harmony". And, don't make the mistake of calling Penny a "flower" either. We do tumble around a lot, at least half the class, it's call U-K-E-M-I, and taking hard breakfalls is pretty darn rough to me so are some of my training partners. They don't let me get away with anything, and they help me throw their 6'2", 220 pound bodies to the mat.

Do you consider Aikido a "rough and tumble" martial art, seriously?
Aikido is that easy for you? Do you just sit in class and meditate? Do you not take ukemi? seriously? You tap out early and not sweat? Seriously? Sounds like you train differently at your dojo. Not everyone has the same experience you know.

Notice that a couple of times the discussion in this thread was attempted to be limited by applying the terms "hostile", "flame fest", etc..... those are deliberate control techniques and the very fact that they're used in an attempt to limit a public discussion shows you that the writers think it's acceptable to do so within their Aikido dojo community, so why not do it in a public discussion. Would I visit the dojo's of some of the writers of these controlling remarks? No. I do martial arts, not social visitation.
Actually, if you go back and read my posts you'll realize I qualified my posts. I'm very careful not to speak in absolutes. Also, I was attempting to complement the later posts for actually having a positive and constructive dialog. Posts such as "well, why don't you start your own AikiExpo" or "what about other minorities" or "what does gender have to do with aikido" were not constructive. Sure you can say what you want, but so can I, thus is the nature of the internet. I never said you couldn't post, but I will speak up with I think someone is inappropriately being attacked.

Also, why do you jump to such conclusions that I'm trying to limit "public discussion" I'm not a moderator on this board, and I can't stop you from posting anything. I don't even run my own dojo so I can't limit what is spoken there, either. I'm just pointing out that, yes, you and others, were being insensitive to a member of this board and such insensitivity is an example of how some women are treated in some dojos. I hope you don't really treat women like this in your dojo. I certainly wouldn't train there if you do.

The only kind of action controlled in my dojo is overt acts like groping of breasts. Is that really acceptable in your dojo? Are you saying that such things should not be prohibited? Are you saying that a female student should not feel free to talk to her sensei about any potential problems on the mat? I really, really hope not. Because that is all I'm advocating--that a woman should feel free to train in a dojo without the threat of overt sexual advances and should feel free to discuss any potential problems with her sensei. I'm also advocating that if a women in your dojo comes to you and says, "I think I have a problem with Mr. X " that you hear her out, try and come to an understanding to the situation, and help her to resolve it if she can do so on her own and step in if needed to as her sensei. That's all...and that's not a lot. That's not restricting your free speech. That is what I call treating someone with basic diginity and respect.

And all we do in my dojo is Aikido. The social visitation just happens afterwards.

Anne Marie Giri
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