[quote=Rob Liberti]Hi Mary,
Thanks for posting. I agree that we should not focus on any students based on their gender/youth. What did you find most helpful at your dojo?"
Well, when I started training several of the men were very helpful and encouraging. (I had a really hard time rolling at first.) Some other men were impatient and judgmental with me because at first I was an awkward uke. At our present dojo everyone is encouraged to do their best. We try to use everyone as demonstration ukes and to accept that what is one person's best is another's just okay.
"Lastly, as a relatively long time female aikidoka, who has expressed passion for the issue(s), what do you feel your responsibility is/should be - if any - towards improving the structure of aikido? Just curious."
That is a good question. As an independent dojo we are pretty much outside the "structure" of Aikido. My goal is to help keep our organization on the track it is on now. We are at least 60% women because our our friendly, unpretentious attitudes and the inviting feeling that anything is possible.