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Old 01-30-2005, 01:59 PM   #5
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Janet Rosen wrote:
George, thank you for a wonderful and thought provoking essay. A couple of thoughts on first reading:
I would think that many of the things you write would equally pertain to valuing what the older male beginner brings to the art.
"No more should we encounter the dojo which places the male students at the top of the technical and hierarchical heap while the women, all ranked in the second tier, do all of the organizational and administrative work thereby actually keeping the school going for the men." This should be posted on bulletin boards, not just in aikido dojos, but in many places people congregate to work and play together!
Hi Janet,
I certainly meant to include men when I said "and everybody else". There is a great contribution to be made by everyone, not just the young, athletic, and tough young males.

From the standpoint of empowerment one would like to see everyone attain all that they are capable of. But it's a recognition that the methods may need to be different that is important for the teachers. I made the mistake for many years of thinking that simply training the women exactly as I did the men was the answer. But I have seen that this doesn't work for the avarega e female student. The ones that hung in there have their own dojos now but the numbers who stayed were always small. It's clear to me now that I can make the training far more accessible and in the long run turn out far more strong female students if I pay attention to the different reuirements which men and women have. This should also hold true for older students and students of smaller stature etc. Everyone needs to be brought along in ways which support their own requirements. Not just using a cookie cutter approach which worked with small groups of exceptionally tough males in Japan. Frankly, looking at how far many Aikido teachers seem to be from what I believe O-Sensei had in mind for his art, the old way of training may not have really worked at all.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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