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Old 10-09-2005, 10:19 AM   #51
Qatana
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Petaluma, Petaluma,CA
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Re: Women and generalizations

I just got a Ball Python as a pet. I think that learning how to make her let go whe I want her to is going to have a great effect on my aikido....

Q
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www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 10-09-2005, 10:57 AM   #52
Jenn
Location: California
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Re: Women and generalizations

First of all, nothing wrong with generalizations, provided that the generalization is based on truth and not ignorance. A generalization doesn't mean something is *always* true, just that it is *generally* true. Nothing wrong with that.

I think generally, men and women may each have different challenges with Aikido, mostly in the mind though, not in the body. I know one thing my Sensei (a woman) has pointed out to me is that I struggle with broadening my movements because I have inhibitions about invading my partner's space, which a lot of women do. On the other hand, I do notice I am less "stiff" than most of the male beginners who do indeed often try to muscle through techniques (not because they are physically stronger (even though they are), but because of the mentality of "I'm a MAN! I'm doing MARTIAL ARTS! HYAH!" Not that all men are thinking that.. that is just an exaggeration of the mental wiring/socialization that I think takes hold when learning.
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Old 10-09-2005, 10:59 AM   #53
giriasis
Dojo: Sand Drift Aikikai, Cocoa Florida
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Re: Women and generalizations

Quote:
I agree completely that there is no problem with beginners being tight and strong - and that it is good to learn how to work with them (and anyone at any level doing that). My current opinion is that you have to learn how to unify, move with them such that they lose their balance, and then when their mind goes to their balance apply a joint lock so they cannot set up resistance. I used to try to apply a joint lock to take people's balance and I found that to be far less reliable than what I'm currently doing (although I'm still not batting 1000). What principles do you find the most helpful in such situations?
The principles that I find the most helpful is learning to move from my center and keeping my partner off balance while at the same time learning to control them in a confident enough way where they can feel safe taking ukemi from me. This isn't easy to do. I used to go way to soft on my partners which would elicit from those who think they know better correction of my technique. Or I would be one of those people saying "you should fall here" and they are not feeling anything and look at me like "I don't feel it."

I watch where their body goes in response to my movement which is an honest response. Sometimes they go places I don't expect and I then evaluate my technique and movement to see what I'm doing wrong.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 10-13-2005, 01:35 AM   #54
dyffcult
Location: Visalia, California
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Re: Women and generalizations

Jennifer made a good point. Generalizations made upon fact are acceptable.

She then stated:
I think generally, men and women may each have different challenges with Aikido, mostly in the mind though, not in the body.

I don't agree. While there are differences in the mind, there are differences in the body.

Women are taught to use their hips from infancy. Men are not. A number of aikido techniques require hip power....something men are not naturally conditioned to use. It takes a bit of time for men to use their hips over their physical strength. Women simply accept, "oh, I can use my hips here."

Men focused on the art quickly recognize the power of the hips and any inate female advantage is lost.

However, to state that there is no difference between men and women during the initial stages of training in aikido is to fail to recognize the differences between the bodies of men and the bodies of women. Or the fact that women and men utilize their bodies in different ways....or that they are taught to utilize their bodies in different ways. Society expects certain things. Without thought, we generally adhere to the expectations of society.

So, at the very beginnings of aikido training, the woman does have the advantage. She is trained by nature to use skill....and her hips....not strength.

Brenda
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Old 10-13-2005, 11:54 AM   #55
cck
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Re: Women and generalizations

I just had a variation on the theme: yesterday, we did a technique (no idea of a name) that ended with nage down on one knee and uke in a forward roll. Fine. Now I am told that it's a good technique for me because I have "a lower center of gravity". Granted, I am short, and tend to be shorter than most of the guys I practice with. A lot of the time instructors and sempais tell me to be "bigger" - and obviously, since I can't spontaneously grow 4 inches taller, I get that it means something else, and I even have a notion of what that is (part of which has to do with not thinking of myself in terms of size). But once you're on the floor on one knee and all curled up, it really doesn't matter how big you are - and most ended up throwing from a standing position, anyway. In other words, techniques don't favor any particular build.
However, statements like the one about centers of gravity and women and their hips express assumptions that - as is a common thing for assumptions - really don't hold true and that keeps people from seeing what is really happening. Yes, I agree that I do not have to work as hard getting under peoples' arms, and that I have to adapt some techniques to get people to come to my level, but I do not feel some out-of-the-ordinary attraction to the ground. Tall people have their own advantages/challenges. The starting point for exceptions just always seems to be women/smaller.
Why on earth would you think that the use of hips is some mystical thing that women just know how to do, rather than a basic movement that everyone is able to do? Think of a John Wayne swagger, for instance - the man could move his hips, and I don't think many would dispute his iconic status as a "manly man's man" - arrrgh! If you tell guys - and gals - that women have some natural/societally bred ability to use their hips (and that's a statement I really take issue with, Brenda), you are also implying that guys don't, and hence that it is "unnatural" or hard for them - and then of course it will be. And conversely, women who like me find it difficult to and has to think about involving their hips might feel somehow deficient if they buy into it.
I am not talking about some great male conspiracy to keep women in their place, please do not misread this post as such. I am just saying that the whole thing about assumptions based on gender/size seems to be incredibly, surprisingly, unquestioningly pervasive, and I believe it can put blinders on practitioners. Hanmi handachi techniques are a great illustration, and something my instructors thankfully default to when faced with my difficulty ("But, I'm short/he's so tall...") in executing some technique with one of the big guys. Again, techniques do not favor any particular build...
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Old 10-13-2005, 12:03 PM   #56
Qatana
 
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Re: Women and generalizations

I don't remember being "taught to use my hips from infancy" or childhood. In fact I "learned to use " them when I started dancing to drums at age 14.And I still walk like a man, I have to remember to "walk like a girl" when dressed like one... Most girls, in Fact, who go to Dance classes from childhood, have a center of gravity roughly in the middle if their chests and it points Up at all times.

Q
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www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 10-13-2005, 03:18 PM   #57
Lorien Lowe
Dojo: Northcoast Aikido
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Re: Women and generalizations

[quote=Brenda Allen]
Women are taught to use their hips from infancy. Men are not.[quote]
I wasn't. No one I know was. The closest I have seen to someone being a 'natural' at aikido is a young man at my dojo, currently 3rd kyu, who's about 5'2" and more flexible than gumby.
Everyone else I've ever seen, myself and other women included, have to muddle through things like we'd never learned how to walk.
Quote:
Without thought, we generally adhere to the expectations of society.
Darn, I wish this were true. I wouldn't have spent the last twenty-five years wondering why I was such a geek. My parents tried really hard to let me become the person that was most natural for me, and it turned out that their attitudes were a lot more important than society's.

There are two main problems with generalizations: one, as previoiusly stated, that they are often based on prejudice rather than fact; two, that even if the generalization is mostly true, the exceptions [the 'rule,' if the generalization is in fact incorrect] tend to get shoved out of the discussion as though they don't exist.

-L
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Old 10-13-2005, 03:20 PM   #58
Lorien Lowe
Dojo: Northcoast Aikido
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Re: Women and generalizations

sorry about the error in quote framing up there.

L
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