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Old 02-17-2005, 05:17 AM   #51
Meggy Gurova
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Jeesh! I'm sorry, but I can't say which is more surprising to me: That someone actually thinks like that and calls themselves a teacher of Budo, or that someone actually knows all this about their teacher and yet remains their deshi. Had to say it - apologies.
He is another generation and I understand his way off thinking... In all the other aspects he is my hero and I respect him from the bottom off my heart and I'm really sorry he is getting to old to teach. If he was still teaching I'm sure I was going to be his uke more often, if I just spoke to him and tell him that this is for my best, and if I beg him to throw me than he must do it if it's for my best. But still, why do I have to fight to be treated the same way as the others... It's supposed to come natural.
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Old 02-17-2005, 02:25 PM   #52
senshincenter
 
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Well then, Meggy it sounds like you are "working" within a place you are fine "working" within. For many, that is a state seldom reached, so I would say you could consider yourself lucky.

If I can use your post as a springboard - one I feel does touch upon the underlying subtext of this thread...

Perhaps we can reflect a bit on the ways relating to the ideals of Budo often touches upon the usual dismissals we make for ourselves and/or for our teachers when we are too ready or too quick to jump to the usual slogan of "we are only human" (and its many variations).

After all, training involves cultivated states. That means in some ways that we are "moving" from states that are (at the least) less cultivated to states of being that are more cultivated. Training involves change, a sense of progress even, etc. In change, in a sense of progress, in a sense of moving from non-cultivated states to more cultivated states, we must note that there is no room for the status quo to act as its own justification. In other words, true, we are all human, we are all prone to our mistakes, to our ignorance, to our delusion, to our pride, to our fear, etc. However, what makes us humans that practice Budo is that we do not justify a lack of cultivation or a halting in cultivation by falling back upon the status quo that marks the masses of those that do not measure themselves by the ideals of our art and our Way. Either we train or we do not. We should not be so ready to bow and enter the door of the dojo if we are just as ready to dip a toe back into the outside world when we find it easier to do so than to continue moving forward.


I think when we say, "we are only human," and use that phrase to keep our feet on the ground, to not slave ourselves to the possible depression of experiencing failure, or even at times to lighten the constant burden of measuring ourselves against ideals, AND we are still progressing toward our ideals, AND we are still investing as much as is possible for us to invest in these ideals, then that is fine. That is healthy. However, when we say, "we are only human," and we seek only to justify our halting, or our lack of further cultivation, or our lack of progress and continued investment in our practice, then we have strayed from the Path. Under such actions, no longer are we a human that practices Budo -- we are merely human (i.e. like someone that does not train).

Many of the abuses, the straying from the ideals of Budo and of Aikido by the institutional constructs that affect most of us, are often grounded in this type of behavior. In my opinion, this type of behavior resembles the type of coping responses that abused children often exhibit more than it does the Way of martial prowess and spiritual cultivation. I have trained in dojo where instructors abuse alcohol and other drugs, where they abuse their students, where they are about as spiritually mature as a piece of scrap paper, where they are plagued by pride, fear, and ignorance as much as anyone else that has never set foot in a dojo (of any art), etc., and always within such places, I also found a group of deshi that were more then ready to dismiss every shortcoming and outright contradiction of the Way with the phrase, "we are only human." This is no mere coincidence. The two types of action and of being are feeding off of each other.

The more I think about it, the more I feel this phrase of "we are only human" has nothing to do with Budo -- at least not the way it is usually used. Perhaps we would be wiser, more practical in our pursuits, if we could learn to do without this phrase and instead find other more proactive and healthy means of addressing our always-present distance from the ideals of our Way. I think, when we can do that, the gap can close between practice and activism -- which is what it will take for the issues that were brought up in this thread to be resolved. For it is not until practice and activism are reconciled that one can prevent one's practice from contributing to the status quo of institutions in question. It is not until practice and activism are reconciled that one can prevent one's activism from being deemed irrelevant by the masses that make up the status quo of the institutions in question.

dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-17-2005, 02:26 PM   #53
E.D. Gordon
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Meggy Gurova wrote:
Thank you all for your answers!
I have very good contact with my teacher indeed and I have talked with him about the "girl issue" several times. I know for sure that he thinks that womens body's are not made for to be "destroyed" that way, he thinks women must take care off their body's because they are going to be mothers, and so on...
Even a quadriplegic can become a mother. Nature has made sure of it. Your generative organs are better protected than his. If anything, he should be the one taking care. Something so small as regular hot saunas can endanger fatherhood. By comparison, he should never wear briefs, or tight jeans, or have a hot bath, or take highfalls, or ride a bike.

Quote:
Meggy Gurova wrote:
I still want to be the one to decide over my own body.
In your country, you still are. We are entering the Dark Ages again, by comparison..

Quote:
Meggy Gurova wrote:
've even asked him to keep pushing me because I need some kind off challenge and he is doing it but not with the uke training. On the other hand I should not be complaining because all the other teachers I've trained for like me as uke. I'm sorry for my bad English.
Stop apologizing for your English! most Americans have no mastery of any other language, for which we should be ashamed. We simply don't understand the need, and, therefore, the rest of the world.

It may be that this very nice man is not a good teacher for women. Now, I have never had a woman teacher, but I have some long-distance woman mentors, and they don't let me get away with any slacking. Nor does my current teacher, a male, and my husband. He does not play favorites, but is a compassionate sharpener of my edge.

Until we hold everyone to the highest standard they can perform at, and not withstand damage, we are playing some bizarre fantasy game and not paying attention to individual ability.

Men are at so much of a disadvantage. They don't live as long. They are more susceptible to disease and disability. In spite of being born in greater numbers, so many die that this, by the end of the human lifespan, is reduced by many percentages. Men survive longer when cared for by women. Men are more likely to die, and in fact, this is their biological imperative, to die in some heroic, defensive, or simply stupid act. If generative organs and physical strength were factors for dominance, then sperm whales and orangutans would rule the world. If you want to be popular, be a halfway fit man in a retirement community (just ask my dad .

Women have a deep systemic strength, a length of evolutionary stride, that men can only respect and cherish. This is their proper, evolutionary job. No one needs to limit us, in doing it.

When I first asked my parents to find me a martial arts class, at age 13, they all but laughed at me. I grew up in Texas, BTW... five generations there, and you'd think they'd know better. Oh well. When I left home, at 19, the first thing I did was enroll in aikido at the local community college, in addition to my other courses. That was 1989. I had to take a break or two, but I never gave up.

mle
(ruthless egalitarianism means never worrying who takes out the garbage. we both do.)
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Old 02-17-2005, 04:26 PM   #54
Don_Modesto
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Emily Dolan Gordon wrote:
Even a quadriplegic can become a mother. Nature has made sure of it. Your generative organs are better protected than his. If anything, he should be the one taking care. Something so small as regular hot saunas can endanger fatherhood. By comparison, he should never wear briefs, or tight jeans, or have a hot bath, or take highfalls, or ride a bike. ...Men are at so much of a disadvantage. They don't live as long. They are more susceptible to disease and disability. In spite of being born in greater numbers, so many die that this, by the end of the human lifespan, is reduced by many percentages. Men survive longer when cared for by women. Men are more likely to die, and in fact, this is their biological imperative, to die in some heroic, defensive, or simply stupid act. If generative organs and physical strength were factors for dominance, then sperm whales and orangutans would rule the world. If you want to be popular, be a halfway fit man in a retirement community (just ask my dad .
Ha! What a hoot!

Thanks for this. Turning things around is so insightful. And here is Nietzsche vindicated: Truth is a woman and her name is Emily Dolan Gordon!

Sometimes we all need to think out of the, um...that is, we need to change our perspective.

Yeah.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 02-17-2005, 05:55 PM   #55
Meggy Gurova
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:

Perhaps we can reflect a bit on the ways relating to the ideals of Budo often touches upon the usual dismissals we make for ourselves and/or for our teachers when we are too ready or too quick to jump to the usual slogan of "we are only human" (and its many variations).
I'm not going to apologize again for my bad English, but I hope that you understand what I'm writing
I think that following the we have to change and off course everybody thinks s/he is changing to be a better person. Even the people that don't practice any budo are still trying to get better... Everybody is working on some level and develop in some way. I can not change another person just by telling them to do this or that. The only thing I can do is to be a good example so good that the other person chooses to become like me (role model) or the opposite to be a very bad person so the other sees my mistakes and tries not to do them herself / himself. So off course, if I see another persons "mistakes" I'm going to react "we are only human", because I'm sure that this person is focusing on some other aspect off his /hers development. But I can not make the same excuse for myself (for instance I stop smoking after 12 years off making excuses). But I would like other people to understand my mistakes and think that I'm only human, and be patient with me.
Meggy
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Old 02-18-2005, 11:38 AM   #56
E.D. Gordon
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
Ha! What a hoot
Thanks for this. Turning things around is so insightful. Yeah.
Ain't no turned around, amigo.
This is the the way the world is, from 52% of the population.

I'm more interested in finding meeting ground than generating contests, so I don't often bring it up.

A man can easily best me 9 times out of 10, but unless he kills me outright, I'll outlive him, the same 9 times out of 10.
It's just evolution.

I think at this time it is more important to be egalitarian than to be strictly "feminist" as men have rights which need attending to as well.

Imagine a career man trying to take paternity leave in the states. We have German friends who have done just this, and it is perfect for them. Of course, they get three years. Just enough to get the little monkey to humanity. I think it's three months in the US? Barely enough time to get the lil' critter weaned.

Imagine a world where no one fears cooking, or nurturing, or being in command and kicking @ss. No one fears it, everyone can do it, and no one feels the need to do any immature finger-pointing when someone crosses some arbitrary "roles" line.

If Afghanistan can elect a female governor, the rest of the world can handle this.

Don, come to Bavaria, and the first beer's on me.

mle
(and the difference between US religious right extremists and Taliban extremists is.... ???)
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Old 02-18-2005, 11:46 AM   #57
E.D. Gordon
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Meggy Gurova wrote:
I'm not going to apologize again for my bad English, but I hope that you understand what I'm writing
Sprichst du Deutsche, Meggy? Dann, du kannst eine wirklich schlecht Versuche sehen!

Quote:
Meggy Gurova wrote:
The only thing I can do is to be a good example so good that the other person chooses to become like me (role model) or the opposite to be a very bad person so the other sees my mistakes and tries not to do them herself / himself. So off course, if I see another persons "mistakes" I'm going to react "we are only human", because I'm sure that this person is focusing on some other aspect off his /hers development. But I can not make the same excuse for myself (for instance I stop smoking after 12 years off making excuses). But I would like other people to understand my mistakes and think that I'm only human, and be patient with me.
Meggy
I hope I seem patient with you. It is the rest of humanity which seems to try me.

Especially those who will not give others a chance, due to some arbitrary factor.

Stopping smoking, especially here in Europe where it almost seems mandatory, speaks of strength of character and dedication to betterment.

My mother smoked while she was pregnant with me, and beyond. My lungs and throat have been susceptible to infection ever since.

I saw chocolate cigarrettes in the Rewe today.

I spent too much time in my life struggling to breathe, to ever give it away again.

Besides, I prefer dark chocolate.

mle
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Old 02-18-2005, 04:13 PM   #58
Meggy Gurova
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Emily Dolan Gordon wrote:
Sadly, no.
Go here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...3112#post63112
but I wouldn't beat that rotting equine corpse again.
I'd give an honest beer to know who that anonymous user was.
Is this thread still open? I have a story I wanted to tell there.
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Old 02-18-2005, 05:02 PM   #59
Janet Rosen
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Why not just start your own new thread?

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 02-18-2005, 06:24 PM   #60
senshincenter
 
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Meggy Gurova wrote:
Even the people that don't practice any budo are still trying to get better... Everybody is working on some level and develop in some way. I can not change another person just by telling them to do this or that. The only thing I can do is to be a good example so good that the other person chooses to become like me (role model) or the opposite to be a very bad person so the other sees my mistakes and tries not to do them herself / himself. So off course, if I see another persons "mistakes" I'm going to react "we are only human", because I'm sure that this person is focusing on some other aspect off his /hers development.
Meggy
Well, I was trying to speak more generally - as pertaining to an underlying issue of training with ideals and/or in how we should expect and/or should relate to those people through which we come to relate to ideals. I really did not want to make this a personal issue. However, I think you are making my point or at least lending credence to it through your own personal point of view.

I do not want to take anything from you. You sound like you have managed to create a level for yourself where this is all "working" for you. More power to you. However, such views of women can in no way be thought of as spiritually mature. If we were to qualify spiritual maturity according to the common spectrum of professional and amateur, such a view would fall firmly within the amateuristic. I wonder if we would as a population in general accept such amateurism from our surgeons and/or our airline pilots. I highly doubt it. Yet, we find way after way of making allowances for things that should not be allowed when it comes to Budo and our training in it - when it comes to our spiritual training. While the consequences of such actions are not readily felt, it does not take much to realize that the long-term results of this type of behavior is widespread amateurism and spiritual immaturity. After that happens, all of our energy will have to be spent on maintaining the delusion that we have not already lost what should not have been lost.

Since Mr. Ledyard rightly felt the need to write his article, it makes one wonder if we are not already in that state of things.

Just thinking aloud - only my opinion.
dmv

Last edited by senshincenter : 02-18-2005 at 06:28 PM.

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 02-18-2005, 06:50 PM   #61
Brion Toss
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Hello,
Long ago, I heard that Ho Chi Minh summed up his revolutionary philosophy thus: "If you have a bent willow branch, and you want to straighten it, you have to bend it the other way." While this concept, or variations on it, have been not always been applied, um, kindly in societies, I find it very useful when dealing with the status quo. In the case of women in Aikido, we in the U.S. are dealing with not one, but two pathologically male cultures; a veritable pretzel of a willow branch.
We men, who commonly behave as though we have something to lose by equality with women, sometimes have to be dealt with firmly as the 'straightening' takes place. But it only hurts for a while, really.
Yours,
Brion Toss
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Old 02-19-2005, 07:17 AM   #62
E.D. Gordon
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Brion Toss wrote:
Hello,
Long ago, I heard that Ho Chi Minh summed up his revolutionary philosophy thus: "If you have a bent willow branch, and you want to straighten it, you have to bend it the other way." While this concept, or variations on it, have been not always been applied, um, kindly in societies, I find it very useful when dealing with the status quo. In the case of women in Aikido, we in the U.S. are dealing with not one, but two pathologically male cultures; a veritable pretzel of a willow branch.
Can you briefly explain the "two" and the differences?

Gotta look out for the momentary backlash from that branch. (I haven't read Susan Faludi's book yet.)

I did read Natalie Angier's book though, and that was wonderful. _Woman, an intimate Geography_.

I find myself very curious as to the source of the pathology.
What aspect of culture would it further, to limit any person's abilities according to limited assumptions?

I find myself trapped in assumption as well. As much as a man may assume that I don't know how to change an oil filter, I tend to assume that most men don't cook. More and more often, I am wrong, and so are they.

What kind of changes of character does it take, to simply let people surprise you?

Quote:
Brion Toss wrote:
We men, who commonly behave as though we have something to lose by equality with women, sometimes have to be dealt with firmly as the 'straightening' takes place. But it only hurts for a while, really.
Yours,
Brion Toss
Sometimes pain is merely the sensation of change.
That said, I find that people notice painless things, far less.
It's all about options.

"edge" Gordon

Also recommended: _Monstrous Regiment_ (Pratchett)
_Da Vinci Code_ (Brown)
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Old 02-19-2005, 09:14 AM   #63
Qatana
 
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

It all about Socks.

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 02-19-2005, 01:09 PM   #64
E.D. Gordon
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote:
It all about Socks.
I found the most adorable socks in burgundy eyelash yarn, today. I was tempted. But I already have some in angora, so I couldn't be moved.

Seriously, I thought it was shoes... and since I am impossible to fit (triangular feet) I thought I was SOL.

I'm all about hiking and comfort shoes anyway.

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/pedernal/

edge
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Old 02-19-2005, 06:49 PM   #65
Brion Toss
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Hello,
Regarding how Japanese and U.S. cultures are differently pathologically male, how about this: in Japan, they are sure there is no reason to live otherwise, and in the U.S., we are sure we DO live otherwise. Please bear in mind that all sweeping statements are inaccurate.
As for transitory pain as an indicator of change, I utterly agree; and by extension, chronic pain often indicates a refusal or inability to change. And any culture that formalizes gender roles without sound physiological basis (men are good for genetic diversity and occasional heavy lifting) is in for chronic pain.
Yours,
Brion Toss
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Old 02-20-2005, 01:04 AM   #66
E.D. Gordon
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Meggy Gurova wrote:
Is this thread still open? I have a story I wanted to tell there.
It's not closed or anything. If you think it fits, go ahead.
Or, heck, tell it here. I'm looking forward to it.

MLE
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Old 02-20-2005, 06:41 AM   #67
Meggy Gurova
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Emily Dolan Gordon wrote:
It's not closed or anything. If you think it fits, go ahead.
Or, heck, tell it here. I'm looking forward to it.

MLE
Yes, it fits here as well.
Well, once at a seminar I met a woman about 50 years off age and 4 dan right now. She has been training between 20 and 30 years, and started to train when aikido was a new martial art in Sweden. I was asking her questions about how it was to train aikido at that time and she told me that when she first started, already from the beginning, there were many women interested in aikido. Her teacher had 1 dan and later on reached 2 dan. Her teacher always helped more the guys then the girls. The girls were left to train with each other in a corner and the teacher didn't bother to explain things to them, he didn't encourage them, they were left on their own. But she just loved aikido and kept on training. Her teacher stopped teaching and training some years later (I don't remember the reason why he stopped training). Then she told me that not for a long time ago she met her old teachers son and talked to him. This guy was in his twenties when she trained for his father and this young guy was giving her hard time, he was one off those who didn't want to see women in the dojo at all. So he asked her if she was still training and she said she was and he asked her if she have reached shodan and when she told him she was yondan he was like "That's a lot higher than my father!" She told me she felt wonderful by knowing that the son is going to tell that to his father!
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Old 02-20-2005, 08:15 AM   #68
ruthmc
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote:
It all about Socks.
Apparently it can be helpful to thrust from the Socks when doing tsuki with a jo....

Ruth (who has had that Pratchett quote run through her mind more than once in the dojo )

ps If you haven't read the book, don't even try to understand this one!
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Old 02-20-2005, 08:22 AM   #69
jimbaker
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Emily Dolan Gordon wrote:
A man can easily best me 9 times out of 10, but unless he kills me outright, I'll outlive him, the same 9 times out of 10.
It's just evolution.
At one of the Aikido-L seminars my wife Wendy participated in the knife fighting class, which used "Magic Markers" instead of blades. She was quite proud of the fact that while she had several superficial marks on her arms and body, her partner had only one mark on him. It was deep in the middle of his throat.

Men get postumous medals; women get pensions.

Jim Baker
Aikido of Norfolk
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Old 02-20-2005, 03:17 PM   #70
E.D. Gordon
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Jim Baker wrote:
At one of the Aikido-L seminars my wife Wendy participated in the knife fighting class, which used "Magic Markers" instead of blades. She was quite proud of the fact that while she had several superficial marks on her arms and body, her partner had only one mark on him. It was deep in the middle of his throat.

Men get postumous medals; women get pensions.

Jim Baker
Aikido of Norfolk
Funny you should mention.. I have a skeleton on my cutting board this evening.
It's okay, he's plastic. Flaco, say hello to the nice people.

As Wendy always proves, style counts.

Intimate knowledge of human anatomy never hurts. Er.. not the knower anyway!

Wish I was there, ya'll.

MLE
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Old 03-02-2005, 11:57 AM   #71
Clayton Drescher
 
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

May or may not fit into this conversation:

Recently our instructor assignments were changed at my dojo. Now, every evening class that isn't taught by Sensei or our other Chief Instructor is taught by a woman. That's 4 of 10 evening classes during the weekdays.

We're a pretty hard-hitting dojo and these ladies can really dish it out. Sensei has also expressed the desire to increase the number of women training in the dojo. We have a fair amount, and most of them are yudansha, but of course not as many as males right now as is the trend in martial arts.

So there is a conciousness about encouraging women to train and the real desire for that as well.
Good news,
CD
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Old 03-02-2005, 02:04 PM   #72
E.D. Gordon
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Clayton Drescher wrote:
May or may not fit into this conversation:
Hey Clayton.

Quote:
So there is a conciousness about encouraging women to train and the real desire for that as well.
Good news,
CD
Question is, why should there have to be?
For, or against?
Who cares about gender, if someone is interested?

MLE
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Old 03-02-2005, 04:46 PM   #73
Clayton Drescher
 
Clayton Drescher's Avatar
Dojo: Beach Cities Aikido
Location: Long Beach, CA
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 72
United_States
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Emily,
Every aikidoist I've met has been real open and equal in their views.

I think more females might be encouraged to join a dojo if they see females there already.

While the aikido community is very open, in my opinion, outside observers might think less of us, or most martial arts probably, because of the unequal representation of women. There's no active descrimination, so the lack of representation may just be because women aren't as interested/don't have time/any other valid reason.

But some aikido instructors just may have never thought about trying to actively include women in training. Both dojos I've been a member of have been very supportive of getting women to train and are great environments for any gender.

I dont know if I have a point, but it might just be there generally is a disparity between the amount of men vs. women training and there's no good reason for that, so everyone should be encouraged to train.

*I'm sure that point has been brought up several times in this thread*

CD
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Old 01-28-2006, 11:57 AM   #74
Ali B
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 56
United Kingdom
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Hi

I sometimes practice with Sensei Eve and I must say her club is excellent if anyone is thinking of going along. I have practiced in several styles in the UK and Europe and have found that the Ki Federation have relatively high amount of ladies ranking 5th Dan and above.

Light n love Ali
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Old 01-28-2006, 03:09 PM   #75
giriasis
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Join Date: Jun 2000
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

The USAF also has quite a few women 5th dan and above and most recenty Barbara Britton and Penny Bernath were promoted to 6th dan this past December.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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