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Old 01-29-2007, 06:20 PM   #76
Kim Rivers
 
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

An Interesting article George Sensei. Your words of support and the merit they carry in the larger aikido community is appreciated. 'Tis true most womyn face a general disregard in the world at large, so it is not surprising it happens in the various dojos of Aikido. In readign thse posts though I learn that many womyn are out there and have alot to offer. I am grateful that I get to be part of dojo community that is prodominently womyn. My Sesnei Mary Eastland is a 5th dan. I believe she may have made 4th while stil w/ Aikido Kokikai.
Many of her and her husband Ron Sensei's female students such as myself have come to be there because of Mary's presence. Ron and Mary are soem of the highest examples of how students can be welcomed and encouraged to find their own "inner aikido". Womyn of all size and stature train along side men and I have seen and felt first-hanbd that womyn who dedicate themselves in aikido are very powerful. thankfully the fellows in our dojos have little qualm about treating us as equals and respecting us as ukes and nages. I hope one-day we will see that Aikido organisations like ours are the norm rather than the exception. -Kim
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Old 01-29-2007, 06:48 PM   #77
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Kim Rivers wrote:
'Tis true most womyn face a general disregard in the world at large, so it is not surprising it happens in the various dojos of Aikido. In readign thse posts though I learn that many womyn are out there and have alot to offer.
I believe the word is spelled w-o-m-e-n
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Old 01-29-2007, 10:36 PM   #78
hapkidoike
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Chris Willenbacher wrote:
I believe the word is spelled w-o-m-e-n
Uggh, making political points by misspelling words makes one look ridiculous and abuses language. She's just a PROPAGANDIST.
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Old 01-30-2007, 05:38 AM   #79
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Isaac Bettis wrote:
Uggh, making political points by misspelling words makes one look ridiculous and abuses language. She's just a PROPAGANDIST.
In your opinion.....another might think she was being creative and courageous.

Thanks for your kind words, Kim...I was promoted to 4th and 5th Dan by Ron.
See ya on the mat,
Mary
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Old 01-30-2007, 08:33 AM   #80
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Isaac Bettis wrote:
Uggh, making political points by misspelling words makes one look ridiculous and abuses language. She's just a PROPAGANDIST.
Boy, Isaac, that's a pretty strong reaction to the use of alternative spelling to make a point. I certainly do not think it "looks ridiculous" but rather it is a creative use of the language to communicate that women are something other than just an extension of men. It says that in one word rather than requiring a whole sentence; very efficient. To make the jump from the substitution of one letter in a word to convey a particular meaning to dismissing everything she has said by calling her a PROPAGANDIST indicates to me that you have a pre-existing agenda which caused you to react accordingly rather than address any of the points she actually made.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 01-30-2007, 09:17 AM   #81
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Hi folks,

Can we please stay on the subject of aikido rather than veering into politics? If you wish to discuss politics, please do so in the Open Discussions forum.

Thank you,

-- Jun

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Old 01-30-2007, 09:47 AM   #82
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Boy, Isaac, that's a pretty strong reaction.... you have a pre-existing agenda which caused you to react accordingly rather than address any of the points she actually made.
Precisely. Caused him to react. Language has meaning, and by using the spelling "womyn," she invites, dare I say, demands, that people reflect or react to hyr pre-existing agenda or view of the world in that usage. It was a bit strong, but hardly wrong to point out that needless distraction in hyr statement. Hyr spelling was utterly extraneous to hyr discussion, and the subtext served only to obscure and trivialize hyr point.

An annoying tendency of usage, really. Sort of passive agressive, and very much not aiki in terms of placing an important personal view of conflict squarely on the table to be resolved.

It is an attempt to make the language fit an ideological paradigm -- which is precisely the thing her usage is implicitly attempting to counter. Originally, in Old English "man" was generic (some would say it remains so) and the gender specific was indicated either by the adjective phrase "wer man" = "male human" and "wif man" ="female human." The evolved usage has made "man" as male to be generic and undifferentiated and "woman" as special and differentiated. Making the differentiation "more special" by altering the spelling to "womyn" hardly redresses the linguistic balance that she implicitly faults.
Quote:
George Ledyard wrote:
Women should not have to measure their worth according to their ability to be "like the guys."
That was the point in question. The issue is whether women have to have their equality on men's terms. Obviously not. Our biological imperatives are different. Our conflict paradigms are accordingly nuanced.

Man or woman, if I have to argue a point by first changing the perceived meaning of a word in order to win, it is an argument that I have already lost.

An approach in keeping with aiki would cease arguing with the language and use it as it is to address the reality of the conflict that obviously exists in that context, and seek to resolve that conflict rather than merely flagging it with a confrontational marker that is simply designed to lead to more confrontation -- by playing to the peculiar weaknesses of men .

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-30-2007 at 09:58 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-30-2007, 10:07 AM   #83
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

All I was trying to point out was that she was making the discussion more political than it probably needs to be (hence the accusation of hyr being a propagandist). Also, I am sure I have a 'pre-existing agenda", but doesn't everybody?
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Old 02-01-2007, 10:33 AM   #84
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Okay, I'm not going to tell you my opinion on this subject. I'm just going to tell you about my first student to earn a shodan.

Her name is Lillian. Her goal when she started in martial arts some five or six years ago was to earn her first black belt before she turned sixty. Last July she gave her shodan presentation at my dojo in Rio Vista. Without saying too much, she accomplished her goal with time to spare.

She has trained in Aikido, Tai Chi, Karate and Judo. My understanding is that she kept have dojo's close on her and that's how she wound up with me as her teacher. She tells me she's glad she did.

I have two students who've earned their shodan from me and I wouldn't like to have to make a choice about which is the better student. One is Lillian, the other is Erick.

The next student I have who is likely to earn a shodan is also a woman. I didn't plan this, it just worked out that way. I don't plan who my students are, I take what I can get and do the best I can with who shows up. But I feel like I've been generally pretty fortunate in that I've had some very good students. I've had a few where I failed as well (yes, I really do think it was my failure in some of those cases, in others there was nothing I could have done).

I said I wouldn't tell you my opinion, but I think it shouldn't be hard to work out.

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Old 02-01-2007, 11:13 AM   #85
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Personally, I don't think language choice has anything to do with "aiki"...but that's just me.

As to women in aikido...there is a women in the dojo where I belong who is 3rd Dan (last time I checked) and her aikido is really good...but I made the mistake of introducing her to my GF as a 3rd dan without mentioning that her husband was also (who was sitting right next to her). She corrected me...nicely. I got the feeling that I came across as patronizing...which I didn't desire, but somehow did just the same.

I got to train with a female aikidoka in France who was as strong in aikido as just about anyone I've trained with of her rank. Is that patronizing? I don't mean it to be. I wish I could have taken ukemi from her teacher...she was amazing...probably one of the strongest budoka I've ever been in the room with.

I don't know...maybe all this he she black white stuff is just silly at some point. Maybe it's important too...

Best,
Ron (sorry Jun...)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 02-05-2007, 02:33 PM   #86
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Emily Dolan Gordon wrote:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...3112#post63112
but I wouldn't beat that rotting equine corpse again.
Thanks for that. But I did read the entire thread and it sort of amazes me how people repeatedly missed the point. To me this demonstrates how (sadly) emotionally charged this issue is for some people.

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Old 02-05-2007, 06:17 PM   #87
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

I think woman need a solid judo/jj background to do high quality aikido. I believe it should be a requirement to avoid aikido being watered down. And your proposed way of practice, George, leads to such sad state of matters. Simply put, you propose to ajust standards down.

High majority of woman are very afraid of solid physical contact or of receiving strong technique. Even if aikido is not an activity with much contact, female aikidoka psychicaly reject it, and I can't see any method to teach it better then i.e. judo does it.

One day during seminar in South France, I was very pleased to practice with Michelle from Spain(Barcelona I believe) one of very rare women with real budo spirit. Later I learned she had jj background. It gave also idea to cross train in judo for my wife. Few years later I still can't believe, how she changed, her aikido became absolutly amazing.

Nagababa

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Old 02-06-2007, 11:38 AM   #88
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

First, women are different than men. Nothing will (hopefully) ever make men and women the same. We can treat men differently than women, but that is a different argument then saying men and women are the same.

Second, the standards of an skilled endeavor will separate those who participate in that endeavor. A good martial artist will always better than a bad martial artist, no matter what color belt you hang around his waist or how many trophies to put in the dojo window.

Don't confuse budo with fighting. There is overlap between budo and fighting, but they should not be used synonymously. Women and men should be treated equally in their endeavor of budo and they are not. I wholly believe one can be an excellent budoka and a poor fighter, and I also believe one can be an excellent fighter and a poor budoka. Fighters are a different story and will always be; the effort, training, skill, conditioning, and other factors of a superior fighter excludes most ordinary humans, without regard to gender.
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Old 02-06-2007, 12:18 PM   #89
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

How interesting this thread has been. I found it amazing how amped-up an alternate spelling (which is becoming accepted btw) ruffled so many feathers. So much so that that became a point of contention rather than addressing what was really being said. Thank you to those who did not get stuck on symantics and continued to talk about the issue. "Women and everybody else in aikido". I was wondering.... the idea, or rather the accusation that I was not embracing aiki by choosing to use the term womyn. It does indeed make a differentiation. One that says I am an extention of no man and yes, that is political (sorry Jun if I am crossing the line here). But I contend that anytime a woman is treated differently on or off the mat because she is a woman that is also political. Is it any more aiki when that happens? By challenging the norm and putting my views forth I am in the spirit of aiki inviting discussion and creating space for examining long held beliefs, my own first, and if others jump in on that and stir the pot with me then even better. I can't change anyone, but I can definately change myself. For me small choices like spelling of words have great meaning and help create a new paradigm in which I can exist. I thank those who supported my position, your encouragement is important in my personal quest for budo and aiki. Thank you to those who did not offer support, but rather disdain and contention. Your position helps me become stronger and clearer in myself.
With respect and bushin to all,
-Kim

When I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid. --Audre Lorde
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Old 02-06-2007, 02:30 PM   #90
Tom Fish
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Women and everybody else in Aikido is a very interesting thread. I find that everyone is treated differently on the mat. People may decide that they are being treated differently for any reason, but they may just be missing the point. I think that too many people judge each other by criteria that may not apply. Most of the people I've worked with are usually interested in the safety of each other and base their judgments accordingly. Bigger people seem to take more of a beating at times as opposed to someone who is smaller. IMO it is not deliberately discriminatory it is rather based in the confidence of each others ability. I tend to be careful with anyone who is new or has not demonstrated their ability to work out at a higher level. I have felt the same treatment from others as well. I just don't look for personal issues like politics, gender, race, religion, and age, to affect the reason we are there to work out. Sometimes this obliviousness can cause enough problems. Safety should be the deciding factor and respect for each other should always be required. Establishing our ability is just part of the job.
Tom
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Old 02-06-2007, 11:32 PM   #91
Lorien Lowe
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
...passive agressive, and very much not aiki in terms of placing an important personal view of conflict squarely on the table to be resolved.
On the contrary, Kim placed one word on the table ('Grab my wrist!') and then watched while a whole group of ukes overextended themselves trying to get it off the table.
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Old 02-07-2007, 03:01 PM   #92
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Kim Rivers wrote:
How interesting this thread has been. I found it amazing how amped-up an alternate spelling (which is becoming accepted btw) ruffled so many feathers. So much so that that became a point of contention rather than addressing what was really being said. Thank you to those who did not get stuck on symantics and continued to talk about the issue. "Women and everybody else in aikido".
The question is not semantic but in terms of budo, rather: What is the attack you are addressing? What is the enemy?

Don't get me wrong, I do not dismiss the legitimate need for serious discussion of gender equity (I avoid the term "equality", because, given the true differences that exist, "equal" is not really fair to either one). Frankly, I think it is a discussion that can never be over, because society always changes. When I was coming along in the Navy women did not serve on combatant ships. For instance, me, personally, in collective conflict (war) I view men as the more expendable gender (better used as "fighters" in Jon's phrase, even though not necessarily better as fighters in any given case), and thus disagreed with including women as combatants in terms of both "equity" or equality. Evening the balance of dead women soldiers to dead men soldiers, holds no appeal for me. But, I acknowledge that is but one point of view.
Quote:
Kim Rivers wrote:
I was wondering.... the idea, or rather the accusation that I was not embracing aiki by choosing to use the term womyn. It does indeed make a differentiation. One that says I am an extention of no man and yes, that is political (sorry Jun if I am crossing the line here). But I contend that anytime a woman is treated differently on or off the mat because she is a woman that is also political. Is it any more aiki when that happens?
By your usage you are fighting the language and the language is not your real enemy. The conflict is not contained in the language, the conflict is in the chosen uses of the language, which is what I tried to point out.

Th conflict lies in the heart, not in the words, and the intent of the heart will come out words or actions, in one way, or another. In our timescales the language does not change on these words, only our uses and glosses on it do. Changing the language does not change the useage, the intent or the heart of the person speaking.

Quote:
Kim Rivers wrote:
By challenging the norm and putting my views forth I am in the spirit of aiki inviting discussion and creating space for examining long held beliefs, my own first, and if others jump in on that and stir the pot with me then even better. I can't change anyone, but I can definately change myself. For me small choices like spelling of words have great meaning and help create a new paradigm in which I can exist.
But you see language is not a personal paradigm. Language is shared property. And it can be dangerous property to be in dispute over, too. "When in the course of human events... " were some words that recognized a very significant (and ultimately fruitful) conflict. Those words did not start the conflict they merely confirmed its existence and further defined its scope. That is the distinction, in my book: words should recognize and deal with a conflict that already exists, they ought not create a conflict in and of themselves.

A "womyn" can be as abused and beaten up by a sadistic beast as a woman can. Or a man. A woman Aikidoka -- not so much. Or a man. Nor need abuse be merely physical. One heart can wound another in words that cut deeper than any blade. Women have been occasionally known to excel in this sharp art. As Jon mentioned, there is is need for the spirit of budo there as well.

I was just calling attention to that, and the fact that you just made that verbal coup in passing, apparently without thinking much about it. Rather than making it a part of the conversation about that real and important conflict that you put into words, it became a conflict you created with that word. I find some lesson in all that, at least for me.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-08-2007, 06:59 PM   #93
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Very interesting things to think about; thanks!

A secret of internal strength?:
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Old 02-13-2007, 01:43 PM   #94
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

I saw the first televised (that I know of) MMA fight between two women over the weekend. WOW. They were tough, trained, showed more sportsmanship than I have in my little finger. And it wouldn't surprise me if one or both could "school" me.

Good Stuff.

Best,
Ron

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Old 02-13-2007, 01:56 PM   #95
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Hey, I'm only 45...though many times I move like 55. Sometimes I feel like 65!

No, some of us would take it as a joke anyway, just to protect our massive ego...

But it never hurts to throw in an emoticon () just to be sure...

B,
R

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Old 03-13-2007, 09:31 AM   #96
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

after 4 pages, can we get into some concrete examples here? i'm sorry if i find this thread rather insulting, considering i don't even blink if i see a woman on the mat.

i'm sorry but if an Aikidoka actually takes the time out of his life to pursue the challenge of Aikido, and truly understand its core values, i don't understand how they see women as standing in the way. are we painting such a broad brush as to say that most men don't understand Aikido's core values? do men choose to learn it because it's the most badassed fighting system in the world?

in my experience, the one and only form of discrimination i've ever experienced came from who's wearing a skirt and who isn't. the number of shodans unwilling to work with beginners at seminars is revolting, and a much more relevant issue to Aikido discrimination than women vs. men.

not even the women in this thread are giving concrete examples. until i see proof that a woman was not allowed to take a test, was sexually harassed, was not allowed to teach, or was simply ignored, i have never experienced any such discrimination.

at the USAF's winter seminar a few years back, they made it a point to mention how far women have got in Aikido, and every female dojo owner was asked to raise their hand. the only shodan in my dojo is a woman. my Sensei is a woman. i've made female friends in class. i'm sorry, i just don't get it.

maybe because a top ranked Sensei started this thread, he might be seeing discrimination at the very top. but down where i am, i show up, work on my horrible ukemi, and go home. i'll probably see a woman somewhere along the path and won't think twice about it.

Last edited by Luc X Saroufim : 03-13-2007 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 03-15-2007, 07:35 PM   #97
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
after 4 pages, can we get into some concrete examples here? i'm sorry if i find this thread rather insulting, considering i don't even blink if i see a woman on the mat.

i'm sorry but if an Aikidoka actually takes the time out of his life to pursue the challenge of Aikido, and truly understand its core values, i don't understand how they see women as standing in the way. are we painting such a broad brush as to say that most men don't understand Aikido's core values? do men choose to learn it because it's the most badassed fighting system in the world?

in my experience, the one and only form of discrimination i've ever experienced came from who's wearing a skirt and who isn't. the number of shodans unwilling to work with beginners at seminars is revolting, and a much more relevant issue to Aikido discrimination than women vs. men.

not even the women in this thread are giving concrete examples. until i see proof that a woman was not allowed to take a test, was sexually harassed, was not allowed to teach, or was simply ignored, i have never experienced any such discrimination.

at the USAF's winter seminar a few years back, they made it a point to mention how far women have got in Aikido, and every female dojo owner was asked to raise their hand. the only shodan in my dojo is a woman. my Sensei is a woman. i've made female friends in class. i'm sorry, i just don't get it.

maybe because a top ranked Sensei started this thread, he might be seeing discrimination at the very top. but down where i am, i show up, work on my horrible ukemi, and go home. i'll probably see a woman somewhere along the path and won't think twice about it.
Of course you don't get it... but pretty much every woman out there does. Even when they haven't felt it themselves they understand what other women mean when they talk about it.

The piece I wrote on the subject was the single most responded to article I have written. I got e-mail from all over the English speaking world from various women. It was reprinted by my permission in the news letter of a karate organization because they felt it spoke to issues they had in their training as well. It sparked a discussion, which I was told about, on another forum for women martial artists. I guess the subject matter revolved around why they needed a guy to be saying these things for them? A valid concern but pretty much symptomatic of what I was talking about.

Look at the AikiWikki:
Look at the list of the top ranked non-Japanese Senseis and then look at the list of the top ranked female teachers. It would, at first, seem to indicate that there are a fair number of women out there who are getting acknowledged with rank, and that would be true. But if you look at the names and ask, who of those people are the featured instructors at the various events one attends, who takes the ukemi from the big guys when they teach, who of these teachers is on the seminar circuit, it's clear that its largely a boys club. It's not that easy for women to train in what is still a male dominated world. It's not that easy for them to establish themselves as peers with the male seniors when they do. Even when they get rank, they are often not valued the same way.

Just look at the list of things one should do at a dojo to attract and keep women students that Linda Holiday Sensei put together. Every item on that list is there because it isn't happening that way in the majority of cases.

Just because you are aware of it, doesn't mean it's not there, it just doesn't impact you.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 03-16-2007, 12:55 AM   #98
Lorien Lowe
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

George Sensei -
Where's the list?

I've never read it.

Thanks,
LK
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Old 03-16-2007, 01:18 AM   #99
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Lorien Lowe wrote: View Post
Where's the list?
I believe George is referring to the list that Jim Sorrentino posted in the following post in the "Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo" thread:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...5&postcount=14

-- Jun

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Old 03-16-2007, 01:28 AM   #100
Lorien Lowe
Dojo: Northcoast Aikido
Location: California
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 289
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

I found it, thanks.
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