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Old 05-15-2008, 10:25 AM   #101
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

EEEEwwwwww......

B,
R

Ron Tisdale
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:55 AM   #102
misogi
 
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

I love that Lori! Hey, maybe we're actually on to something

If you know the art of breathing you have the strength, wisdom and courage of ten tigers.- Chinese adage
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Old 05-15-2008, 12:00 PM   #103
Michael Hackett
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Lori,

THANKS SO MUCH for sharing THAT vision! Oh, the horror, the horror.

Michael
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Old 05-15-2008, 12:07 PM   #104
Bronson
 
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Quote:
Jennifer Yabut wrote: View Post
I've had my share of getting hit on and bullying - and some of my male counterparts simply don't understand how...damaging...that crap can be to a woman's psyche. Especially when the offender in question is supposed to be a "teacher".
So the real core problem is that sometimes the men don't treat the women with respect.

Quote:
Jennifer Yabut wrote: View Post
If I can do something to help more women feel comfortable training in a male-dominated environment, then what is the harm in that?
No harm at all, it just isn't fixing the core problem. After, the initial intro to aikido in the all femal classes they will still be fed into the main classes where the men still sometimes aren't treating the women with respect.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:58 AM   #105
misogi
 
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

The main core problem is not truly known. The observation is - the retention of women is low. We have tried various methods of general retention. More classes. More basics classes - now we are specifically reaching out to women.

As with many dojo, and life in general, there are always a few men who disrespect women. Unfortunately, their actions can be the final push on their way out.

The intention here is not to male bash, or get into a gender discrimination debate. The intention on this forum is to gather useful tips that will help us start a short term women's aikido class

Peace

If you know the art of breathing you have the strength, wisdom and courage of ten tigers.- Chinese adage
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:47 AM   #106
happysod
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Quote:
The intention on this forum is to gather useful tips that will help us start a short term women's aikido class
Well, all I can do is wish you every success and hope you share your observations (good or bad).

My own peripheral experience has only been with a couple of segregated dojos (non-aikido, one female one gay) and there wasn't evidence of any "feeding" into the main association going on until the practitioners had been there for years. To be fair, they did manage to retain some students who I feel may have left if the option wasn't there.

As for the "negative comments" - sorry, but bound to happen. If someone had asked how to attract and retain more martial-orientated young males in aikido , it would have garnered the same amount of controversy. (In fact if you do a quick thread search, you'll find that young aggressive males have been often been singled out as the main problem facing aikido in the 21st century, so may have gained more approbation)

[insert badly translated smug admonishment here]
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:18 PM   #107
Buck
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Quote:
Judith McSpadden wrote: View Post
The main core problem is not truly known. The observation is - the retention of women is low. We have tried various methods of general retention. More classes. More basics classes - now we are specifically reaching out to women.

As with many dojo, and life in general, there are always a few men who disrespect women. Unfortunately, their actions can be the final push on their way out.

The intention here is not to male bash, or get into a gender discrimination debate. The intention on this forum is to gather useful tips that will help us start a short term women's aikido class

Peace
I know you don't think my suggestion works and is the way to attract women, but women just aren't attract to an pure Aikido class. Since you tried various things to attack women and they don't seem to work, it was for me, useful to understand what women want is that tightly toned large muscles groups, and low body fat. What they don't want is feeling vulnerable.
See Muay Tai, Tae Bo, kick boxing gives the average women a feeling of empowerment. Aikido gives that power to women when she is the Shi, but then takes that away when a women is the Uke. They get that feeling of vulnerability when being the Uke. Women don't like feeling vulnerable. They don't seek out things that will empower them and the things that will make them feel vulnerable, moreover when feeling vulnerable. They also don't like hiting the ground and having their face where peoples feet have been.

My tip is, that you have to change Aikido for women to attract women to Aikido in the numbers you are looking for. I understand why you don't want to change Aikido in this way, but it might be the only way to get the results you are looking for.

Good luck.

Last edited by Buck : 05-16-2008 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:37 PM   #108
Buck
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Judith,

It is pretty powerful that a few men act in a way that upsets you. I see that more as the real issue. It might be a good idea for you to get a class just for women who feel the way you do.

I understand the uncomfortableness a person can experience when others attitudes are upsetting. Bullies in the dojo isn't a nice thing to experience physically or verbally. Bullies can be both male and female who target males or females and both. When faced with someone who harasses others it is best to form your own group getting away from the harasser. I know some people who are targeted will stay and not leave believing any person who attacks them is a bully. Now learning Aikido to deal with bullies is the very reason to go to class, it is empowering to them. So a dojo bully or two is part of practice.

I would suspect that getting more of the type of women you wish in the class would help insulate against the problem males.
Well anyway, I think you have a difficult situation on your hands and the best of luck with getting the type of women you need for your class.

Last edited by Buck : 05-16-2008 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:06 AM   #109
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Please take a minute to read this beautiful essay written by George Ledyard. The conversation is still continuing on this acount, and every 'parry (sp.?), block' I've encountered on this particular forum is unified in his essay.

Thanks George (if I may)!!!!

www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7447

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 05-18-2008, 04:55 PM   #110
Buck
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Jennifer,

I am not sure what block and parry you have encountered in this particular form. I don't know what your meaning behind that is. I am unclear if you think my suggestions are an attack on you or women. I hope that is not what you mean.

My suggestions come from two areas, observation, and experience with a women's class that failed. My observations reflect the success the exercise industry has with women. The industry is now trying to attack men! But men aren't going to take a LesMills class or Tae Bo. They rather take a martial arts class, spin class, or hit the weights.

And it has been my experience when I did take a LesMills class at the gym full of women, I wasn't welcomed. I was snubbed and ignored by the women. Being treated poorly, not feeling welcome, and feeling like the enemy, I quit.

Spin classes I notice attract an fair number of both men and women. I joined a spin class and have been comfortable there ever since.

I know women can get just as mean and ugly as men. I have had women Profs in college who favored the good looking males students with higher grades. The women Profs who had a great distain for males and gave them lower grades. I have worked with women who bullied everyone. I have come across all types of women from all over that where completely unique and different.

My point is there is all types of women, and it seems you unintentionally placed women in a narrow field of view. And excluding a wide range of women by not aaccommodating to their needs, and interest. I don't see Aikido notaccommodatingg to women, or picking on them.

Aikido of all the martial arts is very accommodatingg to women. It is just I think not every women is attracted to Aikido, and not because there are some jerk males dominating Aikido, ruining it for all women. The women who are attracted to Aikido and train are not all alike. Women in Aikido come from a diverse wide range of backgrounds and personalities. But these women just are a small number out of the whole wider range and diversity of women.

Take my LesMills class for example, most of the women where jerks, and projected negatively upon me. They were all the same type of women. Women who didn't want anything to do with men being in their class. Whereas, the spin class the women where completely different. They talked to me and welcomed me, and give me tips to besuccessfull in the class. Of course not everyone women was that way, but I didn't get snubbed like I did in the LesMills class.

I don't think you are being flexible enough or open enough to otherpossibilitiess and views. It seems you want to approach your class for women form one angle. And it isn't tips how to start a class you are asking for, but how to get like minded women together who feel they have blocked and parried against male attacks, and are feed up with men in your Aikido class.

Because I don't think there areallott of women in Aikido who have the same experience as you, and not all Aikido dojos give women a hard time, and not all women see things the same way, is what I am saying and is not an attack on you from me that you need to block or parry. I just offering my experience and insight to those road blocks that make it tough for you to get what will make you comfortable and enjoy Aikido.

I am all for a all women's Aikido class. I am all for all men's Aikido class too. I am foraccommodatingg to all types of women and men in Aikido. And in no way, would I very say anything you would have to block or parry. I seek to harmonize.

Last edited by Buck : 05-18-2008 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 05-18-2008, 07:06 PM   #111
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Hi Buck,
Nothing personal.

You happened to be at a point near the post when it went on this forum.

If you'd like to contact me personally please PM me and you can ask or tell me anything you'd like.

It is a wonderful article and I hope any readers who visit this thread will check it out.

www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7447
Best,
Jen

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 05-18-2008 at 07:16 PM.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 05-20-2008, 11:59 AM   #112
Mike Sigman
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

This might be worth a read:

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/id..._no/?page=full
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Old 05-20-2008, 02:36 PM   #113
Lyle Bogin
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Although I can think of many reasons to have an all women's class (my own wife would never do something as intimate as aikido with another dude, especially some sweaty mug she just met), the best reason is simply because you think it would be good for you and your dojo.

My main question is will there be a "mommy and me" thing going on, it is it just for the moms. Kids and moms all together...that's a mental workout for sure! Most of those kids of programs are set up that way to attract a mid-day audience. If that's the goal than including stay at home dads (I am one all summer) would be nice.

However, if no kids are involved then a women's only class makes total sense to me. Aikido is a scary venture, and a bit more emotional safety, especially at the beginning, is always a good thing.

Go for it and good luck!
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Old 05-20-2008, 07:30 PM   #114
Buck
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

http://www.sierrasun.com/article/200...NITY/492350390

For your internet reading pleasure this is worth a read too. I think between the link Mike gave and mine both support my line of thinking for those women who want to start a women's class.

I still stand by the opinion that Aikido is one of the most women friendly martial arts out there. And it is a tough venture to get women interested in martial arts. Aikido does better at keeping women too, but it is a tough venture to keep women interested. Even with all the opportunity presented to women to train the numbers of women in Aikido are not high. What a hurdle to those women wanting a class.

I would think because of the low number of women in the dojo it doesn't help to get the unique contributions women can make as Ledyard senesi has said. This doesn't make Aikido as inclusive as it could be.

The question then is how do you get more women interested and stay in Aikido? It may be hard to hear but you have to court women by what interests them. Aikido as it traditionally stands doesn't court or cater to the interests of women. This means I think that the small number of women in Aikido have to work harder in some dojos. It is an unfortunate event, it maybe women themselves who cause the low numbers of women in Aikido.

Last edited by Buck : 05-20-2008 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 05-20-2008, 07:56 PM   #115
Buck
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

It has just been brought to my attention that another hurdle faced by an Aikido women's class is that there are women who don't want to be taught by another women. How high that hurdle is I don't know but I am sure there is some truth to that.

Women are very complex in what attracts and makes them commit to something. I am glad women are in Aikido, I don't know if the numbers will ever be high enough to match the number of males. The point being that a women's traditional Aikido class is going to be small in numbers, and may not last as long as it should no matter what the analysis is, or how wide the doors are open.

Last edited by Buck : 05-20-2008 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 05-20-2008, 07:59 PM   #116
Janet Rosen
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
It is an unfortunate event, it maybe women themselves who cause the low numbers of women in Aikido.
HUH? In every dojo I've been at, in every style, and be it as a member or a one time guest, female sempai were welcoming and sharing and female kohei were happy to see somebody else more advanced.

I think aikido, esp the examples set by the leading instructors both male and female I've met, is very inclusive - I see women advancing through the ranks, I see women called upon equally with men of the same rank for demo ukes, etc.

So I agree that having an all womans short introductory class may serve to bring in women who might otherwise be hesitant, I really don't see aikido as a problem for women. There are individual dojo cultures that are a problem (bullies or whatever) but overall I don't see any problem inherent within the art or in terms of the examples set by most high ranking instructors.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 05-20-2008, 08:09 PM   #117
Buck
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
http://www.sierrasun.com/article/200...NITY/492350390

It is an unfortunate event, it maybe women themselves who cause the low numbers of women in Aikido.
Because of women's lack of interest in Aikido as taught traditionally.

I see that I needed to finish my thought.
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:12 AM   #118
misogi
 
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

There are plenty of men who are not interested in Aikido - they think it is too soft, or not a real martial art. I understand all your points Buck. We do think differently and we are complex. Even complex enough to find Aikido fascinating and addicting. It is after all a martial ART. We want to attract the women who are interested in Aikido, they may be few, but we want them all

Secondly, on the subject of women in science - Nursing is a science that is flooded by women - I guess that depends on how science is defined...

Peace

If you know the art of breathing you have the strength, wisdom and courage of ten tigers.- Chinese adage
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:19 AM   #119
Jennifer Yabut
 
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
HUH? In every dojo I've been at, in every style, and be it as a member or a one time guest, female sempai were welcoming and sharing and female kohei were happy to see somebody else more advanced.

I think aikido, esp the examples set by the leading instructors both male and female I've met, is very inclusive - I see women advancing through the ranks, I see women called upon equally with men of the same rank for demo ukes, etc.
That has also been my personal experience as well. I trained in TKD as a teenager, and sexism was MUCH more rampant - or at least in that particular dojang.

Aside from the few times I've been hit on and bullied (by the same person), most of my interactions with male students and instructors have been very positive. And I also get called up to uke for techniques on a fairly regular basis.

My female sempai have also been very supportive.

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
So I agree that having an all womans short introductory class may serve to bring in women who might otherwise be hesitant, I really don't see aikido as a problem for women. There are individual dojo cultures that are a problem (bullies or whatever) but overall I don't see any problem inherent within the art or in terms of the examples set by most high ranking instructors.
I would also say that is something we are trying to address as well. As Judith pointed out earlier, our dojo has had a reputation for being rather "rough", which attracted quite a few big burly guys - but also put-off a few women as well. We have been working on changing that impression, and hopefully bringing in some more female students as a result. The art itself doesn't have to be "fixed".

"The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them." - Miyamoto Musashi
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:28 AM   #120
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
HUH? In every dojo I've been at, in every style, and be it as a member or a one time guest, female sempai were welcoming and sharing and female kohei were happy to see somebody else more advanced.

I think aikido, esp the examples set by the leading instructors both male and female I've met, is very inclusive - I see women advancing through the ranks, I see women called upon equally with men of the same rank for demo ukes, etc.

So I agree that having an all womans short introductory class may serve to bring in women who might otherwise be hesitant, I really don't see aikido as a problem for women. There are individual dojo cultures that are a problem (bullies or whatever) but overall I don't see any problem inherent within the art or in terms of the examples set by most high ranking instructors.
Affirmative, yeah-huh. It's aikido. good 'ol aikido. Love it, love it, love it.........

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:55 PM   #121
Buck
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Wow, the estrogen level in the room!

I didn't know this thread was really about women and sexism- I really not good at the "War Of The Roses" game. I am about getting women into the dojo and experiencing Aikido. I don't want to get into discussions about divisions. I would like to focus the discussion on how to get women interested in Aikido by starting a women's class.

I personally would like to see more women in Aikido, women of different backgrounds, different ethnicity. I have one- on the fence reservation I didn't mention. Sitting in the back of my mind is, the risk of a special Aikido group being exclusive to one type of person, thought, politics, etc. I don't think that is the direction of unification, but an opportunity for division. I am not completely against a women's class, if it is done to get women interested in Aikido. I cross my fingers that it wouldn't turn into something else. Something that Aikido isn't about. I don't have issues with women in Aikido.

A friendly FWI, when the discussion turns into a us vs. them, well am not interested in going in endless circles. I am interested in solving problems, getting results, finding answers, building bridges where there wasn't one before. I focus on the postive. That is what Aikido has taught me and I want to share that. That is what I am about.
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Old 05-27-2008, 12:24 AM   #122
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

An all women class compared to an 'all white' class is like apples and tomatos.

If you're hungry, keep moving.
If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

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Old 05-27-2008, 04:04 PM   #123
AsimHanif
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

I'm reading this thread and I can't help but wonder about names like Ozeki, Keller, DiAnne, Hendricks, Fujitani and Matsuo Sensei and the effect of a lack of substantial women's presence during their training careers.
I happen to think people either want to do aikido or they don't, regardless of demographics. I also think being a minority many times spurs you to prove you belong.

my dime.
Asim
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:03 PM   #124
dragonteeth
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Quote:
Asim Hanif wrote: View Post
I happen to think people either want to do aikido or they don't, regardless of demographics.
I completely agree.

However, I gather that in this particular case they feel that women are getting enough grief from certain individuals in class because they are female that they don't stick around long enough to make that decision. If the new women can have a chance to learn what aikido is about and get a true taste of it without having to deal with that issue, then they can make a better determination as to whether aikido is something they would want to pursue. Once they have made the decision to pursue it, they will hopefully grow to a point where the hassle of dealing with those individuals will seem a small thing in comparison to the joy of training. Then they should be able to successfully integrate with the class at large. Something tells me that if the particular situation that they have alluded to in their dojo did not exist (or was solved), these ladies might consider having the women's class unnecessary.

Of course I could be wrong - wouldn't be the first time!
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Old 05-27-2008, 07:30 PM   #125
AsimHanif
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Hi Lori/All,
of course I can't speak to their specific situation but I know that dojo pretty well. I've trained there a good amount of time over the years. I believe I even trained with Jennifer at a recent seminar in MD. My impression of some of the senior male aikidoka in that dojo is they are an energetic bunch not necessarily 'rough' as a group. But of course, I'm not there regularly.
My advice would be to anyone who feels like a club is not addressing their needs...open your own and create the type of environment you seek. You may find a whole new set of challenges await.

Asim
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