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Old 03-19-2012, 04:16 PM   #76
Rob Watson
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

Quote:
Jackie Adams wrote: View Post
I know some are going to object. I would like to see the counter argument showing it isn't true many more women feel comfortable going into a class with another female (or male/friend or husband) friend then alone. More women joining an Aikido class for the first time can feel intimidated being the only female in a class of men. A class when surveyed by many woman come to the conclusion she would be uncomfortable in that class. Because it is mostly male students, if not all, even if there is a female instructor. Here we have a situation where a woman needs a class that fits her learning style, and yet has no choice to join a class of men - there are no classes for her learning style. Why should she have to make that choice? Why isn't there a class for her that understands how she learns best?
We used to have a womens class but it didn't work out. The more experienced women didn't show as they didn't get a decent enough training out of it. Guess they knew they would be attacked by men (if it ever came to that) so that is what they wanted to train.

I always figured we already have a beginners class for the beginners. Beginners get paired with seniors. We basically do a 'regular' class but concentrate more on basics. Same as the 'regular' classes. Anything else seems kind of misleading - want to know what training is like then come to any class and see.

EVERYONE is different big/little, old/young etc. One aikido to bind them all. The student must bend to fit the class - not the other way around.

I've seen more men come a few times and quit than have women. Maybe less women come in the first place but those that do tend to stay more often.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:57 PM   #77
Hanna B
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

My first budo dojo was a karate club which at the time offered one women's only beginner class and one regular beginner class. I chose the mixed one. Why? There might have been something about the weekdays being better for me - I'm not sure. But I do remember that the women's class was just 1 hour short, while the regular class was 1,5. Also, the women's class was mixing in a bit of aerobics, if I remember the descriptions correctly, which should take time away from the actual karate. So I wondered "how are we supposed to learn the same as the guys, in less than 2/3 of the time?"

Today I would have chosen the women's class, for one reason only: it had the better teacher. The regular beginner class was taught by a bunch of different people, of various levels and skills, but the woman doing the women's class was the only competition champion in the dojo - she was in the national team in kumite. That group must have been a lot smaller as well. The regular beginner's groups were amazing large at this time - at least 40 people, maybe 50-60. So if she was any good at teaching, maybe actually the girls in the women's group learned as much as the men on 2/3 of the time.

However the club dropped the women's classes after some time. I'm not sure why.

Last edited by Hanna B : 03-19-2012 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:43 PM   #78
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

Quote:
Jackie Adams wrote: View Post
I will run 3 adult classes a week. A general class mixing both men and women, if they want. A women's and men's only classes for those who want it. Then the kids classes separate from the adults.
Of those classes a woman who only wants to train with women and a man who only wants to train with men, and the children, each can only train once a week. Based on that program at most a dedicated student can only train in your dojo two days a week and at that they have to drop their phobia about training with the other sex if they want to train more. What happens when someone wants to train more than 1-2 times a week as do most serious students? That isn't really even a useful program if someone is only in it for the exercise. Two days a week is bare minimum for one to be able to progress as it is.

When I first entered the dojo I was scared and worried and very uncomfortable training with anyone and men in particular. But I also realized that the reason I was there was to work on those issues and the only way to work on them was to face them head on in a controlled environment with skilled teachers to help me.

Now I am very fortunate that there are currently several woman of various ranks form Sandan and co-head of the dojo all the way down to a beginner who started a month ago. Having other women in the dojo to support and help is a good thing. But I have to say that it has actually been the male instructors and students who have really been the most help to me in learning that I can be ok and in control while interacting with a male. A woman who really has a problem with this is never going to get there training with only women.

I also will be interested to hear updates on how things progress once this program begins.
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:52 PM   #79
jackie adams
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

It's evening and my intuition kicked in telling me to read some of the responses. One concern I noticed amid the responses relates to the link I posted. Many people mentioned it. The link I given was because a member was asking me if I could cite something. Because I can't remember everything I read. I found a link that sampled some of the areas I have read about in the differences men and women. I have read things not only in the field of education, but other areas too that say men and women learn differently. These areas are in sports, medicine, and science that say there is a difference in women and men. If a person cares to do so, they could Google it.

It has been a busy Monday, am tired. It is time to turn off the computer and relax with glass of wine. Good night.
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:31 AM   #80
Hanna B
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

Quote:
Jackie Adams wrote: View Post
It's evening and my intuition kicked in telling me to read some of the responses. One concern I noticed amid the responses relates to the link I posted. Many people mentioned it. The link I given was because a member was asking me if I could cite something. Because I can't remember everything I read. I found a link that sampled some of the areas I have read about in the differences men and women. I have read things not only in the field of education, but other areas too that say men and women learn differently. These areas are in sports, medicine, and science that say there is a difference in women and men. If a person cares to do so, they could Google it.

It has been a busy Monday, am tired. It is time to turn off the computer and relax with glass of wine. Good night.
So you googled and you found what you wanted to find... good for you.

There are plenty of pages saying plenty of silly things, inluding pages about what science says. See my remark regarding how "there are differences between the group" might hold on group level and still be a worthless statement when it comes to the individual.

There is bad research. There also is lots of sensible research being over-interpreted in various ways.

BTW, there is reserch showing that women learn math as well as men do IF they live in countries where people don't have this belief that men are better at math - a very fine example of how prejudice becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. I can dig the original articles out for anyone who is interested.

Last edited by Hanna B : 03-20-2012 at 03:45 AM.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:03 AM   #81
Malicat
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
BTW, there is reserch showing that women learn math as well as men do IF they live in countries where people don't have this belief that men are better at math - a very fine example of how prejudice becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. I can dig the original articles out for anyone who is interested.
I love the math thing. Over here, we are on an A-F grading scale, and I always made A's in every subject except for math. I made B's and C's in math, and everyone told me that was fine, because girls are no good at math. After starting back in school as an adult, I had a teacher who didn't believe that, and reinforced that women and men are the same in math. I finished his class last semester with an almost perfect average, and got a perfect score on the final exam. I'm taking him again this semester, and I am ahead of the entire class in calculus now. Turns out I'm great with math, I just needed someone who believed in me first.

--Ashley
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:42 AM   #82
Hanna B
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

I think women-only groups might sometimes be a good idea with a female teacher, but more seldom with a male. The act of separating the sexes in a male-dominated activity risks telling the women they are "vulnerable" and need extra attention before they are fit for mixed class - but a good female teacher however can show that this is not a concern.

OTOH, unless the female teachers's time is unlimited, letting the women teach women-only classes will deprive the men of female teachers. And since one of the obstacles is the men you train with treating you like a frail little thing... nothing cures that in a man as taking ukemi for a woman who is truly good. Men who have female teachers seldom express that it's "complicated" training with women.

In some schools/preschools they separate the kids according to sex for some classes, a couple of times a week. The idea is that when you mix the boys and girls they will be busy acting their sex, following expectations - the boys will be loud and expect the nice and calm girls to hand them the things they need, maybe even to tidy up after them. When separating the sexes for a class the boys calm down and the girls can occupy more space. Having made that experience is hopefully something the kids can bring to mixed situations also. Whether or not there are any pedagogic research on the results of this I don't know.

I find that interesting, but I'm not saying this is a good model for an aikido dojo. Besides the complicated schedule this would create in an aikido dojo these are kids, not grownups. Also, in school there are roughly the same number of boys and girls. Learning how to be one of the few women in a male dominated environment is different.

Last edited by Hanna B : 03-20-2012 at 05:44 AM.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:19 AM   #83
jackie adams
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

Good morning to everyone.

I am open minded and willing to read what someone finds if they post it here about the difference between men and women. Let me tell you, am the first to say I don't know everything. Thinking of my self as a perpetual student is always a good thing. Subscribing to the saying that not everything on the internet is true, is true for me too. My mission is to due the best by my students by being the best teacher I can be. Taking teaching seriously by understanding the needs of the students is paramount to me. Understanding how to teach which includes the differences in how all students learn and identifying their needs, is always a good rule of thumb. I am not going to assume I can teach just because I have some experience and knowledge in Aikido. I don't think that is a good approach. I am open to reading suggestions.

Have a good day.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:21 AM   #84
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

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Jackie Adams wrote: View Post
Hello again to everyone,

It was asked of me to cite some references to the things I have learned over the years that has shaped my view on the differences in training men and women. At the time, I wasn't able to pull anything up off hand to cite because my research wasn't a scholarly one. My travels where an adventure into knowledge, a tactile learn by doing approach. Just like Aikido is. Unable to help the person asking for more information, made me a bit uncomfortable. Why? Because I like helping others, and I couldn't help.
I like helping others too.

Have you ever heard of "confirmation bias"?

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Old 03-20-2012, 06:43 AM   #85
lbb
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

Hi Jackie,

If you're looking for reading, just google Kolb and learning styles -- there's plenty there. In my experience, being trained as a coach in two sports, I encountered this model both times (I've also encountered it in classroom-based teacher training in subjects ranging from high-school-level math to various types of technology). I've found it to be very helpful -- but, as my instructors emphasized, the usefulness of any such model depends on the insight that it gives to you, the teacher, into what you're actually observing in your students. It becomes a lot less helpful when used to label students and make assumptions about their capabilities, because it limits them. You might assess your student as a natural thinker-type learner, and you might have a great method for teaching your subject to a thinker-type learner -- but ultimately, the most successful learners employ strategies of all types. People don't really benefit from scenarios that constantly play to their strengths and keep them within their comfort zone -- it reinforces their current strategies, beliefs, approaches, ways of looking at the world. They become more rigid, less flexible, and less able to deal with a situation that isn't so accommodating.

I don't think that having separate-gender classes instantly creates this kind of ossified learning, and I don't think that it's necessarily a bad idea, but my reasons for doing it would be different than yours. You've repeatedly cited differences in learning styles as the reason for creating separate classes, but in my experience, there are deeper differences in learning styles that are not gender-based. It makes no sense to me to believe that such differences can be accommodated within a single class, but gender-based learning differences merit separate classes.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:18 AM   #86
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

Hi Amy,
Forgive me if I go over some things that have already been noted, as I have not read all post.

The way I see it is, it really is not about wether men are stronger than women or vice versa(this is soo possible), but to lead the beginner to an understanding of superior inner strength as apposed to physical muscle strength. And this should be taught from the outset as basic fundamental Waza,, as body movement, we controll our opponent through body movement and not muscular strength.

For example, the other day I asked the strongest Aikidoka in our dojo, to take hold of my wrist in the basic hold of gyaku hanmi katate dori, with the absolute intent of not letting me to be able to move him. To hold my body spellbound as it were, so that my mind would be stolen by his strength and his full intent.
I simply could not move my uke an inch, could not even begin to move into a technique it was too painfully on my wrist, I could not move at all, I was completely defeated in mind and body.

But, not in spirit, and this is the key to Ki, Osensei clearly states in a few Doka, "take no thought for the enemy whatsoever, just step in and cut." or words to similar effect. now I had the same uke take hold of my other wrist in the same manner as my other hand was completely numb. I applied no thought for the enemy, just concentrated fully and conciously on my own breath (this is where true power resides), I simply raised my own hand in an upward motion, similar to the raising of sword, but with a hint of entering into the opponent with my hand.
It happened so quickly even I was surprised, I broke his grip as if it were nothing. as if his strength simply did not matter one bit. this was not competition or testing, but sincere act of training in the way.
I bowed and thanked my partner honestly, for helping me understand the way of non-resistance. not to deny the strength of my opponent, just don't think about it too much, and train in the basics of Aiki.

Yes beginners are to be treated kindly, they have had little to no training in Aikido, you have. give them the tools to receive a technique fully, so you do not have to pull your technique. also teach beginners to give a full honest attack to those who know what they are doing, and then if that person gets hit, there is another lesson learned..... Should have got out of the way.

For yourself, if you feel that you teacher is skipping some fundamentals of Aikido, and concentrating, far too much with the execution of technique, then you may need to think about going to a different instructor. for the one who only thinks about defeating and destroying, throwing or pinning the enemy, is completely missing the way of harmony.
Aikido takes into account both sides of the coin, Uke and Tori must be trained in equal measure in each others role, because they are of the same ONE COIN!

Train in this spirit and harmonious interaction (technique), no matter how hard your opponent/s attack, you will be able to remain centred and deal with the situation.

in Budo

Andy B

Last edited by TheAikidoka : 03-20-2012 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:21 AM   #87
Hanna B
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

Slightly off topic, or at least on a tangent...

A male aikido teacher, who we may call Jack, ran a dojo for many years together with a female teacher of equal rank. He told me about a student of theirs who went to some kind of coaching seminar for sports/martial arts. The teachers at the seminar talked about female and male leadership styles, listing features of each leadership style on separate sides of the whiteboard. The student said "It matches perfectly! How I recognise these two styles - only this is Jack and that is Joan."

It was my impression that he truly cherished that story.

Last edited by Hanna B : 03-20-2012 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:43 AM   #88
TheAikidoka
 
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

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Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
Slightly off topic, or at least on a tangent...

A male aikido teacher, who we may call Jack, ran a dojo for many years together with a female teacher of equal rank. He told me about a student of theirs who went to some kind of coaching seminar for sports/martial arts. The teachers at the seminar talked about female and male leadership styles, listing features of each leadership style on separate sides of the whiteboard. The student said "It matches perfectly! How I recognise these two styles - only this is Jack and that is Joan."

It was my impression that he truly cherished that story.
I love this story, it's like describing the opposites of uke tori, teacher student, male female, wright wrong, good and bad, up and down left and right, Ki aikido or yoshinkan aikido, good teacher bad teacher.

in the end what is left, are only students of the way, any distinction is only semantics, and each one is born of the other, and they indeed compliment each other perfectly and in harmony.

It is only the ego that makes you believe one is more virtuous than the other.

In Budo

Andy B
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:08 AM   #89
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

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Andrew Bedford wrote: View Post
I love this story, it's like describing the opposites of uke tori, teacher student, male female, wright wrong, good and bad, up and down left and right, Ki aikido or yoshinkan aikido, good teacher bad teacher.
Male and female are not opposites -- not even close to it. Perhaps that's where everyone is going wrong.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:49 AM   #90
TheAikidoka
 
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Male and female are not opposites -- not even close to it. Perhaps that's where everyone is going wrong.
Totally agreed Mary, that is exactly what I ment In my last post. I am not that great with words sorry

Andy B
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:03 PM   #91
ani
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

Thank you very much Andy !! I really appreciate your sharing of the experience. However I'm afraid it'll take me 10 years to trully understand it. But, roughly I think I get the idea that spirit + ki will beat muscle. Right?

Because I posted this post, people think my dojo is not good enough, but it is not that actually. It's just that I don't really talk to Sensei and other senpai, so my progress has been slow. It's my personality problem. Just want to let people know I like all the people in my dojo.
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:10 PM   #92
TheAikidoka
 
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

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Amy Fong wrote: View Post
Thank you very much Andy !! I really appreciate your sharing of the experience. However I'm afraid it'll take me 10 years to trully understand it. But, roughly I think I get the idea that spirit + ki will beat muscle. Right?

Because I posted this post, people think my dojo is not good enough, but it is not that actually. It's just that I don't really talk to Sensei and other senpai, so my progress has been slow. It's my personality problem. Just want to let people know I like all the people in my dojo.
Hi Amy,
I do not think your dojo is not good enough from what you wrote here Impossible, so it is to make a judgement on that unless I had been there.

It should never be about wether you like them or not. Its about what you are training for, its about how your are trained, its about you feeling that this dojo will get you where you think you should be headed.

Awareness, if I could teach anybody anything it qwould be awareness. Because we cannot change things for the better nothing that we are not aware of.

When you let gravity do its job of draining and pulling to earth all the stress and tension in your body that serves no useful purpose, you realise too, that too much muscle tension or tensing, also serves no useful purpose. What are you left with? Ki flow, you can experience this now - not in ten years , if you just let gravity do its job! Try it out, let me know what you felt, Aikido is all about feeling, not knowing inteluctually something. You end up knowing it in your body.

In Budo

Andy B
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Old 03-23-2012, 04:26 AM   #93
lars beyer
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Re: Differences between female & male practitioners

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Amy Fong wrote: View Post
Hi all,

I'm a female practicing aikido for about 2 years now. When I first started training, all the senpei in my dojo were very nice and gentle to me. But I wasn't aware of that, until that one guy joined us from other dojo. He was very rough, I almost cried when he threw and pinned me with no mercy when I first partnered up with him back when I was a 7th kyu. I disliked his aikido, because I thought aikido was supposed to be soft. But my boyfriend (who doesn't practice aikido) encourage me to practice with him more because he knew that the reason I take aikido lessons is to learn how to self defense. That guy was the kind of guy I will need to protect myself in the street. My boyfriend was right. So, I deliberately practiced with him more often. I thought if I could survive his attack, I would have a better chance surviving attacks in the street. But, he soon moved, and left us.

After that, many of other people in my dojo noticed that I've become stronger, maybe using more muscles (One student even told me I've got more ki, which I believed was muscles only). They liked it, and I liked it too. Because before that, I totally thought there should be absolutely no muscles in aikido techniques as it was advertised (my interpretation of their ads :P).

So, a few months ago, the difference between female and male practitioners' skill level started to bug me. I don't know if it is appropriate for me to judge them, but I feel the difference between a nidan female's throw and a shodan male's throw. I don't know if it is because men just get the physical advantage over women in combat or what, their techniques are just better (in my view) than women. So, I kind of think that the ads saying that "everyone can practice aikido" is just to attract more students.

Because my goal is to learn self defense, I like to practice more with rough male students, doesn't matter if they're white or black belt. However, since I'm tiny in size, most students in my dojo are very gentle to me, they don't want to hurt me. But this is hindering my progress. I think it is a waste of time dancing with people on the mat. But, it might be hard for nice people (both men and women) to be rough to me.

Recently, I started training with new beginners. There are several girls and one guy. I was very gentle with the girls, but almost in full strength to the guy. My sensei warmed me to be mindful that he was just a white belt when he saw that. I'm not trying to make excuse for myself, but I feel like my full strength was just right for him, because of our size difference. My question is that, am I wasting my time and the time of those girls by dancing with them? Am I helping the guy when I treat him like my level? I'm just a low level blue belt. I felt that if your partner give you their full strength, you learn more from them than if they lower their levels to yours.

What do you guys think?

P.S. as for the safety of beginner ukes, I thought instructors need to do more in this area. Also, I think people treat me gentle because my attacks are weak, I want more instruction on how to be a better uke, but feel like sensei's are putting more focus on nage's role... Usually instructions for nage are very specific, like step to the right, turn to the left, but for uke, it's only "keep your energy forward, honest attack, something like that, which is very difficult to understand, at least for me)
Hi Amy Fong

A woman I know started aikido recently in the same dojo I practise. She is becoming good quite rapidly I must say, even she is not in her teens anymore and we have discussed some of the issues you are talking about.

A good amount of female students in the dojo makes for a balanced training invironment and many female students learn the techniques faster than males I think. When a technique is executed correctly a small female can be very powerfull and I believe sometimes female beginners are not aware of this or forget it in the heat of practise.
The same goes with some male students.. and somewhere in this process I believe it can become a little confusing.. especially for women but also for some males..
But anyway sometimes people forget that there is another person attached to the recieving end of the technique,
not by evil intent but just like that.. this happens sometimes and should offcourse be avoided.

Have a nice day
Lars
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