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Old 10-13-2003, 08:28 AM   #51
Dario Rosati
Dojo: Zanshin - Milan
Location: Milan
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 71
Re: Re: gender balance

Hanna Björk (Hanna B) wrote:
People's actions described as "it's the training". Amazing.

This is probably the point where each thread that in any way relates to women in aikido seems doomed to degenerate. Wait and see what happens...
Ops... a word remained in my keyboard and this altered the whole statement

My english is not that good, sorry for that... I meant "It's the training environment", which is made mainly by people attitude and innate way of acting/thinking.


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Old 10-13-2003, 08:50 AM   #52
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
Location: London
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 899
United Kingdom
Just to add another question, does anyone else have difficulties with getting male beginners to attack women (of any grade) properly? I find myself having to jump on these "wuss" attacks quite often - it's getting easier now we have some higher graded women back in the dojo, I just ask them to deal with this appropriately, but there does still seem to be this "chivalrous" attack mentality.

OT. Hanna: re "bad person" - it was joke, forgot the smiley.
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Old 10-13-2003, 10:55 AM   #53
Hanna B
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 647
Dario, that certainly changed the meaning... thanks for your clarification.
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Old 10-13-2003, 12:47 PM   #54
Dojo: Aikidog Aikikai
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 199
Our dojo just started offering aikido six months ago. We've got about 10 students aged 13-60; two of us are woman in the 40-50 range. I've got a purple belt in kenpo karate, she's got a 3rd degree black belt in tae kwon do and is a tai chi instructor. Both of us are just about the smallest people in the class, but no-one would doubt her abilities for a moment. I find that I can do the techniques on anyone in class until they start resisting hard (we do that once we learn the techniques) -- but then the very big, strong guys who outweigh me by 60lbs can stop me until I get very, very good at a technique.

My Sensei and classmates have all been

great -- I never feel like there's any

sexism or ageism or sizeism going on.

We swap around and always learn things by doing techniques with various people.

People were extra gentle with me at first, but as soon as I made it clear that I didn't want to be coddled and that I could take being thrown around

they were fine. My Sensei helps by telling newbies working with me, "She's tough, she can take it," if he sees that they're taking it easy on me.

All of us who started six months ago just had (and passed) our first test,

and we were all treated the same. I don't forsee any problems with our being promoted in the future, I think we'll be treated just like "one of the guys."

I'll admit that some of the grappling we

do in the weekly jujitsu class some of us take along with the aikido is a little awkward to do with guys --

kami gatame and tate gatame, for instance -- but you get used to it after a while, and no-one ever makes it seem inappropriate.
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Old 10-14-2003, 06:20 AM   #55
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,319
Ian Hurst (happysod) wrote:
I do treat beginners differently at the start, normally based on their previous experience (if any) and their body type. I will be more careful with a beginner who is small, fine boned or obviously lacking in any combat experience - this does cover many women.
Logically that sounds like what I'm doing although most likely it extends beyond that - probably it is related to my chivelrous (cro-mangon) upbringing.

Looking for more logic - because what I previously described just is and I see no reason (based on the resultant situation) to change - I could say that generally women and men come to Aikido with very different preconceptions of what they expect or want out of practice.

The primary premis is that I teach to train. I want my dojo to reflect my needs . I find that men (no matter what the build) tend to make the transition from preconception to practice faster because the distance is less. This has a lot to do with me probably having pretty much those same preconceptions when I started and have not really advanced that much.

So here is the question (and this time I'll wait for a few answers before I step in the brown stuff) but do people see a gender bias in reasons/preconceptions for coming to Aikido? And how quickly do they change?

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 10-14-2003, 01:05 PM   #56
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
Location: London
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 899
United Kingdom
"do people see a gender bias in reasons/preconceptions for coming to Aikido? And how quickly do they change?"

reasons/preconceptions - no real difference gender wise (except a couple of outliers, one man wanted to train vs an axe, and brought own axe, one woman thought all attacks would concentrate on her handbag and never her body, yes also brought own handbag - consider these two as the same gender, nutjobs)

change - not so much change as different stages at different points in their training. Men, in general, are gung-ho very early on, soften then this re-emerges at 2nd kyu or so. Women seem to start softer then hit their agression stage about 3rd kyu onwards... I've found it's actually harder to stop the women being too rough than the men once they're capable.

disclaimer - gross generalisations, assuming no other martial experience in student and basically reserving the right to be wrong...
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Old 10-14-2003, 02:55 PM   #57
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
My first experience with cross-gender training was in kickboxing. I was doing a little training in college (read very little) with some friends, and decided to drop into a dojo in Tacoma, Wa, while there for the summer. The teacher wanted to see what I'd picked up in my 'informal' training, so put me in with one of his women trainees...I can't even remember her rank. But she was ***tiny***.

Long story short...she kicked my butt! She had the sweetest little roundhouse kick...and hit me with it all day long. It was actually quite amusing...


Ron Tisdale
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 10-17-2003, 11:12 PM   #58
Dojo: Institute of Aikido Australia
Location: Perth
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 48
Hi Paula,

Reasons why female aikidoka at higher levels have left our dojo:

1. Because they were young when they started training and then moved out of home and began to experience real life.

2. Because they were older when they started training and moved away to further their careers or they started a family.

The same reasons why women stop doing anything they love.

As far as lower-graded women go, they either love it or don't and if they don't, they disappear.

We have about 10-20% women at our dojo. Our Sensei is encouraging and supportive of all.

I think that more women find it hard to attack well (as uke's). I know that it took me a long time to come to grips with the fact that I was meant to actually try my best to hit someone, and with enough power to really hurt them. But, many men also have this problem. I also think that many women progress more quickly as beginners, perhaps because with less stregth to apply, we learn more quickly not to try to use it.

In the past I prefered training with men - because (in general) they attack more sincerely and because I can feel their strength so easily that applying techniques is easier. And usually women are so much more flexible! Training with women is more challenging - but then again, that's what I'm there for. When my technique works on our other higher-ranking female, I know I'm doing it properly. If she can stop me from throwing her, she will. This is how I learn...

I love teaching women - I enjoy watching them progress. And I like being the 'older sister' role-model :-)
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Old 10-20-2003, 10:26 PM   #59
Jeanne Shepard
Jeanne Shepard's Avatar
Dojo: Puget Sound Aikikai
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 351
I'm guessing that women leave for the same reasons med do, its just that fewer women come in the door in the first place.

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Old 10-21-2003, 12:26 PM   #60
Dojo: Sand Drift Aikikai, Cocoa Florida
Location: Melbourne, Florida
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 824
I've found it's actually harder to stop the women being too rough than the men once they're capable
When I started aikido, I really didn't think I could hurt the men. It wasn't until after about 2 years (now into my 4th year) of aikido did I realize that my aikido skills were capable of injuring my male partners. Learning this though was a huge revelation. But I would have never known this if my male practice partners didn't say anything.

Now, when I train with newbie guys I go easy on them just like any other newbie. It's funny because they will resist me because they think my technique isn't working, but I'm usually just being gentle. I'll asking them if they want me to intensify my technique and and they say, "yeah." Then I do and they're like "wow." (not that I'm that entirely amazing, btw ~tongue firmly placed in cheek~)

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 10-21-2003, 07:10 PM   #61
Dojo: South West Aiki
Location: Margaret River
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 51
Ian Hurst (happysod) wrote:
Just to add another question, does anyone else have difficulties with getting male beginners to attack women (of any grade) properly?
Have experienced both sides of the coin. Guys who attack full power. Which worries me a little cause they haven't taken the time to gauge my ability (this would pertain to any training partner male or female) and don't make allowances.

Lately a lot of guys new to the dojo have been apologising for tossing me...which I didn't experience much when I first started.

I usually respond to matt chivalry with greater attack than theirs. Then they lift their game to match it.

But yeah, it is the beginners that take a noticeable hesitant stance while the more experienced usually just ease off a little until they know if i can take it.

Not that I don't appreciate chivalry in everyday life - sometimes a rare thing.

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.
--Isaac Asimov

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