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Old 03-15-2007, 02:47 PM   #26
K Stewart
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 9
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
I imagine you're partly joking, but that kind of sounds like the kind of thing that would make me leave pretty fast, or if I was already addicted, start seriously looking around at other dojos. Few healthy adults enjoy being patronized to or treated like a child.

Sometimes you have to put up with it in small doses, but it's one of those things that really tests your attachment to training and to your dojo.
Interesting how different people have different reactions to the same thing. Not right or wrong, just different.

When I read the comment about the dojo relationship being somewhat akin to brother-sister relationships, I agreed--in a positive way. Maybe that's cuz I grew up as the only girl with three older brothers and we all got along great, and I was expected to do the same things and pull my oar, as it were, rather than being seen as the helpless little sister. Just interesting how we all see things in different lights, perhaps depending on our filters or life experiences.

In fact, I did share once with my oldest brother that I do sometimes feel like I have a new group of big brothers at the dojo (even though I'm older than some of them!)--and for me that's a really good thing.

In our wonderful dojo of about 10, I am very frequently the only female student. The environment at our dojo is welcoming and encouraging for all students. It's a great place to be.

Sensei and all the students are supportive, considerate, encouraging, and I think they train with me as hard as they'd train with any other new student--to that student's level, in other words, not training based on gender. They push me, in a good way, and help me get better and learn. I have nothing but the utmost respect and gratitude for all their help.

As for women not sticking with training, I don't know. We've had a few women take one class or two, and they never come back. Sad.

I try to be as encouraging and friendly as possible. And I know my sempai and fellow students are just friendly. So at least in our dojo, it's not the environment that's causing the new women students to not stay.

Maybe it's the physical exertion and discomfort/pain of learning something new? Maybe they're thinking it looks pretty easy and then they're surprised at how challenging it is? I don't know. But at least they try one class. Maybe the time isn't right, now. Maybe they'll be back later when they have the time to make the commitment it takes. I hope so.

I do feel blessed that my horse trainer (shodan in Yoshinkan Aikido) recommended I commit to Aikido for a year. Not a few weeks--a solid year. He said that a year of practice would give me a small glimmer of what to expect of Aikido and to know if it was something I wanted to pursue. So I went into it knowing I would be training for a solid year, period.

Now? I'll be there until my walker prevents me from taking breakfalls. And then maybe I'll try to transition to walker waza.

Kara
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Old 03-15-2007, 04:35 PM   #27
sefie
Dojo: Glen Waverley
Location: Melbourne
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Quote:
Kara Stewart wrote: View Post
When I read the comment about the dojo relationship being somewhat akin to brother-sister relationships, I agreed--in a positive way. Maybe that's cuz I grew up as the only girl with three older brothers and we all got along great, and I was expected to do the same things and pull my oar, as it were, rather than being seen as the helpless little sister. Just interesting how we all see things in different lights, perhaps depending on our filters or life experiences.
I have to agree here, my knee-jerk reaction was "oh dear, there goes the patriarchy again", but when I thought a little bit about it, I can see how some people do thrive on a more "humble Grasshopper" approach to martial arts. As long as the treatment is based on respect and care for someone's level of physical fitness, and not patronising them, then this can be a positive thing.

However, a female who chooses to take up martial arts on her own initiative is probably someone who would not take being patronised well, so I'd be really careful with that approach
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Old 03-15-2007, 08:21 PM   #28
Kim S.
Dojo: Nashville Aikikai (Summer)/ Aikido Club at Unversity of Florida (Academic year)
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Please bear with me, I have a point to make.

My Dad made me take TKD when I was in elementary school. His reasoning, I needed to know how to defend myself from a "bad guy who might want to hurt me". It was an ok idea, but basically my parents set my martial arts/defense goals for me. (Can't date until you are a black belt. I ended up earning my shodan when I was around 12/13 years of age. My parents changed the rules to where I had to know how to drive before I could date.) When I moved to where I live now, I became distracted and lost interest in TKD.

The point is I think many parents make their children take TKD, Karate, etc. for their own satisfaction and not the child's. The children never had the chance to develop their martial goals. Because of that, most children in those situations will earn their black belt and drop out. I believe this is true for many young female martial artists like me.

What I am trying to say is that if your not self-motivated, your not going to do it. I have heard many girls say that they have earned their black belt or brown belt in martial arts and then semi-joke about it. More or less imply they took it because their friends were doing it and their parents were making them.

Even though I dropped out of TKD, five-ish years later, I found Aikido and love it - partly because of my TKD background and I liked the usefulness that Aikido brings to real life situations along with wanting to understand the Japanese culture a bit more.

Kim S.

P.S. I think MA like TKD have become so commercialized that traditional budo/ martial arts philosophies have been compromised.
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Old 03-15-2007, 09:01 PM   #29
hapkidoike
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Look, I am not trying to come off as a jerk here, but has anybody thought that it might be the case that women just are not into doing martial arts as much as men are? And if that is indeed the case, why is it necessarily a bad thing. Look at the game of chess, there is one woman, Judit Polgar (who is ranked 13th with a rating of 2727) who competes with the top 100 players. (I will freely admit that there may be one other woman on the list at this point, I did some work on the subject for a psych class while I was in university some 5 years ago and then she was the only woman represented. Today I looked up the FIDE top 100 players and could not find another woman on the list, although I may have missed one). The point being that not as many women are represented in the chess world as men when it comes to the highest level of play. We can ask ourselves what this means until we have exhausted all possibles and still not really understand it. I guess what I am trying to suggest here is that men and women like to do different stuff, and why should that be viewed as a bad thing. For example, my ladyfriend likes to do competitive dance. Do I have any interest in dance, competitive or otherwise, no and I never have. Are there a disproportionate amount of women than men that go to her dance studio? Of course there are. Men, at least from my experience and from hers at the dance studio, are not so interested in dance or figure skating (which I used to do and really is a lot more fun than it looks) and women more often than not are not that interested in chess and martial arts as such.

I guess what I am getting at is I don't get why we feel the need to analyze everything based who (based on gender, race, height, weight or whatever) is doing it and how you can interest people who are uninterested in the field. I just don't see the point of such manipulation.

Quote:
Kimberly Schultz wrote: View Post
P.S. I think MA like TKD have become so commercialized that traditional budo/ martial arts philosophies have been compromised.
Isn't TKD more of a sport, like rugby, football (you know the one with the round ball), or wrestling (not WWE) than a"traditional budo" as such?

Peace,
bettis

Last edited by hapkidoike : 03-15-2007 at 09:03 PM. Reason: misspelled a word or 2
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Old 03-15-2007, 09:50 PM   #30
sefie
Dojo: Glen Waverley
Location: Melbourne
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Quote:
Isaac Bettis wrote: View Post
I guess what I am getting at is I don't get why we feel the need to analyze everything based who (based on gender, race, height, weight or whatever) is doing it and how you can interest people who are uninterested in the field. I just don't see the point of such manipulation.
With respect, I don't see it as manipulation, but rather encouragement for others to find something that they may enjoy and learn from as much as you do. I have a lot of work colleagues and some friends who don't have any hobbies or interests outside of work, and say that they're looking for something to spend their spare time on. Naturally, I'm going to suggest something that I find pleasure in, and if they decide to come along, that's great.

If someone is truly uninterested, then they either stop coming, or they don't come at all. But if they're willing to have a try, why not make the initial experience as pleasant as possible? In fact, why not make the WHOLE experience pleasant, for both newbies and regulars? It's not like treating new people, regardless of gender, etc., nicely and making them feel welcome in the dojo is going to hurt the people who train there regularly.

(PS: To Kim, there's nothing cuter than an 8-year-old brown belt I'd love it if any of my future children take up a martial art, but I think acheiving budo mentality is like a religion - it takes a certain maturity that children usually don't get until much later.)
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Old 03-16-2007, 12:24 AM   #31
giriasis
Dojo: Sand Drift Aikikai, Cocoa Florida
Location: Melbourne, Florida
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Support your female class mates, but do not to patronize them. Treat them with equal respect and dignity. Help them train to the fullest extent of their abilities. Essentially, treat them like a decent human being.

I'm very fortunate to train with a high ranking woman sensei. However, some people don't get this experience. I started my board "Women in Aikido" to help encourage and foster women training in aikido. I was actually inspired by the connection I seemed to feel and make with other women at the USAF Winter Camp one year. The creation of my bulletin board wasn't a reactionary decision contra a dominant male-paradigm to set forward a feminist agenda, but rather simply a proactive one to give other women support in their training. Women are often "the only woman" in class or in the dojo and sometimes its nice to have another chick/woman/lady to talk to. At one point, I didn't think it was necessary then I started to get the occasional email thanking me for the site. So I decided not to delete it.

As to what Isaac says, I think there are just simply less women interested in aikido. I base this off another bulletin board I attend of female fitness enthusiasts with over 2,000 members whereas my bulletin board has just over 180 members. A few do take some form of traditional martial art (karate, tae kwon do, judo, aikido), but the majority love Tae Bo, Turbo Jam, Powerstrike and other Kickboxing type workouts. For fitness, these programs are excellent and often very challenging and these ladies would do plyos in circles around you. They enjoy the martial feel of being tough but their goal is fitness and not self-defense.

As to Tae Kwon Do, I recently took up TKD for a month and the classes were about 40-50% female. But most of the class (adults) incorporated a lot of conditioning exercises and drills and was very low on contact between partners. When they did "self-defense" it was no where near the intensity of throws or falls like we do in aikido so there was no need to learn rolls or breakfalls right away. So I think TKD might be more appealing because it's a lot less contact between partners and has a strong fitness element.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule like Mary Eastland's dojo. It's just we just don't have an equal number of women walking into the dojo in the first place. If we did and our membership was still 20% female then I'd worry and try to figure out what the heck is going on.

Yes, it helps to have higher ranking women in the dojo, but if you don't, don't sweat it. Rather focus on treating your female training partners with dignity and respect.

But if you are having a problem retaining women members, you might also be having a problem retaining male members as well. You are just getting more male students because you have more men inquiring about aikido to begin with.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 03-16-2007, 02:25 AM   #32
Lorien Lowe
Dojo: Northcoast Aikido
Location: California
Join Date: Jul 2002
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

All but one of the women who were training at my dojo when I started have quit. Off the top of my head,
one went to graduate school,
two had kid issues,
one was dissapointed that our dojo-cho wasn't teaching as much, and one left in a huff because we weren't 'feminist' enough (which
the remaining women took as an insult).

So, only one left because of issues we had any control over, and none of us were about to take up the changes that one 'suggested.'
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Old 03-16-2007, 02:27 AM   #33
Lorien Lowe
Dojo: Northcoast Aikido
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Two others who started after I did:
One had body/joint issues, and another got a divorce.
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Old 03-16-2007, 08:01 AM   #34
Roman Kremianski
Dojo: Toronto Aikikai
Location: Toronto, Canada
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Quote:
Look, I am not trying to come off as a jerk here, but has anybody thought that it might be the case that women just are not into doing martial arts as much as men are?
That's sorta how I see it too. How many women Aikidoka do you know would pay $500 to go to an Aikido summer camp where they'll get completely destroyed for 6 hours a day? But all the guys happily do it. Aikido requires a lot of physical dedication. A close female friend of mine left Aikido because she could no longer handle going through university sore and beaten up all the time. And she trained for 5 years prior to that!
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Old 03-16-2007, 08:27 AM   #35
grondahl
Dojo: Stockholms Aikidoklubb
Location: Stockholm
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
That's sorta how I see it too. How many women Aikidoka do you know would pay $500 to go to an Aikido summer camp where they'll get completely destroyed for 6 hours a day? But all the guys happily do it. Aikido requires a lot of physical dedication. A close female friend of mine left Aikido because she could no longer handle going through university sore and beaten up all the time. And she trained for 5 years prior to that!
Do really all the guys happily go to the summer camp?
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Old 03-16-2007, 08:34 AM   #36
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote: View Post
Isn't the question, what is the ratio of women in aikido compared to women in the other MAs. COnsider that there are how many thousand dan-ranked women in aikido compared to say BJJ. There are approximately 20. In the whole world.
Martial arts are not on a whole a Girl Thing.
Dear Jo, you are right (and Roman, too). But as there are much more women in aikido than in most other martial arts, some dojo have many of them some, some have none or a neglible proportion.So the question is, why and what can we do, if we want to do something.

If a dojo cho or sensei wants to have a better ratio, what should he do? Soft taiji-like aikido? Could help. Women only classes? Could help, too, but is usually not the goal. More Apres-Aikido sessions? Great idea, I did not mention that before, but it could be very important. We have a new sofa corner just outside of the training room and always cool beer. Some prefer water, sodas, or their own organically grown juice. But sitting together have a chat (outside aikido), get some extra explanations (about aikido or techniques), etc. It is getting late then, but it is extra fun for most of us. And it helps the few chatter-boxes to keep their mouth shut most of the training time

Another idea: try to an a sign at the dojo "real men only", "girlies prohibited", "male students preferred" and have a look, how many woman just sign up, because they feel unwanted and probably just want to sue the dojo. If they ask you can tell them: "I'll give you one month as trial membership. If you then are still wanting to train with us and you do not spoil our training, then you are welcome as a constant student." Would be just a temporarily limited marketing gag. As soon as you have five or six female students, you don't need it any more. Maybe you can replace it by "After some good experience, we welcome woman students as well". nevertheless you should know your area well. Might shoot to wrong direction.

Best regards

Dirk

Best regards

Dirk
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Old 03-16-2007, 08:38 AM   #37
Mary Turner
Dojo: Joshinkan
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

I'm really enjoying this thread.

I'm the only regular female student in our school. We have had some luck in the past with entire families joining, but once one of them left, they all did. I'm not sure why women don't stay, but it seems like some are disappointed that we are not more chatty and social than we are. I like to hang out and talk after class too, but that's not why I train.

Once we had an observer ask Bunn sensei, "Do you have many women training here?" and he replied, "No, we don't have any." The observer, puzzled, pointed to me on the mat and Bunn said, "Oh, well that's Mary. I just think of her as a student."
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Old 03-16-2007, 09:21 AM   #38
Roman Kremianski
Dojo: Toronto Aikikai
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Quote:
Do really all the guys happily go to the summer camp?
Would you shell out half a grand of your own money and miss a week of work to willingly go to a place that would make you miserable?

Last edited by Roman Kremianski : 03-16-2007 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 03-16-2007, 09:30 AM   #39
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
That's sorta how I see it too. How many women Aikidoka do you know would pay $500 to go to an Aikido summer camp where they'll get completely destroyed for 6 hours a day? But all the guys happily do it. Aikido requires a lot of physical dedication. A close female friend of mine left Aikido because she could no longer handle going through university sore and beaten up all the time. And she trained for 5 years prior to that!
Hello,

In the Hiroshima University aikido club, the female students are the kanbu and they are running the club. So they will set the agenda for summer school.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 03-16-2007, 09:34 AM   #40
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

What're you trying to say? I wasn't talking about the Hiroshima University aikido club...

Obviously like dojos, many summer camps differ too. (Not that I been to many)
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Old 03-16-2007, 09:49 AM   #41
ChrisMoses
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

It's been my experience that women and men simply respond differently (in general!) to many aspects of training and teaching styles. First a bit of background.

My first Aikido dojo was pretty typical: fairly small, mostly male. Women were encouraged to join, but not to teach (they actually had an unofficial policy against it, if you can believe that...). They were encouraged to train with other women, but not really used for demonstrations much. Gee, wonder why there weren't many women... The last dojo I trained at was led by women and was pretty close to a 50/50 mix throughout the ranks. Despite the gender equality, there were still some women only classes (more workshops, there were no regular women only classes) and often instead of, "beers with the guys" after class, you would hear about "Margaritas with the girls." People were expected to go to summer camps and come to workshops. Where I train now, despite being open to all genders, are both all male environments. My wife, who did Aikido with me at the first school, and briefly at my last aikido dojo, currently trains at an all women's Kung Fu school. She was initially not interested in an all women's school, but I really liked their sifu and thought she would gravitate to their teaching style. When asked recently at her purple belt test, why she started Kung fu, she answered, "Chris told me I'd really like it here, and he was right." Dang, I guess there's a first for everything! Anyway, just trying to create some perspective for my opinions here, since I've run the spectrum.

Guys, if left to their own devices are perfectly happy being very critical to each other. Corrections are often negative, meaning that instead of reinforcing what someone is doing well as the primary feedback system, you start taking that for granted and pointing out what's being done wrong. It's been my experience that women don't really respond well to this as the primary feedback system. It isn't that women don't want to know what they're doing wrong, I think when I was teaching aikido, the women in class were much more introspective than the men and wanted to do things right every bit as much. I did find however that they responded a LOT better to, "Wow, that's great, you're really doing X that we talked about last week, is that something you've been working on? Cool, now that you've got that dialed, you should start looking at Y. Here's where you could do this better..." I'm not teaching Aikido right now, but I do teach some at my sword school, and this is the type of feedback I tend to give irregardless of sex. Reinforce and then correct. Some guys however would hear the same instruction as above as, "That's great!....................." So rather than lead with reinforcement, I found it easier to lead with sarcasm, derision or wry wit, "Wow, what the heck is that?", "Hmm, interesting, what was that anyway?", "So, how's that workin' out for ya?" or (our current favorite where I train now, "That SUCKED!!!" Note that I'm not saying, "You suck!" Most guys, tend to hunker down and try to do it better when you tell them that what they're doing is no good. It's not taken personally, they know they can do better, so they try harder, or listen better to whatever correction comes next (and it has to by the way, if you're going to use this approach, you HAVE to follow it up with constructive information). Women, in general, tend to start shutting down to this kind of criticism, it's taken personally and whatever helpful information comes later isn't absorbed as readily. Further, they feel pushed from the group. It isn't that their kotegaeshi could be better, it's that you don't appreciate them, or like them. The same can be true in the "don't tell them anything" training environment. Guys tend to approach it as a game, "what's he doing? I'm gonna find out!" and women tend to feel like they are being excluded, "Why won't he tell me what I'm doing wrong?"

Certainly there are exceptions on both sides of these generalizations, and I'm not saying one teaching styles is better than the other. But if you're having trouble keeping women in class I would really examine your teaching model and how you interact with students.

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
Budo Tanren at Seattle School of Aikido
Shinto Ryu Iai-Battojutsu
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Old 03-16-2007, 10:10 AM   #42
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
What're you trying to say? I wasn't talking about the Hiroshima University aikido club...

Obviously like dojos, many summer camps differ too. (Not that I been to many)
I could ask you the same question.

I mentioned the Hiroshima University simply as an example of a traditionally male dominated university club now run by women.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 03-16-2007, 10:14 AM   #43
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
It's been my experience that women and men simply respond differently (in general!) to many aspects of training and teaching styles. First a bit of background.

My first Aikido dojo was pretty typical: fairly small, mostly male. Women were encouraged to join, but not to teach (they actually had an unofficial policy against it, if you can believe that...). They were encouraged to train with other women, but not really used for demonstrations much. Gee, wonder why there weren't many women... The last dojo I trained at was led by women and was pretty close to a 50/50 mix throughout the ranks. Despite the gender equality, there were still some women only classes (more workshops, there were no regular women only classes) and often instead of, "beers with the guys" after class, you would hear about "Margaritas with the girls." People were expected to go to summer camps and come to workshops. Where I train now, despite being open to all genders, are both all male environments. My wife, who did Aikido with me at the first school, and briefly at my last aikido dojo, currently trains at an all women's Kung Fu school. She was initially not interested in an all women's school, but I really liked their sifu and thought she would gravitate to their teaching style. When asked recently at her purple belt test, why she started Kung fu, she answered, "Chris told me I'd really like it here, and he was right." Dang, I guess there's a first for everything! Anyway, just trying to create some perspective for my opinions here, since I've run the spectrum.

Guys, if left to their own devices are perfectly happy being very critical to each other. Corrections are often negative, meaning that instead of reinforcing what someone is doing well as the primary feedback system, you start taking that for granted and pointing out what's being done wrong. It's been my experience that women don't really respond well to this as the primary feedback system. It isn't that women don't want to know what they're doing wrong, I think when I was teaching aikido, the women in class were much more introspective than the men and wanted to do things right every bit as much. I did find however that they responded a LOT better to, "Wow, that's great, you're really doing X that we talked about last week, is that something you've been working on? Cool, now that you've got that dialed, you should start looking at Y. Here's where you could do this better..." I'm not teaching Aikido right now, but I do teach some at my sword school, and this is the type of feedback I tend to give irregardless of sex. Reinforce and then correct. Some guys however would hear the same instruction as above as, "That's great!....................." So rather than lead with reinforcement, I found it easier to lead with sarcasm, derision or wry wit, "Wow, what the heck is that?", "Hmm, interesting, what was that anyway?", "So, how's that workin' out for ya?" or (our current favorite where I train now, "That SUCKED!!!" Note that I'm not saying, "You suck!" Most guys, tend to hunker down and try to do it better when you tell them that what they're doing is no good. It's not taken personally, they know they can do better, so they try harder, or listen better to whatever correction comes next (and it has to by the way, if you're going to use this approach, you HAVE to follow it up with constructive information). Women, in general, tend to start shutting down to this kind of criticism, it's taken personally and whatever helpful information comes later isn't absorbed as readily. Further, they feel pushed from the group. It isn't that their kotegaeshi could be better, it's that you don't appreciate them, or like them. The same can be true in the "don't tell them anything" training environment. Guys tend to approach it as a game, "what's he doing? I'm gonna find out!" and women tend to feel like they are being excluded, "Why won't he tell me what I'm doing wrong?"

Certainly there are exceptions on both sides of these generalizations, and I'm not saying one teaching styles is better than the other. But if you're having trouble keeping women in class I would really examine your teaching model and how you interact with students.
Chris, you're spot on here!!! This is exactly what my partner Genie told me... as you know she was a national championship fencer and we were discussing coaching women as oppose to men. She has been after me to make my teaching style more user friendly along these lines. I, of course, trained in the Japanese manner in which nothing was ever said unless you were doing something wrong. Great praise from Sensei was a grunt, which you only got if you managed to surprise him by doing something not as badly as he had expected. Genie assures me that this is not the best model for me to use.... So now we have the new improved "Positive George".

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 03-16-2007, 10:30 AM   #44
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

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I mentioned the Hiroshima University simply as an example of a traditionally male dominated university club now run by women.
Well, then that's just an example of a dojo that simply happens to be run by women. How does that apply to other dojos around the world?
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Old 03-16-2007, 10:36 AM   #45
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
So now we have the new improved "Positive George".
I think I met him.
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Old 03-16-2007, 10:47 AM   #46
mriehle
 
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

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Dirk Hanss wrote: View Post
Another idea: try to an a sign at the dojo "real men only", "girlies prohibited", "male students preferred" and have a look, how many woman just sign up, because they feel unwanted and probably just want to sue the dojo.
I realize this wasn't meant to be taken too seriously, but...

...the really sad thing about this (to me) is that it would probably work in some areas that I've lived. For a minute. The problem is that a high percentage of the women you'd get to sign up that way would be the sort who see all men as The Enemy. IME, women I've trained with who came in with that attitude had to get over it before they could train effectively.

That might be a Good Thing if you were capable of helping them get over it, but you'd have two strikes against you from the start. And if they really didn't want to get over it, that would be the third strike.

But, aside from the specific tone you may be on to something. Nothing motivates people to excel at an activity like being told they are completely unsuitable for the activity.

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Old 03-16-2007, 11:44 AM   #47
K Stewart
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

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Anne Marie Giri wrote: View Post
Support your female class mates, but do not to patronize them. Treat them with equal respect and dignity. Help them train to the fullest extent of their abilities. Essentially, treat them like a decent human being.

...But if you are having a problem retaining women members, you might also be having a problem retaining male members as well. You are just getting more male students because you have more men inquiring about aikido to begin with.
This really sums it up, in my way of thinking, anyway.

This is exactly the environment in our dojo: decent, quality human beings training with other decent, quality human beings. Training to help each other advance and gain abilities. No patronizing, no gender bias. Just serious students training hard together and enjoying strong practice.

And I've only been practicing a year, but it would seem that this approach would just build a healthy dojo, period. Not one concerned with men:women ratios, but attracting good people.

I just know for me it mattered not one bit how many women were in the dojo or that there was no special women's class or anything. I just wanted to start training, so I did. But others are different and that's great.

Kara
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Old 03-16-2007, 12:10 PM   #48
da2el.ni4na
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

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Christian Moses wrote: View Post
It's been my experience that women and men simply respond differently (in general!) to many aspects of training and teaching styles.
Thanks Chris, for sharing about that aspect of teaching styles. In my head I connect that with what I wrote about how a dojo is regardless of who exactly is there and who is targeted for "marketing". Specifically, I think some people would be hesitant or resistant to the encouraging and/or more verbally engaging teaching style.

Dan
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Old 03-16-2007, 01:00 PM   #49
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

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Daniel Nishina wrote: View Post
Specifically, I think some people would be hesitant or resistant to the encouraging and/or more verbally engaging teaching style.

Dan
That's it of course... in my own case I've had to investigate "why" I was resistant. Just what does cost me or anyone else for me to say "good job" on something.

That story Kisshomaru told about O-Sensei returning to Tokyo after the war was very revealing. K Ueshiba had personally saved the dojo by hand carrying water to put out the fires when Tokyo burned. Then for two years they had squatters in the place. Finally, he got them out and cleaned the place up to the point at which it could function as a dojo again. His father said "Good job, son." He said it was the first time in his life that his father had actually said that to him.

This may be a Japanese art but I don't think we need to pick up every aspect of the culture as it relates to training, just the functional ones. I realized that I had simply picked up by osmosis the whole idea that you don't baby the students, etc But how is positive feedback babying them? That might be fine when it's the Marine Corps and you are sending these guys out to combat in 10 weeks or so. But most of my students are highly intelligent professionals with families. I realized that most of this was my problem not someone else's and I've started to change. But it's interesting to see how easily I can slip back. That's why I have my sweetie to remind me...

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 03-16-2007, 01:46 PM   #50
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

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Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
What're you trying to say? I wasn't talking about the Hiroshima University aikido club...

Obviously like dojos, many summer camps differ too. (Not that I been to many)
I have been to 16 summer camps and 17 winter camps and I find your statement to be incredible.
While we still went to camps we encouraged our students to go...and go they did, men and women.
Mary
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