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Old 07-25-2006, 01:25 AM   #1
Tinyboy344
 
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Question Women and Aikido

Hi,
I'm trying to get a couple of my friends (females who want to learn self-defense) to train Aikido with me.

They know absolutely NOTHING about Aikido (of course they're gonna ask the infamous question that's been raised among us newbie Aikidokas:WILL THIS REALLY WORK?." and other silly questions

SO.... how do I convince them that Aikido is great and it works for women. Please teach. All opinions about "Women and Aikido" are greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-25-2006, 03:02 AM   #2
Yann Golanski
 
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Re: Women and Aikido

Tell them to come and watch a couple of classes from different styles.

Aikido is a tool for self defense but not the best nor the worst. Just a tool. There are many others that you should learn alongside. Most really are common sense.

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-25-2006, 07:03 AM   #3
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Re: Women and Aikido

Or check the 5 links posted at the bottom of this page titled 'similar threads'. Each of those threads will have 5 threads posted at the bottom of them, though they are likely to repeat if the phrasing is close enough to the initial 5.

After you check these other threads, copy&paste their links into an email addressed to these young ladies and they will be able to hear for themselves. That, and invite them to watch next training session that is convenient for all parties concerned.

good luck.
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Old 07-25-2006, 07:54 AM   #4
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Re: Women and Aikido

I think that if your friends really just want a self-defense course, aikido might not be the best place to start. There are short weekend courses in women's self defense that will give a good quick fix.

Self-defense alone would not be adequate motivation to keep me coming to aikido year after year. I saw fitness and self-defense as nice side-effects of training. I think I kept coming more for the social aspects of the art, the intense and often challenging interactions with my training partners, the fun of it, and for mental/spiritual development. Have them come check out a class. If they like the atmosphere of the dojo or the teacher, and are interested in the philosophical side of it, they might keep coming.

Some people "click" with aikido, some people don't. It's one of those things where I am reminded of the quote, "There are so many differences within the sexes that it's a wonder we notice any differences between them at all." (If anyone has this exact, with an attribution, that would be nice).

--Amelia

Last edited by Amelia Smith : 07-25-2006 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 08-01-2006, 11:32 PM   #5
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Re: Women and Aikido

Many people start Aikido for self defence. I think you'd be hard put to find someone after a year or so training that says self defence is the primary reason they still train. But yeah, to get them on the mat that's probably a discussion you'll have to have. Hard to know how to structure that argument with out knowing more about them (other than their gender), but the blending, non violence and non competitiveness may be a good starting place. Then slap a nikkyo on them to show them it can be effective. Then talk about the scale of response - i.e. you have low violence options to deal with the nuisence attacks (bit of pain in the wrist) or you can go further and break bones, etc in the case of more serious situations (if you're good enough to get the technique)

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-02-2006, 09:30 AM   #6
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Women and Aikido

Yann Golanski: Are you saying you need to do other martial arts alongside Aikido to excell in Aikido?
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Old 08-02-2006, 10:33 AM   #7
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Re: Women and Aikido

Self defense is usually an imediate need. The aikido delivery system is not very imediate. For example, think of the time it takes to get to shodan. At shodan you are JUST now ready to learn aikido. Most people want self defense now, a few months to a year is a long wait.

This is a problem plaguing all martial arts. Not enough instructors explain to their students that self defense is not something that can be gained instantly. Most self defense skill (besides the obvious benfits of confidence and awareness which are not exclusive to martial arts) is going to at least take 3-6 months and depending on the art take 5-10 years to develop. I've come to the conclusion that martial arts are simply not a good at developing self defense skills. They can be used for self defense, but the teaching process is too inefficent for anyone to expect to develop self defense skills. This holds true even in arts with a faster learning curve like judo. Sure you can learn to throw a fully resisting opponenet in a few months, but you are not taught how to deal with preasures outside of the dojo. Some arts are better then others at teaching different aspects of conflict, delivery systems for ranges of unarmed or armed combat, and strategys, but all of them have major flaws which inhibit the rapid development of self defense skills.

I know of no solution to this problem. I know of no magic way to make a woman able to defeat a man in a few short lessons. But I do know that imediate self defense alone is a poor reason to train in martial arts. You need other desires and goals to help you put in the time required to have any chance at developing valid self defense skills.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 08-02-2006, 11:23 AM   #8
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Re: Women and Aikido

One of the thoughts I've lazily played with for a number of years is working with a women's Aikido group (preferably athletic and no-nonsense types) to see what would happen if they were taught to include the normal and power-type augmentations of the ki/kokyu stuff to their Aikido. It might be easier to find a group of men to do this with, but people would say, "Oh sure, bunch of athletic guys... what's the big surprise?". But if a group of women can become pretty powerful, as I think they can, that would lay a lot of the Aikido/women discussions into a different perspective.

The point is that I think a women's group can get into a fairly effective self-defense mode using just Aikido (although the syllabus I'm thinking about would also include some of the stuff I've seen Shioda do in radorii). I.e., I don't think that Aikido should be removed from the list of martial arts that provide adequate self-defense.

My 2 cents.

Mike
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Old 08-02-2006, 12:51 PM   #9
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Re: Women and Aikido

I hate the words "self defense". I don't understand why people come to traditional martial arts or budo as a primary tool for training for this. While on the surface one might think that it is the thing to do, aikido and budo in general is NOT what I'd recommend.

I abhor those classes that teach self defense in the empty hand manner. Most set women up for failure. They take their money, teach them a few things, and send them on their way feeling empowered.

The thing with self defense is this.

1. Define the problem.
2. Assess the risk.
3. Develop control measures to mitgate the risk.
4. Implement.

What is the "self defense" problem you are trying to solve? Is it identifiable? Empty hand IMO, sucks for both males and females. Assailants are very smart and if they want you incapcitated or dead, they will ambush you, seize the advantage, and win.

So, you mitigate the risk by doing things such as not walking alone at night with a walkman on at full blast. Etc, etc.

If there is a particular risk such as an old boyfriend, stalker etc...there are better ways to mitigate that risk.

There are weapons both lethal and non-lethal, but that comes with downsides as well.

Does all this mean that it is worthless to study some form of "empty hand" martial arts? Not at all....but there are much better focused models out there that need to cover a great deal more information than what is typically covered in the old "stomp, yell, and run" scenario.

I won't even get into the "long, slow road" of aikido! Terrible model as well.

I have seen and heard of aikido being used as a good methodology for "healing" that is confidence building, and post traumatic healing stuff. Nothing wrong with that! Good art I think for helping people connect with their emotional self and dealing with others and physical confrontation and rebuilding themselves. I suppose there is much value in this, but it is a secondary value in the physical model of self defense.

That though is a long shot from what I call "self defense".

My point is, as "seasoned" martial artist, we really need to help people sort through the emotions of assault and attacks and put things in the proper perspective for them. I think too many people are giving a "warm and fuzzy" and a false sense of security by what will happen in a real attack or self defense situation.

Aikido is a poor tool for teaching how to really deal with this. Sorry.
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:02 PM   #10
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Re: Women and Aikido

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
not walking alone at night with a walkman on at full blast. Etc, etc.
.
walkman? Showing your age Kevin? Great post as always.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:04 PM   #11
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Re: Women and Aikido

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote:
Yann Golanski: Are you saying you need to do other martial arts alongside Aikido to excell in Aikido?
Looks to me like Yann is saying you need to do other things alongside aikido to excel in self defence - not quite the same thing..

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:05 PM   #12
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Re: Women and Aikido

Oh man you are right! I actually own an iPod and STILL refer to it as a walkman. I suppose kids today have never even heard of a Walkman!
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:07 PM   #13
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Re: Women and Aikido

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Aikido is a poor tool for teaching how to really deal with this. Sorry.
Well, I just disagree. I think there are "versions" of Aikido and not all of them are as effective as others.

In terms of the "warm fuzzy" stuff, I agree with you. Giving people a quicky course that leaves them with a "warm fuzzy" feeling of security and ability is not necessarily helpful, I agree.

On the other hand, giving someone some real and useable tools that are generally effective is not the same thing as a "warm fuzzy" feeling.

In my opinion, technique is fine, as long as the techniques are practical (and Aikido includes some, even though they're not practiced in all dojo's). But power is the factor I see being missed by many/most dojo's. There's a thing about "steroid rage" that I often think misses the point. What really happens is that someone on steroids becomes physically stronger... the person *knows* they're stronger and does less to check the impulses and reactions that a weaker person automatically does. What I'm getting at is that if women use the power/strength advantage that the ki/kokyu stuff gives (it does not make them bullet-proof or unbeatable, of course), there is a boost of confidence that is backed up by actual and demonstrable power. That is not the same thing as a "warm fuzzy" feeling, IMO.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:09 PM   #14
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Re: Women and Aikido

Quote:
Michael Fooks wrote:
walkman? Showing your age Kevin? Great post as always.
Wait.... shouldn't that be "walkperson"??????
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:10 PM   #15
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Re: Women and Aikido

I actually took my friends (both male and female) to the dojo to watch a class. The female got bored after the first 1/2 hr and started to ask questions like:"Why do you guys roll so much? What's the point of slapping the mat? This is very boring" and the guy :"What if u miss the wrist of the attacker and he slips out of your technique/lock and sweeps you of you feet, what if this, what if that etc...."

It's kinda annoying when people just wanna learn to punch and kick and how to whup ass hardcore.
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:23 PM   #16
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Confused Re: Women and Aikido

The only thing that my friends think is cool about Aikido is the Hakama
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:32 PM   #17
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Re: Women and Aikido

Quote:
Amelia Smith wrote:
Self-defense alone would not be adequate motivation to keep me coming to aikido year after year. I saw fitness and self-defense as nice side-effects of training. I think I kept coming more for the social aspects of the art, the intense and often challenging interactions with my training partners, the fun of it, and for mental/spiritual development. Have them come check out a class. If they like the atmosphere of the dojo or the teacher, and are interested in the philosophical side of it, they might keep coming.
What she said!
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:35 PM   #18
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Re: Women and Aikido

Understand where you are coming from Mike.

My only point is that culturally and traditionally aikido is a poor methodlogy for teaching "self defense".

Are there techniques and principles that are applicable and useful? Absolutely!

If I were to design a course (which I would never do for a number of reasons), it would incorporate many aspects of aikido such as kokyu, breathing, posture, etc.

There is just so much more involved in mitigating assault. The whole escalation and use of force considerations are not taught correctly in aikido I believe.

a Side bar, but we found in the army that guys carry knifes on their gear, but never practice using them. Ask them why they carry it and they will say because they will use it. What you find though is because they don't practice using it, they don't.

I found the same issue when I was a Medic way back in my early military career. First time I did CPR for real, i did not reach for my pocket mask..why...because when we practiced CPR on "annie" we always did it as mouth to mouth...so quess what I did the first time I had to do it? Got a mouth full of vomit!

So, my point is, this, we will do what we practice when we get under stress. Aikido typcially does not train this. You can only train this one way. You must actually replicate as close as possible the conditions you will encounter in realilty.

Yea kokyu and breathing and all that are very important, as we all know. But under reall stress...most will not do these things correctly.

To train correctly, you must go to the whole "aliveness" concept. Things like Blauer suits ( www.tonyblauer.com ) must be employed in scenario based situations.

You must train at correct distances under stressful conditions. Another words, someone bigger than you jumps you and starts beating the crap out of you.

It gets very emotional, and you pyschologically press alot of buttons. Most people are not willing to subject themselves to this environment. You learn quickly that you are going to lose alot of the time, and that regardless of your internal training and years spent that you will probably lose most of the time. Over time though, of hard training...you start to improve and you find the space to survive.

You will hurt yourself in this type of training. You will get banged up, bruised, tweaked arms, sprained hands, and busted noses and black eyes. Again, not fun and not for the average person that wants to learn 'self defense". But if you have a serious, identifiable risk, you just might be motiviated to do it, because you realize your life might depend on your training.

Mike, I agree in theory, that there is value in teaching what you propose...that is kokyu etc, and how to use your body correctly against someone that is bigger than you, but unless you can do it once stress is applied and can hold it together...it is completely useless.

Again, if I did design a "self defense course" it would incorporate these things....but it is a long slow road, and it would be very expensive and time consuming for all but the really serious.

My instructors in the Army teach this type of stuff to soldiers in classes 40 hours a week, in courses that last up to a month sometimes, even with that the students are still "beginners".

However, while I would incorporate principles I have learned in aikido, it would not remotely look like, nor would it be associated with aikido in anyway.

Aikido is a wonderful art for learning many, many things. especially about yourself! This should not be discounted as being important in the big picture. Aikido can be very empowering mentally, physically, and spiritually. It can develop an awareness and attitude that is very, very important in avoiding becoming a "statistic" or appearing as a "soft target".

However, once you start looking at it from the point of the actual physical assault happening....you have just entered a whole new world that aikido and TMA simply does not prepare us to deal with.
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:36 PM   #19
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Re: Women and Aikido

Quote:
Leavitt wrote:
So, you mitigate the risk by doing things such as not walking alone at night with a walkman on at full blast. Etc, etc.
Just curious when and where did you learn this skill of risk mitigation? Was it from one of these weekend warrior courses? I doubt it. I understand you're military, and at the risk of supplying you with an answer to my question, I imagine it must be that, even if the average soldier is not concerned with making it safely to and from the parking lot late at night.
Quote:
there are much better focused models out there that need to cover a great deal more information
This line is the suggestion of alternative SD methods to "empty hand" martial arts? What would these be, short of carrying something that could be used against the would-be defender who doesn't train regularly in said implements use?
Quote:
I think too many people are giving a "warm and fuzzy" and a false sense of security by what will happen in a real attack or self defense situation. .. Aikido is a poor tool for teaching how to really deal with this. Sorry
I simply don't see it. My life experience might help me cope with random excretum striking upon rapidly rotating cooling devices, but I wouldn't have a 20th of the bodily vocabulary I have now (my own or an adversay's) without training in aikido, let alone concepts of dimensional awareness, such as speed, distance, surroundings.

I've probably misinterpreted something in your post Kevin, and I wonder if it's just that you prefer to keep your pursuit of budo separate from another's pursuit of self-defense. Surely they are different. At any rate, I sometimes have more questions than answers after reading your posts, hence my quotes.

michael logan.

Editted to say that my post was lost in cyber space during the last 10 minutes of conversation. I will chalk this to a hiccup in the recent re-stitching of the time-space-aikiweb.com continuum after it's downtime. Let me catch up Though I think you answered my questions.

Last edited by MikeLogan : 08-02-2006 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:47 PM   #20
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Re: Women and Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
But if a group of women can become pretty powerful, as I think they can, that would lay a lot of the Aikido/women discussions into a different perspective.
The women I trained with at Okinawa Aikikai were very powerful.
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:49 PM   #21
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Re: Women and Aikido

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
My only point is that culturally and traditionally aikido is a poor methodlogy for teaching "self defense".

Are there techniques and principles that are applicable and useful? Absolutely!

If I were to design a course (which I would never do for a number of reasons), it would incorporate many aspects of aikido such as kokyu, breathing, posture, etc.

There is just so much more involved in mitigating assault. (snip for brevity)
I know what you're saying, Kevin, and I'm not asserting that all the variants of Aikido would be productive as self-defense. However, on the other hand, most of what you said about Aikido not really preparing people for real fights could be said about just about any currently available martial art.

I think that if more emphasis and knowledge about *how* smaller individuals (like many women and some men) could indeed develop unusual power, it would give Aikido more potential as a martial art that is effective for not just the bigger guys.

If I were to modify an approach to Aikido I wouldn't modify the techniques that are available, but upfront I'd have people working on realistic jin/kokyu skills, starting on the breath stuff that honestly makes someone stronger, I'd teach the body skills that supplement power, and I'd spend a lot of time reviewing the manipulation and control of someone else's balance using jin skills. Sort of a front-end load so that people doing Aikido even for a year would leave with enhanced strength and martially useable skills.

Now..... back to the opium pipe.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:00 PM   #22
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Re: Women and Aikido

Mike Logan wrote:

Quote:
This line is the suggestion of alternative SD methods to "empty hand" martial arts? What would these be, short of carrying something that could be used against the would-be defender who doesn't train regularly in said implements use?
To me this is part of the problem. There are no easy answers, everything has a drawback and a risk. I am kinda getting philosophical here, but I think it is salient to discuss. We all like to think that we can solve problems through learning or developing skill. Take a course in martial arts, and we can handle ourselves. The reality of it is that it may not do any good at all. So do you carry a gun? My personal belief is that guns are pretty useless to the average citizen in the average situation. You get suprised on the street, and the gun can now be used against you. At what point do you use it? Being a police officer is one thing, a citizen quite another. Are there good reasons for carrying a gun? Sure there are. But I think most people that carry guns do so out of a irrational fear and have no definable risk or situation that they are attempting to mitigate, therefore, they are useless and probably more danger to yourself.

Non-lethal weapons? Pepper spray etc. Again, may be useful, may not be. It depends on many, many factors.

Mike also wrote:

Quote:
I simply don't see it. My life experience might help me cope with random excretum striking upon rapidly rotating cooling devices, but I wouldn't have a 20th of the bodily vocabulary I have now (my own or an adversay's) without training in aikido, let alone concepts of dimensional awareness, such as speed, distance, surroundings.
Oh I agree, in fact I think we crossed post (see my post above). There are benefits to learning aikido. The things you mention are very good reasons. I learned these too and they do prevent you from being a "soft target". That though is one thing. Once the Assault happens though....a entirely different set of dynamics kick in...ones which most people are not conditioned, nor prepared to deal with adequately.

Nothing wrong with budo. I do think the real value is that it prepares you to live a good life, and in doing so, it also prepares you to die properly. (philosophy again!). but that is a far stretch from "self defense", combative skill, and fighting, which is a tricky, tricky subject that has no easy answers.
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:10 PM   #23
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Re: Women and Aikido

Mike Sigman wrote:

Quote:
I know what you're saying, Kevin, and I'm not asserting that all the variants of Aikido would be productive as self-defense. However, on the other hand, most of what you said about Aikido not really preparing people for real fights could be said about just about any currently available martial art.

I think that if more emphasis and knowledge about *how* smaller individuals (like many women and some men) could indeed develop unusual power, it would give Aikido more potential as a martial art that is effective for not just the bigger guys.

If I were to modify an approach to Aikido I wouldn't modify the techniques that are available, but upfront I'd have people working on realistic jin/kokyu skills, starting on the breath stuff that honestly makes someone stronger, I'd teach the body skills that supplement power, and I'd spend a lot of time reviewing the manipulation and control of someone else's balance using jin skills. Sort of a front-end load so that people doing Aikido even for a year would leave with enhanced strength and martially useable skills.
Yes it can be said about any martial art. I agree. there are no easy answers. My only real point I suppose is that we really need to be honest with the people that come to our arts about the level of expectations about what we are preparing them for.

I had a guy in one of my Army Combative classes complete our intense 40 hour a week program. he went out to a bar, and took out the first guy pretty good with a RNC. He didn't fair so well against the second, third, and fouth guy that came at him. That was after a great deal of lectures about what we were preparing him for. His comments when he came back to the dojo. "I feel okay, at least I got one of them, I wouldn't have been able to do that a week ago!". I suppose that is a "glass half full" attitude...but I think he is still missing the point! What are you going to do with young soldiers though!

Which leads to my next comments. I agree with what you say you would teach. It is very , very important. But a long, slow road that requires much time, energy and devotion. Based on your reputation and demonstrated knowledge online, I'd think we'd make a good team maybe in this area. You train them for a year....then let me don my protective gear and put them in a suit as well, then let me go at them 100% and then see how they feel and fair against me.

I think they, like my soldier, would be suprised at both how much they learned, but also would see how much more there is to assault and violence, and how random and unpredictable it can be.

I'd feel better at that point because at least there is a reality check that shows them how empowered they really are, or aren't.
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:27 PM   #24
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Re: Women and Aikido

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I agree with what you say you would teach. It is very , very important. But a long, slow road that requires much time, energy and devotion. Based on your reputation and demonstrated knowledge online, I'd think we'd make a good team maybe in this area. You train them for a year....then let me don my protective gear and put them in a suit as well, then let me go at them 100% and then see how they feel and fair against me.
Yeah, but kicking *your* butt would only give them a false warm, fuzzy feeling.... I want them to be able to really fight!!!
Quote:
I think they, like my soldier, would be suprised at both how much they learned, but also would see how much more there is to assault and violence, and how random and unpredictable it can be.
Well, joking aside, I don't see how any of this applies differently to Aikido than it would any other martial art, TBH. I don't want to get into a hypothetical wee-wee contest. Heck, you could give every soldier in combat a gun, but that doesn't mean that he's going to come out on top, does it? Reality limits us all.

All the Best.

Mike
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:32 PM   #25
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Women and Aikido

No, me either (get into a wee wee contest). Again, my only point is that we have a responsibility to put things in the proper perspective and to convey the realities of assault and violence to the people we train.

Training in a nice dojo, with a hakama, bowing, and testing and all that is good, but we should not purport or even allow our students to believe that it is preparing them adequately to deal with a violent physical encounter.

No it does not mean he is going to come out on top (giving a soldier a gun). Some times your the bug, and sometimes you are the windshield. You did a nice job of summing up my sentiments on the whole issue.
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