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Old 03-13-2007, 08:54 PM   #1
jennyvanwest
 
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Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

We have a great dojo, including an excellent woman sensei, a fun & supportive environment, and serious training for all regardless of gender....but not that many women members of the dojo. I'm interested to hear if your dojo has a strong female contingent and what you think contributes to that.

Is it only a matter of time? Offering intro to aikido for women class series? Word of mouth? What do you think are the factors that have contributed to your dojo's success in this way (or lack thereof, for that matter)?

Thanks in advance...looking forward to your thoughts / experience.

Jenny

(Oh...and 25 ukemi if you thought the title of this thread was "keeping attractive women at the dojo" )
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Old 03-13-2007, 09:49 PM   #2
sefie
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

There's no particular emphasis given to females training, but there are 4-6 females training at the "aikido club" at my university , while I'm the only one at my "normal" dojo.

All of the sensei are male, however, my sensei at the uni really takes special care to keep females interested in training. He usually makes a point of getting me to be uke, even though I'm not the highest ranked student, because he wants the other females to see "a female who knows what she's doing, but also doesn't look particularly strong". He also takes time out after class to ask females how they felt about training, and whether they felt comfortable with what we'd covered. He also talks about his support for feminism and equality - again, off the mat.

I talk about aikido at work, and how it's perfect for the "tiny chick with no muscles". I know I'm perpetuating the weak female stereotype, but I'm a walking example of it I've gotten at least two other women interested, and hopefully they'll come to training with me this week.

I don't know how a "women's only" class would work, but mostly because I've never had a class run by a female, nor have I even attended one with more than 6 other females who were not total beginners. However, I suspect it's really not all that different to a "normal" class - I could be wrong.

I think there's still a prevailing sense of "real" martial arts being "for the boys", and women are more likely to take either Tai-bo, fight-robics or generic self-defence classes if they're interested in that sort of thing.
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Old 03-14-2007, 02:42 AM   #3
jennyvanwest
 
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

thank you, Diana--I really appreciate your comments.

Quote:
Diana Hope wrote: View Post
I don't know how a "women's only" class would work, but mostly because I've never had a class run by a female, nor have I even attended one with more than 6 other females who were not total beginners. However, I suspect it's really not all that different to a "normal" class - I could be wrong.
To clarify--our dojo has monthly dues and you can attend as many sessions as you want (I think this is the norm). Personally, in the beginning I thrived on the "show up to any class and get started" program. (there are free intro sessions once a month which draws in a lot of members.) I swallowed my pride and jumped in.

Our dojo occasionally has 6 week "intro to aikido for women" that meets once a week--for some women, I suspect that this might be a less intimidating way to get oriented than just showing up and practicing the first time with a half-dozen 20-something guys (no matter how awesome they are!). It tends to have a bit more discussion than regular training sessions but otherwise is the same. Part of the trick seems to be getting enough female dojo members with experience to attend, so that enough demonstration of techniques can happen.

Basically, we're trying to reach critical mass of women so that more women stick around.

OK, back to listening
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Old 03-14-2007, 05:11 AM   #4
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Quote:
Jenny Van West wrote: View Post
(Oh...and 25 ukemi if you thought the title of this thread was "keeping attractive women at the dojo" )
... 21 22 23 24 25 *sweating and exhausted*

No what I really thought was to attract women, you need attractive men - Ok Ok I'll do another 15 afterwards. An that is probably not the right strategy to keep them.

We are about 8 regular students in our dojo, half of them women. 6 out of the 8 started or restarted aikido in their 40's. So our problem is more to keep the young students.

Our sensei is male. Usually to keep women one would expect to have at least one female instructor. But have only one and that is male. What might have helped, is that he has some pith on health - in warming and in techniques and about a quarter of an hour he explains why we do it the way we do it - either physically or philosophically.

Some of our ladies do not like weapons classes at all. So probably if sensei stresses too much on weapons, he might have trouble keeping them.

Just my view, as they did not really tell me, why they are still there, and those who left did not tell either.

Best regards

Dirk
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Old 03-14-2007, 09:31 AM   #5
DarkShodan
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

I am going to watch this thread closely. We have had this discussion in our dojo many times. We have one high ranking female, but that's is. I don't know how many members we actually have, maybe 30, but only about a dozen regulars. We have females come in for a few weeks and then they disappear. Not sure why. The guys tell me it's may fault. Maybe true. I am the dojo a$$hole. Hey, every club needs one! I try to limit my exposure to new students, especially females, so I don't scare them off. Seriously, I travel around the country and visit other dojos and most seem to have a fair number of females. Maybe it's a mid-west thing. Maybe women truly think martial arts is a guy thing. I think Aikido is different from many other arts because we don't fill the room with excessive testosterone. I know one Aikido club had a ladies only class on Sundays. That went well for a while but I understand they don't have it any more. So, as normal for me I have offered no answers but have thrown in my 2.75 cents.

Victims, aren't we all.
-- Eric Draven
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Old 03-14-2007, 10:23 AM   #6
Basia Halliop
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Well, when I first started, something that probably made me more likely to join was that I saw maybe 25-30% women in the class, and that in those first months there were always some women (newbies like me, dan grades, and a range in-between)... If you walk into a new place and a new activity you've never done before and you are the only woman in a room full of men (esp. if it's something athletic and/or close contact, and esp if that's a new experience fro you), you might feel strange and very conscious of that fact and wonder why there are only men and whether there is some reason for that or whether it will be awkward/embarassing or whether you will suck or everyone will patronize you, (or conversely, whether you have to singlehandedly uphold the reputation of your entire gender) etc.

If there are several women on the mat and no-one seems to care, it makes it feel like infinitely less of a big deal to try it... You don't keep feeling like "a girl trying to do a 'guy-thing' ", you're just a person doing something new and interesting.

The more you have the more you will get... But how to get to the level where it's self-sustaining? ?? No idea.

Once you're really into it I don't think it matters nearly as much.
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Old 03-14-2007, 11:47 AM   #7
Juliette
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

When I first went to observe a class the first thing I noticed was that there were about 5 women on the mat, 3 of them very experienced, yet none of them were big and muscle bound. This was very comforting and confirmed what I suspected about Aikido; that it is a practice that all types of people can partake in. Now if I had gone to observe a class where no women were participating, I'm sure I would not have begun my training the very next day, which I admit is sad.
To keep women I think that something as simple as talking about the trials of beginning training (which is where I am) may help. To attract, I think it is up to us female dojo members to talk about our training with other women who may be interested. I have only been training 2 months and a few of my friends have become interested simply because of my (very subtle) changes in poise and my enthusiasm for leaning something new. As for all women classes that sounds nice but going to coed classes as well seems really important, as practicing with people twice your weight really feels different!
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Old 03-14-2007, 11:48 AM   #8
chitara
 
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Smile Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Wow. A very interesting topic. Very gender touchy. Where to start....where to start......
#1 Insecurity:As a general rule, women are insecure with respect to athletic ability in a setting of predominantly male peers. Add any form of gymnastics and adios amigo.
#2 Good Looks. I cant believe I am going to say this.....but....in our dojo, the men are not ugly, not that out of shape and probably would be considered "average -above average" in appearance. ugh.....there i said it. Throw this into the mix and women become more uneasy as they are learning to tumble, take ukemi and other techniques that cause them to be the center of attention. It can be a humiliating experience as you are the only female learning to shikko, roll, etc while a group of guys are just watching you......waiting for you to finish.....and you know they are talking about you....laughing at you.....judging you.....then you remember how fat you look swimming in an oversized gi you purchased.....and they are all agreeing....yup, she's a fatty. Ok, maybe they're not really doing any of these things........but you cant control the overactive mind of a new female student.
#3 Time. Women, by nature are selfless and have families. The majority of responsibility falls on their shoulders. Getting dinner ready, making sure homework is done, frantically putting together projects, chauffeuring from girl scouts / boy scouts / soccer practice, music lessons, etc. Couple this with a single mom and, well, forget it. She'd rather take a nap then get sweaty and become embarrassed.
#4 Romance. Sadly, the women who have come into our dojo never made it beyond blue belt. Guess there's something to be said about a guy in a skirt.........Everyone either developed a relationship & ran off or got married and never returned. (including the men)
#5 Unsupportive "Significant Others". Having hurdled 1-4(no kids but godmother to the masses), made it all the way to hakama, I gotta say, it was tough. For whatever reason, most men are intimidated that a woman can carry the title of a martial artist. Oh sure, in the beginning, it's sexy! But when they discover this is something that is a part of you, you are traveling to seminars, more than likely with men, well......things get sticky. Is it worth the argument? The guilt trip? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Many relationships have been terminated, looking back unregrettably, due to these. A man's role is "protector and provider". This according to my brother, also a martial artist, who was counseling me throughout these failed relationships. When a guy is not able to provide one or both of these, the scale is unbalanced. Insecurity arrises, and thus, another thorn (in a female aikidoist side) is born.
#6 Hormones. We've had a few young ladies start, then dating began.....and I guess making out was more fun than taking mat.

SOLUTIONS:
#1Insecurity Solution: When I hear of a female thinking about joining, as the sole female in the club, I take it upon myself to invite them for private "how to" classes. Show them the basic of the basics so when they come to class, they have a sense of knowledge regarding the subject matter.
#2 Good looks Solution: tell her they all have bad breath and assure her over and over no one is critiquing, we've all started on the same square. It also helps that we've gone over #1
#3 Time Solution: "Where there's a will there's a way". Whoever said this, clearly did not have children, or worked 2 +jobs &/or going to school nor where they a single parent averaging 3-4 hours of sleep a night. I do not have any children of my own but I am a school teacher. I can certainly appreciate and empathize with this scenario. The solution: there is no time. Wait till things settle down, then come back and enjoy
#4 and #5 Romance and Unsupportive Solution: Get over it. If you came in to find a husband or boyfriend, then good riddance I say. Mission accomplished, vaya con Dios. Unsupportive significant other.......still working on this one....but as with physical so is verbal....redirect, redirect, and redirect until they see your point of view. If all else fails, tell them you signed up for a Yoga / Pilates class at the local YMCA.
# 6 Hormone Solution: They'll be back........I hope.

In a nut shell: As women in Aikido, we love the art.....Why dont others?!?!? I lasted for years....why cant they?? It's not the club, or it's members, or the weapons class, it's just them. Some people prefer vanilla over chocolate. It's just a matter of taste. As women, we continue to be role models in the club and for our club. Just keep doing what you're doing. After all, you made it. Law of averages, there's someone right behind you. And despite the reputation I have in my dojo, I gladly, warmly, openly welcome them. Just as long they dont take my corner locker space. (hee hee)
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Old 03-14-2007, 11:58 AM   #9
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Wink Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

I remember a woman who came one day to my dojo to watch the class. We had a great session, and, after we exited the tatami, I told her : "You're going to enroll, right?". "It hurts, doesn't it?", she said (she was talking about the wrist locks). I had to admit that it does, but that your partner is not trying to torture you, and that you can tap out whenever you want. She never came back. Was I supposed to lie to her?
In my dojo, unless we include Sensei's wife and his two daughters, we are only two women. But I notice that we come to class more often and that we are a lot more dedicated than the vast majority of male students. During the week, we cannot leave our work early enough to be on time for the afternoon class, but Sensei undestands. On Saturdays and Sundays, however, we are usually the first to show up for the seven am class, and, since we are early, we help clean the dojo, wich, according to the late - and deeply regreted - Kensho Furuya Sensei, is part of the training.
Isn't quality better than quantity?
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Old 03-14-2007, 12:25 PM   #10
charyuop
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Our dojo is one of those called Garage dojo. Even tho Sensei won't charge monthly fees it is hard to find people who will take part to classes (it is a very small town).
Sensei is a very good one and very experienced (Godan), thus it is not a teaching quality problem (so if you are near Ponca City Oklahoma and you want a good Sensei in Aikido come and visit us ).

I guess the problem is Aikido. Not many people see Aikido as a good Martial Art. Most of the people get more attracted by TKD, Karate, JKD and other more "striking" Martial Arts.
I think that females are a much smaller number in taking Martial Arts, thus making 2+2 I can see why a smaller number of women come to Aikido dojo.
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Old 03-14-2007, 12:58 PM   #11
da2el.ni4na
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Thanks to everyone who has responded in this thread. This was actually the topic of a conversation I myself had last night.

I would personally like to hear more about how to achieve that situation where a person can walk into the dojo and see several women on the mat, and thereby get the impression that it is acceptable/safe/enticing for women to practice also.
I have a feeling it has to do, among other factors, with how the dojo is e.g., attitudes regarding aikido, politics, equality, physical exertion, physical roughness, etc., even when there are no female students. Of course new students, male or female, contribute to the social dynamic, but my question is more focused on the starting stages.

Chitara, thanks for putting out such an organized post.
Diana, thanks for sharing what your instructor does with respect to female students. It was the most pertinent so far to my question.
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Old 03-14-2007, 01:38 PM   #12
DarkShodan
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

You need money to make money. You need female students to attract female student. I get it!

Yes, Chitara, thank you for the organized post. I should expect nothing less from you.

Looking back I see that some women left because of relationships, guys do that too. Some moved due to school or job change. I know a few that came in because their husband's wanted them to learn a martial arts. Lets face it, if YOU don't want to do it the you're not going to. What about location? We're on the south suburb of Omaha. We talked what if we had a dojo more in town or west of town, would that make a difference? Who knows. You almost want to run a special for women. Ladies Night Aikido! Drinks are half off! Bring a friend for a discount on mat fees! Then you appear desperate. I think it's better if you get two friends or sisters to join. It's like going to the gym, you're more likely to go if you have a workout partner. So, you tell me "women of Aikido", if a dojo had a special rate for women are you

a.) More likely to join
b.) Less likely to join
c.) As likely to join

If you have a friend or realtive in Aikido are you

a.) More likely to join
b.) Less likely to join
c.) As likely to join

Victims, aren't we all.
-- Eric Draven
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Old 03-14-2007, 01:41 PM   #13
Guilty Spark
 
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Having a womens introduction at second thought seems like an okay idea. Get the girls into the dojo and over the initial reservations of doing martial arts. I think after an initial few classes though they should be put into a mixed gender class quickly. I'm not big on single gender classes.

Two big probems. Guys often try to impress and win the attention of women and younger women sometimes treat the dojo like a social group, maybe something aikin to highschool?

I think if you want to keep mature females (mentally not physically) in class you need to ensure the dojo isn't treated as a dating service (by either guys or girls). Keep away the negitive pressure of guys hanging over them, giving them special treatment etc..

When girls start acting like an alpha female have it sorted out.

I guess the biggest thing is to make it comfortable.

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

You don't own what you can't defend
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Old 03-14-2007, 03:55 PM   #14
Jim Sorrentino
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Greetings All,

Penny Sablove-sensei (of Heart of San Francisco Aikido) and Linda Holiday-sensei (of Aikido of Santa Cruz) published a very helpful article on this subject in Aikido Today Magazine #45 (April/May 1996 --- Positive Outreach for Women in Aikido). Sablove and Holiday have a 10-point checklist:
1. I always make sure there are women teaching (and not just me).

2. I invite guest instructors to the dojo on a regular basis, and I make sure that there are women guest instructors.

3. At black belt exams, I often invite women to sit on the examining board. For kyu exams, I call women black belts to let them know they are invited to sit on the kyu exam board. In this way, there are women in visible authority positions.

4. I am careful to use both women and men as ukes.

5. I give Instructor Guidelines to people training in the dojo, one point of which is to be aware of gender balance when choosing ukes as well as to be careful to use gender-neutral language.

6. While teaching and working with people individually during class, I make sure that female students get roughly the same amount of my attention as male students.

7. I keep a lookout for beginning women partnered with men who are being intimidating or over-instructive. In these cases, I may go over and talk with the man, have everyone change partners, or perhaps address the whole class on the issue of respect.

8. I make it a practice to maintain faith in everyone's potential.

9. I remain aware that a woman on the mat may have experienced violence, either as an adult or as a child, at the hands of men, and that this may have a tremendous effect on how she approaches Aikido.

10. We have a women's class in the dojo about once a month.
The article also includes useful commentary on each of these guidelines. Most of the guidelines have been quite helpful to me in my own dojo, especially #8. It would be interesting to hear from Sablove-sensei and Holiday-sensei (and their students) about whether and how their views and approaches on this matter have changed over the past 11 years.

Jim Sorrentino
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Old 03-14-2007, 04:10 PM   #15
Erik Calderon
 
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

I've had my dojo for eight years, though I have never had a very large group of women.

I do have a few, and they are very dedicated, and it's wonderful training with them.

At Honbu dojo in Japan, they have classes that are dedicated for women only. That might help. I've thought about doing it and probably will in the future.

I hear in Califormia, many women practice in Aikido.

www.shinkikan.com

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Old 03-14-2007, 04:15 PM   #16
jennyvanwest
 
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

thank you ALL for these incredibly thoughtful responses. Chitara, all I can say is amen. Well said.

Quote:
Daniel Nishina wrote: View Post
I would personally like to hear more about how to achieve that situation where a person can walk into the dojo and see several women on the mat, and thereby get the impression that it is acceptable/safe/enticing for women to practice also.
I have a feeling it has to do, among other factors, with how the dojo is e.g., attitudes regarding aikido, politics, equality, physical exertion, physical roughness, etc., even when there are no female students. Of course new students, male or female, contribute to the social dynamic, but my question is more focused on the starting stages.
Answering my own question! what a great idea! thanks Daniel.

Here's what kept me coming back (some of which has to do with being female, some not, but here goes):
--prompt return of inquiries by phone and email.
--attentive and non-rushed answering of all questions before, during, and after those first classes.
--respectful, warm, and welcoming attitude of everybody, ESPECIALLY more experienced students.
--TWO dynamic women in hakama at the free monthly intro session and a lot of men too (at our dojo hakama are worn starting 5th or 4th kyu)--there was a strong feeling of oldtimers being interested in working with the totally inexperienced and the obvious presence of these particular women was key.
--most men throwing me comensurate with my experience level, rather than my gender, offering help but never patronizing. (ok, well occasionally, but I can give them a hard time now)
--while we train hard (it gets wicked fast and loud in there!), there is a lot of emphasis on strong ukemi, and machismo is not rampant. We also have classes where we slow stuff down a lot and work closely on connection to partner, etc.

That said, to keep women in the dojo it seems to me absolutely critical to have more experienced women on the mat at intro sessions and the basics classes where people are more likely to start out.

Excellent point about offering to connect privately with newer women and give them a hand getting oriented. I will take this one to heart.

Quote:
DarkShodan wrote:
So, you tell me "women of Aikido", if a dojo had a special rate for women are you

a.) More likely to join
b.) Less likely to join
c.) As likely to join

If you have a friend or realtive in Aikido are you

a.) More likely to join
b.) Less likely to join
c.) As likely to join
b & a; but I tend to shy away from the whole 'ladies night' type of thing ;-)
interesting questions!

Quote:
I guess the problem is Aikido. Not many people see Aikido as a good Martial Art. Most of the people get more attracted by TKD, Karate, JKD and other more "striking" Martial Arts.
I think that females are a much smaller number in taking Martial Arts, thus making 2+2 I can see why a smaller number of women come to Aikido dojo.
I would tend to disagree with this conclusion; the people I've known along the way who did aikido (prior to starting myself)--one was a woman /dance teacher who raved about it, another a very grounded, centered, calm man who was a teacher of aikido--definitely spoke to the accessibility of this particular martial art to women.

thank you all for your input and I'm looking forward to hearing more.
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Old 03-14-2007, 04:41 PM   #17
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Our organization is 60% female.

Everyone on the mat is treated with respect. Everyone is made to feel important and welcome.

We are an independant orginization, with little emphasis on rank or politics.

Several women started training with their children and stayed after their kids stopped training.

LLoyd, I am wondering what behavior qualifies you to be the dojo a$$hole and why would you be pleased with that role?

Mary
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Old 03-14-2007, 06:46 PM   #18
sefie
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Ah, maybe that's it... I'm totally used to being the only/rare female in a male-dominated environment (geek culture, work in IT industry, etc), which is probably why I didn't even blink at the thought of taking a "traditionally male" activity like martial arts. To me, the thought of a gender-segregated class is a bit superfluous, but I can see how it would be less intimidating for a girly-girl

I don't think the idea of a "critical mass" is limited to females, though. There have been other threads discussing why people in general train at a dojo, and it's usually because they feel accepted there. If there are lots of people training, then other people look at them and think "well, I'll probably feel accepted there too". If there is no feeling of acceptance, then they'd most probably leave.

It's how you foster that feeling of acceptance is what I think differs between females and males. We talk about which techniques work better for females (or people of shorter stature and less physical power ) and what kinds of attacks are more likely to happen to females - yokomen (ie: being slapped), ushiro and katatori come to mind, it's very rare for a female to get straight out punched in the face or gut, so those attacks may put them off.

I also try to take an interest in their lives outside of aikido - ask them what they're studying, where they're from, "gosh, I could really go a chocolate bar right now, what do you think is good?" sort of stuff. Can't shut me up off or on the mat Of course, I chat with the guys as well, but they tend to open up more when you talk about training and techniques, while the females seem to open up when you treat them like people, rather than just another training dummy.

(PS: As for seeing aikido as a dating circle... The afore-mentioned sensei also tells students that he quit aikido for a few years because he discovered dating And it was pure coincidence that my own break from aikido came around the time my husband and I married )
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Old 03-14-2007, 07:21 PM   #19
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

This is a lovely thread I think. I often wonder what would entice more women into the dojo. I've considered relying on my devilish charm and rugged good looks but sadly none of this has worked

My girlfriend (we're getting married next year too) is my senior student and it's noticable that her presence definitely encourages other women to try training with us.

Sadly I've noticed over the years that many of the females who come to aikido suffer from the 'girls going to the toilet in groups problem'. It's a mystery to most men as to why women always go to the toilet together on a night out in a pub or club, men definitely don't bother doing this in my experience. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen a group of women start training, and the one who was really interested in the beginning stops training because her friends who were never really interested decide it's not for them.

In our dojo at the University there are three regular female members and about 6 regular male members which seems to be about the average ratio in my experience. I think it'd be more if women didn't drop out when their friends did and had more confidence to keep training on their own. I think that the ones who aren't bothered if they come to training alone are the ones who tend to stay, this is certainly true of our three female members I think. If not for this I think our gender ratio would be about 50-50.

Wish I knew what I could do about it. I want more women to train with us because they tend to get the idea of softness before the guys and dispense with the need to rely on physical strength quicker. It's swings and roundabouts in terms of progress rate and works out even in the end but I think that women tend to grasp the basics of 'relaxation' quicker than men because they're often more used to not relying on physical strength than the guys.

So basically, we need more women on the mat!

Regards

Mike Haft

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 03-15-2007, 08:17 AM   #20
Amelia Smith
 
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Good discussion here.

When I started, I joined a dojo with about 5 or 6 active male members and one woman, all of whom had been practicing for at least 3-5 years, often more. Having the one woman student there did help, as did the fact that we had a female visiting instructor about 3 weeks into my time there.

The main thing, though, was that nearly everyone was friendly and respectful, and I enjoyed the challenge of learning and pushing myself a bit. I was frustrated when the sensei wouldn't let me do breakfalls in the first 6 months, then I went away for a month, and a guy who had joined the week before I left was doing breakfalls all over the place (we were both in our mid-20s at the time).

I also nearly quit because one guy (who no longer practices aikido) was so sleazy and leering, I just couldn't stand to practice with him. I stopped practicing with him, and it became much more tolerable, but I think that most men aren't sensitive to that kind of attitude in other men, and it's hard to explain it without sounding petty and a bit over-reactive. That can drive a lot of new female students away, but if there's someone in the dojo they can talk to about it, and the sensei is understanding, then you should be able to work it out. If the sensei spends all his time fixated on the sexiness of new female students, you can probably forget about ever having many serious female aikidoka in that dojo.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that you don't necessarily have to have a lot of senior female students (although that can help) just friendliness and an attitude of treating women as people.
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Old 03-15-2007, 09:04 AM   #21
DarkShodan
Dojo: Shuurin Dojo - Omaha, Nebarska
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

I'd like to think if you're a female and you join our dojo, and of course we like you, you're more of a little sister to 12 big brother's. I'd like to think our dojo is like many others in that we are like a small family. It's been proven several times that we take care of our own, as it should be. We've had our share of strange and scary people come through the door, as is expected in any club / organization. Those things tend to work themselves out, sometimes with a little help on my part. (every club needs a dojo a$$hole).

What about a "Women's Empowerment Workshop" or a 'Women's Self Awareness Workshop"? I've been playing with the idea of getting all the female martial arts instructors in the area all together in one spot for one day. They could each do a demo on their specific arts, maybe have each of them do a self defense workshop. Throw in a desk of police officers to talk about safety tips and crime prevention. I have a lawyer friend who would be more than happy to attend and offer legal advice. It may not necessarily attract women specifically to Aikido, but you have more exposure and it may help out some of the other clubs in the area. It would at least get people involved, not just women. Advertise to high schools (especially around homecoming and prom) and the local colleges. Just an idea. I've seen women's seminars advertised but I think they are all just having tickle fights with pillows. I could be way off.

Mary - The position of dojo whiner was taken, so I took the dojo a$$hole position. I'm certified and well qualified. I'll send you a copy of my certificate, as well as 3 personal references. Few see the honor is such a position. It has little rewards.

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Old 03-15-2007, 10:30 AM   #22
Basia Halliop
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Quote:
Lloyd McWhirt wrote: View Post
I'd like to think if you're a female and you join our dojo, and of course we like you, you're more of a little sister to 12 big brother's.
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.

Last edited by Basia Halliop : 03-15-2007 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 03-15-2007, 12:08 PM   #23
Qatana
 
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

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.

Q
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Old 03-15-2007, 01:14 PM   #24
jennyvanwest
 
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Quote:
Lloyd McWhirt wrote: View Post
What about a "Women's Empowerment Workshop" or a 'Women's Self Awareness Workshop"?
This wouldn't draw me in, personally. I don't like being singled out like that. I was very empowered and self-aware to begin with. Being given equal respect and equal treatment on the mat and seeing other women already out there is much more of a draw.
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Old 03-15-2007, 01:58 PM   #25
DarkShodan
Dojo: Shuurin Dojo - Omaha, Nebarska
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Re: Attracting / keeping women members at a dojo

Well, I gave it a shot. As I am constantly reminded, I'm a guy and I just don't get it. Ok, fine. I'll just have to rely on my good looks, sharp wit, and my Capt. Kirk smirky grin to attract females to the dojo. It hasn't worked in the past but I'm not giving up!

Victims, aren't we all.
-- Eric Draven
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