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Old 03-07-2010, 05:08 AM   #151
Anita Dacanay
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Thanks, Barbara. What I am gleaning from your posts is that if everyone at the dojo is not supportive of the idea of a women's class, then it can serve to create even more division. (Or maybe highlight the divisions that already exist?)

As far as my situation goes, right now I am just happy that I get to practice Aikido at all. I think it is a privilege just to have the chance to learn and get onto the mat with people who have many years of experience to share with me. I am lucky that even without a women's class, I had enough support to get onto the mat for the first time even though it was scary to me. Once I did that, my own fascination and stubbornness took over.

Right now I am still absorbing a lot and feel like a "baby" in my Aikido studies. But I am hoping that in the future at some point, I can find a way to show a bit more leadership in inviting more people into the dojo, hence my curiosity on how this particular venture has gone for other people.
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:03 PM   #152
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Speaking as a woman who has plenty of reason to be uncomfortable training with men I have to say that I would not want to be in an all woman's class. Yes there are time when I get very nervous and sometimes even scared but that's why I am there. To work through it and learn how to deal with it. Avoiding the thing you are afraid of will not help you to overcome the fear. Fortunately I have some really wonderful teachers who are aware that I have these issues and are able to help me. I think the men I train with are terrific too, even if they don't really quite know why I freeze up on them sometimes. They are always willing to work through it with me and help me to continue to learn.

If the dojo had an all women's class to start with I don't know I may or may not have gone that route but I don't think it would have been a great benefit to me as compared to training in a regular mixed dojo.
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Old 03-07-2010, 04:19 PM   #153
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Speaking as a woman who has plenty of reason to be uncomfortable training with men I have to say that I would not want to be in an all woman's class. Yes there are time when I get very nervous and sometimes even scared but that's why I am there. To work through it and learn how to deal with it. Avoiding the thing you are afraid of will not help you to overcome the fear.
Well, first off, "uncomfortable training with men" doesn't necessarily mean "scared". Most (if not all) of the people reading this come from societies that have few contexts where extensive physical contact between men and women occurs without at least the question of sexuality coming into it. The dojo is different, but people don't simply drop their socialization at the dojo door. Many women may find that a women's class makes it easier to take the step of studying a martial art, simply because all the man-woman issues are absent.

As to when fear is the issue -- what worked for you will work for some women who have "plenty of reasons to be uncomfortable training with men", but not for others. I've known many people who were traumatized by various experiences, who doggedly tried to follow the old adages about "facing your fears" and "getting back on the horse", and had it backfire in spectacularly ugly ways. I think that most people who are truly traumatized (as opposed to a momentary, one-time bad experience) need some time to let it alone...which some might label as "avoiding the thing you are afraid of". I think that's simplistic -- people need time to heal. Do we say that someone who crashed their bike and broke their collarbone is "avoiding the thing you are afraid of" if they don't hop right back up and get on that bike, broken collarbone and all?

Aversion is a normal reaction to trauma, and it's often a very functional reaction. "But what if someone never gets past that stage?" you may say. I say that "never" is a long time, and it only comes when someone is dead. In the meantime, they're on their own clock, just as we all are. Everyone who's been through trauma walks a different path: there is no universal road and there is no set time schedule. What may seem like a detour to someone else, could in fact be this person's most direct path to healing and moving on.
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Old 03-07-2010, 07:38 PM   #154
Anita Dacanay
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Mary, I agree with everything you just said.
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Old 03-07-2010, 08:38 PM   #155
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Ok Mary let me put it this way. Traumatized might be a mild way to put it. If you can imagine it I have probably experienced it. I really would rather not go into detail as to just what it is I have experienced in my life but let me reassure you I do know what it is to experience trauma on a rather large scale and not just one kind. Physical (both kinds), verbal, and emotional assaults (by multiple people) have been a large part of my early life. Maybe there are people who have been through worse. I'm sure there are. But I'm not talking about one time events or the usual ugly boyfriend type experience we all hear about. When I say uncomfortable I don't just mean its not fun for me. The word was my way of avoiding coming closer to the actual truth so that I would not have to bring to conscious memory those things which I would prefer to forget. Trust me I do understand what fear is. I also realize that not everyone has the strength to stand up to and face what they are afraid of. I was simply posting my personal point of view on the subject.

Just popped in here to say I had to laugh when I got to tonight's class and realized that the only people to show were me, my sensei Tara and one other woman who is prepping for her sandan test. So I had my first all girls class tonight. Enjoyed it very much but I still think I would not want to do it all the time.

Last edited by Shadowfax : 03-07-2010 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:50 AM   #156
Anita Dacanay
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Hope you had a fun all-girls class, Cherie!

I think it's fantastic that Aikido has helped you face your fears, but I also think that Mary's point was: to each her own path. What has worked for you may not work for others, and that doesn't necessarily mean that those others are not "strong". There are many, many different ways for a woman to be strong.

I am glad that you know and acknowledge your own strength. Good for you.
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:31 AM   #157
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

I did have a fun class. But then girls or guys or both I have never not had a fun class.

I'm not sure I would say aikido has helped me face my fears so much as I face them myself by choosing to take aikido. It certainly has helped me in many ways though. I also have some experience dealing with and helping other women through and past other kinds of fears. Funny how the proverb about falling off a horse was mentioned. That's what I do.

After a riding accident that came very close to breaking my back it took me 6 years to regain my confidence with horses. How did I do it? Well it turned out that the only real way is to continue to ride. To have lots and lots of positive successful rides but that still didn't quite do the trick. What did the trick after all those positive rides was for me to fall off the horse again and realize it would not kill me to do so. I only partially dislocated a shoulder that time. Aikido has completed the job by teaching me that falling is no big deal and teaching me how to fall and refining my sense of center.

Since then I have worked with other women with their fear and have seen them successfully overcome it. One of them has not yet fallen. In the 4 years I've worked with her, she also has slowly progressed and has now got confidence where she once had constant fear and worry. She also has learned through experiencing and getting successfully through the things that once scared her. If another way works for someone else that's great but I have a hard time see what other way would work so well.
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:50 AM   #158
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Ok Mary let me put it this way. Traumatized might be a mild way to put it. If you can imagine it I have probably experienced it. I really would rather not go into detail
Then don't feel you must. I didn't ask. I simply made the point that it's inaccurate to generalize from your personal experience: what was effective for you, may well be the exact wrong thing for someone else to do.

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Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Trust me I do understand what fear is. I also realize that not everyone has the strength to stand up to and face what they are afraid of. I was simply posting my personal point of view on the subject.
Cherie, I really think this is a simplistic way of looking at things. I hear this as a statement like, "Every problem is a nail. How do I know this? Because I have this awesome hammer, and it can whack the everlovin' crap out of all those nails!" I would never suggest discarding a tool that has proven to be useful...but I think it's also important to recognize that even the most powerful tool can't solve every problem, and may be a spectacularly bad idea for some. You will most likely come to encounter problems in life that refuse to be solved by vigorous application of your "hammer", but even if you don't, I assure you that other people have. If you don't see them whackin' away at their problems, it isn't because they're not "strong enough" -- it's because they know that you don't use a hammer if the problem isn't a nail.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:23 AM   #159
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

If I start a only-men-class. It would be sexistic and all women will say it's not fair.
But if there is a only-women-class, it should be okay?

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Old 03-08-2010, 10:35 AM   #160
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

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Dirk Desmet wrote: View Post
If I start a only-men-class. It would be sexistic and all women will say it's not fair.
But if there is a only-women-class, it should be okay?
Why are you asking a question that has almost certainly been addressed at great length in this thread?
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Old 03-11-2010, 06:32 AM   #161
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Why are you asking a question that has almost certainly been addressed at great length in this thread?
Are you worried about my reading comprehension?

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Old 03-11-2010, 08:35 AM   #162
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Quote:
Dirk Desmet wrote: View Post
Are you worried about my reading comprehension?
No, I'm just asking why you're asking a question that has almost certainly been addressed at length in this thread. If you've read those comments, and have some disagreement or question with them, why not state it? And if you haven't read them, why not do so?
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:56 AM   #163
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

burn o_o

MM
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:10 PM   #164
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

The only thing that would cause me to be uncomfortable working with a man is if I was doing jujitsu and had head head inbetween my legs. That might make me a bit uncomfortable. Other then that, I actually prefer working with sweaty men most of the time. They are stronger then me and I can't muscle my way through the technique as easily (if at all). I do however apprciate working with women, but it doesn't happen often in my dojo. The neat thing about working with another female is that it seems like we have an understanding with one another. We just seem to get whether we want to be slammed around or take it easy without saying anything. Just a different feeling and type of training in my experience.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
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Old 03-11-2010, 01:49 PM   #165
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

I was reluctant to get back into this thread, but since it keeps popping back up on the front page anyway, here's one more post from me..

Quote:
Ashley Carter wrote: View Post
The only thing that would cause me to be uncomfortable working with a man is if I was doing jujitsu and had head head inbetween my legs.
But you're already a martial artist!
Not to pick on you, but this is just one example. The original point was more of a women's "intro/outreach" type class, that would get people into regular classes if they like it. The reason I think it is especially valuable is simply that there are lots of non-martial artist women who may in fact benefit from aikido, and who may benefit aikido as an art. Many of them have a legitimate reason behind why they never thought of joining a martial art. It may have to do with their own life, but in many cases, the fact that our culture may still have sexist attitudes being perpetuated is a major culprit.

So-- for these people, who are not martial artists and have never been to a dojo, who have never heard of MA being something where they could flourish, who don't know first hand how those of us within any given dojo may in fact be not sexist at all-- this could open their eyes.
If we can legitimately say we (as individuals and as representatives of a martial art) have no part in maintaining a sexist society, and that there are no women who have had their attitudes regarding MA or male-female interaction impacted in ways they didn't personally deserve by sexism, then we don't need and in fact shouldn't have womens' outreach classes. But if we can't confidently make that statement then we are fooling ourselves.

The same could be said for any type of outreach class (that is the point of outreach). A women's intro class does not mean someone who feels strongly can't start some other kind of outreach class. Tom Osborn is posting about a PTSD veterans' outreach class of sorts. You could start one for anything, and that would not mean a women's intro class is bad.

Last edited by JW : 03-11-2010 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 03-11-2010, 01:56 PM   #166
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

My Sensei is a woman. And I love training with her.

However, outside of her I prefer men as training partners.
I can maybe think of 3 women I like to work with, and the rest I just don't connect to.
However, I think that maybe for some women there might be a better approach to teaching women in general. Women have other qualities and attributes than men obviously... even in aiki.
I'm a girl that tends to benefit and thrive with training with men.

However, I've worked with women who are good aikidoka, but they don't thrive training with men, they thrive better with women. They would work out with me over a guy any day basically. We all learn differently, and we learn the best from those we can relate to. I relate better with men... a lot of women do not, and I think that should be respected.

In the end the goal is creating excellent Aikidoka... and schools should do whatever it takes to serve their students, regardless of sex, just as students should serve their school.

Last edited by RED : 03-11-2010 at 01:58 PM.

MM
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Old 03-11-2010, 02:14 PM   #167
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

No offense taken Jonathan. Uck.... I hate finding typos "head head" instead of "his head" AFTER I can't edit it anymore! I was just merely commenting on what was brought up towards the end about some women feeling uncomfortable working with men (whatever the reasons are). Heck, some people have issues being that close to anyone- period.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:14 AM   #168
Anita Dacanay
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
So-- for these people, who are not martial artists and have never been to a dojo, who have never heard of MA being something where they could flourish, who don't know first hand how those of us within any given dojo may in fact be not sexist at all-- this could open their eyes.
If we can legitimately say we (as individuals and as representatives of a martial art) have no part in maintaining a sexist society, and that there are no women who have had their attitudes regarding MA or male-female interaction impacted in ways they didn't personally deserve by sexism, then we don't need and in fact shouldn't have womens' outreach classes. But if we can't confidently make that statement then we are fooling ourselves.

The same could be said for any type of outreach class (that is the point of outreach). A women's intro class does not mean someone who feels strongly can't start some other kind of outreach class. Tom Osborn is posting about a PTSD veterans' outreach class of sorts. You could start one for anything, and that would not mean a women's intro class is bad.
Yes! The original intent of this thread (I believe) was to address the issues/needs of the many women who are NOT already coming to dojos and learning Aikido. I think it is hugely presumptive, and a real shame, to just assume that women aren't interested in martial arts, generally speaking, and that is why so few of us are represented. I find Aikido to be so enriching and rewarding; I know there are other women like me who would feel the same if they were exposed to Aikido in a meaningful and comfortable way. This is why I think an outreach effort is worth it.
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:25 PM   #169
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

After reading the thread in its entirety, I have a few comments. It turns out that I am pretty much on the fence with this. I understand dojo's wanting to have more females. Heck, I am the only one that trains most of the time. Sensei's wife trains, but not that often (other then teaching the kids). I too have gotten used to the empty women's locker room and have grown accustomed to strewing my stuff all across the bench. It always throws me off when another female enters. Wait.... I have to share?

I think an all womens intro class could be a good thing to get their feet wet. Especially if they are trying to get over a problem with being that close to a male... or female for that matter. However, once that intro course ended, I would be interested in seeing if any of them would continue on. One poster previously stated that no one really came back. Perhaps an intro to aikido class would be best. Males and females could train together. If a female has a preference for training with another female, then fine. The course could focus on basic footwork, simple techniques, ukemi, etc. Something that will give them a good foundation and could be structured. It could slowly give them skill sets and allow them to gain some confidence.

I think a class like that might be more successful. I think a major issue with aikido is that you are just thrown in with everyone else. Sure, people are willing to help you, but it can be intimidating. You get shown a technique four times and your off to the races. It is an intricate art and you often don't get to work on a given technique long enough to grasp it before you are being shown something else. Then, to top it all off, the next class you go to, you don't do any of the techniques you were shown previously. It is a daunting and overwhelming process. I think that is the main problem with aikido.

It isn't an instant gratification style and you don't pick up on the movements so easily. I guess in the end, I can't say that an all women's course is a bad thing. I have taken a women's self defense course (RAD: Rape aggression self defense) and found it quite useful, but it was more along the lines of: learning to punch, kick, knee a guy in the groin, some basic throws, etc. At the end, we were tested with three attackers coming after us in full body red suits and we got to beat the crap out of them. HOWEVER, I also believe that a class should consist of a variety of people: male, female, tall, short, heavy, light, stiff, limber, rough, gentle, skilled, unskilled, etc.

I believe the more you expose yourself to, the more you will get out of the art. Limiting yourself in the beginning is okay I suppose, but to truly flourish, you have to spread your wings and try to fly. It is the only way to truly see the world around you.

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Old 03-13-2010, 03:46 PM   #170
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Ashley, I agree with what you've said above. I think that there are some cultural elements that present special challenges for women entering into the martial arts, but as you say, there are also challenges irrespective of gender. We can't eliminate all of those challenges, and frankly I think we shouldn't try with some of them -- for example, we can't change the fundamental fact that learning aikido (or any other martial art) isn't accomplished by means of "tricks" or "tips", but by plain and simple hard work and persistent training. What we can perhaps do better (than we typically do) is to...how to say this...give beginning students a vision of how they can do it without any shortcuts? We can work on getting them to understand that yes, it's a challenge...no, there are no shortcuts...but the people you see around you, the ones who have done it, are no more talented than you are. They just kept coming back.
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:19 PM   #171
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Do symbol Re: Starting an all-women's class

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
...What we can perhaps do better (than we typically do) is to...how to say this...give beginning students a vision of how they can do it without any shortcuts? We can work on getting them to understand that yes, it's a challenge...no, there are no shortcuts...but the people you see around you, the ones who have done it, are no more talented than you are. They just kept coming back.
Brilliant, Mary. And what you said applies to everyone. It seems to me that we have as many nervous, self-conscious, uncertain men show up as women. We have some really small guys, some old guys, some guys with injuries or disabilities, and probably a few guys (or more than a few) who are uncomfortable at the prospect of training with the "jocks" who beat them up in junior high. And the "jocks" might have it the worst, because they may expect Aikido to be easy, because they are generally big and strong and coordinated, and they may be surprised and discouraged when it is not so.

What you said could be really good for any of us to hear: "... the people you see around you, the ones who have done it, are no more talented than you are. They just kept coming back."

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Old 03-14-2010, 07:03 AM   #172
Anita Dacanay
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Yes, Mary and Linda, what you both say is very true indeed for people who are beginners, but still doesn't address in the least the issue of how few women show up at the dojo on their own in the first place, and how to expose/invite those women to try Aikido.

I feel like I need to keep driving home the fact that I was one of those women, and that that is why this is such a big deal to me. I would have never even thought that I could or would want to get up and try Aikido, if not for sitting there in a chair watching my son do it for a year. The idea wouldn't have occurred to me, because I had never been exposed to Aikido, and my martial arts experience was limited to having watched the "Karate Kid" movies. Oh, I suppose we could also count my years of watching "Kung Fu" as part of my afterschool TV line up. lol

The fact that our dojo membership is so overwhelmingly male was also a challenge for me at first. This is no longer a challenge at all, but I needed a bit of encouragement to give it a try in the first place.

I do feel that it is important to make the distinction between the goal of supporting/guiding beginners to continue their practice, and the goal of getting people into the dojo who might not come without some special encouragement or accommodation. One is primarily a question of how to be good instructors and good Sempai to new students; the second (the one I thought this thread was addressing) is an issue of outreach, as Jonathan described, in order to address the needs of people who are not already signing up for classes, for whatever reasons.

If an all-women's introductory class got some new people to give Aikido a try, then I should think it could be considered a success. I don't think these women all have to become lifelong practitioners for it to have been a successful venture. For some, just trying it may mark a personal victory. I think that the ones who are meant to continue practicing will do so, because I think that Aikido has its own energy and it works on us on so many levels. I know that for me, practicing Aikido just makes me feel good, and that's why no one else has to motivate me to keep coming back to class. My own experience motivates me.
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Old 03-14-2010, 03:21 PM   #173
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

Quote:
I feel like I need to keep driving home the fact that I was one of those women, and that that is why this is such a big deal to me. I would have never even thought that I could or would want to get up and try Aikido, if not for sitting there in a chair watching my son do it for a year. The idea wouldn't have occurred to me, because I had never been exposed to Aikido, and my martial arts experience was limited to having watched the "Karate Kid" movies. Oh, I suppose we could also count my years of watching "Kung Fu" as part of my afterschool TV line up. lol
That was pretty much my experience as well except I had not even really been exposed to martial arts even in theater. I was taught that such things were violent and should not be considered even as entertainment.

So lets look at it this way. Even if such a thing as an all woman's class existed would that fact have drawn you or I to try aikido in the first place? How would we have known to look for an all women's class? What would draw us to even look at martial arts period be it a women only or mixed gender format?

In my own case it was someone seeing and recognizing that I had the potential and the qualities that would mean I would take well to, and benefit from, it. And said person helping me to discover its existence and then giving me much encouragement to try it all the while shooting down every potential objection before I could seriously make it. Even though I myself did not belive such was possible.

It took the inviting and kind attitude of two senseis at a local dojo who saw that I was completely lost and needed a great deal of encouragement. Who took time to make me feel welcome and wanted even though I was struggling to even learn the bare basics of ukemi. It took all of my fellow students giving encouragement and drawing me in and making me feel like a part of the group in spite of the fact I felt like an ugly duckling among the swans.

Society says that women are not supposed to be into such things, we are not supposed to have a dominant spirit or enjoy rough sports. Even all the while it says to women," you can do anything you want to", it still quietly sits in disapproval of those who do take up such things or makes the few who do out to be unusual or different maybe not feminine in some way. Or it splits us off into the female only version of the sport as if to emphasize that we are not truly equal to the men. And to be honest many of us simply are not and cannot be. So sure maybe a women only class would be appreciated by many. maybe not. Seems to me if there were a ready market for it such classes would be common and so this thread would not exist.

There are many reasons why women do not take up martial arts besides those earlier discussed. So how can we as martial artists (both men and women) help to encourage others (both men and women who might not have previously considered it) to try it?

A great idea mentioned above, my dojo has a monthly class that specifically introduces new people to aikido, thoroughly explaining everything from its history to basic movement, how a class proceeds and the etiquette involved. For myself I found the class highly valuable and a big help in my entry into what was a very foreign and intimidating world.

Those of us in the art need to pay attention to those we meet or know and their qualities and offer encouragement to them. And help them to discover their own potential. Be it in aikido, some other form of martial art or some other endeavor that they may not have the courage to try without someone to give them the push they need.

Last edited by Shadowfax : 03-14-2010 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 03-14-2010, 03:55 PM   #174
Anita Dacanay
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

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Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
There are many reasons why women do not take up martial arts besides those earlier discussed. So how can we as martial artists (both men and women) help to encourage others (both men and women who might not have previously considered it) to try it?

A great idea mentioned above, my dojo has a monthly class that specifically introduces new people to aikido, thoroughly explaining everything from its history to basic movement, how a class proceeds and the etiquette involved. For myself I found the class highly valuable and a big help in my entry into what was a very foreign and intimidating world.

Those of us in the art need to pay attention to those we meet or know and their qualities and offer encouragement to them. And help them to discover their own potential. Be it in aikido, some other form of martial art or some other endeavor that they may not have the courage to try without someone to give them the push they need.
Cherie, I hear what you are saying.

I have a pretty extensive background doing arts outreach as a performing artist, so the idea of Aikido outreach is just very appealing to me. It has always been very exciting/rewarding for me to encourage someone who has never written a poem before to take up a pen and do just that; or to watch a group of people who had never considered themselves to be performers get up on a stage and share their creative voices.

In that spirit, I suppose there are any number of ways, both informal and formal, to focus on introducing more women (and more people in general) to Aikido. This is something I am sure I will continue to think about at length as I continue my own practice.
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:48 PM   #175
Linda Eskin
 
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Re: Starting an all-women's class

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Anita Dacanay wrote: View Post
Yes, Mary and Linda, what you both say is very true indeed for people who are beginners, but still doesn't address in the least the issue of how few women show up at the dojo on their own in the first place, and how to expose/invite those women to try Aikido.
...the goal of getting people into the dojo who might not come without some special encouragement or accommodation ...(the one I thought this thread was addressing) is an issue of outreach, as Jonathan described, in order to address the needs of people who are not already signing up for classes, for whatever reasons.

If an all-women's introductory class got some new people to give Aikido a try...
I think I'm getting your point. :-) But I also think it's not only women who might need some special encouragement and accomodation. I don't think it's a gender thing. I think there are just as many men who dont know about martial arts, haven't heard of Aikido, would be very uncomfortable walking into a dojo full of sweaty people who appear to be fairly proficient, etc. It can be an age thing, a fitness thing, a confidence thing...

I'd rather see an "Intro workshop" or "Discover Aikido in an Afternoon" kind of thing, open to anyone. I dunno... Maybe there are a few things that need to be addressed privately, woman-to-woman, and man-to-man. But I'd have been really put off if I'd seen a Women Only class when I was looking for a dojo. I don't want to be some "special case" student, I just want to be a student.

Of course, I'm one of those people who fought my way into the football class in jr. high (and wood shop, and metal shop). I grew up flying, skateboarding, and working on cars. So my perspective is influenced by that.

A woman (girlfriend of a guy who was training) was in the dojo months ago, and I asked her casually if she'd ever done Aikido, or any martial arts. She seemed almost offended, and replied sharply to the effect of "Oh my goodness no, of course not!" Naturally the class started just then, and I didn't have a chance to ask her to elaborate, but I've wondered about that since. Did she think she wouldn't be capable? Or that it wasn't a suitable pursuit for a lady? Or what?

I'd be interested in hearing what your considerations were, and indeed, those of any women - or men - who thought Aikido was "not for them" somehow. I have known a few women who would've been stopped by the fact that they'd have to keep their nails short, for instance. Knowing what people's concerns are can help us address them better. Clearly, since there are lots of women doing Aikido (guessing about 30% at my dojo), simply being female isn't the issue.

Here's an example of what I'm thinking. If there are people who think they would look like a hippo if they wore all white, and their vanity is what's stopping them, then a message to address that might be "Do you let concern over your appearance keep you from following your passions? Come experience a way of being where your character is more important than your clothes." Well, something like that. I think that is a more empowering message than "Think you can't do Aikido because you are a woman? We think even woman can practice Aikido. Come give it a try."

I dunno... It's a thought...

Last edited by Linda Eskin : 03-14-2010 at 04:50 PM. Reason: Minor elaboration on a point.

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