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Old 02-07-2009, 05:15 PM   #1
Chantal
 
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Man Hesitant to Train with Woman???

First of all, I must say that I was not 100% sure where to post this thread, but thought that General would be ok. Also, this is the second time I try to post ... I appologize if this gets posted twice .. I am experiencing technical difficulties with this piece of crap computer I have right now .. grrrr!!!

Ok .... deep breath!!! Here is my dilema: In class, there are certain techniques that require an arm to be placed against a chest (in a pin technique) or the front of the dogi to be grabbed (for a throw as an example). I understand that aspect and I am comfortable with all of that. The issue is with the men in my class. They will hesitate to allow me to perform a technique where their arm ends up against my chest for me to pin them. OR they are hesitant to grab the front of my dogi for other techniques. I say hesitant because they have that "deer stuck in the headlights" look to them. I see how they train with the men, and training with me is definately different.

My question is: how do I kindly acknowledge their hesitancy but also explain to them that by their not doing these things, it hinders my training? I am looking for some tips on how to talk to them, when to talk to them ...

I must note: I am the only woman in my dojo and therefore I can not say how they are with other women since I am the only one there. This is sort of the reverse to a harassment question. These guys are nice guys by holding back, but I need them to do to me what they do to the other guys in order for me to learn. Hope that makes sense!!

Confused thanks in advance,

Chantal
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Old 02-07-2009, 05:39 PM   #2
Marc Abrams
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

Quote:
Chantal Amyotte wrote: View Post
First of all, I must say that I was not 100% sure where to post this thread, but thought that General would be ok. Also, this is the second time I try to post ... I appologize if this gets posted twice .. I am experiencing technical difficulties with this piece of crap computer I have right now .. grrrr!!!

Ok .... deep breath!!! Here is my dilema: In class, there are certain techniques that require an arm to be placed against a chest (in a pin technique) or the front of the dogi to be grabbed (for a throw as an example). I understand that aspect and I am comfortable with all of that. The issue is with the men in my class. They will hesitate to allow me to perform a technique where their arm ends up against my chest for me to pin them. OR they are hesitant to grab the front of my dogi for other techniques. I say hesitant because they have that "deer stuck in the headlights" look to them. I see how they train with the men, and training with me is definately different.

My question is: how do I kindly acknowledge their hesitancy but also explain to them that by their not doing these things, it hinders my training? I am looking for some tips on how to talk to them, when to talk to them ...

I must note: I am the only woman in my dojo and therefore I can not say how they are with other women since I am the only one there. This is sort of the reverse to a harassment question. These guys are nice guys by holding back, but I need them to do to me what they do to the other guys in order for me to learn. Hope that makes sense!!

Confused thanks in advance,

Chantal
Chantal:

I would thank them for hesitating for an action that might be construed by others as inappropriate. I would then tell them that the best sign of respect is to treat you like any other student and that if you were ever to become uncomfortable with an action you would immediately let them know. Until then, you can encourage them to treat you like any other student.

Marc Abrams
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:49 PM   #3
NagaBaba
 
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

Yoshinkan fighters are holding back?? .nnnaaaaaaahhhh...........impossible! These guys have no mercy..... you are making huge mistake.
Remember, Yoshinkan is famous to be the toughest style of aikido in the world.

Nagababa

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Old 02-07-2009, 07:43 PM   #4
Chantal
 
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

Marc ... I like how you worded it "the best sign of respect is to treat you like any other student" makes sense to say this and is not overly wordy ... and I think that it is a polite way of telling them to "train" with me.

Szczepan ...although not intended, your comment made me laugh ...keep in mind that I am the only woman in class ... I am quite small and appear to be "delicate" in their words ... I know that they are afraid of hurting me and I have already had to tell them to actually firmly grab my wrist and that I would tell them if it hurt (so far this is working)

I thought that I should get a man's opinion on how "he" would want to be told that it is ok to grab my dogi and understandably have to lean his hand on my chest .. I did not want to use the wrong words and potentially embarass anyone nor make them feel uncomfortable.

Salut,

Chantal
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Old 02-07-2009, 07:57 PM   #5
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

Oddly I have more women in my class than men. But I think the reason why is that I treat women the same as men, and encourage the men in practice, while there are some things that need slight modification, to pick the women up and throw them down in the same way as other men. I bluntly state that by not doing so cheats thier fellow students out of his/her experience, thus inhibiting their learning.

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Old 02-08-2009, 09:20 AM   #6
Chantal
 
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

You are quite right Lyle, it is inhibiting my learning. I suppose that it is the sensei that should be telling the students to "train" with me in the same manner as they train with eachother. My sensei has said nothing and I belive that it is my place to let the other guys know that it is ok to train with me ... the sensei sees the guys holding back in reference to a hand on chest or grabbing the dogi, but I assume he says nothing cause he is not female and perhaps doesn't want me to be in an uncomfortable situation. But yes you are right, it is holding me back with respect to learning new techniques properly.

thanks for your perspective,

Chantal
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:03 AM   #7
Ketsan
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

Quote:
Chantal Amyotte wrote: View Post
Marc ... I like how you worded it "the best sign of respect is to treat you like any other student" makes sense to say this and is not overly wordy ... and I think that it is a polite way of telling them to "train" with me.

Szczepan ...although not intended, your comment made me laugh ...keep in mind that I am the only woman in class ... I am quite small and appear to be "delicate" in their words ... I know that they are afraid of hurting me and I have already had to tell them to actually firmly grab my wrist and that I would tell them if it hurt (so far this is working)

I thought that I should get a man's opinion on how "he" would want to be told that it is ok to grab my dogi and understandably have to lean his hand on my chest .. I did not want to use the wrong words and potentially embarass anyone nor make them feel uncomfortable.

Salut,

Chantal
I think actions tend to speak louder than words, especially in budo and you have to speak "male" I think, like you're one of the lads.

Try this: When you grab their dogi slightly over emphasise the attack, dump your weight into it or something, so that it grabs their attention and then say "It's ok to attack me properly" with an attitude that indicates that you're serious and not joking around so that they can't confuse it with flirting.

That way you've shown how you want them to be with you and you've stated verbally that you realise what's going on in their head without spelling it out and causing embarrassment.
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:28 AM   #8
Eric Webber
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

Hi Chantel,

I would recommend talking directly about your expierence with the other members of your dojo, see if they are even conscious of treating you differently. Most men in this culture are socialized from little on up to treat women differently, that can be a hard habit to break in the dojo. Give them constructive feedback on the level of force/energy/gusto you would like in an attack and/or technique. I believe all of you will benefit.
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:50 PM   #9
DonMagee
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

I teach judo to a few girls. I also train BJJ with these same girls.

I can't say it's ever occurred to me that what I'm doing to them might be inappropriate. If they didn't want me to do it to them they wouldn't show up.

And these two arts are much more grabby then aikido. Not to mention pins where you are placing your face right in the chest.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 02-08-2009, 01:15 PM   #10
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

Quote:
Chantal Amyotte wrote: View Post
You are quite right Lyle, it is inhibiting my learning. I suppose that it is the sensei that should be telling the students to "train" with me in the same manner as they train with eachother. My sensei has said nothing and I belive that it is my place to let the other guys know that it is ok to train with me ... the sensei sees the guys holding back in reference to a hand on chest or grabbing the dogi, but I assume he says nothing cause he is not female and perhaps doesn't want me to be in an uncomfortable situation. But yes you are right, it is holding me back with respect to learning new techniques properly.

thanks for your perspective,

Chantal
Hi Don,
I like your example, it's perfect. I also like your signature quote.

Hi Chantal,
I'm recalling a story my teacher told me about training with Kids in Shingu, Japan. My teacher had bowed onto the mat and saw all of these little asian kids in their, "cute little gi's". My teacher bowed to train with one child and was gonna take it easy on the cute lil' tyke when no sooner than my teacher had softly grabbed the lapel and could say ' Kata Dori Ikkyo Suwari-Waza' did a very quick, strong atemi come up and punch them straight in the face. I guess the young aikidoka sensed the lack of presence, felt the opening, and did what all aikdoka are taught to do; fill the opening (suki = tsuki) and apply.

When we're not present we have suki. No matter the circumstance. Thats what makes aikido such an equal playing field; the principles are there for everyone to actualize. Big guys don't have an advantage in this case. No one does.

As an instructor I'd recommend that you talk with yours. Give them some trust and an opportunity to grow, also.

Best,
Jen

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 02-08-2009 at 01:17 PM.

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:00 PM   #11
Garth Jones
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

I've been training with women since day one on the mat and my wife (who has been training a year longer than me) co-run a a little dojo. We have a number of senior women and the last thing I'm thinking about when one of them is pinning me in nikyo, etc. is where my hand is. Usually I'm thinking, 'tap now!' I learned, very early in my training, that we will come in contact with each other in all sorts of ways, some of them awkward and unintentional. If everybody is training seriously and there is no malicious intent then I think people don't even notice - it's just not what they are focusing on.

I'm sure the guys in your dojo are used to this with each other, but they may need some education. I think all the advice you've gotten so far is excellent, so I'll just add that, if your dojo mates are decent folks, a few minutes of conversation may save everybody a whole lot of second guessing and doubt. Talk to your sensei and perhaps any of your seniors you feel would be receptiv to talking about the issue.

Cheers,
Garth
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:01 PM   #12
Chantal
 
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

wow .. tonnes of great advice I can take to class tomorrow night. We go for beer after class so perhaps I will bring it up there in a conversation. We are a small dojo and the people I am referring to all go for drinks with me. I will figure out a non-threatening way to bring it up quickly and non-challantly (not sure how to spell that) so that I do not linger on the topic but get my perspective heard by the others.

Thanks to everyone,

Chantal
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:49 PM   #13
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

"I say hesitant because they have that "deer stuck in the headlights" look to them"

Lol, I think I am one of them!!

Τὰ πάντα ῥεῖ , What Flows, Is.
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:12 PM   #14
Lyle Bogin
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

I wonder if you could learn to blend with their hesitation and lead them by their uncomfortableness into some wicked throws....
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Old 02-09-2009, 12:20 AM   #15
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

Quote:
Chantal Amyotte wrote: View Post
I know that they are afraid of hurting me
Don't feel bad. I'm afraid of hurting the rest of the guys in class

I actually don't like training with women. Well maybe better said training with women I am unfamiliar with or who I feel are or might be doing the alpha female thing. Seen it. Hate it.
I realize it's disrespectful and not really fair to women-it's a bias I've picked up from my own work and previous MA experience and something I'm working on. That's not all women of course, I'd LOVE for example to get my ass kicked by Mary.E.

[For the record I don't think you're this type of personality at all]
Anyways probably a argument for a different thread (Feel free to start one ) Don't be insulted when some guys are reluctant, it may be that they had a bad experience OR they just don't know know he ettiquette protocal or whatever of how to act.

As far as training with guys in class go, I think it's bound to happen sooner of later that someone is gonna come into contact with your goods.
When it happens to me it's a quick laugh, 'sorry dude' and we carry on. For a woman it might be a little more awkward. What I would do if I were you is that the next time you're out with everyone tackle it head on.

Maybe something like
"Hey guys, I was telling some women a work about me doing Aikido and they asked if anyone ever brushed against me (etc..) by accident. I said it's not a big deal, it's a part of the training and I don't want special treatment.
I hope YOU guys realize I know that stuff is gonna happen and I don't want you to feel weird about it or take it easy on me because then I'm not learning. It's an accident. Just keep training"

This will give the guys an out so they can say NO of course we don't treat you different! and in their head they may become more reassured and comfortable with the close contact. and no that you're not creeped out by it.

Last edited by Guilty Spark : 02-09-2009 at 12:22 AM.

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Old 02-09-2009, 03:06 PM   #16
Chantal
 
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

I understand you being leary on training with women you do not know ... and I understand that the men in my class might also be slightly apprehensive. I will talk to them tonight after class when we go for beer ... in a casual conversation. Usually pretty easy to bring up any subject during beer

As far as the accidental "oops" where a guy brushes up against me or grabs the goods... it has happened. Funny enough, it was my sensei. He was patting everyone on the shoulder when they were passing him and he went to pat me on the shoulder but I mived a bit and his aim was thrown slightly off ... so ofcourse, his hand kinda just cupped my boob ... his eyes got huge and he sort of froze ... I had to giggle and quickly say "it's ok, don't worry about it ... it's bound to happen" ... and class continued as normal. With this said, I still only talked to him, and the others did not see or hear the boob grab/conversation. I do imagine that the other guys would have reacted the same way.

Gonna talk to them tonight ... have a good evening/day to all

Chantal
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:55 AM   #17
Ron Tisdale
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

That stuff happens, and most guys are anywhere from mildly appalled to way too horrified.

When accidents happen, treat them casually, and move on.

When enviting a grab in a sensitive area, pull the dogi out away from the bits, and offer it for a grab.

If someone grabs and you don't feel enough to work with, politely ask for some more. **If they give too much then, just as politely ask for a little less**

I think the mentioning it casually over drinks is a great idea. They'll get over it as they train with you more. By never making an unreasonable fuss, you condition them correctly.

At the same time, do not tolerate abuse.

Best,
Ron

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Old 02-10-2009, 11:25 AM   #18
ChrisMoses
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

This kind of thing can indeed make dudes feel pretty awkward. I guess you're lucky that you're not in one of those creepy dojos that uses this very scenario to fondle the women of the dojo (it does happen).

The cold hard (or should it be "warm soft"?) truth of the matter is that if you (as a guy) do martial arts with women, you will occasionally get a handful of boob. Best thing to do (in my mind) is to acknowledge it, laugh about it and get on with training. I think it's usually clear to everyone when that kind of contact is made in all innocence (as a normal part of training) and when someone is taking advantage of the situation.

If someone seems to have a particular problem grabbing you, you might either try to address it with them after class ("Hey, I know you're not trying to fondle me, but if you could actually grab me I'd really appreciate it. I know you might 'miss' and that's a chance I'm willing to take to get to really train. Can we agree for next time?") or you might even bring it up right on the spot, perhaps with some humor to cut the tension, ("they're not glass, I don't think they'll break...").

Good luck, hope that helps.

Chris Moses
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:19 PM   #19
Phil Van Treese
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

1st of all, Yoshinkan Aikido is by far not the "toughest" style of Aikido. Have you tried Tomiki Aikido---AKA Shodokan Aikido??? I don't think so. Since we do the tachi waza like you all, we also do Newaza, Kansetsu waza and Shime waza.
As for training with female students, they are treated the same as the men. NO inappropriate touching/actions have ever occurred in our dojo. If the men refuse to train with the women then they need to be talked to. Any horse play etc won't be tolerated but it has never happened yet because of the professionalism of all the aikidoka.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:30 PM   #20
Chantal
 
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

ok .. I have something funny to add to the "oops" of stupid stuff I do. Last night in aikido, I was working on techniques for my next belt and I had to do a technique where I pin my partner's wrist to the floor ... well, silly me, I get all in to it and move too fast through the movement and end up having difficulty slowing down to pinn my partner. So instead of losing my balance and falling, I somehow managed to "sit" on my partner in what looks like a **woman rides horse side saddle** ... I burst out laughing immediately and my parter cracks a joke by saying "c'mon now, I am not a pony!!" .. well I lost it about then ... I couldn't control my laughter anymore .. I had tears rolling down my face. It took both of us a while to stop laughing. The rest of the night, we would try and be serious but the slightlest look made me laugh.

Soooo, as far as the chat I was going to have with them at beer last night, that kinda took care of itself ... it showed them I am human and am also bound to do get in to very close contact with them ... eveything said, I think that incomfortable feeling is gone for them ...lol

Chantal
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:41 PM   #21
Chantal
 
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

Phil ... I think you should perhaps direct your comment to Szczepan. I think he was the only one to make reference that Yoshinkan was the toughest. I do agree that there is tougher out there.

As far as the accidental "oops" or inhibitions relating to training with a woman, you are lucky that your dojo does not experience this as being an issue. In my case, I understand that it "was" a tad bit difficult for the men to adjust to having a female in class. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that we are not professional in our training... all I am saying is that perhaps some topics need to be addressed on the lighter side. I respect the people I train with, therefore I wanted tips on addressing something that might make them feel uncomfortable ... thanks everyone for the tips ... I think the "sitting on my partner" pretty much solved the sensitive issue.

Chantal
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Old 02-10-2009, 01:47 PM   #22
Ron Tisdale
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

Ah, Mr. S was making a ***joke***...he trains in the Aikikai as it happens. And from what I hear, he is the ORIGINAL Hard Bastard(TM).


Best,
Ron

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Old 02-10-2009, 02:07 PM   #23
Phil Van Treese
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Thumbs up Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

Why would you be hesitant to train with women???? When you're in class, it's training at it's best. In my school here in Tampa, we train equally with no inhibitions and everyone is professional in their attitude. If you put on a gi and step on the mat---then get ready to train!!! In Tomiki, our style, we also train on the mat so it gets to be fun.
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Old 02-10-2009, 04:22 PM   #24
Chantal
 
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

I am not hesitant to train with women or men. In my dojo, I am the one and only woman. Thus the reason I was seeking advice/tips on how to approach then men that did not fully engage in performing a technique on me (when it came to grabbing the chest area of my gi ... or their hand be placed against my chest) ... I have gotten lots of advice ... and by my "oops" last night, I think that the potential issue will clear up just fine.

Chantal
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Old 02-10-2009, 04:43 PM   #25
Chris Covington
 
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Re: man hesitant to train with woman???

Hello Chantal et al,

I've been in the position your male training partners are in when I did judo. At first it was difficult but when you're in the middle of a match with a skilled female judoka you really stop worrying about things like brushing her chest or being in her guard, because she's trying to kill you on the mat! My advice is try to kill them and make them worry about their safety, then they won't worry about other stuff. Now when I work with ladies, I don't have any trouble training with them. I expect them to try to kill me.

Another thought, given a choice of brushing a chick's goods, or a dude's goods I know which one I'd rather brush

Honestly it is something they have to learn and something they have to get over, so you can help teach them. They also may be uncomfortable around you if you are attractive to them. "She's hot, and I like her, but I don't want her to think I like her, and if I brush the wrong part she's gonna think I'm making an advance, and oh man what do I do?!?" Think middle school/jr. high and you'll get the idea.

As for your laughing in class, I'd say your zanshin isn't very good and you need to study harder. You may want to focus on that in your up coming classes. Maybe ask your teacher to help you. We've all been there and something funny happens and we chuckle afterwards, but if it affecting your training the rest of the night you need to really consider how you are training.

Best regards,

Chris Covington
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