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Old 04-18-2002, 02:14 PM   #1
sam sneed
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women and aikido

I have noticed that more women are aikido students than compared to other martial arts. A few of them even run their own dojos in the city where i live. Does anyone have any reason or insight into this?
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Old 04-18-2002, 03:54 PM   #2
guest1234
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1. Size doesn't matter (in Aikido )
2. Some women may not find aggression stressed in other arts as attractive
3. Aikido instructors may be more welcoming to women than other MA instructors (for similar reason as #2) or perhaps a more open mind (I've heard Aikido can help with that )
4. Size doesn't matter
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Old 04-18-2002, 05:54 PM   #3
giriasis
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I agree with Colleen. It's the nature of the art, I believe.

I definantly feel it's the size doesn't matter. One of the best yudansha I've seen is a 5'0" tall female who weighs about 110 pounds. She has powerful aikido and can easily throw the larger guys. She is just deceptively graceful and fluid.

Anne Marie

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 04-18-2002, 06:23 PM   #4
Erik
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SIZE COUNTS!

Just felt the need to say that.
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Old 04-18-2002, 06:31 PM   #5
Chuck Clark
 
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Quality counts!

Just felt the need to say that.

Regards,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 04-18-2002, 08:08 PM   #6
IrimiTom
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I think size does matter in aikido, not necessarily in a "bigger is better" way, probably it's more the opposite, all I know is that when I practice with someone a lot shorter than me, it is very hard for me to do koshinage on that person, and a lot easier for him to do it on me
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Old 04-18-2002, 08:57 PM   #7
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Please remember (yeah I know its obvious) that all techniques are not meant to work on all people. Just like ma ai changes based on who or what you face so does the best technique to employ.

As for women in Aikido - where I train its about 30% but then in the Shorinji Kempo dojo in my village the percentage is about the same. What makes Aikido special I think is that women really do offer something to the dojo. Men make the women tougher, women make the men softer with the overall effect that the Aikido of everyone moves to a higher level. Sounds sexist doesn't it - but I have seen the effect again and again.

Quote:
Originally posted by IrimiTom
I think size does matter in aikido, not necessarily in a "bigger is better" way, probably it's more the opposite, all I know is that when I practice with someone a lot shorter than me, it is very hard for me to do koshinage on that person, and a lot easier for him to do it on me

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 04-18-2002, 08:57 PM   #8
paw
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Quote:
Size doesn't matter (in Aikido)
I'm shocked such statements still exist in the world...

Colleen, Anne, et al ....

Do you honestly think that a 16 year old child, trained from birth in <insert any martial art here> has a chance against a 245 pound, athletic, adult man with 4 years of training in the same art? (Notice, this example is skewed... the 16 year old has 4 times the training, an unfair advantage)

When training time and experience is comporable, physical attributes, including size and athletic ability matter in every combative sport and nearly every athletic event. Whatever gave you the impression that aikido might be different?

Regards,

Paul
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Old 04-18-2002, 11:02 PM   #9
Erik
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Rather than hijack a thread with all this size stuff I created a new one.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...&threadid=1774

Last edited by Erik : 04-18-2002 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 04-18-2002, 11:18 PM   #10
Kat.C
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I don't know about other women but one of the reasons aikido appeals to me so much is that the power for the techniques comes from the attacker, in karate one generated one's own power, not to mention it is less intimidating(to me anyway) to step off the line of attack and throw someone away than it is to stand ground and block everything.

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-19-2002, 12:05 AM   #11
guest1234
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While some techniques are easier if you are taller or shorter than your partner, each can be slightly adapted and end up equal. 'Everyone' says shihonage is for short people, but I've been swung around on my tippy toes by a 6'2" nidan (no, he does not go to his knees to get under my arm, he makes sure I get up high enough. And although I always try to get away with not bending my knees, even I have to do so to get things to work...

Paul, why make the difference so much, why not ask two similar age, similar training time, 110 vs 245? The 245 may or may not throw the 110 successfully incorrectly (he can muscle his way through bad technique, but if uke keeps their one point nage may just end up unable to throw), and he will throw if done correctly. The 110 probably will not successfully throw incorrectly, but will throw correctly. So if they are equally trained, and are doing the techniques correctly, yes, I believe it will be as easy for 110 as 245. It is uke's force, after all, not nage's that is used for the throw.

One reason I would say the 16 year old is disadvantaged is not his size, but his maturity (no offense to Chocolateuke or any other younger member)...what is the saying, age and cunning vs beauty and youth? The older student should be better able to read his partner than the teenager.

I have had nage's twice my size complain they can't move me when we are starting from static (I just reply object are heavier than they appear in the mirror), and have thrown ukes twice my size in the middle of them saying there is no way I'm going to move them. Whether you want to believe Aikido is from knowing all the correct breakdown angles, or from leading your partner's ki, or anything inbetween, why would size matter?
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Old 04-19-2002, 04:34 AM   #12
erikmenzel
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In my experience the reasons for women to start Aikido are as diverse as they are for men.

Some women start for self defence.
Some women seek selfdevelopment.
Some women realy want to train a amrtial art.
Some women start to flush their chakras.

The reason they stay is most of the time because they like it, which probably has to do with the non-competative way of training and (at some places) the lack of testosterone-driven comparison.

As an idea on the size and strength doesnt matter discussion:
I am one of the big guys (6'6'' and 250 lbs. , an irish friend did the calculations for me, as we in the Netherlands only use the metric system), and I find that size and strength only matter in two circumstances:
1) When you get to pulling or pushing instead of aikido!
2) When you are learning aikido

In the first case no real aikido is present anymore and at that point indeed strength and size do matter.
In the second case being strong and big really work against you. Sure it might seem as if a lot of the techniques work, but that is only an illusion if you used your strength and size to come to that point. You didnt do any aikido, you just proved you are stronger and bigger. For a lot of big people this is the pitfall in which they get stuck!! Small people and especially small women lack size and strength. This means that they are not (that much) tempeted to use force, meaning they learn a lot of the technique easier than a lot of the big people.

So, beware of little people

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
Personal:www.kuipers-menzel.com
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Old 04-19-2002, 05:20 AM   #13
guest1234
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Yes, we're fast and sneaky , and way too low to the ground. I've been know to let ukes trip over me in randori...
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Old 04-19-2002, 05:27 AM   #14
paw
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speachless....

Colleen,

Quote:
Paul, why make the difference so much, why not ask two similar age, similar training time, 110 vs 245?
Why the age difference? I logically extended your argument to make what I thought was an obvious conclusion. Evidently you disagree.

Quote:
The 245 may or may not throw the 110 successfully incorrectly (he can muscle his way through bad technique, but if uke keeps their one point nage may just end up unable to throw), and he will throw if done correctly. The 110 probably will not successfully throw incorrectly, but will throw correctly. So if they are equally trained, and are doing the techniques correctly, yes, I believe it will be as easy for 110 as 245. It is uke's force, after all, not nage's that is used for the throw.
Forgive me, I know of no other way to say this and I confess this sounds insulting. "Throwing correctly" is nonsense. You are either thrown, or not. In self-defense, if you should throw an attacker, a group of judges will not appear and deduct points because of technical gaffs. In every throwing sport in the world, only the result matters: total victory (sambo) or ippon (judo) for example, you receive no points for "style". You really will be better served by taking the concept of "throwing correctly" and burying it.

I suspect you believe that it as easy for the small person to throw the larger because you have never sparred. Anyone with the same technical knowledge and same experience should have no trouble thwarting the efforts of someone half their size. But don't take my word for it .... glove up and see what happens.

Quote:
Whether you want to believe Aikido is from knowing all the correct breakdown angles, or from leading your partner's ki, or anything inbetween, why would size matter?
Why would size matter: leverage and mass advantages, potential strength advantages. Again, don't take my word for it, spar and come to your own conclusions.

My apologies for taking this thread astray. If anyone would like to continue this, perhaps we should use Eric's thread.


Regards,

Paul

Last edited by paw : 04-19-2002 at 05:36 AM.
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Old 04-19-2002, 05:37 AM   #15
Johan Tibell
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Quote:
Originally posted by IrimiTom
I think size does matter in aikido, not necessarily in a "bigger is better" way, probably it's more the opposite, all I know is that when I practice with someone a lot shorter than me, it is very hard for me to do koshinage on that person, and a lot easier for him to do it on me
Short people like me can do koshinage over the shoulders! *uses 'dodge this!' as kiai *

Pour your spirit and heart
Into daily technical training
To approach the many through a single principle
This is "The Way of the Fighting Man"
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Old 04-19-2002, 06:14 AM   #16
njnoexit
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Because women suck at every other thing, so the only good thing they could do is aikido. No Im kidding.
The reason alot of women do Aikido then other arts, in my humble opinion, is becuase aikido is the most defensive art. and women tend to be more innocent, kind, and more carring then men. well most men. I try to be a nice guy. so becuase of the female atrabutes they would tend to do aikido more then other arts.... like silat for example.... it is the most offensive sport. the women population is like .01% not very high.... so mabye I am right....
or I am wrong like usual but It is just an asumption.
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Old 04-19-2002, 08:47 AM   #17
nikonl
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Tongue

Aikido has lots of good looking guys
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Old 04-19-2002, 09:16 AM   #18
Lyle Bogin
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The women I have the opportunity to train with are very helpful. Since they are not impressed by strength, they tend to be very sensitive to your movements and can give you advice based on technique rather than simple functionality. In other words, when training with large men I find the goal is often to just get the technique to work. With smaller women, it is easy to get you technique to "work" by pushing pulling, using grip strength etc. But to guide them into clean, safe ukemi requires a different kind of mentality and execution that is very valuable.
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Old 04-19-2002, 10:28 AM   #19
giriasis
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Man, you guys are lucky my initial post was lost in cyberspace.

Paul, you assume too much. Re-read my post dude. I said that the nature of the art probably draws more women to aikido. The issue of size is but just one factor. It was the post after mine that made it SEEM like that was the only factor. And THAT post didn't help either.

If your "shocked" again. Instead of jumping to conclusions regarding my post why not just ask for clarification? Your little/young v. big question does nothting to understand my position but only puts me on the defensive.

Quote:
Paul said:Forgive me, I know of no other way to say this and I confess this sounds insulting. "Throwing correctly" is nonsense. You are either thrown, or not. In self-defense, if you should throw an attacker, a group of judges will not appear and deduct points because of technical gaffs. In every throwing sport in the world, only the result matters: total victory (sambo) or ippon (judo) for example, you receive no points for "style". You really will be better served by taking the concept of "throwing correctly" and burying it.

I suspect you believe that it as easy for the small person to throw the larger because you have never sparred. Anyone with the same technical knowledge and same experience should have no trouble thwarting the efforts of someone half their size. But don't take my word for it .... glove up and see what happens.
This is WHY I don't practice these other arts and WHY I practice aikido. Aikido encourages cooperative learning and not condoning plowing over a partner just for a "win." Because of my size and physical fitness, I can't plow most people over. I can't rely on my "size" to succeed. So I work with bigger and stronger partners in class to learn how my techniques will be effective.

I am here to learn aikido, not here to learn to be a brute.

Anne Marie "a 'flower' that doesn't wilt" Giri
3rd kyu
Florida Aikikai

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 04-19-2002, 10:59 AM   #20
paw
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Anne,

Quote:
This is WHY I don't practice these other arts and WHY I practice aikido. Aikido encourages cooperative learning and not condoning plowing over a partner just for a "win." Because of my size and physical fitness, I can't plow most people over. I can't rely on my "size" to succeed. So I work with bigger and stronger partners in class to learn how my techniques will be effective.
Now who's assuming and defensive? What makes you think bjj, judo, sambo, wrestling, etc... don't encourage cooperative learning or encourage "plowing people over", or a "win" mindset? So all other arts are based on "size" to succeed?


Deep breath....

Ok. I'll try again. I submit size does matter, just like other physical attributes (age, height, strength, endurance, flexibility, etc...). Physical attributes can be overcome with skill and experience, but when skill and experience are similar, physical attributes can and often do make a tremendous difference.

You stated:

Quote:
I definantly feel it's the size doesn't matter.
In my reply I fail to see how I insulted or disrespected you. If you feel otherwise, let me know and I would be happy to alter my behaviour and offer a sincere apology.

Then you quote my reply which was clearly addressed to Colleen. I assumed that meant I was replying to Colleen and only Colleen. I also tried to make it very clear that I was not trying to insult her but express my strong feeling about a concept she has. Again, if you feel that I insulted or disrespected you in my reply to Colleen, please let me know specifically and I will alter my behaviour and offer a sincere apology.

Does that make things clear? Are we (you and I) ok, or do you feel I've slighted you? I don't want there to be ill feelings between us and I certainly feel we can disagree without being disagreeable. Fair enough?


Ok, back to "throwing correctly" and "gloving up". First, when I say "glove up" I'm talking about what judoka refer to as randori, what boxers call sparring and what bjj'ers call rolling. This is not a contest environment or chance to "win". This is a chance where both folks drop all roles of uke or nage/tori and simply attempt and defend technique to the best of their ability. We can go so lightly that there is absolutely no resistance or we can go so intently that it's just like a tournament --- but it remains a learning environment. The point is, find someone you trust, and see what works.

When I say "throwing correctly" I understand it to mean that the throw must posses certain qualities in addition to be successful. This is not a helpful concept in my opinion. A throw either works (uke is thrown) or it does not. Just because uke is thrown does not mean that we have mastered the throw and can stop training. Particularly in the case of a small person working against an equally skilled large person, our technique (attempt at throwing) must have proper timing, technical correctness, and efficiency. Likewise, the large person must also develop these qualities as they will work with people their own size or larger.

But the bottom line is simply this: if I'm flat on my back and you're standing upright in good posture it is disrespectful and untrue for me to complain that your throw wasn't "correct" or that you "muscled" the throw. I was thrown, period. I need to deal with that reality. Likewise, you would need to deal with throwing larger and stronger classmates (your incentive to continue training). Someone on the forum has the signature "as iron sharpens iron so does one person sharpen another". Totally true. As training partners I don't improve unless you improve.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 04-19-2002, 12:22 PM   #21
jimvance
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I think that women are attracted by something else (besides what the women on this forum have already described) and this might explain the "size doesn't matter" idea. Perhaps I am just re-explaining what the ladies are talking about. Whatever.
By its very name, Aiki-do creates a common point between two people, it binds them, blends them, connects them. The manipulation of that union is the origination point of all technique. It really has nothing to do with strength or size if the first priority is placed on using The Relationship; the strength and size of one of the participants is subordinate to it. In other words, when two forces come together they create a third force (aiki) that binds both independent forces; the person who controls that third force controls the entire relationship. It is in this respect that quality counts, because the "leader" has to control her force, be aware of the "follower's" force, and manipulate the third force, the combination, the aiki. It requires no real athletic ability, only awareness, sensitivity and strong spirit---all of which every human is capable of, man or woman. This is the great equalizer.

Jim Vance
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Old 04-19-2002, 12:22 PM   #22
Chocolateuke
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Cool

All I know , is the girls are a nice brake from the "beat the crap out of uke guys." I mean I train with some really good tall men but they slam me into the ground so hard i get tired really really fast and next thing I know im up doin it agian. When we switch partners I try to get a girl because they usually use more technque and are softer and slower ( at first we have some pretty fast women who toss those big men like rag dolls!) so there you have it women are great int eh dojos!

oh yeah Aikido is not a compition so no male domonice trying to be on top ( acually that has happend to.. but not much).

Dallas Adolphsen
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Old 04-19-2002, 12:34 PM   #23
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by giriasis
This is WHY I don't practice these other arts and WHY I practice aikido. Aikido encourages cooperative learning and not condoning plowing over a partner just for a "win." Because of my size and physical fitness, I can't plow most people over. I can't rely on my "size" to succeed. So I work with bigger and stronger partners in class to learn how my techniques will be effective.
Paul, already took a swing at this, but I want a shot at this one too.

You know, I think I hear where you are coming from. Strength, as such, to make a technique work telegraphs a lot and I can often meet strength with strength or counter the technique and prevent it. In a lot of ways strength (more accurately muscling), in terms of making technique work can actually be a disadvantage.

But, like it or not, I've found that size and strength can stop a lot of people's technique. Not everyone's all the time, I've been bounced around by some of the prominent women in the Bay Area and a lot of people round these parts who were also smaller than I, but certainly it stops a lot of people some of the time. What strength and size does is give me a larger margin of error, more mass and power to focus and take center when I attack even when I'm not balanced perfectly. It's an incremental edge and while to rely on it alone might not be the best way to go, it certainly doesn't hurt.

I believe in softness.

Last edited by Erik : 04-19-2002 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 04-19-2002, 12:37 PM   #24
Erik
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Back on topic.

We're often critical of things like Tae Bo and cardio kickboxing. Ever notice how many women are in those classes? Might be something in there to look at.
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Old 04-19-2002, 01:00 PM   #25
giriasis
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Quote:
Now who's assuming and defensive? What makes you think bjj, judo, sambo, wrestling, etc... don't encourage cooperative learning or encourage "plowing people over", or a "win" mindset? So all other arts are based on "size" to succeed?
Man, you really should thank me for fudging the posting of my initial post. If you think that post was defensive, you should have seen the other one. And if I thought those arts were like aikido and if they could give me what aikido gives me, then I would be practicing those. That is my perception of those arts. And that perception comes from somewhere. I just didn't make it up. I've experience the typical BJJ'r attitude and they don't convey cooperative learning to me. Combative learning perhaps. I've heard judoka say that technique is important but if you have the edge of size over the person you should use it. I train with people with a judo background and were new to aikido, and treated aikido training like it was "competition" (i.e. trying to prove you can't do it to them). I've seen wrestling too. Uhh? since has that not been about competition and beating the opponent? Not the wrestling the brother practiced in school.

Quote:
Deep breath....
Me too.

Quote:
Ok. I'll try again. I submit size does matter, just like other physical attributes (age, height, strength, endurance, flexibility, etc...). Physical attributes can be overcome with skill and experience, but when skill and experience are similar, physical attributes can and often do make a tremendous difference.
First if you wish to be understood, seek to understand. What I mean by size doesn't matter is that I can't depend on my size in aikido. I learn how to deal with a bigger person to the extent that his size should not matter to me.

I see how the phrase "size doesn't matter" can be misunderstood. Obviously it does to some extent because I train so that it won't matter. If a person is so big, that they can rely on their "size" as part of their self defense than I guess "Size does matter." Well, I can't rely on my size.

For example the judoka I mentioned above is a fellow student. He is a big guy 5'10" (200+) and formerly trained on the Soviet (it was the USSR when he trained) Judo Team (I think). Would my size matter in training with him in Judo? heck, yeah. He could clobber me. But I still can do plenty of aikido to the guy. He is so big and stiff he falls like a rock and is easy to topple when he is standing. Does he "let me" do techniques to him? No.

Quote:
You stated:
Quote:
:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I definantly feel it's the size doesn't matter.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
No, I stated. (Despite the grammatical typos...)

"I agree with Colleen. It's the nature of the art, I believe.

I definantly feel it's the size doesn't matter. One of the best yudansha I've seen is a 5'0" tall female who weighs about 110 pounds. She has powerful aikido and can easily throw the larger guys. She is just deceptively graceful and fluid."

This is meant to imply that when watching a yudansha female that it looks like people are going easy on her yet her technique is so good it is fluid, dynamic, powerful and effective. It looks as though her size does not matter. She is still effective although she is barely 5 feet tall and weighs around 110 pounds. One would think the big guys would clobber her, but her technique is so proficient that her and her attacker's "size doesn't matter."

Quote:
In my reply I fail to see how I insulted or disrespected you. If you feel otherwise, let me know and I would be happy to alter my behaviour and offer a sincere apology.
Your statement: "I'm shocked such statements still exist in the world...

Colleen, Anne, et al .... " Is actually very judgmental. You set the stage in an oppositional and condescending tone. First, the word "shocked". What is so outrageous about my opinion and experience that is shocking. Second, "still exist in the world" what is it about my opinion and experience that is so outdated? Who are you to say how in correct my experience as a woman in aikdo has been?

If you didn't mean to set things up like this, use the emoticons to express your self more clearly. Remember your voice inflections can not be heard on the internet.

"Then you quote my reply which was clearly addressed to Colleen. I assumed that meant I was replying to Colleen and only Colleen. I also tried to make it very clear that I was not trying to insult her but express my strong feeling about a concept she has. Again, if you feel that I insulted or disrespected you in my reply to Colleen, please let me know specifically and I will alter my behaviour and offer a sincere apology."

I didn't say that that portion was insulting did I? I was only using that post to point out that your examples are from other arts that I chose, as a woman and assuming other women, not to participate in because of the nature of those arts. You were proving ourpoint (the reason women chose aikido over other arts--and the size doesn't matter issue). The whole "throwing correctly" part, yeah, is between you and Colleen. I tried to edit it out but I didn't want to chop up too much of your post.

Quote:
But the bottom line is simply this: if I'm flat on my back and you're standing upright in good posture it is disrespectful and untrue for me to complain that your throw wasn't "correct" or that you "muscled" the throw. ...
No it is not disrespectful. The correction could save your shoulder, elbow, arm, wrist, neck, back, etc. (Actually, that is really the reason why I speak up. "Yo, you almost tore my arm out" That correction can also teach you how to exibit more control over a less aggressive (i.e. non-lifethreating attacker) and save you from legal hassles.

Quote:
... I was thrown, period. I need to deal with that reality. ...
Yes, you were thrown and it "worked" in that it got you to the ground. But you will also have to deal with the fact if you try that on someone stronger than you that it won't work. I know this because if I tried that on you (the stronger person) it wouldn't work. If you don't learn to execute a technique properly, you will be in trouble when it comes down to your life.

Quote:
... Likewise, you would need to deal with throwing larger and stronger classmates (your incentive to continue training). ...
You got that part correct. Question for you: You don't have to deal with stronger attackers? Have you ever had to train with someone bigger, stronger, faster than you?

Quote:
Someone on the forum has the signature "as iron sharpens iron so does one person sharpen another". Totally true. As training partners I don't improve unless you improve.
I agree. As Peter mentioned above. That both men and women contibute to Aikido. I believe women can contribute substantially to aikido, from being typically less physically strong, having lower centers, and typically more grace. That fact that women and men can train together says a lot about Aikido. The fact that men and women can learn from each other discourages the Aikido community from turning into too much of a male macho environment (which is at least the perception of other martial arts). Because of that Aikido tends to attrack more women than other martial arts.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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