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Old 03-16-2003, 09:43 PM   #26
Edward
Location: Bangkok
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This thread reminds me of one of our female instructors. When I went easy on her, she accused me of being sexist and asked me no to let hold back. Then when I practiced normally with her, she accused me of trying to kill her and not being respectful of her being a Lady!!!!!! Of course when she throws students, it is always with such unnecessary brutality, as if she's trying to prove something.

Even though a few ladies at our dojo prefer us not to be especially soft with them, most however do request to be thrown gently.

Conclusion, accept your femininity and be natural. You're not supposed to become Red Sonja by joining an aikido class.
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Old 03-17-2003, 12:35 AM   #27
jducusin
 
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Quote:
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
This thread reminds me of one of our female instructors. When I went easy on her, she accused me of being sexist and asked me no to let hold back. Then when I practiced normally with her, she accused me of trying to kill her and not being respectful of her being a Lady!!!!!! Of course when she throws students, it is always with such unnecessary brutality, as if she's trying to prove something.

Even though a few ladies at our dojo prefer us not to be especially soft with them, most however do request to be thrown gently.

Conclusion, accept your femininity and be natural. You're not supposed to become Red Sonja by joining an aikido class.
As a woman---nay, as a human being---I take great offense to this.

It may never have occured to Edward that there have always been women out there who are perfectly comfortable with who they are "naturally" and yet are not necessarily "feminine", just as there have always been men who are, also by nature, not particularly "masculine". Just like all human beings, there are women (and men) who are naturally predisposed to being a "Red Sonja" or conversely, a "June Cleaver", or even a mixture of these in as many combinations as there are distinct individuals.

I resent being told to fit the role that you imply I must. I for one, take joy in being a woman and all the things that this brings, but I have never considered myself to be particularly feminine. So for you to say that being anything but feminine is unnatural for a woman sets unrealistic expectations for me and all other women who are simply being themselves.

I also find it amusing to think about: why it is that when you hear about a man throwing someone with "unnecessary brutality", he's merely considered a macho jerk. But when a woman does the same thing, "of course...she's trying to prove something." Sorry Edward, let's face it: some women are just jerks.

Whoops! Looks like I had something to prove there. And whaddya know...I did!

Sincerely,

Jamie the Jerk (aka Flamebait )
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Old 03-17-2003, 03:27 AM   #28
Edward
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Hi Jamie!

I meant to say that if you are not naturally predisposed to become a Red Sonja, then aikido class will not make you one.

I have been asked sometimes by obviously very frail and fragile women to throw them hard (obviously I was taking care not to injure them). I think sometimes people over estimate their own abilities. However, I didn't comply to the request because it's up to me to judge the ukemi skill and physical endurance of my uke.

I am sure that if we practice together, I would naturally throw you hard, and I am sure you would do the same to me
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Old 03-17-2003, 07:20 AM   #29
Peter Goldsbury
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My own feeling is that everyone should loosen up a bit.

In my own dojo we have a good mix of men and women, covering a wide age range. The youngest are high school students, of both sexes, and the oldest are housewives and grandfathers. My instructor colleagues are a husband and wife team who have the same rank (4th dan).

So the dojo members are a good section of Japanese society in general and there is also a balance in the instruction. We have a guiding principle that all three instructors teach equally often, so no instructor teaches more than twice in succession. And it works.

If I think of extremes among the students, there is a very 'petite' Japanese housewife and a very tall, strong young man, who is not Japanese and who is young enough to be her son. We have no 'sexual' problems at all and I think everybody trains equally 'hard'.

The only difference I have noticed in training with Hiroshima University students over 20 years (not in my own dojo) is that ukemi is slightly different, and I think this is probably based on a physiognomy sanctified by the culture. The boys/men like to display their prowess, but the girls/women tend to hide their prowess, which (actually) is just as good as that of the boys, but is exhibited less often. I would be interested to hear from other instructors about this (Mr Ledyard?).

Otherwise, in my opinion aikido training should be completely 'sexless'.

Best regards

P A Goldsbury
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Old 03-17-2003, 07:52 AM   #30
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Quote:
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
Hi Jamie!

I meant to say that if you are not naturally predisposed to become a Red Sonja, then aikido class will not make you one.

I have been asked sometimes by obviously very frail and fragile women to throw them hard (obviously I was taking care not to injure them). I think sometimes people over estimate their own abilities. However, I didn't comply to the request because it's up to me to judge the ukemi skill and physical endurance of my uke.
Edward, you are certainly entitled to your own judgment and discretion on such matters. What I disagreed with was the assertion that all women by nature are feminine, as you said in your "Conclusion."
Quote:
I am sure that if we practice together, I would naturally throw you hard, and I am sure you would do the same to me
Thanks for the kind words, Edward, and I do appreciate the sentiment behind them. But for the record, I am not one of those women who throw hard (I am still a beginner, after all), but am merely alluding that there may be women who do whose reasons for doing so go beyond simply the stereotypical reason of "having something to prove".
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Old 03-17-2003, 07:58 AM   #31
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Teehee...that's what happens when you've got your hackles up and are so eager to respond---I totally forgot to log in for the day! :P

Last edited by jducusin : 03-17-2003 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 03-17-2003, 11:24 AM   #32
Jonathan
Dojo: North Winnipeg Aikikai
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Hmmm...There are so many "Anonymous Users" on this thread that I'm not sure to whom to respond.

Well, let me respond to the following:
Quote:
In other words, this situation involves me as well, and as a unique individual, I cannot simply "bear with you" while I get lumped into the "Category= Female" for you to decide on your own what to do with me.
Insofar as I am the chief instructor at NWA, it falls to me in that capacity to make the final decisions regarding many aspects of the dojo. This doesn't mean that I don't consult others who are directly involved, but it does mean that, ultimately, I am solely responsible to institute changes in dojo training or policy. In this sense, it is "up to me" to deal with this problem.

You seem to have been stewing over this sexist stuff for awhile, J.G., which is a shame, because I think it could have been dealt with relatively easily some time ago if you'd said something directly to me when you first noticed it.
Quote:
Women in the past may have left your dojo because they found things "too rough", as you say. I can see that this must have happened enough times for you to now question whether or not the level of training you have offered is too extreme. Regardless, you still cannot ultimately assume that this training will be too hard for all women.
Yes, you're right. At the same time, however, I cannot completely ignore what has happened with the women who have attempted training at NWA before you.
Quote:
Perhaps if you spent more time trying to get to know your individual students on a deeper level, you would find that where some of us may be lacking in physical strength, we make up for it tenfold in strength of will, mind, and spirit
Getting to know my students on a deeper level is something that I wait for them to initiate. It has been my experience that many students are quite content simply to come to the dojo to train without any particular personal link to me beyond that of student to teacher. I'm more than happy to delve deeper into the life and character of a student if they wish and to disclose more of whom I am to them as well. Keep in mind, though, that people do not form relationships at the same rate. I, for instance, am not an extroverted or gregarious person and so take more time to connect with others.
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Perhaps if you bothered once in a while to respond to my messages (thus showing me respect and acknowledgment and opening yourself to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, you may learn something valuable from discourse with another) you would begin to know me no longer as merely another small, female body in a white gi.
Well, J.G., (if this is indeed who I'm writing to) my not responding to your messages on this forum is, as I said to you in person, more a consequence of having very little time to spend on the net than anything else. Certainly, it has nothing to do with thinking that I can learn nothing of value from you or anyone else. I do not hold you in contempt or low regard, so please don't continue to think otherwise.
Quote:
And finally, you would know that the last thing I want is for this opportunity to be taken away from me just because you've convinced yourself that I can't handle it.
Make no mistake, I am determined to make of each of my students the best they can possibly be. I will do all that I can to foster excellence in all of my students regardless of their gender. You needn't be concerned that I will remove this opportunity for excellence from you because you're female.
Quote:
you must put your trust in our own self-knowledge and ability to determine our own limits, communicate to you if we are uncomfortable with anything, and take responsibility for our own decisions be they right or wrong. And the only way you can rest assured that we are in fact communicating this to you is by being open and responsive to us.
I am not sure what "open and responsive" means to you, exactly. I have never made myself purposely unapproachable. And, as you say, J.G., my students are all adults and should be able to speak up if and when they feel they need to. I have never discouraged anyone in the dojo from doing otherwise. In fact, I have counselled many of my students to be very clear about what is okay for them in training and what is not. However, they still often don't speak up and so my trust in their "self-awareness" or their capacity to express that awareness is rather thin.

Anyway, thanks for speaking your mind. I would have preferred a different circumstance in which to have this exchange, but better here than not at all.

See you on the mats, J.G.!

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 03-17-2003, 12:36 PM   #33
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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J.G.,

I think you have a gem of an instructor. I can almost guaruntee that I would not have responded as well to being "called on the carpet" on the net in this fashion. The fact that your instructor did respond so well, speaks volumes, as well as the fact that they look at things like why the female students had such a high rate of dropping out. I hope you appreciate what you have...

Ron Tisdale

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 03-17-2003, 01:16 PM   #34
Jonathan
Dojo: North Winnipeg Aikikai
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I should say, I think, that I wrote my last post without looking at the other posts on page two first. My apologies, if this created confusion for anyone.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 03-17-2003, 01:54 PM   #35
Lyle Bogin
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Couldn't this problem be solved by simple non-compliance? For example, if you think ninkyo isn't being applied on you with enough "respect", just stand there and act bored. You'll more than likely get the respect you desire.
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Old 03-17-2003, 02:11 PM   #36
jxa127
Dojo: Itten Dojo -- Mechanicsburg, PA
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Hi all,

I have a quick question: what's the big deal with being thrown hard? I work so I can perform ukemi quickly and smoothly. I work so I can take falls without injury. But I simply hate hard falls.

Hard falls, to me, are ones where nage provides extra acceleration after I've already lost my balance and am falling. That's just annoying. Is that what people are talking about here?

Actually, I tend to find that hard falls are a problem with beginners more than with experienced people. Beginners sometimes seem to be thinking, "Oops, there he goes, I'd better complete this throw."

Another way to look at hard throws is like this: a couple of years ago, a simple forward roll was neither simple, nor much of a forward roll for me. I did okay with side falls or back falls, but I dreaded rolling. At that time in my development, a forward roll would have been a hard throw.

Maybe the problem isn't a lack of hard falls (which would make me happy), but an overabundance of soft falls (which can be really annoying). A couple of summers ago, I attended an Aikido Association of America summer camp near Chicago. On the second day, we were working on shihonage. I was paired with a pretty high-ranking black belt. At that time, I'd been training for about two years. We'd go through the attack, and then the guy would very carefully coach me on how to fall down to a gentle back fall.

Now I'm a big guy with reasonably good ukemi skills. Even at that time, I was pretty darned good at taking break falls, so I felt that being thrown so gently was a bit of an insult. To be fair, the guy throwing me didn't know me or my skill level. On the other hand, he didn't ask either.

I can see how if something similar is happening to the original poster, she could find it insulting too.

Regards,

-Drew

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 03-17-2003, 02:17 PM   #37
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Talking Coming out of the closet

I guess it's time to bite the bullet.
Quote:
Jonathan Hay (Jonathan) wrote:
Insofar as I am the chief instructor at NWA, it falls to me in that capacity to make the final decisions regarding many aspects of the dojo. This doesn't mean that I don't consult others who are directly involved, but it does mean that, ultimately, I am solely responsible to institute changes in dojo training or policy. In this sense, it is "up to me" to deal with this problem.
Thank-you for explaining this to me---I now have a better understanding of what you meant and sincerely respect this and the responsibility that you have taken upon yourself for the good of others.
Quote:

You seem to have been stewing over this sexist stuff for awhile, J.G., which is a shame, because I think it could have been dealt with relatively easily some time ago if you'd said something directly to me when you first noticed it.
On the contrary, no, I haven't been "stewing over this sexist stuff for awhile" in the least. I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to jump to conclusions about these things, so I decided to post anonymously to simply throw this out as a mere possibility and to see what other peoples' experiences with this sort of thing have been. I never wanted it to be taken to this extreme at all.
Quote:

I would have preferred a different circumstance in which to have this exchange, but better here than not at all.
As would I. I didn't, however, want to make a mountain out of a molehill (as this has undoubtedly become) and so sat back, waited, and observed first. After reading some of the responses to my original post, I actually wrote that I had intended to speak to you about this at the next chance I got. But here we are now, which is fine by me too
Quote:

Yes, you're right. At the same time, however, I cannot completely ignore what has happened with the women who have attempted training at NWA before you.
This is understandable, so long as you keep yourself open to other perspectives and possibilities as well.
Quote:
Well, J.G., (if this is indeed who I'm writing to) my not responding to your messages on this forum is, as I said to you in person, more a consequence of having very little time to spend on the net than anything else. Certainly, it has nothing to do with thinking that I can learn nothing of value from you or anyone else. I do not hold you in contempt or low regard, so please don't continue to think otherwise.
I certainly won't, and thank-you. And I do admit, that if there was anything I was "stewing over", this was it. I had responded to a post of yours on something that I considered (particularly because of the nature of my volunteer work) extremely important to me and was feeling as though it was being disregarded. I am glad to know that it was not and that you do in fact respect my opinion.
Quote:
Make no mistake, I am determined to make of each of my students the best they can possibly be. I will do all that I can to foster excellence in all of my students regardless of their gender. You needn't be concerned that I will remove this opportunity for excellence from you because you're female.
I'm glad to hear it.
Quote:
I have counselled many of my students to be very clear about what is okay for them in training and what is not. However, they still often don't speak up and so my trust in their "self-awareness" or their capacity to express that awareness is rather thin.
I am sorry to hear that you have had this experience. I guess I'm just overly optimistic.

I give you my sincere thanks for the way you've handled this, and have responded to my concerns. You have been open and honest, and it has not gone unappreciated.

This said, I also want to clarify something that I think got misconstrued along the way (probably because I didn't express it well enough): that the issues I brought up are more around certain senior students who consistently have a tendency to go really easy on me and the other female in the dojo, and were not meant to be centred solely around your behaviour.
Quote:
See you on the mats, J.G.!
See you tonight! Just don't call me "J.G." again. I feel like I'm about to be hunted down by that guy in "Memento" or something.
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Old 03-17-2003, 02:18 PM   #38
jducusin
 
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Argh! First I can't log out properly, then I can't log in---what the heck's up with this today?

Open Sky Aikikai - http://www.winnipegaikido.com
"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 03-17-2003, 02:24 PM   #39
jducusin
 
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Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
J.G.,

I think you have a gem of an instructor. I can almost guaruntee that I would not have responded as well to being "called on the carpet" on the net in this fashion. The fact that your instructor did respond so well, speaks volumes, as well as the fact that they look at things like why the female students had such a high rate of dropping out. I hope you appreciate what you have...

Ron Tisdale
You are absolutely right, Ron. He is. And I have a great deal of respect for him. Which is one of the reasons why I enjoy training as hard as I do and am extremely grateful for what he does. Please don't think that I don't appreciate this because I decided to voice a contrary opinion.
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Old 03-17-2003, 06:52 PM   #40
Lan Powers
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Bravo!!

So much of the time you see quite , err, contentious posts from one individual to another. But here, issue addressed, issue solved.

Confirmation of the aiki spirit in short.

Domo Arrigatto (probably misspelled, but sincere)

Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 03-18-2003, 06:47 AM   #41
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Hi there.

I figure I should chime in here as well, though the gamut has pretty much been run.

I suppose I'm on the side of "wait for it, it'll come." I'm male, and I'd say for the first six months nobody really tride to throw me all that hard. The ikkyo, nikkyo, etc. were not applied with too much force - just enough to know that the technique was being applied correctly.

Then I became more comfortable with my ukemi, and proved that I wasn't going to run if people started applying things with more force.

So, from the sounds of things, it's probably more about proving yourself than it is about you being female. It may take 3 months. It may take 7 years. Have no fear, you will get techniques applied and throws performed quickly and powerfully when you can handle it.

Of course, if you feel you can handle it now, say so. I haven't met anyone yet who really hesitates if their uke askes them to procede.
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