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Old 07-11-2003, 01:24 AM   #1
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Canadian Yoshinkan Seminar

I recently travelled to London Ontario to participate in a Yoshinkan seminar. I enjoyed myself, but the event raised a question for me. There were a number of high ranking guests from Japan including one high ranking female sensei. She was not included as one of the regular instuctors. Preference was given to the many male instructors, icluding those from the area. It seems to me that preference could have been given to the guests who came all the way from Japan, even the women. I guess I am wondering if this is a common practice in Yoshinkan aikido, was it poor organization, or something else?

For the record I am not a women.


Peace
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Old 07-11-2003, 07:55 AM   #2
Steven
 
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Anonymous,

The female I believe you speak of is Chizuko Matsuo Sensei, Rokudan. What you are not aware of is she hosted a clinic of her own while in London, ON.

http://members.rogers.com/aikibudom/aiki_woman_2.htm

Her husband, Masazumi Matsuo, 7th dan, was also present and typically is Terada Sensei's primary assistant as well as Parker Sensei.

When I trained with Terada Sensei in November of last year, Matsuo C. Sensei was the primary assistant along with Parker Sensei.

So no, this is not a typical Yoshinkan thing. Most likely a pre-defined agreement as to who had what responsibility on that particular day. Do keep in mind that they were in town for some time.

Glad you had a good time at the seminar. Sorry I missed it.
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Old 07-11-2003, 08:16 AM   #3
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Sorry for the duplicate ... I tried to edit this and it wouldn't let me. Silly.

----------------------------------------------

Anonymous,

The female I believe you speak of is Chizuko Matsuo Sensei, Rokudan. What you are not aware of is she hosted a clinic of her own while in London, ON.

http://members.rogers.com/aikibudom/aiki_woman_2.htm

Her husband, Masazumi Matsuo, 7th dan, was also present and typically is Terada Sensei's primary assistant as well as Parker Sensei.

When I trained with Terada Sensei in November of last year, Matsuo C. Sensei was the primary assistant along with Parker Sensei.

If referring to the public demonstration. In November, Matsuo C, did participate, while the other assitant that came with them, Hamanaka San (male), did not. I'm guessing this time around she opted not to, so the local instructors would have the opportunity to demonstrate their Aikido to Terada Sensei. After all, he came a long way and sees Matsuo Sensei all the time.

In 2000, the female honbu dojo instructor that came with Chida Dojo-cho also participated in the public demo and was one of the primary assitants, taking a lot of the ukemi during the clinics and the public demonstration.

So no, this is not a typical Yoshinkan thing. Most likely a pre-defined agreement as to who had what responsibility on that particular day.

Glad you had a good time at the seminar. Sorry I missed it.
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Old 07-20-2003, 04:56 AM   #4
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I had the same question as the original poster. I attended the IYAF event in 2000 that took place in London, Ontario and the event last month, and I too noticed a lack of female representation in the schedule of events. I do agree however, that it is not the fault of the guest instructors, but rather the organizers of the event. One of the local organizers of the event has a bad reputation with women of the area for being over critical and condescending towards women. Perhaps his personal bias effected the scheduling?
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Old 07-22-2003, 12:22 PM   #5
Paul Laxon
Dojo: Aikido London
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As one of the people to help organize the 2003 festival I really take exception to the comments made about the apparent lack of female participation.

The festival was designed to feature Terada sensei, no one else. As Miranda sensei pointed out, Chizuko Matsuo sensei had been invited down and hosted her own seminar a couple of weeks earlier. The other instructors at the festival were basically dictated by who was there. Parker sensei, being Terada sensei's senior student, and my instructor's teacher, was given a couple of the lead-in sessions. Several people from Windsor taught because my instructor trained in Windsor for several years and still keeps in touch with the people there. Both Matsuo senseis taught as well.

Chizuko Matsuo sensei's session was interesting because she taught some reversals, which I haven't done before. She told us that she had asked her husband to stay home that morning because he doesn't like these types of techniques (the philosophy being, if you do the technique properly in the first place you shouldn't be able to reverse it). I found them a little confusing at first because I would forget that sh'te became uke, but fun to do once you got into the flow of it.

Anyone 4th dan or above was invited to participate in the demo held on Saturday. A few people from out of town participated (one person from Barry, I believe), but Chizuko Matsuo sensei was the only female. I don't really know why this was, I must admit I don't know how many high ranking female black belts there are in Yoshinkan Aikido in Ontario.

The fact that you have chosen to stay anonymous suggests that you have an axe to grind, rather than any constructive criticism to make. I think that throwing out baseless comments about another person's "bad reputation" is reprehensible.

I don't believe that I have any bias about gender or with anything else...but you'll have to come and talk to some of the people I train with to find out for sure.
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Old 07-22-2003, 10:57 PM   #6
Kim Wamsley
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As one of the women who did attend Terada Sensei's seminar, and as a member of the dojo that hosted the event, I'd like to add my 2 cents worth. Matsuo C. Sensei gave a great seminar the weekend before the event-unfortunately, in my opinion, it was a women's only event (how about that?). Training together was a really good experience, but I really regretted that the men didn't have that opportunity for that intensive exposure to her teaching and some of the modifications she has made for people who are not six feet and two hundred pounds plus(though there was a co-ed class scheduled after the weekend). Because the two events were on concurrent weekends, it was difficult for some participants to attend both events (my question is always, why are there not more women at the training seminars? There were more at Terada Sensei's one than there are at several of the others I've attended!)

As far as the "overly critical and condescending" comment- anonymously made, no less (what is that sound? Could it be chickens clucking?) I'd really like to know exactly what the story is with that. It's my understanding at our club it's a bad sign when we don't get constructive criticism. To be truly respected means getting that crucial information about how to do technique. Condescending? That certainly hasn't been my experience, though there has on occasion been a little eye-rolling and a gesture that indicates what I have just done stinks, but with humour and support (and accuracy). How about people with complaints about instructors stepping up to the plate using a little honesty and directness if they have concerns about anything that is going on in the community? An anonymous jab at someone's reputation using gossip and inuendo is dirty pool, plain and simple and smells a little bit like a witch hunt. If people want to see high-ranking women represented as instructors at events, well, why aren't they usually? Why is this particular event significant?
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Old 07-23-2003, 12:03 AM   #7
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Hi Paul, Kim:

Great to see you both online.

Hey Kim ... Got some good photos from Vancouver. May even be one of you handing me my behind, with a smile no less. Couldn't do that if your teacher had issues with women.

Please e-mail me your address and I'll put a CD together for you.

Peace to all ....

aysdojo@seikeikan.com
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Old 07-23-2003, 04:12 AM   #8
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It has been my experience that most women who come into marital arts don't really know what they are getting into.I'm sure that many of the women who come to our dojo are thinking aikido=yoga.They are surprised that Yoshinkan Aikido can be so hard.Most disappear after a couple of weeks.Maybe the instructor is very tough and the woman who is complaining about this instructor has just taken it upon herself to blame the teacher rather then admit her shortcommings.
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Old 07-23-2003, 05:56 AM   #9
happysod
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
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Sorry everyone, this is essentially off-thread

Anon : "It has been my experience that most women who come into marital arts don't really know what they are getting into."

I don't think any true beginner has any idea - gender's not an issue.

Anon "Most disappear after a couple of weeks."

With the patronising attitude you're displaying in this thread, I'm really not surprised. I just hope it's a personal problem you have and not one your dojo perpetuates.

As for the original query, most of the reasoned responses imply there is no gender bias in Yoshinkan regarding seminars, other than a strange "women-only" seminar? Not keen on this idea either as it is just a biased in my opinion as anon is showing.
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Old 07-24-2003, 03:14 AM   #10
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To P.Laxon and K.Wamsley

I will take you at your word that personal bias did not effect scheduling.Would it make a difference if I told you that a good friend of mine stopped training because of this instructor?The point of remaining anonymous is to protect myself.Notice I didn't state the name of the instructor either.
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Old 07-24-2003, 04:37 AM   #11
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Regarding the original question, I train in yoshinkan aikido in the UK, and also train at other clubs from other organisations. I have not seen any particular difference across styles regarding the ratio of male to female students or instructors.

I attended a seminar with Terada sensei in the UK earlier this year, also with Chizuko Matsuo sensei, Masazumi Matsuo sensei and Amos Parker sensei. Most of the training was led by Terada sensei, with Masazumi Matsuo sensei as uke. Other sessions were led by Masazumi Matsuo sensei and Parker sensei.

It is a pity that I also did not get to see Chizuko Matsuo sensei teach, however no local instructors taught either. Chizuko Matsuo sensei did participate in the demos together with other male and female instructors (from the UK), and also joined in all the class practices assisting the instructor.

So I did get nikkyo'd by Chizuko Matsuo sensei, but - more importantly - we got to have a fun day sighseeing together after the seminar...

Last edited by justinm : 07-24-2003 at 04:43 AM.

Justin McCarthy
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Old 07-24-2003, 07:11 AM   #12
Kim Wamsley
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Hi Anon!

I appreciate that you did not name the instructor, but you wouldn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out who an instructor is when a dojo has just hosted a major event. It's really too bad that your friend had to stop training (altogether or just at our club?), but from my experience, it often happens that people are not compatible for one reason or another, and, especially in training like this-which can be intense, involves all kinds of stuff around authority/power, etc.,-emotions can be high.

I don't know of anyone-myself included-that hasn't offended someone or hurt their feelings, etc., etc., but too often, it seems, people go away without really dealing with what has happened-for many reasons. What I was trying to say was that I have a problem with people being painted with a particular brush, in public, by an anonymous accuser, without people actually hearing both sides. That is unfair.

What I have heard is that martial arts training has been difficult for women for the same reasons as any other practice-and for men, for both similar and different reasons. To be honest, to single out one male instructor (or female one, for that matter) as having trouble with women is questionable. I haven't met one yet that I didn't tangle with at some point.

The good thing about this instructor is that every time I have approached him with a concern, he deals with it, with honesty, conscience and takes responsibility for his part. No, it is not easy to approach an instructor and speak your mind and put things on the table-especially when it involves being critical in some way. Pretty risky, especially in martial arts where bad things could happen if people don't have integrity.

I've heard lots of horror stories about struggles not dealt with being acted out on the mats, or people just leave and tell others about their conflicts, or get involved in mud=slinging e-mail fests...(I don't mean this one). Personality-wise, I'm so far from perfect it isn't funny, so what is important to me when I train is that I can make mistakes with people and get a chance to make it right, if they want to play. I look for that quality in an instructor, also-please don't even pretend that you are perfect (that is so annoying, all that personal evolution and superiority), but admit the truth and deal with me directly with respect. That's the best, in my experience, this guy does that in spades, and it annoys me to hear him bad-mouthed-anonymously and by a third party! It's harmful to his reputation personally, and for our dojo.
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Old 07-24-2003, 10:36 AM   #13
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Jun -

I had a long reply all typed up and ready to go, but instead, I respectfully request you close this thread. Somehow, it became an unjust character assination and I hope that future readers read the post from Paul and especially Kim to clear up the REAL character of the accussed.

Peace ...
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Old 07-25-2003, 10:00 AM   #14
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Sorry Steve but I had to add my 2c worth.

First, let me say that I don't usually reply to the e-groups anymore because of the actions like our anonymous friends. They often use this as a vehicle to voice opinions regarding issues they know nothing about and make whatever unfounded accusations they want because they have no fear of retribution. This type of cowardice is I think born out of low self-esteem.

I resent the accusations that were voiced in the original thread because they attack a close personal friend of mine (there was only one organizer of the event therefore there could only be one person targetted by the note wether you gave that individual's name or not) and the accusations are completely ridiculous. Perhaps our anonymous friend is being played like a puppet to send a message ...whatever the motivation it was a cowardly attack.

I assisted in the organization of the event in London as well and can tell you that Chizuko Matsuo Sensei did teach a class at that Seminar ...I know because I attended it. She didn't teach more classes not because of her gender but because of her rank. No other 6th dan taught more than her that week-end. There was enough 7th 8th and 9th dans there to pick up the slack :-)

I will tell you that if you ever get a chance to train with her ...she ROCKS! She is living proof of the power of Aikido and it is a pity that more people (both women and men) that are exposed to her technique don't find inspiration from it and work harder to emulate it.

I can tell you that the reason that she was in London the week-end before Terada Sensei's clinic was because the organizer of the all-woman's clinic approached the (only) organizer of the Terada Sensei clinic and he suggested bringing her to London for the event. So I would ask that if he is so condescending towards woman why he would have even encouraged the event to begin with, or recommended the eventual instructor?

I do agree with the one anonymous user that it is far easier to lash out at virtual strangers and blame them for you failure than to look deep inside your own soul and admit you yourself are responsible for the failure.

If martial arts teach us nothing else it teaches us to rise above all kinds of adversity and challenge our personal limits. We all had the strength of character to walk in the door but not everyone has the strength of character to persevere. Martial arts have gotten too soft in my opinion (and Aikido is esp. guilty of this). People expect to walk in a dojo and pay for the right and priviledge to learn and expect to be coddled through the process. IN the words of Kisshomaru Ueshiba "Aikido is Budo, and we must never loose sight of that" ...in the end though, if a woman quits it is not because of her gender, she quits because of the same reasons as men: it is either not the right art or not the right time. Some people are better suited for Tai Chi and some for Kyoukushin karate ...not everyone is suited for Aikido. That is not generally the instructor's fault.
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Old 07-25-2003, 10:50 AM   #15
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Hello Steve,

Good to see you online my friend. I agree totally with everything you, Paul and Kim have added to this thread. Once again we see proof that the character attack was completely out of line. That is why I wrote privately to inform the dojo of this unfortunate attack.

I have had the pleasure of training with and taking ukemi for Matsuo Chizuko Sensei and like you said, she ROCKS. I met her last year in Vancouver.

I'm very disappointed that this thread took a nasty turn. I believe the orginal poster had a valid question and it has been answered. The character attack by the second poster is very unfortunate. Like I said, I hope those future readers read this thread in its entirety. If they do, they'll see that the sensei is question was wrongfully attacked.

I'm still trying to figure out how one person's experience equates to "THE WOMAN OF THE AREA" and how that constitutes a person has a problem with women. If I remember correctly, London, ON is a very large area.

Hope all is well in London despite this. Parker Sensei will be her in September and we're all looking forward to the beating .... errrrr .... training. I hope I'll get a chance to make it back up to your neck of the woods sooner than later.

Until then, train hard and please send my regards to the boss and the rest of the gang.

Osu!
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Old 07-25-2003, 05:12 PM   #16
candice
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I realize that this thread may be coming to a close. However, I was the one who invited Chizuko Matsuo Sensei to Aiki Budo North, would like to say a few words in the spirit of "harmony", and end this discussion on a positive note.

First, let me say that I have had the pleasure of learning from all three of the Senseis in London. All of them have unique skills to offer. In addition to attending my regular dojo, I have also been attending a "kenshu" class with the instructor alluded to by Anonymous, for the past 4 months. Perceptions, personalities, and teaching styles can influence things, and no two people perceive the same event, in the same way. I am an intense person and I need ongoing intense focus on learning and direct, honest, constructive criticism in order for me to move beyond where I am now in my aikido development. That is exactly what I get, no holds barred. I value this instruction, and respect it and have grown to respect this particular Instructor, immensely. He originally offered his dojo as a location for the Women's Aikido Gathering if the Community Centre was unavailable.

Second, I would like to address another issue raised in discussion during this thread. A number of you have commented on the lack of high ranking female instructor's participation at clinics. This may not be an intentional thing, but it may send out a message, none-the-less. I know this from participation at various clinics. I suspect that if more high ranking women were invited to instruct, we would see more women turning out to events. It is important to remember that just as guys take their male role models and inspirational instructors for granted, many women need role models they can relate to, as well. And many men have demonstrated that they can set aside fear and ego, chill out, and enjoy learning from a powerful woman with excellent technique.

Since 1999, I had a dream of inviting Chizuko here for a clinic. My goal in hosting this event, with the full support of Senseis in this area, was to provide an exceptionally inspirational role model for other women and teenaged girls to be exposed to, and aspire to, in an intensive setting, with other women. That's all, simply put, in a nutshell. (oh, and since no one is truly altruistic, to also experience this for myself!) I respect him for acknowledging this need, and understanding my vision and my reasoning.

One of the sessions focused entirely on women's self-defence. While the Saturday and Sunday were "women and teenaged girl only ", Monday night was co-educational. The opportunity was there for all aikidokas in town to participate at a very nominal fee of $15.

I think an all-women's event creates a different dynamic on the mat. Note I mean different, not better or worse, or in the words of one writer, "strange" except in that it is unusual to see over 40 women in a dojo at the same time, training and playing hard! I have received numerous responses to a feedback questionnaire that indicate as such. Most found it refreshing and inspiring to SEE and train with so many women, of differing ranks and aikido styles. There were a few mother-daughter participants as well!

On the mat, and off, Chizuko Sensei posssesses a rare gift. She is a born teacher. In addition to having achieved 6th Dan, she has devoted a large part of her life to the study of aikido. She receives instruction from Terada Sensei once every week, has been doing Aikido for over 30 years, runs her own Dojo in Japan, and teaches 6 days per week. She is continually learning from someone who was there as O'Sensei's student, bringing us closer to the origin from which this knowledge came. These are amazing credentials for any visiting Sensei, and deserve great respect. Thus it was wonderful to see her teach an unplanned session at the 2003 Aikido Festival. She was not on the original list, to my knowledge but perhaps I am mistaken here.

May I suggest something? Perhaps we could en-vision a dream where some day in the near future, it will be standard practice for both men and women of high ranks (6th Dan was high enough for the 1999 & 2000 clinics in London) to be routinely invited to share their aikido knowledge with eager and open minds, hearts and bodies.

Ability is measured by power, indomitable spirit, focus, perseverance, integrity, patience, practice, and accuracy, period. Gender, size and age are irrelevant in the final analysis. Aikido is and should be, in the words of O'Sensei "for everyone". Chizuko is living proof of that, for me.

Candice Lawrence
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