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Old 10-19-2004, 06:01 AM   #1
Hanna B
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Different dojo populations...

In a thread in the anonymous section, I mentioned the impact on different dojo demographics on training. I very much prefer very mixed dojos, regarding age and gender. In dojos that are much dominated my young males, I tend not to like training. Well, I am myself a woman of 35... but what are these differences? What does different sexes of age gruops give to their training community?

I'd say that youth brings energy. It is good for the dojo. At the same time, young people tend to favor challenging training for the challenge in itself, such as doing ukemi over several people standing on their hands and knees, in a line. I find this dangerous, as people do it without having good enough ukemi technique for it. I have come across one person with a shoulder that will never heal, who got his injury in this kind of training. Young people feeling the need to show the group that they can do it... In the university dojo that I led for a couple of years, the guys who came to me with a few years of previous training someplace else did this kind of exercise sometimes when I let them lead warmup. They actually tried to offer me a simpler way of doing it, as they expected that I could not do tobi ukemi over even one person! LOL I think I did that for my fourth kyu test... but I did not teach it as I did not see it as important, and the main part of my students were not on the level in their ukemi where they would benefit from this kind of training. It seems young males will go for it anyhow.

Another thing that often strikes me about dojos dominated by young men is the time and energy the students spend on teaching their partner. Maybe I get an extra share of this compared with the dojos usual, as I am a female and these men not used to training with women get this idea I need "help" because I am a woman. I really do not know, but as far as I have seen dojos where people not only have lots of opinions on their partner's technique but also voice them tend to be dojos dominated by young men.

I sometimes feel that this kind of unwanted teaching is a way to establish pecking order. I am sure that is a component, at least. Is that something male? I think women have pecking orders too, but more subtle and defined in more hidden ways than who teaches whom. I hate dojos where this is the bread and butter, and I leave them swiftly. Is this a common experience among female aikido practioners? My guess is that it is not uncommon, but I am really just speculating...
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Old 10-19-2004, 11:01 AM   #2
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote:
In dojos that are much dominated my young males, I tend not to like training. Well, I am myself a woman of 35... but what are these differences? What does different sexes of age gruops give to their training community?
Hi Hanna, due to the wording at the end of your point I'm not sure if this thread was geared towards women only or everyone, but I'll hazard a brief note.

Regarding the above, there may be something of a difference between what certain gender and age demographics bring to a dojo environment as against what one may prefer regarding that environment. You mention your age and it's interesting in that I've trained in mixed dojos like you were referring to, mainly in Aikikai where the approach to training by the women of any age were very similar to that of the men, in the sense of the pace of training, what is expected of Tori/Uke etc. There was a greater range of ages as we have at our dojo, but that did not seem to change much of what was going on. It was generally a nice mellow, not extremely energetic but by no means lethargic atmosphere. As found in most dojos (including ours), folks trained to the level of their partner. Now having trained with women who are in excess of their forties in my style of Aikido I've found the general approach to training a lot more energetic and along the lines of what you describe to be the domain of young males in your post. This is interesting in that it is possible that due to the different experiences of what one is taught to expect in training by one's teachers, the expectations of the individual, whether male and female may be different to what is being practiced from the beginning. In this case it's a matter of evolving beyond your known structures to embrace something new. This is why I tend to encourage folks to see what is out there as there are many ways to view the path, if not walk it. It does not matter what your age or gender is, when we walk into a dojo, much of what we expect and prefer has already been conditioned and we train where we feel most comfortable.

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote:
Another thing that often strikes me about dojos dominated by young men is the time and energy the students spend on teaching their partner. Maybe I get an extra share of this compared with the dojos usual, as I am a female and these men not used to training with women get this idea I need "help" because I am a woman. I really do not know, but as far as I have seen dojos where people not only have lots of opinions on their partner's technique but also voice them tend to be dojos dominated by young men.
Again, this is something that I have experienced across the range of Aikido, and in other martial arts as well, one has no gender in MA training, unless something undeniable (like late stages of pregnancy) shows up to make you see otherwise. To me it's not so much a matter of one's gender but of confidence and the belief that one can impart knowledge of technique to someone although they themselves are a student. One of the best (i.e. most powerful) throws I ever got was a Tenchi Nage from a girl at Capital Aikikai who was half my size and weight. Because we do the technique a bit differently than they do I had some problem with the leading and wrist movements and she promptly became my instructor for that portion of the session. I did not mind because my approach to training in other styles is "shut up and listen, don't assume you know anything". Of course the Sensei has the final word, but the student playing teacher thing imo had more to do with the individual's level of confidence in her technique than who was wearing the nuts. (And after that throw I had to wonder. )

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote:
I sometimes feel that this kind of unwanted teaching is a way to establish pecking order. I am sure that is a component, at least. Is that something male? I think women have pecking orders too, but more subtle and defined in more hidden ways than who teaches whom.
Establishing leverage, pecking orders and an unwritten hierarchy is a basic part of human (and animal) social interaction as I understand it. It is one of the few things that still exist as a commonality between modern and ancient civilizations and society - there is always a leader and his inner circle and then there is the rest of the masses. The environment that it occurs in only adds a few new variables to the base concept. From my experience in Aikido as well as other fora the need to establish a vertical system of understanding and relationship tends to appear naturally as a person's abilities are analyzed and judged by his peers. From my experience it does not matter what is the gender of the one who is trying to get one up on you. If you put people in certain situations where they feel superior (whether it be technically, time specnt training etc.), even in some very miniscule (or as you indicated) subtle way, an unspoken hierarchy is established whether we want to admit it or not.

These things are elements of human nature and not always indicative of certain tendencies based in age or gender.

Just my piece.

Onegaishimasu.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 10-19-2004 at 11:05 AM.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 10-20-2004, 12:34 AM   #3
PeterR
 
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Re: Different dojo populations...

In my experience the dynamics of any particular dojo revolves around who the main instructor is.

This person will loose and attract students based on their personality which also dictates what is taught and how it is taught. The students reflect this.

I don't think it is correct to say that these students are all male and under 30 and therefore they train in this way or that. What you need to ask is why is this class made up in this way.

I'm young, reasonably fit and get off on a good sweat. Strangely so do the dojo members within my group and where I train as student. I know women who teach and train as I do and men my age that do not. I really don't think generalizations can be made.

Last edited by PeterR : 10-20-2004 at 12:40 AM.

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Old 10-20-2004, 01:36 AM   #4
Hanna B
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
Again, this is something that I have experienced across the range of Aikido, and in other martial arts as well, one has no gender in MA training
I have experienced very differently. What you say is the ideal, but in my experience not the truth. Males constantly trying to teach females is soooo common, even when you outrank them by far. One gets extremely tired of it.

Of course I have only experienced so-and-so many dojos, and what I have seen regarding age and gender distribution versus training specifics might be coincidence. I agree with Peter that the main instructor(s) is a main source of training atmosphere, but do not think it is the only one.

Last edited by Hanna B : 10-20-2004 at 01:42 AM.
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Old 10-20-2004, 03:15 AM   #5
BKimpel
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Re: Different dojo populations...

In my opinion EVERYONE in Aikido talks too much, and tries to ‘teach'. Not just the young males -- young, old, men, women, mutants, the guy refilling the vending machine -- anyone who steps on the mat suddenly has the annoying urge to ‘teach' you rather than just correcting their own techniques.

Your thread does bring up an interesting question though Hanna, what DOES create an Aikido dojo environment that is appealing to women.

It's obvious that very powerful, energetic waza with high ukemi, and crazy randori brings in the young men (and the men that are still young at heart)…but what do the women want in a dojo. While certainly some of that appeals to women as well (or anyone that chooses to participate in a martial art for that matter), it seems to me that there are more non-martial aspects that women crave more than men.

In my experience, Aikido dojos that have a larger number of female practitioners seem to have a few common factors (that I have noticed, but the women folk can correct me since I am only going by observation here):

(In order of perceived importance)

3. A clean, comfortable area in the dojo where everyone can sit and chat before an after class. Particularly an area that has carpet, comfortable couches and/or chairs, a coffee table, etc. -- that has been tastefully decorated (not rejects from somebody's basement, and not just a couple of benches).

2. A lower testosterone level (as mentioned by Hanna), where energetic doesn't frequently devolve into pure machismo, and Aikido class isn't modeled after Karate dojos with their piggy-back-duck-walking, and other ‘body/spirit-forging' exercises all the time (sometimes of course).

1. An approachable sensei that likes to answer questions, and can demonstrate the softer side of Aikido on a regular basis (and possibly moves a little more gracefully?).

Can some of the women Aikidoka pipe up and give their 2 cents?

Bruce Kimpel
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Old 10-20-2004, 04:08 AM   #6
happysod
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Re: Different dojo populations...

I'm having a bit of deja-vu here in that if the same sort of sweeping generalisations were made about women not training hard enough there'd be uproar about sexism (as has been seen in some recent threads..) - could people please decide whether they acknowledge gender distinctions in ma or not and argue consistently?

Regarding your point about "young males like to teach" comment - we all get that from the young males, they're little bastards, the lot of 'em. I'd actually have to fall back on the stock "society's to blame guv" in that most women, even higher grades, often don't give the direct and rude smackdown they need in order to impress on them that you are the one that knows what they're doing, not them and they should shut up. Also, addressing the problem once is often not enough, just repeat as necessary.

I'd also like to point out that I'd put men and women over about 40 in the same like to teach camp - by that time they're so used to giving orders as mam or dad they have to be reminded that yes that young whipper-snapper does know more than them...
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Old 10-20-2004, 04:32 AM   #7
ian
 
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Re: Different dojo populations...

From a biological perspective, you are right in that male primates usually have a strong hierarchy, whereas female status is often achieved through association with high status males. Also, human males tend to be more confident in expressing how good they are (maybe because this is sometimes necessary to achieve status?). I would say this pattern is more pronounced in young males, because they have little status through age/income/experience and they are still competing for mates (which is why I believe young males fight more).

I think men and women treat each other differently. Men are naturally very competitive and for women to enter a male dominated arena (esp. young males) it can be intimidating. However I doubt if the treatment is much different than being a low status male, except it is likely that they are more polite to the females. Therefore I think it is important that sensei and the students work hard to ensure it is not a male dominated dojo (by either more female recruitment or through setting a good example).

I think in many cases of sexual discrimination, women tend to occupy the middle to lower ground, with high and low status males either side. (which has an evolutionary advantage for women, because they can select the high status males. For example, although women want equal pay to men, in several polls women say they find partners who earn more money than them more desirable.)

Therefore I think it is worth remembering, that splitting people into male and female categories, and which benefit the most, omits the facts that the person at the bottom of the pecking order is the real loser, whatever the sex.

If it's a case that they don't respect you abilities and you feel you can't learn, then definately best to leave! Go where you can gain something useful!

(P.S. I'd like to say that although I believe in differences between men and women, these are generalities and in reality there is a large overlap in behaviours and abilties in real populations).
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Old 10-20-2004, 04:43 AM   #8
Hanna B
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
could people please decide whether they acknowledge gender distinctions in ma or not and argue consistently?
... so either everything is gender, or nothing? No, I don't think so...

If this thread digresses to be about gender differences in MA, maybe I deserve it but I would find it a pity.

happysod:
Quote:
Regarding your point about "young males like to teach" comment - we all get that from the young males, they're little bastards, the lot of 'em. I'd actually have to fall back on the stock "society's to blame guv" in that most women, even higher grades, often don't give the direct and rude smackdown they need in order to impress on them that you are the one that knows what they're doing, not them and they should shut up.
Basically, you say that women handle this the wrong way and that is why they feel it is a problem. Be it my fault that I don't make them shut up or not, the situation is there. We who don't like uke teaching maybe will go someplace else... and so the teaching-liking population is preserving itself, as group dynamics often do.

As a kyu grade, I never felt I could do anything about them. Shutting down my technique with muscle when they knew what was coming was easy. I had however little chance to shut down theirs, even if they did the technique no better or worse than I did. Personally I ended up in liking the teacher to actively disencourage uke-teaching. I have trained in such dojos as well, so I know what I like and I know how I liked my students to behave and not.

The first time I did something drastically about it, was a week after my shodan test and this teen kid kept resisting in a multitude of awkward ways while telling me what to do. I got instantly angry ("I thought this was over after shodan!") and showed him his groin was open to attack, without hitting but with obvious aggressive intent. He started to wrestle me, I did my best to remain in control. The instructor scolded me for being too hard on him. Well, probably I could have chosen a better target, he just happened to be the first one after my shodan test...
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Old 10-20-2004, 05:25 AM   #9
sarah07
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
I think in many cases of sexual discrimination, women tend to occupy the middle to lower ground, with high and low status males either side. (which has an evolutionary advantage for women, because they can select the high status males. For example, although women want equal pay to men, in several polls women say they find partners who earn more money than them more desirable.)
Ian - Im not trying to dispute what you write in this post, but am genuinely curious as to whether you have any more information on the 'several polls' you mention above. For instance - details regarding where and when they were conducted.

I realise we are getting a little off topic here so please forgive the digression...

Cheers,

Sarah Moon.
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Old 10-20-2004, 05:26 AM   #10
happysod
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Hanna,

Firstly, you were the one who brought up gender as part of the problem, was I meant to ignore that part of your query?

Your second point about "women always handle this the wrong way..." on re-reading my own reply, I can see how it would come across that was, which wasn't fully my intent. What I was meaning, which IanD so eloquently put, is that, despite ideals on society, there are often different ways in which the two sexes are taught to comport themselves.

In respect to the dominance issues, we all get them and from what I've seen in the dojo when it's between a young man and a women of equal or greater grade the problem does get exacerbated because women often take a more conciliatory role which is unfortunately deemed as a weakness by many young men. There is no true "fault" on either side, just a mis-translation of signals.

I've also had this happen to me on occasion (being a short unprepossessing man). Simple politeness, both within the dojo and outside the dojo can be misconstrued as a weakness. However, I've learned and what works (for me at any rate) is to go for a single strike-out rule and if a student starts telling me what to do (and they're either wrong or just unnecessarily verbose) stomp on it there and then. Any attempt to change it politely is futile, you can always draw back from this harsh a position later on.

With regards to your last example, I'd have to say congratulations actually. The young man in question had accepted you as a "true opponent" and was seeing how far he could get - should have dumped him on his arse as quickly as possible then apologised to the sensei if you felt the need.
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Old 10-20-2004, 06:35 AM   #11
ian
 
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Yeh, you're right not to have too much faith in this information Sarah (polls are almost always biased towards some agenda). I've heard it on Radio 4 (a good quality radio station in the UK) and I've read it somewhere as well, maybe it was New Scientist? Another survey I've seen (on a political news programme) gave figures for women and mens pay. In the UK men get paid higher, but men also work far longer hours. The pay per hour for men was actually lower than for women (though I wasn't really convinced about these statistics). As I have said, it is very wrong to compare average values between sexes.

I suppose my point is, there is sexual competition in many ways, and we are probably unaware of much of it. For example, male squirrels secrete a mucus plug to stop other squirrels fertilsing their mate, but females scape this out.
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Old 10-20-2004, 10:01 PM   #12
sarah07
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Ian, thanks for the clarification. Just wanted to know what we were dealing with there...

As an aside, I wonder what the results would look like were these surveys to pursue the issue of which women would prefer - equal pay or a partner (male) who had a higher salary than themselves?

Interesting anecdote about the squirrels!

-Sarah Moon
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Old 10-21-2004, 03:10 AM   #13
Hanna B
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Sexual competition? I know, topics like ""women in aikido" and similar usually end up in discussion of breast sizes...

What about age distribution then?
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Old 10-21-2004, 03:42 AM   #14
happysod
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Hanna, I'd like to disagree with you there, but can't...

Unfortunately, I don't understand your age distribution query. Do you mean competition across the age groups?
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Old 10-21-2004, 04:18 AM   #15
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote:
...What does different sexes of age gruops give to their training community?

I'd say that youth brings energy. It is good for the dojo. At the same time, young people tend to favor challenging training for the challenge in itself, such as doing ukemi over several people standing on their hands and knees, in a line.
I can think of three different occasions that I've experienced something like this...twice in dojo predominantly young male, once in a dojo very mixed qua gender&age. In two of these cases, training was very acrobatic, very aerobic, but "empty" IMO, in the third case, energetic, challenging, but full of content. This was one of the mostly young male dojo. I think the difference came from the instructor, frankly.

Quote:
I sometimes feel that this kind of unwanted teaching is a way to establish pecking order. I am sure that is a component, at least. Is that something male? I think women have pecking orders too, but more subtle and defined in more hidden ways than who teaches whom. I hate dojos where this is the bread and butter, and I leave them swiftly. Is this a common experience among female aikido practioners? My guess is that it is not uncommon, but I am really just speculating...
I don't seem to mind so much, so I haven't really kept tabs on who teaches me...my feeling is that it's slightly more often men that tend start giving me advice though. Not necessarily young men, just men in general. At seminars, especially with someone my age, it sometimes has a taste of establishing a pecking order between the two of us, yes, and that's how I take it, too. In that case, I do my best to do an effective technique, and if I manage to take my partners balance, that usually settles the matter. If not, well they'll keep teaching me.

I'm a strong believer in "people treat you how you let them" anyway.

I think it's very difficult to compare experiences like this, especially between men and women...if there is a difference, then my experience when I visit a dojo or seminar is inevitably going to be different that for example Peter's, and so how we perceive that particular group is also going to be different. So far, mostly men have commented on Hanna's original post...

My take on it is there's how the group trains and behaves, and then there the interaction between individuals. In my experience how the group as a group trains is largely influenced by the main teacher of the group, not so much the age & sex of the members...how the interaction between me and another individual goes, is influenced by a number of things, and our respective ages & genders would play a part, too, I'm sure.

kvaak
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Old 10-21-2004, 05:59 AM   #16
aikidoc
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Any social biologists out there? It would be interesting to hear their views on this topic.
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Old 10-21-2004, 08:43 AM   #17
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Different dojo populations...

If you read Deborah Tannen's book "You Just Don't Understand" on communications styles between men and women she sums up the basic difference this way: "Males use language to compete and females use language to connect".

In the Aikido context males instructing their partners has two basic reasons. First is the competition / pecking order aspect. They do this with each other, not just with the women, it's just part of the competition already taking place within the martial context of the training. Some places handle this by having no talking although in our dojo I haven't done that as I find it frustrating for beginners who really do want help from just about everybody they train with. But it's pretty natural... I even had a visiting Japanese student from the Honbu dojo give me instruction on a technique when he couldn't actually do the technique on me and I had just nuked him on the same technique. His world view of being a Japanese student from the home dojo made in incumbent on him to be in the superior position (which caused him to not even note the fact that I was having no trouble doing the technique in question).

A second general observation of men and women is that "Women want to be understood and men want to be appreciated". Tannen notes that when women communicate their thoughts about events in their lives to men, the men tend to take a problem solving approach to this communication. When a woman talks about a frustration or difficulty encountered she is looking to be heard by the person she is communicating with. Men see the communication as a call for a solution and when they offer the solution, which seems perfectly logical to do when presented with what they see as a problem, the woman often feels that her feelings or experience are being devalued and she doesn't feel "heard".

So this is the second cause for men instructing women in the dojo; they don't really know how to relate to women very well in any other way. Women tend to view their Aikido practice very much as a communication process with the partner. Even as they work on the various technical issues involved they want to feel as if they are sharing the experience with their partner. Just listen to how women communicate about the process when they are with each other, maybe in the dressing room away from the men. Guys simply do not communicate with each other in the same way at all. A guy who has the very best of intentions will see the various issues associated with training as issues to be solved. When he sees that a woman (it could be any partner) is having difficulty with a technique it is almost automatic for him to see this as a problem to be solved and he will offer a solution. This comes from a genuine desire to be helpful and also the desire to be appreciated by the female as Tannen noted. And just as in other areas of communication between men and women, the female often feels that, despite his good intentions, the male who is offering this help isn't validating or understanding her process. To see this in action just watch how women will take instruction from each other in a different way than they take it from a male. Of course the males offer instruction to each other differently than they do to their female partners. It's just helpful to understand the dynamic, then perhaps you can avoid being so frustrated.

The issue of equality on the mat has always been problematical in the martial arts, especially in Aikido in which there are so many female practitioners. Males spend a lot of time being confused about what is wanted by their female counterparts (what a surprise considering how the rest of life is). Everyone is aware that the women want to be considered equal to the men. But the men become painfully aware early in their practice that "equal" doesn't translate to "the same".

The young testosterone boys have a whole way that they tend to train with each other. This is how they establish their pecking order and earn the "respect" of their peers and even their teacher. But if they train with the women in the dojo in the same way they train with each other they are accused of being macho and even being abusive or at least too rough. But when they "train down" to their female counterparts to avoid these charges they get accused of not respecting their female partners.

I have heard over and over again from female Aikido friends of their frustration about not having the guys train seriously with them. At the same time, at a summer camp one year a guy was there who was very rough in his training. The word went around the camp that he was hurting the women and was abusive. Well, he was rough... but the men's reaction was to go toe to toe with him and smash him back. The women's reaction was to withdraw and process their feelings about being abused and devalued.

This is VERY confusing for the men. I can attest to much of this as I had the rare experience of being a male in a dojo run by a very senior woman, Mary Heiny Sensei, in which the majority of the students were female. I was made aware of the double standard very early on when I discovered that if one of the women did a certain move, she was being a "powerful woman" and if I did precisely the same thing, I was being a "macho jerk".

Whereas women tend to have to put up with this whole issue of the men talking down to them, instructing them, disrespecting their training, when you put a guy into a mostly female training environment, I assure you that he will put up with whole array of passive aggressive manipulations which don't make him feel very validated. I watched a number of times how experienced male martial artists came into the training environment and have all of their previous experience devalued by the females traiing there. One guy in particular had won the Hawaiian full contact championships in th sixties. he could hit anyone in the dojo at will if he wanted... The women wee terrified of him so he was made to feel like his previous training was some sort of black mark against him that could only be erased by doing the spiritual art of Aikido (according to the unwritten rules of the females in the dojo of course). He ended up leaving.

I point this out only to say that, yes, women do not get equal treatment or the treatment that they'd like from many, if not all men they train with. I largely believe that this is simply a continuation of the same inability men and women have in communicating in general. But I also want to point out that this isn't just the men and that when one reverses the dominance situation and puts the females in the majority role, it doesn't fare much better for the guys, for precisely the same reasons. I think it takes a lot of practice and experience for folks to work these things out. And they don't all arrive at the same solutions.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 10-21-2004, 09:17 AM   #18
Qatana
 
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Re: Different dojo populations...

FWIW, All the unsolicited advice i get in the dojo is either from two male sandans, both of whom are "my teacher" when sensei isn't teaching, and an equal amount from the two unranked women who have stuck around since i started training.

Q
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Old 10-21-2004, 09:46 AM   #19
Hanna B
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Ah

Quote:
What does different sexes of age gruops
should be
What does different sexes or age gruops

My bad.
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Old 10-21-2004, 10:34 AM   #20
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote:
Personally I ended up in liking the teacher to actively disencourage uke-teaching. I have trained in such dojos as well, so I know what I like and I know how I liked my students to behave and not.
Well, yes. Except that my experience has been that most of my teachers also very gently but firmly discouraged not only uke-teaching, but most forms of verbal class participant teaching, whether uke, nage, kohai, or sempai.

One is particularly fond of a ground rule she picked up from a class taught by Don Angier at the first Aiki Expo: "No private classes in my class."

The tricky part when teaching the class is to show clearly without telling, something most of us in the West need work on.

If the instructor talks a lot, the students do too. That seems to be gender independent in my experience.

Hope this helps,

Fred

Last edited by Fred Little : 10-21-2004 at 10:36 AM. Reason: typo in QUOTE tag
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Old 10-21-2004, 12:48 PM   #21
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Different dojo populations...

George, what an excellent post. Thanks.

Some of my best training experiences have been with women, a few of whom could've kicked my butt. In fact, one of my early lessons in kickboxing was just that...(stupid roundhouse kicks, women's hips tend to open really nicely for that kick!)

I had a really great training session about a month ago with one of the mid-kyu ranked women in the dojo. It started out very much as George described (me trying to encourage and teach, her just being frustrated). Somehow our instructor got her to see the point of the technique, and then we got in some of the best training she and I have ever had. I still am not sure what he said that was different...or if it was *him* saying it (that doesn't bother me a bit...I should have kept my mouth shut to begin with). But the interaction was ready to go to a much higher level once he was able to communicate a few simple things. As a result, I had a practice that I'll probably always remember...

Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 10-21-2004, 02:42 PM   #22
Bronson
 
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Quote:
Fred Little wrote:
Well, yes. Except that my experience has been that most of my teachers also very gently but firmly discouraged not only uke-teaching, but most forms of verbal class participant teaching, whether uke, nage, kohai, or sempai.
I think I would have a hard time training in this environment on a regular basis.

We are encouraged and expected to teach during class. In my sensei's class there is some attention paid to rank. Usually the lower ranked person waits to be asked by the higher ranked person before giving advice. In my class we tend to have a free flowing exchange of info across the board.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 10-21-2004, 03:53 PM   #23
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
I think I would have a hard time training in this environment on a regular basis.

We are encouraged and expected to teach during class. In my sensei's class there is some attention paid to rank. Usually the lower ranked person waits to be asked by the higher ranked person before giving advice. In my class we tend to have a free flowing exchange of info across the board.

Bronson
Bronson --

It's not a hard and fast rule, just a norm. When folks want to detail things they had difficulty with during class, there's always after class.

And I know that I screw up regularly and talk more than I ought.

The point is to gently encourage people to come back to a place where, to riff off of some of George's language, classtime is a time when people get to work through their own process of observing, trying, observing what worked and didn't work, trying again, and so forth.

The underlying concept, as best I understand it, is that however well intentioned, too much help, whether from a teacher or fellow student, short-circuits that process in a way that may help someone to nail a particular technical sequence, but doesn't help them learn how to learn with their own brain and body.

But a variety of approaches across dojo allows a better long-term experiment, eh?

Best regards,

Fred Little
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Old 10-22-2004, 01:58 AM   #24
Bronson
 
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Quote:
Fred Little wrote:
But a variety of approaches across dojo allows a better long-term experiment, eh?
Agreed. I'm glad there are places that have a no talking atmosphere. Not everyone wants to train how we do so its nice there are places they can go...and vice versa.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 10-22-2004, 06:09 AM   #25
Hanna B
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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Re: Different dojo populations...

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
We are encouraged and expected to teach during class.
In some dojos this is very much a part of the system, in others it is not but people do anyway. In other yet it is considered contra-productive.
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