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Old 02-02-2005, 02:14 AM   #26
Roban
Location: Glasgow
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Hey, she's very modest But you are correct, we should have a biog for her - I'll mention that to her at the next training session. Thanks for your comments.

Rob
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Old 02-03-2005, 06:46 AM   #27
Erin Kelly
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Thank You!
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Old 02-04-2005, 01:43 PM   #28
giriasis
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Emily Dolan Gordon wrote:

Should I be disappointed, that it takes a prominent male teacher to bring the subject of Invisible Women up?

I am.
I am, too. But not surprised as it took Nixon to go to China. In other words if a liberal went to China they would have labled him a 'communist', but not a diehard conservative like Nixon.

The same thing, here. If a woman spoke up on these boards with the same post, she either would have been ignored at best or her opinion derided as "reactionary".

Just look at the "warm" reception of the announcement of the Women In Aikido video got. A couple of jerks got on without seeing the video and decided that it wasn't needed or called for. One other man watched it and gave it a very lukewarm review. It was an excellent video, but many seemed to have ignored it. Put a man's name behind it and voila! instant agreement. (sorry for my sarcasm folks).

Quote:
What the hell are we doing, as female budoka?
What more can we do?
Other than train and continue to train and continue to break down barriers by our mere presence. Other than that, I started my bulletin board (link in my sig) Women in Aikido. After about 6 months, I was going to delete it do to inactivity then women started to join thanking me for starting this board. Now, we have over 125 members.

Quote:
What helps us survive and evolve?
By never giving up no matter what is said. It also means speaking up when required, even when doing so would not be popular. Also, just being there when someone (male or female) needs the support helps a lot.

Quote:
How can instructors cultivate female budoka, objectively?
By being objective and subjective to their individual needs. I'm afraid by focusing training on someone's feminity or gender will just turn into patronizing mush such as being afraid to throw me because I'm female or only teaching me the "soft-way" of doing techniques.

Quote:
I don't mind not being "marketed" that way lies ruin, but where is the common-sense commentary? I mean, besides "The Mirror" here on Aikiweb (waves to Janet et al).
Come check out Women in Aikido (click the link below.)

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 02-04-2005, 02:12 PM   #29
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Without wanting to sound patronizing, I had an excellent training session last night, mostly due to being able to train with one of the few 3rd dan women in our dojo. I remarked to her after practice, that she was still helping me with the same thing I had trouble with in a class of her's six years ago (pivoting to a pin after applying nikajo).

This certainly isn't true across the board, but I'd have to say some of my best training has been with partners who happened to be female. Something about the nature of the interation that is often different. I've even known couples who train and teach together, and I wouldn't train with the man to save my life, but the woman would be high on the list.

I guess it still sounds patronizing after all...but anyway, thanks for training with us apes, and occationally actually getting something through our thick skulls...
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 02-04-2005, 03:23 PM   #30
John Boswell
 
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Personally, I KNOW women in aikido (but also sports in general) hold great value. When I have had the opportunity to train with a woman, I find it disarming. Growing up "old school" in west Texas, women were to be taken care of and protected, not competed against.

Facing off with a nidan in TKD, a woman weighting less than half my own weight... I can't help but enjoy the fact that her skills in martial arts are what is throwing me around like a ragdoll! And it is a lesson big guys like me need to learn to keep us honest (humble ).

But just yesturday, I was commenting on another thread how Patricia Hendricks Sensei is a 6th dan and with every new thing I learn about her... I can't help but believe she should be at LEAST 7th Dan. Granted, Aikikai doesn't teach weapons specifically (I think?) but she was the FIRST PERSON, male or female, to be awarded recognition from Saito Shihan for her skills and ability in weapons work. That's gotta be saying something...

Okay, I'm rambling so I'll go. Keep going ladies and give 'em hell! Keep us all honest and on our toes.

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Old 02-05-2005, 02:45 AM   #31
ruthmc
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Emily Dolan Gordon wrote:
What the hell are we doing, as female budoka?
What more can we do?
What helps us survive and evolve?
How can instructors cultivate female budoka, objectively?
Great questions Emily

As a female, all I can do is to keep training. I will not give up. I have trained with men who believed that women should not be in the dojo - this just made me even more determined to continue!

What we can do is to encourage other women to train. Some women like to be the only female in the dojo, and discourage other women (the perceived competition) from training there. This attitude is despicable and ruinous, and incredibly short-sighted. Please don't do it ladies.

What helps us to survive and evolve is the support and encouragement of other good people, male and female. And a certain degree of dogged determination

Instructors have to make their dojo accessible for women. They have to care about us and our progress, and make sure that nobody tries to discourage us or sideline us. A dojo led this way will have a healthy population of male and female students who are respectful to each other and train well.

Ruth
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Old 02-09-2005, 11:40 AM   #32
genkimono
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

I would just like to say that I train at a number of Dojo's in and around London with both Male and Female instructors. I work just as hard physically and mentally as any of the men, and I am treated and graded just the same, based on my own merits.

I am possibly missing the point of your message (and am going through it again), but I do not feel like I'm treated differently because I am a woman, or that there is any need for attitudes towards us to change.
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Old 02-09-2005, 05:46 PM   #33
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Hi, I know Rob's teacher as I practice in the same organisation, albeit at the other end of our crowded island. Firstly can I say that I really enjoyed your article, and that I agree with the contents. I'd like to just add that I'm very new to the Aikiweb Forum ( first posting! ). So a bow as I enter the on-line world of discussion. Secondly, I am happy to report to you that much of what you call for in your article I find in the organisation that Rob and I practice in. Although the gender percentages in the organisation may not be exactly 50/50 there seems to be no advantage to being male of female when it comes to achieving high rank. So I am not that surprised that there is not more about Sensei Aitkinhead on the website, as her role in Aikido is as a teacher, the fact that she is a woman seems to me to be irrelevant.

More power to the women I say, I've enjoyed every practice I've had with both men and women young and old. One of the most satisfying aspects of Aikido is that it can be practiced by all, it is available to everyone. When practicing non dissension, physical size, strength and gender should cease to be relevant. An area where women seem to have a slight advantage in learning is that unlike some of the men, they know using strength is just not an option, so they often explore the avenues of blending and mental focus being offered to them, somewhat sooner than their male counterparts.

I guess I will now try to figure out which button to push to post this reply

Mark

Last edited by Mark Freeman : 02-09-2005 at 05:48 PM. Reason: typo's
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Old 02-10-2005, 08:32 AM   #34
E.D. Gordon
Dojo: Shobukan Maryland
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
Training?
Setting as good example as I can.
It's the best we can do.

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
Balancing training with everything else that is equally (or more) important in my life (which is another way women, esp older women, are often very different from young men (and isn't it telling that some of the very high ranking exemplary American women instructors early on/when fairly young picked up and spent time in Japan?)
I think it's harder for women to "break off" their lives to go do something their mate does not do. Granted, I feel upset every time I hear of a mate sabotaging the growth of their partner (intentional or not). Most of the time, though, by not trying to balance and find a way, we (both genders) allow the sabotage.

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
I'm doing what I can. I take responsibility for my survival and evolution. I would like instructors who are sensitive to some of the issues I bring to the mat (the knee, general aging) but frankly don't feel I need to be "cultivated" on account of being female. Just not have my femaleness count as a negative in anybody's eyes. And have me AS AN INDIVIDUAL taken into account.
I don't like the idea of "cultivation" either, I think it leads to unhealthy relationships.

Each person is such a marvellously complex interplay of factors that gender is truly only as big an issue as we make it.

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
Every dojo I"ve been a member of called women up for ukemi and women who train regularly are able to advance as quickly as men who train regularly.
You live in a very evolved area, for the most part.
You have superb human evaluative skills, you know what you want, and you don't take any caca.

There's a skill set there, and a choice of environment.

Aikido is supposed to be an 'open door' art and everyone is supposed to be welcome.

That said, I've ended up in more than one "boy's club" and it's been good experience, but not always in an easy way.

In any case, I will be happy when gender is simply not an issue any more, on any level. Sure, it makes a difference, but Who a Person Is, is of far greater importance.
We have the luxury of looking at it this way, in our time.

Interesting how history and culture cycles back and forth:
http://www.ejmas.com/proceedings/GSJSA03svinth.htm

edge
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:10 AM   #35
E.D. Gordon
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
I am, too. But not surprised as it took Nixon to go to China. In other words if a liberal went to China they would have labled him a 'communist', but not a diehard conservative like Nixon.
I had this extremely silly brief vision of George Ledyard in gi and hakama, doing a Nixon impression...

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
The same thing, here. If a woman spoke up on these boards with the same post, she either would have been ignored at best or her opinion derided as "reactionary".
Yep. Several folks may remember the row I got into with Dan Linden over his decision that women had no place in his dojo.
The end of it was that he is free to run things as he pleases, but others are free to criticize the decision and underlying reason, or lack thereof.
That interaction inspired me to write a paper for presentation at the Guelph Sword School. That and Deborah Klens-Bigman telling me to quit whining about not being able to make it that year and contribute.

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
Just look at the "warm" reception of the announcement of the Women In Aikido video got. A couple of jerks got on without seeing the video and decided that it wasn't needed or called for. One other man watched it and gave it a very lukewarm review. It was an excellent video, but many seemed to have ignored it. Put a man's name behind it and voila! instant agreement. (sorry for my sarcasm folks).
A high-ranking man, anyway. Thanks George how's that Nixon impression coming?

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
Other than train and continue to train and continue to break down barriers by our mere presence. Other than that, I started my bulletin board (link in my sig) Women in Aikido. After about 6 months, I was going to delete it do to inactivity then women started to join thanking me for starting this board. Now, we have over 125 members.
Who are all grateful for a place to communicate and support.
I'm hoping to start something similar for women in budo, sometime over the next four weeks. Maybe we can start a new thread talking about resources for women in budo?

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
By never giving up no matter what is said. It also means speaking up when required, even when doing so would not be popular. Also, just being there when someone (male or female) needs the support helps a lot.

By being objective and subjective to their individual needs. I'm afraid by focusing training on someone's feminity or gender will just turn into patronizing mush such as being afraid to throw me because I'm female or only teaching me the "soft-way" of doing techniques.
Agree on speaking up, and I've done it, and it's not fun, but it has to be done.
Teaching according to gender, to me, is pretty short-sighted. Should men only do punchy-kicky things and competitive (Olympic) judo?
Should women only arrange flowers and do Tai Chi?
The Tai Chi teacher in my first massage class (a fellow student) used to toss me around vigorously.
American society is pretty mixed up about gender roles, but we are improving. My mom used to pin a doily on my head when I went to church because females were supposed to "cover their heads before the lord".
Certain sections of US society would have us go back that way:
http://freebooks.entrewave.com/freeb..._pdfs/gncr.pdf
http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2004/5/21/13392/6893
Just FYI...

Yes, reading over the voices in this topic, I see a lot of strong, grounded, "voices from the trenches" who are more interested in training, learning and sharing than politics.
The political machine needs the occasional tweak, or swift kick, but it's not the main thing.

I adore having other women in the dojo, but as long as I have training partners, I will teach to their strengths and enjoy the lessons they have for me.

mle
(hoping George Ledyard appreciates goofy humour )
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Old 02-12-2005, 02:18 AM   #36
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Emily Dolan Gordon wrote:
A high-ranking man, anyway. Thanks George how's that Nixon impression coming?
I am not a crook!

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 02-12-2005, 06:12 PM   #37
Meggy Gurova
Dojo: Chowa
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Emily Dolan Gordon wrote:

Yep. Several folks may remember the row I got into with Dan Linden over his decision that women had no place in his dojo.
Amazing! Or is that some kind of joke?

I've only 3 kyu and I'm the woman with the highest rank in our dojo. I'm going to move to another city in 6 months and I do everything possible to encourage the women in the dojo to do their best. I always try to tell them how good they are.
I though my teacher really treated me the same way as the men, but now when the 3 men ranked 4 kyu joined the advanced group, he has started throwing them harder than he throws me! And I'm not happy with that! One of these men is the same size as me, so why is he making a difference!!!???
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Old 02-13-2005, 11:40 PM   #38
Bronson
 
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Meggy Gurova wrote:
One of these men is the same size as me, so why is he making a difference!!!???
Could it just be that his ukemi is better? I've worked with rokkyu and gokyu students that had better falling skills than some of the dan ranked students so of course we could sometimes go at it with a little more enthusiasm. It had nothing to do with rank or gender, just skill.

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 02-14-2005, 07:31 AM   #39
Meggy Gurova
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
Could it just be that his ukemi is better?
That has to be the last reason I can think off. (I've been a dancer and very acrobatic). I've done so much more than everybody else in the dojo. I've been uchi-deshi, I'm the only one doing to seminars etc and my teacher still sees me as ambitious and not taught. I'm prepared to work harder than everybody else just to be considered to their level. But to work harder and still be considered to have lower level, that makes me very angry
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Old 02-15-2005, 07:52 AM   #40
Bronson
 
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Meggy Gurova wrote:
That has to be the last reason I can think off. (I've been a dancer and very acrobatic). I've done so much more than everybody else in the dojo. I've been uchi-deshi, I'm the only one doing to seminars etc and my teacher still sees me as ambitious and not taught. I'm prepared to work harder than everybody else just to be considered to their level. But to work harder and still be considered to have lower level, that makes me very angry
Meggy please understand that I'm not picking on you I'm just offering some thoughts. If indeed you have the requisite ability to handle some harder training then by all means that training should be available to you...and to everyone who has the ability for and desire to do it. However acrobatic ability, uchi deshi status, seminar attendance, or willingness to work hard does not automatically equate to high ability as uke...there's a better chance but it's not automatic. I have students who work VERY hard and/or attend many classes but still they just don't get it. I'm not saying this IS the case with you but since I've never seen you as uke I have to consider it as a possibility....just as I consider that you are right and are being overlooked for other reasons. Either way I suggest letting your instructor know that you are interested in taking your training to a higher level and ask them what they feel you should do in order for that to happen.

Good luck,

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 02-15-2005, 01:06 PM   #41
giriasis
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Meggy Gurova wrote:
That has to be the last reason I can think off. (I've been a dancer and very acrobatic). I've done so much more than everybody else in the dojo. I've been uchi-deshi, I'm the only one doing to seminars etc and my teacher still sees me as ambitious and not taught. I'm prepared to work harder than everybody else just to be considered to their level. But to work harder and still be considered to have lower level, that makes me very angry
I can understand your frustration that you feel like your being segregated because of your gender. I would suggest to just ask your sensei why he chooses others over you. And also just give it time, keep training and don't give up.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 02-15-2005, 01:12 PM   #42
senshincenter
 
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Perhaps it just might be a bit easier to ask in a more positive manner - i.e. ask what your sensei what he/she feels you can do so that you get more experience being called up as uke. Sometimes, for some people, it comes off better if you address things in as constructive a manner as possible.

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 02-15-2005, 03:21 PM   #43
E.D. Gordon
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Meggy Gurova wrote:
Amazing! Or is that some kind of joke?
Sadly, no.
Go here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...3112#post63112
but I wouldn't beat that rotting equine corpse again.
I'd give an honest beer to know who that anonymous user was.

Quote:
Meggy Gurova wrote:
I though my teacher really treated me the same way as the men, but now when the 3 men ranked 4 kyu joined the advanced group, he has started throwing them harder than he throws me! And I'm not happy with that!
So attack him harder.
Just be ready for it.

I once rattled one of my Yanagi Ryu classmates so hard that I kind of woke up and shook the little birdies off from around my head afterwards (I don't do that art any more, women aren't known at the highest levels there, either, and there's enough glass ceilings for me to bang my head on).

I've been in many dojo situations where some dear chivalrous man was catching me (pull him down and pin him) or not *throwing* me (throw him instead) or fluffing technique (give him something to work with).

All of the men in my dojo are bigger or stronger than me. My teacher likes to throw one of them (former judoka) sometimes, instead of me, but I don't mind. I don't consider "harder" favoritism, merely an indication that the teacher is showing something which works better on the other person.

Besides, as the sand slips through the hourglass, harder is not always better!

edge
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Old 02-15-2005, 05:49 PM   #44
MaryKaye
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

I would strongly agree with the advice to ask your sensei, perhaps phrasing it positively as "What would I need to improve to be called for ukemi more/thrown more vigorously?"

We always have a few advanced students at the beginners' classes to take ukemi. A month or so ago I spent a whole class watching while a (male) student much junior to me took all the demo ukemi. Afterwards the teacher offered me a ride home, so I took the opportunity to ask him. He said, "Well, he was sitting at the right end of the line." Pause. "Actually, I like the beginners to see a small person like me throwing a 250 lb. gorilla like him. It shows what aikido is capable of, and it makes me look good."

I think it was much better to find this out than go on wondering if I'd offended him, if something were wrong with my ukemi, if he was being sexist, etc....

Mary Kaye
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Old 02-15-2005, 06:09 PM   #45
Don_Modesto
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Mary Kuhner wrote:
A month or so ago I spent a whole class watching while a (male) student much junior to me took all the demo ukemi. Afterwards the teacher offered me a ride home, so I took the opportunity to ask him. He said, "Well, he was sitting at the right end of the line." Pause. "Actually, I like the beginners to see a small person like me throwing a 250 lb. gorilla like him. It shows what aikido is capable of, and it makes me look good."
Yeah. It's often not about you (or me). The teacher has a lot on his mind--how the trainees are handling what he throws at them, what he'd planned to do next over and against what he sees in front of him, safety, his return flight, his hangover...

Then again (as you already know too well)...

Quote:
Meggy Gurova wrote:
I'm prepared to work harder than everybody else just to be considered to their level. But to work harder and still be considered to have lower level, that makes me very angry
In Blink, author Gladwell relates the experience of some orchestra whose cadre of grayback decision-makers conducted a blind audition and unanimously found the best wind player to be a woman, much to their surprise. They knew that women weren't strong enough to do winds. They'd never had this truth contradicted when they did visible auditions, i.e., their eyes saw more than their ears heard. The author himself was surprised to discover he possessed a certain bias against blacks having taken an internet test for that propensity--his mother is black.

It's a tough row to hoe, but GANBATTE. There're numbers of us rooting for the likes of Mary Heiny, Patty Saotome, Pat Hendricks, Penny Bernath... More than there were 10 years ago.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 02-16-2005, 02:18 PM   #46
E.D. Gordon
Dojo: Shobukan Maryland
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
Yeah. It's often not about you (or me).
This is important. Don't assume that you and your instructor have the same limitations. I have found that my assumptions of limitations are, often, strictly my own. The majority of my instructors have been ruthless egalitarians.

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
It's a tough row to hoe, but GANBATTE. There're numbers of us rooting for the likes of Mary Heiny, Patty Saotome, Pat Hendricks, Penny Bernath... More than there were 10 years ago.
How much has aikido, or any art, lost due to discrimination and "double-loading" (women/gaijin/whatever have to do twice as well as "native" aikidoka to get anywhere)?

I train in a sort of modern hybrid sogo budo (www.the-dojo.com) now, and aikido is just where I come from. I pay my debt, at this time, by asking questions and participating.

I'm going to train, but I'm going to go where I am encouraged and can train honestly. I'm not going to waste my time in political morasses. Koryu is not without politics, but I screen instructors for political addiction, and won't train with the politically ambitious. I got no use for it.

There's got to be a place for people who just want to train.
People like me, aren't going to waste their time.

This assumes that you want demanding students who will extract every last bit of your art from you if they have to use a spring trap to hang you up-side-down and shake it out of you.

mle
"there ain't no brakeman on this train" --John Mayall
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Old 02-16-2005, 04:13 PM   #47
Meggy Gurova
Dojo: Chowa
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Thank you all for your answers!
I have very good contact with my teacher indeed and I have talked with him about the "girl issue" several times. I know for sure that he thinks that womens body's are not made for to be "destroyed" that way, he thinks women must take care off their body's because they are going to be mothers, and so on... I still want to be the one to decide over my own body. I've even asked him to keep pushing me because I need some kind off challenge and he is doing it but not with the uke training. On the other hand I should not be complaining because all the other teachers I've trained for like me as uke. I'm sorry for my bad English.
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Old 02-16-2005, 05:12 PM   #48
Janet Rosen
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Meggy, your English is FINE. And so is your attitude (smile). Keep challenging yourself and keep expecting others to challenge you too.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 02-16-2005, 06:51 PM   #49
Jeanne Shepard
 
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:



In Blink, author Gladwell relates the experience of some orchestra whose cadre of grayback decision-makers conducted a blind audition and unanimously found the best wind player to be a woman, much to their surprise. They knew that women weren't strong enough to do winds. They'd never had this truth contradicted when they did visible auditions, i.e., their eyes saw more than their ears heard. The author himself was surprised to discover he possessed a certain bias against blacks having taken an internet test for that propensity--his mother is black.
That is an AMAZING book, as is his other, The Tipping Point. I can't recommend them too highly.

Jeanne
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Old 02-16-2005, 07:48 PM   #50
senshincenter
 
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Re: Women and Everybody Else in Aikido

Quote:
Meggy Gurova wrote:
I know for sure that he thinks that womens body's are not made for to be "destroyed" that way, he thinks women must take care off their body's because they are going to be mothers, and so on...
Jeesh! I'm sorry, but I can't say which is more surprising to me: That someone actually thinks like that and calls themselves a teacher of Budo, or that someone actually knows all this about their teacher and yet remains their deshi. Had to say it - apologies.

Personally, I would find a new instructor. How can you be all you can be when someone else has already determined the "ceiling" for you. I couldn't imagine teaching anyone in good faith and already determining what they can't do and/or cannot be.

I'm not saying you have to leave angry or be angry - it's just "math" - no emotions are needed. The guy doesn't have what you need and/or deserve - find someone that does.

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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