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Old 03-30-2005, 07:42 AM   #301
rob_liberti
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
It failed as a joke or an implication because asking you about your position is not a personal attack, Rob. You're not clarifying anything at all, Rob.
First, do you understand that I do not consider you to be the judge of what fails or succeeds?
Second, wasn't I ALSO asking you about your position?! Didn't I start it with "Are you"???

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
You just said that you do not believe that women would be *just like men* and then you go on to indicate that all "people", "regardless of gender" can be trained to "do the right thing". You need to clarify because that statement essentially leaves it that women are just as good at doing the "right thing" in martial arts as men; i.e., they're equal in martial arts. Is that a correct assessment of what you're saying or do you want to qualify it?
"You need to "... Really? It seems like you think you are in charge. I don't think I _need to_ clarify it at all, but I'll be a sport:
1) It is obvious that people are not all the same.
2) It is obvious that the two genders are different by definition.
3) It is obvious to me, that people can do the right thing given _the situation_ - which takes into account differences like body shape, size, and musculature (because they are doing the right things at the right timing from the right places).

To think otherwise is to say that if an attacker is stronger than their intended victum, there is nothing they could do about it, and that just doesn't hold water. I've seen better fighters back up a bit, trip on a curb, fall and knock themselves out. Anything can happen in a fight. A smaller person can dip under a strike at the right time and the larger person can hit a wall, lose their balance, or simply expose themeselves to counter attack. The smaller person can set the larger person up to play their game - like was done often in those UFC and Pride matches as well as in a real fight.

Just in the symbolic attack world of normal aikido waza training, I've had a number of aikido experiences with successfully doing aikido waza with people well over a hundred pounds heavier and also being totally jammed up and shut down by people maybe 70-75 lighter and a foot shorter than me. I think that's the nature of aikido. Otherwise, all of the shorter and lighter folks in aikido should just quit.

Rob

PS. I know you asked this to Mary, but I'll field it:
Q: " Which men are those, Mary?"
A: Stupid men.

Last edited by rob_liberti : 03-30-2005 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 03-30-2005, 07:44 AM   #302
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Equitable?

I guess the question is - what are the qualities necessary to learn and do aikido at a very high level? Once we decide which qualities we're talking about, it's possible to discuss whether or not women and men equally possess/can acquire those qualities.

I've always thought that aikido required rather different qualities than, say, rugby...OTOH Morihei Ueshiba in the midst of an rugby match , I'd definitely want to be there to see it....

kvaak
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Old 03-30-2005, 07:49 AM   #303
giriasis
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Meggy Gurova wrote:
Cool! It's exactly the same in our dojo! And I've noticed that the few woman that train are more interested in aikido then most of the men. In our dojo women come and try aikido and if they don't like it they leave after their 6 kyu and if they make it to 4 kyu they usually stay for a long time. And it feels like the men in our dojo are there for other reasons like "I'm expected as a male to do martial arts, but actually I'm more interested in playing piano (or whatever)".
I don't necessary think men practice a martial art because they are expected to, but more men walk into a dojo because it is more socially acceptable for them to practice a martial art. They come into the dojo in higher numbers and leave in higher numbers, too.

I think most people join aikido for different reasons and those reasons can not be nailed down to one gender. We can stereotype and say women join to practice the spiritual elements and men join to learn the physicial elements. However, we would do both genders injustice if we stereotyped things that way. In my dojo we have several men who joined with 10+ years of another martial art and choose aikido because it is softer than what they were practicing. Others joined because they though Steven Segal was cool, others DID join for the spiritual elements. Most people -- male and female -- write on our dojo registration sheets that they are joining for mental, physical, and spiritual reasons.

But the hard truth is that martial arts in general is not always appealing to women because women tend to sterotype as well. And the stereotypes come from our cultural upbringings. I was fortunate at a young to have my mother sign me up for Tae Kwon Do instead of gymnastics. Since that time I never really questioned that martial arts were not for me, but sometimes my non-aikido friends just say "martial arts don't appeal to me." Why doesn't it? Because it sounds like they could get hurt, bruised, etc. It's just too rough.

I don't think men feel compelled to take a martial art, unless there culture compels them, too. However practicing a martial art, for a man, seems to reinforce his masculinity -- may be that's the appeal for a guy. I think men tend to practice more sports than women, but that factor is changing. More women are invovled in sports and more are even invovled in sports like boxing. I went to school in the 80's and most girls didn't like sports or were that interested in them with the exclusion of perhaps basketball or volleyball. In my senior year of high school it was a really hugh deal to get a ladies soccer team. I think our culture, right now, is beginning to compel women into more athletic fields (Golf, Boxing instead of just Gymnastics, Figure Skating ["female sports']) eventually I feel it will carry over into martial arts.

I like to feel feminine and pretty and lady like, but that won't keep me away from aikido and it won't stop me from moving from my center and learning to make my aikido strong yet graceful at the same time.

Last edited by giriasis : 03-30-2005 at 08:00 AM.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 03-30-2005, 08:18 AM   #304
Mike Sigman
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
1) It is obvious that people are not all the same.
2) It is obvious that the two genders are different by definition.
3) It is obvious to me, that people can do the right thing given _the situation_ - which takes into account differences like body shape, size, and musculature (because they are doing the right things at the right timing from the right places).
Here was the question that you avoided answering, Rob:

You need to clarify because that statement essentially leaves it that women are just as good at doing the "right thing" in martial arts as men; i.e., they're equal in martial arts. Is that a correct assessment of what you're saying or do you want to qualify it?

Do you think women are statistically as equal in ability in martial arts (including boxing, since it was brought up) as men? Yes or No? If yes, can you support it with anything other than speculation? If no, do you see the logic of why more men would do better than women in martial arts, on the whole?

What's amazing is how long people will avoid saying the obvious because of some perverted idea that "political correctness" is more important than truth and common sense. In fact the trend has become that it's better to lie and call people names than to deal with common sense. Sad. Frankly, I have never been able to understand where some people seriously try to reconcile what Budo really means with the dishonesty of political correctness.

Mike
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Old 03-30-2005, 08:38 AM   #305
Mike Sigman
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Pauliina Lievonen wrote:
I guess the question is - what are the qualities necessary to learn and do aikido at a very high level? Once we decide which qualities we're talking about, it's possible to discuss whether or not women and men equally possess/can acquire those qualities.
It's a good question, Pauliina. I think there are a number of ideas about Aikido that have led to the large participation by New Age and touchy-feely types in Aikido (yes, even the ones who do "rough and tumble" aerobic-Aikido). So I'll posit a couple of thoughts (good for debate; not good for personal attack):

1. Aikido is about not using strength, so weak people can be just as effective as big strong people.

Aikido, like a number of asian martial arts, stresses not resisting an opponent's strength, but using that strength in the technique. However, that does not mean that you can do it with no strength. If it meant that, O-Sensei would not have worked out daily to be extraordinarily strong, would he?

2. Aikido uses ki, not strength.

For all practical purposes, ki skills can be viewed as an unusual form of strength; it's just different. It still has to be trained through knowing how and long, hard work.

3. If I use Aikido correctly in a throw, I should be able to do it with just the weight of my arms and no strength.

Congratulations if your technique is that high and you can respond brilliantly to any subtle movement by your opponent. If Aikido practice didn't involve such cooperative attack and throw, it would be easier to gauge just how many Aikidoka are really at that level and whether many of them could be so subtle in an attack which was not predictable, linear, and not subject to rapid feints, etc. Kisshomaru Ueshiba had a "volunteer" at a demonstration in Hawaii whom he asked to "throw a punch". The volunteer was a trained martial artist and threw a series of punches far too rapid and erratic for Ueshiba to grasp or anything so he finally waved the guy away and asked for another volunteer.

Secondly, in regard to not using strength in the arms and just using the weight, that's sort of true, but there's more to it. I watched Shioda (on video) do some throws involving the same idea... he didn't use muscle, but he used something very powerful and something able to change directions rapidly. I.e.., sometimes the descriptions which get handed out as "standard admonitions" are taken wrongly by the great masses. Just a thought.

I think that women, small males, non-athletic people in general, etc., *can* learn things from a martial art like Aikido that give them an edge. But there's always someone better, so we have to do the best we can and not whine about the gender, race, economic status, etc., of the other guy or gal.... that's self-defeating and distracts from the goal.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 03-30-2005, 08:52 AM   #306
ruthmc
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Re: Equitable?

Mike,

Why do you complain that people won't answer your questions when you won't answer other people's questions?

You reap what you sow

FWIW

Ruth
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Old 03-30-2005, 08:57 AM   #307
Mike Sigman
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Ruth McWilliam wrote:
Mike,

Why do you complain that people won't answer your questions when you won't answer other people's questions?

You reap what you sow
What question are you talking about, Ruth?... don't just make a vague statement. Ask me a legitimate question and I'll answer. Right now you're again not answering a question, for the 3rd time, but at least you're trying to make it sound like it's my fault. And don't call me a sow. Or did you mean "sew"?

Mike
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Old 03-30-2005, 09:23 AM   #308
rob_liberti
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Re: Equitable?

I made no claim that the extremely well trained women have the same martial ability as the extremely well trained men. I simply pointed out that because the extremely well trained men of today have quite a number of years head start on any of the extremely well trained women at this point in time, you cannot conclude much based on _that_ comparison. That is not politically correct, it is simply a logically correct point of view. It is *also* truth and common sense.

I simply think you jump to conclusions based on grounds that are not as solid as you seem to think, and I'm highlighting that in a forum. On the other hand, are you calling me dishonest because of a personal agenda towards political correctness? Is that bringing a discussion to a personal level? Are you resorting to those same tactics you so despise?

On to the main topic at hand:
Of course marital arts like boxing which are oriented to give the advantage to larger and stronger people will favor them. That's why there are _weight_ divisions as opposed to speed divisions or whatever else. That just doesn't have anything to do with high level aikido in my opinion. I highly doubt that any extremely well trained aikidoka -- regardless of gender - is going to stand there trying to get enough points in to win a round with a boxer -- unless they happen to be boxing…

I don't know all other martial arts well enough to answer your question and I suspect you do not either.

I do think that there is *something* about male psychology that tends to give us an advantage in competition. For instance, I can see no good reason why the top male pool and billiards players are consistently so much better than the top female players. However, I don't see aikido as competition, so drawing conclusions based on such different things still seems silly and illogical to me.

It is possible and -- in my opinion -- likely that O-Sensei worked out daily to be extraordinarily strong when he was exploring one path. When he got older, I am led to believe that he was going down a _different_ path because I am told he actually explained that he wanted us to train to do what he does now as opposed to what he used to do. I don't have a citation (I'm relatively sure there is one because the source I got it from was good enough for me).

I don't think anyone felt that Kisshomaru Ueshiba represented the highest level of aikido ability, even himself. Yamaguchi sensei was effortlessly doing ikkyo with one arm (which was near the wrist -- not the uke's elbow) against people who were seemingly impossible to move -- to anyone else. Maybe they were just falling _only for him_ and very slowly for each other, but it kind of makes you wonder how they got so difficult to move in the first place if they were just people putting on a show. Ask Yaseno sensei or Endo sensei at hombu dojo about their opinions on what I'm saying.

It is a fair point that few people get there -- to a point where you should be able to deal well with attacks that are not "predictable, linear, and not subject to rapid feints, etc."

However, I believe the initial question was in fact "What _high-level_ woman martial artist do you want to put up against a _high-level_ male martial artist? ". You started talking about _high-level_, not me. How rare it is to get to _high-level_ is a different topic all together, but it's not a valid counter point in the scope of the initial question posed.

I'm sure it must be frustrating being logically challenged, but don't take it out on us.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 03-30-2005 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 03-30-2005, 09:24 AM   #309
Don_Modesto
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
And don't call me a sow. Or did you mean "sew"?
Main Entry: 2sow
Pronunciation: 'sO
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): sowed; sown /'sOn/; or sowed; sow·ing
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English sAwan; akin to Old High German sAwen to sow, Latin serere, Lithuanian seti
intransitive senses
1 : to plant seed for growth especially by scattering
2 : to set something in motion : begin an enterprise
transitive senses
1 a : to scatter (as seed) upon the earth for growth; broadly : PLANT 1a b : to strew with or as if with seed c : to introduce into a selected environment : IMPLANT
2 : to set in motion : FOMENT <sow suspicion>
3 : to spread abroad : DISPERSE
- sow·er /'sO(-&)r/ noun


Main Entry: sew
Pronunciation: 'sO
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): sewed; sewn /'sOn/; or sewed; sew·ing
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English sIwian; akin to Old High German siuwen to sew, Latin suere
transitive senses
1 : to unite or fasten by stitches
2 : to close or enclose by sewing <sew the money in a bag>
intransitive senses : to practice or engage in sewing
- sew·abil·i·ty /"sO-&-'bi-l&-tE/ noun
- sew·able /'sO-&-b&l/ adjective

http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary


Need I add "reap"?

Last edited by Don_Modesto : 03-30-2005 at 09:26 AM.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 03-30-2005, 09:49 AM   #310
happysod
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Of course marital arts like boxing which are oriented to give the advantage to larger and stronger people will favor them. That's why there are _weight_ divisions as opposed to speed divisions or whatever else. That just doesn't have anything to do with high level aikido in my opinion.
Sorry Rob, had to put my popcorn down at this one and join in for a bit - I can't think of any martial art, aikido included, where size, strength and general fitness would not play a part.

One definition I did read which struck a cord was combining strength, size and skill into one bundle and doing the comparison from there.

But at the end of the the day I (as a short puny specimen) have to admit that the large strong unskilled do have an advantageous starting point when it comes down to a full-on confrontation - it sucks, but if winning at violence is your main aim either train until you bleed or get a better weapon than your own bits and go from there.

I'd also happily postulate that anyone serious in their training would end up fit anyway, endorphins are a great rush...
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Old 03-30-2005, 09:53 AM   #311
Mike Sigman
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I made no claim that the extremely well trained women have the same martial ability as the extremely well trained men. I simply pointed out that because the extremely well trained men of today have quite a number of years head start on any of the extremely well trained women at this point in time, you cannot conclude much based on _that_ comparison. That is not politically correct, it is simply a logically correct point of view. It is *also* truth and common sense.
I like the way you attribute all those glowing things to your remarks. No, Rob... not all high-level men have had years of experience. If you've been around real martial arts for any time you'd know that. Some of the best never had anything to do with martial arts until their late teens and early twenties. So telling yourself how logically correct your view is might sound good, but it's not true in all cases. You're just painting an untrue picture to reflect your desires.
Quote:
On the other hand, are you calling me dishonest because of a personal agenda towards political correctness?
I didn't call you anything, Rob. You keep making this attempt to play a game about personal attacks, but you're not really successful. But speaking of dishonesty, would you say you distorted things with your "years of training" remark above? [quote] On to the main topic at hand:
Of course marital arts like boxing which are oriented to give the advantage to larger and stronger people will favor them. That's why there are _weight_ divisions as opposed to speed divisions or whatever else. That just doesn't have anything to do with high level aikido in my opinion. [quote] You're still playing games. OK. Let's examine a single weight division in martial arts. Do you expect the men to dominate or the women to dominate, Rob?

Quote:
It is possible and -- in my opinion -- likely that O-Sensei worked out daily to be extraordinarily strong when he was exploring one path. When he got older, I am led to believe that he was going down a _different_ path because I am told he actually explained that he wanted us to train to do what he does now as opposed to what he used to do. I don't have a citation (I'm relatively sure there is one because the source I got it from was good enough for me).
Frankly, until you provide a citation, I'm going to believe that you're attaching a fantasy of your own to what really happened. You're dithering and presenting your "led to believe" stuff as facts in a conversation to support vaguely your idea that women are inherently just as good as men in combat.
Quote:
However, I believe the initial question was in fact "What _high-level_ woman martial artist do you want to put up against a _high-level_ male martial artist? ". You started talking about _high-level_, not me. How rare it is to get to _high-level_ is a different topic all together, but it's not a valid counter point in the scope of the initial question posed.
Simple excuses, Rob. You're trying to hold the position that women are just as good as men in combat when you have no facts to back it up and a lot of facts against it.... and you add insults to try to make your point. Show me the facts, Rob.

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-30-2005, 10:33 AM   #312
RonRagusa
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Re: Equitable?

Saotome Shihan writes in The Principles of Aikido page 9:
"Aikido is the study of wisdom... The purpose of Aikido training is not to create agressive fighters but to refine wisdom and self-control. As an Aikido student you must study to improve and polish yourself, not to compete with others."
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Old 03-30-2005, 10:50 AM   #313
ruthmc
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
What question are you talking about, Ruth?...
I wasn't talking about any question, Mike. I was simply asking you why you complain

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Ask me a legitimate question and I'll answer.
Likewise!

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Right now you're again not answering a question, for the 3rd time,
And you're whining about it, again.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
but at least you're trying to make it sound like it's my fault. And don't call me a sow. Or did you mean "sew"?
Don't get needled

Ruth
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Old 03-30-2005, 11:14 AM   #314
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Equitable?

Which thread is this? I think I've gotten lost....

woozy kvaak
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Old 03-30-2005, 11:38 AM   #315
akiy
 
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Re: Equitable?

The posts on "punches" have been split off to this thread:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7817

May I ask people to please stay on subject of the thread or to start a new thread when you wish the subject to veer off? Thank you.

-- Jun

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Old 03-30-2005, 12:12 PM   #316
rob_liberti
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Re: Equitable?

Ian, we must have very different ideas of what high level aikido is. Sorry about your popcorn.

Mike, your telling me what I succeed at and fail at doesn't phase me much, but is there really such a need for such passive-aggressive behavior? You actually discussed high level aikido is when you wrote: "If I use Aikido correctly in a throw, I should be able to do it with just the weight of my arms and no strength." and "Congratulations if your technique is that high and you can respond brilliantly to any subtle movement by your opponent." I don't know many real martial artists at that level period, and none that are very young. The point is that the initial question you asked pre-supposes the women are already at that level. I went with what you said. Obviously something lower level which does require more strength gives an advantage to the strong - that just wasn't what we had been talking about.

We have continued to point out to you a pattern where you jump to a conclusion based on your interpreation of something and call it a fact. I pointed out this one, and you can squirm all you want, but we all have record of what was said. Ron just pointed out something else (which was just split off). For a third example, we can just look back a while in this thread about how your position about rape was based on someone else's _opinion paper_ as opposed to the solid ground based on facts you claimed. I really like it when you discuss integrated movement from a static position, maybe you stick to your forte, and leave the equitable thread alone.

About the fact that I haven't bothered to try to find that citation, well I honeslty don't really care enough to go out of my way, especially reading that thread where you would accept a quote of O-sensei if Tohei or Shioda wrote it down, but not if Tamura wrote it down! However, if I do come across it, I'll post it here.

Pauliina, I feel that this topic has everything to do with the equitable thread. If we are discussing low-level pushing, pulling, cranking, yanking, and threatening in a competitive way to satify ego then women probably shouldn't train aikido - but, then again in my opinion, then I think no one should practice aikido.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 03-30-2005 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 03-30-2005, 12:19 PM   #317
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Which men are those, Mary?
The ones that it applies to......if the gi fits...wear it....if not let it slide by....isn't that what Aikido is all about?
FWIW
Mary
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Old 03-30-2005, 12:29 PM   #318
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Equitable?

[quote=Mike Sigman]I understand and agree, Meggy. However, the question I asked, just in order to avoid what you're saying, was: What high-level woman martial artist do you want to put up against a high-level male martial artist? .

Against is an interesting word. Aikido is not about fighting....I think I learned that on the first day of class. Why are we even discussing this? Why would I want to fight a man?......who cares who would win? What is your point? Of course, some men are bigger and stronger and yes, we have been socialized differently. So?

Women have been protecting themselves from men as long as we have been men and women. Something must be working..... we are still here.

Should we just stay home and knit, Mike?....and hope our men will protect us? I hate to break it to ya but it's men who are hurting women.


Mary
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Old 03-30-2005, 01:03 PM   #319
Mike Sigman
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote:
Aikido is not about fighting
Well, that's the perspective I thought you have. Aikido is not a martial art to you. That's the big dichotomy in the Aikido community and it's why so many of us left.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 03-30-2005, 01:13 PM   #320
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Pauliina, I feel that this topic has everything to do with the equitable thread. If we are discussing low-level pushing, pulling, cranking, yanking, and threatening in a competitive way to satify ego then women probably shouldn't train aikido - but, then again in my opinion, then I think no one should practice aikido.
Ok, to try and sum it up: You're arguing that at a high enough level, strength shouldn't matter. Mike disagrees if I'm reading you two correctly?

This could make a nice poll...

kvaak
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Old 03-30-2005, 01:27 PM   #321
giriasis
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Pauliina Lievonen wrote:
Ok, to try and sum it up: You're arguing that at a high enough level, strength shouldn't matter. Mike disagrees if I'm reading you two correctly?

This could make a nice poll...

kvaak
Pauliina

Here's a similar thread not so many years ago: Size Matters Not, Yes It Dos!!!

And then the resulting poll: Does Physical Size Matter

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 03-30-2005, 01:27 PM   #322
Mike Sigman
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Pauliina Lievonen wrote:
Ok, to try and sum it up: You're arguing that at a high enough level, strength shouldn't matter. Mike disagrees if I'm reading you two correctly?

This could make a nice poll...
Since O-Sensei's actual habits are known to some extent, you'll have to put him on my side, I'm afraid. There's more to Aikido than just technique and pretty black skirts.

Mike
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Old 03-30-2005, 01:38 PM   #323
Mike Sigman
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
Here's a similar thread not so many years ago: Size Matters Not, Yes It Dos!!!

And then the resulting poll: Does Physical Size Matter
Well, the poll doesn't settle anything. And size does matter, at least on my planet and among the people who aren't under anaesthesia.

The point I've been making is that this sort of discussion is absurd. Women statistically cannot compete fairly on a one to one basis with equally trained larger men in a martial art. Smaller, less-athletic men statistically cannot compete with larger, more athletic, equally-trained men in martial arts. I'll take all bets. So complaining about the fact that women and smaller, less-athletic males don't get the exact representation that larger, more-athletic, equally-trained males get is a non-winner, ultimately.

Discrimination is wrong. Wrongful claims about discrimination and "repression" are wrong. Workout.

Mike

Mike
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Old 03-30-2005, 01:53 PM   #324
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Discrimination is wrong. Wrongful claims about discrimination and "repression" are wrong.
Agreed...but let's be clear about something. We are talking about Aikido, demonstrations, and teaching. Since Aikido generally (there are exceptions) doesn't have formal competition, we don't have to worry about the whole weight class thingy here. So in demonstrations and teaching, can equally well trained males and females perform on equal footing? I would have to say yes, they can. It doesn't mean that the women have to defeat the men in a fist fight...it means that their movement under the same amount of stress seen in demos and teaching has to embody the same principles of aikido. It means that they have to be able to communicate to and inculcate in their students those same principles at the same level.

I know great male teachers I go to who would not last very long in a fist fight anymore...but I don't stop going to them for demos and teaching just because in competition, younger, stronger men statistically win against older, weaker men.

Ron

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Old 03-30-2005, 02:17 PM   #325
Mike Sigman
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Agreed...but let's be clear about something. We are talking about Aikido, demonstrations, and teaching. Since Aikido generally (there are exceptions) doesn't have formal competition, we don't have to worry about the whole weight class thingy here. So in demonstrations and teaching, can equally well trained males and females perform on equal footing? I would have to say yes, they can. It doesn't mean that the women have to defeat the men in a fist fight..
The problem, as I see it, is that although women don't have to defeat men in a fist-fight, there is still a certain amount of athleticism involved. It's sort of like tennis or some other sort of athletics... while great strength, etc., is not demanded, athleticism still plays a role. That's the factor that works against the smaller, less-athletic males and the women.... *statistically*.

Mike
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