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Old 03-01-2005, 04:26 PM   #26
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Equitable?

There is any black instructor? WHAT!!!!! no black instructors???? No Native American instructors???????? No gay nor lesbian instructors?????? No orthodox Jewish instructors???

This is simply horrible!!! I can't believe it, life is a b**ch and then you die!

Nagababa

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Old 03-01-2005, 04:41 PM   #27
mj
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
There is any black instructor? WHAT!!!!! no black instructors???? No Native American instructors???????? No gay nor lesbian instructors?????? No orthodox Jewish instructors???

This is simply horrible!!! I can't believe it, life is a b**ch and then you die!
There can be black women...didn't you know?

There can be women native americans and jewish women and indeed lesbian women...and so on.

Let's not degenerate this into a silly 'political correctness' nonsense...it demeans and detracts.

I am uncomfortable with that statistic...I don't even go to 17.5 seminars a year and don't recall ever going to one hosted by a woman.

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Old 03-01-2005, 04:45 PM   #28
Mike Sigman
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Mark Johnston wrote:
There can be black women...didn't you know?

There can be women native americans and jewish women and indeed lesbian women...and so on.

Let's not degenerate this into a silly 'political correctness' nonsense...it demeans and detracts.

I am uncomfortable with that statistic...I don't even go to 17.5 seminars a year and don't recall ever going to one hosted by a woman.
Given that you're so uncomfortable with that statistic, why DIDN'T you go to a seminar hosted by a woman??? I assume you chose the seminars that you went to?

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-01-2005, 04:54 PM   #29
mj
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Given that you're so uncomfortable with that statistic, why DIDN'T you go to a seminar hosted by a woman??? I assume you chose the seminars that you went to?

Mike Sigman
Yes you do.

Apart from that...I went to any seminar available (and any I missed were also by men.)

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Old 03-01-2005, 05:15 PM   #30
Adam Alexander
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Re: Equitable?

If you've got such a bone about it, why don't you do your own demo and have it women only. How's that for Aikido? You'll no longer be trying to impose your ideology on others.
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Old 03-01-2005, 06:06 PM   #31
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Re: Equitable?

I think you guys need to take some chill pills. Stop, breath, and relax. Mary's question was no way hostile, BUT your responses are.

I read Mary's question as a great follow-up to George Ledyards article discussed in this recent thread

Need I need remind you Mr. Ledyards main point was that we need to support women instructors, go to their seminars and invite them to seminars?

Now, I'm sure Stanely has his reasons and more of it has to do with logistics, but I don't believe that this takes away the apparent disparity of representation of gender. Given that there are plenty of women instructors that could fill the bill. While their numbers are few we do need to do what we can to encourage their participation.

Also, what does gender have to do with aikido? Some one here just stated that maybe there would be more women instructors if rank was based less on skill. That is the problem -- Women instructors are not seen as skilled. While, yes, ideally, gender shouldn't matter, given the state of gender bias in our culture, and apparently on this board, but in reality, it does.

And once again I will point out that all the negative and hostile posters on this thread have proven my point that if a woman raises this issue then such a view is met with hostitlity on these forums. Why weren't you guys this hostile with George Ledyard?

Ledyard Sensei, where are you now? All the folks who supported Ledyard Sensei's column, where are you now? It's this kind of hostility that women can face every day in the workplace, home, and, yes, sometimes, even in the dojo. Until this reality changes, gender will continue to matter.

Last edited by giriasis : 03-01-2005 at 06:11 PM.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 03-01-2005, 06:21 PM   #32
Chris Li
 
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
Now, I'm sure Stanely has his reasons and more of it has to do with logistics, but I don't believe that this takes away the apparent disparity of representation of gender. Given that there are plenty of women instructors that could fill the bill. While their numbers are few we do need to do what we can to encourage their participation.
I still have the same question. Is the solution to the apparent disparity of representation of gender to introduce actual disparity in the selection of instructors - to select them on the basis of their gender?

For me, if someone invited me to teach based upon (even in part) my ethnic make-up, I'd turn them down flat. Now, in extreme cases (such as have existed in the past in the US) I can see the argument for extraordinary methods in order to remedy imbalances brought about by discriminatory actions, but does that extreme really exist in the Aikido world?

Best,

Chris

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Old 03-01-2005, 06:39 PM   #33
Don_Modesto
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Re: Equitable?

There was similar angst a while back concerning this or that instructor/organization and it developed that Stanley had invited them and they had turned him down.

Don't know if that happened here, but absent some inside information, it seems a lot of sturm and drang...

God, how cool to have the present line-up PLUS Mary Heiny or Patty Saotome or ( Fill in the Blank) ______________ .

Don J. Modesto
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Old 03-01-2005, 07:07 PM   #34
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Equitable?

So what is the suggestion? A quota of female teachers / a quota of teachers from various orgs / a quota of teachers from various minorities? I am not able to go, but if I were, I'd just want to train with some of the best, irrespective of who they were or where they were from.

Something like the AikiExpo is the result of the way orgs train / organise themselves. As such, the event itself cannot really be accountable for the top teachers produced by the various Aikido organisations.

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Old 03-01-2005, 07:48 PM   #35
Mike Sigman
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
[snip] Given that there are plenty of women instructors that could fill the bill. While their numbers are few we do need to do what we can to encourage their participation.
Why do we need to encourage anyone over anyone else in Aikido? Why not just do Aikido?
Quote:
Also, what does gender have to do with aikido? Some one here just stated that maybe there would be more women instructors if rank was based less on skill. That is the problem -- Women instructors are not seen as skilled. While, yes, ideally, gender shouldn't matter, given the state of gender bias in our culture, and apparently on this board, but in reality, it does.
I don't think I'm gender-biased. I think the real problem is that I honestly don't care about gender and I care only about ability in the many things I am interested in. Some of the best people in some of my favorite pursuits happen to be women. What I think may be happening is that if I don't have a special concern for women (in the eyes of some women) then I am "hostile" toward women. Have you ever thought about the effects of having a chip on your shoulder? Can't we just Aikido along?
Quote:
And once again I will point out that all the negative and hostile posters on this thread have proven my point that if a woman raises this issue then such a view is met with hostitlity on these forums. Why weren't you guys this hostile with George Ledyard?
Beccause George Ledyard didn't start an unfriendly thread intimating other people were in the wrong?????

Quote:
Ledyard Sensei, where are you now?
At a restaurant?



Mike Sigman
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Old 03-02-2005, 02:16 AM   #36
Beholder
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Re: Equitable?

Perhaps the problem is more insidious than just being a matter of the gender of the instructor; it's their own bias.

One time I was at a large seminar taught by a number of shihan. As it happens, there was one female teaching. The quality of all the teachers was, of course, excellent, and it was an great event. But... here is my observation. Almost half the people training on the mat (well over 200 in all, I think -- it was a large, international event) were women and yet, when picking uke out from the keen and willing participants, none of the first four instructors, including the woman, chose a single female uke.

Now, I am of the (mainstream?) opinion that gender really doesn't matter -- in fact it's one of the positive qualities of aikido -- and let's just get on with training (actually that's not quite true; I have found that dojo with women instructors are less likely to suffer from silly machismo issues, but hey). But on this occasion I was uncomfortable because statistically, picking uke time and again from an almost 50/50 pool, this was not a random result. I wasn't there gender-counting; but I became aware of this happening because there were women in our group who couldn't fail to notice. So when I see a thread like this one on aikiweb, asking what gives with the low number of women instructors, I sometimes think the pattern is more entrenched at the top than we would like to believe.

I was pleased that on this occasion it was my instructor who broke the pattern; not conciously, I'm sure -- he was just teaching aikido -- but simply by picking uke, and not applying a (subconcious?) bias.
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Old 03-02-2005, 02:50 AM   #37
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
- to select them on the basis of their gender?

Best,

Chris
Chris, I don't know what the reality of this really is - but are you sure this isn't what is partly happening now? Not specifically at the Expo, but in general.

BTW I didn't mean to say I thought the organizers of the Expo were not doing the best they could. I obviously don't know who they invited and who turned them down, for instance. Rob Liberti asked, in the second post on this thread: "What are your suggestions regarding how to recruit and retain women in aikido?" and I gave a quick answer to that. His question was a general one, and so was my answer.

I'm at home with a fever, might stay in bed for the rest of the day. Apologies if I don't get to responding any further.

kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 03-02-2005, 03:00 AM   #38
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
I think you guys need to take some chill pills. Stop, breath, and relax. Mary's question was no way hostile, BUT your responses are.

I read Mary's question as a great follow-up to George Ledyards article discussed in this recent thread

Need I need remind you Mr. Ledyards main point was that we need to support women instructors, go to their seminars and invite them to seminars?

Now, I'm sure Stanely has his reasons and more of it has to do with logistics, but I don't believe that this takes away the apparent disparity of representation of gender. Given that there are plenty of women instructors that could fill the bill. While their numbers are few we do need to do what we can to encourage their participation.

Also, what does gender have to do with aikido? Some one here just stated that maybe there would be more women instructors if rank was based less on skill. That is the problem -- Women instructors are not seen as skilled. While, yes, ideally, gender shouldn't matter, given the state of gender bias in our culture, and apparently on this board, but in reality, it does.

And once again I will point out that all the negative and hostile posters on this thread have proven my point that if a woman raises this issue then such a view is met with hostitlity on these forums. Why weren't you guys this hostile with George Ledyard?

Ledyard Sensei, where are you now? All the folks who supported Ledyard Sensei's column, where are you now? It's this kind of hostility that women can face every day in the workplace, home, and, yes, sometimes, even in the dojo. Until this reality changes, gender will continue to matter.
Of course gender matters. Gender issues inform every aspect of our lives. In the case of the Expo however, I don't fault Stan for who you don't see on the list. Stan has tried very hard to get as wide a representation as possible.

The organizations you don't see represented have declined to participate. Ask them why. If you don't see your organziation represented ask the powers that be why they don't wish to prtaicipate because I know Stan invited them.

I know Stan invited women who didn't accept. One of the factors that goes with supporting women teachers is having teachers who make it easy to support them. Some of the most prominent women instructors belong to organizations that refuse to participate in cross organizational training like the Expo so there's no chance they'll appear. Another factor is that the character of the event is of more interest to male practitioners than female. I know at least a half dozen female instructors of Godan and Rokudan rank and not a single one of them has evinced the least interest in attending the Expo. None of them read or subscribe to Aikido Journal either for that matter. I have recounted how much great inspiration I got from the previous Expos and yet not one of them has shown any interest. You can make your own conclusions as to why this is...

This isn't just an issue with women... there are plenty of men who have been invited and won't come. Perhaps they felt they should have been invited over some other person to whom they are senior, perhaps they belong to an organization which is too political to participate, the reasons in my opinion are petty and they remain the losers. The exposure gained by the participants in the previous Expos could not have been duplicated. Instructors no one was previously aware of had national prominence over night. No single Aikido organization could have offered that to it's instructors. Those of us who particpated benefitted tremendously and we owe Stan a huge debt. Those that chose to stay at home missed out; that's not Stan's fault.

The training was absolutely fantastic! I am seeing elements from various Expo classes percolating through the Aikido of my fellow instructors. Yet, there were people who only attended the classes taught by the teachers from their own styles. There were folks who taught who were happy to have different people from different styles in their classes but who never got on the mat in anyone else's classes.

I look at the Expo as a unique event that only could be put together by Stan Pranin; no other person in the world that I know of has the connections to do something like this. If we wish to have an Expo to participate in we need to support Stan, support Aikido Journal, ans support the event. Almost none of the female instructors whom I know personally have done that, for whatever reason. I applaud the particpation of Pat Hendricks Sensei, Kayla Feder Sensei, and the other female instructors who did participate in the past Expos. In fact Pat Hendricks in particular impressed me no end by not only conducting professional level demos and classes but by being willing to get on the mat and try out the classes of the various other teachers. I would like to see more women instructors willing to participate like that.

I think there are men who are willing to support women teachers but those women need to make themsleves available, to be willing to put themsleves forward in order for that to happen.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 03-02-2005, 03:06 AM   #39
ruthmc
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Dave Whiteland wrote:
when picking uke out from the keen and willing participants, none of the first four instructors, including the woman, chose a single female uke.
Is the bias in not picking female ukes based on the common perception that throwing a large man around looks more impressive at a demo? I recently had a conversation with a friend who often invites overseas instructors to teach seminars at his dojo. He told me that when these instructors first come here, they have to prove that their Aikido works, so they tend to demonstrate accordingly. Once they have proven that their Aikido works, they will pick anybody for uke, rather than only the large or strong men.

Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, instructors are having to prove themselves first before they can get through to students that they have something to teach. I think this is where the bias comes from - the student's perception rather than the instructor's preference.

Ruth
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Old 03-02-2005, 03:43 AM   #40
Beholder
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Ruth McWilliam wrote:
Is the bias in not picking female ukes based on the common perception that throwing a large man around looks more impressive at a demo?
Yes of course... and being over 6' myself, training in the Far East I have been used for such dramatic effect, especially at demonstrations Once, when I asked one tiny instructor why she'd specifically asked me to attend her Childrens Day demo the next day, she said, "because kids like to see foreigners... er... er... doing stuff...". Heheheh, what she meant was, "seeing big foreigners like you having seven shades shaken out of them"

So yes, you're right, the context in which this is happening does matter.

But I think my point about the bias still stands... at the seminar, it was teaching not demonstration (the demonstrations were at the end of the event), and even for things like tai-sabaki, with next to nothing going on, from the pool of 50/50 male/female participants, the choice of uke was unerringly consistent. Like I said, this went on too long to be down to chance; but I am willing to believe it was subconcious. Maybe that subconcious bias is indeed engendered by the issues you suggest.
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Old 03-02-2005, 06:59 AM   #41
Mike Sigman
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Dave Whiteland wrote:
But I think my point about the bias still stands... at the seminar, it was teaching not demonstration (the demonstrations were at the end of the event), and even for things like tai-sabaki, with next to nothing going on, from the pool of 50/50 male/female participants, the choice of uke was unerringly consistent. Like I said, this went on too long to be down to chance; but I am willing to believe it was subconcious. Maybe that subconcious bias is indeed engendered by the issues you suggest.
Well, to be fair, at gatherings where you don't know everyone, there is often a tendency to pick as Uke's the people who look like they're probably able to do ukemi well. So your eye looks around for the male victim... er, volunteer with obvious athleticity, etc,... not out of any subconscious desire to avoid women or the smaller, weaker males (remember, they're getting left out disproportionately, too), but out of a desire to pick someone out of a group of unknowns who can do ukemi and do it without getting injured. I.e., avoiding injury while making a clean teaching point is more on most peoples' minds, I suspect, than even considering gender equality and other side issues.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-02-2005, 08:03 AM   #42
SeiserL
 
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Re: Equitable?

While I don't believe that Pranin Sensei need to answer, justify, rationalize,or explain himself, especially when its his own venue and risk, I did forward an FYI to him about this thread.

IMHO, knowing the person, answers the question.

See you at the Expo.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-02-2005, 08:26 AM   #43
akiy
 
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Dave Whiteland wrote:
Almost half the people training on the mat (well over 200 in all, I think -- it was a large, international event) were women and yet, when picking uke out from the keen and willing participants, none of the first four instructors, including the woman, chose a single female uke.
Perhaps not very related, but this reminds me of an episode that I heard about...

A friend of mine was conducting an aikido demonstration to the public a while back. During it, he first had his partner, a woman far smaller than he, throw him around to show that a small person could throw a large person. This got some good reactions from the crowd with clapping and such. Then they reversed roles to show that a small woman could take the falls, too. He said that the audience grew totally quiet; he later got feedback that people didn't like seeing a guy "beating up" on a smaller woman.

-- Jun

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Old 03-02-2005, 09:08 AM   #44
Brion Toss
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Re: Equitable?

Hello all,
The original poster had good reason to be upset at the gender disparity for this event; if only two out of thirty-five instructors had been male, no amount of rationalizations re political divides, style differences, rank envy, etc. would have served to quiet the clamor over a gross distortion of gender parity. The only difference in the actual case is that the distortion is somewhat less gross. Two women out of thirty-five instructors is actually fairly radically enlightened, by some standards.
Given that, Mr. Pranin is pretty clearly not at fault here. I am sure he made every effort to have more even gender representation. The fact that what he ended up with was so lopsided has more to do, I am sure, with a larger social pattern.
Gender parity has, as someone noted, nothing to do with any martial art, per se. But we learn those arts as part of our lives. Those arts inform us, not just by how they teach us to throw or strike, but how they teach us to live. And to an unfortunate extent, every art, including our dearly beloved Aikido, tends to teach us that women matter much less than men. They teach us that by rate of promotion, choice of ukes, amount and quality of attention, and in many other ways.
One writer said, hey, let's all just be harmonious here. Fine, do you mean harmonious as in ignore the problem, or do you mean harmonious as in doing the hard, annoying, grueling , maybe even humiliating work that it takes to achieve harmony?
Another writer, with decidedly unharmonious saracasm, asked why not black, or Native American, etc. instructors. But this is a classic red herring, a matter of saying that I can't speak up about one inequality because there are other inequalities. It's just another way of avoiding the subject at hand.
Gender parity is an issue that affects, not the quality of Aikido as a martial art, but the quality of Aikido as a way of life, as a budo. If your response to the original letter was contemptuous, or dismissive, or distorting, if, as one person indicated, you believe that an expression of frustration equals an imposition of an ideology, then perhaps this subject is striking a little too close to home for you, else why the intensity of the response?
This issue will not go away because you rationalize its causes or nature, or because you decide it doesn't matter, or because you castigate those who raise it. The Aiki Expo (and I wish I could attend) sounds like a very effective way to break down political divides that inhibit the evolution and overall harmony of Aikido. It also sounds incredibly difficult and risky to put on, and I congratulate Mr. Pranin on perservering with it (I suspect that this issue seems mild compared to some of the ones he must deal with). So how about if those of you who are lucky enough to go, treat it, in part, as an exercise in gender attitude? How about if you work at participating, not as women or men, but as Aikidoka? It might be one step towards harmony.
Yours,
Brion Toss
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Old 03-02-2005, 10:46 AM   #45
rob_liberti
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Re: Equitable?

Sorry, I had no idea that my words would be taken that way. My intention when I brought up the other inequalities was to highlight the fact that these ratios exist simply because there just weren't that many representatives of these aikidoka-minorities 25+ years ago when the current senior level instructors started out.

I tried to steer the conversation towards suggestions about improving the situation two times now. My opinion is that the bottom-line is that you fix this by getting so many women training that there is a good gender split for Aiki Expo 2025 or so. It seems that I am alone in my opinion so I'll stop.

Rob
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Old 03-02-2005, 11:06 AM   #46
mj
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Re: Equitable?

Who is invited to teach at the Expo? Famous people.

How do you become famous? By teaching at the Expo.

The problem is not a paucity of good quality female instructors.

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Old 03-02-2005, 11:53 AM   #47
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Equitable?

No Rob, you're not alone. More women, more minorities training means that eventually there will be more participating at the top levels. I don't think anyone will question that.

But here is one example, and I use them only as an example. I know personally of some really excellent women and minority instructors in the USAF. But the USAF (as someone already mentioned) is not participating...so those instructors are out of the pool right off the bat. Its not that they weren't invited (I'm almost positive on that), its that their leadership doesn't want to attend. That is in no way Stan's fault.

As for the reaction shown in this thread...I've seen it in varying degrees before on similar issues, and believe me, this is mild. Try posting something like this to Rec.martial-arts. The fact of the matter is, whether its women, or blacks, or anyone else...you point out disparities like this, there are a group of people who will punt it into the next block. Some of those people have some serious issues...and some of those people really just want to focus on the skills/art/item at hand. They aren't racist, or sexist...they just want to see the skills. If you lump the two groups together, you alienate some of the very allies you could make good use of. So when you bring up this type of observation, it pays to be thinking real hard about what it is you want to accomplish, and how your words will work to that end.

Ron

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Old 03-02-2005, 12:05 PM   #48
Mike Sigman
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
[snip]....So when you bring up this type of observation, it pays to be thinking real hard about what it is you want to accomplish, and how your words will work to that end.
I think this is the key to the whole subject matter, Ron.... "what do you want to accomplish?". And let's face it, there are actually a number of different beasts that are being called "Aikido". Superficially there is the pretense that "it's all Aikido", but if you look at what various people want to accomplish, it's obvious that some of the goals some practitioners have are by default going to exclude some of the goals other practitioners have in Aikido. So not everyone is really on the same page about what Aikido is and in what direction it should be headed.

To some people, Aikido is a "peace and harmony" New Age artifact and to some people it is a martial art they want to tune to effectiveness. Personally, I like to look at what O-Sensei did, what he taught, what skills he had, etc., and try to get to the core of them. I didn't notice that there was a great worry about "good Aikido" including the ideals of inclusivity, political correctness, etc., and therefore I feel these are distractions. If someone is good at Aikido or any other function, whether they're male or female, and they have reasonable personal hygiene, I'm willing to accept them for what they can do.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 03-02-2005, 12:30 PM   #49
Bronson
 
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Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
Perhaps Stan Pranin should make available the list of all people invited to teach along with the list of those who accepted.
I don't really think that's anybody's business but his and the invitees who declined. Politics, health, family issues, etc are and should be private matters in this situation.
Actually Janet I competely agree with you. It's difficult to tell that because I forgot to put the smilie at the end of my sentence

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 03-02-2005, 12:41 PM   #50
rob_liberti
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
Location: East Haven, CT
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Re: Equitable?

Ron,

If I had my way, I would invite several female instructors each year. We don't have the funds to by flying people in, but I did invite a relatively local and highly skilled female instructor to come do a seminar at my dojo after spending an entire seminar taking her ukemi at someone else's dojo. She didn't even respond to my invitation. I inquired with friends in her dojo and they told me it was because my dojo was in the wrong organization. That could have been ideal given her proximity, and the excellent aikido she did. What I learned is that I can't even work towards adderssing the problem given the current politics. So, the only way to deal with the problem I can see is start from now on.

Mark,

"The problem is not a paucity of good quality female instructors." The problem would be a paucity of good quality female instructors who are as good quality as the current male senior level instructors. I can't name one female 7th degree black belt in the States or Japan, can you? No doubt there are excellent female aikido instructors, there just aren't very many who are senior to the majority of the senior level male instructors in year 2005.

Rob
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