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Old 03-20-2005, 07:24 PM   #1
Dojo: Masters of Aikido in Fogelsville
Location: Bethlehem
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 84
women... is training ok?

so i am a teenage girl, and my father is does not support me in my training and practicing, and he read somewhere that womens bodies just arent meant to take that kind of physical pain... like taking hard strikes or falls. he said in the long run its very bad for a womens body to go through that.
but i thought that by using ki or even just through training a lot our bodies sort of become immune to that.

does anyone know the truth about this?
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Old 03-20-2005, 08:15 PM   #2
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
Re: women... is training ok?

As my father used to say all the time; "rubbish"!

I've been practicing aikido since I was 21 (am 43 now) and have had my fair share of injuries, but this would be the case no matter what physical activity you pursue. As a matter of fact, I taken some awful tumbles off horses. Anyone partaking in skiing or soccer can tell you about the injuries they get from these sports. Women are quite tough; we give birth after all.

Tell your father to check it out for himself, but that from one not yet grizzled aikido lady, it is totally okay for a woman.
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Old 03-20-2005, 08:33 PM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 63
Re: women... is training ok?

Yeah, this is one of those cases where you should follow your own nose and do what you think is right. Sadly, there are a lot of stereotypes like this floating around. Aikido is a soft art, so you probably won't get hit a lot, but the joint locks are pretty uncomfortable, to say the least. If you find them to be too much, then it is your decision to keep going or not. Your body will adapt to the strain--your muscles will stretch, your joints will loosen up. I encourage you to try it out. If it comes to it, mention to your dad that he probably wouldn't be singing the same tune if something happened to his child because she didn't know how to defend herself. Just keep on him about it if it is something you really want to do. The benefits of aikido are endless so I encourage you to give it a try.

As for ki, worry about it later. I'm just a beginner so I don't know much about it myself, but I think it is one of those things that can be channeled better and better as you gain experience.
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Old 03-20-2005, 08:59 PM   #4
Dojo: Masters of Aikido in Fogelsville
Location: Bethlehem
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 84
Re: women... is training ok?

alright, thats what i thought, thank you guys for assuring me... i will definitely pursue aikido and the risks that come with it and i will tell my dad to get his facts straight!!
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Old 03-20-2005, 10:02 PM   #5
Lorien Lowe
Dojo: Northcoast Aikido
Location: California
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 289
Re: women... is training ok?

Mal Smith wrote:
...he read somewhere that womens bodies just arent meant to take that kind of physical pain... like taking hard strikes or falls. he said in the long run its very bad for a womens body to go through that.
it's not all that great for men's bodies over the long run, either, if they don't take care of themselves. There's an old judoka at my dojo who can barely train because his joints are so stiff from being abused in his youth.

That said, it's possible to do aikido - even in the 'rougher' dojos that do have harder atemi, etc - without injuring oneself. Some of it is luck, but a lot of it is learning how to take care of your body.

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Old 03-20-2005, 11:08 PM   #6
stuartjvnorton's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Shudokan
Location: Melbourne
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 225
Re: women... is training ok?

You'll also find that as you progress you tend to:
1. Learn better ways of striking/blocking so that you don't get hurt.
2. Tend not to bruise so easily anyway.
3. Learn to not get too excited over certain types of pain. ie: you will stop jumping around like an idiot any time the flimsiest of yonkajo's are applied just because it hurts a bit. ;-)
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Old 03-21-2005, 06:32 PM   #7
Dojo: Roppongi Yoshinkan Aikido / Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
Location: Tokyo
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 571
Re: women... is training ok?

When I was studying sensation and perception in university (as part of a psychology degree) there were many studies showing that women were much better at taking pain then men. After all, from what I understand giving birth is not a painless experience <wry grin> and not one that men go through (except, perhaps, vicariously).

Your father is probably trying to protect you from what he perceives a martial art is, which is normal in a parent. I'd suggest trying to get him to talk to the instructor with you and get some first hand knowledge of what you should expect instead of basing his bias on something he has read.

My few yen,


Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 03-22-2005, 03:02 PM   #8
ElizabethCastor's Avatar
Dojo: Castle Rock Aikido
Location: Denver, CO
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 62
Re: women... is training ok?

Hey Mal,

I looks like you've gotten a lot of great advice already from this list.

I suppose that I would be described as a fiercely independent and tom-boyish kid. I was lucky enough to have parents who supported me in my (mis)adventures. So when I read your post I had a gut reaction "NO WAY!" Additionally, I can't help but think that this is how the kind of issue(s) raised in the "equitable" thread comes about. But that's for the other thread...

I suppose the proper answer (after my reaction is out of the way) it to do the Aikido thing-- blend with the resistance, and redirect. Point out the benefits of training (self defense, self awareness, etc). Next, highlight what you like but most importantly invite dad to observe a class or two (ideally a class for beginners, it seems like he's already formed an opinion based on advanced moves). Then ask that he not finalize his opinion until he has gone to at least one beginners' class himself. Maybe, and this could be a big maybe, he might see what you like about Aikido, or at least understand that you will be safe.

Well, that's my two cents.
You go girl!

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Old 03-22-2005, 04:09 PM   #9
Dojo: Masters of Aikido in Fogelsville
Location: Bethlehem
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 84
Re: women... is training ok?

thanks elizabeth!!! that definitly made me feel better and you are right.... people should not have an opinion about aikido until they have tried it!!
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Old 03-23-2005, 05:21 AM   #10
Dojo: Wokingham Aikido
Location: Reading, UK
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 393
United Kingdom
Re: women... is training ok?

Hi Mal,

In addition to all the good advice here, it may be worthwhile for you to find out what exactly it is that your father is worrying about. Does he think that you'll be taking hard falls? Find some video of Aikidoka taking graceful, light, high falls and show him that this is what you want to learn to do. Is he concerned that you'll be hit? Show him that in Aikido you learn to move your body out of the way of an attack, not into it!

The best way to overcome your father's preconceptions is to educate him

And I agree that Aikido is no worse for female bodies than it is for male ones

Enjoy your Aikido, and pass on what you learn!

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Old 03-23-2005, 07:21 AM   #11
Dojo: Shoshikan
Location: Tennessee
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 16
Re: women... is training ok?

My name is Gary Chase and I am dojo cho. My senior student is a woman. She has been part of our dojo for 15 years and she has been hurt and had injuries just as the men in the dojo. She has taken time off because of these and recovered with no lasting injuries. Listen to the instructor and the senior students and you should be okay.

Gary Chase
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Old 04-03-2005, 01:52 AM   #12
Melissa Fischer
Dojo: Tenzan Aikido/Seattle Holistic Center
Location: Seattle, Wa USA
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 53
Re: women... is training ok?

I've always said that if I had a daughter, I would require her to study Aikido for self defence. 1 out of 3 women end up getting attacked in some way and we need to be able to protect ourselves. Ideally in Aikido we stay safe without harming others so it's the perfect art form for us. If I had to, I could probably turn the techniques into less friendly endings but I think the awareness and fitness training alone helps defend us.

I came to Aikido after a career as a ballet dancer...now that's a dangerous sport! The people aren't as nice either. Hopefully your dad is warning you away from ballet as well.

Last thing is, as a beginner, go slow. Tap out early, tell people to throw you softly if you need to. Reserve the right to not work with people who are rough or "icky".

I love how Aikido feels on my body and have learned the ukemi as easily or maybe easier than the big, strong guys (at least the athletic part of it). They tell me breakfalls are harder for men anyway. Don't know as I've only always been a woman!.


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