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Old 04-16-2005, 01:15 PM   #1
Manon Oliver
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Netherlands
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Question Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

Hello all,

I would be interested to know if many women practise aikido. What is the ratio male-female aikidoka in your dojo? It seems that in our dojo the ratio might be about 8:1 ( or perhaps even 10:1).

I am curious to know whether this ratio could be country dependent. For instance: do comparatively more women practise aikido in e.g. the United States or in certain countries in Europe ( or Asia)? What does this depend on and why could women possibly be reluctant to take up aikido?

Anyway, any views on this subject would be more than welcome.

Thanks.

Manon Oliver
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Old 04-16-2005, 01:20 PM   #2
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

Hi, welcome to the board. This has been discussed before so you can probably find prior discussions here:

http://aikidojournal.com/forums/search.php

http://aikiweb.com/forums/search.php?


http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/search.php?

Also:

koryu.com
ejmas.com
furyu.com
iaido-l (usenet)

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 04-16-2005, 11:01 PM   #3
p00kiethebear
 
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Dojo: Tonbo Dojo
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

in our dojo the ratio is almost 1:1 in the adult classes. But about 2:1 in the kids classes.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 04-16-2005, 11:31 PM   #4
Anat Amitay
Dojo: Nes- Ziona, "the red house"
Location: Israel
Join Date: Dec 2001
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Israel
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

For two years I have been the only woman in my dojo which meant it was about 1:20 registered and about 1:10- 1:15 in each practice I came.
After that more women joined and it was about 1:4 or 1:5 between women and men.
I think that in some places the culture has alot to do with how many women and men you'll find in a certain MA. In some countries women will not be allowed to join MA's.
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Old 04-17-2005, 10:56 AM   #5
Zoli Elo
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

The highest ratios most likely will be at university course or clubs. Though more case studies then statistics, the previous statement is seeming externally valid...

I have seen dojo in which there are more females than males.
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Old 04-17-2005, 11:44 AM   #6
ESimmons
Location: Birmingham, AL
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

It all boils down to deoxyribonucleic acid, really.
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Old 04-17-2005, 01:55 PM   #7
Melissa Fischer
Dojo: Tenzan Aikido/Seattle Holistic Center
Location: Seattle, Wa USA
Join Date: Nov 2001
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

Hi Manon,
At our dojo in the black belt ranks it's about 1:3 women to men, a bit lower in the general population, like 1:8. Our sensei is a man, Bruce Bookman, but most of the other dojos in Seattle have women senseis and I'll bet they have a higher ratio but I don't know.

Here's a fun link ;
http://p202.ezboard.com/bwomeninaikido

Melissa
www.tenzanaikido.com
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Old 04-17-2005, 02:46 PM   #8
malsmith
Dojo: Masters of Aikido in Fogelsville
Location: Bethlehem
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

in our dojo its probably roughly 1:8... but i think it might be intimidating for women to go to dojos where there are no or extremely few other women, i know when i first joined i was terrified to be in a room full of men i didnt know. so i think that if a woman or two start going to a dojo they might attract more women in.
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Old 04-17-2005, 06:21 PM   #9
Jeanne Shepard
 
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

Probably for the same resons that there aren't alot of men in ballet classes.

Jeanne
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Old 04-17-2005, 08:50 PM   #10
Qatana
 
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

Aw, Jeanne, they can't help it if ballet is too physically demanding!

Q
http://www.aikidopetaluma.com/
www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 04-17-2005, 11:22 PM   #11
Hardware
 
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Dojo: Ronin (sort of...)
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

We have a roughly 7-8:1 ratio (males:females).

In our parent dojo, when we go for gradings, there seems to be a much higher ratio of females to men, however when I've visited for regular practice, there was only one woman to roughly fifteen men.

I don't know what to read into it. Whomever wants to train, should. Regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religion, politics, etc.

In our dojo when we count during warm ups we've been known to hear, Japanese, English, French, Hungarian, German, Russian and Spanish.

Men & Women, (boys & girls in the kids; class) are all welcome. As for sexual orientation - well I really don't care or even want to know...

Last edited by Hardware : 04-17-2005 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 04-18-2005, 12:47 AM   #12
Sonja2012
 
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Dojo: Aikido Verein Esslingen
Location: Stuttgart
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

In our dojo it is probably a ratio of 8-10:1 (m:f), generally in our organisation it is a bit more equal, I´d say 4:1 maybe. However, the higher the grades get, the less women there are.
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Old 04-18-2005, 08:46 AM   #13
giriasis
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

Quote:
Jeanne Shepard wrote:
Probably for the same resons that there aren't alot of men in ballet classes.

Jeanne
Yep, or practice aerobics for that matter.

Where I train women are about 1:6 but are about 1:4 or 1:3 on the mat. At the USAF Winter Camp women seemed to be about 40%, many of whom were dan ranked.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 04-18-2005, 08:55 AM   #14
silverstah
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

In our home dojo, the ratio is about 50/50 - with the dojo head being a woman herself.

In our parent organization, the ration drops dramatically - although we women still have a fair number of extremely talented women to look to for constant inspiration.

As for why - I'm not sure! As a woman, I was attracted to Aikido because it has a natural grace and flow to it. Frankly, it allows women to draw some of our major natural strengths - our hips, our flow, our grace.
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Old 04-18-2005, 10:22 AM   #15
Paul Schweer
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

Quote:
Jeanne Shepard wrote:
Probably for the same resons that there aren't a lot of men in ballet classes.
Why aren't there a lot of men in ballet classes?

Paul Schweer
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:27 PM   #16
Sue Trinidad
Dojo: Island Aikido
Location: Bainbridge Island, WA
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

I have a couple of women friends I've tried to get into the dojo, to no avail. One in particular is very athletic and serious about her other training. (I know her through rowing, which isn't exactly an undemanding activity.)

But she and my other women friends say much the same thing: the idea of "fighting" doesn't appeal to them, and rolling and falling just isn't their idea of a good time.

Fwiw, age seems not to be much of a factor.

sue
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Old 04-18-2005, 02:08 PM   #17
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

We have maybe 3:1 or 4:1 on the rank board, but more like 5:1 on the mat most classes--though that's been getting better recently.

Any theory about overall societal attitudes or gender-related aptitude differences has to deal with the observation that some dojo have *far* more women than others. I attended a seminar of Mary Heiny sensei at Two Cranes Aikido, and I've never seen so many women on the mat at once--if they didn't actually outnumber the men, it was sure close. Despite strong efforts to recruit and retain women, my dojo can't match this. I don't know why.

Mary Kaye
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Old 04-18-2005, 10:20 PM   #18
ESimmons
Location: Birmingham, AL
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

Quote:
Mary Kuhner wrote:
Any theory about overall societal attitudes or gender-related aptitude differences has to deal with the observation that some dojo have *far* more women than others.
..
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Old 04-19-2005, 04:52 PM   #19
Krista DeCoste
Location: Nova Scotia
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Canada
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

We have about a 1:5 ratio at my dojo. I think fighting or anything related to it doesn't appeal to most women because we are socialized to focus on other means of acting in the world. Men are socialized to use force from an early age. Just look at the way toys are marketed to children and the number of female soldiers in the army.


Personally, I love Aikido and think more women would love it if they could give it a chance. I like that the emphasis is on movement and posture, not physical strength and size. I also think more boys would love ballet if they felt it was really OK to enjoy movement for it's own sake.

On the topic of gender orientation, I think it is healthy to realize that in any group there are LGBT folk. This should be respected, not feared (by expecting people to keep it secret).

Krista
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Old 04-19-2005, 06:14 PM   #20
Hardware
 
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Dojo: Ronin (sort of...)
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

Quote:
Krista DeCoste wrote:
...I think fighting or anything related to it doesn't appeal to most women because we are socialized to focus on other means of acting in the world. Men are socialized to use force from an early age. Just look at the way toys are marketed to children and the number of female soldiers in the army...
That's an excellent point that I saw demonstrated a couple of days ago.

I teach a two hour women's self defence seminar. During the last one, when we covered pressure & vital points, one of the women indicated that she thought the vast majority of women would have severe inhibitions with regards to poking someone in the eye, striking them in the throat, etc.

I reminded her that we're weren't considering these violent techniques if/when someone leers at them. This is for when someone has physically attacked them. In that context she agreed that maybe the inhibitions would fall away.

Men would not have to even be reminded of this..."Thumb in eye socket? Check. Will do!"
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Old 04-19-2005, 10:00 PM   #21
maikerus
Dojo: Roppongi Yoshinkan Aikido / Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
Location: Tokyo
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Japan
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

Quote:
Howard Dyke wrote:
I teach a two hour women's self defence seminar. During the last one, when we covered pressure & vital points, one of the women indicated that she thought the vast majority of women would have severe inhibitions with regards to poking someone in the eye, striking them in the throat, etc.

I reminded her that we're weren't considering these violent techniques if/when someone leers at them. This is for when someone has physically attacked them. In that context she agreed that maybe the inhibitions would fall away.
There was a program developed called Model Muggers to help women deal with these inhibitions. Basically the instructor put on a padded suit and had women beat him senseless while he acted as a mugger or a rapist.

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...10/ai_12934048

Personally, I think men do have some inhibitions when it comes to eye gauging and ear biting. Perhaps not as much, but as we saw in the pizza parlour attack thread, one has to realize that one is under attack and really believe it before you can react. And then it may be too late.

cheers,

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 04-19-2005, 11:21 PM   #22
RebeccaM
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Boulder
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

I think there's two factors involved. First, maritial arts are perceived as a stereotypically guy thing - aggressive, competitive, size matters, etc., so you just don't see as many women in the arts as you do men. Please note that none of these factors really apply to aikido, but aikido is a martial art so that stigma may make women hesitate. Second, there's a vicious circle involved. Some, but not all women, get intimidated when they're the only female or maybe one of two or three females on the mat. So they don't train at dojos where they are out-numbered. Instead they go to a dojo that has more women and makes them feel safer. And thus we get dojos more heavily skewed towards one gender.

When I was still living in Seattle I was in the strange position of being 18 and the most highly ranked woman consistently training at my dojo. Many times I was the only woman on the mat. I never found this to be intimidating, but then again I'd been at this dojo for years, knew most of the people, and trusted them. I was, however, a little sad to be so out-numbered. In the years since things have balanced out a bit, but there's still a huge skew towards men in the adult classes. Boulder's got a better balance, though women are definitely out-numbered and it will sometimes happen that I'm the only girl on the mat, though very rarely. It was actually kind of a culture shock, albeit a refreshing one, to be able to train with so many women.

I guess the key question is what makes certain dojos seem more attractive to women than others?
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Old 04-20-2005, 12:29 AM   #23
Zoli Elo
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Re: Why aren't more women practicing Aikido?

From my understanding the flow of women is greater than that of men, currently in America for Kendo. However, the overall stock of practitioners is still significantly more males than females.

As kendo is my hobby, well more so than aikido, I wonder why the above listed fact is true for Kendo and seemingly not for Aikido.
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Old 04-20-2005, 07:30 AM   #24
Randathamane
Dojo: Zanshin-kai
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

Quote:
Why aren't more women practising Aikido?
No idea.
Come on ladies! this should be perfect for you! Self defence and keeping fit as well as improving the whole confidence thing. Why not pop along and show us men how it is done...

It is not only a mans martial art. Sensei Pat Narey is 5th dan and a senior instructor at Renshin kan- the UKA headquarters!!!
(to all of you out there not familiar with this whole Dan concept, think of it as 5 black-belts [ with a rare title])


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Old 04-20-2005, 07:46 AM   #25
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
Location: Gateshead
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Re: Why aren't more women practising Aikido?

Like any dojo, people tend to come and go but we generally have 2 or 3 long term female students on the mat. Whereas there is roughly about 10 guys or more depending. Trying to recruit students at a university clubs and society fair I got pretty much the same response from the majority of guys and girls, they all appeared to be too worried about breaking a nail, so I dont think its a gender specific thing neccesarrily, just depends on each persons individual attitude. Its weird, you show people a video of some nice pins and gentle techniques and they say aikido is boring and useless, so you show em a video of koshinages and big hard projections and they look at you as if your mad before running away...(maybe we are mad?)

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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