Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 05-17-2005, 07:29 AM   #1
Mary Eastland
 
Mary Eastland's Avatar
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,200
Offline
Can women defend themselves?

In "the women and baby thread" I thought I noticed an attitude that Aikido training is nice for women but they can't really ever learn to defend themselves. So what do you as an instructor or student think about this?

And if you are an instructor and you don't believe that women can ever learn to defend themselves, how can you help to instill the feeling that they could?

I think a lot of men think that they could overtake a woman just because she is a women. I don't mean this to become a men vs women thread, I am just interested if people have really ever thought about this and why they believe it.

In my college history class my professor laughed and said " Do you really believe you could defend yourself against me?" I just smiled and said maybe. But I knew I could. He really had no idea of another side of me.
Mary
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2005, 07:49 AM   #2
rob_liberti
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
Location: East Haven, CT
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,402
United_States
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote:
In "the women and baby thread" I thought I noticed an attitude that Aikido training is nice for women but they can't really ever learn to defend themselves. So what do you as an instructor or student think about this?
Umm... Well...I don't mean to pick on you here, but to answer the question, as an instructor, I think that you "noticed" things that were not there. (Not on the first 14 posts on that thread, anyway.)

It's hard enough to protect yourself with both hands free. If you think you can protect a baby in a sling while being attacker, you must move REALLY well, male or female.

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote:
And if you are an instructor and you don't believe that women can ever learn to defend themselves, how can you help to instill the feeling that they could?
Given the suposition, I would say that you shouldn't do that. I actually think Women can defend themselves, so it's not too dificult to defend my point of view. I recently did that on aikiweb about a month or two ago.

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote:
I think a lot of men think that they could overtake a woman just because she is a women. I don't mean this to become a men vs women thread, I am just interested if people have really ever thought about this and why they believe it.
I am a little brother. I have YEARS of experience with being the smaller, weaker, and _most unfortunately_ the "dumber" role of the two combatants. If your martial skill set relative to the other person isn't sufficient to overcome the inequalities, you are in trouble. Men are generally bigger and stronger than women, and are have a major socialization factor in their favor. Can it be overcome? Absolutely.

Rob
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2005, 08:04 AM   #3
Dazzler
Dojo: Templegate Dojo, bristol & Bristol North Aikido Dojo
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 638
England
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote:
In "the women and baby thread" I thought I noticed an attitude that Aikido training is nice for women but they can't really ever learn to defend themselves. So what do you as an instructor or student think about this?

And if you are an instructor and you don't believe that women can ever learn to defend themselves, how can you help to instill the feeling that they could?

I think a lot of men think that they could overtake a woman just because she is a women. I don't mean this to become a men vs women thread, I am just interested if people have really ever thought about this and why they believe it.

In my college history class my professor laughed and said " Do you really believe you could defend yourself against me?" I just smiled and said maybe. But I knew I could. He really had no idea of another side of me.
Mary
I think you need some salt to go with that chip!

Seriously Mary...I can't see anything sexist in the posts.

Generally I believe a good big 'un will beat a good little 'un regardless of gender.

Introduce weapons of any type and a no rules situation and that theory goes out of the window. anyone can 'win', men or women.

Sure women can be dangerous - Give them a car and they are positively lethal (sorry sorry sorry - couldn't resist it)

D

Last edited by Dazzler : 05-17-2005 at 08:06 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2005, 08:30 AM   #4
bbleeker
 
bbleeker's Avatar
Location: Diemen, the Netherlands
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 18
Netherlands
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Of course we can defend ourselves. But it depends: what woman against what man? If my sensei wanted to mop the floor with me, I'd not stand a snowflake's chance in Hell; but thinking of my male colleagues, for example, I don't think I would have any problem defending myself against most of them, in the improbable case they'd want to attack me.

Berna Bleeker
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2005, 09:01 AM   #5
paw
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 768
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote:
And if you are an instructor and you don't believe that women can ever learn to defend themselves, how can you help to instill the feeling that they could?
You might consider getting them to fight for something other than themselves, something bigger than themselves.

If you've been watching "The Contender" a number of the boxers were motivated by their desire to support their family, that's what pushed them throught the pain...not the idea that they, as a boxer, were an unstoppable badass.


Regards,

Paul
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2005, 09:25 AM   #6
ruthmc
Dojo: Wokingham Aikido
Location: Reading, UK
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 393
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Can women defend themselves?

You betcha! There have been plenty of occasions where women have defended themselves and their children against attackers of both the human and animal variety, sometimes with superhuman strength and resourcefulness.

Any woman who is concerned that she may not have the skills can always go to a good self defence course to learn them (mental and physical), as can any man.

Those who believe that women are defenceless creatures are very much in the minority these days

Ruth
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2005, 09:58 AM   #7
ian
 
ian's Avatar
Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
Location: Northern Ireland
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,654
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

I think the confusion often arises when people see martial arts or self-defence through the light of competition. Women are generally physically weaker and less resistant to pain, thus it is usually the case that men and women can't compete on an equal footing in fighting.

However real self-defence is a completely different matter. The person doesn't know what you are going to do. There is a massive psychological context, and the benefit of a trained reaction can help anyone, regardless of their physique (you sometimes hear of old women fending off attackers with an umbrella; I suggest it is often the suprise of the vigorous response of the 'victim' that takes the attacker off guard.) Also there isn't a set time for starting the 'match' - a rapid response to an attacker is often a suprise.

Whatever self-defence you do, no matter who you are, it won't make you unbeatable. The objective is to IMPROVE your chances, thus, as long as you are better off than not having done the training, the training has some use. I fully believe women CAN become effective at self-defence, even against quite ruthless attackers with much more strength. However they are unlikely to ever win an utlimate fighting competition!

Last edited by ian : 05-17-2005 at 10:05 AM.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2005, 10:04 AM   #8
Mary Eastland
 
Mary Eastland's Avatar
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,200
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

[
. However they are unlikely to ever win an utlimate fighting competition![/quote]

Lol......like I would ever enter one.
Mary
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2005, 10:05 AM   #9
happysod
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
Location: London
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 899
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Mary, I think you're being too gender-specific. I've met (and taught) quite a few people of both sexes who I've wonder whether they'll ever survive a violent encounter if they had to fight rather than manage to evade. It's not that they're cowards or wimps, in fact their own philosophy on life scares me and I couldn't bring myself to follow it, they just seem incapable of violence, even the nice "safe" type we use in the dojo.

Otherwise, if you're going into comparisons across the sexes, you'd have to first give me the stats of the two people you're comparing or I'd have to play the averages and make sweeping assumptions on size, strength, skill and experience involved. I'm with Darren on this, good big'un > good little'un, which sucks (says the shortarse..).

Ian, just read your "less resistent to pain", don't try telling this one if you're in the delivery room...
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2005, 10:07 AM   #10
MikeLogan
 
MikeLogan's Avatar
Location: Rochester, NY
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 281
United_States
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Women may be generally weaker, but using the word generally in terms of pain resistance? I've always heard that women have a deeper threshold for pain. Or was it men have a deeper threshold, women have a broader threshold. Or in other words, men can take a lot of pain for a little bit, and women can take less pain, but for much longer periods of time? I don't think it matters.

What matters is that both male and female bodies can do the movements, and it's the movements that defend that body. All the other factors are plusses and minuses; training helps us do the math.

mike.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2005, 10:26 AM   #11
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
Location: Gateshead
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 916
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Not sure what the general consensus on which sex has the higher pain resistance but aside from childbirth which to be honest we cannot compare , I havent yet met a woman who had as high a pain tolerance as the majority of men I know (I have however met some very tough women). Then again, I know of some men with incredibly poor pain resistance. It all depends on the individual. To answer the original question: Some women can defend themselves, some cant. Exactly the same as some men can and some cant.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2005, 10:35 AM   #12
paw
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 768
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote:
However they are unlikely to ever win an utlimate fighting competition!Lol......like I would ever enter one.
Mary
There have been all women MMA shows in the US (Extreme Challenge) and Japan (SmackGirls).

Regards,

Paul
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2005, 01:10 AM   #13
Lorien Lowe
Dojo: Northcoast Aikido
Location: California
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 289
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Quote:
Nick Simpson wrote:
...I havent yet met a woman who had as high a pain tolerance as the majority of men I know ....
Nick, you must never have been with any of those men when they're in the hospital with a kidney stone.

many men come into the hospital with an MI and can barely speak; on the other hand, I've heard more than one woman say, 'it hurts an awful lot, but it's nothing compared to childbirth.' It may be true that men tolerate sharp, traumatic pain (granted, the type most likely to be encountered in a fight), but given time I think that the women will start to out-tolerate men on average.

I also think that it's true that the larger combatant has an advantage over the smaller combatant given equal skill, but the fact is that the majority of vile attackers out there aren't trained in martial arts. Most probably think that a 'woman fighting back' is a woman who throws weak punches and/or scratches and/or tries to knee them in the groin. The pd at my university says that 4 out of 5 untrained women who are attacked (by a stranger) successfully fight off their assailants, and I think that training which increases a woman's skill and willingness to defend herself can only improve those odds.

-LK
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2005, 01:18 AM   #14
Lorien Lowe
Dojo: Northcoast Aikido
Location: California
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 289
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

I just did a quick read of the 'mothers with babies' thread; I didn't notice a bias. Was there a specific comment that raised your hackles?

-LK
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2005, 06:49 AM   #15
RonRagusa
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 679
United_States
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Hi Lorien:

I did not notice a bias either. It was just a feeling I got when I read a couple of the replies. I wasn't 't being accusatory.

There is a prevailing thought about women defending themselves that says they shouldn't because they will end up getting hurt worse. I am not saying that the people on the thread were saying that. It just occurred to me that maybe people believe this and don't even know why.

It seems to be such a tricky subject. Whenever I talk about it on here some folks think I have chip on my shoulder and I don't. I am very interested and must come across as hostile.

Or maybe guys are just used to being attacked around this subject and think that any discussion about it comes from an angry place.
Mary
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2005, 06:54 AM   #16
rob_liberti
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
Location: East Haven, CT
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,402
United_States
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Quote:
In "the women and baby thread" I thought I noticed an attitude that Aikido training is nice for women but they can't really ever learn to defend themselves.
Maybe it is just the _way_ you talk about it...

Rob
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2005, 07:15 AM   #17
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
Location: Gateshead
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 916
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

" Nick, you must never have been with any of those men when they're in the hospital with a kidney stone. "

Nope Lorien, never been there nor had a kidney stone myself (which is something im happy about ).

Forgive the lack of medical abbreviation knowledge, but what does MI stand for? Multiple injury?

Anyways, I included the childbirth scenario and I agree that it must be a horrendous physical and mental trauma to go through and that it will bring a fair amount of pain too (prolly an understatement!). I also said that we will never know as we cannot compare due to the obvious physical differences in the sexes. My answer to sum up was:

" It all depends on the individual. "

Not: All men have higher pain resistance than all women.

Im only basing my statement on my own experiance, which is based on a majority of accidents and/or fighting injuries. In these cases I have witnessed/been a part of, the men involved/myself, have had a higher pain tolerance than the women involved.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2005, 08:11 AM   #18
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

I believe Miocardial infarction ???? MI

basically, what we commoners call a heart attack...

RT

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2005, 01:21 PM   #19
Lorien Lowe
Dojo: Northcoast Aikido
Location: California
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 289
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Ron is correct: myocardial infarction, blockage of an artery feeding the heart.

It's also nearly always the men who pass out for a blood draw. Teenage girls will pass out sometimes, too, but not from watching someone else be a patient like men sometimes do.

Mary, I agree that that attitude does occur - one rarely hears from a male police officer, for instance, that most of the time fighting back will discourage an attacker enough for the victim to get away. A lot of men don't seem to understand that rape psychologically closer to castration for a woman than it is to sex. But I didn't pick up on it in the baby thread - maybe because I'm not a maternal type, have never had kids, and don't intend to. I can only imagine carrying an infant as being like, as someone suggested, carrying a box of eggs of incredible value, that one can't put down or allow to be hit, crushed, torn, or whatever. It *seems* like it would be an incredible handicap for an otherwise able woman.

-LK
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2005, 02:02 PM   #20
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Quote:
It's also nearly always the men who pass out for a blood draw. Teenage girls will pass out sometimes, too, but not from watching someone else be a patient like men sometimes do.
Huh! I just leave the room! And please don't even mention the N word [Needle]...

RT

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2005, 06:49 PM   #21
maikerus
Dojo: Roppongi Yoshinkan Aikido / Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
Location: Tokyo
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 571
Japan
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Quote:
Nick Simpson wrote:
I havent yet met a woman who had as high a pain tolerance as the majority of men I know
Just remembering from my psych university days where I studied Sensation and Perception...

1. I remember one or two studies that show statistically that women have a higher pain tolerance than men in controlled situations. These tests were usually based on how long you could keep your arms in a bucket of ice water or something like that. Women lasted longer.

2. Statistically women complained outloud more during the test, while men toughed it out and said very little.

At a party one night - yes it was a bunch of psych people - we had our beer in a little plastic pool in the living room full of ice and water and cans of beers. We had spent the week going over some of the studies above so we thought we'd try it out and I and a couple of friends got down on our knees beside this pool, rolled up our shirtsleeves and stuck our arms in the water.

I'm not sure if its because we read the study or not, but when my male friend and I had had enough of this painful nonsense we made sure that we pulled our female friend out of the water at the same time...we didn't want to lose that particular battle of the sexes no matter what some study said

FWIW,

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2005, 07:07 PM   #22
Jeanne Shepard
 
Jeanne Shepard's Avatar
Dojo: Puget Sound Aikikai
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 351
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote:
Hi Lorien:



There is a prevailing thought about women defending themselves that says they shouldn't because they will end up getting hurt worse. I am not saying that the people on the thread were saying that. It just occurred to me that maybe people believe this and don't even know why.
Mary
This USED to be believed, back when I first took so called "self defense." Now we are told that if you don't' resist, you will probably end up dead, and your best chances come from fighting back.

Jeanne
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2005, 07:16 PM   #23
RonRagusa
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 679
United_States
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Quote:
Jeanne Shepard wrote:
This USED to be believed, back when I first took so called "self defense." Now we are told that if you don't' resist, you will probably end up dead, and your best chances come from fighting back.

Jeanne
My feeling about this is that no one knows the answer except the person in the situation. The best strategy relies upon an unlimited set of responses. pg. 67 The Art of Peace
Mary
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2005, 10:48 PM   #24
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote:
My feeling about this is that no one knows the answer except the person in the situation. The best strategy relies upon an unlimited set of responses. pg. 67 The Art of Peace
Mary
Studies are largely inconclusive but are still useful for what they infer.

The FBI database on crime (sorry, forgot the name) doesn't indicate when in a criminal assault an injury occurs so the question as to whether injuries result from or motivate resistance will remain moot until it does.

What does seem pretty clear from studies of rape is 1) begging and/or telling your attacker you'll do whatever they want if they don't hurt you is the strategy most strongly associated with successful rape. 2) Successful resisters used a variety of strategies--reasoning, yelling, physical resistance, etc.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2005, 06:45 AM   #25
DaveO
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 543
Canada
Offline
Re: Can women defend themselves?

Back to the question at hand; I hear the question frequently.How much of a disadvantage are women at with their smaller size; lighter mass and bone structure?

Well; if you're fighting; then a lot. The average human male can both withstand and deliver a tremendous amount of punishment in a very short space of time - to be blunt; it's what we're built for. Overcoming the size difference can easily prove impossible in the short time provided by a physical fight.

BUT - we're not talking about fighting. We're talking about Self Defense. The two are not the same thing. They're not even remotely related. In a defense situation; or to be more precise in a violent assault, the very thing which limits a woman in a fight (her smaller size and mass) gives her a powerful advantage.

In my SD classes; I refer to what I teach as 'The School of Down'. The overall plan is 'Down And Out". Everything is down - the defender must strive to get down; to keep her feet on the ground, to keep her mass and inertia down. Then out - away from the attacker. SD is concerned with one thing only - escaping the attacker.
A woman's smaller size is a major advantage in this: Women tend (especially when trained) to be far quicker to acellerate and manoeuver than men. They can exploit holes, dodge and twist like lightning when compared to the bulkier, heavier half of the species. Their smaller mass gives them this advantage; and it's this quickness to exploit openings which is the most critical factor in the escape part of a defensive plan.

In the initial assault of course (and this is the downside); the size difference is a problem. In a typical assault the male will attempt to use his mass and inertia to overwhelm his victim. That's where training comes in - to be able to deal with the initial assault.

Psychologically; women have another advantage: The ability to go totally batsh*t on their attacker. I don't know how many times I've seen a woman go from kitten to wildcat in zero seconds flat when required. It's oft the butt of jokes and even more frequently thought of a something to be 'trained out' but frenzy really is the best defense in a violent assault - take the attacker off the initiative, set him back just long enough - a split second - to bolt.

So yes; women can defend themselves and can do so very well. But they can't think in 'fighting' terms for SD; that's suicide.

Cheers!

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Women and Everybody Else in Aikido George S. Ledyard Teaching 113 03-16-2008 07:27 PM
Women and generalizations cck General 57 10-13-2005 02:20 PM
Why aren't more women practising Aikido? Manon Oliver General 43 05-18-2005 11:13 PM
Holding Up Half the Sky: Women in Aikido AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 9 09-17-2004 03:17 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:58 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate