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 10-03-2005, 11:22 AM   #1
cck
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 59
Offline
Women and generalizations

Many guys tend to think and say that women have an easier time "getting" aikido because they are not as strong as guys and hence are forced to adopt the subtleties of the art (or eventually quit). Also, there is a lot of insistence that women know how or have some genetic ability to employ their hips better. This drives me crazy! My hips do not automatically swing into action in aikido just because I am of the female persuasion! I struggle with my mind to make them move instead of my shoulders, arms and other body parts (and then I struggle with my mind to shut up/off, but that's another story). I have never once perceived an advantage to being a woman in this art - not physically, at least. And yet it is such a common generalization. What am I missing? Am I the odd bird/stickwoman out? What say you other womenfolk?

I guess it bothers me that there is an expectation of natural ability based on gender which I just don't see in myself or other women. And if I believe it, the disappointment is much greater when it does not actually materialize in measurable ways. To have someone tell me that "you have center! You are a woman!" makes me want to bite the mat in frustration.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2005, 11:52 AM   #2
j0nharris
Dojo: Kododan Aikido USA
Location: Radford Virginia
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 198
United_States
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

I occasionally get the same kind of thing, because I'm a little smaller in stature, & don't have to worry about naturally trying to muscle the technique.

jon harris

Life is a journey...
Now, who took my @#$%! map?!
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2005, 11:52 AM   #3
Pauliina Lievonen
 
Pauliina Lievonen's Avatar
Dojo: Jiki Shin Kan Utrecht
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 560
Netherlands
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

I train in a dojo with 50/50 men and women. So far I haven't seen ANY difference in "natural ability" by gender. All beginners muscle through and use their shoulders more than their hips, to various degrees.
Hope this helps.

kvaak
Pauliina
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2005, 01:10 PM   #4
Kevin Leavitt
 
Kevin Leavitt's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Germany
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

I don't think physically women or more or less inclined to aikido simply based on their gender.

Women, I believe, mentally many times tend to be wired slightly different than men. I think the disposition of many women make "getting" aikido much easier than many men. But this is not related so much to gender as it is to societal conditioning.

Men, myself included have many years of muscling to overcome, whereas women may tend to be able to steer clear of this.

That said, many women may carry years of emotional issues that are ingendered into them by society that they need to over come, but I have seen this true of many men too!

So maybe it is a wash?

Also, I believe lighter people in general have a much easier time moving around the mat than a big guy such as myself.

I don't think any of this is related so much to the gender as it is societal conditioning and simply the physics of size.

In the end, each person brings to the mat their own strengths and weaknesses and it is the responsibliity of the sensei, the dojo community, and the individual to discover and identify those and work toward either exploiting them, tempering them, or improving them.

Since Aikido tends to be about the individual does it make much sense to apply broadbased stereotypes though?
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2005, 01:15 PM   #5
John Boswell
 
John Boswell's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland, Texas
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 597
United_States
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

Well, when it comes to generalizations: ALL generalizations are wrong all the time and everybody knows it... everywhere. And that's true for anyone with no exceptions whatsoever.

I just wanted to make that perfectly clear.

That, and I never exagerate. Ever.

That is all.

  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2005, 02:44 PM   #6
odudog
Dojo: Dale City Aikikai
Location: VA
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 383
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

Well, according to my Sensei who has a lot of experience in the arts and also teaches a women only self defense course. He says that ladies get Aikido much easier than guys. Guys always try to out muscle one another, its how we are taught as kids. Ladies don't have that conditioning so there is nothing that has to be unlearned. This is main point of the commen said statement. However, I'm a light weight, so I too didn't have to unlearn.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2005, 02:50 PM   #7
Qatana
 
Qatana's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Petaluma, Petaluma,CA
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 834
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

Begging your pardon Mike but I have tried to muscle through every technique with every person larger than me in the dojo, which includes everybody in the dojo.I will try to muscle my way through any conflict be it physical Or verbal, so the entire reason I train is to let go of that.
Conversely, a friend in another forum says her sensei is pushing the women to try to use More Power, not less.

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
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2005, 02:57 PM   #8
rob_liberti
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
Location: East Haven, CT
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,402
United_States
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

Of course all humans will try to muscle things initially. I think the point is that people with less upper body strength will not have as much "success" in doing that and therefore will have the one advantage of not building up that particular bad habit. There are plenty of other difficult things to keep things relatively the same between genders.

Rob
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2005, 03:39 PM   #9
cck
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 59
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
There are plenty of other difficult things to keep things relatively the same between genders.
I did not mean to appear on an equality crusade, sorry if that's how it came off. It just seems to me a very pervasive and also false assumption that women somehow "get" aikido better than men, and therefore it is something that can very well get in the way of instruction - hence, Kevin, not looking at the individual. As far as size is concerned, well, like the big guy said: Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee :-)

I dunno - maybe it is also societal conditioning that lets guys think these things about women. What really rubs me the wrong way is that it's repeated as if it were indisputable fact and that many women may actually believe it. That's what I meant by the potential disappointment being greater.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2005, 04:32 PM   #10
SeiserL
 
SeiserL's Avatar
Dojo: Roswell Budokan, Kyushinkan Dojo, Aikido World Alliance
Location: Roswell, GA USA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,715
United_States
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

IMHO, generalizations are just that generalizations. While they are not always true, they can be generally useful. Don't take them too seriously or too personally.

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!
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2005, 06:16 PM   #11
nekobaka
Dojo: Washinkai (Kizu)
Location: Osaka
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 123
Japan
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

That's interesting, I usually get the opposite kinds of comments. "it must be hard throwing around guys that are much bigger than you"
and actually I think it is harder when you are throwing a much larger person for a break fall, especially koshinage. I can think of about 5 people in my dojo that I literally can't throw properly ever. that said, for a woman I am taller, larger, and stronger than any of the other women in my dojo. that's mostly because most Japanese women are so small boned, and certainly that wasn't the case in the US. there are a lot of college students at my dojo, and I find that age is often another obstacle of not using strength.

So as far as my early morning rambling goes, it's annoying when people push their assumptions on you, no matter what those assumptions are.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2005, 07:47 PM   #12
Amassus
 
Amassus's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Musubi Ryu/ Yoshin Wadokan
Location: Hamilton
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 305
New Zealand
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

In my limited experience, it is not gender that holds people back. It is what they hold within themselves from life experience.

Whether they be a man or a woman, those that have an accumulation of negative experiences from their life so far tend to be more protective, less trusting, more tense and as a result find things more difficult.

The generalisation that women are able to 'pick up' aikido easier is certainly not something I have experienced at the dojo. We are all individuals and learning at different levels.

My humble opinion.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2005, 09:02 PM   #13
aikigirl10
Dojo: Aikido of Ashland
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 395
United_States
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

Quote:
Camilla Kieliger wrote:
It just seems to me a very pervasive and also false assumption that women somehow "get" aikido better than men, and therefore it is something that can very well get in the way of instruction -
If someone told me that women "got" aikido better than men , personally i would take that as a compliment.

Its always good to have one up on the guys .... not that its anything new...
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2005, 09:04 PM   #14
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

I'm with Dean on this as well - my experience, both studying and teaching, has been the same.

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2005, 02:50 AM   #15
mathewjgano
 
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,113
United_States
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

I of course am not a woman, but I would say there is at least a very small amount of truth to the idea that people who are not very muscular (I have often been the smallest, skinniest guy where ever I went) are more inclined to use finese rather than brute strength. Growing up, my friends loved to wrestle around and like I said, I couldn't use muscle to "win." However, like all generalizations, those ideas aren't truly representative. As a small guy, I still have to learn to not get stuck in my muscles. You might take the reverse and say that smaller, less muscular folks like us have a harder time engaging our partners while "tough-guys" have it more easily. For every attribute there's a pro AND a con I think.

Gambarimashyo!
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2005, 04:34 AM   #16
asiawide
Location: Seoul
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 120
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

As far as I've seen, girls learn aikido fast since many guys ardently help them learning aikido. This is my observation.

Jaemin
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2005, 05:59 AM   #17
rob_liberti
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
Location: East Haven, CT
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,402
United_States
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

Generalizations:

(1) "BJJ is aikido on the ground." I get the idea really, but no one who can speak about the depths of aikido has said that yet. We'll have to wait for a shihan-ability in Aikido who is also a grand master in BJJ to make that statement.

(2) "90% of all fights go to the ground." 70% of all fights involving LEO trying to capture fleeing bad guys go to the ground. That's the only stat based on actual data that I'm aware of in this area.

While I find the basic idea behind those statements true-enough "in general" I don't take them as fact. There is typically an agenda behind such statements. Much like the agenda behind:
"Women have an easier time "getting" aikido because they are not as strong as guys and hence are forced to adopt the subtleties of the art (or eventually quit)." I'm sure that wasn't said by a women in the dojo. It was probably said by a guy in the dojo who:
a- on the surface level, thinks he is encouaging the women in the dojo
b- probably doesn't realize that he is feeding his own ego that "he has it much harder"
c- probably doesn't realize that he is starving the women's ego who want to think they have it much harder or offending the women who would like to believe that we have it equally as hard.

The reality is that we can't really know.

Rob
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2005, 08:41 AM   #18
roosvelt
Location: Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 177
Canada
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

What's wrong with generalization?

When I do certain technique which involves pushing chest, I modify it to push shoulder of female partner. Because I assume that she doesn't like being rubbed in that area. If any of you female readers stand up and dispute my assumption/generalization, and think it's a commpliment to be teached on that area, I'd like to train with you, on mat or off

I do believe that woman in Aikido master it faster in general. Reasons:

1.Women are more flexible in general.

2. Woman in Aikido are more motivated.

3. The beginning woman in Aikido are better spicemen in their gender. I've seen many men, who can't touch his own toes, who has bad kneed cap, who's over 60, who's lazy (a guy regularly late for 6:00pm class because he can't get up. No, he doesn't work night shift. He just likes long afternoon nap), come to our dojo. While the women are young, fit and eager to learn.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2005, 09:42 AM   #19
giriasis
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 819
United_States
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

I think the problem with the generalization here is that her male sempai/ sensei are assuming she should know how to do the techniques just because she's a woman instead of showing her how to do the techniques correctly herself. It sounds like she's getting, "what do you mean it's hard, you're a woman it should be easier so what are you complaining for?"

Just because we (women and the small in stature) face resistence more often because we are not as strong as the typical guy does not make it any easier to learn aikido. Actually, it can make it more frustrating and challenging to learn, especially when you turn around and see the guys and stronger people muscle through and are treated as if they are better as a result. When your stronger than someone it is harder to really feel whether you muscle through a technique, but when your smaller/ weaker than someone you notice it right away. But being able to notice this right away doesn't mean it's easier to learn as a result. Yes, eventually, we will learn to find our center and learn to apply the technique without muscling but that's because we don't have any choice otherwise.

Let's turn this about face. There are many times I see guys, in general, learn ukemi faster -- especially breakfalls. And as a result, the ability to take ukemi aids in learning aikido. Also the ability to breakfall gets them incorporated faster with the dojo since the higher ranks are more apt to train with someone with better ukemi so they can throw harder. But once again, that's a generaltiy. (i.e. guys learn ukemi/breakfalls faster) How would you like to hear from a sensei/sempai, when your a guy who is having a problem with ukemi and he/she then says, "why do you have such a hard time with breakfalls, it's easier for guys to learn breakfall so what's your problem?"

Given that, I think generalities can help in understanding, but generalities should be only taken so far since they lead to pitfalls in training -- assuming women should or can only do "soft aikido", assuming guys only like to take "hard" ukemi or prefer harding training, assuming women can't do breakfalls, assuming that just because someone is significantly stronger you can't hurt them, assuming that just because women have a lower center of gravity it should be easier, assuming that since women are weaker they really can't do aikido and should only be patronized, etc.

And well, we all know what "assume" means.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2005, 10:02 AM   #20
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote:
Begging your pardon Mike but I have tried to muscle through every technique with every person larger than me in the dojo, which includes everybody in the dojo.I will try to muscle my way through any conflict be it physical Or verbal, so the entire reason I train is to let go of that.
Conversely, a friend in another forum says her sensei is pushing the women to try to use More Power, not less.
It's funny how there seems to be this stuck record about "muscle", "power", "Aikido", "women", etc. Even a superficial reading of O-Sensei's history shows that he worked diligently on personal training. All the uchi-deshi working many hours a day for many years could not but help develop conditioning and power. The "don't use muscles" only means "don't use normal strength but use kokyu and ki training". There should be some sort of secret cabal where the women in Aikido with some physical ability and sincerity get together and practice the "secret ways of unusual power".... sort of like the Bene Gesserit in "Dune".

FWIW

Mike Sigman
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2005, 10:09 AM   #21
giriasis
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 819
United_States
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

Quote:
There should be some sort of secret cabal where the women in Aikido with some physical ability and sincerity get together and practice the "secret ways of unusual power".... sort of like the Bene Gesserit in "Dune".
What makes you think there isn't?

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2005, 10:19 AM   #22
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
What makes you think there isn't?
Well, the sort of power I'm talking about, and I mean realistically, would cause consternation and a LOT of discussion in the Aikido community. Ipso facto, there isn't such a cabal.

Mike
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2005, 10:33 AM   #23
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

Some more things came to my mind after reading Ann-Marie's post.

- The whole idea of not muscling is not quite the same thing as having no muscle (or having less muscle). Really, what one is looking at is not the total absence of muscle tension and/or not using one's muscular system. Rather, one is interested in gaining a particular type of muscle usage. This use, in truth, is not hindered by a well-developed muscular system -- it is aided by it. Here, I feel, we must realize two things. First, a well-developed muscular system can have one more physically coordinated and thus more capable of cultivating the particular muscle usage being required to practice the art correctly. Second, the particular muscle usage being sought requires (indeed!) a great deal of muscle development -- one that can act to support the particular forms of selective (muscle) relaxation being used. In particular, one has to have great development in the core muscle groups -- with special attention given to the legs, hips, and the back (both up and lower), etc. The stronger you are in these areas, the better.

- Much of Aikido's power comes from gravity -- either directly or indirectly. More accurately, we can say, that much of Aikido's power comes from our capacity to allow gravity to pull down upon our mass. The more gravity is allowed to pull down on our mass, often, the more powerful our technique. Thus, the more mass that can be pulled by gravity, the more powerful our technique. Since muscle development is one way of increasing one's mass, muscle development can assist us in making our techniques more efficient and thus more powerful. A lack of mass, and/or a lack of muscle development, therefore, can make our technique less powerful and less efficient -- relatively speaking.

- For me, based in part upon those things mentioned above, as a practitioner, I very much seek to develop myself muscularly. For example, lifting weights is a huge part of my personal training regiment. Moreover, as a teacher, I encourage every student, both male and female, to lift weights as well. For me, a well-developed muscular system helps one's training -- it does not hinder it. If anything, a poorly developed muscular system hinders one training more than most things.

- A capacity to use something does not hinder one in choosing not to use that thing (i.e. that if one has muscles, one cannot opt to use them incorrectly). Equally, an incapacity to use something does not mean that one will not still try to use it and/or that one will come more easily to use something else. It is like this: If you want to learn Japanese is the States, it is "x" hard. If you go learn it in Japan, it does not become "less than x hard." What might change is the need to learn it. However, need never made anything less difficult -- it only makes it more pressing, which more often than not tends to make learning more difficult.

In the end, my opinion is this: The weaker you are, the harder it is to learn to do Aikido efficiently, correctly, properly, accurately, as it was intended, etc.

Last edited by senshincenter : 10-04-2005 at 10:39 AM.

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2005, 10:35 AM   #24
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Generalizations:

(1) "BJJ is aikido on the ground." I get the idea really, but no one who can speak about the depths of aikido has said that yet. We'll have to wait for a shihan-ability in Aikido who is also a grand master in BJJ to make that statement.

Rob
Hi Rob, would this person count?

http://www.realfighting.com/0702/yamashtaframe.html

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2005, 10:41 AM   #25
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Women and generalizations

David, I think you're way off target for what Aikido is. My opinion. Give me a reasonably coordinated, dedicated woman to work with for perhaps a week in order to make sure she's on track. You take a woman with similar physical ability and dedication to show her your take involving weight training. Let them continue with their training and Aikido practice. At the end of six months, I'll bet the farm on the one with the ki and kokyu skills. At the end of two years, the difference should be astonishing.

FWIW

Mike
  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
Can women defend themselves? Mary Eastland General 38 05-20-2005 10:56 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:22 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