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#206681 - 11/20/05 04:52 PM Female instructors and respect
PierrePressure Offline

Registered: 07/02/05
Posts: 173
I visited a nearby dojo just recently, and I observed the kid's class there. It was full of maybe 8-10 little kids between the ages of maybe 4 and 6, and there were two younger female assistants (one maybe 17, the other 15) teaching (with the older instructors supervising), along with a youngish boy, maybe 14. Now, I realize that this is a Mcdojo situation with all these younger kids teaching, but that's really not why I'm making this thread. See, I was struck by how little the kids actually seemed to pay attention to their teachers. Yes, maybe the fact that the instructors themselves were young had a part to play in it, but it got me thinking. Has anyone, and I mean female instructors or just observant people, noticed an issue with commanding a room full of kids, simply because you're female?

Before anyone gets upset over this, please know I'm only asking because I am female, and I have hopes of someday maybe teaching a small group of people, children or whoever, in martial arts. I'm curious, because even in my own school it's definitely our male instructors who really seem to have a hold on the kids (and the adults too, actually ). I don't like that, but it just seems to be the way it falls.

So I suppose my question is: How is this handled? How do (in your opinion) female instructors keep a disciplined environment that is full of respect without seeming like a tyrant? For some reason, it seems to be more of a balancing act for us chicks. Any thoughts/tips/ideas?
"If life gives you lemons, you blow those lemons to bits with your laser cannon!" - Brak

#206682 - 11/20/05 05:00 PM Re: Female instructors and respect [Re: PierrePressure]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
I shouldn't think it isa problem with kids, after all, they are used to female school teachers, mothers, older sisters and care assistants. I think age is a benefit there.

Good luck,
See how well I block your punches with my jaw!!

Supporting everyone saying "nuts to cancer"

#206683 - 11/20/05 06:46 PM Re: Female instructors and respect [Re: PierrePressure]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
PierrePressure -

I think that the effects you noticed are more related to the lack of experience of the instructors in question. It takes a certain amount of skill to be able to keep very young student's attention.

There IS a balancing act required between knowing the concentration limits of children (usually limited) and the need to enforce discipline (push-ups were my favorite) when necessary.

As a personal note, I had several female instructors coming up through the ranks.
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

#206684 - 11/20/05 06:55 PM Re: Female instructors and respect [Re: MattJ]
chickenchaser Offline

Registered: 10/29/05
Posts: 204
Loc: Auburn,New York,U.S.A.
from my point of view (i can't say if it holds true with everyone, though i think it should) is that(for a lack of better words) i don't look chest level in an instructor i look belt other words, to me, a black belt talking = me listening.
"The early bird gets the worm, but the bird in a hurry only gets half of one." --- Sensei Corey

#206685 - 11/20/05 07:24 PM Re: Female instructors and respect [Re: PierrePressure]
srv Offline
The OTHER forum Doctor

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 139
Loc: SA, Australia
I also think that this is more to do with the age and experience of the instructors you saw. In our dojo while our head instructor is male we have a lot of female assistant instructors (I help out with the teaching at the kids class) and the ability to command respect depends a lot on the experience, age and the individual. When I first started helping the kids would be more difficult and try to test me out a bit but now I've been regularly helping with the teaching for a few years they do pay attention more and treat me with respect. Although with real young kids it can be difficult for anyone to hold their attention for too long doing the same thing cause they're just not old enough to be able to and when you teach you need to be flexible with what you're doing and change what they're doing regularly. Also keepeing a balanced respectful environment without being a tyrant is, I think, important for any intructors - male or female - particularly those that teach young children. There are some fantastic female instructors around so don't let this dampen your ambitions to teach in the future. As chickenchaser said, a black belt is a black belt whether the person is male or female.

#206686 - 11/21/05 07:26 AM Re: Female instructors and respect [Re: PierrePressure]
BuDoc Offline
The doctor will see you now

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1067
Loc: USA and Abroad
Don't be so quick to write off teen agers with middle kyu ranks assissting with the teaching of children, as a McDojo.

I do not teach children myself and personally don't think anyone under 12(and few of them) should be taught. This is an entirely different thread/can of worms.

The important info here is that I have seen many fine schools that do teach children. They often use teenagers to assisst(boys and girls), and this seems to be effective.

As for women commanding respect. One of my favorite instructors is a tiny little, middle aged, mother of 2 with a 5th Dan. She jumps around and plays with kids classes with youthful exuberance. She has no problem commanding respect from anyone, of any age!

Medical Advisor for the Somolian National Sumo Team

#206687 - 11/21/05 01:38 PM Re: Female instructors and respect [Re: BuDoc]
ShikataGaNai Offline

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Bellingham, WA
My main instructor is not only female, but of underaverage height and weight. However, she is the owner/operator of an incredible chicago school that has turned out some pro-level MAists and has her own reknown in the MA world, not to mention incredible skill and accomplishment in more arts than you could shake a tonfa at.
The mantra of the school is "lead by example".
'Nuff said.

#206688 - 11/21/05 02:50 PM Re: Female instructors and respect [Re: ShikataGaNai]
PierrePressure Offline

Registered: 07/02/05
Posts: 173
Awesome insights and examples. Thanks guys. Makes me feel better about my ambitions .

BuDoc, sorry if I offended you. I know from personal experience that teenagers can be invaluable to teachers, but what I failed to mention was that I observed some other warning signs that this place might not be a school that meets my own personal standards, hence my "Mcdojo" comment. Don't know if that helps......
"If life gives you lemons, you blow those lemons to bits with your laser cannon!" - Brak

#206689 - 11/21/05 03:18 PM Re: Female instructors and respect [Re: srv]
JasonM Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 2502
I agree with the age of the instructor had something to do with it. My instructor is a female, and she always got respect from the students whether young or old. Plus, she had kids of her own, which I thinks helps in teaching kids. Now, that doesn't mean instructors without kids can't teach them, but having your own, ya learn some tricks and whatnot. IMO..
90 percent of good abs is your nutrition

#206690 - 11/22/05 12:33 PM Re: Female instructors and respect [Re: PierrePressure]
BuDoc Offline
The doctor will see you now

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1067
Loc: USA and Abroad

No offense taken. Sometimes we just have misunderstandings when we write.

I'm sure you have examined the complete picture when choosing the proper school for you.

My comments, while in response to your post, were really directed at the larger audience. In this day and age we are really quick to assume McDojo(kind of a guilty until proven innocent type of thing).

There are McDojos that use lower level kids to teach, and there are fine schools that do the same. Many people don't take into account the complete picture of a dojo, unlike yourself, and dismiss it outright.

Good luck with your training,

Medical Advisor for the Somolian National Sumo Team

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