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#301302 - 11/13/06 01:34 PM masculine hegemony in MA
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
A question for traditional martial arts in particular:

part of the tradition of Eastern Arts, surviving to today, is the masculine hegemony that prevails and has prevailed in the dojo/gyms.

The west is starting to enter new ground - more and more Women are heading-up gyms, some are inheriting their father's self-made style and are assuming soke titles, some gaining higher ranks than ever before in well-known organizations, etc.

without regard for political correctness but while keeping respectful, what is your honest opinion of where the Arts would be with alot more Women in the Hanshi-seat...

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#301303 - 11/13/06 02:50 PM Re: masculine hegemony in MA [Re: Ed_Morris]
MattJ Offline
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Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Interesting idea, Ed. I think that it comes down to how they are training and what they intend to teach. In context of practical, resistant training, this could be a good thing. Women could make some good technical changes to their arts to reduce the "bigger/stronger" motif that is prevalent at some male-run schools.
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#301304 - 11/13/06 06:31 PM Re: masculine hegemony in MA [Re: Ed_Morris]
cxt Offline
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Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5811
Loc: USA
Ed

I would have to say "zero."

A number of classcial japanese ryu are headed by women--makes little difference to the imparting of teaching.

As far as teaching goes--"good" and "bad" have little to do with gender.

Least I don't think so.
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#301305 - 11/13/06 06:40 PM Re: masculine hegemony in MA [Re: MattJ]
underdog Offline
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Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
As more women enter martial arts in leadership teacher roles, their martial art will evolve and become more suited to a women's needs. As a simple example, I have had it repeatedly drilled in my head about stances and protecting my groin. I don't care that much about my groin as long as I am standing. It isn't that much of a vulnerable area for me. I'd rather protect my knees in a stance. For arms, I want to protect my breasts against a strike. It goes on and on.

For striking, the "punch like a girl" punch that is essentially a natural strike, could be cultivated. Children, including male children "punch" with this overhead slapping motion. Now if the arm were extended more and the pull came from the lats and body weight dropped into it, this could be a good strike for a palm or downward elbow strike.

As an application, I was training gun disarms today. Instead of striking into wrist points with my hands the way the men do, I could take men down with the downward elbow to the wrist pressure points. In my school, I call it "underdogging" the techniques. In working on my own art, I strive to make them work against resistance from a stronger male uke.

Women belong in martial arts and we are here to stay. Our art will evolve to be more useful for self defense by us. If you are female, teach females or have female students, you should know about AWSDA, the American Women's Self Defense Association, which is actually an international organization that is undergoing a name change. They just finished their annual training meeting in Arizona last week. It is a good connection for anyone concerned with women's self defense and martial arts.
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#301306 - 11/14/06 09:35 AM Re: masculine hegemony in MA [Re: underdog]
senseihonor Offline
Member

Registered: 09/09/06
Posts: 62
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Quote:

If you are female, teach females or have female students, you should know about AWSDA, the American Women's Self Defense Association, which is actually an international organization that is undergoing a name change. They just finished their annual training meeting in Arizona last week. It is a good connection for anyone concerned with women's self defense and martial arts.



As you've already said, women are prevalent in the MA's, and as difficult and challenging as that may be for some of us @ times, we're here to stay.

The number of MA's associations that are created for and by women is substantial. It is, in my opinion, an indication of how present and organized we are about our participation in the MA's.

Here is another small sample of what's available:

The National Women's Martial Arts Federation (NWMAF) @ www.nwmaf.org. Among other things, they hold an annual MA's camp called Special Training (ST) with female MA's attending from all over the world

The Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors @ www.awmai.org.

And for those who aren't afraid/offended by the title:
The Feminist Karate Union @ www.geocities.com/Wellesley/5466

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#301307 - 11/14/06 12:06 PM Re: masculine hegemony in MA [Re: senseihonor]
underdog Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
Thanks. I wrote them down. I'll check them out on my day off.
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#301308 - 11/14/06 02:05 PM Re: masculine hegemony in MA [Re: Ed_Morris]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
What I find strange in women headed dojos or gyms is the macho attitude that she can't teach him anything and women thinking they don't want a female head instructor.

I personally don't think gender has anything to do with teaching a martial art. Just as a good martial artist of any gender can't garantee to make all their students good fighters or better yet good Martial Artist. Its the system and the hard work each person put into their workouts and goals. Gender doesn't make a difference, to the wise.

I do know some women that have a class full of women and men, but they are rare. A lot of silly men and women still see her as a woman and they thinks they can take her.
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#301309 - 11/14/06 05:44 PM Re: masculine hegemony in MA [Re: Neko456]
underdog Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
I'm fortunate. This is not my experience. I am actually titled a "head instructor" on the school marketing. I am only Nidan and in my opinion, the head instructors are all 4th dan. I think some of this has to do with the school. There were just a couple of iffy incidents where I had to educate people. No one is perfect. Overall, the school's attitude has been more accepting than my expectations. Part of it is the new generation. I find the males of the upcoming generation to be far more willing to learn from a female. Part of it is my attitude. My presentation of myself is confident. I believe things are getting better. There are only 2 female black belts in my school right now. That will change. There are a lot of females coming up. We probably won't make any new black belts for a 2-3 years but when we do, there will probably be at least 1 female. I feel pretty good that I have blazed a good trail for the younger women.
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#301310 - 11/14/06 06:26 PM Re: masculine hegemony in MA [Re: Neko456]
senseihonor Offline
Member

Registered: 09/09/06
Posts: 62
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Quote:

I personally don't think gender has anything to do with teaching a martial art.



I totally agree with this.

Quote:

Its the system and the hard work each person put into their workouts and goals.



Unfortunately, I have to disagree here.

Sometimes women encounter male dominated dojo's where no matter:

- how hard she works
- how much better she is than any man in that dojo
- how much she adapts herself to fit whatever the dojo's expectations are

she won't be given adequate conditions to allow her to train, she'll be marginalized, she'll be sexualized, she'll be unacknowledged, and she won't be given equal opportunities to grade.

I'm sure there are a whole host of other discriminations women encounter in male dominated dojo's that I've omitted to mention.

Quote:

Gender doesn't make a difference, to the wise.



Very well said.

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#301311 - 11/14/06 07:26 PM Re: masculine hegemony in MA [Re: senseihonor]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5811
Loc: USA
Senseihonor

And with all respect I must also disagree with some of your verbage.

The repeted use of the phrase "she'll be" is assumptive--and used in such a manner as to sugget something that WILL occur--not just a possiblity.

"Good" schools don't do those things----sadly the "marginal" "poor" and downright "bad" ones are much easier to find.
Always a challange to find a good school.

Also there are many reasons why a student might be "marginalized" that have nothing to do with gender.
And doing that to a student is often/mostly--but not automatically a "bad" thing--all kinds of weirdo's and timewasters in the dojo might well be marginalized for good reason.

(however, if your takeing their money--you should be teaching them--if their good enough to take their cash--you better be providing services)

People are often "descrimnated" against in dojo's--mostly for bad reasons such as perceptions being just plain wrong--that they are "lazy" "not serious" "weak" "lacking the "killer instict" "not following directions" "not practicing at home" not "training hard" not listeing." etc.
ie BOTH good and very bad reasons.

Maybe.

These are just a poorly and innacuratly applied to men as well as women.

Unfortuantly stupidity is not a gender issue --it seems to effect pretty much everyone at times.

Again, focusing so strongly on the assumption that women will be "discrimnated" and "marginalized"--IMO might lead to a sort of "self created" situation---where since one "expects" such thing to occur one "creates" the very situation they fear.

Another potential problem is the "easy out" a person can find by just chalking their problems up to "descrimnation" and "margeinlaztion."

They never have to consider their own actions and mis-perceptions and unrealistic expectations---and its an all too human trait to REFUSE any form of self reflection or personal responsiblity---as long as people have "reason" that permits them from taking any blame/responsiblity--they often as not, sadly take it.


Just some thoughts.


Edited by cxt (11/14/06 07:40 PM)
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