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Any TG (MtF) Kendoka out there?

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  • Any TG (MtF) Kendoka out there?

    So after reading the Gay Kendoka thread I got curious. Does anyone have any Transgender Male to Female Kendoka at their dojo? My guess is that Female to Male would be more prevalent because of the Testosterone shots which help with recovery/strength/endurance/stamina and maybe the masculine mind set. So instead I ask if there are any Male to Female Transgender Kendoka in anyone's dojo? If there were before but not now could you let me know how long that person lasted in the dojo? Also... was she hot?! :P Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by Sakabato; 31st August 2013, 03:51 AM.

  • #2
    Nice, moved to flames. So I guess talking about gay is worthy of lounge but TG issues go to flames. Good to know

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Sakabato View Post
      Nice, moved to flames. So I guess talking about gay is worthy of lounge but TG issues go to flames. Good to know
      It was more the tone of the post, pretty much begging for a reaction.

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      • #4
        May as well post here.

        Been a fair while since I came around to these forums. Mostly, fell into the dreaded period of 'not hitting the dojo' that a fair number of Kendoka have gone through. Just now getting into the swing of things after going through that inactivity-shame-inactivity cycle for the last eighteen months. May as well begin with this thread. Not going to get into the whole 'hotness' thing because I am just not into objectification, but I will say that women seem to like me, so there is that if you really think it is that important.

        So I am a male-to-female transgendered person who transitioned almost twelve years ago. I am probably not the typical trans woman, because I am actually more butch now than I ever was before I transitioned, but I am happiest this way, even when people sometimes get my gender wrong. It never bothers me so long as it is not done in malice. I am still a meager san-kyu so I am not an authority on anything Kendo, but I think I am a fair authority on what it means to be transgendered in the dojo.

        I first attempted to start Kendo somewhere around ten years ago but I found the entire prospect much too intimidating at the time. Early transition can be a pretty weird and difficult time for any person. Not only is it a second puberty, which just means awkwardness for you and everyone around you, it is a time when unknown men can appear more threatening and dangerous as a person realizes just how vulnerable being visibly LGBT makes her in the world. Entering a space like the dojo can be too intimidating to really process because it is often filled with more men than women and the energy is often wrapped up entirely in physical confrontation. I liken it to the same anxiety that I feel when I have to use a public restroom. Going through the door could be a totally safe experience but it is just as likely possible that going through the door could be one more exercise in shame. So going to unfamiliar dojo still intimidates me for that reason and I usually feel the need to sit and observe a class first - so I can acclimate to the training space and feel comfortable practicing with everyone.

        I was very fortunate to have found Yamakage Dojo in Colorado because the space is very welcoming and the training focuses mostly on the kihon-no-kata and on breaking techniques down in a way that gave me the time I needed to feel comfortable with the space. I was also the only regular student for quite a long time, so the one-on-one time with Maestas Sensei really allowed me to see that I was not only accepted as I was but also welcomed.

        I think - for me - the biggest hurdle that kept me out was kiai and the raw volume we all know and love. Estrogen does a lot for a person, especially when that person transitions in their adolescence or (like me) in their early twenties. But it cannot change the voice and practicing good kiai means cultivating a technique that is opposite to the techniques trans women tend to use to sound more 'like a woman' and whatnot. A more open throat, shouting from the diaphragm. So participating in kiai meant raising my voice and sounding very much NOT like a woman. When I first attempted to start up Kendo, this was too much for me. It took me almost a decade to learn to love my voice as it is and now I am actually very proud to give a strong kiai - but it was not like that at first and I know that this can be a big hurdle for many male-to-female transgendered martial artists.

        Coming to Japan, having 'the trans' was a big contributor to my dropping out of Kendo for awhile. It is a foreign culture and I knew no other trans people for quite some time, and trans people even seem to be misfits in the local LGBT communities like Nichome, where we do not fit easily into the 'men only or women only' bar culture. So I had no idea how I would be received as a person. This made it easier to just lean my shinai against the wall, put my bogu up on the shelf, and tell myself that Kendo would just distract me from focusing on my university work. But that is changing. I have made a few transgendered friends here, among other foreigners but also among the Japanese, and I am getting more comfortable. Looking to get back into it now, but I admit that it is still more intimidating than it might be if I did not have to worry about whether or not the people in the dojo would consider me an authentic human being.

        It is probably just an anxiety in my own head that needs to be overcome but it is a reality for most transgendered folk I know, coming up in the various aspects of their lives: at the workplace, at school, at the bar or club, everywhere that is a public space.
        Last edited by UnimportantHero; 17th September 2014, 04:58 PM.

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        • #5
          Well, that was a brave, and well thought out post. I admire your courage in doing so.

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          • #6
            Yeah I didn't think sakabato's post was an honest attempt at discussion but still, that was a brave post. I wish you luck.

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            • #7
              Thank you, both.

              I did not think it was an honest attempt at real discussion either but I hated for the one thread on the subject to be left as what it was. I have heard tell of other transgendered kendoka out there, although I have never really chatted with any of them, and this is the forum for kendo on the internet as far as I am concerned, so... yanno... people will happen across threads like these from time to time. I felt it was important to do my part in turning the thread from, well, maybe a joke, to a possible resource.

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              • #8
                As this is looking to now be a real discussion on the topic, moved to the lounge (for lack of a better place). Thanks for your honesty, and best of luck in your training.
                Last edited by Neil Gendzwill; 19th September 2014, 11:26 PM.

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                • #9
                  We had a gay student but it only lasted 2 months. Just couldn't follow the direction... including kiai..... It wasn't just his thing. He was more interested in manga and anime. But then again, we have buffed guys quit after 1 week, ladies quit after 2 months...

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                  • #10
                    The people who join because they like manga rarely stick it out.

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                    • #11
                      As you say..quitting probably had nothing to do with gay-non-gay.

                      Originally posted by rainmaker View Post
                      We had a gay student but it only lasted 2 months. Just couldn't follow the direction... including kiai..... It wasn't just his thing. He was more interested in manga and anime. But then again, we have buffed guys quit after 1 week, ladies quit after 2 months...

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                      • #12
                        I don't care who you are. As long as you keep entering that dojo, you will get my respect. Over the time, I practiced with dying man with cancer(John O'connor), blind guy and others. I myself just got liver transplanted in Feb. I know how challenge it is when you are in the form of changing. It takes lot of guts, mental and physical strength to live day by day. So with all that, if you can still walk into my dojo, I will give you my 100%...

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                        • #13
                          Respect for your response!

                          Same as rainmaker here: as long as you keep coming, you will also get my respect.

                          Some people might be less open or understanding, but I'm more in the "happy-go-lucky" part of the community.

                          Also, if somebody ever annoys you, just tell them to read the Concept of Kendo. I don't remember anything about gender or sexuality being written there, right?

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                          • #14
                            I can't comment on the original question but I agree with other responses - it doesn't matter who you are or your background, if you turn up and try your best, then you will be respected.

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                            • #15
                              It was an honest question. However the forums did not alert me of any responses and after neil's initial response I thought no one else would take it seriously. Regardless a few months back I PM'ed unimportant hero with my thoughts on the matter, and that is what is important. I only reply now to set the matter straight.

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