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Always the same with the women

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  • Gah! Can't we just let this thread, with its unfortunate title, die a quiet death?

    The title implies that sticking with kendo in particular and martial arts in general is a trait exclusive to women -- which is far from the truth. Men wash out of martial arts as much as women. It's just more noticeable with women because there are fewer to start with.

    Well, I guess I should put my money where my mouth is, so to speak.

    -B

    Comment


    • Originally posted by babayaga View Post
      Gah! Can't we just let this thread, with its unfortunate title, die a quiet death?

      The title implies that sticking with kendo in particular and martial arts in general is a trait exclusive to women -- which is far from the truth. Men wash out of martial arts as much as women. It's just more noticeable with women because there are fewer to start with.

      Well, I guess I should put my money where my mouth is, so to speak.

      -B
      Nope!
      death= bad!

      I wonder, as for the person who started this thread, what has he gotten out of it? I'd like to hear something from him... maybe he should be the one to offically wrap it up...

      oh and I forgot to add something to my "If guys can do it, so can I, so don't treat me any different from the guys" post. This is what I needed to add:

      Comment


      • OP here.

        Babayaga, I started this discussion in response to an earlier thread named "Always the same with the men", a discussion that was plain silly but has thankfully expired and vanished from this site. My implication in this thread is not what you describe but actually the opposite: that the very rare female who starts kendo in our dojo invariably drops out after a period of time. I was tapping into the opinions of females here as to why that might be and also what it is that would attract a female to participate in the male-dominated world of kendo. I know the drop-out rate is typically very high regardless of gender but I thought I might some garner some insight and maybe improve our dojo's record in attracting and retaining female members. We had three practicing adult females for a while but they are all gone now: one moved to Hawaii where she still practices along with her husband and son, but the other two - well, I don't know what happened - maybe they became disheartened once the bogu went on.

        I appreciate all the members who contributed their thoughts on this subject. MartialArtsGirl, if I appeared condescending when suggesting a modified practice routine for females, I apologize as that was not my intention. Having said that, I still think some of our grueling practices may appear intimidating to any observer, but especially females. Why am I concerned about it? Well, I guess I think the core values of kendo, which are universal and genderless, could become more widespread if we had participants from the half of the population that is not joining up in proportion to their numbers. I still don't have an answer on how to do that.

        (P.S. If anyone thinks a butch/lesbian/tattoed rollergirl is better suited, I don't want to hear about it lest the KW warden breaks out his keyring again.)
        Last edited by yoda-waza; 15th November 2008, 01:58 PM.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by yoda-waza View Post
          OP here.

          Babayaga, I started this discussion in response to an earlier thread named "Always the same with the men", a discussion that was plain silly but has thankfully expired and vanished from this site. My implication in this thread is not what you describe but actually the opposite: that the very rare female who starts kendo in our dojo invariably drops out after a period of time.
          Hi Yoda, perhaps I should have emphasized the "title" part of my post, because the content of the thread is great. It's just that the title sounds horrible out of the context of the other thread, and it keeps popping up as the top topic in the summary view.

          In other words, the representative post for the Women's Forum is often "Always the same with the women," which doesn't sound open and inclusive. Does that make sense? It's like the fact that for about six months on e-budo there was one forum which was headlined "why girls and guns don't mix."

          I'm sorry if you got the message that I was criticizing the thread, because that is not the case. Language is powerful, in both intended and unintended ways. While the content is useful in this thread, the title suggests a complaint about women. In both the cases I've described, I believe that the language conveys negative, and in this case inaccurate messages about how women are viewed on these forums; one which may not reflect the reality.

          I'll shut up now and keep my pedantism to myself. And start a new thread on something.

          -B

          Comment


          • Point taken. I can see your view but you have to understand the context of the situation at the time I posted. I chose this provocative title because it was a twist on the words of a popular concurrent title about men and I wanted to attract as many responses as it was getting. Had I tried another title at the time the thread may not have been as popular and drifted into a quiet death much earlier. As it is, new members discovering KW forums still seem drawn to respond. That's a good thing, isn't it?

            Comment


            • Yada-Waza, I wasn't insulted don't worry. It's just that I feel very strongly that you shouldn't alter the techniques for women. I personally wouldn't want to go to a dojo like that, and I'd purposefully stay far away from one like that.

              Also, IMO, Kendo doesn't look that intimading except for the yelling/loud noise and the hitting. Which is something you probably can't do anything about.

              Also maybe what you could do is to tell women that it will help them be stronger inside? Another thing that might help- and this is just, since I just started Kendo, I realize already that I really like having other women around after all. I mean, guys are awesome to hang out with, but if it's a male only club, a woman might start to wonder, "Am I ought of place here?" Also, how are the guys treating the girls?

              One thing that I have been finding very helpful is to TALK about stuff. I find this forum to be awesome, because I understand it a lot better than I might have otherwise.

              If you were to do something specfic for women, why not do something more along the lines of talking to them more about it all? Instead of changing the actual Kendo, maybe you could have a womens group after class so that women can talk about it afterwards, or practice afterwards or something? Or you could also do get togethers after class... (not just for women but everyone). Like go out to eat or something. something social.

              I know it may sound silly, but women really do like to talk and socialize (as do some men I'm sure). It doesn't have to be a social club of course, but something to give women (and men) a sense of belonging of a sort.

              I don't know. To me, doing a MA is not just about the MA, but also about the people you do it with. I tried a couple of other MA's (since I did my main one) and one of them- I loved the MA but the people were not very fun, I didnt enjoy hanging out with them very much after the class, so I thought to myself: "why am I doing this? I should look for a different dojo..."


              and again, don't worry I don't feel insulted at all. I'm just trying to say it strongly: I'd personally never go to a dojo that altered Kendo (or any MA) specifically for women. It'd make me feel like I was somehow inferior to guys because I'd be encouraged to do something different or easier. Which is simply not the case. I mean if it's practical like your boobs are too big (as in one other thread?) then sure, thats alright. But if its somehow easier because I'm a female, or somehow more watered down in any way...how can that be a good thing?

              Also, why not see if you could get in touch with the woman who moved to Hawaii? I bet she could tell you what you need to do, more than everyone else on this thread combined... really, you need to ask your students not us, because there are many many reasons why you could be losing students and no one can tell you the real answer that you need to know unless we go to your dojo.

              Anyway, those are two more of my cents (a total of 4 cents now?)

              Comment


              • [QUOTE=MartialArtsGirl;
                IMO, Kendo doesn't look that intimading except for the yelling/loud noise and the hitting. Which is something you probably can't do anything about.
                [/QUOTE]

                That's like 90% of Kendo right there...

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                • Hmm well last time I replied to this topic (page 1) I wasn't in bogu yet so I have a small thing to add.

                  For me it really helps to do keiko with other women. It really helps my Kendo, but also my motivation. At my dojo I have only 1 female sempai so we're really happy when we have female guest kendokas. it's not just a matter of learning "female tricks", you know stuff for when you're smaller and have less muscle power, but also so you have more people to look up to. I mean I look up to a lot of my male sempai as well and of course my sensei, but it's different if you see a lady kicking some kendoka-butt. ;-)

                  So I'm thinking, if (once) you have female kendokas in your dojo who you think need a motivational boost, maybe invite other dojos who have female players as well for a joined practice session every now and then.

                  In general I still think that there's nothing wrong with less women in Kendo, as gladly as I'd see more of them, but it's only logical given the nature of Kendo. Maybe you could try to promote it more towards women, have Open Days, or maybe even organize a special women-only beginners course (just a few lessons, after which they then also practice with guys). Just to get started, especially in the beginning, women tend to hold back, and be shy and self-conscious, especially when it comes to doing big/large footwork or loud kiai. Maybe a women-only beginners group might help? And you could advertise with flyers at evening schools or even chinese restaurants etc (that's where I found my first kendo flyer ^_^; )

                  Anyhoo, Yoda-Waza, good luck trying to lure women into your den... er dojo Make sure to let us know as soon as you have bait!

                  Comment


                  • about what raindrop and MAgirl said, I think its a great idea, actually, in my dojo, girls have organized girls-only practices. even thou I used all my persuasive skills to find out what happens in those classes so far it hasnt worked.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Raindrop View Post
                      Hmm well last time I replied to this topic (page 1) I wasn't in bogu yet so I have a small thing to add.

                      For me it really helps to do keiko with other women. It really helps my Kendo, but also my motivation. At my dojo I have only 1 female sempai so we're really happy when we have female guest kendokas. it's not just a matter of learning "female tricks", you know stuff for when you're smaller and have less muscle power, but also so you have more people to look up to. I mean I look up to a lot of my male sempai as well and of course my sensei, but it's different if you see a lady kicking some kendoka-butt. ;-)

                      So I'm thinking, if (once) you have female kendokas in your dojo who you think need a motivational boost, maybe invite other dojos who have female players as well for a joined practice session every now and then.

                      In general I still think that there's nothing wrong with less women in Kendo, as gladly as I'd see more of them, but it's only logical given the nature of Kendo. Maybe you could try to promote it more towards women, have Open Days, or maybe even organize a special women-only beginners course (just a few lessons, after which they then also practice with guys). Just to get started, especially in the beginning, women tend to hold back, and be shy and self-conscious, especially when it comes to doing big/large footwork or loud kiai. Maybe a women-only beginners group might help? And you could advertise with flyers at evening schools or even chinese restaurants etc (that's where I found my first kendo flyer ^_^; )

                      Anyhoo, Yoda-Waza, good luck trying to lure women into your den... er dojo Make sure to let us know as soon as you have bait!

                      Hey I think thats a good idea. I can see how, with something that is uber frustrating, it'd be nice to have other women who have been there, done that, and are awesome at it.

                      Somtimes, I personally DO get very embarressed in the Dojo when I mess up. But there isn't any way I'm gunna l let some guy show me up! heheh.

                      btw, despite me coming out and all, I really don't look like some kind of butch lesbian. (although I do have a somewhat girly tattoo on my arm. But its pretty and colorful) In short, I'm not butch and I guess I am sometimes girly... but that doesn't mean I cannot be aggressive!

                      Also, I wonder, how many women have believed that they are not "supposed" to be aggressive, even if they want to be? Especially in front of guys? Maybe a one time beginners class for women would help (as long as the Kendo itself isn't changed and as long as it's only the first class and as long as its optional).

                      Finally, I completly agree- whats wrong with not having a whole lot of females? But if your scaring them away somehow, maybe thats different I don't know...

                      Also did you look at the other thread "What kept you going?" or something like that? Many women have posted about WHY they stayed. That could be helpful too.

                      Good Luck

                      Comment


                      • The thought there have to be girls to keep girls is discouraging, so as continuing unpopular voice I'm going to throw in my experiences for you, Yoda-Waza.

                        I've always been in almost exclusively male only dojos. I felt like I was treated with extra curtesy and respect. I was strongly encouraged and felt like I had the support of the whole group.
                        Yes, as a feminist I, I object on principal to modifying practice and a sensei suggesting I go easy only made me work harder. However, I used to have a very weak threshold for tolerating shocks to my body and would spend the last parts of class sitting out trying to stop shaking. I switched dojos for unrelated reasons, people took notice and went lighter on me, I think that was a major factor in what kept me going. Don't modify a practice on principal because someone is female, but if the person just happens to be a lady and happens to also be weak, or happens to also have a low pain threshhold or is easily intimidated, by all means modify what you are doing to her special needs.

                        The bottom line is that you don't have to have girls to keep girls. You just need to make her feel wanted, welcome and part of the group. I think that is the key to success. Being different by gender, skin color,age or cultural background can either make you feel like a freak or a special essential element to the mix depending on how everyone handles it.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by StrayCat View Post
                          The bottom line is that you don't have to have girls to keep girls.
                          Actually its a fact that if you have girls already in your dojo, more will sign up and stay.

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                          • ...Maybe a one time beginners class for women would help (as long as the Kendo itself isn't changed and as long as it's only the first class and as long as its optional)....
                            Unfortunately this wouldn't work in most dojos. If my dojo did this when I started kendo I would have been the only one in the class, which would have been more embarrassing for me (who wants to practice alone??).

                            Having other females in the dojo is not the only thing that keeps beginning females there. I wont say that it doesn't help, but it's definitely not what keeps me there, nor did it keep the one other girl who started after me there (she quit after the first beginner class).

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Bekks View Post
                              Unfortunately this wouldn't work in most dojos. If my dojo did this when I started kendo I would have been the only one in the class, which would have been more embarrassing for me (who wants to practice alone??).
                              Well, I assume she meant to recruit a bunch of beginning females and have them start together, just like what people would do to put together a women's self defense course. Not a bad idea really, if you're willing to make an effort at recruiting. Our dojo doesn't and they don't really need to. If I were a senior or sensei at a dojo though, and wanted to strengthen the female population, I would probably try something like this though. I doubt anything's going to change the fact that roughly 90% will drop out and you just need to keep getting exposure to attract new members.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Alison2805 View Post
                                Actually its a fact that if you have girls already in your dojo, more will sign up and stay.
                                Please cite articles, experts or studies to back up this statement. Pardon my skepticism, but since Kendoka_Han claimed his views on homosexuality were also fact and it goes counter to my experiences, I would like hard evidence before acquiescing to your views.

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