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  • Woman beginners

    We have more female students are joining our class lately. Are there anything I should be more careful or even make woman more uncomfortable ? Any experience and solutions you had before ?

  • #2
    Are there anything I should be more careful or even make woman more uncomfortable ? Any experience and solutions you had before ?
    The one thing I've learnt from training with female partners in more contact driven arts is that the surest way to make them uncomfortable is to assume that you can lump them into a single group and treat them accordingly. Get to know them a little, and you'll find what each of them enjoy from training and you'll know how to modify what you're doing for each one. I've met women who don't like me going full throttle with them, some that are insulted if I didn't, and many in between. My wife dabbled in kendo, with no motivation to do anything but kata, so sticking her in bogu the first night wouldn't have worked, and one of my friends likes nothing more than to strap a set of bogu on and go at it. If I go easy on her, she'll punch me.

    Edit- didn't see what forum this is in, sorry for barging in

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    • #3
      Kendo just isn't for everyone so I suspect that within reason, nothing you do will affect much who stays and who quits. I wonder if it might be counterproductive though if you try to be too accomodating. Safest thing to do is just show them kendo like you would anyone else. Like stealth says, get to know them and make them feel they can come to you if they experience any issues you can help with. Wasn't it yoda_waza who started a thread about how to keep more women interested in kendo? I'd review that thread. Ah hereit is. There were some interesting points made there.

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      • #4
        my experience is that most of the women (including myself) are not very comfortable with kiai in the beginning. so don't force them too much. they will develope it by time.
        and some don't have enough strength to do the full practice so they should be allowed to rest a little if they need it.
        but the most important thing is for many people, not only for woman, the social aspect.
        so if you can make them laugh and feel accepted and welcome, this is a way to keep them

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        • #5
          Please don't make easier practise or other accomodations for female beginners. The pansies won't stay whatever you do and you make life much harder for those women who train their behinds off to be accepted by the guys.

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          • #6
            I kind of agree with Indigo Girl, there are even some guys that are very sensitive to pain or more gentle than some women. So i agree: don't alter the training(training is not gender specific)...just becareful or aware when playing anyone(male or female) that has low tolerance to pain--meaning don't miss or use excessive force--unless they like it.

            Originally posted by IndigoGirl View Post
            Please don't make easier practise or other accomodations for female beginners. The pansies won't stay whatever you do and you make life much harder for those women who train their behinds off to be accepted by the guys.

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            • #7
              I agree, I dont like people making it easy for me. If a instructor would act like this it would make me believe he doesnt trust me and he doesnt believe I can manage a normal practice.
              Of course women are not as powerful and we dont have the same endurance as men but someone more experienced will be able to tell when a beginner has reached its limits an how much to push him no matter the gender.
              One thing that was probably mentioned in another thread: women beginners feel more comfortable if they have a woman sempai/sensei to practice with.

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              • #8
                Every generality we can make about certain kinds of people will be wrong in a significant number of actual cases. For example, the person in my club who I think clearly has the most aggressive keiko, and the most endurance, is a woman.

                My feeling is that one of the biggest challenges of an instructor is to treat each student as an individual. We have to observe and estimate each person's physical conditioning, boldness, psychomotor skill, cognitive ability, etc., and try to find a way to build on whatever they bring to the dojo.

                Each of us has a "shoshin," a beginner's attitude, a feeling that we had right from the start, that initially attracted us to kendo. Some gravitate to kendo because of the culture, history, and philosophy, some appreciate the social aspect, some just want to get physical, scream, and hit things. We have to figure out what they are there for, and help them connect more deeply to kendo through that avenue. As long as people remember why they started in the first place, they'll keep coming.

                Just my $.02, of course.

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                • #9
                  I think there can be some physical differences when doing keiko with women, such as reach (shorter shinai, etc.) that may change the dynamic some. This kind of difference should be easy to notice and deal with for experienced kenshi. Also, not that anybody should be throwing their weight around and pushing violently, but I doubt most women will want to practice with someone like that.

                  As others have put it, I think that approaching women as being different is a step in the wrong direction. Some women take their kendo very seriously and are very very good. My first dojo was run by a 'mom & pop' pair of sensei. The wife was renshi 6-dan at the time and has since become a kyoshi 7-dan. (Husband is 8-dan for those who are curious.) 'Okusan-sensei' went full tilt with most kendoka and I don't recall other students ever being afraid to 'hit her for real.' After all, most of us couldn't really break her kamae or defeat her seme unless she allowed it anyway.

                  Common sense should prevail when working with people who aren't 'pushing back' at the same physical level as you like to go. Think of keiko with some children, some elderly, people with injuries (I've been there on more than one occasion myself) as well as some women.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JByrd View Post
                    Every generality we can make about certain kinds of people will be wrong in a significant number of actual cases. For example, the person in my club who I think clearly has the most aggressive keiko, and the most endurance, is a woman.
                    Yep. A woman visited the dojo here a few weeks back and I have never been pushed around so hard. Taitari'd me all over the place. She was also waaaay taller than most men I know (easily 6'2" probably) and she was using that to her advantage as well. I swear I became a featherweight the moment she slammed into me. It was awesome.

                    Originally posted by DigitalDowntown View Post
                    Also, not that anybody should be throwing their weight around and pushing violently, but I doubt most women will want to practice with someone like that.
                    I think that is going to vary as much as any other quality or expectation. Some women will not want to practice with someone like that. Some men will not want to practice with someone like that. Others - both men and women - will definitely want to practice with someone who can push them around because they fancy the challenge. I would like to echo what everyone has pretty much already said: Different students will require different approaches, at least as far as what they appreciate and what helps them process the information.

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                    • #11
                      Rainmaker, I have many of your same questions for the same reasons in a previous topic. I am glad you have revived the subject. I always look forward to perspective from female members so that we are neither brutish nor condescending in our delivery of kendo practices.

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                      • #12
                        At my old place, we had a lot of women players. I've got no idea what their minds were towards training, but one thing we did that I noticed was that when it came to jigeiko, it was arranged so that women would always get a chance to practice against other women. Never exclusively of course, but once or twice a night at least. Some places do kohai-only rotations, and then if there are no women sempai, the women never get to fight against one another.

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                        • #13
                          I read your thread. It is very very informative and learning a lot !! Thanks as always..

                          Originally posted by yoda-waza View Post
                          Rainmaker, I have many of your same questions for the same reasons in a previous topic. I am glad you have revived the subject. I always look forward to perspective from female members so that we are neither brutish nor condescending in our delivery of kendo practices.

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