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J Allen
5th December 2000, 14:53
Iím interested to hear experiences relative to co-ed training. Specifically, do you think there is an unconscious (or maybe conscious) tendency for male teachers and training partners to adjust the difficulty, intensity and or/contact level of training when women are in the class? If so, what is the impact on womenís overall training and development?

Atalanta316
5th December 2000, 16:00
Originally posted by J Allen
Iím interested to hear experiences relative to co-ed training. Specifically, do you think there is an unconscious (or maybe conscious) tendency for male teachers and training partners to adjust the difficulty, intensity and or/contact level of training when women are in the class? If so, what is the impact on womenís overall training and development?

Hey! :) Long answer to a short question..

I can offer my own point of view: I think it really depends on the man's training experience and background. I've been training a number of years, and have had people tell me they wouldn't hit me, because I was a girl. So I found there's a few ways to approach that.. 1) Calmly discuss the problem with the training partner. 2) Hit them harder until they realize you're there to train. 2) Don't train with that individual again.

With regards to male instructors, personally speaking, I would never train with someone who altered or watered down things simply because I was a woman. This implies a lot of things that I wouldn't want, in what really is an intimate exchange of information between teacher and student. If the teacher has some inhibitions or reserve, particularly of that nature, it implies some inequality, some falseness to the relationship, which I believe would transfer into training.

Now, let me be sure to mention that this is the exception rather than the rule. I've been fortunate to have teachers who have always encouraged me, and taken extra effort to help me accel as a martial artist, not a woman in a martial art. I'm lucky enough to have a lot of guys in my training group who don't mind tossing me around, or getting tossed around by me, or (safely) turning up the intensity level of training.

I think that training, particularly in a group where women are an important but not dominant force (as compared to an all women's martial arts or self defense class -- though these too have their place), has helped me: I'm not uncomfortable with the idea of training with men, which is good since I know (hope :up: ) a man is a lot more likely to attack me than another woman. Also, I know I'm different from them, not as strong, etc, but knowing this makes my training all the better-- I have to focus on the technique, what works and doesn't, and I can't power through things or miss little details.

Paraphrasing what Natasha Morgan said at the 2000 Tai Kai, just grab the biggest training partners, and keep going. I think a lot of women need to be encouraged to do this, and really network and help eachother figure out these things.. :wave:

KenpoKev
5th December 2000, 21:57
My classes have about 40% female participation and if anything, I ramp UP the intensity of self defense techniques based upon the greater statistical probability that my female students may have to defend themselves.

I teach my students the importance of responding in a defensive situation with the amount of force necessary to overcome the attack. This has some legal liability limits especially concerning those law enforcement professional that train with me as well as my more skilled students. The circumstances change dramatically concerning a woman defending herself (99.99999% of the time against a male attacker) A woman may generally respond with a much greater level of violence to an attack without concerns of liability, due to size, fear, perceied ability etc. The courts give far greater leeway to a woman who defends herself over a man in the same circumstances. Given this general predisposition, I teach my female students to use a greater level of intensity of response to a given assault.

Just another perspective.
Respectfully,
Kevin Schaller

Steve Williams
12th January 2001, 09:16
This was discussed in depth (although from a different perspective) a few months ago, some good points of view were put about then, see the thread here http://204.95.207.136/vbulletin/showthread.php?threadid=1398

Joseph Svinth
12th January 2001, 11:41
I once had a female student who was very strong. (Her idea of recreation was bicycling the Rockies for the summer.) Anyway, one day she complained, "Why does everyone hit me so hard?" To which everyone, men and women, simultaneously dropped their jaws and upon recovering, almost in unison, replied, "Because that's how hard you hit us." She never came back.

Another female student of that same era told me that I was a male chauvinist pig because I taught that when fighting women, you first kicked them in the crotch and then hit them in the head as hard as you could. Then she attended her first tournament and discovered that during tournament fighting women started by kicking to the crotch and then hitting to the head as hard as they could. She went on to become one of the leading tournament players in the region, and the first person I ever promoted to shodan.

A third example. Some women from a feminist karate union came in and said they wanted to spar with my instructor, a former sparring partner of Boone Kirkman. He was moving about as slowly as was humanly possible, but this was still too much for them. So, frustrated, they started blasting away. No control, no focus, and no problem for my instructor -- he just started hitting back, with the difference that he didn't miss. At which their leader exclaimed, "This isn't fair!" and off they stomped, never to be seen again. (FWIW, my wife also trained with these same women for a bit, but soon quit because if her strike came within a foot of them, they started whining about lack of control.)

Bottom line? Every case is different.

BC
12th January 2001, 15:12
I don't hold back if my training partner is female. What I've observed in female martial artists is that, because women are generally not as physically strong as men, they seem to develope greater precision in their techniques than their male counterparts (incuding me). I've observed this in more than one martial art. For example, our Dojo Cho is female, and her technique is amazing! Seemingly effortless but extremely powerful! Of course she's only been practicing aikido for more than thirty years. However, one of my female dohai started a little while before me, and she might weigh 90 pounds soaking wet. But she can throw me around like a ragdoll on the mat, and I'm not exactly "petite." And I remember a couple of women at the dojo where I used to study kenpo who were pretty brutal. You definitely had to do your best with them or they'd kick your butt - very efficient, fast and precise. My two cents...

Aaron Fields
12th January 2001, 19:32
Well, the club I teach and practice in isn't really very co-ed, but we have a couple of women. We had a guy who "was gonna take it easy on the girls." He quickly found the error of his ways as he was choked out standing, by "one of the girls." Intent on his regaining his ego, he went full bore got thrown and then choked out by the same women.

We train the same regardless of sex, so it is never an issue. The women and men that stick around appreciate that fact. Those that donít like it go somewhere else. Any exception in methods would be insulting.

Margaret Lo
12th January 2001, 20:14
Feminist Karate Unions are a BAD idea. Such clubs may be good for meeting friends and finding sparring partners of similar body type but for learning really excellent martial arts ... I don't think so. I think the best teachers available today are men to a very large extent.

I also really mistrust a martial arts club where the goals of the training seem to be political rather than dedicated to the art first and foremost. I think that these clubs exist so that many women can seek feel-good support as opposed to confronting the harsh facts of training with men (getting trounced and dealing with noxious or condescending guys).

Training with other women avoids sexism but also avoids a key motivation for training, which is self defense against men.

M

Linda Hyojung Chin
13th January 2001, 07:27
Thank you for posting that message, Margaret! I heartily agree with you. (Uh-oh, I predict that many "feminist" martial artists may think I am a traitor or something...) But I am glad you put up your post. It is very true (in my humble opinion). :)

Sincerely,
Hyojung (Linda) Chin

will szlemko
14th January 2001, 05:12
Hi all,

Where I train we tell all new students that once you come through the door you cease to be male/female, yound/old, strong/weak, etc. You are simply people who wish to train and improve in the martial arts. We all train the same and there is no taking it easy on anyone. If you are better than the person you are working with you job as sempai is to make them better, by making them work for technique but not overwhelming them. At first it is often uncomfortable for men to work with women and vice versa, but if you just view them as a person then soon there will be no difference between men and women in your training. There will continue to exist other differences. At 6'2" I would never really do a hip throw on someone that stands 5'2". In class we have both men and women of this height so while I work hip throws with them to improve, during randori I avoid hip throws with these people.

will

Thomas Wahl
14th January 2001, 08:58
Hi folks!

I have about 30% women in my training-group. I also teach a with only women.
I tell my students to trainn just normally with a woman in class. She is a member like everyone. So when she is entering the dojo, it is her own risk! :D
So we spar just normal and also do groundfighting just normal. The only thing, my stronger students do sometime with women (in ground-fighting for example), is that we let her "work" a little bit. This means, that for a strong and experienced student of mine, it is no problem to win against the lighter women, especially when she has no experience. So he let her slip out of a hold or so and she can fight on. But!!!! This we also do with a light and unexperienced young man! It is just not to demotivate him or her and to let him/her work on his/her stamina and strength.
There should be no difference in training betwenn man and woman. A woman can be just as tough as a man.
Sometimes the problem comes from the women, because they think, they should not be touched so hard. :cry: This is maybe coming from their education at home or so... But anyhow, this women then are not for MA.

MarkF
14th January 2001, 09:56
Margaret,
I am in complete agreement, but, as Aaron said, I've not had the pleasure of that many women in the judo/jujutsu dojo I've trained. Children are different, though, and there are more young girls, than adults, and it has been this way all my MA life.

As to not doing hip throws on someone who is 5'2" when you have a foot on them, is only sensible. I don't have that problem though, at about 5'3," most women I have played randori with, need no adjustment for size, at least against me. In fact, with the exception of shiai in childhood, all have been much taller, and some with much greater weight. I've had the same problems with women with low centers, as I have men with low centers, but men my size are rare. I've also not run across anyone in a judo dojo where women are generally taller, where anyone has "taken it easy" on them, except for the odd "bonehead."

As to mat work, size does have an advantage when escaping osae. I don't mean big over small (this is a given in many situations) but those with smaller size, and needing room to escape by making room with certain technique, do somethimes have an easier time, as the space required is much smaller.

When I began to compete as a kid, girls were still fighting the boys, and it was by girls I got my a$$ kicked the first two times out. After that, it was banned for a long while. While I've never seen a large number of women in judo dojo or some gendai jujutsu clubs, most take the advantage when it is given, by the "man" whose brain goes on autopilot, and then "adjusts" to fighting women. Frankly, it is stupidity, and sometimes payment is severe. These barrel chested six plus foot men carry the same thing over on smaller men, and get their giant muscled "buttockal" areas wiped. And then when it happens to them by women judoka, they look surprised. Give me a break!


Believe me, most don't need that advantage, nor do they end up with the same injuries as men. As I said, they generally have low centers, as do I, luckily enough. I do seem to have racked up the injuries, though.

Mark

Margaret Lo
15th January 2001, 16:27
Originally posted by Linda Hyojung Chin
Thank you for posting that message, Margaret! I heartily agree with you. (Uh-oh, I predict that many "feminist" martial artists may think I am a traitor or something...) But I am glad you put up your post. It is very true (in my humble opinion). :)

Sincerely,
Hyojung (Linda) Chin

Hi Linda - the PC types are not on this board, too traditional here. I was on such a list but found them talking too much about empowerment and complaining etc... zzzzzzzz. BTW (remember the sword stupidity thread?)- we all know that only Koreans do foolish things, nobody else... not us Chinese people, never mind that thread about monks dragging weights with their unmentionables. :)

For me, there are things about training with men that are very good yet very difficult.

1) Tough part is fear - Overcoming fear of large hairy things coming at you while yelling at the top of their lungs - please God, let it be that he used enough deodorant! :laugh:

Just kidding, but the size/strength disadvantage is serious and it's not easy to face a powerful punch or kick which often is too heavy to block effectively. OUCH! The next lesson is that you will always be somewhat afraid and that it is wise to be afraid because you pay better attention. Re-enforcing this is the fact that occasionally you get hurt.

Then, you look around you and you realize that guys are scared too, and, for the most part they do not whine about it because they are not permitted to whine - which is another good lesson.

Finally, you realize that fear is a friend because fear promotes sneakiness and careful thinking about what techniques will or will not work - some things that work for men may not work well for women. So it's good to be able to test things out and to find your limits right away.

2) Good part is Acceptance of Reality - Going into MA, I never had the illusion that I would be the ultimate Kick***. I just plugged along as best as I could - loving the process. Going into my 40s I realized that many guys suffer quite a bit emotionally as their physical strength/speed begin to flag with age and they have to reassess both their expectations for training and their original motivations for starting MA.

This is an evaluation many women have to take up from day one that they step onto a dojo: what if I face an opponent who is just too strong for me? Why am I training?

In general, it is always better to look back on training and see what you have gained rather than look back and see what you lost. By training with men, women often are handed a steady diet of reality and are often more accepting of their natural limits, having already made the decision to grit their teeth and train in spite of strength/speed disadvantages.

M

[Edited by Margaret Lo on 01-15-2001 at 01:15 PM]

lilithian
16th January 2001, 08:30
Hi I wrote a few lines but erased them by mistake :(

Well:

I think that hitting ANYONE (ok not kids!) less hard than normal would be totally wrong and a waste of the persons time! How is the person to know if their parrying works or if they move correctly? And how could you lead a strike if the opponent doesn't put him/herself into it?

will szlemko
17th January 2001, 04:02
Hi all,

As to hitting at less than normal speed/power not doing them a favor I must disagree. I certainly would not want my sensei to unleash his normal speed and power on me, as I am not up to being able to deal with that yet. He does use enought speed/power that I must push my limits and so continue to expand my boundaries. Just as I would never throw a person with 6 months training as hard or fast as I would throw other yudansha, instead I would start throwing at a slow-medium speed and work up to what they can handle. You SHOULD train differently with every partner. Some you can help by pushing their limits (without overwhelming them) this is a good time to work technique, try new ideas, etc. others you can help by allowing them to push your limits. Every person should require different approach, not because they are female/male or any othe duality but because they are an individual person and they are the only person with their combination of skill and genetics, thus you cannot and should not train the same with everyone.

will

Linda Hyojung Chin
17th January 2001, 06:57
Margaret, of course I remember the "sword stupidity" thread. My oh my, we Koreans are notorious for our sword tricks aren't we...? :D

What's nice about Kendo is that when wearing your bogu and men, it's difficult to tell who is male and who is female. :) But seriously, despite the fact that I am a "young college girl" my Sensei does indeed train me just as hard as the others. Of course there are differences in size and strength (this is a fact), but one does not have to "hit hard" in Kendo. :smash: I think all kendoka know about the importance of 'tenouchi,' etc. Usually it is the people who are just starting out that are the ones who prefer to "hack and slash." True, having greater height and strength can be an advantage for some, but it isn't the deciding factor...

I used to practice (WTF "Olympic") Tae kwon do for quite a while (before starting Kendo and Iaido), and there was no problem for me when sparring with guys. But perhaps it's also because I started TKD as a child - girls and boys were physically similar at that age. But the "exposure" to sparring at an early age helped me to overcome "the fear of contact" at an early age. I do realize that "competition" is different than self-defense situations, of course, but that "fear of contact" faced by anyone before a sparring match can be very similar in a self-defense scenario in the dojo. Hope this wasn't too much rambling. (Any other "former bootists" out there, BTW?) Though I've been an "E-budo member" for quite some time, I've only recently begun to post... Yoroshiku onegaishimasu... :smilejapa
I'm still new to posting on BB, so please be merciful.

Sincerely,
Hyojung Chin

lilithian
18th January 2001, 10:31
I guess I was not clear on what I really meant. I don't really mean that you should hit as hard as you can, but you must be present and put yourself in the attack. I.e give the student a reason to avoid the hit. Of course if the teacher really wants to hit the hardest they can it would be hard to concentrate on the lesson. What all people should have in their attacks in training, no matter how slow they strike, is "geist"/spirit/oneself.

Bst regards:

cybernite
21st January 2001, 04:22
J Allen wrote:
Iím interested to hear experiences relative to co-ed training. Specifically, do you think there is an
unconscious (or maybe conscious) tendency for male teachers and training partners to adjust the
difficulty, intensity and or/contact level of training when women are in the class? If so, what is
the impact on womenís overall training and development?

J:

Excellent thread! To answer your question, yes, I do believe there is a definite tendency to "soften the blow", as it were, though I don't believe it is limited to just men toward women.

Generally speaking, those of inflated ego will tend to dominate themselves over those of perceived weaker standing. Sometimes it manifests itself as outright bullying, and in others as being overly nice. The truth of it is that the perpetrators of these actions simply don't want their egos bruised, or even challenged. They are simply too weak to handle it! (ironic, huh?!?) From their viewpoint, being beaten is bad enough, but to have it done by a perceived inferior?! The humiliation would just crush them. So they maintain a safety zone around themselves, and dilute themselves into believing in their own superiority. It's quite sad when you think about it....

This type of behavior is extremely detrimental to everyone's training and development, particularly the recipient. It is made worse when the recipient doesn't realize the gap, and gets filled with a false sense of security. If this condition is not addressed in dojo, then it will be made very evident the first time they're attacked. The sheer surprise will get them hurt; the subsequent fear could get them killed. It is tragic, and unacceptable!

Adjusting the difficulty based on any "external" factors, such as gender, size, race, build, or the like is ludicrous, demeaning, and ultimately destructive. The only factors worth considering are ability, skill, and need. In short, you train to the individual.

Mind you, the door swings both ways here. Could a man treat a woman differently just because she's a woman? Certainly. Could a man get hit/thrown/pushed harder just because of who he is? Absolutely! Is it good/fair for either of them?!? No...

Yes, unfortunately I have witnessed women treated more delicately due solely to their gender. And I have seen the same women given far more latitude than deserved because of the same reason. I have also seen young students treated like babies, older students treated like fine china,
smaller students treated like weaklings, and larger ones treated as punching bags.

The simply truth is this: treat them as you have them become, and you train them to excel; treat them any differently, and you train them to fail.

will szlemko
21st January 2001, 21:52
Hi all,

I must both agree and disagree with Mr. Beard. Yes you must train to the individual, however some of those "external" factors are not truly external. Size is one. While everyone in our class must practice all the techniques it must be made clear that not all techniques work with everyone. We have one lady who is 5'2" and about 170 lbs. We also have a man who is 6'6" and about 185 lbs. When these two work together they do practice all techniques but despite 7 years of training the lady has yet to throw him with a kokyu nage that wasn't a bit of a gift, conversely with even more training he has yet to throw her with a good ogoshi. While they try there are limits built into size that can not be ignored. Perhaps in another 10 years both will be able to do those techniques but for now they can not without the help of a willing uke who presents a little bit of a gift. Yes this is a skill issue but it is skill as it relates to an external factor.

will

FastEd
22nd January 2001, 06:09
Originally posted by Linda Hyojung Chin

What's nice about Kendo is that when wearing your bogu and men, it's difficult to tell who is male and who is female. :) But seriously, despite the fact that I am a "young college girl" my Sensei does indeed train me just as hard as the others. Of course there are differences in size and strength (this is a fact), but one does not have to "hit hard" in Kendo.
Sincerely,
Hyojung Chin

This reminds me of the past kendo "open tournament" we had up here in ONT. During the senior individuals, one of the top male kendoka lost to a young lady. It was obvious, when they met again during the team matches, that he had been "holding a little back" when they first met. To be fair, the gentleman is very very strong, and easily overpowered her during the second match, but going easy during the first match cost him the win.

The morale: you don't give an inch in kendo, man or women...you got the balls to enter a tournament, better expect them to get kicked.

Sensei Andy
23rd January 2001, 02:13
Hello everybody, this is my first post. I have a school in New Hampshire and female martial artists are a very important, but delicate situation in the MA. I have known women to be very good at MA, but most didn't come into the dojo looking to kick ass.

I look at every students goals and needs. A thin and gentle man that doesn't want to fight, but only wants a good workout will be taught with a different emphasis than an athletic guy with dreams of competition. From personal experience I've found that nice girls are repulsed by eye gouging and other moves that fall into the brutal category. Also, it's important to realize that just because the last 20 females that walked in your door walked right out to do Yoga or the next fad doesn't mean that you should expect number 21 to do the same. I've found that women want to feel as though they are trained like the men, but when it comes to bruising arms, throwing, and sparring there needs to be some social reconditioning and lots of support before they will be able to enjoy these activities. Also as instructors understand that the feel and atmosphere of your Dojo comes from your own attitude and how you allow the dojo to run, if there is an air of machismo, most women will run. Similarly if you tell a women MA are about peace and knowing yourself and then turn around and tell a guy MA are about peace, but it's really about kicking ass and making "YOU" the alpha male, you will lose both of them. Like anything it's about balance and making sure that each party has their MA needs fullfilled or refer them to someone who can serve them better.

Shorinjiryu
5th March 2001, 21:31
Here is the KISS version of my views:
I treat women that I train with the same as I treat men that I train with. If someone asks me to go a little lighter I will, I try and push myself and my classmates, however, people have different pain tolerances, men or women. Basically it comes down to respect. If both training partners respect each other, gender should not be an issue at all. Just my opinion.

Claire Bartlett
8th March 2001, 19:24
You asked for experiences.
I often assist in the lower belt classes. When the instructor needs to demonstrate a technique with a partner, he will usually call on the most senior assistant. However, at 5'1" and 115 lbs, I will be passed over in favour of a bigger, male, white belt. Do size and strength alone determine outcome? No. A strong technique will prevail over a strong body. And a strong mind will prevail over either. At least this is what the instructor says. It is not what he demonstrates by his own actions (Unless of course, I am a bungling idiot, then he is justified in not using me in the demonstration). If that is the example from the top, is it any wonder then that some of the men in the Dojo have a patronizing attitude toward the women regardless of rank or skill? It isn't all instructors, it isn't all men. But if you are a woman in Budo you have to find ways to train around men who sometimes have a problem with your presence.
Just my two cents,
Claire

Shorinjiryu
8th March 2001, 19:37
Originally posted by Claire Bartlett
However, at 5'1" and 115 lbs, I will be passed over in favour of a bigger, male, white belt. Claire

Personally I don't find anything wrong with this. From what it seems, your instructor can better illustrate the technique to the students by using an Uke that is closer to his size. It has nothing to do with gender. If I'm trying to teach a throw I want someone my height to demonstrate on, just because it is easier for the class to see exactly what is going on. Just my opinion.

Margaret Lo
8th March 2001, 19:42
Originally posted by Claire Bartlett
You asked for experiences.
I often assist in the lower belt classes. When the instructor needs to demonstrate a technique with a partner, he will usually call on the most senior assistant. However, at 5'1" and 115 lbs, I will be passed over in favour of a bigger, male, white belt. Just my two cents,
Claire

Claire,
When your instructor calls on the partner, is the partner acting as attacker or defender?

If the partner called up by your instructor plays the attacker, I can understand why he may want a big guy as opposed to a small woman. When demonstrating, it is necessary to have a probable looking attacker. Last time I checked few women your size or mine (5' 6'' 135 lbs) were on the police bulletins for busting up some guys.

You should, however, be used frequently to demonstrate defense, since technique can be shown to overcome size/strength very credibly in your instance.

If you are confident, that the reason he does not call you up is lack of confidence in your ability, well you might want to bring this up to him and talk to him.

M

gmanry
8th March 2001, 20:20
This is a common problem I see in dojo, not using female uke. It is a subtle exclusion in many of the classes where I have observed it.

It works a subtle response on the part of the students. Now, it may be true that occassionally it is due to the need to use a larger attacker. However, this cannot be used all of the time, because, actually, the average male attacker is about 5'8" to 5'10" especially in the case of female victims. The myth is the large slobbering beast.

Domestic violence makes up half the murders in this country, and many (not most) of those attackers are female. I know people who have been attacked by women. So, if we are going to train for reality, we need to look at the reality out there.

The typical problem is that we put people in a box. A former instructor of mine used to refer to one of his students as a "frail" man because he was 5'7" and weighed about 145lbs. Yet this guy came to everyclass took beatings twice that of most of the non "frail" men in the class and could give back as good as he got it. This instructor had some issues with his own ego and needed to place people in little boxes. He did this with women to, and then constantly went on and on about how he was teaching everyone equally. Yet, at any chance he got he would pick up a female student and "play" by spinning her around, subtle reinforcement of his sense of control. He never did this with men, instead he would constantly enter drills with surprise attacks, especially after they had done really well, just to keep them in their place (more violent because of course men threatened him more).

My wife and I left this person after a couple of years as he slowly became the main isntructor. He had a lot of issues.

Glenn R. Manry

Joseph Svinth
9th March 2001, 06:23
While developing my personal bunkai for kata, I had a rather small woman (about 5'1", 115 lbs) receive the attacks of a man about 6'5", 275.

No, he was not trying to injure her. And yes, the attack was prearranged, as was the response. But when he took hold, well, if she didn't make the movement work through leverage and form, then to get out she had to say, "Please." On the other hand, whenever she made him let go she didn't follow up. Nevertheless, there was no doubt that he'd been made, through leverage and form, to let go. And, after seeing what worked and what didn't, well, off we'd go to practice the good stuff for ourselves.

My assumption was (and remains) that if a kata movement can be made to work on a much stronger opponent who is doing everything right, then it will probably work even better on people more evenly matched.

KenpoKev
9th March 2001, 06:36
Amen to that Joe! I have a very large female population in the dojo and it makes us look very carefully at technique for effectiveness. Some of the lads can make almost everything work, but Dorian or LuAnn at about 100 pounds, wet, wearing ski boots ( :p ) can make something work, by George I think we have a good technique!

Some techniques just belong in a notebook.
Cheers,

Claire Bartlett
9th March 2001, 12:48
Hi again,
Margret and Owen, you are absolutely right. There are all sorts of valid reasons for choosing to demonstrate with a larger opponent. Let's assume my technique isn't an issue. As an attacker, I look a bit comical dangling off some 6'3" 220lb guy that I have just put in a head lock (the instructor isn't that big). However, who better to demonstrate the escape really works! There are many occasions when a partner is neither attacker or defender, but needed to show how to perform an exercise. For example, in a focus mitt drill. This instructor consistently chooses the senior male assistant, yet seems to go out of his way to avoid the women, not just small ones. Glenn hit the nail on the head. It is a subtle exclusion of women and the example he sets influences the way some of the men approach working with women. It is hypocritical to say that "It isn't about size and strength, but technique, mind and spirit" then demonstrate with a partner who hasn't got technique but does have size.
This attitude shows up in other circumstances too. Like women being partnered up with women. The theory is that we will be more comfortable working with each other and should learn the technique this way, before working it "for real" as it were. After training with the same guys for years, if you don't have a comfort level then you've got some issues not related to Budo. IMHO, I think the instructor's actions demonstrate his own discomfort in working with women. People (both genders) come into the dojo with preconceived notions about how men and women should behave. It is unfortunate that some of these are reinforced by the instructor himself, instead of broken down.
Claire

gmanry
9th March 2001, 13:28
No doubt, useless techniques should be identified, and large opponents can quickly tell you what modifications need to be made. I had a student who was 6'6" and trained another one of my instructor's students who was 6'8".

That was very informative for me and the other students.

So, I cannot argue with you.

I just have a problem with people who use this type of reasoning as an excuse to exclude women, and I am NOT saying that any of you do that.

I just wanted to bring up the point that a balance of many considerations needs to be made. Some techniques do not work well on small people as well, so it is good to practice with a variety of body sizes.

When training a class that is purely devoted to self-defense, my experience tells me that it is better to divide the men from the women and make sure that one of the instuctors is male who is the attacker. When I armor up I probably weigh about 215 to 220 and I am 6' tall, plenty big to test anyone.

This just saves one the hassle of having to weed through all the subtle gender games that go on. These things ate up about 2 weeks of our class time at the University, and it would have been a lot better just to keep everyone separate.

Traditional classes over a span of time can benefit from coed training, because the instructor has the luxury of time.

Glenn R. Manry