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Thread: Thoughts about coed training

  1. #1
    J Allen Guest

    Default

    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?

  2. #2
    Atalanta316 Guest

    Default The woman question... :eek:

    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 ) 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..

  3. #3
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    Default

    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
    Kevin Schaller

  4. #4
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    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/show...?threadid=1398
    Steve Williams

    Harrow Branch.
    Shorinji Kempo UK.
    www.ukskf.org




  5. #5
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    Default

    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.

  6. #6
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    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...
    Robert Cronin

  7. #7
    Aaron Fields Guest

    Smile

    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.

  8. #8
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    Talking My Week for Getting In Trouble

    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

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    Talking

    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

  10. #10
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    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
    will szlemko
    Shoshin Ryu

    Only Robinson Crusoe had his work done by Friday.

  11. #11
    Thomas Wahl Guest

    Default Just normal human being

    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!
    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. This is maybe coming from their education at home or so... But anyhow, this women then are not for MA.


  12. #12
    MarkF Guest

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    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




  13. #13
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    Default What I learned from training with men

    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!

    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]

  14. #14
    lilithian Guest

    Default not a favor hitting less hard

    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?

  15. #15
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    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
    will szlemko
    Shoshin Ryu

    Only Robinson Crusoe had his work done by Friday.

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