As promised, I am continuing my previous post regarding the women in Aikido. As noted I felt that the post was superficial and warrants a deeper look into the matter. So after this weekend’s Aikido marathon, I have a larger sample size to put forth my observations.
Many fellow male aikidoka (myself included) will find that we tend to be in our shoulders a lot. Nothing wrong with that – being male biologically, psychologically, etc. we’re geared that way. Women on the other hand aren’t that way on many levels other than biologically. As a result I am very used to using my shoulders in movements especially if I’m off centered. Yes I am guilty of forcing movements in Aikido (as with most of us). However it seems like past a certain level women tend to not have that problem. Let me explain…
I had the chance of training very quite a few women over the weekend and I noticed something; past a certain level women tend are exceptionally “in their center”. For this post here I will state that these women allow the balance of their bodies to harmonize with whatever energies are coming their way. I trained with several belts under black belt, and quite a few black belts and it seems that after a certain level the women – due to some process unknown to us men – are able to neutralize our strength. Notice how I used the word “neutralize” instead of “beat”. A woman, pound for pound, does not have the mass to “out-mass” a man of equal size and weight…unless perhaps the woman is taller than said man, but that’s a different story. Take Kokyoho for example; guilty as charged – I’m caught in my shoulders muscling my partner(s) down quite often (insert smirk here). You run into this with a lot of the men – and a lot of the women who are just starting out in Aikido.
…Which you then don’t run into the good and great women in Aikido. I don’t know what the call it, but I don’t feel this in the high-ranking women. I sat on it for a while and felt that there’s this invisible “bubble/level”that women pass through to get to a level of themselves are able to neutralize the strength of us males.
So then some of you might be asking: “what is this bubble?”
To tell you the truth, I don’t know. Whatever it is, this bubble is wholly dependent on the person, as well as when this “bubble” appears in a woman’s training. All I know is that before the “breaching” of this bubble, the women is still figuring out the movements and struggling with strength – but after breaching, the women are after a certain level be able to harmonize the energy of strength coming. I can only speculate that this a process unique to women and is how the process of Aikido would evolve into the bodies of women.
Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei has been famously quoted to have stated: “Only the women in Aikido are doing true Aikido”.
So for those women still obtaining rank (black or otherwise) and those interested in taking Aikido: Don’t let the fact that this is a “martial art” deter you from taking it up. If the women here don’t believe that Aikido isn’t for them, I’ll happily hook you up with some 6th degree black belts who are women who have thrown me around like a rag doll. They are not as big and tough like us boys, but they’re pretty darn close. Here’s a short article I just found now that details some of my points in a different view. Although I disagree with some of the points (I’m a guy what can I say), this is a good summary on why women should take up Aikido.
On a final note, I think I just gave away the way on how to defeat men in arguments. Damn.
Interesting read and interesting hobby.. Glad you shared it
Thanks for stopping by bearrunner. At this point I’d say it’s more than just a hobby. Cheers back to you.
Thanks for sharing a glimpse into the mystery. I’m a woman aikidoka, 2nd kyu. I would argue that what you are experienceing is not a difference in gender body differences so much as the way and what we have to “unlearn”. Men in aikido have to unlearn the instinct to muscle, force, and push. Women have to unlearn the instinct to dodge, shirk, and be passive. It comes from how we are socialized — look at advertising. After a “certain level” of training, all aikidoka come to the center of the practice, the center of themselves. Women in particular realize they don’t need muscle to throw you men right on down to the mat. Men realize that if they quit forcing it, they actually get a more powerful throw, and hey that woman you are practicing with will not break in half. What you are experiencing is just two sides to the same aikido coin. It’s not gender. It’s aikido. And that’s what’s so great about it.
Throwdown – thanks for visiting, and you are correct; it is more of a universal practice rather than a gender one. I guess for me it’s more coming from a male perspective – it’s always interesting to see how the opposite gender fares. We all have this “bubble” – I certainly do.