Aikido Women - Sensei Natasha Hadwick 2nd Dan
Junior Instructor Arun Aikido Club
There are many fantastic Aikido women training and teaching the art. They often have an advantage over men because the techniques do not rely on physical strength for their effectiveness.
There are also many women in Aikido because its not used for aggressive purposes, and by using the re-directed force of an attack, Aikido provides a very powerful means of self-defense... without muscle power!
Regular training in aikido has many physical and mental health benefits. The basic movements in aikido are especially good for the core muscles and for lower body strength but also good for improving stamina, over-all muscle tone, and for developing a leaner physique.
Most importantly, however, all students are encouraged to study at their own pace. By studying aikido in a more relaxed atmosphere, it is hoped that students will leave feeling...
positive, energised and revitalised.
Yes, there are many amazing women in aikido who are practising and teaching the art. But, there are few women in positions of power.
In fact, there are no female instructors who have regularly taught at the Aikikai Honbu Dojo, and it's hard to find any woman acting as head of a dojo in Japan, in any organisation.
When you leave Japan, you will see a large female presence teaching the art, but, the leadership of virtually all Aikido organizations is almost entirely male.
Aikido Women often have many responsibilities, and are indispensable to the various organizations, but they mainly support the male leadership.
Women are often at the forefront when teaching a balanced view of Aikido. Yes, practical self defense is very important, but the real aim is community connection, harmony, and world peace.
Since the normal practice of Aikido is performed empty handed, an advantage is had by stronger, younger, and more aggressive practitioners, in terms of overcoming their partners.
But, Aikido isn't actually about overcoming your training partner, its about overcoming yourself! Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei said...
" True Victory is Self Victory "
This is not about how to defeat someone else, but how to defeat your inner demons or ego. So the true aim is to help yourself and others.
The Dan system of grading was originally set up to ensure that a quality level was maintained in the art. The real problem was that it tended to focus on only the technical, martial side of the art.
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are a growing number of teachers who, although not very interested in
the martial application side of the art, are taking technique into new
areas of exploration and provide great insight into the connection
between physical technique and spiritual practice.
Many of them are female instructors, Aikido women, who have run dojos for many years and have an amazing depth of teaching experience. They bring students into the art who would never have been interested in training in the more macho world of traditional martial arts & Aikido.
Of course, there are many Aikido women who have successfully trained hard with men. Pat Hendricks, Mary Heiny, Lorraine Dianne, Patty Saotome, and...
so many more!
managed to get ahead in the male dominated hierarchy of Aikido. But
this isn't how we measure success. Women should not have to measure
their worth according to their ability to be "Macho".
Women in Aikido are generally more interested in the social relationships aspect of the art than the martial side. The connection between dojo members is often created more through the efforts of a group of female students than by men.
They are far better at nurturing students who are emotionally damaged or are physically less confident.
Aikido women instructors, many of whom have over thirty years of experience in both training and teaching, still find themselves down a rank or two below their equally experienced male counter-parts.
You may encounter many dojo's that place male students at the top of the technical and hierarchical heap while the women students do all of the organizational and administrative work...
that actually keeps it all going.
The Founder saw the essential mission of Aikido, as bringing people together. People may have exceptional talents teaching children, they may be nurturing to those of us who have been damaged in various ways.
We will find individuals who have great insight into the spiritual side, but not the practical or martial aspects.
The top Instructors should aim to create a new generation of instructors both male and female, young and old, who are empowered to explore all aspects of Aikido, and should be supported in following their visions.
way Aikido can grow to a level to be of great benefit to the world
community. Aikido women can help lead us all to world peace.
Check out Aikido Journal for a complete Aikido history.