About The Following Blog

The following blog has been written purely for those wanting a first hand knowledge of what it is like to step into the dojo for the first time as a complete beginner as a Martial Artist. Through practising a Martial Art, you will gain many things such as self-confidence, self-respect and life-long and good friends. I hope this helps you to see into an amazing world of which you have never seen before and that I have had the privilege of belonging to and knowing.
Although I have not put my name or any name to this blog, it does deserve a dedication- a dedication to those who help people to train, who teach, reassure and most important of all- those who never give up, no matter how many times they hit the ground or a mental brick wall, with themselves or others. But above all- those who are ready to begin their own journey, it begins with one step….

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Chapter 47: Why do people think female martial artists are violent and can't call themselves a lady?

Well, where to start? First of all,an awful lot of stuff has happened since my last post.

Firstly I got engaged at Easter and secondly the Doctor has finally sorted my IBS with the right medication which means for the first time in a good six months I am able to train without painful bowel spasms. Joy!

I also think that my attitude to training has changed somewhat. I currently train at two different clubs, one slightly more formal than the other and I'm finding that my self-discipline has (I like to think anyway) improved some what. I stay more focused on the point in hand and have developed a very scary drive to training.
Since getting my blue belt in January, its like I've grown a new skin, I've become more fluid and graceful in movement but at the same time have developed a hard attitude against the little voice in my head, you know the one says 'you can't do that' and ignore it completely - in fact I rarely hear it anymore.

Now I'm getting to the point of my post. It's really interesting how people view you as a martial artist. I've been told that 'I don't look like a martial artist'. I'm sorry, but what is a martial artist supposed to look like? A hard faced killer?
I was at a demo recently for sports and it was strange how people do a runner when they see people in Gis, especially the girls my age. It was also interesting how many people didn't know what Aikdio was or how the principles may be applied against an attacker.

What really annoys me though is how some women think that being a martial artist makes you less feminine, less of a lady. In fact, I have been labelled a 'heretic' to womanhood in the past just because I thought short hair and fingernails were more practical for doing sport. I don't know whats the issue here, its like people think I don't care about my appearance or something, but you will find that in many changing rooms all female aikidocca are discussing 'beauty' tips. Well, more about moisturing and curing Gi burn really. So you see we do care about our appearance. In fact, for nights out alot of the men I train with are amazed that we make such an effort - well, they see us at our worst, all sweaty and horrible so its our chance to show we can scrub up well I suppose. Sorry, I should scrap that sentence, I should say 'horses sweat, gentlemen perspire, ladies merely glow'. What a load of rubbish!

In fact, I was talking to someone about this a few months back at a course. Yeah, okay I now have short hair and I did enjoy having long fingernails but it was so time consuming to do your hair and look after your nails (maybe I was just lazy). We also got talking about why young women don't do martial arts - and the only think we could think of was that they maybe think they will develop into muscular amazons or something and get huge, but the reality is we don't have the testosterone for it! So yeah, out has gone the long hair and nice fingernails, but I've gained so much for a supposed 'loss of femininity', for one thing- without Aikido, I wouldn't have met my fiancé. I met him on an Aiki night out!


Anonymous said...

I've had the same response! Mind you, I teach mixed martial arts (ie cagefighting) and not aikido. I think it's something to do with this British attitude of "nice girls don't". An American Krav Maga friend (female) says she has noticed big differences in the way female martial artists are regarded in this country vs the US.

I don't intend to change though!

Wall-E said...

Hi, I just want to say I've been reading your blog and your journey, and thing it is pretty inspirational... and (nervously) am looking to plunge myself.