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Teirin - March 2016 - be less late


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I think aikido has an advantage over judo and TKD because youth and strength are not big advantages. Aikido is explicitly non-competitive. We have lots of older role models of life-time training. The gender balance seems to be more even too. My rough guess is between 1/4 and 1/3 of aikidoka are women. My sample could be biased because there are several high-ranking female instructors in my area.

 

That tallies with my more limited experience.  About 1/4-1/3 women, and evenly distributed through the ranks, with a heck of a lot of senior women around.  I think it probably does help that it's non-competitive.  And it is pretty well-suited to women's bodies, more emphasis on the lower center of gravity than on strength.

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I'm joining the thread-party late! which is... ironic. but your goal to "be less late" is something I've been thinking about a lot myself. I'm a HUGE over-committer.

 

re: the women in practice. just offering this as observation: I am in a strictly recreational dojo - we aren't affiliated with any other TKD groups, and the people who run the dojo got fed-up with the way local tournaments so no competition. that said, my tkd class is taught by 2 women with me as the next ranking black belt and always helping out. the guy who owns the dojo teaches a different style of tkd, and until recently, didn't have any women ranking higher than brown belt (there are two sisters roughly in their early teens now who have achieved black). my class has a LOT of girls in it, but no mom's any more (bummer, I want more adults to practice with us). I have a strong suspicion that the dojo owner funnels *all* the new students to us these days, so we are getting a few more girls than he is.

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FWIW, the stuff you're talking about here is something we've seen in the Judo community down here. We have recreational female judoka, but they're very rare, and even when we go to play at shiai, you can't get enough women together to even make a proper division of it.

 

It's one of those vicious cycles - we can't get women into the sport because we don't have women judoka to set an example. We don't have women judoka to set an example because we can't get women into the sport. It's a real hum-dinger.

 

Very likely you being up there to bow out was a function of both of the things you mentioned - both the time you spent teaching and the fact that you're a female judoka who made shodan. The fact that they basically pulled rank on you to get you out in front would provide a pretty neat way to gloss over the fact that they decided they needed you up there. But that doesn't mean you didn't deserve to be there, either.

 

So, yeah. Anyway. Sounds like you picked up a lot at camp! Very good! I hope you were able to set aside work for at least a little bit. :tongue:

 

Yeah, same sort of thing.  We used to have an adult women's division but it's just gone now.

 

Maybe.  Maybe.

 

It was a fantastic time and I forgot work existed :-D  Getting out to something like that really renews the Judo spark for me.

 

Speaking as a "tae kwon mom," here's my perspective, which lines up quite a bit even though I don't do judo:

 

  • My 9th-grader loved TKD very much and pursued her black belt real hard.  She's quick and aggressive and coachable.  Loved helping to teach the little kid classes and helping with birthday parties, and the tiny girls and boys idolized her.  HOWEVER.  She hated sparring, to the point of breaking down in tears when I thought I was encouraging her to give it a shot in a tournament.  I have *never* seen her dissolve into snot and sniffles like that.  If she'd been able to work exclusively with Master Steve at our "home" studio, she might have stuck with it longer.  What happened, though, is that the Grand Master (his father) decided Fiona had an obligation to compete and he sought her out at every testing opportunity.  The last testing she went to, she actually went out to the parking lot and hid on the floor of the back seat of my car, she was avoiding him so hard.  Grand Master Ko is old school.  I like him fine, but I was raised in the military.  He also felt she should work on TKD to the exclusion of everything else, and this is the girl who loves soccer.  She loves competing with a team more than on her own.  So, that was kind of the end for her.  She'd achieved her black belt and I didn't think it would be right to push her back into something that was clearly making her unhappy.  TKD is a lifelong sport...it's taught her a lot more than martial arts, and I hope she'll circle back to it sometime later in life.  
  • My 7th-grader advanced pretty much in lockstep with me.  Kira is more introverted and only wanted to go to class if I was going.  During blue belt testing, she was called on (by Grand Master Ko) to stand up and say why she did TKD.  She very calmly answered that she did TKD so she wouldn't be afraid of things, and she didn't feel afraid of anything anymore.  Which was kind of cool and surprising to hear.  After brown belt testing (the next in our sequence), she announced that she felt brave enough to try out for the competitive dance team at her studio; she made the team and wanted to devote her time and energy to that instead of TKD.  Hard to argue with that.
  • For me, I was super-delighted to have a family fitness activity.  I enjoy more competitive sports -- always have -- and loved the shit out of the Krav Maga I studied during my time at USMA.  Finally, I had the chance to get back to punching and kicking things, in a way that didn't make me choose between family obligation and my own workouts!  At the time, we had six kids in residence, and four of them started TKD with me and my husband.  I advanced a lot more slowly than anybody else because there would be a lot of nights when one of the kids would have another event, so I could drop some off at class but then had to race away to handle other things.  It's frustrating.  I've seen very few tae-kwon-moms in my years with this school.  There are a handful of women who take classes with their kids, but I don't see any of them past about orange belt (which might be about when the kids are confident enough or old enough to attend class without them? just a guess).  There are also a couple of women who are black belts (some of whom I was "belt buddies" with at the beginning), but they are either single or don't have kids.  This is not to say that they don't have other obligations or priorities to balance, but I think it's a factor in some way that's difficult to quantify without sounding like an asshole.  I just have to keep focused on the principles of "be humble" and "persevere" in my journey because it's going to take me a LONG TIME to get my black belt.  
  • The school did, for a while, offer hapkido classes and also some bo staff classes.  I wanted to participate in these, but it was difficult to manage the days/times when they were offered.  The school has also closed the studio that was only three miles from my house...I'll have to get to a location that's in the next town over (about 15 minutes away) when I return, which will not be easy even though it sounds like it should be.  I liked hapkido a lot.  Not sure if it will do my body any favors to try to return to that, but that may not be everyone's experience.  Will have to wait and see.  

There's more percolating in my head...really glad to hear the leadership levels are thinking and talking about this stuff!

 

  • Yeah, pushing people to compete/compete more than they want is very common.  She'll hopefully feel like coming back on her own terms later.  The martial arts in general can get cultish and people push to let it completely eat your life.  Sensei occasionally talks about how other clubs have classes 5 days a week but all of our senior students have jobs, lives, and most have families.  Nope.  Can't commit and there aren't enough of us to spread it out.
  • I think you coined the term Mom-bligations?  Having a family certainly adds time commitments and makes it harder to do your own thing.  No worries about saying it.  Doing it as a family would have made scheduling so much easier and besides, it's really cool to have an activity that you all love(d)!  As one of the single/childless people at work and Judo, the only time it's a problem is when someone tries to tell me that I have to do something/give up my spare time because they have a family and their off time is more important than mine. 
  • Oooh, built-in cross training.  Very cool.  Your time sounds generally a bit more free now, so hopefully you can get in more classes of various types when you've fully recovered.

 

Interesting observations on women in judo and tae kwon do. It sounds like most of the women who train started as kids. Is that correct?

 

Do you offer beginner classes for adults?

 

My experience in aikido is that many people start at university clubs. We get some new people through adult beginner classes. I know of one person in the dojo who started in the kids class, left for several year, then came back as an adult. I would love to know how many of our teenagers keep practicing when they move away for college. It certainly helps retain older kids to have a teenager's class.

 

We do get some parents who start practicing with their kids. I can think of three dads off the top of my head. I know of moms who kept practicing after their kids dropped out.

 

I think aikido has an advantage over judo and TKD because youth and strength are not big advantages. Aikido is explicitly non-competitive. We have lots of older role models of life-time training. The gender balance seems to be more even too. My rough guess is between 1/4 and 1/3 of aikidoka are women. My sample could be biased because there are several high-ranking female instructors in my area.

 

I totally agree that it is easier to get girls to participate when there are other girls in the class. This was confirmed by an instructor at a university club near me. She said that being a female instructor didn't seem to matter to her students. The female students were still too uncomfortable with martial arts class of mostly men. That changed last year when two young women joined the club. They had been practicing at another dojo as high school students. Once she had two experienced women in the class, she was able to get more women to give it a try.

 

The national competitors started as kids  and are still teenagers now.  The two lead female instructors in the province also started as kids.  The rest of the adult women lean to having started as adults.

 

We have two adult classes per week for all levels and beginners are welcome anytime.  We tend to work on low to medium belt techniques since the class does run low belt heavy.  That why senior belt summer classes became a thing.  Otherwise, we don't get to work on high-belt techniques over much.  Running additional classes is not an option.  People starting in university is common but if they remain local, they stay with the university club.  It's rather larger than ours.

 

I can see that making a difference.

 

I'm hoping that's the case.  The new high school girl who joined our club was quite happy to see the 12 year old and me in the adult class.  Maybe they'll help with retaining more.

 

That tallies with my more limited experience.  About 1/4-1/3 women, and evenly distributed through the ranks, with a heck of a lot of senior women around.  I think it probably does help that it's non-competitive.  And it is pretty well-suited to women's bodies, more emphasis on the lower center of gravity than on strength.

 

Interesting.

 

I'm joining the thread-party late! which is... ironic. but your goal to "be less late" is something I've been thinking about a lot myself. I'm a HUGE over-committer.

 

re: the women in practice. just offering this as observation: I am in a strictly recreational dojo - we aren't affiliated with any other TKD groups, and the people who run the dojo got fed-up with the way local tournaments so no competition. that said, my tkd class is taught by 2 women with me as the next ranking black belt and always helping out. the guy who owns the dojo teaches a different style of tkd, and until recently, didn't have any women ranking higher than brown belt (there are two sisters roughly in their early teens now who have achieved black). my class has a LOT of girls in it, but no mom's any more (bummer, I want more adults to practice with us). I have a strong suspicion that the dojo owner funnels *all* the new students to us these days, so we are getting a few more girls than he is.

 

Hi!  I am largely failing at keeping up with the forum these days.

 

Interesting again.  The recreational side helps.  Breaking off from the local association is very frustrated indeed. Any idea why he's funneling all of the new students to you?

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Week 2 Update time.  This week could have gone better.

 

Maintenance goals:

Judo twice per week as much as possible - once.  Had to beg off Thursday due to gut cramps. 

Stick to budget, track expenditures - done.

Walk 70k + steps per week - 69k+ some home wandering.  Probably, or close enough.  I did not wear the Fitbit on Monday much.

Talk a day/evening off per week to spend at home - Monday and Tuesday.

 

Sleep

- in bed by Midnight or earlier! - 2/3

- Weeks 1 and 2  get to work by 9:15 - 2/3

 

Shoulder maintenance:  maybe once.

 

Guitar practice - 1/3

 

Juggle Less things: read very little of Essentialism but did read some

 

Bonus:  Get out more.  Female training camp this weekend totally happened.  Done!  I also went out and saw Deadpool with friends.  Not a shut in!

 

 

The basics continue to go well but I'm having a hard time caring about the shoulder maintenance goal.  I should, but I'm not.  Same with Essentialism.

 

Guitar practice just got over-ruled by other things that I wanted/needed to do.  Extra time in game leveling my alt character with a friend and installing the new harddrive/installing Windows/updating/re-installing all of my software (including Rocksmith!).

 

Sleep was going well last week.

 

Week 3 so far:  Largely side tracked by the news that my landlords are trying to sell my building.  They're really nice people so I hope it goes well for them.  At the same time, the last time a building I was living in got sold, it was not a good time.  So my lease has been checked for any potential problems, my apartment is very clean, and i have been fretting somewhat.  I thought getting it cleaned last night was overreacting, but I got an email this morning that there was going to be a viewing today at 4:15 pm so it was good timing instead.  That being said, I needed to be home to let them in, left work early, and nobody showed up.  So yeah.  Communications loss somewhere.

 

Sleep is also not going well this week.  Settling down is taking a long time and waking up is just not going well.  Monday night's Fitbit report read:  slept 6 hrs 21 min, awake 5 times, restless 16 times.  Not great and definitely not helping the apartment related anxiety yesterday evening.  Sleep last night was better.

 

On the upside, I made lemon blueberry tea biscuits from a mix and they are very tasty,.

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Honestly, as we're both shut-ins, time spent with friends in activity very likely does trump our practices. The odds are, we would get enough time there anyway, so we'll probably be okay.

 

Also, yeah, landlord shift. It's never been a big deal for me but then I've been living through companies and it sounds like there's a way more personal element to it for you.

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I could use more training time these days but it's getting nie enough to run so that will help.

 

I don't know them very well but they are nice, and I've had very mixed luck with landlords here.  The previous building sale ended up costing me a lot of time, money, and aggravation.  Part of that was my mistake but neither landlord in that handoff was dealing in good faith.  I just hope that this doesn't turn into another problem.

 

 

Another bleh night of sleep.  I'm dragging through today.

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The organization for your judo sounds neat.

 

Retention of females wasn't a big issue in my Tae Kwon Do class, but that probably had to do with the fact that 1. The lead instructor is a female 2. 2/3 of the highest ranking students were female 3. It was entirely recreational, sparring & testing were optional. So we had a different situation. Not just in retaining girls, but in the program as a whole.  Now that I'm struggling to find somewhere else to train as an adult girl that doesn't want to fork out zillions on stupid stuff & tournaments, I realize how unique that program is. I can't find schools that aren't 99.99% children, which would be fine. I don't have a problem with that, except that every time I've tried one of those, they talk to ME like I'm also a 9 year old. That doesn't sit well.

 

I hope the sale of your building goes smoothly for you. I've never been in a situation like that and it sounds stressful.

 

Oh, And I have no idea how long I'm in any of the rotations. They don't plan ahead well. And hopefully, I'll get to apply for the job I want soon and won't be doing anymore of these! :)

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Interesting again.  The recreational side helps.  Breaking off from the local association is very frustrated indeed. Any idea why he's funneling all of the new students to you?

 

I've honestly never done any tournaments or anything like that, and the club I started at was a very loosely associated group of supportive clubs, so the only thing I miss is the occasional get together with wide-flung practitioners. THAT SAID, I also don't think I *could* do any tournament sparring because our style is so blended in with street-wise self-defense that I would be disqualified all the time. so, that's ok. I do love sparring though!

 

I *think* we get all the new students because he is tired. His top 2 black belts and assistants left last year for college, and he is working with a mid-sized group of mid- to upper-level color and black belts, and I think he's got a class dynamic right now that he's ok with, and is kind of... feeling tired. like he needs a little break. it's ok, though - we have 2 instructors that split the classes, and then there are 4 black belts (including me) who can teach during the classes as well, so we probably have a more diversified worksharing opportunity than he does all by himself. it works out. it makes me think though: I consider being a formal instructor, but the responsibility for a class (and for showing up for a class all the time) is really too much for me right now!

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