In our “line of business” to pride oneself of being skilled, is a necessity… And of course, I do mean a healthy pride, which will keep you on your toes and erect, but not over your own head.
You see, when a dentist does his fillings to a tooth, he may have to answer for his work in about ten years or so, you can doubt him then about the quality of his work (I hope my dentist is not reading this!…)
While I will be asked, from time to time, to prove my work from right where I stand, in a “show me what you got” attitude…
If one is to take his Martial Arts teaching seriously, he has to be effective and efficient, around the clock. In Aikido we do not compete with one another, but we surely compare our level of excellence… And let nobody tell you otherwise!
There is one case when I am “happily at a loss” about compassions of such nature… It is when I witness female Aikido instructors while performing! In my eyes, there is nothing more beautiful on this planet, and maybe beyond that as well… A woman who is a trained warrior is a sight to see, and the more experience in the Art one has, the more of this magic is to be revealed to his eyes…
Women who are practicing Aikido are not few. But there still could be more. The usual cliché to that is that women aught to be: delicate, have two left hands and are unable to do anything but scream in a dire situation. Nothing could be further from the truth, since this attitude has been imposed for centuries on them, by a male dominated environment.
It does not take a genius to see or understand why all women should have the opportunity to train and learn how to defend themselves. And the earlier in their life this would happen, the better…
It is easy to think that I am “selling you Aikido philosophy” but please do reflect on the following for a moment. Violence against women, be that in the form of rape, abuse verbal or physical, harassment, domestic violence, oppression and discrimination are “breakfast served” to women before they even know they are here.
Even if none of the above is ever happening, the constant threat and innuendo that this might happen, puts them on a back foot. Living with that kind of fears is well known to me, since female students surround me throughout my entire life of Aikido teaching. And it takes a lot of practice in order to compensate those fears with real defensive ability, which will put them under control.
Fear does poison all aspects of life. Economical status cannot buy internal peace. Social position cannot secure the threat.
Level of studies cannot be put to service in order to outthink this…
Working experience cannot be applied here. As, elegantly put by a resent famous movie: “You think your world is safe…It is an illusion”
The usual argument I hear about all this sums up in one phrase:
“So, all this is going to go away by practicing Aikido?”. The answer is “no”. The argument is as weak as those who utter it.
But you will give women a fighting chance to build their own equilibrium, to resist, to fight back, even to die fighting if need be (since sadly in many parts of this world, even that is necessary).
Above all that, you will grant them a way of life in which they can transform their fears into a healthy pride. A pride that is not just a feeling made out of thin air of words, but has a backbone to lean to, which will be their own to rely on.
Wishing every woman a “Happy International Women’s Day”.
Mario-Gunter Frastas was born in Germany by an Italian father and a German mother. He was first involved in the Arts of Aikido, Yoga and Meditation in 1976. Now, he teaches at his own private Dojo (training hall) that was founded in 1989.
In 2004 he published “Aikido-The Book In Between” and continues to write through his personal Site http://www.marioaikibook.com