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Changing The Mindset To Empower Women

I was talking to a couple of martial art women last night regarding about boxing and martial arts classes, and the first thing that entered their mind during the discussion was the plight of the martial arts for women.

A “plight” word meaning, is a dangerous, difficult, or otherwise unfortunate situation. 

While we have made great strides in martial arts, I believe the martial art woman is still underestimated, and perhaps even discriminated against in the martial art realm, because of her gender or still living in 20th century mindset.

We talked briefly about how women wanted to train in martial arts, but when potential students who  realised the classes were mixed genders, they were suddenly not interested or easily put off.

Unfortunately this prove their worthiness in some sense, but they can still be an excellent female fighters and can be intimidating to some guys.

Even in seeing her capabilities, there was caution in believing these women could instruct them.

Truly, I understand that most women walking into a dojo of all men would probably not be interested in training there, either. 

Somewhere, somehow, this needs to change and it needs to be a balance, a yin and yang, a middle ground.

There are no easy solutions, but we can all change our mindset to recognise that men and women together fulfill the mission of martial arts.

There are the obvious few with closed-minds who think they cannot learn anything of value from one particular gender.

Both men and women bring brilliant and inspiring techniques to the table and both make martial arts whole.

The issue lies deeper unfortunately in the roots of todays society, and the roles into which we have been born into such as male and female roles.

Case in point. We need both men and women instructors and students because they offer varying perspectives and abilities.

I have said many times that martial arts have NOTHING to do with gender.

Simply, they are fighting arts that have been around for a very long time, or arts that have their beginnings based in the traditions of defence, fighting, or grappling.

There is no man or woman in the equation when we look at martial arts this way. Put the same uniform on both genders and what you see are students, not men and women.

It sounds simple, but naturally and unfortunately, we separate them by gender.

The discrepancies emanate because men and women learn martial arts for different reasons.

Maybe self-defence and self-discipline fill the woman’s agenda, while fighting, sparring, and physicality suit the guys more.

This is a generalisation, for the sake of example.

Certainly not all women think the same, nor do all men. I think if we step back, though, we will see that men and women have different expectations and intentions when they learn a martial art.

What they want to learn may have a direct bearing on from where they want to learn. While that is understandable, in the long run but it also limits their training.

When I hear a story like I did last night, about women training in boxing or martial arts classes, but had to face the fact that men would walk through the door, I am reminded about the plight of the martial art woman.

I do not like to complain without offering some solutions, so if you are wondering what you can do, I have a few ideas in mind:

  • Support your martial art peers who are women by acknowledging their capabilities, abilities, and talents.
  • Think of women martial artists as a complement to male martial artists, and vice versa. .
  • Do not walk away from a training, seminar, or school classes, simply because the classes has males training.
  • Realise that every martial artist has something unique to offer. No matter what their gender, you can still learn alot.

I believe the trends of the numbers of women practicing martial arts are far better than ever before. 

Still, when I hear a story like the one I heard last night, I wonder when we will ever concede that women can train in mix gender classes.

I love learning from men and women. 

Both provide me with the well-rounded training that I need. I gain different perspectives and insights from different genders. I want to learn everything I can, from both.

If you believe that the plight of the martial art woman does not exist.

I challenge you to speak to women out there and see how many struggle with this issue.

It is not everywhere and it is not everyone, but I hear enough stories to know that this is a difficult situation that women still continually face, and that is truly unfortunate.

Whats the difference between going to business meeting or gyms that is mixed genders and into martial arts schools?

So let’s start changing your mindset and move forward into 21st century where women independence really counts.

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