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The role of femininity and martial arts

Can a woman maintain her femininity on the mat and still be a successful fighter and/or martial artist? And is it necessary for a woman to tap into her aggressive side in order to learn “real” self-defense? These are issues that the girls, women and men in their lives face as they begin the journey of martial arts and beyond.

Women and men need to understand that martial arts will not make you into something or someone you are not. Stepping on the mat will not remove the innate feminine qualities of a woman and absolutely shouldn’t, in fact, a woman’s sensitivity plays an important role in studying which should be taken into account and appreciated. Generally, a woman’s sensitivity allows her to think and care more about each movement and technique, her gentleness and focus help prevent injury to herself and others, and as a caregiver, she will most likely support camaraderie throughout the family. school. Even more interesting is the duality of tough and soft women that makes them ideal martial artists while maintaining the feminine self.

On the issue of housing women in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), Brig. General Yehudit Grisaro, adviser to the Chief of the General Staff on women’s issues, gave this response that struck me as extremely progressive:

“We are not doing our job just to create equal opportunities for women, that is important. But much more important is to improve the effectiveness of the IDF. We need to look carefully at the differences between women and men to find answers… Women are equal but different. We need to respond to the differences between men and women, so we need to create a proper utility vest, proper practices, proper nutrition, if we are to fully develop the capacity of women. We used to say, “Give equal opportunity, Same clothes, same practice and that’s fine. No, we must be aware of the differences and not give up because of the differences. It costs money, but it is key to better use of our potential.”[1]

As mentioned above, the “softness” of a woman helps her and others around her as she trains, on the other hand, there is a level of controlled aggression necessary for a full martial arts experience. Ultimately, the essential reason to train martial arts is to learn to defend yourself and that cannot be done politely. This is a difficult concept for women to grasp, especially at first, we are by nature caretakers, but there is no doubt that in the woods no one would ever mess with a mother bear and her cub. That same idea relates to humans, but it needs to be refined to be effective, and that’s where years of dedicated training and hard work come into play. However, within the context of karate school, the question of aggression and what and how much is too much can become a problem.

Sparring should be part of every school’s curriculum, otherwise a student is only training to fight air and air will not steal his bag. I think choosing not to fight results in an incomplete martial artist and can give a false sense of security outside of the studio. Repetitive combat training eliminates dangerous hesitation, which is the basis for a sure result; however, sparring should always be practiced in a controlled environment where everyone is comfortable and the level of intensity is understood. Unfortunately, many women are too afraid of getting hurt and the thought of a black eye or bump in the nose can be too daunting an event to overcome. However, in all my years of training, I have yet to see a woman with a black eye cringe; in fact, they wear it as a badge of honor to show that they are trying hard, with bravery and strength.

[1] Gelfond Feldinger, Lauren. “Floating History”. The Jerusalem Post. September 18, 2008.

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