Sunday, December 20, 2015

Females in the Martial Arts-Why aren't there many of us?

When I jumped into the martial arts world, I realized that I was really the only female.  If there were other females, they weren't there to spar or for the intensity.  They were worried about their hair, nails, etc. but were forced to be more masculine-intense as they were in a male dominated sport and in an atmosphere taught by men.  Some women join because they feel a sense of camaraderie.

 I wondered why.... In my transitions from school to school, I realized that there are not many female instructors and when there are females, they are assistant instructors or do an after-school program.  Why?  That I have yet to determine.  However, I was able to come to the understanding that people, especially children, need role models.  They needed a female who could show that she can own a school and teach students! 

 When opening up my martial arts school, my goal was to empower girls, women, children, and families.  I wanted to show boys/girls, men/women that a female can be of an equal caliber in the martial arts and while it is male dominated, it does not have to be.  However, based on my thesis in Undergrad: "Sucking it up; women in sports," I also learned that women feel forced to display a certain demeanor in sports. 

 My goal is very different.  I want all my students to have a creative expression, female or male.  I want them to know that they can be whomever they want on or off the mats with the only requirements being: respect, learn, discipline, loyalty, and having fun.

 But, being a female, in the position I am in, I know that young girls and women look up to me now  and I want them to know that they can be tough and beautiful at the same time and can express both dualities if they choose to not because societal norms demand it of them.  I choose to recognize this in all my students because I believe it fosters self-esteem, mutual respect in addition to respect for self and others, and a positive growth and understanding of self.

 I am so happy and proud to see that there are an even amount of females and males in my school with and equal respect for each other.

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