Aikido is a fantastic art for people of any gender or age, but is an especially great art for women. In today’s world women are in serious danger: one in five women is likely to be assaulted in her lifetime, one rape happens every 5 minutes in the US. Just watch the news and you will see the many dangers of the world around us, and as we live in and navigate this world we must be aware of them.
There are many different styles of self-defense classes, many of them teaching women how to punch, elbow and kick their way out of an assault. However, as many women are well aware, they are not as big and strong as most men, and the idea of relying on their strength to fight off an attacker may seem daunting and at times near impossible. The advantage of Aikido is that it does not rely on strength or brute force to execute the techniques. This style of martial arts was designed as a means of using the strength of the attacker against them, blending with their motion instead of fighting it and using their own motion to control them. In a typical Aikido class you will see petite, young women working with men that may be two to three times their own size, and you will see them tossing and controlling people of that size just as well as people their own size. The art works because it relies on joint locks and body mechanics, and no matter the size of a person their joints and body mechanics work almost identically.
Aikido’s atmosphere also provides an environment very conducive to learning. Because there are no competitions in Aikido, senior students will not be withholding their experience with how to best perform a given technique in order to have an edge in the competition. Aikido is a very collaborative martial art, and every student passes on what they have learned in the past with their fellow students. This environment makes learning the techniques of Aikido much easier, and the cooperation between students makes the compromising positions that we practice escaping from much less intimidating.
More than just physical self-defense, Aikido teaches awareness. Many times Aikidoka are asked about their experience with using their techniques in a real life setting, and the asker is surprised when they proudly say “I’ve never had to”. However, one of the greatest lessons in Aikido is awareness and the ability to see and predict dangerous situations, and to avoid them. Constantly in the dojo we talk about being aware of your surroundings. In the dojo it pertains mostly to making sure you are not throwing or pinning your partner in the direction of another person, but outside the dojo this pertains to being aware of every person around you, every dark corner where someone could be hiding, every potentially dangerous outcome that could result from a situation, etc. The awareness that you will acquire is worth more than hundreds of hours of self-defense.
Aikido is the perfect martial art for women, both in terms of the physical technique you will learn and mental exercises that will prepare you to take on the dangerous world around you. We invite you to contact any of our female instructors and ask them about their experience as a female in Aikido if you have any other questions.