Saturday, April 27, 2013

Feelings on split gender classes...

After a couple of responses to my last post, I feel the need to repost a comment I left and expound just a little bit on my thoughts on split gender education.

When it comes to cerebral education, children are starting from a generally level playing field. When it comes to adults (the childrens' classes are mixed gender), this is absolutely not true. Women have spent years being conditioned to be gentle, nice, timid, deferential, controllable and even scared. As much as I'm inspired by the story of a woman fighting through the the difficulties of being a minority on the mats, I'm coming to acknowledge that not all women are natural fighters...that not all of us were born with, or still have the will to challenge all the norms that BJJ throws in our faces. 

As long as the women in question are getting quality education, I believe that these women deserve the chance to learn BJJ just as much as any others, even if they have to take a different path. 

That's basically where I stand on the whole deal. I think it's a mistake to pretend that society doesn't start women from a very different place than it starts men in relation to physical's like expecting men to be fluent in emotional expression right off the bat--chances are they just haven't had the years and decades of practice women have. I also think it's very easy for those of us women who do train, and aren't scared to have a 250lb man sweating and breathing on us can quickly forget that other people are coming from other places. 

It makes me think of those branches of feminism that condemn women who want to get married, be housewives and have the 2.5 kids, dog, and that fence. It makes me think of the Keith Owen, STFU and train attitude. As a group of women, regardless of how I feel about their goals, I do believe they deserve respect and consideration, as long as they are being addressed from a position of a genuine desire to serve and improve.

Ideally, I'd like to see two optional points of entry for women...mixed gender and split, with properly qualified instructors in each (that will probably mean different qualifications too). That's something that's probably not feasible for most schools to pull off, but that's my ideal. 


Liam H Wandi said...

"A rising boat raises all boats" JFK

If BJJ instruction is geared to inclusion (men, women, children...etc.) then it simply becomes BETTER instruction for EVERYONE at the gym. The problem is that instructors are often neither prepared to teach that way nor prepared to invest in changing their ways:

Megan said...

I've always taken a bit of an issue with that quote, but I agree with the sentiment in this case. I think for some though, they simply aren't interested in the benefits that mixed gender training brings.