When you step back and really look at the different pastimes and sports available, you’ll notice that there really are some where mostly men take part, and others where it’s mostly women. Still, others are a mixed bag. Martial arts as a whole fall into this last group, but specific disciplines typically see more male practitioners than female ones.
Now you may be wondering if it’s a good idea for women to study martial arts if that were the case. The short answer is that learning martial arts is always a good idea, regardless of gender. In aikido, for example, gender doesn’t pose any hindrance to learning; in fact, it’s one discipline where women can not only shine but can also see some incredible benefits. Here are a few examples.
Greater Physical Self-Confidence
Students of aikido learn to commit to the point of contact – for example, the attacker’s hand grabbing a wrist – which is often done by leaning in or entering the other person’s space. Otherwise, redirecting their force will be difficult, if not impossible to do. So if you’re too indecisive or polite about doing so, you can expect your instructor to gently but firmly correct you.
This decisiveness is necessary for the proper execution of the different techniques and comes from greater awareness of your body. This awareness then leads to better confidence in your movements and, eventually, greater confidence in your physical abilities.
Speaking of physical abilities, aikido is noticeably gentler when it comes to training compared to many other martial arts. There’s a lot of deep breathing and stretching involved, as well as exercises that improve core strength and coordination.
On top of that, students learn how to quickly analyse the alignment of their body as well as that of their partner’s so they can tell how best to use the latter’s momentum against them.
This combination of awareness and training leads to improved posture, which is especially great for women since their muscular and skeletal systems make them predisposed to certain injuries. Better posture and better awareness of the body can, in turn, lower their risk of those injuries, and thus have a better quality of life since they won’t be struggling to recover from them in later years.
Reinforced Belief in Non-Violence
Some women are fine with being violent when the situation calls for it, so they’ll do well in martial arts where students need to be strong enough to execute quick, powerful strikes. However, not all women naturally lean toward violence. That’s why they’re apt to be more comfortable learning aikido.
In this discipline, the aim is to defuse tense situations before they can escalate, and to do so in the most humane way possible so that both you and your attacker walk away with no major injuries.
You may think that it’ll take years for these benefits to become apparent, but even with basic aikido training, you may start to see some improvement, however slight. So if you want to give aikido a try, or want to suggest it to women you know, check out this page for more information.