DOJO Female Presence (Get used to it - it’s good for us!)

The days of Testosterone driven Karate dojos of late, it would appear, have given way to the study of our art by the more genteel gender, and I for one, have noticed the wonderful subtle benefits of the presence of women practitioners in our Karate dojo!  Women have always been a part of karate dojos, more so in the last few score years AND, they do belong, it’s just that lately females are taking more of a leadership role.  Has anyone else noticed what the female karateka brings to their own dojo deck?  Drawing from my years of experience in the dojo from beginner through to now teaching, travelling and co-managing a dojo in Oshawa, Canada, I have become quite aware of how our female contingent fits right in and makes us all better for having had them around to train with everyone.  Women typically come into a karate dojo for their own personal reasons, whether to build self confidence, become a little more assertive, maybe interested in the ‘art’, maybe a significant other or their child trains (really, no different than when a male joins!)  It’s never easy taking that initial plunge and joining a class and when you do, you’re usually hooked.

As I’ve stated before, females typically learn faster than males and generally come in with a ‘cup empty’ attitude saying “here, fill my cup with knowledge” whereas, males more often than not, come in with the attitude, “here, top up my cup as I already know how to handle myself.”  It’s with this initial attitude going forward that women soak up all that is taught and with the added benefit of probably being more relaxed and  flexible, they progress readily.  Uniquely, what really makes me even more proud is the support, mentorship and direction that the more advanced women offer to each and every female at most dojos.  Always with positivity.  It can’t be easy for a young lady to approach big, advanced rank males (although it should be!) and ask for assistance.  Having such a diverse female presence makes us all better.  The added benefit for all concerned, is that the male karateka now must make a greater effort to hone and augment their martial skills with sensitivity skills and become even better rounded for the benefit of all.

Gary Christensen