If you have read my blog you all know that I have trained martial arts now for over a year and a half. Bujinkan Budo Taijitsu to be precise. You will also have seen my numerous posts (or FB updates) where I again and again go on about how much I enjoy it, nay in fact love it.

In this moment of time I am one of two girls that train in the club. The rest are all lads. Lately I have thought about why there are so few women in contact sports. OK, I understand that it is not everyone’s cup of tea (guys or girls) to spar and getting hit. That’s fine. However, the ratio is still very uneven. Especially in something like Bujinkan or even in full contact sports such as ice hockey etc. Yes, I know there are women ice hockey leagues but let’s be honest here..they are adapted to be more gentle and it is not the same.

I have tried to get other women to join the club. Some turn up and might even start with the beginners course but then the minute they get hit, get a bruise or experience slight pain they back off and never come back.

Women go on about self-defense and go to great lengths to learn to shout “No” at the top of their lungs while attempting to kick to the groin. Which is very good and more women should know how to defend themselves, as this is the unfortunate reality we live in. BUT… if you never been hit, how will you know how to react? Will you freeze up? Most do. I know that the first time we had a sparring session in the club, it was quite a shock to my system when I got a hard punch to the face even with the head-gear on. The guys in the club make no concessions just because I am a girl and that is how it should be. If I cannot learn to fight against a guy in a somewhat regulated sparring session how will I ever handle myself if the situation would occur outside the club? Tell the guy he should be nice? Yeah riiight, that will work…

It seems that the gender roles in our society are still so deeply rooted. Women should be fragile and depend on guys to protect them…oh let’s let them take a few self-defense courses and leave it at that. Women should not get bruised or even know how to throw a proper punch. A women knowing how to defend herself or (shock horror!) being aggressive… that is not on! I have heard of cases where boyfriends/husbands of women training at the club have come down to give out about that their women are bruised and that people are too hard on them. And then..after a while the girls leave as their partners do not agree with what they are doing.

This pisses me off. What’s even worse is that so many girls feed into the whole fragile, “poor me, victim” role-shit. I get more raised eyebrows and skeptical looks from other women than men when I tell them what I do. Most guys actually seem to think it is pretty cool but many women look at me like if I have lost the plot totally… “how can you do this, why do you let someone hit you, oh my god you did what?” etc. Oh and a few insinuations about that I must be butch for doing this. FFS! Even if I was…so what? I am obviously not what a “real” women should be according to the rules we pretend do not exist now that we are all equal… Please!

The very sad reality of today is that there seem to be just as many women as men out there that hold onto the traditional gender roles. No, I do not expect everyone to start with martial arts but please do not try to make the rest of us feel like we are doing something “unnatural”.

So, to all the women out there. Your femininity does not mean that you have to be a victim or herd others into this role. You can be just as capable as any guy. We have unlimited wells of strength within us. Use it goddamnit and walk with your head held high. In other words…don’t take any shit!

  1. nikki04 says:

    I am jumping up and down and cheering! In my head anyway because my co-workers would think I was weird if I actually did that right now! (and shhh don’t tell them I’m reading – but hey, I need a lunch break anyway!)

    Just yesterday I was watching an old “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” rerun on the TV at the gym. In it, Wil Smith is on a boxing ring with a girl. He can’t bring himself to actually punch her, and of course she knocks him out. The rest of the show is making fun of him getting beat up by a girl. To be fair, I don’t remember/didn’t watch how it ended but…

    This just feeds into the stereotypes. Argh.

    • Ivy Blaise says:

      LOL! Thanks for cheering! Reading blogs are what lunch breaks are made for. 😀

      I know what you mean. It is pretty sad that most don’t even realize this. I have to say that I am happy the lads in the club where I train, they do not care that I am a girl. I did ask them once as I was curious and the answer I got was that the girls don’t hold back so why should they and also how will I ever benefit from the training if I get special treatment. The funniest time is still one of the very first times I sparred against this pretty tough guy… he didn’t hold back at all but each time he hit me he said “Sorry”… Needless to say, I lost the sparring. 🙂

  2. Movedup says:

    Nice Ivy!! Glad to know I am not alone. I have been studying martial arts for almost a year now back after a 10 year departure (unfortunate surgery). My trophies starring at me got me started again – remembering how I felt – 2nd place in Regionals. The first few months were cruelsome plagued with injuries – my mind remembers – my body however, is another story as is my age. Standing 5’4″ 115 lbs at age 47 (the oldest in my class and one of the few women) There are times when I wonder what I am doing – that I should “act my age” as I have been told by others. Starting at the bottom again. Fighting that urge to just quit. I study a takewondo/judo/hapkito/kick boxing mix. I have a woman Master who is smaller than me – just to watch her throw a 6ft guy across the room gives me inspiration. Yes it seems the guys think (my bosses included) its cool to watch me break boards with my hands and my feet. The women do seem to be put off by it – oh didn’t that hurt – well not if you do it right. DUH! I have decided I am from Mars not from venus. By the way I don’t call them brusies anymore – I call them trophies and so does my husband.

    • Ivy Blaise says:

      Cool! Never mind age… we have guys in their sixties training and they are not “acting their age”. Silly thing to say anyway. Hope you can win over the urge to quit! As long as it is fun and you are not in bits (i.e crippled…) go for it. I know I intend to do so for as long as I can.

      The only issue I have is that I bruise easier than the guys… so not fair. 🙂

      • Movedup says:

        LOL can relate to the “coloring”! Purple then green then yellow – belts backwards HA HA! I have gloves now so at least I can save my hands – need them for work.

  3. Ivy Blaise says:

    My colleagues have given up…they are used to see me bruised by now 🙂

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