It recently occurred to me that sixteen years of working in a male dominated environment (the only female on a merchant ship) has resulted in me walking in a very unfeminine manner. Most woman sway their hips when they walk. I don’t.
I have hazy memories of early on in my career of suppressing that hip swing, probably in response to crude comments. Of late, and away from work, I have been experimenting with my walk. If I let my hips swing a good rhythm builds up and I can cover a lot of ground at higher speeds. Normally at higher speeds my calves start to ache and I’m forced to slow, not so when my body moves the way it should. The moment I take my mind of the hip swing I revert back to my suppressed walk. The unnatural has become nature, nature has become unnatural.
This chain of thought was set off by my Aikido Sensei whose favourite line is that woman have the advantage in Aikido because the female form (generally) has a better set of hips than the male form.
Watching the seniors demonstrate Aikido you can see the use of those hips, the power generated by the hip movement, which appears dance like such is the smoothness of a technique. I’m not sure if their uke’s perceive it as a dance from the pained expressions which develop, but their turn will come.
This photo is of Sensei Rod Munn of Cardiff Aiuchi Jitsu club demonstrating ippon seio nage. I enjoy watching Sensei Rod throw people. (Being throw by him is a different sort of enjoyment!) The fluidity of his defences, his steady sliding movement into the position for a throw or a lock, and the execution of the technique are all good Jitsu. And so they should be, they guy’s been training for thirty years and is a 4th Dan.
Sensei Rod is not blessed with a wonderful set of hips in the way that I am. But at some point during his training he worked out how to use what he had. So if he, his fellow Dan grades in Jitsu, and my seniors in Aikido can work out how to use them, then surely I can relearn and utilise something which I should never have lost?