A very quickly written post. Today is International Women’s Day. The Internal Aikdio Federation is using it to promote and encourage woman in aikido – #AikidoWomen.
I strongly feel that any traditional martial art is beneficial for women (I know nothing about modern ones, but I suspect the same applies). I appreciate that for many women walking into the first class can be daunting, especially if the class is all male. But do it! I walked into my first jiu jitsu class not knowing anyone, and within two hours I had fallen in love with jitsu and made friends with a group of diverse people. If it helps then take a friend with you to that first class, even if they sit on the side like I have done for someone in the past. No one will mind, in fact they may have done the same thing themselves.
Yes, the practical side of a martial means you learn some form of self-defence skills but there are many other benefits. I have seen shy women starting a class and over time their confidence both on and off the mat increases. Martial helps improve your general fitness, but in a slow and steady way that crash gym courses don’t do. Very few people are super-fit when they start a class but over time your health improves.
All clubs take it easy with beginners. If falling is required then you learn to do so in a safe way that helps prevent injury. Initial attacks that you learn to defend from will be done in a slow and controlled way. We want our beginners to stay and learn!
The best thing about martial arts? I don’t know! There are so many to choose from. Friendships, learning a new skill, being able to face down your fears, having fun….
So women, take up a martial art. Men, encourage women in your life to take one up. For those in the UK I have provided some links to some national organisations. These websites will in turn provide lists of clubs so you can find one local to you.
- Aikido. The Joint Aiikkai Association. Umbrella host to reputable aikido in the UK.
- Filipino Martial arts. The British Council of Kali, Eskrima and Arnis Instructors.
- Jitsu. Two major organisations in the UK. Aiuchi Jiu Jitsu and the Jitsu Foundation.
- Judo. British Judo Association.
- Karate. Lots of organisations here! Two are the British Karate Federation and the Karate Union of Great Britain.
- Kendo. The British Kendo Association.