Female Students and Groundfighting

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Female Students and Groundfighting

Post by LenTesta »

This is a question for Mike and Joe Pompfret, but anyone may answer if they wish.

Since the BUKA has added groundfighting to the curriculum I have a few questions and concerns about how to teach female students groundfighting in the dojo.

When teaching girls under the age of 13, do you let them practice techniques with the boys? What about randori?

How do parents feel about teenage girls groundfighting with the boys in the junior class or with the men in the adult class?

At what age is it acceptable for girls to practice techiniques with the male sensei/instructor?

Do female adults practice techniques and randori with the males or the male sensei/instructors?

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Female Students and Groundfighting

Post by mikemurphy »


Interesting if not an explosive topic for some. This is where playing PC, or at least somewhat fair, in your teaching conflicts with tact, or even the law. A confusing question that every instructor must answer regarding interaction between male and female students, or instructor-child situations.

I think most of the women on this and other forums would tell you to treat them like anyone else, but unfortunately, they are the minority when it comes to practitioners. Let's face it, at least in Uechi and the grappling arts I have seen, women are far and few between. And yes! That is a damn shame! But, let's look at each question you ask.

1. Girls under 13 I do allow to randori with the boys. In most cases anyway. It would probably depend, like anything else, how developed each participant is. Too strong is too strong no matter who we are talking about. The question is what happens if the boy graps or touches the wrong part of the girl's body. In my experience, I have found at this age, and in the middle of randori especially, they don't even notice. And this works both ways; even for the girls.

2.How do parents feel? Well, I ALWAYS have my doors open so that parents can watch the classes (good idea for all to follow). Without taking a poll, they seem to agree with the practice of allowing it, because when you enter in the fact that these girls have a better chance at being attacked by men in the real world rather than women, this is more realistic. Plus, I never let it go too far (that's the trick I think).

In the adult class, it really shouldn't be an issue as they are adults and they know what to expect in a free exercise such as randori. But once again, it is always closely watched by one or more.

3. What difference does age mean so long as there is no secrets to the training. If I am showing a junior female (or a male for that matter) a technique, there is always
other people around. It is NEVER done behind close doors or if alone in the dojo. If it is a bother, get another junior to aid in showing the student. You simply coordinate the move from the side.

4. My female students always practice moves with male instructors because a)I don't have that many female adult students and b)This is what is real and they know it. They don't want to be babied and to be treated with kid gloves. They want to know if this stuff works.

Hope this helps Len,

Joe Sullivan
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Female Students and Groundfighting

Post by Joe Sullivan »

This is a great topic Len. Mike's response is right on the money.

Now consider this. Most Uechi schools are not used to the ground game. So naturally when someone like yourself introduces it into your dojo's curriculum, it may cause some anxiety between males and females due to its demanded closeness.

I remember when I first introduced Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to my students I wouldn't even allow women into the class. Boy was that stone-age thinking!!!

Then Len, I would go to a school that only teaches Jiu-Jitsu and Grappling. Both Adults and children were enrolled (different classes). Being entangled and on the ground at this school was just as natural to them as sanchin is to us.

As to the young ones, boys and girls, THEY LOVE IT! Kids love to wrestle. Now you are giving them the green light to do so without them hearing, "Stop that horsing around before you break the furniture!" I have found also Len that the parents enjoy watching their children practicing ground techniques.

TRose tells me that when he teaches the mount and mount escape to his children students (he calls it "bully-proofing your child") the parents come right out and sit on the mat to watch because it's interesting to them.

Go for it Len! Wait until you pass "the point of no return." This is the point where you wouldn't even consider teaching self-defense without a legitimate ground-fighting element as part of your dojo's curriculum.

I hope this helped

Joe P.
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