Do women want to be treated like training partners or treated like female training partners?
I am a karate practitioner and the only thing I know about BJJ is what I read on Steve's excellent blog. I know his question was directed to women who study BJJ. However, it made me think about my karate training and what I wanted as a female karate practitioner. The most surprising thing was that I did not have an immediate clear cut answer. What did I want...?
When I walk into a dojo, I see people in karate uniforms. I does not matter if they are male or female. I admit...most of my training partners are men. When I first started karate there were only a few adult women in the dojo. Most of the female students were kids or teenagers. I tested for shodan in 1996 with three male training partners. Steve's post made me wonder what my training partners think of me. Do they think of me as a "training partner" or a "female training partner"? I am going to ask them.
In my opinion, in regard to open hand and weapon kata, I have not experienced a great difference between the genders as training partners. But what about sparring? Is this where we see a distinction of male and female? In our dojo, I have watched my fair share of sparring rounds. The male/male and the female/female rounds were often more intense than the male/female rounds. Is it about gender? Size/weight? Preconceived societal norms? There have been a few male students who initially refuse to spar a females. They said, "I don't hit girls".
Back to Steve's question...Do women wanted to be treated as training partners or treated like a female training partner?
I can only answer for myself as a karate practitioner.
I want to be treated as a training partner who happens to be female. I want the opportunity to train, share ideas, make mistakes, correct mistakes and try new techniques. I want training partners that push me to be the best I can. I will do the same in return. I want to learn, experiment and test my limits. I want a training partner who understands my limits are mine to determine. I want training partners who understand basic anatomical differences between men and women.
Above all else, training partners should communicate what they want...regardless of gender.
Thanks to Steve for discussing this topic on his blog.