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Aikido Techniques: From the Woman’s Perspective

Updated on May 13, 2011

Women and Self Defense

Women are NOT men

The Obvious: Women are not the same as men…ya think??  This applies to the physical as well as the mental or emotional dimensions.  Thus, the approach to self-defense in women must necessarily different than that of men.  Aikido techniques and philosophy can be helpful because they focus on the several areas that can help women in particular.  The relatively lower degree of upper body strength requires the successful woman Aikidoist to rely on the power of ki extension to generate the strength.  These include the use of the whole body rather than simply arm strength to execute throws, or other Aikido moves, and the concept of the sense of all that is around you which helps one to identify and potentially avoid dangerous situations.

Aikido Demonstration - Blending and Throwing with Minimal Arm Strength and Effort

Ki Energy Versus Arm Strength

The body, not the arms – Ki energy comes from the One-Point or center and is the source of power for the Aikido practitioner. Men have used the advantage of arm strength from the time they were boys wrestling in the playground. This application only works if your strength is superior to that of your opponent. Women must focus on using their body to throw since attempts to force a technique with muscle will often be met with superior resistance. A woman must, therefore, learn Aikido techniques as they were intended using the body rather than the arms.  Using ki extension, generated from the Center, arm strength takes a back seat to the proper movement and using the body to throw.  It is for this reason that women then to excel in Aikido early on.

Women's Aikdio Demonstration

Aikido Techniques: Developing "Court Sense"

Court sense – In basketball, the term “court sense” is used to denote a player that is totally aware of both opportunities and threats on the court.  In the movie, Top Gun, “Maverick” could sense the threats.  This skill is also known as situational awareness.  All of us come to the mat with different levels of experience.  Women are sometimes at greater risk because they lack the more aggressive nature of men.   For this reason, training should focus on developing the ability to “sense” dangerous situations and avoid or deal with them as required.   To promote this skill, more advanced Aikido practitioners use Aikido technique of randori to develop awareness of threats and opportunities.  This exercise utilizes multiple ukes (opponents) attacking a single individual.  Successful defense involves awareness of the relative positions of ukes, movement to take advantage of this position, and choice of the effective techniques to neutralize the attacks.  Although considered an advanced technique, randori can help women develop the skills to become aware of their environment so that potential threats can be identified and avoided.  

Mess with a Woman? Never!!

The Best Defense for Women...

Final thoughts:  There is not a single martial art that can prepare a woman for all possible threats.  However,  Aikido techniques can maximize power through its use of the body rather than the arms to throw, and  situational awareness, which is likely the most important the most effective application of a martial art is the skill of never putting yourself in a position that you need to apply the techniques.


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    • aikidk01 profile image

      aikidk01 7 years ago

      Cecilia - Situational awareness is an important aspect taught in martial art, and it appears as though you have learned your lessons well.

    • ceciliabeltran profile image

      Cecilia 7 years ago from New York

      The best advantage of aikido for me was men can't even get to that point where they can "accidentally" bump into my boobs in crowds. It's true. My reflex automatically does a block on any approaching elbow. It was unbelievable.

    • aikidk01 profile image

      aikidk01 8 years ago

      Dan - Interesting observation as I used to rock climb. Guys love to muscle things, which makes learning tough. Women turn this disadvantage into an advantage.

    • profile image

      Dan Cosgrove 8 years ago

      Good points, it reminds me of learning to rock climb in high school: The instructor pointed out that women pick up climbing faster than guys because they actually use technique over trying to simply muscle it up.

      I find a lot of guys will use strength to overcome poor technique, something that will fail in Aikido.

    • jrosemond profile image

      jrosemond 8 years ago from kerrville hey if you dont mind could you take the poll on my hub i really would like to know what people think