Friday, October 24, 2014

A Woman's Place Is in the Dojo

I don't usually flaunt my blog at other people's websites, but I'm posting a link to the comment threat on Amanda Marcotte's post on the doxxing of Felicia Day. In her piece, Ms Marcotte writes about a depressing trend in all too many "fandoms":


But still, I recognize exactly the phenomenon she’s talking about and it happens to a lot of women who have interests in stuff outside the female ghettos of fashion and domestic arts. (Mine would definitely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, be music fandom.) The desire for camaraderie with your fellow hobbyists outweighs nagging doubts you have that many of the men in your world think you don’t belong or that you deserve to be put in a second class position, forever having to defend your right to be treated like an expert compared to men who are simply assumed to belong. You decide those men are outliers or, if they are relatively quiet about their beliefs, you convince yourself that you’re being paranoid. Hell, if you worry about it out loud, you may even be told you’re paranoid. Often by other women who, like you, are so eager to believe that men welcome your presence that you may overlook evidence that suggests otherwise.


It's infuriating and depressing, so I figured I'd put up a feel-good post to alleviate some of the frustration that many people are feeling in this era of #gamergate foolishness.

Last Saturday, we had a special guest in the dojo to teach our students:




The woman in the blue gi with the blonde ponytail is one of the top-ranked judo players in the world... she won the gold medal in her weight class in the London Olympics (while I'm not posting her name, there aren't too many Olympic gold medal winners, so a little research will show you her stellar record). I snapped a picture of her teaching a bunch of seven-and-under girls zenpo kaiten, or forward-roll breakfalls. She taught four classes for us, boys and girls ranging in age from six to fifteen. After each class, she let the kids dogpile her while touching her gold medal... it was quite a sight to see her jovial face peering out from a passel of children, her smile shining brighter than the medal.

Also in the picture, from left to right: the gent sitting on the windowsill is a good friend of our gold medalist, visiting from London. The gentleman in the white gi next to him is a dear friend I jokingly refer to as "Morocco's George Clooney"- he visited Shanghai on business and a bunch of the locals took him for the real deal. The woman in the red polo shirt is one of our soccer coaches, who hails from Argentina... her daughter is one of the rolling students. The gentleman to the left of our guest Olympian is the father of one of our students. The imposing gent to the right is a dear mentor of mine, also from Morocco ("Berber Badass" would be a good nickname for him). On the uttermost right, that cascade of hair belongs to one of the teenaged counselors who shepherd the kids from activity to activity... I have known this young woman since she was small enough to fit in a peanut shell. I know you're not supposed to play favorites, but it's hard not to, and she has always been close to our hearts. The Italian guy and the Brazilian guy aren't in the picture because they are off to the right sparring. The other Olympic gold medal winner is also off to the side, teaching an adult student. Gentle Jimmy G. from Jersey hasn't arrived yet, he comes in on his lunch break to get his fight on before returning to work.

So there you have it- an amazingly competent, dynamic woman who excels in a largely male milieu of international scope, teaching a bunch of young girls with gusto and humor. The haters can go stuff their precious game controllers up where neither Sol nor any alien sun shines. The good guys want women to be fearless.

3 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Good on you!

P.S. I don't usually flaunt my blog at other people's websites

I say don't hide your light under a lampshade. Put that lampshade on your head and dance around!
~

Jim H. said...

Did she kick your ass?

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I say don't hide your light under a lampshade. Put that lampshade on your head and dance around!

Sounds like a plan!

Did she kick your ass?

No, she came specifically to work with the kids. She ran four classes and then had to help her friend from London get situated in New York for the week. I did have a couple of five minute fights with Gentle Jimmy G. and did some uchi-komi with the other guys.