Women in martial arts
Written by Rachel

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A book

once read a book about a 40 year woman seeking to gain a judo black belt. The author was convinced that getting her black belt was the target and seemed unaware of what the belt signified.
What she didn't count on was the fact that you have to fight non-cooperative opponents to pass the belts...

The worst in us

The book was an embarrassing, cringy read. The author exemplified every weak trait that makes male martial artists reluctant to train with women. She failed and she quit.


The judo instructor gave the author a cheat to let her pass black belt by doing a kata rather than combat. She passed black belt without combat skill - on a technicality - and quit again.

Disgusting attitude

The judo book was an offensive, lame read; serving to highlight the worst aspects of our sex. There are many sincere female martial artists in the world, training hard and able to hold their own.
The author was just a 'tourist' who never comprehended what it means to be martial artist.

Help me up...

If we were to judge women by the standards of the judo book I mentioned, then women are undoubtedly the weaker sex.
The author expected a handout, a leg up, positive prejudice, chivalry, emotional support and a few other concessions... Can we honestly expect a man to respect such attitudes?

Are women the weaker sex?

Are we weaker? Are all women like the judo lady?
I say no. There are many strong women in society.

Different, not equal

Sexes = male or female. Equal means 'same'. Men and women are not the same.
We have biological differences e.g. reproductive organs, muscle distribution, hormonal, circulatory, psychological, emotional, physical, motivations, interests. These are scientific fact and indisputable.

Negative stereotypes

Female stereotypes, ideas, values, perceptions and conventions regarding women and their various roles in society were quite often created and sustained by men. Women are not damsels in distress.
We are not in need of saving. We can save ourselves.

Taijiquan relies on the strength and speed of the legs.

(Lau Kim Hong)


Adopting male emotions and thoughts changes the musculature of the face; making the woman look masculine. The body changes too.
A woman who adopts male mannerisms and characteristics is a male parody; a caricature.

Emulating men devalues women

I read a blog post by a woman that said how women must learn to think like men. Huh? How demeaning! What next? Grow a penis? Terms such as 'gender spectrum' are bandied around these days...
How absurd!

Be a woman

Emulating men doesn't make us strong. We are already strong. We are free to express our own agenda. Our femininity. This is where our power resides: in being a feminine woman.


A woman can be strong without looking like a man. e.g. yoga, dance, tai chi... Compare Western and Asian female athletes. Asian women do not sacrifice their femininity in the pursuit of strength.
If victory means becoming a man, it is not a victory at all.


If a woman attends a martial arts class expecting a concession, she should not attend at all. Women are not handicapped. Women are not disabled. Expect the same treatment as a man receives.


Many martial arts classes separate men and women. They even impose weight categories. In real life you cannot choose who will attack you.
In order to cope with a male attacker, women's combat must address attacks from both men and women.

Taijiquan fighting method

Women need to get past the idea of women's combat. Combat is not contingent upon what sex you are. There is just combat. A punch is a punch, regardless of whether or you are a man or a woman.
Women-friendly training is patronising and pointless. You won't get attacked by a woman-friendly assailant.

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Page created 18 March 2007
Last updated 27 April 2020