How to Deal With Misogyny in the Dojo

Discussion in 'Women of the Martial Arts (Women Martial Artists)' started by SFC JeffJ, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. SFC JeffJ

    SFC JeffJ Grandmaster

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    This has been going on for a while now. There is a student in what was formerly know as our weekly "advanced" class, where brown belts and above trained together, and it's hosted at my wife and I's school. But, our instructor has in the past six months opened up to lower kyu ranks.

    One of the men who has been coming is quite the misogynist. The type that hides behind religion to back it up. His daughters, who also join in (great kids BTW, if undereducated), are the girls you often see wearing the long denim skirts, don't cut their hair, covered hair, ect....
    are told by him it's not their place to teach men, which has caused some trouble when under ranks and been there and our instructor told them to show them something. But, because everyone likes the girls 'cause they are good students, it was given a pass.

    However, the father will completely ignore anything my wife says and doesn't offer any respect. After all, it's not a womans place to teach a man.

    I've had enough.

    Next class, I'm going to talk to my fellow instructors about this. I don't care how much they like his daughters, I'm not going to have this kind of behavior in my dojo. Especially directed at my wife, who is the head of it.

    I already have a few ideas how I might bring up this issue with them, but was wondering if any of you ladies did.

    Thanks,

    Jeff
     
  2. Big Don

    Big Don Sr. Grandmaster

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    I don't see misogyny, I do see religious bigotry...
     
  3. SFC JeffJ

    SFC JeffJ Grandmaster

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    So treating women as chattel who don't deserve respect is OK as long as it's done because a religion say so?
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2011
  4. rlobrecht

    rlobrecht Brown Belt

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    I don't think that's what Big Don is saying. I think he's clarifying the use of the term.

    Misogyny is a hatred of women. Webster link.

    What you are describing is a complete lack of respect for women, which I agree is different, but still a huge problem.

    I think talking with your instructors is a good start. I also think that you will need to talk to your head instructor. You want to be able to have a united front from the organization that your wife is the head of your dojo, and when she's teaching she's in charge.

    I don't think you'll ever get the student in question to honestly respect a woman. He sounds like he's stuck half a century ago. I think the best you will get is for him to begrudgingly listen to her, or leave the school on his own.

    Good luck,
    Rick
     
  5. SFC JeffJ

    SFC JeffJ Grandmaster

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    Big Don, if this was your intention, please let me know.

    I would be more than happy to apologize for my snarky comeback.

    Personally, I think that people who disrespect anyone in such a way is simply hiding(and not very well) their hatred. But I could be wrong on that I suppose.

    Jeff
     
  6. dowan50

    dowan50 Orange Belt

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    Your problem is not just with this particular man but how teaching is being done in your association from white belt on. Your head instructor and all who teach under him must impress on people that when they come through the door they leave all other thoughts and relationships at the door starting with the warm ups there is only what you are dong at that moment nothing more.

    Second respect for authority is taught not from an ego point but from an organizational and traditional stand point meaning. Who ever is in charge has been appointed by the person above them and so on so disrespect to anyone teaching is disrespect to the person who put them in charge and ultimately is disrespect all the way up the line to the Grand Master in charge.

    This cannot be allowed due to the fact it will be the person in charge who gets in trouble for allowing this attitude to reflect ultimately on the owner of the club or president of the association. So long story short when explaining to new students why they must respect the do Jo, higher rank or person in charge it is not for me but for my betters and I will be consider a bad teacher if I allow you to continue.

    The man in question has no choice but to comply because he is not in his world anymore and since he has voluntarily chose to attend he must comply or not be there period no compromise at all. If he stays and complies over time the mental conditioning of step out of yourself at the door will change him.

    Final interesting two points, a young Korean master once said to me you Americans are to greedy when it comes to respect? You must first give respect to gain respect and interesting concept coming from a Korean Born?

    Second in all martial arts there is discrimination on many different levels inherent from tradition and culture. Example at a world event a Grand Master in charge was addressing a group of masters related to problems occurring during the event and a female master addressed him in front of the group and his head strongly went from side to side refusing to have eye contact. Several people questioned later why this action was taken and it was stated that was a tradition Grand Master and they do not publicly acknowledge the authority of a women to address them in such a fashion or consider what they are saying as having value or possibly equal power at that moment?

    That is the tradition of MA but here in the states it has been Westernized and sadl to say to the point that many due to the commercialization think must disdain respect and know more than the instructor or master to the point they are truly unteachable.
     
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  7. shesulsa

    shesulsa Columbia Martial Arts Academy

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    I had a Russian man bring his son to me for training because he was tiny for his age and he would get bullied.

    This kid, while in my classroom, bullied my other students and would not follow my instruction. He did a lot of pushups and up-downs.

    His father had an idea how to speak to an American woman, exhausted his son's two-week trial period and then decided to question me on the theory behind Systema as opposed to traditional martial arts. At the end of that discussion, I told him that in all frankness, it would better for his son to train with others with similar points of view since he refused to take instruction from me and proved to be a precocious student, I would not train him.

    He asked if it was because he was Russian, I said no. It's because he has no respect for a teacher, specifically me. And since his father likes the theory behind Systema it would be a good idea to find a nearby trainer and seek it out.

    My advice would be to refuse his entrance into your school if he has no respect for women. A woman will use defense techniques and if he wants his girls to understand the issues pertaining to women specifically, he would do good by them to learn. And put this to your instructor - he should be the bad guy here. Let him deal with it. If you really want to go there, you could arrange things such that only your wife and this family were to train one day and let her handle the matter.

    Her thoughts?
     
  8. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    You shouldn't project motivations. Its kinda snarky.:) I don't think that religious gender roles are born out hatred.
    Sean
     
  9. Empty Hands

    Empty Hands Senior Master

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    The solution?
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    Wouldn't that be more of a reason to not like her?:ultracool
    Sean
     
  11. Empty Hands

    Empty Hands Senior Master

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    Maybe, but he won't open his big mouth about it lest another side kick be coming his way. ;)
     
  12. LuckyKBoxer

    LuckyKBoxer Master Black Belt

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    You are talking about a guys religious values, and his world values right?
    I think maybe you need to make clear the heirarchy in your studio, who is instructors, what that means and let him know if he doesn't like it he can hit the road.

    problems start because you the owner and manager are to worried about keeping someone around that doesn't fit the ideal of what you want to do, and it sounds like the guy goes completely against it...
    so what wins out? Your values, or the money the guy brings in?
     
  13. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    Pretty much what I was going to say, but I was a going to quote Teddy Roosevelt
    Speak softly and carry a big stick
     
  14. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I may have missed it, but I don't see where you've said whether or not you've addressed your concerns with the dad. Were it me, I'd have a frank conversation with the dad. It's not an emotional thing. It's not personal. Don't be overly aggressive, but be firm. I call it assertively friendly. :)

    Actually, thinking about it, I would have the conversation only after my wife had attempted the same conversation with him and it didn't work. She should set an appointment with him and lay it out. If he doesn't come around, then I'd recommend as the school owner you make the situation very simple for him.

    If you address your concerns in a clear way, the choice for him to leave really becomes his. What you're doing is internalizing the issue. You're taking HIS monkey and carrying it on your back. The issue is his. The decision is also his. Not yours. Force him to choose. And it sounds like the choice is pretty clear. Either he treats your wife with the respect you demand, or he chooses to find another school. Very, very simple.

    For what it's worth, I'd suggest you ground the discussion in observable behaviors rather than motivation. I say this because you seemed to get tripped up early in this thread misinterpreting Big Don's intention. Ultimately, intentions don't matter. The situation didn't come to a head because of intentions. IThe behavior is that he doesn't listen to your wife and treats the women in the dojo poorly. In the scheme of things, it doesn't matter why. It only matters that he change his behavior.

    The moment you introduce feelings or intent, the discussion will quickly spiral out of control.

    The above is only my opinion based strictly on what's been posted here in this thread and over 15 years of having hard discussions with people where I'm often giving them very bad news or telling them things they don't want to hear.
     
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  15. girlbug2

    girlbug2 Master of Arts

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    This man is rebelling against the established heirarchy by disrespecting your wife: he is out of order. OP, I would not allow him or the girls a pass on the proper heirarchy of your dojo. I would explain to this man the structure of authority at your school, and that you do not allow exceptions. Be clear with him that not only will his daughters be required to teach underbelts like all the other students, but that he will have to show your wife the respect due her rank or leave. You require this not only as the sensei but also as her husband.
     
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  16. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    No, they're born out of the desire to maintain power and control over women, from times and cultures in which women were nothing more than property, to be used or discarded as the man saw fit. Not hatred exactly.
     
  17. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Grandmaster

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    It might be unpleasant for your wife, but you could try setting it so that she is the ONLY person who instructs or interacts with this guy. If he can't handle that, then explain that she is one of the instructors in the school and SHE will be the one giving him instruction. If he still cannot handle that, show him the door and don't let it slam his *** on his way out.
     
  18. shesulsa

    shesulsa Columbia Martial Arts Academy

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    Two votes for that approach.
     
  19. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I personally think this is both overly confrontational and at the same time kind of passive aggressive. What I mean is, it sets up a physical confrontation where the wife is directing him, giving him orders and waiting for him to either obey or not obey. And at the same time, it's avoiding saying the hard things that should be said, "From where I sit, you disrespect me in class and it needs to stop."

    If there have been no clear conversations with the guy prior to this, it will likely be misunderstood and make things worse. He's liable to feel ambushed and react negatively. And truth is, it would be an ambush basically aiming for a negative reaction. If you're trying to manipulate him into leaving, by all means do this. Otherwise, I'd recommend starting with words and moving it out to the training floor only after you have some kind of tacit agreement from him that he's willing to tow the line.
     
  20. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Grandmaster

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    oops, missed that part.
     

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