Stereotypes... What kind of woman really does Martial arts?

Discussion in 'Women of the Martial Arts (Women Martial Artists)' started by Just4Kicks, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Just4Kicks

    Just4Kicks Green Belt

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    When someone finds out I do martial arts I generally get the whole, "Wow... I never would have guessed. You don't look like the type of girl who'd do that..."

    They all expect female MAs to be masculine, tall or feminazis. I'm short, feminine and I don't burn my bras (I need them to train dammit!). But what about you girls, do you get shocked reactions? Do you fit the sterotypes?

    What kind of women really do martial arts?
     
  2. harlan

    harlan 2nd Black Belt

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    You mean, what kind of women actually stick with it? What are the characteristics of women that get their butts to class, year in and year out? Practice when they aren't in class? Suppliment their physical knowledge with an intellectual component? Organize their lives and relationships in order to increase opportunities for more learning, and have a clear view of their priorities? The kind that overcome the myriad obstacles involved when she wants to pursue an interest?

    I'd say: determined, intelligent and hardworking.
     
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  3. Aniela13

    Aniela13 Yellow Belt

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    I'm with ya...once in a great while a friend I've known for a few years will find out that I'm in MA (took two years off, so that explains their confusion lol) and will say "hm, I guess that makes sense", but for the most part I get that same reaction you described. Which is funny in itself, because that shows that no single stereotype exists.

    As for me...I'm a very determined person, I love getting in shape (differentiated from losing weight...I don't have weight to lose, but I do have a body that needs to get in shape lol), and I want to learn enough that I never (in the normal run of things; there will obviously be exceptions) have to be worried about being forced to do anything against my will. So that would be my description for this woman, and I think these plus other factors--such as what harlan stated--are a good place to start :)

    ~Ani
     
  4. Omar B

    Omar B Senior Master

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    Can I chime in here? My younger sister does karate with me, she started a year after I did and is pretty good (even got a couple trophies and medals). She's petite, gentle and a regular girly girl who no one would ever see as a threat. Make no mistake though, she's beaten the crap out of a couple guys who have tried to get handsy with her at school or out at the bar.

    Sometimes a friend of mine will come over and admire the trophies in the living room assuming they are all mine and I have to tell them (to their shock) that no, only the ones on the left.

    My experience with women in MA is mostly shaped by her. Confident, fit, gentle but a tough cookie when called for.
     
  5. KELLYG

    KELLYG 2nd Black Belt

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    Just an average yr old women. To look at me you would not know that I had any martial arts training. One of my instructors said to me one day "I'd hate to be the poor innocent mugger that attacks you, they won't know what hit them." So its good to go round incognito!!
     
  6. teekin

    teekin 3rd Black Belt

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    Well I'm like the rest of you girls except that I a femanazi when it comes up to standing up for other women.

    I am short 5'2" (ish), small boned, feminine (most of the time), I like wearing dresses, have a terrible shoe fetish ( Italian leather heels), my house looks like a Ray Bradbury story because the plants are taking over, I love horses, I go to the horseraces, I go to the spa for the full on treatment with my girlfreind Judy, get pissed off when my favorite nylons get runs, go out on girls only nights and love real silk scarves. I don't come across as at all threatening or even capable of defending myself, unless I open my mouth or put my hands on you.

    The reaction I get from no MA people varies from "why, is somebody after you", "that's so cool", " stop this silliness" "christ lori, now your crazy and dangerous" "do you like getting hurt?" " don't you have a boyfreind to protect you", " I've allways wanted to try that" (always the girls say this)

    The variety of reaction I get shows me that most people don't have a clue what BJJ or Judo really is. The discount the mental/ defensive part and focus of the agressive attacking sliver they see in the media and try to reconcile that with my tiny frame. I think they are looking for Zena and found Olga Korbut.
    lori
     
  7. MA-Caver

    MA-Caver Sr. Grandmaster

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    What kind of women really do martial arts? For me... sexy ones. :uhyeah:
     
  8. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I'd say that it really depends upon the martial arts style and the woman involved.
     
  9. harlan

    harlan 2nd Black Belt

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    Interesting. Are you suggesting that different arts might appeal differently? Or something else? Just curious. :)
     
  10. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    Every kind. I know plenty of female martial artists, and we are all different. The only thing we have in common is that one day we wandered (or were dragged) into a dojang of some type, found out we liked it, and never left.

    I will say, however, that I've gotten that "Really? You're a martial artist? You don't look like a martial artist..." response quite a few times - and I've never been able to get anyone to tell me what a martial artist looks like, or acts like, or any other defining characteristic - just that I'm not what they expected.
     
  11. terryl965

    terryl965 <center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR

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    Kacey has hit it right on the head, Martial Artit comes in every shape and size and there is not one tracible mark except for heart and intregrity.
     
  12. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Exactly that, rather than replace one stereotype with another.

    My experience has been that people gravitate towards arts that suit them. In general, the student body of a Wing Chun school will look/act/be different than the student body of a boxing gym. The student picks the style and the style itself shapes the student, whether man or woman.

    Does that answer your question?
     
  13. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    I have no idea what a female martial artist is suppose to look like. I imagine like every other woman on the planet. But then I have no idea what a male Martial Artist is supposed to look like either.

    Does she look like a martial artistÂ… be honest

    Now look again

     
  14. harlan

    harlan 2nd Black Belt

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    Just curious. I'm uncertain if the physical aspect is really a determining factor in whether or not a woman stays in any particular art. For example, I'm old and fat and study kobudo and karate. Yet, I've met plenty of old, fat women that seem to prefer Tae Kwon Do. The real difference between these 'not-so-hot' mamas and myself is personality; what we are looking for in our studies and the overall 'fit' of the style and teacher (MOST important factor) with personality...vs. physique.

     
  15. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Okay. I'm not sure I see where that contradicts what I said. I think that the word "looks" might have been unclear. I'm talking about more than just physical attributes.

    Were I to say that a typical kindergarten class "looks" different than a 3rd grade class, I'm talking about a lot more than height and weight. The class itself would look VERY different in almost every meaningful way. Behavior, maturity, curriculum, structure...
     
  16. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    You're losing me too.

    So some arts have more mature people than others? :idunno: Which ones are the Kindegartners and which ones are the 3rd graders?
     
  17. harlan

    harlan 2nd Black Belt

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    Mea culpa. I misread the original post. Rereading the bit about 'student body' I see it didn't mean to allude to physique being a determining factor.

    Apologies. :eek:

    (Been reading one two many 'fat' threads. ;) )
     
  18. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Oh for Pete's sake. you guys are reading too much into the post. I try to be brief (for once) and this is what happens.

    Simply put, I don't think you can stereotype. The entire point of this thread seems to me to be about identifying a NEW stereotype. I think that's bogus. There are enough different MA styles that people have choices and will be drawn to the style that suits them. AND, at the same time, people will be influenced by the style in which they train. It goes both ways.

    The rest seems, frankly, to be you guys looking for some kind of insult where there just isn't one and also to introduce gender where it's really irrelevant. In keeping with other current threads, you might just as well have said, "Stereotypes... what kind of overweight person really does martial arts?" The answer is, depends upon the person and the art involved. What kind of kid trains in martial arts? Depends upon the kid AND the art involved? Some kids gravitate to TKD and others join the wrestling team.

    Carol, I'd say that the BJJ guys are the kindergartners... at least with all the fart jokes I hear at class, that's my guess. :D
     
  19. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    Well I was gonna say because you both lay down on mats... :D

    I'm sorry Steve - too many late nights and not enough sleep. My comprehension was not all there when I read your post. :eek:
     
  20. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    :) Not an issue. I'm not being clear. I have a lot of irons in the fire today. :D
     

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