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...and all that said, there are some general differences.

January 22 2010 at 12:13 PM
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R.M. Robertson  (Login rmrob)
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Response to For those reading this increasingly absurd thread...

Often, anyway.

I'd leave the techniques alone. If the small guys I've seen can do this stuff on the level some of the small guys I've seen can do this stuff, there's no physical reason that women can't do this stuff.

But as very general gender differences, well, it's been my observation that the average guy is more comfortable with fighting and with hitting things than the average gal.

It's also been my observation that the average guy is far likelier to be a goober or a hammerhead than the average gal--mostly, women seem to tend to be smarter about the fact that you'll take their head off if they screw around on the mat. Mostly, women seem more willing to learn technique than men.

Some of this has got to be biology-based, though not as much as people think. And some is clearly socially learned: watch the average guy and gal walk down the street, and you'll see clear differences. Guys, I swear, are scanning for threats&for babes. Gals are often more in their own thoughts.

Guys tend to think that their obvious physical and emotional advantages on the mat--size, weight, reach, aggressivity--mean that they're obviously better kenpoistas. And it does give them an early advantage...if they're allowed to exploit this stuff, which they're often quite willing to do.

And women often have problems for years with defending themselves. I've heard pretty much the same story over and over and over: "I started training, went home, and my boyfriend/husband/friend at work/dad said, 'What would you do if I did THIS," and starts choking them. They freak, scrabble at the arm, and give up...and this goes on over and over until, oh, blue-to-green belt.

Then, as one woman I trained with who had a HELLUVA punch said, "Well, I threw my brother through the top of a glass coffee table last night." Uh....why? "Remember how I told you he always gave me a hard time about kenpo, and kept putting me in a choke hold? Well..."

There are differences, sure. But better or worse? bad call. It's more like the study they did of women police officers--turns out that men did better when they were in fights, and women were more likely to get the situation calmed down and the guy cuffed without anybody getting into fights.

Similarly, it seems to me that guys tend to have early success--and far more trouble on the whole with shutting up, squushing the ego down to manageable proportions, and just learning the material. (And the bigger the guy is, the worse this is.) Women train in smaller numbers, persist a little less well, get to black a little less often...but when they do, well mostly, cowabunga.

And like all such generalizations, NONE of this tells you a darn thing about individuals. I've trained with women who loved sparring from the git-go; I've trained with men who were incredibly patient and nuanced about learning the details of kenpo.

And what's more, this may just be changing. At least when you look on the crappier cable channels, there sure seem to be more chicks out there who stupidly try to punch their way out of every problem...

This is what would be wrong about any, "separate, but equal," curriculum for women.

R.M. Robertson

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