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Training Women in the Martial Arts: A Special Journey
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Manufacturer: Wish Publishing
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 5.0/5Average rating of 5.0/5Average rating of 5.0/5Average rating of 5.0/5Average rating of 5.0/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 613.66082
EAN: 9781930546844
ISBN: 193054684X
Label: Wish Publishing
Manufacturer: Wish Publishing
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 118
Publication Date: 2007-04
Publisher: Wish Publishing
Studio: Wish Publishing

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Editorial Reviews:

Training Women in the Martial Arts is for male and female martial arts instructors, female martial arts students, and supporters of women in the martial arts. The book is designed to help people involved in the martial arts understand the challenges women face when training and help them create and provide appropriate martial arts and self defense instruction.

The obstacles female students face, both in and out of the training hall often go unrecognized. By educating themselves, students become better prepared to overcome these hurdles. Instructors can offer more appropriate and effective instructions- thereby retaining students and helping women achieve their martial arts goals.

There is no direct competition, since this is the only book that directly targets training women in the martial arts. Most how-to martial arts books are written primarily with men in mind and women's experiences differ dramatically from men's.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Enthusiastically recommended for all martial arts instructors
Comment: Written by martial arts instructors Jennifer Lawler and Laura Kamienski, Training Women in the Martial Arts: A Special Journey is a practical guide especially for male and female martial arts instructors. Addressing the unique challenge of training women to defend themselves in a male-dominated culture constantly bombarding them with messages of submission. Chapters address why women join the ranks of white belts at roughly even numbers as men yet only a small fraction earn black belts; common personality traits in fellow students or instructors that impede women (such as the "bully" or "rescuer" personas), the importance of teaching women to be aware of incursions on personal space and potential dangers from acquaintances and friends as well as from the proverbial stranger in the parking lot, and much more. "Combative classes reinforce the notion that it is best to retaliate only when there is no doubt a threat exists... it is only okay to fight when very clear-cut lines are drawn and a victim is sure there is going to be a physical confrontation, or after the physical assault has begun - too late to prevent it. But sexual assault is overrun with ambiguity and attempts to confuse the victim... These types of scenarios reject learning to rely on one's own sense of endangerment." Enthusiastically recommended for all martial arts instructors regardless of the type of martial art or self-defense training they specialize in.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Must-read for martial arts instructors
Comment: This succinct book is unabashedly, and refreshingly, fearless. The authors state three aims:

- inspire more women to train in martial arts,
- help those who know women martial artists be better at supporting them, and
- educate those who teach women in martial arts and self-defense about the reality of violence against women today.

Sounds great, but what's so fearless and refreshing about that?

One would think that with women's breakthroughs into the martial arts over the last several decades, obstacles facing women in martial arts would have faded away by now. Yet even though more women than ever are beginning martial arts training, fewer stay with it for a significant length of time compared to their male counterparts.

This book is fearless and refreshing because Lawler and Kamienski pinpoint not only reasons that individual women may choose to stay or leave training, but also societal structures that encourage women to forego learning crucial skills involving strength, confidence, and safety. The authors are not afraid to use the "f" word (feminist) many times. They even describe our social structure as "patriarchal." These days, that's refreshing. And fearless. And, alas, accurate.

The first chapter enumerates some reasons that women begin martial arts training. It includes what to look for in a school that will welcome women. The three middle chapters ("Gender Roles," "Power Dynamics," and "Hierarchies and Rank") each deal with the particular way that women can find themselves frustrated, sometimes without really knowing why. These chapters build on each other.

I know women, as I'm sure you do, who believe that gender roles have no real power today. To the contrary, the authors point out the everyday interactions with families, friends, coworkers, other students, bosses, and others whose purpose is to keep us in gender/role boxes that are comfortable to others. The authors give suggestions on how to better recognize these interactions as well as steps to counteract them. In fact, the last chapter discusses ways the authors have, in their seminars and schools, instituted change.

Any martial arts instructor who teaches women's self-defense read this book, and read it again. Streaming throughout this book are stories and statistics on violence against women, from desensitizing annoyances to outright assault. Many women enter martial arts because of their experiences with violence, or because of the experiences with violence they wish to never have. The authors make a clear distinction between the skills taught in martial arts and self-defense training. They give a lot of information on what needs to be included for a great self-defense program for women. Kamienski in particular is well-educated in women's self-defense issues and is certified as a self-defense instructor by the National Women's Martial Arts Federation (the premier and most rigorous organization that reviews and certifies self-defense instructors).

What do you really want from your martial arts training?

- Training--that should go without saying. But incredulously enough, training sometimes slips through the cracks if you face power and control issues.
- To be taken seriously in training.
- Learn.
- Get stronger, both physically and emotionally.
- Empowerment.
- Respect.

Those were the issues over 35 years ago when women began demanding training. These issues are still hanging around like second-hand smoke in an old bar. If you recognized yourself in this book, or recognize any of the many experiences the authors describe, this book is a great validation of your experiences. It is a source for strategically planning to get all you can from martial arts training.

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