This is a re-posting of an article excerpt found on AikiWeb forums. (Original Post:

From Aikido Today Magazine #45, April/May 1996 — Positive Outreach for Women in Aikido, by Penny Sablove-sensei (of Heart of San Francisco Aikido) and Linda Holiday-sensei (of Aikido of Santa Cruz)

1. I always make sure there are women teaching (and not just me).

2. I invite guest instructors to the dojo on a regular basis, and I make sure that there are women guest instructors.

3. At black belt exams, I often invite women to sit on the examining board. For kyu exams, I call women black belts to let them know they are invited to sit on the kyu exam board. In this way, there are women in visible authority positions.

4. I am careful to use both women and men as ukes.

5. I give Instructor Guidelines to people training in the dojo, one point of which is to be aware of gender balance when choosing ukes as well as to be careful to use gender-neutral language.

6. While teaching and working with people individually during class, I make sure that female students get roughly the same amount of my attention as male students.

7. I keep a lookout for beginning women partnered with men who are being intimidating or over-instructive. In these cases, I may go over and talk with the man, have everyone change partners, or perhaps address the whole class on the issue of respect.

8. I make it a practice to maintain faith in everyone’s potential.

9. I remain aware that a woman on the mat may have experienced violence, either as an adult or as a child, at the hands of men, and that this may have a tremendous effect on how she approaches Aikido.

10. We have a women’s class in the dojo about once a month.


Attracting and Keeping Women Members in the Dojo is a hub for articles, videos, and resources for women practicing Aikido.

One thought on “Attracting and Keeping Women Members in the Dojo

  • February 23, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    I would add the following to this list:

    • Respectful communication in general (no sexist comments, no “talking down” to others, regardless of rank or gender)
    • Make sure people are washing their uniforms regularly.
    • Let everyone define their own limits for how much they are able to train. Don’t push people past their limits but encourage them to challenge themselves.
    • Stop micro-managers and mansplainers in their tracks.

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