On Wax On, Wax Off: A Brief History of Women-Only Karate

Thank you so much for this thought-provoking essay. Among American women, I have often encountered a feeling of resistance toward separating martial-arts classes by sex. Attitudes are different in different cultures, though, as is implied here.

I studied Shotokan karate in Japan for six years. Every Tuesday night the class was divided into men and women, with the men at the front of the dojo and the women at the back. I was initially resistant to the idea of training separately, but I came to really like it. It helped that the practice was actually usually more challenging than what the men were doing. And the training had a very different feel to it than the mixed classes. The age range was quite wide (some of the older women only attended the women-only classes) and there was a lot more mutual encouragement. The class was taught by a man, but he was never condescending and demanded the utmost from everyone he taught.

This was a contrast to the women-only aikido class I attended a single time (aikido is my main art, and I practiced continuously throughout my time in Japan). In that case there was definitely the sense that the women were second-rate students and not to be taken seriously. The women in that class were not pushed at all, and the male instructor brought in a male student to use for demonstrating techniques rather than using any of the women. I never went back after that one time.

All of which is to say, a women-only class can take many forms and fill very different needs depending on how the training is conducted and the attitude of the instructor.

Posted on December 26, 2014 at 8:30 pm 0

On A Conversation Amongst Me, Ludacris, and Robert Louis Stevenson About Christmas

Good lord, this is wonderful.

I am not a fan of Xmess. I plan to spend Sunday and Monday celebrating the solstice with my hippie friends (mostly will involve saunas, nudity, music, and drinking I do hope) and then going about my business for the remainder of the week as if nothing out of the ordinary were occurring. But I'll certainly pour one out for RLS and Ludacris--and you!

Posted on December 17, 2014 at 4:03 pm 0

On Sisters, Ranked

Aw, Jazmine, this made my heart swell. Now I gotta call my sister (I only have the one, but the phenomenon of fighting like cats and then suddenly realizing we like each other is similar).

Posted on December 15, 2014 at 9:42 pm 0

On Rabbit, Rabbit Drake, Drake

@Jazmine Hughes Haha frankly I am quite happy either way!

Posted on December 1, 2014 at 2:07 pm 0

On Rabbit, Rabbit Drake, Drake

I’m absolutely ready for a woman president. I’m ready for a woman nighttime-talk-show host, to tell you the truth. I wonder which will be first.
Yep, Chris Rock just stole my heart too.

Posted on December 1, 2014 at 12:18 pm 1

On Weekend Roundup / Open Thread

This week was a most excellent week in Hairpinnage. My favorite was the 39 Questions piece! But seriously, there was so much good stuff. Thanks for all your work!

Jazmine, you are welcome to eat all the Gushers within reach (*shudder*) and I will eat the tomatoes. And we will both think we got the far better part of the deal!

Posted on November 22, 2014 at 10:48 am 1

On Weekend Roundup / Open Thread

@Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that) Is it big enough to put a fancy/shiny belt around it? I am not a fan of the blazer/t shirt look on myself, I prefer scarves...but I also know people who can really make it look good!

Posted on November 22, 2014 at 10:45 am 0

On Five Things Guaranteed to Turn Him On

BRB, gotta buy a coffin. That rice trick works every time but I have had bad luck with ziploc bags...thanks for the tip!

Posted on November 21, 2014 at 4:36 pm 0

On How To Write An Email

@Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that) My mom uses Hi comma because she read it in the NYT or something, and it always looks vaguely censorious to me. Of course, this may be a thing between my mom and me, since we've had the conversation where she says YOU'RE AN EDITOR WHY ARE YOU NOT PUNCTUATING EMAILS CORRECTLY and I'm like, Because you're my MOM not the bloody University of Chicago Press.

Anyway, I generally don't mind receiving casual emails, but I always begin mine with a proper salutation of some sort, even if it's just "Hey Ma," and end with "Cheers" (for people who don't know me well) or "YT" (for friends and relations) plus my name.

I too worship Mary Beard but I think she might be overthinking this.

Posted on November 21, 2014 at 12:51 pm 0

On How to Have a Dinner Party

Summon the food. Summon the food. Summon the food.

I keep doing this, but it's not working. Also, it's the middle of the day and there are no guests, but still. WHERE IS MY INVISIBLE MANSERVANT

It is snowing and I would really like a toasted cheese sandwich, is all.

Posted on November 18, 2014 at 1:53 pm 1