I learned that today was International Women's Day and just last night I was reading in the book, Understand? Good, Play! a collection of Soke's quotes, several quotes from Soke on women in training. I felt it was appropriate to share them since the timing of reading them was so fortuitous. (If you don't have to book, I highly recommend buying a copy)
"There are numerous examples of women killing men in battle. Never forget this. Men and women are in-yo (The Japanese terms for yin-yang in Chinese). They are part of the same whole. They are the same." And to make a joke out of it, as Soke is famous for doing, "That is why I am occasionally ungentlemanly."
Another was about the importance of training seriously in the dojo. Soke wants us to train lightheartedly in the dojo, there are many quotes about this, such as this one from the same book: "Everyday life is stressful and worrisome enough. Your time in the dojo should be anything but. Training should be fun and carefree."
So, when he said this quote, I pondered it for a while. "It is extremely important that women train seriously. If a woman's Taijutsu is not effective, the people she trains with are partially to blame. There is a fine line between being a gentleman and doing someone a disfavor by making her think that she has a technique when she actually does not.... If you do no train seriously, you could end up being killed."
So, why the dichotomy? I am not Soke, and I can't speak for him, but for me he is saying it's important not to let bad training occur. I've seen this happen, a man is training with a woman and lets her take him down with a technique that may not actually have worked. Subconsciously he may just be acting the part of a gentleman, but in Budo that can't happen. If your partner can't do the technique, help them learn to do it correctly, don't simply go with it if it won't actually work. That is how to train seriously, and yet still train in a fun and carefree manner. Help each other to learn, learn from mistakes, and have fun while training.
So, see you on the mat, have a great day everyone!