Project Files


GendAi Guideline - The result of a multinational project. Disclaimer

Questionnaire GendAi

Results of the Questionnaire

Summary Implementation

Recommendations for actions/Guidelines


The purpose of these Guidelines is to offer a series of recommendations to attract more women to start practicing aikido as well as to retain those who are already attending.

Not all recommendations will work in all dojos. Some will be more succesful than the others. However, all may contribute to achieve the purpose, we have tried them all.

We suggest that you do the same and keep trying. We are convinced that you will succeed.


l. Purpose: attracting more women to the dojo

Target groups: new members

General principles:

Awareness/publicity in social media/youtube/women’s website, presented by women, for example by storytelling about things which make aikido attractive for women:

  • fitness aspect
  • self-defense
  • full body and mind
  • show that physical/muscle strength is not needed
  • take away presumption on martial arts
  • emphasize that aikido focus on spirituality/self-development
  • message to raise awareness of the female-friendliness of the dojos

When advertising, all aspects are equally important: where, what, who, how!



  • Social media campaign (Facebook, Instagram, Tik-Tok)


  • Short videos with moments from the classes including  short interviews (few lines) with female instructors talking about the changes/improvements aikido can bring, and sharing these videos on facebook and instagram
    Interview with Satomi in Ljubljana, March 2020:

  • Interview with Irina in Ljubljana, march 2022:
  • Facebook post about us finishing the project online with our photo from our online working meeting.


  • Use slogans like "Women Are The Ki To Life”


  • Female friendly website 
  • Articles on website which help to change the perception that aikido requires physical force



  • Classic advertisement
  • Posters and other items with key words and slogans




  • Demonstration by female aikidoka

at local level in cooperation with local authorities that usually offer spots for all clubs in the city


The demonstration was presented during the Japan Festival in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, on Sunday 19th June 2022. The event is organized annually by the city council to introduce Japanese culture to the inhabitants of the city to connect them through activities, exhibitions, food and so on. The program includes stage performances of different Japanese martial arts, among which was Aikido. Our demonstration team consisted of the female tori, Satomi, and 2 male uke, plus 6 teenagers, girls and boys.

The demonstration was broadly appreciated by the different groups of audience.


  • Open door activities at the dojo, but also free classes in other places like sport centers


In Ljubljana dojo we prepare twice per year “The Open Dojo Day” where all the members of the family can participate at the training.


In Romania, open doors activities are organized from time to time, aprox once or twice a year. The number of interested people is not high, but it is an opportunity to attract people that already made a step: they got to the dojo. In order, to promote such an activity, usually via local press is the best way.


  • Open classes where lady practitioners show/make demo having men practitioners as uke


youtubevideo of Satomi’s demonstration with Alen, March 2022.

In Romania, such demos are organized mostly in March each year, related to the International Women Day. In 2022, the event was held in Cluj-Napoca.

II.       Purpose: keeping women aikidoka in the dojo and promoting their career


            Target group: practicing female aikidoka

General principles:

  • Promote female role model/female led seminars
  • All instructors radiate gender equality, sensei practice more with women, treat ladies equally
  • Give role in aikido federations


  • Organising classes that take into account women’s need



In Ljubljana weekly training is organised for a group of women who were victims of domestic violence. The initiative came from the Association for Nonviolent Communication . Stasa ran special weekly aikido training sessions (from February until end of May). There were 15-20 practitioners, all women between 20 and 65 years old. All of them had traumatic experiences from domestic violence. Aikido training made them feel better, forget about their everyday problems and they achieved some physical strength, posture improvements and body awareness. They all said aikido is beneficial for their body and mind. They were offered to attend our regular classes at the end of the course but no one expressed the willingness to come. Also their terapeuts said that this was the maximum effort they were able to do. So it was unsuccessful to integrate them in general classes but it is very understandable. Stasa, as their aikido teacher, thinks that that kind of class should be integrated in their facilities.



In Romania as part of the program to encourage women to practice Aikido, in Romania, FRAA organized a self-defense Aikido course especially for women. There were taught techniques by which you can escape from un uncomfortable or dangerous situation in everyday life; in addition, emphasis was placed on the effect that Aikido, as a martial art, has on the development of everyone, as a person, respectively how, by practicing long term martial arts, in our case Aikido, a person changes his/hers perspective on life: by not allowing yourself to be used or attacked (not necessarily from a physical point of view), by not being a victim.

The course lasted about half a year and was relatively successful, having around 20 women participants.

The purpose of this program was that, after the female practitioners learned the general notions, and crossed that psychological threshold according to which women do not practice martial arts, this being a field reserved for men, they would gradually participate in all the trainings organized by our dojo. This part of the program was not a success: out of de 20 trainees, only 1 or 2 continue to come to the general trainings after the end of the program.



In the Netherlands one hour morning class for women was organised to get broad attention of female beginners. The class was scheduled 10.00-11.00 in the morning.


  • Have special classes for women to connect aikido movements with real life situations



All beginners classes instructors use “real life stories” to explain safe falls or the right steps, postures and techniques. It is much safer to fall back in ushiro ukemi if someone pushes you to fall on your back. Let's say you wait at the bus stop and a wild/drunken group of people start pushing you. We show and teach the participants how to safely fall back, not to panic and calmly stand up again.

Or if someone grabs your wrists and holds them strongly on your back. How to use your weight, center and moves from the hips to set free the arms and protect yourself.


  • Create mentoring program for newcomers, ladies should take care of newcomer females


This was introduced in all dojos. When a newcomer joins the dojo, the dojo cho asks a senior member (same gender) to assist her or him to get integrated in the community. It seems to work very well.


  • Family support

Experience demonstrates that if the training starts at 20.00 it is too late as it is specific for family bedtime program.


In Ljubljana all adult classes are organised from 18.00 to 19.30, so the training is finished in time for the parents to get home.


  • Organise morning classes for stay@home moms


In the Netherlands, the dojo have morning classes Tuesday 9.00 - 10.00 and 10.00 - 11.00.  It is a good time for house wives and mothers to join. Focus of this class is how to cultivate inner energy. This class involves advanced practitioners as well.

  • Family discount


Family discount for all the members of the family in Slovenia. Usually there are siblings or children and parents at the training. The dojo organises aikido demonstrations for family members twice per year. They can join us on tatamis.

In Romania, some dojos organized side events for parents while the kids were training. In Cluj, there was a fitness room organized for parents and in Bucharest there was a Japanese cultural room prepared on this purpose. These are ongoing activities and parents come, however not yet in a large number.

  • Family workshops connected to Japanese culture


    In Romania, there were origami workshops organized in order to accommodate the parents with side activities of Aikido classes. In time, some of the parents asked all kinds of questions about Aikido and a part of them came to experience a training on tatami.


    In Cluj, Aikido Family was a success, gathering more mothers and sisters (participants were to be family members) than expected. At the beginning, there were not many parents coming, but slowly they understood that it is a good combination between spending family time and also practicing Aikido, which for most of the parents was a new activity.



  • Parents-sitting
    In Romania, some dojos organized side events for parents while the kids were training. In Cluj, there was a fitness room organized for parents and in Bucharest there was a Japanese cultural room prepared on this purpose. These are ongoing activities and parents come, however not yet in a large number.