International aikido instructor Satomi Ishikawa answered some questions related to gender balance in aikido after the seminar in Slovenia.
She recounted the presence of women in aikido throughout history. As in other martial arts, initially, mostly men practiced aikido, but soon women also joined. Some of them also trained under the mentorship of O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba himself. Today, the female population in aikido is quite large.
However, compared to men, there are not many high-ranking instructors in the international aikido community, nor are there many women involved in the management of national and international aikido organizations and federations. She said gender differences on tatami mats stem from the physical characteristics of men and women, with women usually being weaker or more fragile. However, this is in a way their advantage, as they need to be more consistent in performing techniques to achieve the same effect as someone who has a lot of power to push, pull, lead an opponent.
Satomi Ishikawa grew up with martial arts, which gave her self-confidence, discipline and inner strength. In the last part of the interview, she told how she encourages girls, younger and older women to learn aikido and accept this martial art as a lifestyle.