When I first saw the Always “Like a Girl” campaign a few months ago (see ad below), I was impressed. They really captured an idea that’s been very important to me in my life. I remember the often used insult among the boys, saying that so-and-so ran, threw, kicked, swung, etc, “like a girl.” From my experience, no one said it to girls as an insult, it was mainly said to other boys (though I realize this also happens). But the fact that it was said as an insult suggested that girls aren’t physically capable and that being “feminine” meant not being good at sports. So as girls started to go through puberty and started wanting the attention of the boys, many started to act in a way that they were socialized into believing was feminine, shunning sports and presenting themselves in a way that was more dainty and helpless. It wasn’t all girls, but many were clearly conflicted.
This past week, I travelled to Chicago where I had the privilege of teaching and training at the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation‘s annual “Special Training Camp.” This event is similar to the one that a sister organization, PAWMA (Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists), offers annually, which I taught and trained at in Oregon last fall. It was an incredible experience that was fun, interesting and educational, but also supportive and inspiring. (Photo below shows the training area, capable of handling 8 classes running simultaneously.)
This past weekend, I had the privilege of participating in the PAWMA (Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists) annual training camp, both as a teacher and as a student. I have had a lot of experience teaching Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu at martial arts training camps over the years, but all of them were for Jiu-jitsu organizations and open to everyone, men and women, from a variety of dojos. I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this event with nearly 100 women martial artists of all different styles, from all over North America in attendance. What I experienced completely blew me away.