Samurai of gentle power: An exploration of Aikido in the lives of women Aikidoka
Australian and New Zealand Association of Leisure Studies
Faculty of Business and Public Management
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
This exploratory study examined the many realities of women’s experiences in the maledominated domain of martial arts. It focussed on twelve aikidoka, women who participate in the modern Japanese martial art of aikido. The study was situated within a postmodern feminist framework. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with purposefully selected aikidoka from two Australian cities. The interviews were analysed and arranged under meta-themes that reflect the principles of aikido: mind, body and spirit. The participants had learned to enjoy the full expression of physicality and to redefine and reconstruct behaviours that were once confined to the limited territories of the male or female genders. The martial art of aikido gave them a framework to connect their own individual intellectual, physical and spiritual spheres and, through their empowerment, connect in a positive way to their communities.