[Link] Interview with 6th Dan Aikikai Micheline Tissier

If you haven’t heard of Micheline Tissier, today is your day.  Tissier of France is one of the first European women to advance as far in rank and influence in the world of Aikido.  Guillaume Erard, Aikido blogger, interviewed her in 2008.

They discuss the differences and similiarities of Aikido in France and Japan, and her relationship with her husband Christian Tissier. But they also discuss the role of women in art:

Guillaume Erard: Let’s now focus on Aikido practice. I remember an advert from your federation, the FFAAA where it was written: “Any Aikido technique can be performed by a woman but she will not necessarily do it the same way as a man”. Do you agree? Do women have to undertake an adaptation work to perform a technique demonstrated by a man?

Micheline Tissier: I don’t really see why a woman could not execute a movement in the same manner as a man. Is it because we are more fragile? Have less muscle? Perhaps this has to be taken into account but what about a 50kg man facing a 90kg opponent? Is it really the gender that affects the technique?

If you take the issue the other way, what would my male students have to do (laughs)? No, obviously, women can practice the same Aikido as men and no adaptation is necessary when a male Sensei shows a technique. It has to be that way; otherwise it would mean that there is one Aikido for men and one for women.

During all my study of Aikido the question never arose. Man or woman, the best practitioners are the on who understand the quickest, the ones who have the most precise techniques, the fastest moves etc.

[…]

Guillaume Erard: You received the 6th dan Aikikai from the Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba in January 2007. You are the first woman to receive such a high grade. Do you consider yourself as a model for women who wish to practice a martial art?

Micheline Tissier: Yes of course, for the ones who wish to start as well as for the ones who already practice. In fact, during seminars, the proportion of women is much more important than in regular classes. They often say to me that they are glad to have a high ranked female; they ask me a lot of questions and often encourage me which is really nice.

The entire interview is worth a read. I love it!

And here she is throwing.

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