This topic was just recently brought to my attention through Facebook and I think my response might surprise you.
The topic was originally sparked with a link from a Japan based academy, Carpe Diem, website.
You can read their article by following the link:
I do not disagree with the decision this academy has made. Mainly because of what he states within the article:
"Basically all men are fools. In my university days I spent all my time morning to night thinking “Who is the strongest?” while training at my Karate Club. That is still the way I think even now. When there are women around guys always try to put on a show. I don’t want this kind of showing off in the dojo. I just want to be myself as I am and I also want our students to feel that way too"
I think people sometimes forget that men can feel just as insecure around women doing Jiu-Jitsu (or anything) as women around men. Women are capable of judging men just as men can judge women.
When I started putting together Inspire, one of my main focuses of having it be a women’s only event was not only to build the community, but to create a sacred space, an environment where women felt free and comfortable to be who they are instead of feeling the need to posture themselves. I have seen many women who take on a COMPLETELY different personality when they train/roll when their husband, boyfriend, or whoever of the opposite sex were watching. Just as men are seen many times “flexing” their skill when they are aware someone of the opposite sex is observing (team mate, wife, girlfriend, mom, etc.), I have witnessed women do the same. In both cases, both men and women are posturing themselves in a way to prove a point:
“I am tough.”
"Look at how good I am."
"Are you impressed yet?"
I have also seen the opposite scenario. Men and women unable to freely learn and move because they fear judgment from the opposite sex:
“I don’t want them to see me mess up.”
"I must look like a fool/unattractive right now."
"They probably think I’m just wasting my time."
His purpose for making this academy “Men Only” is not to belittle women or because he views women as inferior (I have met and trained with one of the head instructors there and I can tell you he is a good person and was a great training partner for all the women he rolled with at my academy). His reason is solely for the sake of creating a sacred place for men to train. A place where they could feel free to be men. A place where they can feel comfortable with being vulnerable. Believing that “Men Only” means an off-the-charts testosterone-fest of “bros” talking about growing beards and ways to slight women is just as sexist as believing that “Women Only” means emotional, estrogen-filled sessions of crying and Haagen-Daaz. If they are competitive, it is against each others’ techniques, not for the attention of someone of the opposite sex. If they talk about their fears, it is because they feel comfortable to do so with their brothers without fear of judgement.
There are many people who do not have an issue with “posturing”, but there are just as many other people who do, women AND men. If he is striving to create an environment where he and his students can feel free to be free, then I respect it.