Topic: "Women in the Martial Arts"


Improving scholarship on women in the martial arts
Deborah Klens-Bigman

Many works on "women in the martial arts" focus on personal narrative.  By use of examples, this paper will consider the merits of the personal narrative approach, and also examine how other aspects of research need to be implemented in order to provide us with a better understanding of who practices and why.


Deborah Klens-Bigman holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from New York University, specializing in Japanese performance.  As an independent scholar, she has written about kabuki theatre, Nihon buyo (Japanese classical dance) and martial arts as a form of self-expressive performance.  She is the manager of New York Budokai dojo, and studies Muso Shinden ryu iaido under the direction of Otani Yoshiteru and Phil Ortiz.  She also studies Tenshinsho Jigen ryu iaido in Tokyo, Japan with Kawabata Terutaka.  She has most recently began a formal study of Tamiya ryu iaijutsu with Michael Alexanian.  In addition, she has tried her hand at taichi, jodo, kyudo and naginata.  She is married to artist Vernon Bigman and lives in New York City with three cats who think the world revolves around them.

A history of women in combative sports
Joseph Svinth and Deborah Klens-Bigman

Joe Svinth has compiled a set of statistics on the evolution of American and European women in boxing and wrestling.  Portions of his compilations with be presented in order to consider not just the merits of such data compilation, but how it can be used by scholars to open up more research in this field and the related field of women in the martial arts.


Joseph Svinth is an editor for the Electronic Journals of Martial Arts and Sciences (EJMAS). His book "Getting a Grip: Judo in the Pacific Northwest, 1900-1950", was published by EJMAS in June 2003.

Putting Up with Men
Emily Dolan Gordon

This paper briefly discusses the following subtopics:


Emily Dolan Gordon was born and raised in Austin, TX.  She began her career in budo in 1989, playing with her friends at kenjutsu in a local park. She took up aikido that year to improve her sparring footwork, and continued on to achieve her shodan in Seidokan aikido in 1999.  She has also trained in "backyard" kenjutsu, has her first level in Wing Tsun, dabbled in various arts, and trained in Kodokan Judo with Zdenek Matl (7th dan Kodokan and judo masters champion) with the assistance of her aikido instructor Brendan Hussey (2nd dan aikido, 5th dan judo) for two years. One of the highlights of her budo career was demonstrating Kokoro Ryu hanbo technique for the 2002 Guelph Sword School and training with many teachers there that year.  In 2002, she moved to Indianapolis and took up Kokoro Ryu Aikibudo, an eclectic sogo budo under Kokoro Ryu Renshi Chuden Chuck Gordon, who is also her husband.

Emily is a licensed and nationally certified massage therapist, as well as an amateur naturalist and writer.  Budo is the only thing she loves as much as hunting mushrooms or fly-fishing (besides cooking wonderful meals with Chuck).


Sandra Jorgenson has practised martial arts for 18 years, primarily Shotokan Karate, Tai Chi Chuan and Iaido (Zen Ken Ren Iai and Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu).  She has also practised some Aikido and recently began practising Naginata.  Sandra is currently teaching Iaido at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto, Ontario and is a student of Goyo Ohmi (7th dan, renshi).