It’s a historical fact that martial arts practitioners have always been dominantly male.
Even though there has recently been an influx in popularity with female practitioners in many different styles and systems, there is still a prejudice associated against women in Martial Arts. Over the years, women have had to fight—literally—for respect in the Martial Arts community.
Yet, one of the hurdles that some female practitioners are having to overcome is called “Female Cannibalism”.
“Female Cannibalism” is a new age term being used to describe female on female aggression and bullying.
Sorry but you can't have an article about "cannibalism" without featuring the good Doctor.
An unfortunately common phenomenon becoming associated in martial arts were a female student could use demeaning and abusive tactics to either belittle another female student into a submissive state or even drive them from the Dojo. The tactics of social media bullying, gossiping, slander and sometimes physical aggression can become lethal to a student’s study.
After centuries of women fighting for a status in martial arts, it is almost ironic that we would become our own final obstacle.
It’s an issue that some female martial artists are having to deal with on top of their training. It sadly can be isolating students and doing the opposite to overcome the sexism associated sometimes with martial arts.
One system associated with such secrecy and exclusion is Lua. Lua is an Ancient Hawaiian Martial Art which employs a style of hand-to-hand fighting and grappling, while also wielding staffs, daggers, slings and other weapons used to either strangle or dislocate limbs. The most famous weapon associated with the art is shark-tooth clubs—clubs lined with razor sharp shark teeth.
Lua has traditionally been limited to only full-blooded Hawaiian males.
It wasn’t until the 1950’s that some Masters of the art began accepting students outside of their traditional requisite. One of the pioneers behind this shift is Olohe Solomon Kaihewalu. He began bringing Lua to the Mainland in 1950, but his teaching non-Hawaiian males wasn’t the only controversy. He also had female students into the 1980's, but only one remains.
Michelle Manu and her instructor Olohe Solomon Kaihewalu
Michelle Manu began training in Lua in the 1990's under Olohe. Even though Olohe was changing the face of Lua already, he still had hesitations about training Michelle. This was considered what the Hawaiians call a kapu or a forbidden ban associated with an ancient Hawaiian code of conduct.
At first, Michelle had a difficult time just getting Olohe to speak with her on the phone and allowing her to watch a class, let alone training her.
“For the first 8 years he tried to get me to voluntarily quit… Olohe gave me a chance and I endured.”
Michelle’s tenacity paid off.
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Jesalyn Mae Harper
Hello my name is Jesalyn. I'm a divorced single mom and a karate addict...
I am currently a 1st Brown belt in American Kenpo and a Junior Instructor at Double Dragon Kenpo Karate under JR Diaz, I am part of the Parker/Planas Lineage and study Karbaroan Eskrima with JR Diaz, under Guro Ed Planas
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