As an aikidoist and a professional filmmaker, it has been my dream to create a video of top women instructors in aikido for a long time. My vision was to showcase high-ranking women in this field who are clearly role models for both women and men practitioners.
While I have produced numerous aikido videos, this is my first production dedicated to women instructors. Although their male counterparts in the USAF have been teaching on the seminar circuit for years, many 5th Dan women chief instructors have been largely ignored in the aikido community.
The purpose of this video is to highlight some of these top women instructors and give them a chance to be seen and appreciated by a larger aikido audience. But rather than focusing on the fact that these are exceptional women doing aikido, my focus is to show exceptional instructors who happen to be women.
"Holding Up Half the Sky" has been a labor of love which I have worked on over the past four years. During that time I interviewed and filmed these ten instructors either at their own dojos or at national aikido camps around the country. I was personally inspired by visiting their dojos and hearing their individual stories, and I hope audiences of this video will be as well.
It was difficult to narrow down a list of women to be included in this video. While there are other exemplary women aikido instructors, I limited the initial selection to ten well-known USAF women ranked 5th Dan or higher. It was not my intention to leave anyone purposefully off this list. Rather, it would be my hope for this video to be so popular that a second version would need to be made featuring more women instructors.