This summer we had a new guy come to two classes at the dojo. He was only really new to being on the floor, since he was the father of two of our students and watched class regularly. While he seemed to enjoy class, he ended up dropping out after those two classes for one very specific reason: he couldn't bring himself to hit a woman.
This isn't the first time I've run into a guy that feels this way and it always bothers me. That it bothers me seems to puzzle the guys, since they view it as symptomatic of their deep respect for women. They would never hit any woman, under any circumstances, and that's good, isn't it?
Except that it doesn't seem very respectful to me. It's a blanket rule. One that covers all circumstances for all time, even when the rule is detrimental to the ones it's supposed to show respect for. That Mr. P doesn't go about hitting women as a general rule is good, but to specifically refuse to hit women in an enviroment where the women are learning to protect themselves from people who do hit women, doesn't respect women that I can see. It's refusing to help women become more capable. It seems to go hand in hand with the fact that Mrs. P would never remotely consider joining our class, not even for the one-off self-defense class, nor do I think her spouse would approve of her doing so. Protecting Mrs. P is Mr. P's job; she's not supposed to protect herself. And that hardly seems respectful of Mrs. P's abilities, does it?