Hi. Well, as a martial arts instructor I’ll give my 2 cents. First of all I think it depends on the martial art. If it is a weapon based martial art like fencing, kendo, Kali or some sort of knife fighting I think it is totally ok to practice with women and go balls out. Strength is not a factor in these types of art and many woman can easily beat a man.
Now when it comes to hand to hand type arts I say it is a different story and I will say that I personally don’t really enjoy practicing with women because I really do not get much out of it. I cannot practice with the intensity that I like to practice with. I think there should be a certain amount of testing limits and pain involved in training and I am not comfortable doing that with a woman. In spite of the marketing tag line many schools have saying that size and strength do not matter in the martial arts…it really matters a lot.
But I do not think women need to be banned from martial arts. First off I think it would be immoral to ban women from practicing the martial arts because women should be able to have the ability to defend themselves. I want my daughters to be able to take care of themselves if they should ever find themselves in a sticky situation. Also, men are essential for a woman to train effectively because who is going to be the one to attack a woman… a man.
With that being said women do have to realize their own limitations and not mistake men not trying to hurt them for their own skill.
A good martial arts instructor should be able to make it all work though. I personally take physical attributes (size, strength , skill level, etc) as well as attitude and perceived training goals into account when I partner people up for practice during class.