Hello again David-san,
I just tried to post a long reply to your latest questions, and a password error message wiped it out - used the "back" button to no avail - I'll try to recall the main points...
RE the checks to the deltoids and/or the trapezious - my answer is both! I've taken some strong hits to both areas that have caused neck and back pain...I don't think that these strikes were out of any malicious intent - but perhaps out of respect for my conditoning level and a check offered without any gender bias. Fact remains however, that as much as I try not to let gender influence any part of my training - anatomical differences must be taken into consideration and I believe that we just don't get as high a level of conditioning in that area as men - lats are fine however...
Re: Strikes below the navel - I think part of the problem here is again not hostile intent, but a lack of visiblity of the target area. Women seem to wear their ghi pants higher than men - often obscuring the navel where men usually wear them lower on the hips. Without the navel providing a visual cue, and given a usual amount of sensitivity regarding staying away from the chest, a well-meaning check may be a bit to low on the abdomen. In the past I was very resistant to informing anyone checking me that their striking areas were uncomfortable, but now I don't hesitate to say "a bit higher please" or "lighter please." I do this not to be a wimp but only to guide the person doing the check to more appropriate areas. It is information likely to be appreciated, given the interest expressed on this forum in the prior thread! The only exception would be in a testing situation, where one may be checked by someone previously unknown to the student - in this case the woman's sensei should probably speak to someone on the board regarding checking guidelines - and, if this is not feasible, the woman should take it upon herself to find someone on the board to broach the subject with if she feels that they may not be used to checking women of her rank. Tests certainly involve the unexpected, sometimes injuries and other things that make it a "test" and not just another exercise - but there is something to be said for preserving your body enough so that you can continue your training the next day!
Re: Who does the checking: It also involves quite a level of trust - and more than a little instruction. I only allow lower kyus to check extremities and balance. Upper kyus are instructed individually on checking techniques, and are always supervised.
Re: THE CAR WASH
Ahh, one of our favorites learned from John Bassett Sensei, who learned it in turn from Master Tosh I believe. You have to experience it to truly appreciate it, but basically it involves one person being checked, and two (sometimes three) people checking simultaneously through the entire kata. We will do things such as tug on the hips to check balance, catch and try to hold strikes, push/pull on the stationary arm, etc. Hard strikes are only allowed during the focused part of the strike - not during stepping. We like this one on Saturday morning workouts - we affectionately refer to it as "better than napalm in the morning" and with the right partners it is can be a challenging and revealing experience.
Well, as a second attempt I feel like I may not have recaptured all of my original reply, but the essence is there anyway.
Thanks for the opportunity to expand on the subject and put in some more thoughts on the safety aspects in regard to women...