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ChrisMoses
03-17-2008, 01:59 PM
I've been waiting for this story to hit the forums for about a week now but haven't seen anything. I hesitate to even bring it up, but I've been critical in the past of people in the Aikido community seemingly sweeping serious problems under the rug. I suppose if I'm going to hold myself to that standard, this is something I have to do.

You can read the article here. (http://www.helenair.com/articles/2008/03/11/top/55lo_080311_assault.txt)

I don't know Clint very well, but I've had a number of very good conversations with him over the years and while I don't know if he would have remembered me by name, I will always remember him. He was a wealth of knowledge about Aikido, and was one of the few Westerners to spend a long period of time studying in Shingu with Hikitsuchi Sensei.

For those of you who didn't skip ahead and read the article, it may be confusing that I'm speaking in the past tense. The article is not an obituary, but it is likely the end of his influence in the Aikido world.

This is very sad and very disappointing. My heart goes out to him, his family, the victim and also all of his students who must be going through hell right now. I hope that there are leaders in his dojo's community that can rise to the occasion and lead them forward to heal and move on.

Clint was one of the few mainstream Aikido teachers who I made an effort to go see at seminars and talk to individually. He really was a wealth of very special knowledge. I was very happy that he had become such a regular influence at my former Aikido dojo.

I've already had a number of very good (online and face to face) conversations with folks about this, but thought it needed to be out in the general community knowledge.

If you hadn't heard, I'm sorry to be the bearer of such terrible news, but like I said, I try to hold myself to my own standards.

Ron Tisdale
03-17-2008, 02:08 PM
I honestly don't know what to say. If almost anyone else had posted this, I likely wouldn't have believed it.

Two things though:

1) let's be careful until conviction

2) Apparently, it is very easy for any of us to be seduced by positions of authority (either as perpetrator or victim). Let's keep that in mind should we ever be in authority. These things stink. It's bad for the victim, the perp, and aikido.

Best,
Ron :(

akiy
03-17-2008, 02:15 PM
Hi folks,

As before, please let's keep the discussion regarding this news item respectful and civil. Thank you.

-- Jun

Keith Larman
03-17-2008, 02:28 PM
Ouch. I hadn't seen that. I had heard only good things over the years.

The article indicated that there was an acknowledgement of behavior by Mr. George to the police. But of course news sources can be misleading or incorrect so we should tread softly until there is some sort of conclusion to this.

That said, I'll say this in a general sense, both as an aikido instructor of teenage girls *and* as a dad of a little girl myself... There just is no excuse for when those things happen. Our role is to demonstrate the behavior we expect from them. Always. In the dojo they are our responsibility and that carries even more weight. Which makes things like this, when they happen, particularly bad.

Frankly any adult should simply know better. Especially when you add in the environment of authority and all the complex issues authority brings to the equation. Dojo "romances" among consenting adults is tough enough as it is. But this sort of thing with a minor is just wrong (again, speaking generally).

I've spent a lot of time dealing with the fallout of inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor. A person very close to me was a victim of that behavior over 25 years ago and it still affects her life. Daily. And as one of the few people she confided in I know how deeply it has harmed her over the long term.

And it has happened before in the Aikido community (as it does in schools, churches, etc.). But Chris is right -- it seems to be a topic that is rarely discussed or even acknowledged. And that IMHO is a major travesty. We need to be able to acknowledge when these things happen. And deal with the fallout properly, above board and with integrity. We must make sure it bloody well doesn't happen again...

Cephallus
03-17-2008, 04:42 PM
I guess I'm a little surprised that a google news search doesn't pull up any other references besides this one article.

I'm a father of a child this age, and I'm also a certified level-3 youth hockey coach. The level-1 training program must have been written by USA Hockey's risk management department, because they kept hammering home several key points: don't ever be alone with a child, don't touch a child inappropriately, don't use bad language around a child, don't ever be alone with a child, don't make jokes with sexual connotations around a child, don't tell a child that you love him/her, and most importantly, don't ever be alone with a child.

The fact is, it doesn't matter to your reputation if allegations of sexual misconduct are true or false. If a child's family perceives that there has been misconduct, be prepared to have your life ruined. Expect someone to call your boss, your pastor, your children's day-care facility, etc. Expect the local newspapers to run articles about you as a sexual predator with your picture. Expect a feature on your local news station.

I was lucky to have the support I did when entering youth sports. USA Hockey does a great job preparing you for being safe with kids, both for their sake and yours. Whether the allegations against this aikido instructor are true or not (and of course, I hope not!), there's a lesson for any of us who work with kids here:

Hold yourself to the highest possible standard when working with children, all the time.

And, did I mention, never, ever, ever, never, ever ever be alone with someone else's child?

Lyle Bogin
03-17-2008, 05:50 PM
I remember when Brian Gray, who was a fairly successful kung fu stylist (iron palm), was accused of something similar. After months of people shooting off their mouths about his horrible conduct, it turned out that the entire thing was fabricated by an angry ex-boyfriend.

Being a PE teacher I am all to aware of the difficulties in dealing with OPK (other people's kids). There are so few men willing to work with kids because of the dangers of false accusations, and it leaves young boys and girls with few male role models in their lives.

If he did it, then he should pay the price. But until then, leave it to the jury. His life is already ruined whether it is true or not.

sutemaker17
03-17-2008, 06:34 PM
Thank you, Aaron. It always helps to be reminded of how to lessen the chances that you get yourself in a position that your intentions can be questioned especially when dealing with youngsters.

I didn't find any other articles pertaining to this incident either, which I find highly suspect. The way the article is written also leaves me with many questions. Apparently, they quoted Mr. George as saying to police that "the relationship with his student of two years started with hugging and 'petting' and had progressed in the last three months". however the only word in the entire paragraph in quotation marks is "petting". I have no doubt that the word petting was included in his interview with investigators, but none of us could possibly have the slightest clue as to the context of the word's usage from the content, or should I say, lack of content contained in this article.

Unfortunately, there are people in our society who we probably have had contact with who are capable of things such as this. I certainly wouldn't try to fool myself into thinking that these people are not human or some kind of monsters that slipped in under the radar and lurk in our midst undetected until something of this nature happens. No. They are just people. Just like you and me. Just like Ms. Angela Brandt. We all have different motivations and make vastly different choices. If Mr. George did indeed do what he is suspected of doing, I believe he should be appropriately punished for his actions. If he did not I hope to God he is exonerated and his life returns to better than it was before. But most importantly I will not judge him based on Ms. Brandt's article. Come to think of it, I won't judge him anyway. My thoughts are with everyone involved in this truly unfortunate matter.

Jason

Keith Larman
03-17-2008, 09:20 PM
I guess I'm a little surprised that a google news search doesn't pull up any other references besides this one article.

Why is that surprising at all? Helena, Montana isn't exactly a large metropolitan area with multiple large media outlets. Things like this happen virtually daily in small towns across the country and world. Few get reported beyond local papers, police blotters, etc. And only major cases that "catch the eye" of the major news orgs make it into the larger news feeds.

Just read through any smaller local newspaper and you'll see story after story of abuse, assaults, robberies, etc. Heck, I get the local paper here in Pasadena (the Star News) and the vastly larger Los Angeles Times. The Star News will list stories of local crimes and stories of local interest. Most of those never even make it to the LA Times even though it also covers the area. So many stories (including some just like this one) never make it beyond even the local paper. And just because it is of interest to us as Aikido practitioners doesn't mean it is of any news "significance" on any larger scale. Unfortunately stories like these are a dime a dozen.

No, we shouldn't assume guilt. We shouldn't assume anything. That includes the motivations of the reporters. These are serious charges. Very serious charges. And apparently sufficient evidence existed to obtain a search warrant. Beyond that obviously none of us know any more.

I hope it turns out to be totally false for everyone involved.

These things *do* happen. And they happen too often. And many times they continue to happen precisely because people won't talk about it. Avoiding the uncomfortable discussion only serves to allow it to grow.

We are adults. We can discuss things. Innocence before being proven guilty is a marvelous legal construct which is invaluable in context of our legal system. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be talking about it and making sure we're doing whatever we can in our own realm of influence to make sure we don't create an environment that allows it to exist.

Yes, let's be circumspect in this case as there is little known. But the fact that we're talking about it all over again (and it occurs in other arts as well) should be a wake up call.

crbateman
03-17-2008, 10:49 PM
It's a shame. It's a reminder that those in authoritative positions must be ever responsible and professional, because there will be high expectations, and equally ominous consequences. Regardless of guilt or innocence, as this has not yet been formally determined, I hope all parties involved can move forward. :(

Ellis Amdur
03-17-2008, 11:46 PM
I absolutely agree that one should not make decisions at a distant remove, not knowing details and circumstances. However, I do want to comment on some of the comments.

Ron writes:
Apparently, it is very easy for any of us to be seduced by positions of authority (either as perpetrator or victim). Let's keep that in mind should we ever be in authority. These things stink. It's bad for the victim, the perp, and aikido.


Ron, I absolutely disagree with this. It is easy for people to abuse authority when they want to - decide to - abuse authority. But further, such cases are not an "abuse of authority." They are an abuse of a human being. And quite honestly, having been in such positions of authority with vulnerable human beings, I cannot - internally - conceive of such a desire. I can understand it, because part of my profession is assessing such individuals. But it is NOT easy to be seduced if you are a person of integrity. If you are not a person of integrity, well then. And that it's "bad for the perp," I have not the slightest degree of compassion for someone who decides - willfully - to violate anyone else.

Jason writes:
I certainly wouldn't try to fool myself into thinking that these people are not human or some kind of monsters that slipped in under the radar and lurk in our midst undetected until something of this nature happens. No. They are just people. Just like you and me.
Once again with the caveat that I'm not referring to Clint's situation, because I don't know it - yes, those who molest children are not "monsters." But they are not like me. I do not intend to be petty when I say that whether they are like you is something you would know, not me. But this kind of "we are all alike under the skin" is contradicted by a simple fact. I have never had - and I bet most of those reading this thread have never had - the slightest temptation to violate a minor child sexually. Not only because it is morally wrong - but because those who are sexually drawn to physically and emotionally immature individuals are NOT like you (hopefully) and me (definitely).

Rob writes:
Even if you manage to teach such things well, how do you go about evaluating damaged psyches? I'm not quite sure what you intend to mean by this statement. But - if I do understand the intent of your statement, it is dangerously facile, comforting though it may seem, to call molestors, ill or having damaged psyche's. But what does this mean? When one consciously and deliberately chooses to put one's own desires over the well being of a child, be it because one delights in the power or sadistic control, or because one is so selfish that one convinces oneself that the child wants it too - or will, when one is finished with the child - this is not "sick." It is evil. Why is it so difficult to state a simple fact, that the choice to inflict pain and damage is evil?

George writes:
I don't think that . . . should be lumped in with those folks unless there is a lot more that comes out that would justify it. Cutting the name to make it a general discussion - yes, some actions and some people are more evil than others. Some are evil to the core. Some willfully embrace and rationalize a hurtful act while choosing to view themselves as somehow not responsible or culpable (Eliot Spitzer?). The problem with this type of statement is that it attempts to comfort or molify. John Lamont was not Ted Bundy. Having listened to a tape recording of Lamont, I agree with that, but he is a scary man (if you fit his victim profile after he went through his "interview") and the fact that he is not like Ted Bundy does not make what he is any less. So a person who seduces and "pets" a thirteen year old after several years of grooming, for example, is not the same as . . .whoever you like. But such a person is doing evil.

George also writes:
. . . may have gotten unwisely involved in something he shouldn't, it probably reflects a need for some serious help, This is another truism that people say, but should further think through. "Unwisely?" I unwisely write down a few extra deductions on my income tax. I unwisely call my boss a waterhead when he is standing outside my cubicle. I unwisely eat all the fat around my rib steak and wash it down with seven shots of Gosling's Black Seal Bermuda Black Rum. But one does not unwisely fondle, seduce, groom or otherwise invade the sexuality of a child. Furthermore, it has NEVER been established that treatment for sexual abusers works, so what is "help?" Think of this - the average sexual predator of children successfully preys on several tens of children, even a hundred before being caught. that is a VERY skilled criminal. And what is treatment. Being placed in a group with, say, ten other individuals with similar histories, and treatment consist, in part, of discussing in detail one's acts to ascertain one's "triggers" (this, as if it is the same as an "addiction"). I'm not so good at math, but ten people with an average of, let us say, thirty crimes, comparing them together, is a high powered seminar on how to not get caught next time. So recidivism is lower after treatment? Why is that?
"Help?" No, sequesteration, for as long as is possible. I did not say punishment, because it doesn't help. I simply mean that because we have no means of making things better, keep such individuals far away from our society for as long as is possible.
In sum, I find decent people, particularly in the world of aikido, try so hard to see both or all sides that they can loose sight of the fact that there are moral absolutes.
Best

Josh Reyer
03-18-2008, 12:51 AM
It is easy for people to abuse authority when they want to - decide to - abuse authority. But further, such cases are not an "abuse of authority." They are an abuse of a human being. And quite honestly, having been in such positions of authority with vulnerable human beings, I cannot - internally - conceive of such a desire.

Lord Acton of course famously said, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." But the Anglo-Saxons had a slightly different take, expressed in the maxim: Man deţ swa he byţ ţonne he mot swa he wile. "A man does as he is, when he may do as he wills."

rob_liberti
03-18-2008, 06:39 AM
I didn't think it was a stretch to assume anyone who abuses power must have a damaged psyche. It is certainly not my field. But the intention of my message was how can we as aikido teachers detect students who would abuse their superior power before we help give them more power?

I see exmaples of people with more power than compassion all the time in aikido. I have to admit it is one of the MANY factors that drives me to practice harder. (I won't go into specifics in email/posting. But if I see you in person doing something like this all bets are off.)

For examples:

I don't like it when some aikido teacher requires a specific attack and then nails the uke. If you want a fair fight, finish your class, and challenge them in the parking lot where they get to do any attack they want. No one is impressed in any positive way by such abuses of power - and I suspect we've all seen or at least know of such things.

I don't even like it when sempai force kohai to do things that are not necessarily so much better for the training experience - they just want things to be a certain way and there is no one ranked high enough to tell them to go sh*t in their hat.

I don't like it when a sensei uses his position of power to break up a couple - who are their students - to "take" their wife or girlfriend or whatever.

Sometimes a junior asks a senior student to work out, and they get worked beyond their ability to take it. It's going to hapen once and a while for sure, but when it is a constant pattern with that senior - I don't like it. You are supposed to be able to sense how much your junior can take, and bring it right up to that point and not go beyond it and not back down much - so they can work through their body fears.

I suppose that's the main issue here for me. You go to aikido to GROW and being abused just works against that promised experience.

Rob

Ron Tisdale
03-18-2008, 06:51 AM
You know much more about this field than I do Ellis. I haven't had that type of desire either. But I have seen what power does to some people...maybe they were that way all along, I have no clue. But I do have a clue about authority and power and how they seem (to me at least) to corrupt MANY people.

I take your word for your thoughts and sentiments...as I said you are much better equiped in this area.

Best,
Ron (what a horrible mess...but Keith is correct, we do need to openly discuss)

Marc Abrams
03-18-2008, 07:01 AM
If you go through graduate training in a mental health/therapy field, you must go through a course in ethics. One of the main topics centers around dealing with aspects of an intimate, inequitable-power relationship. Issues related to this are continued to be dealt with in practicum, externship, internship, and fellowship positions. Despite this emphasis, the number one reason for psychologists to lose their licenses, and be censured by the national association continues to be having inappropriate (almost always of a sexual nature) relationships.

Did anyone of us have specific, in-depth training in handling the inequitable-power relationship of teacher-student before we opened our schools (or were asked to teach within our schools)? In the last couple of months, two Aikido instructors have been arrested and accused of these types of abuses. Maybe it is time that we use this forum to go in-depth and explore the nature of these types of relationships in order to help us become better and safer teachers?

People fantasize about all types of things. People get in trouble when they act-out on fantasies that they know violate societal, moral, and ethical boundaries. An inequitable-power relationship is a ripe field in which these problems can surface. The person in the weaker power role loves the attention from the powerful person. The person in the higher power role loves the adoration and idealization from the weaker power person.

Maybe we could use some type of confidential mentoring/buddy system in which we all can be open to privately discuss anything. It takes a lot of courage to acknowledge our areas of fantasies, weaknesses, .... We need to be able to acknowledge those parts of our existence that we would like to never acknowledge in public. Making peace within us takes a lot of personal acceptance. The wisdom of those ahead of us in the road of life, can help us to live a life that maintains a high degree of integrity, morals, and ethics.

We function on a daily basis in having these types of power-inequity relationships. We need to strengthen our own community in order to help us do so in a manner that reflects the highest ideals of integrity, morals, and ethics. In the mental health field, there are plenty of venues in which this type of support can be found. I think that we need to find some way to implement that as well. The last thing that we need is a government agency trying to mandate and dictate how things are done, because of a pattern of abuses within our community.

I only hope that we can use the events of the last couple of months to make our community stronger, rather than weakened by taking positions without all of the facts, based upon our preconceived notions.

Marc Abrams

edshockley
03-18-2008, 07:30 AM
The issue of appropriate behavior is discussed at our dojo. It was addressed informally for many years because all of the adolescents who joined the adults managed to be there in the company of a practicing parent. Recently that situation changed and questions of propriety came up. Should an eager adolescent be allowed to travel to winter camp in New York, for example?. Our decision has been to adopt a policy modelled after the school board. It seems better to error on the side of caution and avoid having to assess the character of each instructor and student(i.e. you can travel with person A but not instructor B). The specifics of our policy;
1) No over night trips without parent chaperon
2) Parental permission for day trips
3) Youth must be accompanied by two adults
4) If there is any misgiving, alert the senior instructor (this is not meant as an accusation, simply "let's be vigilant.")

Someone mentioned earlier in this thread the impact of abuse 25 years later. It seems better to have an eager youth wait a few years to enjoy the instruction of seminars rather than create any potential opportunity for abusive behavior.

Keith Larman
03-18-2008, 08:09 AM
Why is it so difficult to state a simple fact, that the choice to inflict pain and damage is evil?

In sum, I find decent people, particularly in the world of aikido, try so hard to see both or all sides that they can loose sight of the fact that there are moral absolutes.

Thank you for posting that -- I thought those two points needed repeating together.

Keith Larman
03-18-2008, 08:11 AM
"A man does as he is, when he may do as he wills."

Great quote and quite appropos. I'd never heard that one before.

Ron Tisdale
03-18-2008, 08:23 AM
Just a follow up...

I do not find Ellis's statement of fact difficult.

I do find it hard to assume that I, or anyone, in a position of power will not abuse it. I think making such an assumption is the beginning of the problem.

In a word, VIGILENCE. Without it, integrity cannot last.

Best,
Ron

Ellis Amdur
03-18-2008, 08:36 AM
Particularly for those who are responsible for the care and protection of children (all of us), I recommend this book. Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders : Who They Are, How They Operate, and How We Can Protect Ourselves and Our Children by Anna Salter

Keith Larman
03-18-2008, 08:47 AM
Particularly for those who are responsible for the care and protection of children (all of us), I recommend this book. Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders : Who They Are, How They Operate, and How We Can Protect Ourselves and Our Children by Anna Salter

Thank you, I just ordered a copy.

Link here for Amazon:

Sex Offenders book on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Predators-Pedophiles-Offenders-Ourselves-Children/dp/0465071724/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1205851579&sr=8-1)

sutemaker17
03-18-2008, 09:12 AM
Ellis,
Agreed. Perhaps I should have been more clear. The point of my statement was to simply discourage prejudice especially given the highly emotional nature of the subject of child abuse. I was leaning toward the "just like you and me" in a he has a mom and dad too kind of way. I would also like to add that I am in no way an expert in the field of psychology. Its just that it is easier for me to understand why people do the things they do and "put myself in their shoes" as the saying goes, by aligning myself mentally with our similarities rather than our differences.

On another note, I have heard alot of good stuff about you Mr. Amdur. I look forward to meeting you.
Regards,
Jason

Jim Sorrentino
03-18-2008, 09:16 AM
Greetings All,

While there are examples from every discipline, profession, and religion, here is one that I remember:Nobel Prize winner Daniel Carleton Gajdusek, a pediatrician and researcher, was jailed in 1997 for molesting a 16-year-old boy, one of 56 Micronesian children he molested. Gajdusek was the chief of the Laboratory for Central Nervous System Studies at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland. Washington Post, Under Plea Deal, Former NIH Scientist Will Spend Up to a Year in Jail, February 19, 1997 p. A1.Aikido is no different than any other human activity in this respect: years of study will not turn evil into good.

Jim Sorrentino

rob_liberti
03-18-2008, 09:38 AM
I'm certainly against power abuse and I really don't understand the topic well enough but "evil" _seems_ wrong or at least a bit absolute. I really need to read that book that Ellis recommended. (Jun should get some benefit for a bunch of folks buying a book that was recommended on this site.)

For now, all I have to go on is my own very limited experience. For instance, I remember being very attracted to a 15 year old girl when I was 14 myself. Now, I'm not attracted to 15 year old girls and I really have no idea what changed in me for that to be the case. I just guess that whatever "that" is got broken in some people. Is it genetic predisposition, epigentics, and/or current the social value systems in place.

Wasn't this sort of thing considered "normal" in ancient Rome or Greece? In more modern times didn't like 30 year old men marry teenage wifes?

Note there was a lot of things done in the past that at least *I* don't do today or approve of in any way. But were all of these people in the past "evil" or was something (or somethings) just broken.

Rob

Marc Abrams
03-18-2008, 09:49 AM
The book that Ellis mentioned is a good book with the caveat that research in this area is not that good (compared to other areas). Besides identifying potential abusers, it is equally as important for us to help ourselves live up to the standards that people demand from us when we teach children, teens, and adults. What if this happened to an adult, female student? The boundaries broken are still a problem. Jim accurately pointed out that people, even famous people, are capable of serious errors in judgment. Instead of turning this into a moral saga of good vs. evil, I personally think that it would be more helpful if we can turn this into how we can help teachers and students maintain appropriate boundaries.

To err is human, to not err as a result of fantasies enacted, takes a high degree of personal integrity and vigilance. That takes hard work, a honest assessment of ourselves, and healthy support systems in place.

Marc Abrams

Demetrio Cereijo
03-18-2008, 09:52 AM
Sad story.

George S. Ledyard
03-18-2008, 09:56 AM
Hi Ellis,
I am not losing sight of the fact that there are some moral absolutes... If anyone hurt one of my children, it would be touch and go if I stayed out of jail.

This is the second time I've had to deal with this. A friend in DC, great guy, took special care of Patty Saotome when she was ill, ran the kid's program at the DC dojo, got arrested for approaching a minor in a local park. Everyone freaked, of course, but it turned out he hadn't been messing with any of the kids at the dojo. But he went to jail and off the face of the earth as far as the community goes.

So here is this person I've known for years... I know his family, he has, by all appearances been a great Dad, he has an irreplaceable body of Aikido experience, he's taught at my dojo. I like the man very much. Now I find that he's broken. I have a hard time transitioning into some other relationship with him. All of the reasons I like him and respect him are still there but there is this other factor now that changes everything.

This is major stuff... short of murder, nothing will totally end your Aikido career more completely than being shown to be a pedophile. One could be convicted of all sorts of misdeeds, financial malfeasance, involuntary manslaughter, etc, and still be rehabilitate-able in people's eyes. But being a sex offender in our society results in an almost Amish type of "shunning". You become a non-person in an instant. You might as well be dead. In fact, that's much the way folks think of you, as if you died in the instant folks out about your mental illness.

As you pointed out, there is no evidence that these people can be treated. We have not, as a society, figured out how to handle this problem. We incarcerate the perpetrators when we can (although Klickstein never went to jail and is now in a business that involves international travel to places like Thailand - figure out what he's doing...). How we currently handle these things doesn't make a lick of sense. We can't keep them in jail forever, when we release them, no one wants them to live anywhere near them (with good reason as far as I am concerned), so they exist in a perpetual limbo.

Frankly, given that there is no successful treatment for these folks, perhaps we should look at actual solutions to the issue as in life imprisonment, capital punishment, castration, etc. Our current way of not dealing with the issue just leaves us with an on-going problem.

Anyway, when someone shows that he is broken in this way, all of the other factors that existed that made you his friend are still there and it is a very difficult thing to integrate the new model of his being totally and irretrievably broken into your relationship with this person. If they died you'd have a funeral and a memorial service, a set of rituals which allowed the community to adjust and grieve, etc. But for something like this we don't have any method for making the transition.

So I, for one, don't wish to make this transition to my friend's non-existence until I know more about what has happened. I fully realize that, even if nothing comes out that goes beyond what was in the newspaper, it's a done deal for this man. There doesn't need to be any new findings of additional victims, etc. This one instance is enough. I just don't want to go there until I know more. Klickstein never went to court but there was over whelming testimony from multiple victims over a decade of abuse. Clint will be getting his day in court and what happened will become a matter of public record. I can wait until that happens to consign him to the realm of the "dead" in my own mind. Then I'll go through whatever grieving process for my friend will make sense to me. I don't see any particular need to rush this process.

Now, if I had kids in his kid's class that would be another matter because even a hint of a threat, even the smallest possibility of a threat to my children would be enough. They'd be out of there. I assume that this is what has happened at his dojo. I also imagine that most, if not all of his adults students have done the same... but I don't know that for sure. But I don't have to make the shift in my own mind yet. I don't see him very often as it is, only a couple times a year. I can wait to make this transition in my mind until I know more. I think the outcome is predictable but there's simply no rush for me so I'll wait on it.

Cephallus
03-18-2008, 10:32 AM
Thank you, Ellis, for your directness. With all of the moral ambiguity we see today, people do forget that there are some moral absolutes left...and the abuse of children is one of them. And that book is a great resource for both parents and people who work with kids. Awareness is the key...what's that quote, something to the effect of "sunlight is the best antiseptic."

A lot of people don't realize that sexual abuse of a minor is usually a very long process - it doesn't just 'happen' in a weak moment. Individuals who carry on 'relationships' with minors spend months, or even years, building the foundation for the abuse first.

One of the things that shocked me when I first got into working with youth sports was learning that there are organizations that actually help facilitate contact between adults looking to abuse children and their potential victims - they publish information about which organizations have policy guidelines that can be exploited by sexual predators and the best methods for working within them. One of the things I like about USA Hockey is that in addition to the required classes, they also perform a thorough background check on all persons seeking a coaching certification, at any level. And they do the same check every time you have to renew, which is every 2 years.

Locally, we had a sex offender move into our community with his parents, which generated a lot of local media coverage. There were protests in front of their house, signs put up, flyers handed out. He had been convicted of forcible sodomy on boys between the ages of 8 and 12, and all of the victims were kids he was coaching in youth sports. Several months after moving here, he was arrested again under suspicion of molesting boys that he was coaching in a softball league in an area about 20 miles from here.

As a parent, I always err on the side of caution. For example, when my son was invited on a camping trip with one of his friends around age 10, I was immediately guarded upon finding out that the only adult going was the other boy's father. Most likely, my son missed out on a fantastic experience with his friend and a genuinely caring dad who wanted to spend some quality time with a couple of really neat kids. But it's just not worth the risk.

Jennifer Yabut
03-18-2008, 10:38 AM
Just some of my thoughts as a social worker and female aikidoka:

I currently work with adolescents between the ages of 10-16 in a violence-prevention program, and have worked with families for most of my career. I am *not* an "ultimate authority" in anything, but I do have a good deal of experience in child welfare.

With that said, I especially see the need to be EXTREMELY "above board" in this "touchy-feely" martial art we call Aikido. I am angered by Clint George's actions - but I'm not surprised by them, since I am also aware that the Aikido community is fraught with various "indiscretions". Teacher/student boundaries need to be set from day one - regardless of age and gender. The sad reality of the situation is that women and children tend to be on the "receiving end" of inappropriate contact by an instructor - and quite often, not enough is done to properly discipline the perpetrator. To be perfectly blunt, instructors who lack the maturity to control their impulses should NOT be teaching...period.

Sexual abuse has life-long effects; children who were subjected to molestation often continue to have problems (especially with physical intimacy) when they grow up. Same thing with women who have been raped or otherwise assaulted. Consider how much more the problems are compounded when the perpetrator is someone in authority - with the implication that this person is someone to be trusted.

This isn't something that should be "swept under the rug". More open and honest discussion is needed in the dojo.

sutemaker17
03-18-2008, 10:56 AM
Jennifer,
Thanks for your input. Please remember that Clint George has merely been accused of inappropriate behavior with a juvenile. Don't get angry at his actions just yet. He could very well be the victim here. I've seen it happen with my own eyes. That said, very informative post.
Best,
Jason

Marc Abrams
03-18-2008, 11:55 AM
To those who want to view this alleged incident as an absolute moral issue: What of cultures in which it is not uncommon to marry off your 13 year old daughter?

One of the main reasons that treatment of sexual offenders has a remarkably poor track record, is because a sexual offender is not a set profile (as some would like us to believe). The path to that place in their lives had so many different variables between events and time-in-a-person's life, that finding common variables that can be used in developing treatment modalities is SO difficult.

It is likewise difficult to attribute the acting out of certain impulses or fantasies to "immaturity." That simplifies the issue to a point that renders making effective interventions nearly useless. How do we determine a person's maturity, and in what aspect of their lives?

Both the victim and person committing this type of act are victims. The person committing this act usually has some history that led to some dysfunctional development. Even then, the people ruin their lives (and those who are connected with them) in a manner that they would never have believed it possible for them to intentionally do so. The victim now has a life event that can cause serious developmental problems, that even the best of therapies might not be able to compensate for.

We can provide some protection to society by keeping track and/or isolating known offenders. Identifying potential offenders is not that easy. We can certainly put into place certain external boundaries that can help minimize the instances of this happening. We also need to work on helping people maintain the integrity and values that underlie most of their being. We cannot forget that all of us can have thoughts and fantasies that violate our outward sense of morality without us ever acting in a manner that would violate a law, moral, or ethic.

One of my closest friends passed away from AIDS in the early 90's. He was one of the most gifted therapists I have ever met. He was involved in a car accident in the late 1980's and got blood transfusions (AIDS tainted blood!). Several months before he died, he said "life is not a trial run." Maintaining this kind of awareness in our lives is difficult at best. People cannot ask for "do overs" when incidents like what were alleged happen. If our training (which should reflect how we live our lives) is not really focused on making us better people, then we to run the risk of walking down dark paths where many souls are permanently damaged.

I am deeply saddened by the allegations of these events in our community. I am not unrealistic in being surprised that these events happen. I am glad that we have this forum to openly discuss this issue in hopes of helping people to not act in manners that can destroy their lives and the lives of those around them.

Marc Abrams

jennifer paige smith
03-18-2008, 12:01 PM
From the newspaper:
"During an interview Saturday, George told police that the relationship with his student of two years started with hugging and “petting” and had progressed in the last three months, the documents say. The two began inappropriately touching each other through their clothes, he told police."

Aren't these Clint's words?

akiy
03-18-2008, 12:01 PM
Hi everyone,

I just wanted to say that I really appreciate tenor of the discussion so far.

Thank you, everyone, for engaging civilly and respectfully in what I consider to be a very meaningful and important exchange of thoughts, ideas, and information.

-- Jun

Jennifer Yabut
03-18-2008, 12:06 PM
To those who want to view this alleged incident as an absolute moral issue: What of cultures in which it is not uncommon to marry off your 13 year old daughter?

But also bear in mind that in most (if not all) of those cultures, women have very few (if any) rights and have little (most likely...no) "say" in those "arranged marriages".

I also understand that these are still "allegations", but I also want caution all of you about viewing the child as the "perpetrator" (e.g., the "seductive child" defense). Just something to think about.

jennifer paige smith
03-18-2008, 12:07 PM
Hi everyone,

I just wanted to say that I really appreciate tenor of the discussion so far.

Thank you, everyone, for engaging civilly and respectfully in what I consider to be a very meaningful and important exchange of thoughts, ideas, and information.

-- Jun

I also appreciate this. And I appreciate the kind of information being offered, like Ellis's post with several resource links. It is a hard discussion but we are all caring adults with good ideas about how to be appropraite and kind. Thanks.

lbb
03-18-2008, 12:09 PM
So much drawing of conclusions, so much drawing of lines...so little information, so few facts. We don't know what happened. We don't even know what is alleged to have happened. All we know is that, according to one article on one website, there have been allegations.

Everyone knows that there are adults who engage in sexually inappropriate conduct towards minors. Anyone who is not painfully naive also knows that all you have to do in the present-day climate is to make allegations of same, and before you can say "Think of the children!", the witch-hunt is on and someone's life is ruined. People's minds are made up in an instant: no subsequent evidence to the contrary will change them.

There are those who argue for expedience, that this is a regrettable necessity, to err on the side of caution in order to "protect the children". Maybe so, but OTOH, isn't it possible that this is a false dichotomy? Isn't it possible that there are more alternatives between allowing risky situations to persist, and presuming guilt? And what does it say of us as a society that we fail to find them -- and that some of us actively and belligerently shout down any suggestions that there may be another way?

I hope that the allegations are untrue, and that if they prove to be so, those who have argued in favor of "erring on the side of caution" take an active personal role in repairing the damage to the accused.

Jennifer Yabut
03-18-2008, 12:09 PM
From the newspaper:
"During an interview Saturday, George told police that the relationship with his student of two years started with hugging and “petting” and had progressed in the last three months, the documents say. The two began inappropriately touching each other through their clothes, he told police."

Aren't these Clint's words?

They appear to be his own words...yes. Also notice how he implied that the touching was "consensual"...

jennifer paige smith
03-18-2008, 12:11 PM
They appear to be his own words...yes. Also notice how he implied that the touching was "consensual"...

Yes, that is how I read it as well.

Jennifer Yabut
03-18-2008, 12:17 PM
There are those who argue for expedience, that this is a regrettable necessity, to err on the side of caution in order to "protect the children". Maybe so, but OTOH, isn't it possible that this is a false dichotomy? Isn't it possible that there are more alternatives between allowing risky situations to persist, and presuming guilt? And what does it say of us as a society that we fail to find them -- and that some of us actively and belligerently shout down any suggestions that there may be another way?

Hence, my earlier point about the importance of establishing firm teacher/student boundaries from the start. That alone will not stop *all* occurrences of misconduct, but at least there will already be *some* kind of accountability in place.

And those who are in the position of teaching need to be extra vigilant in making sure their behavior towards minors is *always* above reproach. It simply isn't wise practice to work one-on-one with a minor in an empty dojo.

Keith Larman
03-18-2008, 12:37 PM
And those who are in the position of teaching need to be extra vigilant in making sure their behavior towards minors is *always* above reproach. It simply isn't wise practice to work one-on-one with a minor in an empty dojo.

Absolutely. We have an active kid's program and I remember one year when there had been a lot of very bad weather right around the holidays one kid's class was exactly one kid. But there was the instructor and an adult assistant on the mat with them. So two adults. I remember the parent saying it seemed funny seeing what was essentially two instructors on the mat with one student. But we always want at least two adults present at all time. And we always encourage parents to stay and watch each and every class. It is good simply as support for the kid but also so there is no chance of any misunderstandings.

Heck, when I take my daugther to her ballet, piano or horseriding lessons I'm always there watching.

FWIW I've e-mailed the reporter at the newspaper asking for any updates if possible.

Chuck Clark
03-18-2008, 12:41 PM
Jun,

I agree and would also like to thank you for your years of continuing effort to help provide this venue that is available for all.

This sort of behavior and abuse of trust brings up very strong emotions that need a public venue that is useful in helping us all learn and grow by the way we communicate and deal with these sorts of activities. For too long this sort of discussion was added to the herd of elephants in the room.

Best Regards,

ChrisMoses
03-18-2008, 12:48 PM
Information on filing a request for Public Records. (http://www.co.lewis-clark.mt.us/departments/legal/justice-court.html)

$2 and you can run a search of the public records for Justice Court.

I too would like to see more information, but it is my opinion that we should respect the information presented in this news report. This is a real news source, not a blog, and to have this article stand on their site without correction or retraction for over a week is telling. Slander is a very real concern for a newspaper, and I imagine that if there were glaring errors in this report, Clint's attourney(s) would have brought it to their attention pretty quickly. As anyone who surfs "The Smoking Gun" knows, all it takes is a phone call to get a great deal of detailed information about a pending case or past arrest. I'm assuming this reporter had access to those records. No he has not yet been proven guilty in a court of law, but if I read this story correctly, there was enough evidence to arrest him and charge him with a felony. Additionally it sounds as though there are quite a few emails between them, and he has admitted to police that he did what he's being accused of.

I appreciate everyone's comments and tone. I felt like I'd been hit in the stomach when I heard about this.

I'd like to offer some of my own observations about Ellis' general comments about there being very real moral guidelines. I recently adopted a little girl from China. She was three when we adopted her, so she was not a baby. A very important part of the attachment process is touch: swimming, bathing, lotion, cuddling... I cannot tell you how hard it was very early on in our transition from strangers to family to cross those lines. They are ingrained so deeply that it was always a conscious effort to even enter into the healthy, *non-sexual* and normal role of a parent with this "other" child who I had not known from infancy. These are not lines that one accidentally crosses.

Marc Abrams
03-18-2008, 12:52 PM
Jennifer:

I understand and agree with your point about women's rights in different cultures. We simply need to recognize that we view our lives from the cultural context in which we were raised. You and I do not agree about, or condone the arranged marriages of 13 y/o women, nor lack of real rights. That is OUR view point that represents OUR culture. Their are NO moral absolutes in how cultures assign worth to people, regardless of age or gender.

I do not take politically-correct stances when viewing people's actions when I am wearing the "hat" of psychologist. I look at behaviors from a perspective of trying to understand the variables/events that led to certain behaviors. The "seductive teen/child" defense and the "evil" creature offense fall within those realms in my opinion, and provide us with nothing towards coming to understandings that can help prevent future incidents, or even better, predict future incidents.

As a parent of a daughter and grandparent of a grand-daughter, I know where my thoughts and fantasies go when I project what I would want to do if someone harmed them in manners alleged. I strongly condemn these types of abuses and would want people REALLY punished. As a psychologist, coach, teacher, parent, grandparent..... I care about the well-being of those whom I have been entrusted to serve some role in which there is an inequity-power relationship. Wearing the "hat" of psychologist, I try and step back from those other roles and look at human behavior from a perspective that helps to gain understanding in order to make positive changes in helping people to function in healthier and more pro-social roles.

Robert Jay Lifton, M.D., wrote a book "The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide". This book is a remarkable example of a person removing moral judgments and examining the worst of human behavior in order to better help in our understanding of these types of behaviors. With a better understanding, should come better tools to identify and preventing future behaviors (unforutately, recent world history indicates that we are not learning from our mistakes). This model is the one that I am employing when I ask us all to step back from the moral and personal values that we are using to look at these allegations. I hope that we can continue to discuss this topic in a manner that continues to help us understand the behaviors better so that we can better protect ourselves, our children.....

Marc Abrams

Cephallus
03-18-2008, 01:08 PM
So much drawing of conclusions, so much drawing of lines...so little information, so few facts. We don't know what happened. We don't even know what is alleged to have happened. All we know is that, according to one article on one website, there have been allegations.

Yes. Reading back, quite a few people in this thread have been careful to make that distinction.


Everyone knows that there are adults who engage in sexually inappropriate conduct towards minors. Anyone who is not painfully naive also knows that all you have to do in the present-day climate is to make allegations of same, and before you can say "Think of the children!", the witch-hunt is on and someone's life is ruined. People's minds are made up in an instant: no subsequent evidence to the contrary will change them.

Exactly. That's why I quipped that it was USAH's risk-management officials that created the Level-1 coaching class...they weren't telling us not to touch kids inappropriately (it was assumed that the teacher was not talking to a room of pedophiles), but rather to absolutely ensure that we were never in a position to even have a possible allegation made against us that we'd touched a child inappropriately. It takes no time at all for your life to be ruined by one unfounded accusation of sexual impropriety towards a child.


There are those who argue for expedience, that this is a regrettable necessity, to err on the side of caution in order to "protect the children". Maybe so, but OTOH, isn't it possible that this is a false dichotomy? Isn't it possible that there are more alternatives between allowing risky situations to persist, and presuming guilt? And what does it say of us as a society that we fail to find them -- and that some of us actively and belligerently shout down any suggestions that there may be another way?

Again, reading back, I don't find anyone in this thread even suggesting that guilt should be presumed as a matter of protecting children. Those that suggested caution and vigilance are talking not about accusing people of being sexual predators, but about ensuring that safe policies are in place that protect both the children and the genuinely good people who give selflessly of themselves to teach them. That's the middle ground.

Bottom line is that parents need to be aware of who their child is with at all times, and the best way to do that is to stay involved, as Keith said. Coaches/instructors are not baby-sitters; they should be one part of an active partnership made up of all of the people who help shape a child's life...and that includes the parents.

Chuck.Gordon
03-18-2008, 01:50 PM
Jennifer said:

establishing firm teacher/student boundaries from the start.

Precisely.

I don't know Mr. George, and only know of his reputation.

Now, IF the allegations are correct:

It is not sad, it is deplorable. No matter how good an aikido teacher he was. No matter how 'good' a person he was perceived to be.

IF the allegations are correct:

He's broken the social contract and destroyed at least one life ( the question of whether he actually had a life of his own to destroy is a whole 'nother philosophical discussion).

IF the allegations are correct:

The community and the dojo he was shepherding need information, education and illumination.

IF the allegations are correct:

Then his own words are pretty damning ...

Look, there's no excuse for some of the stupid things we do. (WE, yes, all of us). However, as I've said before, in another forum, there's plenty of legit, legal and willing whoopie to go around without compromising the teacher-student tensegrity, no?

Aikibu
03-18-2008, 02:05 PM
Reading this news is heartbreaking...

When I was in 8th Grade I had an "affair" with my English Teacher...She had allot of empathy for me with two alcoholic parents and lots of confused feelings. We bonded and one thing led to another...It almost destroyed her and I found out much later she was "asked" to retire because of her tendancy to "bond" with male students...

Looking back I realized she saved my life. I was doing drugs and drinking even at that age... very suicidal...with two parents overwhelmed with thier own demons.. She helped get me through it...

All the legal issues and social implications aside there are no winners here... only suffering....

My heart goes out to both and let me tell you this can happen to anybody...Thats right... anybody

I work with at risk teens (boys and girls) and have for years in recovery. You can't help but bond with some of them emotionally but I agree there is a solid line and if you step over it there is no going back...

To me it's just another tragedy being played out and I hope and pray that both of them find peace and forgiveness...

My 2 hard won cents...

William Hazen

sutemaker17
03-18-2008, 02:18 PM
So much drawing of conclusions, so much drawing of lines...so little information, so few facts. We don't know what happened. We don't even know what is alleged to have happened. All we know is that, according to one article on one website, there have been allegations.

Everyone knows that there are adults who engage in sexually inappropriate conduct towards minors. Anyone who is not painfully naive also knows that all you have to do in the present-day climate is to make allegations of same, and before you can say "Think of the children!", the witch-hunt is on and someone's life is ruined. People's minds are made up in an instant: no subsequent evidence to the contrary will change them.

There are those who argue for expedience, that this is a regrettable necessity, to err on the side of caution in order to "protect the children". Maybe so, but OTOH, isn't it possible that this is a false dichotomy? Isn't it possible that there are more alternatives between allowing risky situations to persist, and presuming guilt? And what does it say of us as a society that we fail to find them -- and that some of us actively and belligerently shout down any suggestions that there may be another way?

I hope that the allegations are untrue, and that if they prove to be so, those who have argued in favor of "erring on the side of caution" take an active personal role in repairing the damage to the accused.

Thank you , Mary.
I agree that we tend to jump to conclusions when dealing with this type of discussion because it hits so close to home with so many of us. I am a father. It brings tears to my eyes to think of these things because I know how I would feel if it were my child this was happening to. I have seen the effects of sexual abuse in two very close members of my family. It changes people sometimes to the point that they can no longer function in a real, trusting interpersonal relationship with another human being. It can literally steal someones life by crippling every relationship they have or will ever have. And in my mind ranks it right up there with murder. I also agree that it is nonsense to say that a 13 year old girl can be even partially responsible for something like this taking place. To argue that line of thinking is like trusting someone to train your dog, learning that while under the care of this person he died from severe organ failure caused by the ingestion of antifreeze, finding out that he was purposely and methodically poisoned and then blaming the dog for drinking the antifreeze. A child is not equipped to decide for themselves whether or not to enter into a sexual relationship with anyone any more than a dog is capable of knowing that antifreeze will kill him. So, horse hockey.

When I said that Mr. George could very well be the victim it was not meant to imply that any of the blame be placed on the young lady involved. What I meant was that we have so little knowledge about what actually happened that, for all we know, this could have been started by the girl's uncle who just so happened to be a local law enforcement officer who, also happened to be the ex-husband of George's present girlfriend, who being bitter about the details of his divorce decided to abuse his authority to get back at his ex and Mr. George by fabricating a story of alleged abuse of his position in the dojo to have an inappropriate relationship with one of his underage students. I doubt that I am even close to what really happened but then again no one really knows.

I'm with Mary on this guys. As many people have noted here, whether he did it or not, his life as he knew it will never be the same and I'm betting for the worse. I'm sure we can all see how devastating something like this is to someone's life; guilty or not. How would you feel if you knew that the majority of the Aikido community were reading a thread about an article in the newspaper accusing you of some heinous crime and being powerless to tell your side - especially if you were innocent! I'm glad its not me and I don't mean that in a malicious way.

I am really interested though, to hear more of everyone's thoughts on this. Specifically, how to guard our children from predators and more literature on the subject. Thank you all for the input.
Jason

Jennifer Yabut
03-18-2008, 02:29 PM
Reading this news is heartbreaking...

When I was in 8th Grade I had an "affair" with my English Teacher...She had allot of empathy for me with two alcoholic parents and lots of confused feelings. We bonded and one thing led to another...It almost destroyed her and I found out much later she was "asked" to retire because of her tendancy to "bond" with male students...

Looking back I realized she saved my life. I was doing drugs and drinking even at that age... very suicidal...with two parents overwhelmed with thier own demons.. She helped get me through it...

Wow...thanks for being so upfront and honest. You are fortunate that you survived and endured through such hardships...but it still doesn't make what your teacher did "right". You should know, since you witnessed how her behavior led to the end of her teaching career. If she conducted herself in such a matter today (regardless of the relationship's outcome), she would've been arrested and sent to prison.

I work with at risk teens (boys and girls) and have for years in recovery. You can't help but bond with some of them emotionally but I agree there is a solid line and if you step over it there is no going back...

Exactly.

Jennifer Yabut
03-18-2008, 02:36 PM
I am really interested though, to hear more of everyone's thoughts on this. Specifically, how to guard our children from predators and more literature on the subject.

Althought there really isn't a way to protect a child from *all* harm, parents can take reasonable steps to help protect their children from sexual predators. There is a ton of literature on this very subject, like this: Protecting Chidren from Predators (http://www.protecteverychild.org/downloads/Protecting%20Children%20From%20Sex%20Offenders.pdf) (right-click link to upload).

E.D. Gordon
03-18-2008, 02:37 PM
As a survivor of some "near misses" myself in the dojo (having navigated some "not misses" beforehand) I have to say that the opportunity for abuse of relationships in the dojo abounds.

It's the nature of the beast, for one thing. There is a powerful "transference" which occurs during the attachment phase with any teacher. Research psychology to understand this. Anyone qualified to do so, is welcome to explain it.. understanding is one of the most important tools we have.

Disclosure: I am married to my teacher, we met in budo, but we were both over 30, and aware of the pitfalls.

We were prepared to train separately, if necessary. The beginnings were rocky, to say the least, but I love and trust what we do together, in the dojo and out.

At this point, after 7 years in a fully private dojo, the risks inherent in public dojo simply boggle the mind.

Self defense training should run far, far deeper than just muggers and burglars. The Real Deal, in self defense, lies in learning to know your Self and your weaknesses.. and not fall victim to them.

Shout out to Amdur Sensei, and Yamas!

For those dealing with problems like this, I recommend Gavin de Becker's Gift of Fear.

Any other recommendations?

Thanks,

Edge

Mark Kruger
03-18-2008, 02:38 PM
The article is a source of concern. Nothing more, nothing less. Analysis of innocence or guilt based on the article is premature.

In the article it appears that Clint's admission comes from police documents. A well trained hostile interrogator can extract amazing confessions. I went through a mild version of it in a self defense class during a scenario where you needed lethal force to defend yourself. I managed to keep my head during the interview. Some of my classmates weren't so lucky and were talked into saying things that would have gotten them charged with murder. This was based on a five minute interview in what we knew to be a scenario. An interrogation that lasts hours... :hypno: especially if you are an upstanding citizen who has no prior experience with that aspect of law enforcement.

Does that mean he didn't do it? No. It means that we don't have enough information.

sutemaker17
03-18-2008, 02:45 PM
Thank you Ms. Jennifer.
Jason

Marc Abrams
03-18-2008, 02:50 PM
William:

Thank you for putting a "human face" on this issue. I hope that it helps people step back from moral ultimatums and look at the real human side of the issues.

I frequently shake my head when parents knowingly allow their teenage daughters (even as young as 12 y/o) to prance around in low rider pants with their g-strings prominently displayed and their belly button shirts pronouncing statements far beyond their ability to understand. Our society has created vapid models for children to emulate. When I grew-up, 12 & 13 year olds were still children. They were not exhibiting hyper-sexual displays that were far beyond their maturity to understand the implications. Today, that is not so. We not only have to protect our children from predators, but protect them from a society that encourages them to act and look older than they have the life maturity to handle. I am not saying that any of this pattern exists with these allegations. I am addressing the comment that our 13 year olds are simply children. They ARE children who ARE exposed to far more information than they can really handle. I use to work in an inner city, psychiatric center for children and teens. It was far too common that 13 year olds would come in pregnant because they would then have someone to love them unconditionally!

The topics that these allegations bring up should hopefully force us to take a CLOSE look at what our children do, what they are exposed to, and who they associate with.

Marc Abrams

sutemaker17
03-18-2008, 02:54 PM
Another good one by Gavin DeBecker is "Protecting the Gift" and if I remember was more focused on children and how to protect them than "The Gift of Fear". Still, both were very good books.
Thanks
Jason

G DiPierro
03-18-2008, 03:04 PM
They appear to be his own words...yes. Also notice how he implied that the touching was "consensual"...

The Montana statute (http://data.opi.state.mt.us/BILLS/mca/45/5/45-5-502.htm) defines "sexual abuse" as any non-consensual "sexual contact," with the proviso that any such contact with a person under the age of 16 will be deemed to be without consent. Had the girl been a couple of years older, his actions would not be a crime. However, they still might considered morally reprehensible or an abuse of power.

I wonder if the reaction be the same, though, if she had been 16? Would it even have come to the attention of this forum were not for the fact that he broke the law? Or is there such a clear and significant difference in development between 13 and 16 (which could be closer to a 2 year difference than 3, depending on where the person's birthday falls) that that would have been acceptable?

If you think 16 is equally deplorable, although legal, then where do you draw the line? 18? 21? 30? It seems to me that if you frame the issue in black-and-white terms then you have to pick an arbitrary point where you go from one to the other.

Aikibu
03-18-2008, 03:18 PM
Wow...thanks for being so upfront and honest. You are fortunate that you survived and endured through such hardships...but it still doesn't make what your teacher did "right". You should know, since you witnessed how her behavior led to the end of her teaching career. If she conducted herself in such a matter today (regardless of the relationship's outcome), she would've been arrested and sent to prison.


I am not suggesting what she did was right..What I tried to say is that we are all human and even our best intentions can lead to suffering. Indeed she saved my life and look what she "sacrificed" to do so... Life is full of paradoxes and we are all prey to them...

That is exactly what I feel about Clint and the Girl.

The Legal and Ethical Boundries are clear

The Human Heart less so...

In the age of Hyper Western Culture with all it's pitfalls I can only hope my choice of Aikido to help navigate it's dangerous shoals will serve me and those I love.

It would appear at first read to me that it did not serve Clint and the girl too well and that is a tragedy...

More will be revealed.

William Hazen

bkedelen
03-18-2008, 03:19 PM
Or is there such a clear and significant difference in development between 13 and 16 (which could be closer to a 2 year difference than 3, depending on where the person's birthday falls) that that would have been acceptable?

Short answer: yes.

Lan Powers
03-18-2008, 03:20 PM
<"But being a sex offender in our society results in an almost Amish type of "shunning". You become a non-person in an instant. ">

Social Eta

dragonteeth
03-18-2008, 03:50 PM
Perhaps one of the hardest things to deal with in these situations is believing that one of your close friends could actually commit such a horrible act. Most of us train together for years, and develop friendships that go beyond the dojo doors into real life. We truly think we know each other better than we know ourselves. That's one of the great things about aikido (and any martial art in general). That said, it is also one of our weak points. When someone comes to us with a complaint of impropriety against someone with whom we have shared practice and friendship for years, our first reaction is probably not going to be objective.

About 18 years ago an incident came to light in a dojo where I trained in a different style. The chief instructor was a well respected special forces veteran who at that time was also serving as a pastor at a local church. One of the teenage female students found herself caught up in a serious case of hero worship, and he took advantage of that. It took the girl several months to gather up the courage to approach one of the other teachers with her story. A meeting of the teachers was called, but since time had passed there was no physical evidence, it was her word against his. She had been seen by others in the school as having "sucked up" to him (bad choice of words but no others seem to fit), and so the few instructors that did believe her story had a strong sense that she had set herself up for it. Whether she did or not is irrelevant - she was 14, he was 38, and he knew better.

The one instructor that did believe her ended up breaking off from the organization to form his own along with several of his personal students, including myself. The girl in question also followed him having been "uninvited" to train with the original school. In later years, it came out that not only had the chief instructor molested this girl, but that he also molested 3 other teenage girls (that we know of), groped a handful of adult women under the guise of teaching "pressure points" and initiated an affair with another instructor's wife resulting in her pregnancy and their divorce. None of these students felt comfortable going to another teacher about what happened, both because of the first incident's outcome and because of the "he can do no wrong" attitude that pervaded the school.

The sad thing is that because of lack of physical evidence and the statute of limitations, no charges were ever filed against him when the full story came out. By this point, the remaining students and teachers realized that there were too many allegations for them not to be true, and ended up leaving the original school which subsequently shut down.

One cannot help but wonder what could have been done differently to create an atmosphere in that dojo where not only would the girls have been more comfortable coming forward but also would have eliminated the possibility of it happening in the first place. There has been great wisdom written in the posts here about creating guidelines to prevent even the appearance of impropriety which goes a long way towards preventing the impropriety itself. I would only ask that if someone comes to you with an allegation, especially a young person, please you respect the trust that young person is showing in you. Their trust has already been violated by another person of authority, and you'll hopefully never have to know the courage it took for them to come to you. If you know that you cannot be completely objective in your assessment of the allegation because of your friendship with the accused, then redirect it to someone who can be. Even if the allegation appears to be false, be especially vigilant in the future just in case there is more to the story than just what the evidence supports.

Jennifer Yabut
03-18-2008, 04:12 PM
I wonder if the reaction be the same, though, if she had been 16? Would it even have come to the attention of this forum were not for the fact that he broke the law? Or is there such a clear and significant difference in development between 13 and 16 (which could be closer to a 2 year difference than 3, depending on where the person's birthday falls) that that would have been acceptable?

ABSOLUTELY...there is a *significant* difference in development between 13 and 16. The average child enters adolescence around age 11-12 - some of them a year or two earlier or later. At the age of 16, the child is nearing the end of the adolescent period (again, give or take a couple years). And it would NOT be acceptable for a 40-something year old to initiate an "inappropriate" relationship with a 16-yr-old. A 16-yr-old simply is NOT mature enough to handle all of the consequences of an "adult relationship" (e.g., unwanted pregnancy).

If you think 16 is equally deplorable, although legal, then where do you draw the line? 18? 21? 30? It seems to me that if you frame the issue in black-and-white terms then you have to pick an arbitrary point where you go from one to the other.

Unwanted sexual advances - regardless of age - should not be tolerated...PERIOD. Hence, the discussion about teacher/student boundaries.

Cephallus
03-18-2008, 04:56 PM
Unwanted sexual advances - regardless of age - should not be tolerated...PERIOD. Hence, the discussion about teacher/student boundaries.

If not outside the scope of the original topic, I'm certainly approaching the edge...but the language used in the article says that this teacher claimed the contact was consensual. I think what Giancarlo was asking is at what age should sexual contact be defined as consensual, legally?

Personally, I believe that a teacher participating in a romantic relationship with a student is overstepping an important boundary, regardless of age.

Ellis Amdur
03-18-2008, 07:24 PM
Marc writes:
That is OUR view point that represents OUR culture. Their are NO moral absolutes in how cultures assign worth to people, regardless of age or gender.
Moral relativism. Such a "correct" shibboleth that it shuts the conversation down. One must not dare go against such a powerful weapon.
There has been a radical shift in a large segment of Islamic culture, where suicide once forbidden, is now given sanction, if one is killing one's enemies, defined only by ethnic or religious grounds, and this is given religious approval by some of the top religious leaders in various countries. But there's no moral absolute. Shred bodies as you will - that's the new cultural rule, so there's nothing to condemn.
Interestingly, the Dyak of Borneo used to headhunt. Originally, it was a war trophy, but it got so a young man couldn't marry without presenting his inamorata with a head. So they would sneak into the next valley and slaughter the nearest unaware old person, woman or child. It became a pernicious addiction, that compulsively continued, generation after generation. The English, when they colonized Bornea stopped it, on pain of death. A very famous Dyak chief expressed gratitude saying that they were sick with blood and could not stop by themselves. (Those awful English absolutists).
There is a long-standing group of cultures in New Guinea that believe that males grow strong through the ingestion of sperm. So the young boys are taken from their mother's into the long-houses and used every day for oral sex until they grow up and do it, in turn to young boys themselves. The young boys are taught to believe the value and brag about how much they are "given." They grow up and marry. This is a profoundly violent society, particularly in regards to women with women, using them to procreate more boys for more . . . But how dare we condemn it! It's their culture.
Perhaps another book is in order - the marvelous SICK SOCIETIES by Robert Edgerton, which looks at various cultures as being damaging or healthy to their members. I shall first define it as the failure of a population or its culture to survive because of the inadequacy or harmfulness of one or more of its beliefs or institutions. Second, maladaption will be said to exist when enough members of a population are sufficiently dissatisfied with one or more of their social institutions or cultural beliefs that the viability of their society is threatened. Finally, it will be considered to be maladaptive when a population maintains beliefs or practices that so seriously impair the physical or mental health of its members that they cannot adequately meet their own needs or maintain their social and cultural system. So cultural rules can actually damage people severely, and if you look around the world, women are the first, foremost and almost always victims.
So let us bring up ancient Rome, one of the most genocidal cultures ever to exist on the face of the earth, where Hitler and Goering would have been unremarkable, typical Roman generals, and Stalin a marvelous Emperor. Young girls were married off young, with no say in the matter. Fathers also had the right to kill their sons at any time or age, for any reason they chose. There was no concept of "majority" - you were your father's boy until he died. Perhaps not the best example to validate age of consent.
In many "primitive" cultures, the life expectancy is 30 years old. Not surprisingly, one marries when fertile. You will likely be dead around the time your child is ready to reproduce. Biology will out.
Are we, today, simply biological beings? No, in addition to genes, we have "memes," cultural rules and values passed on from generation to generation. And one of them is age appropriateness. A 13 year old girl or boy is terribly ill suited to the role of reproduction in the complexities of modern life, AND, terribly ill-suited to the experiences that he or she will have in a sexual relationship with an adult. Thus, going back to Edgerton, we see that an adult initiating a relationship with a child - which is surely to satisfy his or her own needs and not taking the child's needs into account - or taking into account the potential, very likely damage - is profoundly selfish.
There are evil people, because every act they do is calculated to do harm, willfully so. And there are many many ordinary people who do evil things. So returning to William Hazen's brave note. I wouldn't call his teacher evil. But what she did - meeting her own needs at a child's expense - is an evil thing to do. That she also helped a young boy who so terribly needed help means that there was more to her than what she was doing to him. But that help that she offered could have been given without the sex.
How dare I be so harsh and judgmental? Should I be more supportive to help people's self esteem? Calling an act evil might make them feel bad?
In my world, I simply do not trust people who are not willing to make moral choices - and not merely about their own child, as in, "Look, there are many cultures and many rules and many perspectives. If it was my own daughter, of course . . ." Why not someone else's daughter or son?
Why is this so difficult?

What is good? An act that is concerned with more than oneself. One does something not out of selfishness, to meet one's own needs - lust for example, or a need for power. One considers the implications of one's acts as they affect others. (Oh, perhaps that is part of Ueshiba's aikido - it's contributing to something larger than just one's own selfish needs? No, let us not go there, because we'd be shunning the selfish and they need our love . Let us make aikido "unconditional positive regard." ).
What is evil? That which only is considered with satisfying one's own needs without concern or care for another, or the damage you cause. Or further, the deliberate considered, cultivated, planned, choice to commit such an act, damn what consequences to the other person.
Yes, there are different cultures. Am I a racist or ethnocentric individual - America uber all? One culture that manifests profound sickness (per Edgerton) is our own. Read Boys Adrift by Sax - one of the most important books of the 21st century about the profound damage to a generation of males in Western society, and how it endangers everything in our culture, now and in the future. But if we can look at our own and see profoundly flawed values that damage people in our own, then we can do the same regarding other cultures. Or the short version, just because some cultures say it is fine and dandy for the adult males to take young girls and f*** them because it feels good and they want to, no matter what psychological - or physical damage it causes - doesn't make it right.
Best

Keith Larman
03-18-2008, 07:51 PM
Well, geez, here I was getting mentally prepared to type up a long missive about moral relativism, headhunters, eating the heart of enemies, and the practice in some asian cultures of killing female children... But Mr. Amdur has covered it quite well...

As we evolve, become more civilized, and spend more time considering the consequences of our actions I would hope we have become more aware of issues of damages we do to each other through our actions, deceits, conceits and ignorance. There is clear evidence of damage done to children in modern society by abuse. Heck, William's very honest post also shows a young man that was literally a perfect candidate for exploitation. And while it might have filled a void for him, her choices in how she could have helped were many. But she chose a particular path, an evil path. And if I'm reading the story correctly ("tendancy to "bond" with male students"), it may not have been the only time she'd acted in such a way. Do you think she "helped" all these boys? Maybe William feels it helped him in retrospect considering the magnitude of problems faced at the same time. Lesser of evils? However, this sort of scenario is all-too-common in these cases. A kid who needs a parental figure. A kid who is missing out on love and guidance. And a person who sees that, comes in, gets close, and takes it someplace else entirely. Taking advantage of an opening... With a child.

It is wrong.

lbb
03-18-2008, 08:00 PM
If not outside the scope of the original topic, I'm certainly approaching the edge...but the language used in the article says that this teacher claimed the contact was consensual. I think what Giancarlo was asking is at what age should sexual contact be defined as consensual, legally?

And the answer is...it depends. Just in the United States alone, sexual consent laws are extremely variable, not only in the age that's defined as capable of giving consent, but to what acts and with whom as a partner. I would not argue with someone who states firmly that there's a big difference in maturity between a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old (although I might point out that while there should be such a difference, there isn't always)...but it defies logic to say that a 16-year-old in one state is capable of consent and a 16-year-old in another state is not. Yet that is exactly what consent laws would have us believe.

Now, if what you're talking about is sensible legal reform of consent laws...well, first of all, be prepared to be labeled a pedophile yourself, just for suggesting that we touch that sacred cow. But in an ideal world, where a rational discussion about the subject could take place, would it not make sense to consider not just the chronological age, not just the act, but the situation and the relationship between the two? It astounds me that consent laws fail to do this -- and yet, I think we'd probably all agree that the potential for true consent is lowest when one party is in a strong position of authority over the other (a school principle, a police officer, or worse yet, a parent).

gdandscompserv
03-18-2008, 09:17 PM
When I was a child, my father physically and emotionally abused me in unimaginable ways. I apparently repressed the memories of the abuse for many years. Later in life I was visiting some family and I heard what sounded like the physical abuse of a child in the next apartment. I "woke" up on the floor in a fetal position. Memories of the abuse came flooding into my mind. I became a very angry and bitter person. I sent my dad an email detailing some of my memories and letting him know what a terrible and evil human being he was. I cut off contact with him for several years. How could he have done such evil things to his own child? What a despicable human being he must be. His sins were surely greater than my own; after all, I had never done such despicable things to my children. In fact, I had never layed a hand on my children. I was surely a superior human being. Then one day I received a call; dad was in the hospital and his condition was critical. I debated whether or not to go to the hospital. I went. He had been in a coma and the moment I walked in the room he awoke, looked me in the eye, and mouthed these two words: I'm sorry. At that moment I forgave him. He recovered and lived several more years before dying of lymphoma cancer. What I learned about myself was that, initially I could not forgive him because I felt his sins were greater than mine. What I have since discovered is that only when we think our sins are less than another's can we not forgive them. When our sins are not as great or as evil as our neighbor's, it is much easier to condemn them. I now try to withhold my judgment and condemnation of others. There are plenty of others who are more than willing to accept that responsibility.

rob_liberti
03-18-2008, 10:52 PM
Surface level moral relativism is obviously an issue.

However, the head hunter tribe after years and years had some sort of social illness snowballing out of control. How do you blame the members of say generation 15 in that societal/cultural evolution. All those people ever knew was violence. Does that make them "evil"? It just seems like that is ignoring the process of events that got them there.

I suppose I see sexual predators in much the same light. I assume they weren't happy and healthy individuals who out of boredom and curiosity just randomly decided to abuse power. I assume these people were very damaged by their parents, who were damaged themselves by their parents, who were damaged by their parents or priests or whatever, who were ... going back for generations of damaged people.

I look at computer related problems and I'm pretty good at getting to root cause in highly complex systems. I don't understand human behavior all that well, so I admit I'm guessing a bit. But the line of reasoning seems reasonable to me so far. Is there some distinction here? How do you look at anyone doing "evil" AS them being "evil" themselves - when you suspect that they seem to most probably be just caught up in a "generational track" that is much bigger than many of their conscious decisions.

I don't really know what I'm talking about here, so this is more of a statement looking for perspective than some open challenge to people that don't see things the way I do.

We define good and evil. What is the definition of compassion? Isn't it the ability to see emotionally from another perspective - and maybe a bigger picture since you are not all caught up in what is blinding them.

I just get the sense that we have some weird need to punish EVIL doers. The whole "punish" deal is part of the problem as I see it. Maybe if we figured out how to not punish children no matter how much we were punished ourselves we could break some of these long term generational tracks of abusiveness. Isn't that a message we are supposed to be considering as aikido people who train to become so strong that we have no need to punish and damage those who want to damage us.

My understanding of the Osensei take on relativism was that there is an absolute and a relative. They are absolutely relative to each other. It is some kind of dualist monism or monistic dualism. And I have the impression that there is probably some order where absolute gets a higher precedence than the relative which results in so many natural "spirals" as opposed to "circles".

I have trouble believing such loaded issues can really be "black and white" or "just black end of story" simply because they seem a bit too surface level to me.

Forgive my ramblings - Rob

Buck
03-18-2008, 11:13 PM
Hello,

I am an on-again, off-again, over the years Aikidoka since a kid. I have been in many situations where lines where crossed by the adult authority. Thank God in Heaven, I wasn't completely victimized as the new report indicated or like the stories told here. I would like to add something.

Having children of my own, I see how vulnerable children are to adults. Especially those adults those children look up to, admire, or fear. I see children who are in need of models, protectors, and emotional caregivers. Children as these seek-out naturally such adults. But, children don't yet have the sophisticated instrumentation to seek out the good from the bad adults right away. Children can be easily manipulated, tricked, and confused when at any given level or time of need. Adults know this.

No adult has any business moving into that type of physical and emotional intimacy as reported. Adults have behavioral instrumentation. We know what we should and shouldn't be doing with children. Boundaries are put in place by adults, and adults know when they cross those boundaries. There should be no philosophical debate about it.

Aikido, martial arts overall, attract people who want authority. More often then not this means running a dojo and being a Sensei. More often then not this is benign. Because Aikido does attract it would reason there would be more cases of abuse then the three guys mentioned. A very low number of the publicized cases compared to all the people who take Aikido. Incidences exist in other organizations or professions which have gotten plenty of media exposure because of the high number of occurrences of abuse.

I don't see Aikido being primetime for predators to prey on children. I don't think is a big enough issue to sweep under the rug because it is a rare occurrence in Aikido. During practice, the Sensei is there being watched by parents (if not the child's then by the other parents) in one large open room. The child is rarely, or should be ever, alone with the Sensei. I would be alarmed if there where sleep-overs at the Sensei's house, or if the Sensei takes them on a trip. If the relationship between the child and the Sensei was too close where little if any boundaries existed. I don't think Aikido is about those things.

It's not the art it is the person. People are not gods. Aikido is an art and each dojo reflects the Sensei. There are some bad people who teach Aikido, and do bad things. Thank goodness the bad are few. Aikido isn't immune to the bad. There are bad people and bad people take Aikido. It is good to know that there are many more good people in Aikido then bad. Aikido is an art and it isn't perfect or imperfect. It shouldn't be a matter of reputation of the art when something bad happens. Rather. it is a matter of the individual who should suffer the reputation of being bad when doing something bad.

A serious issue George Clint is accused of? Yes. A major problem in Aikido, no I don't think so. Not enough to ride through town crying that the British are coming, or a spot on Dr. Phil. I don't think as touchy-feely and seen no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil, as Aikido is, it is something predators overall are attracted to. There are other professions that have more of an authority role involving teaching or leading children, predators are likely more attracted.

Sorry for the length.

Aikibu
03-18-2008, 11:59 PM
Well, geez, here I was getting mentally prepared to type up a long missive about moral relativism, headhunters, eating the heart of enemies, and the practice in some asian cultures of killing female children... But Mr. Amdur has covered it quite well...

As we evolve, become more civilized, and spend more time considering the consequences of our actions I would hope we have become more aware of issues of damages we do to each other through our actions, deceits, conceits and ignorance. There is clear evidence of damage done to children in modern society by abuse. Heck, William's very honest post also shows a young man that was literally a perfect candidate for exploitation. And while it might have filled a void for him, her choices in how she could have helped were many. But she chose a particular path, an evil path. And if I'm reading the story correctly ("tendancy to "bond" with male students"), it may not have been the only time she'd acted in such a way. Do you think she "helped" all these boys? Maybe William feels it helped him in retrospect considering the magnitude of problems faced at the same time. Lesser of evils? However, this sort of scenario is all-too-common in these cases. A kid who needs a parental figure. A kid who is missing out on love and guidance. And a person who sees that, comes in, gets close, and takes it someplace else entirely. Taking advantage of an opening... With a child.

It is wrong.

Thanks for the post...This issue to me brings to mind a few films in popular culture which have tried to explore this particular "bond" and strike a chord with me personally.

Harold and Maude
Gloria (The John Cassavettes version the better of the two)
The Professional.

Each film towed right up to the line of a possible physical relationship between an adult and a child as a byproduct of a bond both of them pursue and the adults innate desire to perform a greater good by protecting a child not his/her own.

They never cross that line...That (as Ellis points out) is a taboo meme.

I was lucky in the my Teachers desire to nuture protect and take care of me stood in stark contrast to her failure to honor that taboo.

I know nothing about Clint George other than he apparently failed too..a flaw in his charactor? A byproduct of his own physical abuse as a child? A sex addict? Who knows?

I will pray for him and her.

I hope I am not rambling to you good folks but in my heart of hearts this is what an Aiki Community Feels and Looks like and I am greatful to be a part of it.

William Hazen

Aikibu
03-19-2008, 12:05 AM
When I was a child, my father physically and emotionally abused me in unimaginable ways. I apparently repressed the memories of the abuse for many years. Later in life I was visiting some family and I heard what sounded like the physical abuse of a child in the next apartment. I "woke" up on the floor in a fetal position. Memories of the abuse came flooding into my mind. I became a very angry and bitter person. I sent my dad an email detailing some of my memories and letting him know what a terrible and evil human being he was. I cut off contact with him for several years. How could he have done such evil things to his own child? What a despicable human being he must be. His sins were surely greater than my own; after all, I had never done such despicable things to my children. In fact, I had never layed a hand on my children. I was surely a superior human being. Then one day I received a call; dad was in the hospital and his condition was critical. I debated whether or not to go to the hospital. I went. He had been in a coma and the moment I walked in the room he awoke, looked me in the eye, and mouthed these two words: I'm sorry. At that moment I forgave him. He recovered and lived several more years before dying of lymphoma cancer. What I learned about myself was that, initially I could not forgive him because I felt his sins were greater than mine. What I have since discovered is that only when we think our sins are less than another's can we not forgive them. When our sins are not as great or as evil as our neighbor's, it is much easier to condemn them. I now try to withhold my judgment and condemnation of others. There are plenty of others who are more than willing to accept that responsibility.

Amen Ricky I have had that exact same experiance too...

A man I know and trust said the most powerful idea to emerge out of the Christian Religion was the ideal of forgiveness...

Any man or woman who could embrace and practice it in thier own life would become the most powerful of all spiritual warriors...

God Bless You.

William Hazen

Ellis Amdur
03-19-2008, 12:26 AM
Seems like I'm functioning as a devil's advocate. I wish to be very clear that I am not questioning nor arguing with the forgiveness that R. Wood and William have described. BUT - one of the most pernicious problems I see in the treatment and recovery from violation is the "pushing" of forgiveness. This can be due to an ideology of a particular religion or psychology (particularly "pop" psychology); discomfort on the part of the auditor at the anger or even rage of the victim; or a fantasy that forgiveness will always heal.
I've worked with many many people who never healed because they suppressed their righteous outrage when pushed by pastor, therapist, family or friend to forgive. I see many children pushed to forgive their abusive dad by their mother whom they love - but who wants the man back in her life above all else, or as above, is more uncomfortable at the anger of their child than the act of the abuser.
So, it's been my experience that the only forgiveness that heals comes from the heart, and that is not something that is taught or even pointed out. It emerges completely unexpected, as a shock from within, like when you walk into a hospital room, look in someone's eyes, and somehow, the rage is gone, and forgiveness or compassion emerges.
Most of the time, my job is to help a person become enraged, to succeed in hating both the deed and the doer, to have it burn through them like a fire burning out all the underbrush in a redwood forest. When one can clearly condemn evil, without reframing it, or finding a pablum explanation in the oppressor's past, when one can clearly say that no explanation excuses violation, then and only then can forgiveness OR indifference OR a continuation of a righteous disdain and hatred emerge, all equally valid, equally powerful, and equally true.
Again, I am not discounting what William and Ricky wrote. But just as moral relativism, multi-culturalism, or the idea of self-esteem healing all, "forgiveness" has become, for many, a talisman that is deemed so self-evidence that no one dare question it's worth.
Best

batemanb
03-19-2008, 03:41 AM
Personally, I believe that a teacher participating in a romantic relationship with a student is overstepping an important boundary, regardless of age.

I instruct in my own dojo, my wife is one of my students, we have a romantic relationship, we are both over 40 years old. Should my wife stop training or should I stop instructing?

I don't think everythings quite that simple.

Marc Abrams
03-19-2008, 07:03 AM
Ellis:

I fear that you have misread what I was trying to convey. It tends to be when people place events, ideas, opinions, etc. in absolutes, frequently, the conversation is shut down. I would have thought that the example that I gave with the book "The Nazi Doctors..." would have clearly illustrated that point. So many people want to look at what happened as "absolute evil." The reality was much more complicated than that. Understanding the psychological principles that shaped people into doing the "unspeakable" is critical. We obviously have not learned from that, because we have other other mini genocides occur while the world stood by and watched.

All of the examples that you gave discussed how events were shaped by their cultures over time. Thanks to abstract reasoning capacities, humans have the unique capacity to justify things that run counter to our very survival! I

I agree with you assessment of society's need for "forgiveness." You and I have both worked with people who have been severely traumatized, abused,.... Your assessment was right on target. My nonacceptance and condemnation of these types of alleged events are on par with yours (my guess- I may be wrong about that). My own experiences, personally and professionally have been that personal healing has been facilitated when a person does not have to only look at the events from the "eyes" of moral absolutes.

I try and live up to the idea of treating everything around me as I would wanted to be treated. Living up to the reverence of the most precious, fragile gift - life, is easier said than done.

I have to get to work now in my job as a psychologist. I think that if we were to discuss these issues, we would have more common ground than you might believe. If we look at things from slightly different angles, then that simply highlights to beauty of the uniqueness of life.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

rob_liberti
03-19-2008, 07:38 AM
When one can clearly condemn evil, without reframing it, or finding a pablum explanation in the oppressor's past, when one can clearly say that no explanation excuses violation, then and only then can forgiveness OR indifference OR a continuation of a righteous disdain and hatred emerge, all equally valid, equally powerful, and equally true.

This makes good sense.

I think the problem is that "evil" doesn't have a productive meaning anymore because it is enmeshed in that moral relativism/absolutism business.

It's personal. Getting mad at evilness has no meaning. You get mad at the person who made a choice to hurt/violate you regardless of the reason.

And still I'm left wondering when compassion plays its role and to what extent? After or along with the surprised and unforced forgiveness?

Rob

lbb
03-19-2008, 08:16 AM
Seems like I'm functioning as a devil's advocate. I wish to be very clear that I am not questioning nor arguing with the forgiveness that R. Wood and William have described. BUT - one of the most pernicious problems I see in the treatment and recovery from violation is the "pushing" of forgiveness. This can be due to an ideology of a particular religion or psychology (particularly "pop" psychology); discomfort on the part of the auditor at the anger or even rage of the victim; or a fantasy that forgiveness will always heal.

Well, sure. Been there, done that. The healing process has many stages, of which forgiveness is only one -- and forgiveness is not always possible. A friend once told me that in Jewish tradition, it's not considered possible to forgive someone who doesn't repent: it's not that it's hard, it's that it's impossible, like 2 and 2 equaling 5. I believe that that's true, and that forgiveness isn't something you can do all on your own.

I also agree with your point about the pushing of forgiveness, which strikes me to be a variant of the constant pushing for "closure" (a much-misused word that I would like to ban from all discourse for a period of not less than two decades). I think it arises from the reasons that you cite, which when you get right down to it are really childish. Let's forgive! Let's get closure! That'll make the bad feelings go away, right now! God forbid we should have to live with the consequences and reminders of the past; much better to stick our fingers in our ears and squeeze our eyes shut and yell "LA LA LA LA LA MAKE IT GO AWAY!!!"

<snip>So, it's been my experience that the only forgiveness that heals comes from the heart, and that is not something that is taught or even pointed out. It emerges completely unexpected, as a shock from within, like when you walk into a hospital room, look in someone's eyes, and somehow, the rage is gone, and forgiveness or compassion emerges.

It was like that with me, too (I wasn't abused, btw -- I grew up with an alcoholic parent, different issue). I had to stop trying to fix things. It's much like physical healing: you do what you can, but you also have to let go of the idea that you control it -- and (this is the real scary part) you have to accept that it might not get better. You have to find your will to live with what you have, even as you work and hope for improvement.

Most of the time, my job is to help a person become enraged, to succeed in hating both the deed and the doer, to have it burn through them like a fire burning out all the underbrush in a redwood forest. When one can clearly condemn evil, without reframing it, or finding a pablum explanation in the oppressor's past, when one can clearly say that no explanation excuses violation, then and only then can forgiveness OR indifference OR a continuation of a righteous disdain and hatred emerge, all equally valid, equally powerful, and equally true.

I think the problem -- which took me decades to understand -- is that most people have a tendency to conflate things in a way that suggests a relationship that doesn't exist. "He abused you, but he was abused himself" -- that conjunction is very problematic. Yes, there may be a connection, and it may be helpful to understand for someone, but it's got to be carefully removed from the context of stating what happened and who bears responsibility. I got to my own forgiveness by abandoning all conjunctions and dealing with each truth by itself. Now I can appreciate some of the connections between them, dismiss others as false, and accept others as true but not particularly relevant to me.

ChrisMoses
03-19-2008, 08:36 AM
Wow, some really amazing posts here. This thing has gone places I never expected. Again I really appreciate the tone people have brought to this discussion.


Harold and Maude
Gloria (The John Cassavettes version the better of the two)
The Professional.

Each film towed right up to the line of a possible physical relationship between an adult and a child as a byproduct of a bond both of them pursue and the adults innate desire to perform a greater good by protecting a child not his/her own.

They never cross that line...That (as Ellis points out) is a taboo meme.

I don't know when the last time you watched Harold and Maude was, but it's pretty clear (to me at least) that they did consummate their relationship (recall the scene with the two of them in bed blowing bubbles in lieu of smoking cigarettes). I would argue (perhaps incorrectly) that that film was different in that it portrayed the relationship between an elderly woman and a young *man*, rather than an adult and a minor. While Harold's age isn't specifically brought up (that I can remember) his mother does seem to be encouraging him to get married, not just date, and all of the prospective young ladies are employed. If I had to guess I would put him in his early twenties and at the very least, no longer a minor. Sorry for the drift, but I wanted to point out the distinctions there.

As for the 13 to 16 distinction, I think it's easy as an adult to say, it's only two years. But in terms of development, a couple years is not insignificant. For those of you with teenagers, imagine handing your twelve year old the keys to the car for a night. Handing them over to a sixteen year old is bad enough, but those few years do make a big difference.

ramenboy
03-19-2008, 09:09 AM
maybe its because i'm so narrow-minded, but, on the whole, its very interesting to see threads like this one, the similar AAA one and the one on 'eroticism' http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13924 going on at the same time.

Fred Little
03-19-2008, 09:09 AM
This makes good sense.

I think the problem is that "evil" doesn't have a productive meaning anymore because it is enmeshed in that moral relativism/absolutism business.

It's personal. Getting mad at evilness has no meaning. You get mad at the person who made a choice to hurt/violate you regardless of the reason.

And still I'm left wondering when compassion plays its role and to what extent? After or along with the surprised and unforced forgiveness?

Rob

Rob,

I don't have an answer, but I think that our collective understanding of compassion has suffered from a incomplete transmission (or perhaps incomplete adoption) of the Buddhist understanding of compassion. This isn't to say that Buddhism has any lock on compassion, just that the way we talk about compassion has been strongly influenced by the globalization of Buddhism since WW II.

These thoughts by Pema Chodron may be useful in considering what compassion is and how it plays its role, either healthily or otherwise:

Student: I'm interested in the idea of idiot compassion that was in Ken McLeod's book [Wake Up To Your Life]", and wishing compassion for someone who's doing harm to you or that you need to remove yourself from. How do you differentiate the feeling of compassion and the need to remove yourself from a damaging situation?

Pema: Idiot compassion is a great expression, which was actually coined by Trungpa Rinpoche. It refers to something we all do a lot of and call it compassion. In some ways, it's whats called enabling. It's the general tendency to give people what they want because you can't bear to see them suffering. Basically, you're not giving them what they need. You're trying to get away from your feeling of I can't bear to see them suffering. In other words, you're doing it for yourself. You're not really doing it for them.

Full text (http://www.shambhala.org/teachers/pema/qa5.php)

These by Robert Masters are useful as well:

… ‘When those who espouse idiot compassion encounter offensive behavior from others, they usually take pains to not only be nonjudgmental (or at least not to say or do anything that could be construed as judgmental), but also to examine whatever such behavior may be triggering in them, while bringing no significant heat to those who are actually behaving offensively. That is, if what you are doing is upsetting me, my job (as a graduate of Idiot Compassion 101) is not to focus to any significant degree on your behavior, but rather to find out what my being bothered says about me, while perhaps also acknowledging and appreciating the opportunity you are giving me to examine myself.

This is not only a misguided reading of the art of allowing all things to serve our awakening, but also a far-from-compassionate response to our offending others, for we, in not being on the side of doing what we can to bring them face to face with the consequences of their actions, are on the side of depriving them of something they may sorely need. And in letting them off the hook, we are doing the same for ourselves.'

Sometimes, compassion is gentle. At other times, genuine compassion looks like this:

http://images.stage6.com/channel_images/buddhism/4712ce619b0a2t.jpg

Knowing which face to show on any particular occasion is wisdom. Doing so is skillful means.

Or, as Hippocrates put it: "Life is short, [the] art long, opportunity fleeting, experiment treacherous, judgment difficult. The physician must not only be prepared to do what is right himself, but also to make the patient, the attendants, and externals cooperate."

A tall order indeed.

Best,

FL

Cephallus
03-19-2008, 09:13 AM
I instruct in my own dojo, my wife is one of my students, we have a romantic relationship, we are both over 40 years old. Should my wife stop training or should I stop instructing?

I don't think everythings quite that simple.

I honestly believe that if she started as your student before you were romantically involved, it would have been healthier, as a general rule, to have either stopped the teacher/student relationship first or not pursued the romantic relationship. I should have clarified that I was not referring to existing relationships.

Of course it's a generalization, and I'm sure there have been a lot of successful, long-term relationships that have arisen from exactly the same situation. It's just my opinion that, again, in general, it's not a good scenario for developing a healthy relationship. And you're absolutely correct, it's definitely not a simple issue.

This is totally aside, but I admire the fact that your relationship is strong enough to accommodate the teacher/student role within your marriage. I'm afraid to show my wife how to do something on the computer, let alone actually *teach* her something... :D

aikidoc
03-19-2008, 09:53 AM
Very interesting discussions. If it was brought up, I did not catch it but I think we have issues of "professional boundaries" here. In the health care professions, many states have requirements for relicensing where doctors have to take so many hours of professional boundaries training. Much like with instructors, transference can occur. Patients become attracted to their care givers and vice versa. Doctors frequently must touch patients to examine and treat them. The issues become complex: how much touching is necessary and under what circumstances? Many doctors have an assistant in the room at all times, some are less cautious. These issues arise in any situation where interactions occur involving physical contact. It might be a good thing for martial arts instructors to become more aware of the issues surrounding professional boundaries. It is complex as the person's personal history and cultural issues enter into defining what is appropriate-it's an individual call for the most part. However, awareness of the issues surrounding age and the ability to comprehend all the complexities of evolving sexual awareness make interaction with minors particularly difficult. Nothing makes sense when it comes to the mental illness of pedophilia. The rescividism rate with child molestors is extremely high. It is difficult to determine who might be a pedophile. Sometimes it becomes very difficult for those in transitional ages to recognize the perils inherent in becoming involved with others at the border of legal age. Hormonal influences are notorious for clouding judgement.

There are online courses available for a reasonable cost that handle or address the issue of sexual boundaries. It might be advisable for martial arts instructors to consider such training and to establish policies for instructors in their dojo with regards to interactions with children and females or members of the opposite sex. Especially for instructors.

Jennifer Yabut
03-19-2008, 09:55 AM
Pema: Idiot compassion is a great expression, which was actually coined by Trungpa Rinpoche. It refers to something we all do a lot of and call it compassion. In some ways, it's whats called enabling. It's the general tendency to give people what they want because you can't bear to see them suffering. Basically, you're not giving them what they need. You're trying to get away from your feeling of I can't bear to see them suffering. In other words, you're doing it for yourself. You're not really doing it for them.

Well said. Sometimes one's "compassion" can be sorely misplaced. A good parent loves his/her child unconditionally, but is also quick to issue some "tough love" when needed.

SentWest
03-19-2008, 10:01 AM
For those dealing with problems like this, I recommend Gavin de Becker's Gift of Fear.

Any other recommendations?


I'd like to second the recommendation for "The Gift of Fear," as I'm about halfway through the book as we speak.

(Off topic for a second - incidentally I'm sitting at my desk not twenty feet from where a recently fired employee killed two others with a shotgun about ten years ago at my company, so I'm finding the chapter on employee violence rather pertinent.)

As far as Mr. George's alleged behavior, I don't think that we should be too surprised when people who are in positions of power or responsibility take advantage of it. If they didn't have access to said power or responsibility, they'd never have the opportunity to make good on whatever it is they might be inclined to do. They may not have set themselves up for that purpose, but simply take an opportunity when presented.

Part of the reason why we hear much more about teachers and care providers abusing children than say, oil derrick engineers or forestry workers who might posess identical unhealthy ideations.

Edit to add:

There was a question about finding middle ground between naivete and paranoia when interacting with those in positions of power. The right middle ground for me is "Trust, but Verify." I ping for verification often, and am willing to change my position if they start to come back sour, even if I have a history positive relationships with the person.

Aikibu
03-19-2008, 10:40 AM
Great Posts...

A few notes....

Some folks seem to be viewing thier conception of forgiveness through a very narrow social prism somehow detaching it from consequence? Lingering background radiation from the feel good me first 70's perhaps? I recommend of Christopher Lasch's book The Culture of Narcissim

In my case and it has been mentioned it came in stages and was a process but at not point did I wish to absolve the persons involved from the consequnces of their acts...I only wished to forgive them....

As Ellis has mention the ideal of forgiveness has been distorted somewhat.

As Fred has mentioned true compassion is allowing people to embrace thier own suffering and to help them wake up to what effect they have caused with thier evil...

A great modern day exercise in this regard was The Reverend Desmond Tutu's Truth and Reconciliation Council in South Africa at the end of Aphartied.

Forgiveness in the beginning can be a very selfish act...In my case did I wish to carry the rage, anger, and shame around with me forever and have it color my relationships and my life... Or could I let it go and move on to the Dharma....

In Christian terms should I continue to nuture the "Sins of the Father" and pontentially have my "sons" pay for them...

Forgiveness to me was the only way to break this chain and become free of the evil it caused in my life and the lives of others...

William Hazen

Aikibu
03-19-2008, 10:47 AM
Wow, some really amazing posts here. This thing has gone places I never expected. Again I really appreciate the tone people have brought to this discussion.

I don't know when the last time you watched Harold and Maude was, but it's pretty clear (to me at least) that they did consummate their relationship (recall the scene with the two of them in bed blowing bubbles in lieu of smoking cigarettes). I would argue (perhaps incorrectly) that that film was different in that it portrayed the relationship between an elderly woman and a young *man*, rather than an adult and a minor. While Harold's age isn't specifically brought up (that I can remember) his mother does seem to be encouraging him to get married, not just date, and all of the prospective young ladies are employed. If I had to guess I would put him in his early twenties and at the very least, no longer a minor. Sorry for the drift, but I wanted to point out the distinctions there.


Noted and perhaps I should have parsed it better. It's been awhile since I saw it but I was struck by the emotionally immature man bonding with the older wiser woman in other words the Theme of the movie I thought it was exploring the same issues perhaps a few years removed and hence t sans' the taboo.

William Hazen

batemanb
03-19-2008, 10:49 AM
I should have clarified that I was not referring to existing relationships.


Hi Aaron,

I should also clarify that our relationship started long before my wife started Aikido ;)

Keith Larman
03-19-2008, 10:51 AM
Sometimes, compassion is gentle. At other times, genuine compassion looks like this:

http://images.stage6.com/channel_images/buddhism/4712ce619b0a2t.jpg

Knowing which face to show on any particular occasion is wisdom. Doing so is skillful means.

It's interesting you posted that as I was reading all these posts about compassion thinking to myself about the expression oft heard in Aikido of Fudoshin, Fudotai. Immovable mind immovable body. To me it brings up associations with Fudo Myoo. And all of this includes the idea of resisting temptation along with balancing compassion for the world with an unyielding and clear view of truth. Too often in our fluffy passive aggressive touchy-feely approach to these arts we tend to forget about the inexorable truths. We talk about motivations, feelings, etc. and pretty soon we've obscured the underlying truth of a child being victimized.

Idiot compassion is a very good phrase indeed IMHO.

Talk of the age of consent is interesting at all, but we're not talking about a 17-year-old. Or a 16-year-old. Thirteen. With an adult in a position of authority. A teacher, a husband and a parent. Sorry, I'm not going to be understanding on that one. No way, no how.

I pray the story is false for everyone's sake including Mr. George's. But if it turns out to be true, well, I have no compassion whatsoever for him. None at all.

Consenting adults? Sure, bang away folks. Going back to one of Ellis' posts I think it may under many circumstances be unwise to embark on a dojo romance as the repurcussions of a soured one can be pretty severe. "Unwise" is the key word there. We all do unwise things periodically. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they blow up in our faces. However, grown ups can make those choices for themselves. And they should be free to do so. And they can live with the consequences because they're adults. Fine. I have no problem with that, I'd just counsel being very careful if you do. Consenting adults.

But kids are off-limits. We can debate when someone has the maturity to give informed consent. But at the age of thirteen? And sexual behavior? Nope. I'll be understanding of two thirteen-year-old hormone addled adolescents getting into it. I'll show compassion there as I try to convince them to hold off or at least be safe. I'll shake my head at the early loss of innocence. But a mature adult with a thirteen year old under their tutelage?

That deserves nothing but disdain.

Forgiveness is for the victim to give if they see fit to give it. Society, however, should not and I would argue cannot forgive that sort of behavior. And I'll reserve my compassion for wide swath of victims episodes like this create. The victim herself, her family, his family, their friends, and so on. That's where compassion needs to be focused.

I hope to God it turns out to be false.

lbb
03-19-2008, 11:18 AM
Forgiveness in the beginning can be a very selfish act...In my case did I wish to carry the rage, anger, and shame around with me forever and have it color my relationships and my life... Or could I let it go and move on to the Dharma....

I think it's a matter of terminology, and what you mean by "forgiveness". I stand by what I said earlier, that I think forgiveness (as I define it) is not something that one can do unilaterally -- it requires something from the offender. What I failed to add, though, was that there are other things you can do unilaterally that do not meet my definition of forgiveness, but that do allow you to let a past hurt go. It's the distinction between things being made right between you and your offender, and you reconciling with yourself (and maybe making things right between yourself and...the universe?) while still recognizing that an offense happened and the offender hasn't done the right thing about it.

Michael Hackett
03-19-2008, 01:22 PM
As a cop I've spent most of my adult life dealing with offenders and victims and at least anecdotally learned a few things about both. Victims suffer long-term consequences often that prevents them from enjoying their lives to the fullest, whether it is the rape victim who fears physical intimacy or the mugging victim who fears being out in crowds at night. The vast majority of offenders I've dealt with made a conscious choice to offend with full knowledge of its prohibition and consequences.

I recognize that many offenders were themselves victims of abuse, broken homes, fetal alcohol syndrome, poor potty training, poverty, and a myriad of other handicaps in life - but so were many of their victims and a large portion of society at large. Frankly I've come to the admittedly cynical conclusion that those are excuses and not causes. People make choices and then try to find someone else, or something to blame when they have to face the consequences.

Here in the US, we have mala en se and mala ad prohibitum laws. A mala en se law is one that prohibits conduct that our society agrees is intrinsically wrong such as murder or rape. Mala ad prohibitum laws are those we developed to regulate our society and are wrong simply because we have decided they are wrong. Our drug laws are good examples of mala ad prohibitum laws. We don't seem to get too worked up over violations of mala ad prohibitum laws - yeah, our political leaders get wrapped around the societal axle now and again, but generally we don't get too emotional over a particular offender or offense in these cases.

On the other hand, we tend to ascribe terms like "evil" to violations of mala en se laws and we should. The conduct is so horrible and so damaging that we can't tolerate it. The offender's state of mind is the same in each however. He knew his conduct was proscribed, he knew his conduct was wrong, he knew that there were possible consequences and then he CHOSE to do it. Let him make all of the excuses he wishes in mitigation, but please remember that his conduct was a choice and not a matter of predetermination, rather a product of free will.

As men in modern American society we all know that "no means no". As a society we have loudly and repeatedly said "No!" when it comes to sexual relations between adults and children. Those who go over that line anyway are solely responsible for their actions and I have no sympathy for all their psychic aches and pains. I will reserve my sympathy and compassion for their victims. I've seen too much and too many.

Dan Rubin
03-19-2008, 02:16 PM
I wonder if it would help some of us if we thought of certain people as “dangerous.” A “dangerous” person is, well, dangerous, without regard to why he is so, and without regard to how we should think of him, or her. A child molester poses great danger to children and must be kept away from them, by force (prison) if necessary. If we all agree with that, then the discussion of why he’s dangerous and how we should treat him (in prison) might be easier.

Dan

Marc Abrams
03-19-2008, 02:29 PM
Michael:

I do not recall people people in this thread pouring out their sympathies for Clint George. You aptly described the awareness of a person's actions. You are absolutely correct is acknowledging that ANY type of sexual relationship between a child and an adult is simply wrong.

People who have known Mr. George (some quite well) are genuinely shaken. They are struggling with trying to reconcile the person whom they know with the unacceptable acts (groping, e-mails) that he was alleged to have done. The people with whom I have spoken to, who know Mr. George, do not have sympathy for him, but their is a genuine sense of sadness and disbelief. Mr. George was always spoken about in respectful-to-glowing terms, both in terms of him as a person, and he as an Aikidoka. The few times I had met him (translating at the Aiki Expo's), I had left with a positive impression of him. That was why I was dumbstruck by what he was alleged to have done.

My sympathies go immediately to the victim. Whether or not these allegations are true, she is now a victim. Secondarily, my sympathies go out to the community, family and friends of Mr. George. Having to reconcile and try and live with someone you might either know well, or love, with what was alleged, is no easy feat. FInally, my sympathies go to the Aikido world, because regardless of whether he is found guilty of what he was charged with, his career is ruined. With it, goes a host of knowledge from his times training in Japan.

If what was alleged did happen, that unfortunate child will have a large, undeserved, burden to have to now navigate through in her life. No penalty imposed can equal, or negate the damage that might have been done. Justice then becomes a word that rings quite hollow.

Michael, you serve in the law enforcement end of things. Those of us who serve as treaters see the damages done to the victims and the damaged people who commit unspeakable acts. The tragedy is that the damage done to many of these people earlier in their lives, cause them to repeat horrors in their lives. Our concern for the aggressor's damage should in no way be construed as sympathy. Understanding and caring for a damaged soul is not sympathy. You are right in that not all people who have been damaged in their lives, go ahead and return the favor to others. Understanding this process and learning how to intervene early is critical in helping to stop this cycle of repeating horrors of the past. It is most unfortunate that the mental health field has such a poor understanding in how to intervene and prevent pedophiles from doing what they do.

Several posters, besides myself, have noted that in certain endeavors/professions, people are trained in how to handle the power-inequity relationships that are part of the endeavor/job. What training to Aikido teachers get before they open their own schools? How many of us know stories of well-known teachers who had a woman in every port? What kind of role models were those teachers? If the incidents alleged regarding Mr. George and Mr. Toyoda should move us in any direction, it should be towards an open discussion in how we can seek to establish ways to prevent this from happening in our community.

As a licensed psychologist in New York State, I had to be fingerprinted and registered with the State of New York since I am a mandated reporter for Child Protective Services. Licensed teachers are as well, so that the State can maintain a database. Should we not act to protect our own community before States try an enact things that do not necessarily work? I would like to hear what other people do in their schools to insure that there is adequate supervision/oversight regarding the teaching of students (of all ages). I for one, plan on drafting a letter to send to the parents of my students (children and teens) explaining the concerns in the Aikido community about the issues of appropriate and inappropriate contact, and working with the parents to draft guidelines that will be posted in regards to this issue. I will have an open discussion among the adult students, for their input as well.

We cannot fully prevent these types of unacceptable acts from happening in our society, let alone our art. I think that if many of us can agree upon basic standards that help to maintain appropriate boundaries and behaviors, then it will become easier to identify potential problems in our communities when people are known to deviate from acceptable standards of practice. That might be a start, which is better than having done nothing to address a real issue.

Marc Abrams

Ron Tisdale
03-19-2008, 02:37 PM
Hi Marc,

That sounds like a very principled stand to me. Best of luck as you go through this with your students and parents.

Best,
Ron

aikidoc
03-19-2008, 04:10 PM
Here are some adapted questions from a medical professional boundaries course. They are good ones to ask yourself if teaching. They are true false questions.
1. A boundary violation occurs any time the instructor becomes more than a teacher of the various aspects of the art of aikido.
2. Outside stressors or personal stressors may make an instructor at risk of succumbing to invitations from needy students.
3. Boundary violations range from mild to severe, but they all are potentially harmful to the student and may affect the quality of instruction received by the student and others in the dojo.
4. Repeated attempts at gift giving or gifts accompanied by compliments and other evidence of seductive behavior may represent an attempt by a student to consciously or unconsciously control the instructor-student interaction.
5. Making special exceptions for certain students, such as offering reduced fees or overlooking inappropriate behaviors, may be an early indicator of problematic boundary violations.
6. With boundary violations, everyone loses including the student, his or her family, the instructor and his or her family, as well as other students who are being taught by the instructor.
7. Social contact with students begins to take an ominous tone when the student begins to perceive the relationship as "special" and beyond the range of normal instruction.
8. It is the instructor's responsibility to define and maintain professional boundaries.
9. Anything less than professional attitudes by the instructor and other instructors or students is high risk for complaints or lawsuits.
10. The exact incidence of difficult students is hard to establish since there are no standards by which to measure such student behavior.
11. Reframing the perception of a difficult student as more of a challenge rather than a nuisance empowers the instructor to effectively manage the situation.
12. Establishing a vision of how an instructor wants to be perceived by his or her students and instructional staff will provide a solid footing for boundary guidelines and rules for students and fellow staff members.
13. . Complete and accurate witnessed documentation of issues and behavior is an instructors best defense in a lawsuit.
14. Social, financial, or other external problems may cause students to appear problematic.
15. Setting limits, restating common goals, and keeping interactions off the mat shorter and focused (controlling the envirnment) are some strategies of responding effectively to a "demanding" student

They are all true by the way. If you answered any false, you may be at risk.

akiy
03-19-2008, 04:31 PM
Here is a blog entry reaction that I found to this new item:

http://aikiinseattle.wordpress.com/2008/03/19/you-and-yourself/

-- Jun

Buck
03-19-2008, 04:44 PM
their is a genuine sense of sadness and disbelief. Mr. George was always spoken about in respectful-to-glowing terms, both in terms of him as a person, and he as an Aikidoka. The few times I had met him (translating at the Aiki Expo's), I had left with a positive impression of him. That was why I was dumbstruck by what he was alleged to have done.


It isn't that always the case? 99% of child molesters have to be charming, nice, friendly, and most of all unsuspecting. They have to be able to get close, and get that all important trust. It is always a surprise and a shock to find out such a seemingly well adjusted trusting person who harms a child. That is the dangerous part, well for this parent, and the kids. I don't trust anyone, and suspect everyone. I certainly don't put my kids or allow them to be in any position where they could be vulnerable to a predator.

Mr. George, is innocent until proven guilty. I don't put much weight in what he supposedly said, because it is third hand information. I weigh more what will be proven in court then what is printed in the media.


Several posters, besides myself, have noted that in certain endeavors/professions, people are trained in how to handle the power-inequity relationships that are part of the endeavor/job. What training to Aikido teachers get before they open their own schools? How many of us know stories of well-known teachers who had a woman in every port? What kind of role models were those teachers? If the incidents alleged regarding Mr. George and Mr. Toyoda should move us in any direction, it should be towards an open discussion in how we can seek to establish ways to prevent this from happening in our community.


I think there is a difference in intent and what happens between adults, then the intent of adults and what they do to children. Having an over active libido for a variety of adult encounters is different then acting upon kids. There are two different mind sets, two different goals, two different outcomes. Children are not full developed physically, mentally/psychologically, emotionally to engage at any degree of romantic or sexual intimacy with an adult. A randy Sensei with an adult engagement at every port is a poor role model for kids. A Sensei who drinks moderately, a sensei who goes to bars for a good time is also a bad role model. Unless your are Mother Theresa you are not a good role model for kids. Being a poor role model is different than being a criminal. A child molesting sensei is more devastating then a drunkard or womanizer.

Aikido has a integral spiritual framework that is practiced (many see that it is up to interpretation), so we hold Senseis to this high moral and ethical standard of sainthood. An unrealistic thing of holding the position of Sensei to the purest moral and ethical character standards. I think this is dangerous. It is dangerous because people get too comfortable, too trusting, or even hero worship the Sensei. Giving any human such a blank check in a position of authority is more of a danger over all. If we hero worship the sensei, we ignore the red flags providing an unspoken permission for abuse. We have seen that with the Jacko case.


We cannot fully prevent these types of unacceptable acts from happening in our society, let alone our art. I think that if many of us can agree upon basic standards that help to maintain appropriate boundaries and behaviors, then it will become easier to identify potential problems in our communities when people are known to deviate from acceptable standards of practice. That might be a start, which is better than having done nothing to address a real issue.



A key to stopping the type of molesters we are speaking about is to have vigilant caring well-adjusted parents/guardians to protect their children, but not everyone has such good parents/guardians. I think those basic standard are very clearly mapped out. It is the parents/guardians vigilance and protectiveness that hampers the molester. It is parents/guardians lack of vigilance and protectiveness that allow the molester access to the child. I find if a child is molested by an Aikido sensei it shows there was a great lap of judgment by the parents. A sensei has no business with a child outside the dojo, alone with the child in the dojo. No special relationships with the sensei. The child goes to class with the parents, and the parents watch class, no babysitting at the dojo. The sensei/child relationship is a strict sterile one. No exceptions. There are the boundaries, there is the basic standard. This is for all those 0-17 years old.

The failure of the standard is by the parents who provide the opportunity needed by a molester to victimize the child.

Michael Hackett
03-19-2008, 05:16 PM
Hi Marc,

What I was starting to see was a number of terribly disappointed folks trying to find some rational reason for this situation and trying to understand why and how something like this could take place with someone so respected and admired. I honestly don't think there is a rational explanation beyond a matter of choice. The one constant I've seen with educators, physicans, lawyers and even a couple of cops in these circumstances was a sense of entitlement and arrogance that was almost palpable. I make no judgment about this particular case as I only know what has been published and that simply isn't enough.

Some of the suggestions put forth to protect an individual are excellent ideas to prevent unwarrented allegations and folks would be wise to heed them. Those would be good subjects to consider for inclusion in instructor's seminars and within individual dojo. I still maintain however that an adult, man or woman, knows full well they are going into a very dark place when they engage in sexual relations with a kid. No amount of training will prevent these acts from happening, regardless of the walk of life the individual is engaged in. Maybe the day will come when we have the tools to prevent these events or to correct them. Today we don't with any degree of success and we are left to punishment in the form of confinement and even shunning. And yes, in my view, sexual offender registration is a modern equivilent of shunning.

Although I still have contact with some of the victims I worked with over the years, I don't have your experience in trying to put the pieces back together in their lives. Usually I only dealt with them when they were freshly broken and obviously suffering and perhaps that has skewed my view. You have made me think a little. Maybe the world that I thought I saw in shades of grey were more black and white.

SeiserL
03-19-2008, 07:13 PM
I tend to stay out of these discussions. I don't always want to play where I work. I work with predators and their victims.

I think the lesson here is that we all already know what is right and what is wrong. If you choose not to listen and live by it, then you pay the natural and logical consequences. Its cause and effect. We each bring it on ourselves by our choices and actions.

Recently the Aikido world has felt the impact of bad choices. It effects us all.

Lets hope that none of us make similar choices.

We know the right thing. Lets do it.

Marc Abrams
03-19-2008, 07:44 PM
Phillip:

I am sorry that you are so distrusting of your world. I believe that it is important to be vigilant as parents, but teach children how to use good judgment, rather than to be distrustful of the world at large. I agree with you that incidents between adults and incidents between adults and children are different. Both are abuses of a certain type of a relationship. Both are wrong. One is certainly worse than the other.

Teachers have an obligation to maintain appropriate boundaries with all of the students, regardless of gender, age, .... I do not believe in idol worship of anybody. The point that I was trying to make is that teachers should be held to reasonable standards. One of those is maintaining appropriate boundaries. If the teacher's teacher sets a poor example, then it can easily become a slippery slope downhill. In my line of work, those lines are firmly set with very serious consequences if boundaries are violated.

Michael:

I agree with you about the futility of trying to find "rational" reasons. It is possible to "dissect" events and psychological processes that create the conditions in which horrible things occur. These understandings do not make the event any more palatable/rational. I am truly sorry to say that I have had to work with children who have had things done to them that I could never imagine another person would do another living being (same things apply to what has happened to adults as well). I have learned to realize that reality is always more disturbing than fantasies. I always strive to gain some understanding into these dark places. Sooner or later, enough of people's attention should hopefully result in some better understandings. This might then lead to better predictive capacities, and lastly better treatment options.

You are right in that we cannot stop a person who wants to walks into that dark place. I am hoping that if enough of us set up certain standards, that we can slowly educate parents in our communities as to what to look for (good and bad) and what to be wary of. This will also serve to protect teachers from false accusations.

Lynne:

I agree with you wanting to keep our two "lives" separate. I NEED my Aikido to keep some balance in my life so that I can work effectively. Separation is critical. That being said, I think that in this arena, we need to not assume that everybody simply knows what is right and wrong. With these allegations, that is obvious. Contributions from everyone to help set standards of practice, like in our field, help the teachers and the students alike when the issues are not as "clear" as the one behind this thread. Those standards that exist for us, protect us and the public. Some standards for us could be helpful as well.

Marc Abrams

aikidoc
03-19-2008, 09:08 PM
Thanks for the blog Jun-it was very interesting and well written.

akiy
03-20-2008, 03:51 PM
The posts on "Abuse of Authority in Aikido" have been moved to this below thread:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14158

-- Jun

akiy
03-20-2008, 04:51 PM
Here's another blog post on this new item:

http://inexhaustiblethings.blogspot.com/2008/03/fallen-heroes-shattered-delusions.html

-- Jun

erikmenzel
03-20-2008, 05:21 PM
I wonder if the reaction be the same, though, if she had been 16? Would it even have come to the attention of this forum were not for the fact that he broke the law? Or is there such a clear and significant difference in development between 13 and 16 (which could be closer to a 2 year difference than 3, depending on where the person's birthday falls) that that would have been acceptable?

Yes the difference in development is so mindboggling big that even as an adult it is hard to understand. The early teens are the period where personality changes from being a child (with the implied dependency on the parents) to starting to be an independant individual. This the time where the child has to learn to understand adult signals. The reason teachers tell 13 and 14 year old pupils that they are angry is because the 13-14 year olds cannot tell this from the "normal" signs yet. The same holds for even more complex behaviour like forming relations. The 13 year old does not know the complex sign system, has no reference to what is normal and not and is at the same time trying to find its own rules and security in this unsecure time.
At that age 2 years can be such a huge difference...and anyone dealing with that age group should at least know this.

If you think 16 is equally deplorable, although legal, then where do you draw the line? 18? 21? 30? It seems to me that if you frame the issue in black-and-white terms then you have to pick an arbitrary point where you go from one to the other.
Problem is that the law requires an absolute line where as reality cannt give that.

I hope my incoherent ideas are coherent enough to understand

Buck
03-20-2008, 09:16 PM
Phillip:

I am sorry that you are so distrusting of your world. I believe that it is important to be vigilant as parents, but teach children how to use good judgment, rather than to be distrustful of the world at large. I agree with you that incidents between adults and incidents between adults and children are different. Both are abuses of a certain type of a relationship. Both are wrong. One is certainly worse than the other.

Marc Abrams

I am not distrust of my world, I am vigilant. I think that is the better term. I don't cross the street without looking in both directions, for example. I don't let my children run around the neighborhood and play like I did at their age. If I did I might ever see them again. My parents could hire a teenager out of the newspaper to find a baby-sitter for us, and where able to trust that babysitter. I can't do that with my kids. As my father liked to say, "Andy, we don't live in Mayberry." Because we live in a different world, I have no choice not to trust anyone with my kids, because look what happens when you do. It only takes one person to violate, to abuse, to ruin your child.

I am a father and my number one priority is to protect my kids, to insure their welfare and safety until they are adults. If I don't do that then I have failed as a parent.

BTW, I am also an Aikidoka and part of that is not just about being civil, and merciful, (or warm and fuzzy), it is also about being on guard, being vigilant. And it is my understanding of Japanese Budo and Japanese history the act of trust isn’t something you should give out.

I teach my children that they are precious and valuable. I don't want them to be victims. I do teach my children to be distrustful of strangers, of all adults, and for good reason. Children are easily manipulated, persuaded, controlled, and overpowered by adults. I teach them to be vigilant, and cautious. I teach them to look both ways before crossing the street, and use caution. When asked why, I say I don't trust anyone behind the wheel of a vehicle. There in no guarantee someone will not run a red light and hit you. Better be safe than sorry.

I am sure my children will be well adjusted adults, not having any issues choosing an equally well adjusted friends, colleagues and spouses. I am sure they will not have problems with trusting people. Because they will be able to identify and avoid those who intend to take advantage of them or harm them. I am sure as parents they will not trust anyone with their kids.

jennifer paige smith
03-20-2008, 10:13 PM
Seems like I'm functioning as a devil's advocate. I wish to be very clear that I am not questioning nor arguing with the forgiveness that R. Wood and William have described. BUT - one of the most pernicious problems I see in the treatment and recovery from violation is the "pushing" of forgiveness. This can be due to an ideology of a particular religion or psychology (particularly "pop" psychology); discomfort on the part of the auditor at the anger or even rage of the victim; or a fantasy that forgiveness will always heal.
I've worked with many many people who never healed because they suppressed their righteous outrage when pushed by pastor, therapist, family or friend to forgive. I see many children pushed to forgive their abusive dad by their mother whom they love - but who wants the man back in her life above all else, or as above, is more uncomfortable at the anger of their child than the act of the abuser.
So, it's been my experience that the only forgiveness that heals comes from the heart, and that is not something that is taught or even pointed out. It emerges completely unexpected, as a shock from within, like when you walk into a hospital room, look in someone's eyes, and somehow, the rage is gone, and forgiveness or compassion emerges.
Most of the time, my job is to help a person become enraged, to succeed in hating both the deed and the doer, to have it burn through them like a fire burning out all the underbrush in a redwood forest. When one can clearly condemn evil, without reframing it, or finding a pablum explanation in the oppressor's past, when one can clearly say that no explanation excuses violation, then and only then can forgiveness OR indifference OR a continuation of a righteous disdain and hatred emerge, all equally valid, equally powerful, and equally true.
Again, I am not discounting what William and Ricky wrote. But just as moral relativism, multi-culturalism, or the idea of self-esteem healing all, "forgiveness" has become, for many, a talisman that is deemed so self-evidence that no one dare question it's worth.
Best

You are not the devil's advocate, in my mind. Yours' is a sound order of operations. One of my teachers, and my chosen 'God mother' related this wisdom to me long ago;

'When a child is struck by a car the mother or the father does not first got to the driver of the car and say, "I forgive you". The mother or father would run to the child, tend to her wounds,call out for help, stop the bleeding, assure her she is loved and safe, and take her out of harms way.'

Thanks for the open discussion.

jennifer paige smith
03-20-2008, 10:35 PM
[QUOTE=Philip Burgess;202232

I teach my children that they are precious and valuable. I don't want them to be victims. I do teach my children to be distrustful of strangers, of all adults, and for good reason. Children are easily manipulated, persuaded, controlled, and overpowered by adults. I teach them to be vigilant, and cautious. I teach them to look both ways before crossing the street, and use caution. When asked why, I say I don't trust anyone behind the wheel of a vehicle. There in no guarantee someone will not run a red light and hit you. Better be safe than sorry.

[/QUOTE]
First off, You sound like a wonderful and loving parent. And I'm thinking that there are a lot of kids out there who don't have such parents, and that even those who do isn't a guarantee that nothing bad will ever befall them.

I feel we as a community can consider ourselves the 'parents' of all the kids in our dojo (and our lives, but this is the aikido community we're speaking in here) and set a standard for care of these beautiful young beings. We need to all take an active vigilance in the propriety of our schools and instructors, take an interest in the youth programs by dropping in now and again, and make sure everyone knows that the kids are under the care of all of us. Support our youth and our teachers through our presence.
If Aikido is loving protection
If Aikido is a form of 'real'-defense
If Aikido is making the world one family
If Aikido is a method for self development
then this is our responsibility.

OK, I'm done for now.

rob_liberti
03-20-2008, 11:16 PM
A good parent loves his/her child unconditionally, but is also quick to issue some "tough love" when needed.

This is a topic for a totally different thread. I strongly suggest reading Alice Miller books to everyone.

Being the victim gives you unfortunate lessons in compassion - so you can be in touch with what it feels like to be on the short end of the stick. Being very strong gives you the option to use compassion you learned when you were not the stronger one. I was remarkably better at apathy - but I don't think it was very good for me and unacceptable (to me) as a family man.

I understand what Fred was saying. There is compassion in the sense of seeing emotionally as if you were in someone elses shoes - and being able to forgive them (or have compassion for them and not forgive them by the way). And there is the compassion like when Jesus was angry in the temple. (I liked the cool graphics Fred used to make that point in his way.)

As an aikido guy, I want to be so strong that I can have compassion for the person attacking me (IN VAIN of course) - and be able to see them as a result of a bunch of parenting and role model issues (where those parents/role models got that way as a result of the same, and so on) - and not need to PUNISH them for their unfortunate choice of acting out on me. I want to be able to and have the choice not to hurt them while I stay safe myself on all levels (even karmicly).

I really have no idea how I will attain the wisdom to not confuse compassion with my own damaged ego stuff and/or what I have learned from a damaged society in general. Compassion-confusion has two sides:
- on one side it can make me a push-over/enabler in some situations.
- on the other side, it can easily create the situation where I confuse the 'Jesus was angry in the temple' with my ego desire for vengence or justice or the value of teaching a lesson "for your own good".

Rob

sunny liberti
03-23-2008, 08:31 AM
I have things to say about this, but no time at the moment. For now I will link to another discussion that to me is the crux of this compassion business. There's an context of love that runs under it all. There is the side of "idiot compassion", the side of "tough love", and those who say "Yeah - it's both!" And much of what I'm reading is ignoring or failing to understand the profundity of pure love driving all of it.



http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=186014#post186014


O Sensei stated it plainly, if we would listen: "True budo is love."
It is that combination of very real possibillity of danger and the simultaneous desire to protect our partner from that danger in a selfless way that creates the environment for the suggested intensifying mechanism of "Love as Budo" Competition or sparring would that aspect make almost impossible to achieve.

O Sensei's combination of his physical solo practices, chinkon kishin, for example, with his simultaneous deep contemplation and religious devotion to the expanding Love of the Divine, would likely make those same fascial contraction functions operate.

There is no faking true love.

It also suggests that there may well be something very unique about what Aikido strives to achieve in a combative setting that does indeed set it far apart from other arts. That thing may have teeth that are belied by the language and sincere attitude of of love that makes it possible.


I'll post more about what I'm getting at in tying these threads together when I have a chance . . .


.

sunny liberti
03-23-2008, 11:23 AM
A good parent loves his/her child unconditionally, but is also quick to issue some "tough love" when needed.

So as I was saying above, there must be a context of love flowing under all these points that are being made here, that is propping this discussion up.

In this case, I'm struck by the quickness with which you suggest toughening up when dealing with your children. I actually suggest entirely the opposite. I personally believe it is wiser to examine your own motives and issues fully, and then wholeheartedly act toward your children with *love*. Whether you are seeing eye to eye or are engaged in a difference of opinion with them. I'm also struck with the way this sentence pits "unconditional love" and "tough love" as and either/or situation.

The risk I see if we are so quick on the tough part and not stopping to think strongly about the love part, is that we are ripe to be guilty of perpetuating the cycles. This is the point where it stops or keeps going. This is the moment of decision. Where we raise compassionate, empathetic human being, or we chop up their spirits and create victims and perpetrators. When the kids are pushing every button we have, do we choose an interaction of "namaste" (the god in me honors the god in you), or do we take a behaviorist, reductionist approach? Do we communicate to them that they are fully loved and lovable no matter what feeling and thoughts they are working though, or do we let them know that we have the power to inflict judgement and discomfort (even pain) on them based on our own perceptions of who and what they are?

I feel that we are charged with their *guidance*. Not with doling out punishments, shame, or judgements.

This may seem to be drifting way off topic, but I'll try to tie it in as I see it fits here. So please bear with me. It's going to take a minute to meander to my point so I can give enough context to see where I'm going. There are too many facets (and I'm not articulate enough) to keep this short and sweet and say all I want to say. And there is so much room for misunderstanding here. So I beg pardon for the novel.

I think that talking about parenting is really a great way of talking about other human interactions, because they are a little more clear-cut than most relationships, so are easier to dissect, analyze, and extrapolate from. It's a great way to get a good look at ourselves.

Boundaries, for one. A loaded word in parenting circles. More false dichotomy. One side takes the tough love approach and the other the wishy-washy pushover side. The misconception that "unconditional love" is somehow synonymous with "pushover". And somewhere else, in some other paradigm, off the spectrum of behaviorism entirely, there is just being. No illusions of control. Don't we learn in aikido that we can only control ourselves, and any attempts to control other are futile? So it is with parenting.

Boundaries, to me, are what I can assess that I need in order to feel safe. I "draw" them around myself so that I'm in touch with my needs and can communicate them to others as necessary. It's the ma-ai I maintain on the mat. The structural and physical integrity I find and develop through training. The idea of "enforcing boundaries" around kids to contain them within is the oddest thing to me. How can I enforce a boundary around another human being? How can I know their needs, feeling, and karma? Attempting to do that creates all kinds of problems. Interpersonal trouble between parent and child, as power struggles and control issues. Social issues as the kids act the control issues out with others around them . . . the concentric circles go on.

And this is the most troubling part about it to me. When a kid grows us encased in this illusion of having "boundaries" around them - they will learn to function within that system they are offered. They will do whatever they have to to get their needs met, no matter how sneaky they have to be about it. The drive to meet our own needs is an honest one. Young people will always do the most honest thing to their natures, even if it means lying, cheating, or stealing to do it. They will not do what is considered honest in a broken, dishonest system, unless they have become broken themselves. If we present them with a token (dishonest) system that squelches their drives, they will do what they have to to work within it. They *have* to. And that system will see *them* as the problematic dishonest ones. And the way I see it, as they age, they solidify in that until they actually are. They become charicatures of what they once had the impetus to be. And they become the abusers and victims of a broken way of living.

One example, of many, that comes up all the time in parenting discussions is the issue of small kids hitting. Of course conventional parenting "wisdom" is to do some form of punishing to stop the "bad" behavior. Kids have to "learn to be good". Or whatever flavor of that is a popular buzz word of the moment. Spanking, time outs, hitting back . . . all the forms of love withdrawl. They are all just as damaging as the next.

People love to use this example as a way to shut down the pushover set - since it's so obvious that a kid hitting someone is a brat who needs to be put in his place. And they are outraged at the notion of not containing him. They tell me, "Kids have to learn that hitting is just *wrong*!" (Hehe, back to moral absolutes!) But honestly, how do I tell my son that and then send him to MA class to learn HOW to hit more effectively? What the hell does that do to my credibility? What about if he's about to be harmed by someone, and a well-placed good combination delivered at the right time will stop it? Damn, I hope he has a knockout combo by that time. And I'm glad Rob is teaching him some good stuff.

So right now if he's a primate who is acting very primate-like at the moment, then we talk about other ways of connecting, dealing with anger, getting our points across . . . We talk about how the "hit-ee" feels and what they are experiencing. We have open and frank discussions about all these issues. Human evolution to the next level of thinking. What is the next step up - all that stuff. I try to show it and be a model of higher expression myself. It takes more time, effort, and certainly thought than using love withdrawl like time outs and those stupid "naughty chairs", but I see it as more than worth it. Beyond measure.

My job is to nurture his intuition. In the case of hitting, my goal is to build his judgement and his control - not to suppress it to the point that if he finds himself in a tight spot someday and needs lightning fast judgement to navigate it safely, he'll stall out for just a moment, having been trained that "hitting is wrong".

How many of us have had to overcome that childhood admonition when we started aikido? How many of us (maybe this is more common to women, I don't know) had to overcome the feeling that we were going to have the snot beat out of us for engaging in strong martial connection? I spend a ton of time trying to regain the instincts that I lost in my childhood. I still don't have great reflexes in tight situations. So my job as a mom is to figure out where that went wrong, do whatever work I have to on myself to right it, and stop the things that would pass it on to my child(ren).

That judgement, that intuition, the ability to see underneath the surface and *know* what to do, that is his connection to God. That is his inner guidance. My task as steward of his young life is to guide him toward that, not to impose my own skewed judgements onto his inner guidance.

Now, where it ties to this thread, is that I hope that keeping my child(ren)'s inner guidance and intuition intact, caring for it, and it will serve him if he's ever faced with being abused, as was the case here with Clint George. I believe that being so quick to dole out the tough love, turns the child into way easier prey. It short circuits their defenses. I hate to see it promoted actually *AS* compassion. That is very disturbing to me.

Nothing is fool-proof, of course. But I think that this way has a way better chance of serving him than the controlling-his-every-movement way. That way is like pushing waves into the ocean. There's no way I can stop all bad experiences. So I'd better allow his own inner resources to bloom, so that he can navigate through life.

Yet another facet of this I see is the mixed messages I see kids get all the time. I interpret what Fred was saying before about the faces of compassion to strongly come into play here. There are the obvious ones where you see a parent hitting a child while yelling to them not to hit. Crazy. But then there are much more subtle things that take a lot more thought to weed out of our interactions. Like, telling a child not to hit and then sending them victim energy is very confusing to them. This is when it's compassionate to show your strength. Love strength, not physical strength, like the nutty example above. Or telling them they are free to choose things, and then limiting what they get to an either/or situation. It's dishonest, and it chips away at their judgement too. I believe that it requires incredible integrity of all our various parts of self to communicate effective with kids, and so it follows the same is true with spouses, fellow aikidoka, with everyone.


The trick, I'm coming to believe, is infusing ALL our actions with love. This is what I think Osensei was pointing out in the Budo is Pure Love quote. Whether I'm telling my son that he's cute and funny and we're laughing in a joyous moment (showing the gentle face of compassion), or I'm telling him that I'm not his punching bag and I'm to be treated with respect and love (showing the riled up face of compassion) - I'm constantly striving to communicate to him that HE is loved, and to be loved and respected all the same, no matter what the surface layer of our interaction happens to be at the moment. This is powerful. This very choice changes everything in our interactions. And without it, we are driving fast while blind.

sunny liberti
03-23-2008, 11:58 AM
BTW, I would also really like to point out that I love what Ellis said upthread about forgiveness. Boy is that something that really needs saying! Crucial element of forgiveness and compassion IMO.

I could blather on about my feelings on that aspect of this topic too, but I need to get off the computer. :hypno: Maybe I'll come back to it later.

So for now . . . thank you, Ellis! :D

jennifer paige smith
03-23-2008, 01:24 PM
I believe the best thing we can do is model our relationships on the foundations of aikido which take into considertion all that has been outlined in this discussion by just about everyone.
We all come from different starting places and the
'thread' that we first connect to is the beginning of our aiki, if you will, foundation.
I agree that we need not be overly rigid in general, for isn't that a tenet of our common practice?
I agree with what Ellis has written above, which I also approached from a moderately different angle.
I agree that boundries is a loaded word, but we need to have a line where we can say, this is my circle, and include the children in our lives in it.
I agree that love is the binding feature and guiding light of of our collective areements with ourselves, others, and God (or choose your own higher power ).
But I also say, don't throw out the baby with the bath water on this and forget that we also need to be strong in our atemi when our partners are open and ignorant while thinking that they are above it all, somehow. By keeping our feet on the ground, and only by keeping our feet on the ground, can we connect to the wisdom of love that is being spoken here today. And my feet say, embrace both these people with love in the manner appropriate for them. For a perpetrator, and the jury is still out on this one, that means strong parenting by a larger authority, be it the legal system or the aikido community or both.
For the child, that means parenting by the same in a different context.
Let us not withdraw our love, but let's not confuse that with complicity through abstraction.

sunny liberti
03-24-2008, 08:42 AM
I'd like to further address the point of "evil", and the nature of transgressors, forgiveness, and healing from violations . . . I disagree with the absolutism here. I agree completely that shoving forgiveness down victims' throats is very detrimental to healing - and even resoundingly agree with the reasons Ellis states as to why people do that - however, I don't see how that precludes finding one's way to viewing the violator with love and compassion. I don't agree that they are exclusive of each other, which is what I understood the general tone of this thread to mean. That it's either hippy-dippy freelove or wholesale rejection of loving one's enemy. I don't think that it can be this black and white, because people are complex creatures with complex motivations, feelings, and selves. So we can't meaningfully distill any of this down to a narrow concept like "evil". Not without eliminating essential components of the human experience, in any case.

Ellis, I would like to point out here that this is the one discrepancy between with your eloquent description of forgiveness and my own experience. That is that the term "evil" actually *de-personalizes* the violation much in the way that you admonish us not to engage in. Meaning that, to get to my rage, I need for the act to be personal. One human made a choice to violate me, a fellow human. If it's some vague, "beyond-us-normal-people-to-commit" atrocity, then that's one step removed from the personalization of the choice that my attacker made. One more level of depersonalization that I could keep hiding my anger behind. Maybe it's better to describe it that, if somehow their choice to harm me is outside of normal the human experience (hyperbolically, the devil made them do it), then it's just that much harder for me to personalize the violation and then rage against it. I wonder if your moving those choices to the realm of non-human "evil", and outside of normal behavior, isn't motivated by your discomfort of those possibilities, much like those many therapists are uncomfortable with the anger and rage that ensues.

We humans all have the option to do all kinds of stuff. I could make a choice to beat my child mercilessly. It turns my stomach to think about it, but the choice to do what my father did is there as an option nonetheless. The horrible sick feeling I get at the thought of it means that my primary compassionate instinct didn't get broken off somewhere in one of my early beatings. There are those people who *don't* get sick at that thought, and from that point some are aware of this flaw and choose not to have children (something I consider a sign of self-awareness and conscience), and still many others who are lacking in nausea at child-beating who DO decide to reproduce. There are whole ranges of choices here. They create whole vast spectra of possibilities of outcome. We all have the choices to do any of these things, given our particular make-up. This is, to me, the point of having a human experience - to navigate these choppy waters. To move it to the world of something you or I could never choose allows for those who do choose to harm others to abdicate responsibility for making those choices. We all have a darkside, whether we admit it or not. And additionally, it's damn hard and scary to look into it's eyes.

In any case, in my own life, one example (of many) would be my step-father who is a genuine sadist. He has abused me as long as he's been in my family, and my mother has consistently tried to punish me (or at least shame me as I became an adult) for not "forgiving and forgetting". It's been a messy situation. I've hated him for many years. And my mother, too, for enabling him to hurt me. So here we get to how, for me, Ellis' points about getting in touch with the anger are spot on. I've had to fight against much resistance from my family and culture (and therapists even) in order to get a handle on my rage. It's taken a lot longer than it should have were I supported, and has cost me severely, in terms of relationships with family. But there it is - in all it's unfortunate reality.

Just when I thought I could contain my experience in that neat little box we humans seem to like, that I could just think of my SF as fairly evil and my mother as a weak woman who let it happen, a surprising thing drifted into my head. I started to see my SF as a former little baby who deserved all the love in the world, but didn't get it. I started to see how he came here expecting love and human contact, but instead got cold harsh treatment and almost no love, touch, or bonding with his mother. I could see and even feel the pain that was the impetus for his decisions to withdraw from the realm of human kindness.

What was so striking to me, was that instead of thinking, "Gee, isn't this sweet, I'm healing and finding compassion . . . yay!" like you'd expect when you are seeking truth on a spiritual path - I instead felt really angry that I was being required to hold all those disparate feelings in the same head and heart. I was unnerved by the many angles and feelings that are *all* valid, each one just as real as all the others. The situation didn't fit in my box anymore. And that pissed me off. It wasn't supposed to feel like that, right? It was supposed to be a happy epiphany to start breaking through the rage. But it wasn't. Breaking through introduced complexity at that point. Part of healing for me, was coming to accept the difficulty of having all these things pulling me in various directions. To harness those energies and make them productive, instead of railing against them, that was part of my maturing. Hell, just accepting them for what they are was maturing enough.

So . . . why can't we support victims who are healing, to both get in touch with their anger and rage - and to accept the many facets of the situation as complexities arise? It would be so emotionally convenient to keep these issues simple, but they just are not. And just like it's harmful to force forgiveness on victims, I feel it also harmful to oversimplify the position of victimhood to the point that a victim is required to navigate the minefield that they are wrongly compassionate for their attackers, when those feelings of compassion do eventually arise. That is scary enough as it is, and to hear from powerfully articulate, understanding, and healing voices like Ellis' that they are somehow identifying with pure evil, might be an insurmountable obstacle to achieving wholeness.

What I'd like to see happen is that we help victims come to understand , on their own terms, that forgiveness in no way means letting people harm you. That is such an pervasive and insidious message that it seems to just seep in through the air. What I came to realize is that what so unnerved me about the feelings of empathy for my SF, was a fear that it made me weak and vulnerable to further attacks by him or others. We think that there is safety within the rage, that it makes us strong to protect ourselves, and if we let it go we'll forget the lessons it brought us and be weak again. It can be very confusing to tease apart the idea that forgiveness seems to mean you must again martyr yourself. It just isn't true. But I don't see that calling the choice to harm another "evil", that is so apart from "regular" humans, really promotes that particular understanding. And further, as we "normal" (if not yet enlightened) people are generally aware that we cause harm to others from time to time, there is a great deal of pressure from that definition of evil, since we must be somewhat engaging in it as well.

As it stands now in the case with my SF, I know that he's an asshole. I also know he's a victim of a terrible childhood that scarred him beyond healing. I know that he has hurt me. I know that he would hurt my child if given the opportunity. I know that I would possibly kill him if he did really hurt my child. All those things are all true at the same time. It's just that complex. Which of those conflicting true things should I strike as irrelevant or untrue, in order to fit the messy situation into a neat little box? My mother thinks that if I had really found forgiveness, I'd let him hurt my child - so her vote would be to strike anything that conflicts with her martyrdom. I gather that Ellis might strike the part where SF is a being who deserves the compassion that I have found over the years. But that would stunt my healing progress in a different way. And it would turn SF into something not human, so it would not exactly be a true representation either. And let me assure you that it's a truth that he'll be a dead man if he ever lays a hand on my son. If I could fight through Rob, who would probably get there first, to be the one to choke SF out, I'd be a fully realized darkside Sunny - let me tell you! So I'm not scratching that off my list of truths about this situation.


I want to be sure to say that I really appreciate this discussion. I think it's so important to air these issues and talk freely about them they way everyone here is doing. I hope that much good can come of this in terms of healing and learning for us all.

Jennifer Yabut
03-24-2008, 10:57 AM
So as I was saying above, there must be a context of love flowing under all these points that are being made here, that is propping this discussion up.

In this case, I'm struck by the quickness with which you suggest toughening up when dealing with your children. I actually suggest entirely the opposite. I personally believe it is wiser to examine your own motives and issues fully, and then wholeheartedly act toward your children with *love*. Whether you are seeing eye to eye or are engaged in a difference of opinion with them. I'm also struck with the way this sentence pits "unconditional love" and "tough love" as and either/or situation.

Whoa...I think you may have misunderstood me a little bit. When I said "tough love", I did *not* mean the parent should immediately come down on the child with a heavy hand. It was more related to Fred's point about the "different faces of compassion", so to speak.

Sometimes love is mushy and affectionate.

Sometimes love hurts, like telling the truth about a difficult situation instead of trying to cover it up (e.g., explaining a death of a relative to a child, and *not* telling him/her that grandma is only "sleeping" or "on vacation").

Sometimes love means a parent has to say "No". I'm sure most of us have seen children scream "YOU DON'T LOVE ME!" in the middle of a store when they don't get that toy they want. But think about an adult child - still living at home, unemployed, and not contributing a single thing to the household. Do you think the parent continuing to say "Yes" to that adult child - without any expectation for him/her to get off his/her lazy rear and get a job - is helpful?

That is what I mean by "tough love": saying and doing the difficult things because a parent loves and CARES for his/her child. Saying "yes" and always acquiesing to a child's every whim does FAR more harm than good in the long run. In the adult child's case, it would be considering "enabling".

sunny liberti
03-24-2008, 12:07 PM
Do you think the parent continuing to say "Yes" to that adult child - without any expectation for him/her to get off his/her lazy rear and get a job - is helpful?

That is what I mean by "tough love": saying and doing the difficult things because a parent loves and CARES for his/her child. Saying "yes" and always acquiesing to a child's every whim does FAR more harm than good in the long run. In the adult child's case, it would be considering "enabling".

Well, I hope I made it clear that I don't think anything of the sort. Rather, that doing the difficult things (refraining from enabling), when done with an attitude of "get off his/her lazy rear and get a job" is more destructive than helpful. I'm just reading your words. That's an awfully venomous sentiment to aim at your offspring. And if we are claiming to be students of budo, under a system whose *founder* said that True Budo is Love, how will we achieve that if we can't even well up any love during conflicts with the very people we're genetically programmed to care for?

I don't think it's really fair to continue to stifle my points down to reductionist thinking or false dichotomies (like, if we really care for kids we employ "tough love", or else we're indulging and spoiling them), when I specifically said that what I'm talking about it outside that illusion altogether. I mean to talk about those times when "sometimes love hurts", and point out that those are the times when it's the absolute *most* important to remember that we charged with loving them. Those are the times when it's most critical to be in touch with our compassion for others, lest we find ourselves taking the easy way out by indulging in viewing our kids as "lazy", "spoiled", or some other divisive idea. That in no way whatsoever distills down to acquiescing, enabling, or spoiling.

If I found myself with an adult child who couldn't seem to get his act together, I'd know that something was really off. I don't believe it's normal for humans to lose all drive, joy, and ambition. I trust that my child will manifest human normalcy, unless something goes really wrong. My job as a parent is not to think him lazy, not to do everything for him, and also not to ignore his deepest needs, but to facilitate his overcoming whatever it is blocking him, and getting back to himself. I participate to the extent that feels healthy to me (maintaining my own boundaries), and offer him my insight I might have into his plight for him to do with what he will. None of that is enabling, or issuing tough love. His situation (at that adult age) is frankly none of my business to judge, none of my business to tell him what to do, and none of my business to coerce him. Just to guide him through as best I can and offer my love. That's it. To do less than that (what I consider to be parental due diligence) is to cover over something that needs addressing. To deal with him as just a set of behaviors, or as some sloth who is just aching to get away with doing nothing, is ignoring a very real and important factor that is clearly causing him a loss of self. That, I would grieve for. I may or may not help him cover his rent, depending on both my situation and his. But whether I do or not, it's not about enabling. It's only when we ignore the deepest needs of our family that we fail them. It's not about money, jobs, or laziness - that would just be the surface level.

Back to the younger set, I seriously cringe in those times in stores when I hear the coercive hurtful interactions. I occasionally see parents handle it with dignity and care. Criminally rare, but there are a few times. By and large I hear threats, value judgement that are exclusively de-valuing, and almost always shame. I see that as having almost no personal integrity - in the context that I advocated in a previous post. Thus my belief in examining our motives and issues - to get that integrity before we just mouth off disrespectfully to our children.

Does that in any way mean that I think that every child begging for a newest crap toy should be given it? Not even a little bit. Not even sure how it is that anyone got that out of what I said. It just also doesn't mean that the only way to say no is through messages of judgement. It's really possible to communicate clearly and in line with our own limits, desires, and expectations, without poisoning the communication with thoughts of "lazy", "spoiled", or "greedy" in the case of wanting too many toys.

My way of dealing with the innundation of commercialization is . . . drumroll please . . . even still with empathy. My son has never equated having things or not with whether I love him, because I have never set that thinking into motion. When he wants something, I make it clear that I love him with all his wants, whether we get the POS toy or not. I relate with him to the fact that humans have desires, and that it's normal to want things, esp given our culture. There is no connection in his mind, because I have made a concerted effort to keep those things clear and separate. Furthermore, I use it as a fabulous opportunity to discuss the problems of commercialism, in a bonding sort of way. It actually works great. We pretty much always walk out of a toy store very happy and connected with each other, whether we have a toy in hand or not.

This whole business - everything discussed in this thread - requires us to peel back everything we see and look underneath. And do it over and over again. And when we think we've gotten to the bottom layer and that's all there is - keep trying to look deeper. Cartesian thinking is going to be the undoing of us all if we keep applying it to human dealings. At a minimum, it's going to hinder understanding on this thread.

akiy
03-24-2008, 12:10 PM
Hi folks,

Let's try to steer the discussion back to being directly pertinent to aikido and the original topic. If you wish to discuss a more general topic, please do so in the Open Discussions forum.

Thanks,

-- Jun

Ellis Amdur
03-24-2008, 09:39 PM
Sunny - I don't believe in the evil as an beyond-human force (Devil rather than . . .) . That's another way of avoiding responsiblity. There is nothing more human than evil. It is my opinion it is the avoidance of that term that "dehumanizes" the act. Evil only happens in the realm of of free will, something that only human beings have. Most of the victims I have met have not really healed until they recognized that the acts they suffered were evil - and nothing less. Furthermore, some have to recognize that the perpetrators were evil, in that they sought out, chose and embraced committing such acts.
Victims try to make sense of things by blaming themselves - and much of society responds in kind. If they are responsible, it couldn't happen to me.
Or, at minimum, reframing by making "nice" - as in, "well, the perpetrator must be (I hope, thereby making sense of it) suffering or he wouldn't have done it.
And it's a bad thing to be evil in an aikido dojo (Hi Jun :) )

Al Gutierrez
03-25-2008, 02:28 AM
Ellis Wrote:

And it's a bad thing to be evil in an aikido dojo

Isn't it a bad thing to be evil anywhere?

It seems to me that when and where-ever people take away or minimize the idea that there are moral absolutes, then it becomes possible to believe that the universe indeed revolves around us and our desires. Pride was the first sin, and yet the same selfish arrogance is still the basis for evil today. There's really no getting around that truth in my opinion, it is part of the human condition, but that does not excuse anyone. Because ultimately we are all responsible for our own actions.

What I think Ellis must have been getting at and I have to agree, is that of all places, an aikido dojo ought to be a "safer place". A place for practicing the art of 'loving protection' not only as a means of defense against physical attack, but also as a means to practice REI. How many times have we heard that budo begins and ends with rei? As such, an aikido dojo is a place where we ought to cultivate a mutually respectful and courteous manner, and thereby better ourselves and hopefully the world we live in as a result of our discipline and practice. I think that was very much the gist of Ueshiba Sensei's vision, and in that regard, being "evil in an aikido dojo" is indeed particularly offensive.

In sum, I find decent people, particularly in the world of aikido, try so hard to see both or all sides that they can loose sight of the fact that there are moral absolutes.

Amen, Ellis. It reminds me of a quote, that I think is attributed to Anglo-Irish statesman, Edmund Burke, who said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing".

If I may be so bold - an aikido teacher, by definition, has the responsibility to exemplify that ("loving protection" & REI) in their daily life, both in and out of the dojo. I don't care what dan grade a person has, or how many years they have studied or with whom, if they cannot demonstrate a reasonably higher standard of integrity in their personal conduct, they are not qualified to be a teacher of aikido. And ultimately, it's up to the overall aikido community to expect no less.

rob_liberti
03-25-2008, 07:07 AM
If this thread is cut into sections I would like to request that at least 1 copy of it remain all together in its entirety under some new - and more generalized name.

My opinion of course is that the discussion turned directly into the root of the issue at hand. Al Gutierrez seemed to tie it back together nicely. If we over compartimentalize these thiings it makes it difficult to get down to the real guts of what is is going on.

With all respect - I honeslty believe that this discussion is already directly about aikido because as I understand it, the point of "aiki" is okugi or "depth". Taking any topic from surface level contradiction to the level of depth where principles explain those surface level contradiction is percisesly aikido.

I'll try to clarify this position by asking: What the heck are we doing aikido for if not to deal with the generalized topics on this thread? AND Why are we outraged at an aikido teacher who is accused of abusing their power and their position in aikido?

We got through the ideas of innocent until proven guilty and what a great loss. What matters is how do we protect and prevent that kind of thing better? How does it get set up in the first place? What can we do as aikido people or just people in general? To do that I think we need to better understand what is happening at the various fundimental levels. This is been one of the most productive threads I have read in a long while.

Thanks,
Rob

sunny liberti
03-25-2008, 07:28 AM
Amen, Ellis. It reminds me of a quote, that I think is attributed to Anglo-Irish statesman, Edmund Burke, who said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing".

I couldn't agree more. I love this quote - thank you for adding it to this discussion.

In sum, I find decent people, particularly in the world of aikido, try so hard to see both or all sides that they can loose sight of the fact that there are moral absolutes.

My effort here to expand on this point is a hope that we do not use those moral absolutes as a way to oversimplify, and thereby ignore or lose sight of crucial truths. I hope that we do not make the exacting nature of some violations - such as sexually molesting a child - an excuse to devolve into loathing or revenge. There is something else here, besides the spacey hippy path or the ego-motivted condemnation.

This is not OT at all IMO. This is the very reason I train aikido. To see the light in every person, whether they are trying to whack me in the head, slice me with a knife, or coming after my child with a #$%^ - this does not in any way mean that I sit idly by as allow it to happen. But my sure and swift action to put an end to a violation need not be motivated by hatred, dismissal, judgement against the nature of the attacker (vs judgement about the danger of the situation, very important distinction).

This is how, when necessary, we can even kill with love. It doesn't have to be just love for all the future possible victims of that person we are killing. It can really be love for the person who we are stopping from causing harm.

Victims try to make sense of things by blaming themselves - and much of society responds in kind. If they are responsible, it couldn't happen to me.

Yes. However, I personally believe that this occurs the other way around. I think that the self-blame is entire born out of our culture - starting with the shaming messages in childhood that get under the skin and live there silently until they come out as self-blame for being victimized. And then yes, of course the culture swoops in and reinforces what it set into motion. If victim-blaming resonates with my experience (that I was taught to blame myself), then no doubt that I would want another to believe about themselves what I believe about me. To do other than that would be threatening to my belief system. This is how that crap keeps going.

I do not believe that it is *true* human nature for people to override their instincts at avoiding danger and recognizing when they are violated. I think this victim pattern is learned in early childhood in some of the ways I barely touched on before, and many others I won't delve into. There are many cultures of humans in this world that do not have this problem of self-blame, who are not confused about what happens when people violate other people. It's not fundamental to the human experience.

The fact that we are all touched by self-blame is, to me, another very very good reason to practice the art that demonstrates the principle Budo is Love.

Ellis Amdur
03-25-2008, 07:53 AM
Back to Al for a moment - Umm, what I wrote, as the end of my last post is referred to, in the vernacular, as a joke. I was very careful - I even put a puerile smiley at the end.
Warning, here comes another one. It's O.K. to be evil anywhere, except an aikido dojo.
(All of this was a response to Jun requesting people stay relevant, that the thread should be connected directly to aikido, or the discussion moved to an open forum. I simply wanted to reply to Sunny's post, and knew I was over Jun's proscrption, so I made a j-o-k-e).
Sigh.

dragonteeth
03-25-2008, 08:24 AM
Back on topic - has anyone heard when either this case or the Toyoda case will be brought to trial? And has anyone heard from students in either dojo? I imagine their emotions are in complete turmoil right now, and I wonder if there is anything we as a group or as individuals can do for them?

rob_liberti
03-26-2008, 11:17 PM
Jun, I would appreciate your opinion here.
"back on topic" seems dead.. and a bit more like chit chat and gossip if you ask me.

The topic we morphed into seems like it may have had a little more life in it - but it seems that no one is willing to continue that direction since your last comment. I was hoping I had persuaded you to reconsider. If not, I'll drop it with sadness.

Rob

dragonteeth
03-27-2008, 07:48 AM
I respectfully beg to differ, Rob. We still don't know if the gentlemen in either case are actually guilty of what they are accused. If by some good turn of events their names have been cleared, then that certainly would not be gossip. Furthermore, how would you feel if your sensei had suddenly been caught up in a drama like this? Wouldn't you want to know that the aikido community at large was there to support you and help you in any way they could?

George S. Ledyard
03-27-2008, 10:35 AM
I respectfully beg to differ, Rob. We still don't know if the gentlemen in either case are actually guilty of what they are accused. If by some good turn of events their names have been cleared, then that certainly would not be gossip. Furthermore, how would you feel if your sensei had suddenly been caught up in a drama like this? Wouldn't you want to know that the aikido community at large was there to support you and help you in any way they could?

Of course we are supportive of the folks in the Helena Aikido community who are, I am sure, deeply affected by this. There are various pieces of info circulating now that make this unfortunate revelation less surprising... apparently some folks saw it coming. I won't say any more than that. What we can do for the folks in Helena, I don't actually know. There are experienced folks there who are capable of keeping a dojo going if they wish to do so. I am sure that if they needed any support from us, they know they can ask.

rob_liberti
03-27-2008, 04:51 PM
I respectfully beg to differ, Rob. We still don't know if the gentlemen in either case are actually guilty of what they are accused. If by some good turn of events their names have been cleared, then that certainly would not be gossip. Furthermore, how would you feel if your sensei had suddenly been caught up in a drama like this? Wouldn't you want to know that the aikido community at large was there to support you and help you in any way they could?

Okay sorry. I suppose it is a perspective thing. To me - with all due respect - I cannot get the phrase "desperate housewives" out of my mind each time I have attempted to respond to this post.

If it had been my sensei of course I would be devastated and I would want to process the whole thing in a meaningful way by, say, discussing exactly what I had been attempting to discuss before you posted "back on topic" as opposed to "back to the original topic" or "back to the surface level topic" or "back to the specific example that kicked off this interesting discussion into the roots of evil, abuse, and how we deal with it in aikido". If someone pumped me for a bit more info on the specific issue, I - and I suppose this is just me - would feel that they were looking for me to "dish the dirt" with morbid curiosity under the pretense of compassion and concern. I'm not saying that is your motives. But you asked me how I would feel.

Rob

dragonteeth
03-30-2008, 07:47 PM
My question was not out of "morbid curiosity" (nor, for that matter, am I either desperate or a housewife...). The morbidly curious gossip IMHO would be asking for the gory details on what actually happened, which I think has no business being posted on this or any forum. I do have a personal interest in the abuse of power/molestation issue, as evidenced by my very first post in this thread. However, Jun had requested that we move that discussion to a separate thread.

I am very glad that there are more experienced and connected noggins than mine (as Ledyard Sensei mentioned) making sure that the affected folks are being supported. But having BTDT, I know how much a kind word of support can mean to someone going through this nightmare. I also certainly know how painful gossip can be, and you can rest completely assured that was not my intent whatsoever.

Buck
03-30-2008, 08:11 PM
Does anyone know when this will go to court? When will someone know the outcome of the case?

Is this case being covered by the local media?

roninroshi
04-02-2008, 06:19 AM
The bottom line is Clint is an adult and a Sensei...he should know not to get involved w/an underage girl.If found guilty he must go to prison.
BTW I had 4 Pre-release con's working for me just out of Deer Lodge
and the felons convicted of child abuse "chomos" are in protective custody at Deer Lodge State Prison...

Toby Threadgill
04-02-2008, 01:53 PM
Hi,

Previously mentioned was Gavin de Beckers book "The Gift of Fear"

I think this book is a fantasticly presented and illuminating "must read" for every individual concerned with self defense and the behavior of predators. Less well known is his latest book "Protecting the Gift" a work specifically concerned with children, and the dangers they face in our modern society.

This has been a very illuminating, albeit disturbing discourse.

All my best,

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

G DiPierro
04-02-2008, 03:23 PM
Previously mentioned was Gavin de Beckers book "The Gift of Fear"

I think this book is a fantasticly presented and illuminating "must read" for every individual concerned with self defense and the behavior of predators. Less well known is his latest book "Protecting the Gift" a work specifically concerned with children, and the dangers they face in our modern society.Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane) (http://www.amazon.com/Protecting-Gift-Keeping-Children-Teenagers/dp/0385333099) was his second book, published in 1999. While not as good overall as his first book, it is more relevant to the issues discussed in this thread:

In this valuable, even necessary, book, he shatters many myths about the typical profiles of regular offenders and the prevalence of such problems as sexual abuse and kidnapping. He also deconstructs the wisdom of traditional maxims such as "Never talk to strangers" and "If you are ever lost, go to a policeman." Without offering a compendium of every conceivable danger, he identifies warning signals and real risks that are often easy to spot once you know what to look for. He offers practical advice on recognizing signs of sexual abuse, choosing a baby sitter or nanny, how to prepare kids for walking to school alone, and how to teach children about potential risks without making them afraid to venture out of the house. And he continually stresses that denial and ignoring intuition are the biggest mistakes that parents make in protecting their kids from those that mean them harm.

His latest book, published in 2002, is called Fear Less: Real Truth About Risk, Safety, and Security in a Time of Terrorism (http://www.amazon.com/Fear-Less-Safety-Security-Terrorism/dp/0316085960).

Another excellent resource on this subject is the 2006 documentary Deliver Us from Evil, which chronicles the story of Oliver O'Grady, a Catholic priest who raped (physically, not just in the statutory sense) and otherwise abused "potentially hundreds" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deliver_Us_from_Evil_(2006_film)) of children -- 6 to 10 year-olds, not adolescents -- over several decades. Although the allegations raised in this thread are troubling, in my opinion they do not even come close to level of evil that was perpetrated from within the Catholic church, both in terms of the acts themselves and in the church administration's handling of their aftermath, which mostly consisted of covering them up and moving the priest in question down the road to another parish and putting him in a position of power over an unwitting congregation so that he could commit the same offenses again.

Toby Threadgill
04-03-2008, 10:03 AM
Giancarlo,

I didn't even know about "Fear Less". Thanks for the update.

Toby

ramenboy
04-03-2008, 11:33 AM
...
Another excellent resource on this subject is the 2006 documentary [I]Deliver Us from Evil, which chronicles the story of Oliver O'Grady, a Catholic priest who raped (physically, not just in the statutory sense) and otherwise abused "potentially hundreds" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deliver_Us_from_Evil_(2006_film)) of children -- 6 to 10 year-olds, not adolescents -- over several decades...

gdp
for some reason this show was what came to mind when i first heard the news of this thread and toyoda's. the title was on the tip of my tongue, but couldn't remember it. thanx for jogging the memory

SGshingu
04-19-2008, 04:14 PM
I would like to say thanks for the sincere posts from you Ellis. I have never met you but I have trained with Clint and Hikitsuchi a number of years ago in Shingu. I am shocked and would like to know the facts but I do not think you are really being the Devil's Advocate at all here but just responsible to the Aikido community. I do enjoy and get a lot out of your replies, even when you go off topic. (sorry jun but ..hey he writes eloquently what can I say)

I can say that a few friends I jokingly talked about this very thing happening when we lived there and now it may even have come true. Now just not sure, He was one of the last people I would have thought would do anything like this but with 85 emails between them as the reporter wrote that seems somewhat above a normal relationship to me. As a friend I hope I am wrong and it is all a mistake but not knowing any more you just get to suspect. So please keep writing Ellis and all the others. Also, anyone with more information, would be welcome. Thanks.

M. McPherson
04-20-2008, 09:33 AM
Good to see you here, Scott, despite the circumstances.

Best,
Murray

gdandscompserv
04-20-2008, 10:56 AM
interesting;
Words Of Wisdom
Saito-sensei was a perfect gentleman at all times, and set a sterling example for us. He was especially proper with his female students.
One day he took several of us aside and gave us two pieces of advice for conduct as Aikido instructors.
1. Don't try to make a living teaching Aikido.
2. Don't fool around with your female students.
History has shown the wisdom of this advice.
http://www.iwama-aikido.com/iwamawisdom.html

CorkyQ
04-20-2008, 10:59 AM
I hope that Jun will not consider this veering off target, but as I was reading all the entries regarding this tragedy I was struck by how many people were quick to judge or at least to refuse to extend understanding. There was talk of forgiveness and how hard it is to forgive, and all that is very understandable, too. But mostly, what stood out was the nod to the idea that maybe the allegations aren't true, let's wait and see, etc. but that if they look to be true the man should be punished.

I know from personal experience how hard it is to forgive, yet I remember the story of the prophet who came upon the ensuing execution of a woman for harlotry who suggested that among the group who was ready to stone the woman to death, the person who had never sinned be the one to cast the first stone. No one could throw the first stone because all them had sinned. That there is some cultural gauge to which sin is the worst among the worst, made no difference in the prophet's eyes. His message was clear. Sin is an errant way of being, and it lives within us all.

The same prophet, as his hands and feet were nailed to posts, and he was hung out to dry in the desert heat, asked the creator to forgive his torturers.

And here we are, none of us the victim or direct relation of the victim of this act of misplaced love, debating the nature of the subject's evil as if, because we have not committed or even thought of committing the crime to which he is charged, somehow we are superior human beings.

If this man had been charged with vehicular manslaughter for hitting a child in a cross-walk and making her quadriplegic for life because he was adjusting his car radio, would it have warranted 6 pages discussing his moral inferiority because none of us would have been unwise enough to adjust the radio while driving, or because we may not even have the desire to listen to music in the car?

Since we are basing everything we write on a single page of half a dozen or so paragraphs, re-read it. This is not a predatory monster, he is man whose crime it was to fall in love with a child who fell in love with him. A child who was the same age as Shakespeare's Juliet when her parents were admonishing her to find a husband so that she could start raising her family.

Like everyone else, I can think of a million reasons to call what this man may have done wrong, and I can say how I would never have fallen prey to the same temptations to which he fell prey, but I will never be able to say that I will not fall prey to some temptation that will cause harm to myself or someone else.

Those of us who take the moral high ground when others screw up (and I include myself among us) would do well to recognize when those flashing thoughts of how bad someone else is, how wrong they are, how we would never... when those judgmental thoughts arise in us, to use that as an opportunity not to glorify ourselves as ones who would never, but to admit that as writer Jason pointed out before he was shot down in the court of public opinion, that after all, at the most fundamental level, this admired aikidoist who made a mistake of falling in love with an underage student - is just like you and me.

rob_liberti
04-20-2008, 11:22 AM
No, Corky. First this isn't about a religious hierarchy of sins. There is a secular hierarchy. Second a bunch of the 6 pages were about how to protect your kids, and the obvious connection between how one treats their kids and the violence those kids will do in turn. Then there was a push to return to what I consider the gossip side of the topic, and then many thread contributors with anything constructive to say gave up in frustration. Now we are at the point where some more useful information is being shared, but unfortunately in too small of a scope compared to where we had tried to take it.

I suppose I dislike having such specific thread names - it has the common effect of encouraging reductionism at the expense of more comprehensive understanding of the nature of the underlying issues/themes.

Rob

akiy
04-20-2008, 11:42 AM
Then there was a push to return to what I consider the gossip side of the topic
Since you keep bringing this up in public despite my having sent you my thoughts through private e-mail correspondence, I will address your thoughts here,

If you consider my call to please "steer the discussion back to being directly pertinent to aikido and the original topic" as a push to return to the "gossip side of the topic," I certainly can't stop you from doing so. I guess you can call my moderation what you want, Rob, but I am here (in the General forum) to try to keep the discussions directly pertinent to aikido; had folks here kept explicit references and connections back to aikido in the discussion, I wouldn't object to those posts being in the General forum. Likewise, if you wish to expand the scope of your discussion, there is nothing keeping you nor anyone else from opening up a new thread in the Open Discussion forum to continue your discussion; I find your argument somewhat puzzling in light of that fact.

Please direct all further discussion on this particular topic of "encouraging reductionism" into the Feedback forum. Thank you.

Best,

-- Jun

rob_liberti
04-20-2008, 07:12 PM
Hi Jun,

We are having a misunderstanding based on the fact that unfortunately I received no private messages or emails from you. I'm glad to hear you had responded - I felt ignored and a bit disappointed (and I imagine you felt the same). Please resend if you still have a copy.

Rob

Keith Larman
04-21-2008, 10:21 AM
This is not a predatory monster, he is man whose crime it was to fall in love with a child who fell in love with him. A child who was the same age as Shakespeare's Juliet when her parents were admonishing her to find a husband so that she could start raising her family.

Oh, please...

Up until as late as the early 20th century even in America we put 12-year-olds down mines, into fabric mills, sweatshops, steel mills, etc. up until we began to see some semblance of modern child labor laws. If you've spent any time at all studying theories of child development you can't get away from social context. And in many times in history children were treated more as property or just "extra hands" and were for all intents and purposes considered by many to be "expendable" cheap labor. And they still are treated that way in other parts of the world. In those societies children are often treated as no better than cattle. And marrying them off is a common practice in order to keep social order, distribute wealth and resources, etc.

Thankfully we as a society have matured and evolved, at least to some extent. Although sometimes I read posts like that and I wonder. Our attitudes about the place of children in society has changed rather dramatically. In the process we have also found what sort of damage can be done by inappropriate sexual contact between a full grown adult in a authority role and a child in a subordinate position in *today's* society.

Or we could always go back to Shakespeare's time and enjoy all the benefits of sending children back into the fields, mines and all the other dangerous work. Ah, the good old days. Right? I'm sure you miss going to the dentist for a good blood letting and leach treatment for that severe case of the vapors...

What does this have to do with Aikido? How about how we need to protect the children we are charged with caring for in classes? How about setting a proper example? How about being a role model? How about as instructors not violating the trust of the parents let along the innocence of the child?

Unbelievable...

Ron Tisdale
04-21-2008, 10:42 AM
And since way too high a proportion of abusers were abused themselves, how about we as a society stop creating people who then go out and do this again?

Best,
Ron (let's stop the freakin' cycle, for god's sake)

Keith Larman
04-21-2008, 10:47 AM
And since way too high a proportion of abusers were abused themselves, how about we as a society stop creating people who then go out and do this again?

Best,
Ron (let's stop the freakin' cycle, for god's sake)

Now *that* I'll say "amen" to...

dragonteeth
04-21-2008, 11:15 AM
Sometimes I wonder if it would be worth taking the route that many daycare facilities have and installing either security cameras or password protected webcams for youth classes. That would give extra encouragement for the tempted to behave, as well as giving the parents a little more peace of mind. And who knows? If someone fails to respond to a teenager's advances and the kid wrongly accuses the instructor out of spite, it might end up protecting an innocent teacher to boot. I've seen several places that have 2-4 camera systems for under $300 with audio capabilities that record to DVR.

Of course, it goes without saying that one should be careful not to put up cameras that would capture questionable views of toilet and changing facilities....

Lori
(who doesn't own a leech and saves the blood letting for the mats...why you gotta always pick on us poor dentists huh?! :uch: )

George S. Ledyard
04-21-2008, 11:23 AM
Like everyone else, I can think of a million reasons to call what this man may have done wrong, and I can say how I would never have fallen prey to the same temptations to which he fell prey, but I will never be able to say that I will not fall prey to some temptation that will cause harm to myself or someone else.


People screw up, all the time. But it's like mental illness... at what point do you go from being simply a difficult person or an eccentric to being crazy? Every society defines the "norms". If you are unfortunate enough to live in a society in which your desires / needs / behaviors are out of sync with the "norms" you are in big trouble.

In some cases we set up norms that make little sense. For instance, our insistence on almost Puritanical levels of proper behavior from our public figures while the average person's behavior is anything but that. It's hypocritical, sure. But you also see a high level of forgiveness because on some level folks understand the standard isn't realistic.

But as you move farther and farther away from what the normative is, you cross into a level real dysfunction. And the actions and desires of folks in that range are simply unacceptable and society will move to protect itself. Clint George is a personal friend of mine. But his actions place him beyond the pale into an area which we, as a society, have determined is unacceptable. There is very little disagreement on this, society is pretty much unanimous on the fact that this type of behavior is not acceptable, period.

It's not that there aren't folks of like mind out there. The Fundmentalist Latter Day Saints tried to set up their own separate society in isolation. For them, this behavior would be acceptable. Now our society has moved to take four hundred children from their parents because our view of acceptable behavior differs from theirs.

The reason that people always have such a hard time wrapping their minds around evil actions is that they want people to fall into one of two camps, the good folks or the bad folks. It doesn't work that way in most cases... Most folks carry both streams all the time. Studies have shown that it would take very little for the average person to perform deeds which he or she would have called evil. It just takes a certain set of conditions to bring out an entirely different side. If you look at the actions of the Japanese during the Rape of Nanking in 1937 you see soldiers committing unspeakable crimes who would never even have thought of breaking the law or violating social convention at home. When these soldiers returned home they became law abiding citizens and family men and generally never, ever spoke of what they had done in China. The whole society has been in denial about what they did because they can't square that knowledge with how they see themselves.

So, yes, we all need to understand that we carry the seeds of evil behavior within us. But that doesn't mean that we condone that behavior. If it turns out that Clint George has done what is alleged, he is, by all acceptable contemporary standards, broken. Hopefully, he gets help. I don't think that this requires that we hate him or get angry at him. I think it allows us to feel compassion for him. But it also means that as far as any normal social intercourse goes, he is largely done for. It certainly means that he is through as an Aikido teacher completely and absolutely. It's a tragedy but that's the way it is. We have defined certain lines in our society that you just don't cross... some make sense, others seem more arbitrary. But I think that we uniformly believe that our young should be protected. Threatening our young will bring out some of the strongest defensive reaction on the part of the group. And I do not think that this is wrong.

mriehle
04-21-2008, 11:34 AM
So, yes, we all need to understand that we carry the seeds of evil behavior within us. But that doesn't mean that we condone that behavior. If it turns out that Clint George has done what is alleged, he is, by all acceptable contemporary standards, broken. Hopefully, he gets help. I don't think that this requires that we hate him or get angry at him. I think it allows us to feel compassion for him. But it also means that as far as any normal social intercourse goes, he is largely done for. It certainly means that he is through as an Aikido teacher completely and absolutely. It's a tragedy but that's the way it is.

I'm quoting this bit because I think it summarizes very well a point several people have tried to make here.

There are several, separate aspects of a situation like this and it's important not to get them mixed up with each other. As soon as you do, you limit your choices in a very non-productive way.

This issue should not be retribution, it should be protecting potential victims. I'd go so far as to say that if we focused on that to begin with, these sorts of things would be less likely to occur at all. Consider some of the ideas presented in this thread and it's spin off about instructors behavior standards.

I would also go so far as to say this is part of why we study Aikido. Sometimes it's easy to get wrapped up in the self defense stuff and forget that the best self defense is to not be in a vulnerable space to begin with. And as we grow more able to do that for ourselves, it's important to help others avoid vulnerability as well.

Keith Larman
04-21-2008, 11:48 AM
(who doesn't own a leech and saves the blood letting for the mats...why you gotta always pick on us poor dentists huh?! :uch: )

Cause I spent years working in a dental office... ;)

I don't think cameras are something we really need, but policies of having more than one adult present for kids classes, etc. are all sound ideas and what we do at our dojo.

George S. Ledyard
04-21-2008, 12:18 PM
Cause I spent years working in a dental office... ;)

I don't think cameras are something we really need, but policies of having more than one adult present for kids classes, etc. are all sound ideas and what we do at our dojo.

Do any of the major Aikido organizations have written policies on the subject of teaching minors? If not, it might be a good idea to put one together and get the major organizations to endorse and adopt them.

It's only a matter of time before an organization is taken to court for the behavior of a member of their organization, especially teachers that have received some sort of official teaching certification.

Many of the youth sports organizations have written policies and their coaches receive training. That makes it VERY clear when someone is acting beyond the pale, usually before their behavior can cross from the "grooming" stage into something more sinister.

Jennifer Yabut
04-21-2008, 12:25 PM
I don't think cameras are something we really need, but policies of having more than one adult present for kids classes, etc. are all sound ideas and what we do at our dojo.

One of the dojos I visited not only has security cameras, but also an "instructors certification" which must be renewed on a yearly basis. Since they have multiple children's classes, I can understand why they put the cameras in place.

I don't know if the USAF has an "official policy" for minor students, but our dojo recently created one for ourselves. Some kind of "instructor course" (with an emphasis on appropriate teacher/student interactions) would also be a good idea, methinks.

Ellis Amdur
04-21-2008, 01:59 PM
Thought I was finished posting on this, but no. Not yet, I guess.
Ron Tisdale writes:
And since way too high a proportion of abusers were abused themselves, how about we as a society stop creating people who then go out and do this again?
This is not true.
1. Research shows clearly that violence breeds violence, that there is extreme statistically significant relationship between violence to children and them growing up to be violent
2. Furthermore, if children simply witness violence in the home, even when they are not a direct victim, they are more likely to be violent.
3. BUT - this is not true in sexual abuse. First of all, when uncontrolled studies are done, an incredible majority of sexual predators endorse being abused as children. I recall it was 75% or 80%. But when they did a controlled study, where one could actually establish the facts of the individuals lives, the figure went down to about 30%.
4. Well, we say, at least the "cause" is established in 30%. Not so. That these people were abused and later abused others may be causally related and it very well may not be.
5. And the vast majority - 70% - were not abused.
6. The hard to accept truth is that sexual abusers of children - generally speaking - show no other signs of psychological pathology or trauma - when compared to the non-abuser population. The only difference between them and us seems to be we like vanilla ice cream and they like to sexually violate children.
7. That said, psychopaths show no apparent psychological pathology either. There is an excellent paper - (somewhere on my shelves) - which describes the pedophile as a "sectored-out" psychopath. Within that circle, they have no conscience or caring for the victim, and only their own needs matter. Outside the circle, they can be unremarkable. A classic example just went to prison - one of Martin Luther King's closest friends, an absolute unmitigated hero of the civil rights movement, who sexually molested most of his daughters.

The "cycle of abuse" theory is actually the height of cruelty, because the vast number of victims who do not abuse often see themselves as ticking bombs, afraid that this repressed damaged desire will emerge. For example, I've worked with guys afraid to change their children's clothes, because they believe, contrary to any actual feelings they have, that they probably will abuse a child because of this "cycle of abuse" of which they are supposedly a part.
Best

mriehle
04-21-2008, 02:22 PM
Do any of the major Aikido organizations have written policies on the subject of teaching minors? If not, it might be a good idea to put one together and get the major organizations to endorse and adopt them.


I wonder if this isn't the sort of thing deserving of a wiki page.

It strikes me that there are legal, moral and ethical issues which should be brought to the attention of anyone wanting to teach Aikido and any organization which is hiring teachers.

I through a wiki page under teaching (http://www.aikiweb.com/wiki/Generalteaching) together as a place to start. I have some ideas about some of the issues mentioned in it and I'll go fill some of them in as I have time.

But I have no particular emotional attachment. It strikes me that there are at least three people here who are more qualified than I am to fill some of these sections in.

Keith Larman
04-21-2008, 02:26 PM
Thank you for the post Mr. Amdur. Interesting bit of information. More to add to my notes on the topic (I'm trying to compile a presentation on this).

I think the part that bugs me so much about many of these discussions is how some seem to confuse the desire to understand and/or explain how abuse happens with excusing and/or forgiving it. I'm all about understanding and studying why these things happen -- I've been reading a lot of books on the topic since this event came to light. So we all try to understand these things -- hopefully with an eye towards preventing it in the future and maybe even identifying those who might be prone to it or situations that might otherwise go unnoticed.

However, once it happens, well, I have precious little sympathy for the abusers. That moves us from trying to understand why these things happen to dealing with it once it has. That latter is something else entirely. And IMHO too often that "idiot compassion" (as Fred Little so well put it) allows it to go on, to propogate and to go unfettered.

"Oh, he said he's sorry, it was just a small infatuation... It won't happen again... His only "crime" was falling in love..."

It doesn't work that way. And time and again when someone is exposed as having had an "inappropriate" contact with a minor it is found that it was not the only time. Often the list of victims turns out to be enormous. And each step of the way someone, somewhere probably saw something, noticed something, and could have said something. But it is too "unseemly", too "unthinkable", or "just falling in love"...

The "cycle" that needs to be stopped is the cycle of the rest of us enabling these things to happen. Of turning away and lying to ourselves about it happening.

We need to have these discussions and we all need to be vigilant. Because it isn't just the creepy guy around the corner who does these things...

What I find most encouraging about the story is that apparently someone in the dojo in question confronted him about it. And reported it. Now there is someone who deserves praise and respect.

MM
04-21-2008, 02:29 PM
Thought I was finished posting on this, but no. Not yet, I guess.


Thank you, Ellis. I'm certainly glad that you took the time to continue, even when you thought you were done. :) The information given was something I had not known, nor even guessed at.

(Now, isn't there a book you're supposed to be finishing up? :) )

Mark

Ron Tisdale
04-21-2008, 02:34 PM
Thanks Ellis. You can see how those of us unfamiliar with the subject are subject to many myths. Keep checking in at least, I might be fostering more, for all I know...

Best,
Ron

mathewjgano
04-21-2008, 03:59 PM
The "cycle of abuse" theory is actually the height of cruelty, because the vast number of victims who do not abuse often see themselves as ticking bombs, afraid that this repressed damaged desire will emerge. For example, I've worked with guys afraid to change their children's clothes, because they believe, contrary to any actual feelings they have, that they probably will abuse a child because of this "cycle of abuse" of which they are supposedly a part.
Best

Not that this testimonial adds much, but one of my closest friends has expressed this exact fear. The trauma of the abusive event(s) can easily extend into innocent events. As a consequence (tying this back into an Aikido-related post), innocuous physical contact can itself become pretty uncomfortable for those with these kinds of past trauma. As a result of this knowledge, I am pretty sensitive toward people who display a reluctance for physical contact whereas I've seen other folks assume they're "just shy" and try to "break" them of this kind of behavior.

rob_liberti
04-22-2008, 03:37 AM
Interesting facts about the "cycle of abuse".

It makes more sense to me that the proper way to deal with this at its roots is to proactively start new "cycles of compassion". (Not stupid compassion). You have to give up on most ideas about being a traditional parent, but it seems to me that if we managed to actually be consistent in compassionate and empathetic based interaction with our kids (all the time, not just when they are behaving "properly") it seems logical that THAT would dramatically reduce the numbers of abusers in the world. And further, if a majority were all operating that way, it would be easier for them to detect those people who are more dangerous in general and specifically because there would be fewer weaknesses in children to exploit.

Any actions like speaking up about such things (regardless of the consequences) are all about protecting those who have less power. That is certainly in line with my views on aikido in general. While, I don't see aikido in its current typical practice as particularly good in a marital context in terms of protecting others - it strikes me that the way to get our physical practice more in line with these ideals requires a fundamental shift in "listening" as well.

Rob

Dan Rubin
04-22-2008, 09:15 AM
The only difference between them and us seems to be we like vanilla ice cream and they like to sexually violate children.

Chilling (as in: scary).

ChrisMoses
04-22-2008, 10:19 AM
3. BUT - this is not true in sexual abuse. First of all, when uncontrolled studies are done, an incredible majority of sexual predators endorse being abused as children. I recall it was 75% or 80%. But when they did a controlled study, where one could actually establish the facts of the individuals lives, the figure went down to about 30%.


Ellis, thanks for your excellent posts in this thread.

I would like to point out that 30% sounds like a fairly significant number to me. I would note too that (if I read this correctly) we're looking at the percentage of sexual predators who were themselves abused as children, not the percentage of children who suffered abuse who themselves became sexual predators. I would suspect (and hope) that the numbers for society at large are much lower than 30% who had been victimized as children. While I certainly wouldn't go so far as to assert a causative relationship, I would say that we can see a correlation. I don't think that diminishes the point I think you were getting at (not everyone who was abused is doomed to become an abuser, nor is everyone who is an abuser someone who was abused). In my mind, it does show an increased likelihood.

My next comment is more to the general readership. There seem to be some posters who are not sure of the point of this kind of thread or perhaps the wisdom of posting an announcement like this when nothing has yet been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. I feel that this kind of thing is important to discuss publicly because there is a mystique about long time Aikido practitioners (particularly instructors) that they are inherently moral superior beings. Many newer students (and parents) put a level of faith, trust and importance on these people which they simply do not deserve. Certainly we have all met some amazing, generous and humble people doing this stuff. But I've met a lot of abusive, arrogant, passive aggressive jerks along the way too. Many of them were highly revered by their students. I think it's extremely important for all of us to keep the human factor in perspective. My first Aikido teacher was never injurious or abusive to me, he never took advantage of children or women in the dojo. He did expect (and demand) an unhealthy amount of control over his students lives and finances. He also expected an extreme amount of reverence to be paid to himself. Many of us bought into that because we were young and had no other dojo experience to refer to. I'm not teaching much Aikido right now, but I do a fair amount of teaching in my sword line, and I have a few students/training partners who I find myself constantly reminding that I am not wise or special just because I have some experience swinging a sword around. It's critical for the kind of relationships I wish to foster in a dojo that I keep that level of reverence out. You put on funny clothes, start doing strange movements and many people will simply *want* to buy into something. Hopefully that will put this thread in the perspective I intended. It was not my with to start a witch hunt, or slander someone who has been charged with but not convicted of any crime. It is about putting the relationships with instructors and people in positions of authority in perspective. Perhaps something like this is happening elsewhere but the parents keep telling themselves, "...but he/she's an Aikido sensei, that could never happen..." I am all for respecting our teachers and seniors, but it's up to us to keep our eyes open for shoes under the curtain.

mathewjgano
04-22-2008, 12:30 PM
Christian,
That framed it very nicely for me, thanks. Perhaps one of the most important lessons my dad gave me was along this line of thinking. It has translated into so many aspects of my life I couldn't possibly thank him enough. In my opinion it is this kind of discerning awareness which epitomizes budo as I know it. On some level we're always forced to take the world around us at face value, but it's foolish to assume that what we see is all we'll get. The sad fact of things is that good people do bad things all the time. As a person who has taught children Aikido and who is training to be a teacher in the public education system I expect to be looked at with a critical eye (and potentially a distrustful one) and I think parents would be remiss not to do that. I hold many people in high regard; I see some people as truly great men and women, but even the greatest person on earth is only human.

rob_liberti
04-22-2008, 09:56 PM
Ellis, thanks for your excellent posts in this thread.

I would like to point out that 30% sounds like a fairly significant number to me. I would note too that (if I read this correctly) we're looking at the percentage of sexual predators who were themselves abused as children, not the percentage of children who suffered abuse who themselves became sexual predators. I would suspect (and hope) that the numbers for society at large are much lower than 30% who had been victimized as children. While I certainly wouldn't go so far as to assert a causative relationship, I would say that we can see a correlation. I don't think that diminishes the point I think you were getting at (not everyone who was abused is doomed to become an abuser, nor is everyone who is an abuser someone who was abused). In my mind, it does show an increased likelihood.

<snip and especially>

I am all for respecting our teachers and seniors, but it's up to us to keep our eyes open for shoes under the curtain.

I would like to point out that 30% has got to be based on some minimal criteria where I strongly suspect that the definition of "abuse" used is not in line with my views. I suspect that what makes my radar of abuse is way under the radar of those who came up with those statistics.

I have learned a bit about child centric perception. It seems to be that it's got to be all about what the child feels. Basically, the child's perception of his experiences (treatment, relationships, etc.) is what counts, not a 1 to 1 mapping of similar behaviors - like a child who was molested grows up to be a molester. If the child feels violated on any level it seems likely that it can come out when they are an adult as victimization or predation. To say that some sexual predator was never sexually molested as a child doesn't mean that they were not violated or abused - in that grey area - sub clinical abuse zone. My definition of abuse (which include that grey area) would likely bring that 30% stat upward to say somewhere near 100%.

Lastly, this conclusion about cycle of abuse strikes me as an example of a common trick where no one actually claims that correlation and causation are mutually exclusive but just keeps talking authoritatively as if that is the case. Quite simply correlation does NOT mean "not causation". Science of late is plagued with that one.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_damned_lies,_and_statistics

CorkyQ
04-23-2008, 02:10 AM
I'm not surprised my point was missed, because there is either an understanding of how we share the same nature as human beings none of whom are going to live a perfect life - or there is an ignorance of that fact.

Never once was it suggested the actions be condoned, only that the man in his human condition, be seen as redeemable. Never once was it suggested that steps not be taken to prevent painful things from happening, only that before we start in on self-righteous rants we realize that to err is human and to forgive is divine. Sympathy is not compassion. Sympathy is a sense of superiority masquerading as compassion.

There is no idiocy in true compassion, and if Osensei was right than it is at the heart of aikido.

We are aikidoists, and if we are to live up to Osensei's arguably most quoted description of aikido, we need to understand what the words "loving protection of all things" means. Osensei did not call his art "the loving protection of all things good" or "the loving protection of all things except murderers, rapists and thieves." He called it "the loving protection of all things."

He also said "By transforming those who appear as enemies into enemies no more, it leads to absolute perfection of self."

So yes, let's look at the situation with an eye for seeing that things like this don't happen again, but if they do, let them not draw us away from the ideals of our Founder's art.

Dan Rubin
04-23-2008, 09:49 AM
So yes, let's look at the situation with an eye for seeing that things like this don't happen again....

Corky,

Do you have any suggestions as to how to see that things like this don't happen again?

Dan Rubin
04-23-2008, 10:07 AM
Let my re-phrase the above post:

Corky,

What do you think would be an appropriate way to see that things like this don't happen again?

dragonteeth
04-23-2008, 11:21 AM
Corky please let me offer an analogy off topic (sort of) to illustrate the way I perceive most of us feel, because I don't think you get what we're saying either.

My five year old son likes to grab women's butts. Yep, the little guy started early. Right now it's cute (especially to the guys we know), but really it's very inappropriate and will cause him serious problems later in life if he doesn't stop. I know he has a problem with this, and so I make sure I avoid every possible situation where he can sneak in a quick feel. We've had discussions about inappropriate touching, and he's been both reprimanded and punished for disobeying the rules (amazing the amount of angst that taking away the Wii for a week will cause). It is my sincere hope that we can educate him out of this bad habit before he reaches the "not cute" age, but for now I do my best to avoid any situation that I know will entice him.

I don't restrict his ability to walk behind cute women because I don't like him. I do it to protect him (and the women) from the consequences of his inappropriate action. I monitor his movement closely, and I counsel him on correct behavior. If he fails in that behavior, he faces consequences which to him are rather severe. The consequence of not doing this now may get him smacked later if he's lucky. If he's not so lucky, he could find himself charged with sexual harrassment or assault, or even shot by an angry father or jealous spouse. By teaching him the socially accepted norm, I am expressing my love for him as his mother through good parenting, even if he disagrees with me.

The same thing is true with the accused in this case. If you go back and re-read the posts objectively (key word), you will see that there is no serious malice directed at the accused himself. Yes, there is ample disgust for what he is accused of doing, and rightly so. He hurt someone. But he also hurt himself. His career teaching is over. His ability to practice aikido at the level he previously practiced is also pretty much over unless he finds private adult training partners. His reputation is ruined in his community, and he will likely face incarceration. My bet is that, if you asked him, he would have been very glad to have had someone step in and stop all this before it happened. After all, he traded everything that was valuable in his life for a few stolen moments of inappropriate behavior. Rarely is it ever worth it.

So by preventing these things from happening in the first place, yes we ARE protecting all things as O Sensei commanded, including potential molesters. Furthermore, we help to protect him from himself by removing him from any situation that might encourage this to happen again. After all, habitual offenders always face stiffer penalties. And hopefully, by experiencing the consequences of his actions, he will learn what he should have perhaps learned as a five year old - invading a woman's personal space is wrong. :(

Jennifer Yabut
04-23-2008, 01:56 PM
So by preventing these things from happening in the first place, yes we ARE protecting all things as O Sensei commanded, including potential molesters. Furthermore, we help to protect him from himself by removing him from any situation that might encourage this to happen again. After all, habitual offenders always face stiffer penalties. And hopefully, by experiencing the consequences of his actions, he will learn what he should have perhaps learned as a five year old - invading a woman's personal space is wrong. :(

Very well said. Thanks for sharing your own experiences. Dealing with troublesome behavior *now* will hopefully save both of you a whole world of grief much later.

Keith Larman
04-23-2008, 02:02 PM
I'll leave the religious aspects of your post alone as I don't see it as relevant.

This is the part I was responding to.

This is not a predatory monster, he is man whose crime it was to fall in love with a child who fell in love with him. A child who was the same age as Shakespeare's Juliet ...

I don't think I misunderstood you at all.

Jennifer Yabut
04-23-2008, 02:46 PM
Keith just reminded me of another point I wanted to make:

This is not a predatory monster, he is man whose crime it was to fall in love with a child who fell in love with him. A child who was the same age as Shakespeare's Juliet when her parents were admonishing her to find a husband so that she could start raising her family.

Like everyone else, I can think of a million reasons to call what this man may have done wrong, and I can say how I would never have fallen prey to the same temptations to which he fell prey, but I will never be able to say that I will not fall prey to some temptation that will cause harm to myself or someone else.

Corky, are you familiar at all with pedophilia: http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/pedophilia.html

This isn't just a simple "he fell in love with someone who happened to be a child". If the allegations *are* true, this most likely means he has some deep-rooted problems which aren't easy to "fix".

*edited to add: Using Juliet as an analogy is erroneous, since she fell in love with a fellow teenager - not a grown man.

Ron Tisdale
04-23-2008, 02:52 PM
Bingo Jennifer...I would have thought the distinction obvious...but obviously...not.

Best,
Ron

CorkyQ
04-23-2008, 03:17 PM
Thanks Dan and Lori for your responses.

For me, the answer to things like this is what aikido is about, because it is our connecting and entering that quells disharmony before it erupts into behavior with lasting negative consequences. In that regard Lori, I think you touched on how I would respond to Dan's question.

We tend to live self-absorbed lives, and it seems clear that this man and this child were living in kind of a world unto themselves until someone finally noticed. In our practice of aikido, don't we seek to maintain our connection, stay attentive to our partners, and blend with them in such a way that they don't come to harm. In a way we are constantly in a jiu waza randori in life, but as most of life's "attacks" have minimal negative consequences we tend to avoid rather than connect, bully who we can (even if in the softest way possible), and not bother with things that don't seem to have any relevance to our lives - yet.

Just image if there was, in this sensei's dojo, members who were more attentive in a connected way to either or both this teacher and his young student. My guess is that it wouldn't have gotten to the point of 85 progressively intimate emails - it wouldn't have even gotten to the first rumblings of sexual interest without someone saying something.

But what we tend to do is not notice that the teacher is giving a little extra attention to the young female student, not bother to stick around after class to help lock up the dojo, not approach our teacher with interest (non-accusational), not cultivate our intuition about things we would rather not have color our lives.

We have to face certain facts about living, and those are that largely we have no control over other people and what they do. But we can strive to take the things we learn in the dojo off the mat and into our lives. If our aikido is about self-defense, it will be rather limited, but if we can make our aikido about service to the world, as I believe was Osensei's intention, we can open our hearts to the world and be involved from a place of non-judgmental understanding that good people can be tempted to do bad things.

Someone can notice that the teacher and student are getting close, someone can say something about an article he or she read about some coach or teacher getting cozy with a student and how that disrupted lives, someone can not go home after practice to stay in the dojo until the lights are out, or take the time to volunteer to teach or help the kids' class. The key word is involvement. The teacher is going to recognize through the lack of "alone-time" with this student, through the non-intimate interest that other students and instructors show to the young female student, through having the void in the teacher's life that leaves an opening for this kind of seed to grow filled, that whatever feelings he may be developing will not be cultivated.

I always think of Terry Dobson's famous story on the train and how the old man made it his point to reach out non-judgmentally to the drunk and offer a connection so that the man's fundamental need could be met. This surely is the highest goal of aikido.

Lori, in reflecting on your son's situation, you mentioned that the guys think it's cute, and you even alluded to the idea you find it cute as well - and yeah it is kind of cute. But obviously the response has reinforced the behavior. Avoiding the situations where he might have a chance to do this though is a way of avoiding the problem instead of dealing with it.

The most fortunate aspect of your son's situation is that he is currently old enough to get away with it! But sooner or later he is going to grab the butt of someone who doesn't think it is so cute. I assume you have told him that he is touching people in an inappropriate way and that many people will have a very different response, and also when he gets positive acknowledgement from the guys that even though everyone got a kick out of it, that it really is inappropriate with an honest heartfelt explanation of why an invasion into someone's personal space is not respectful.

I'm not Dear Abby, but I bet if you made this sincere connection with him and anyone around who may be unwittingly encouraging him every time he does it, that he will stop, and probably after the first time. From my own experience as a father, when my kids did some thing that was embarassing my first reaction was to ignore it and hope it didn't happen again or skirt around the point or something else un-aikido like. But as I gain in my understanding of connection, I have realized how unabashed, non-judgmental honesty and understanding works wonders in creating harmony.

I realize that there wasn't specific calls for beheading over this incident, I was responding more to the lack of compassion in the form of callousness I saw generally in some posts. As you pointed out, Lori, this man's mistake has consequences of the highest magnitude, and he will suffer and is suffering as much as the thirteen-year-old girl has and will.

I think that one of the most amazing shows of compassion was Gandhi's refusal to condemn Hitler (while condemning his actions), because, as he stated, he understood that he had the same capacity within himself for the same actions. That he had the strength to deny that kind of evil made him no more worthy of compassion than Hitler, in his eyes. I expect that Osensei had that same level of spiritual understanding.

CorkyQ
04-23-2008, 05:27 PM
Keith just reminded me of another point I wanted to make:

Corky, are you familiar at all with pedophilia: http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/pedophilia.html

This isn't just a simple "he fell in love with someone who happened to be a child". If the allegations *are* true, this most likely means he has some deep-rooted problems which aren't easy to "fix".

*edited to add: Using Juliet as an analogy is erroneous, since she fell in love with a fellow teenager - not a grown man.

My point in bringing up Juliet was that the appropriateness of mating between two biologically mature individuals differs widely across the spectrum of cultures and times, and the Juliet analogy is appropriate because her parents may well have expected her to receive the approaches of an older man if it meant to them the potential of a beneficial marriage.

As we have seen in the news lately, there is a culture within our borders that believes that when a female reaches sexual maturity she is ready for marriage and a sexual relationship, and any arguments any of us may have for saying this is wrong would be based on our own cultural biases. In no other species of animal on this planet do individuals wait some arbitrary number of years after sexual maturity to bond, so even nature supports this point.

In fact, your bringing up the fact that both Romeo and Juliet were in our culture "underage" implied that you thought that was okay, or at least "more okay" than if Romeo were forty-nine. What if he were thirty-five? What if he was twenty-five? Twenty? Eighteen? Sixteen? At what point would Romeo's age have made it seem less reprehensible? And then, isn't that age that you consider proper arbitrary? If it wasn't, the age of consent wouldn't differ from state to state. In a quick online check of age of consent, I see that South Carolina considered 14 the age of consent for females but 16 the age of consent for males. How's that for cultural relevance?

In South Korea, Japan, and Spain the age of consent is thirteen (http://www.avert.org/aofconsent.htm), so had this occurred in the birthplace of aikido Clint George might have been thought of as a person who was taking advantage of his student, but he would not have been arrested (unless he was breaking prefecture laws). Had he been with his student in the Philippines it would have been legal for them to have a relationship from the time she turned 12 as long as she was not a prostitute.

Jennifer, in your post is the insinuation that the man may be a hard-core pedophile when the most atrocious allegation in the article is of "inappropriate email content" and "inappropriate touching." The article stated that she had been his student for two years, and it is obvious from the article that the inappropriate behaviors were a recent thing (the last three months). If you have some other evidence that "This isn't just a simple "he fell in love with someone who happened to be a child", please present it and clear up my misunderstanding.

Jennifer, I looked at the website at the URL you provided and it states this under Definition:

Pedophilia is defined as the fantasy or act of sexual activity with prepubescent children.

So without knowing the level of sexual maturity of the girl in question, we don't even know if Clint George fits the clinical definition of a pedophile, let alone whether he "most likely" has some deep-rooted difficult problems to fix.

But even if he does have such problems, does that mean we cast out this member of our community who prior to this incident appears to have been well respected? Do we consider his the unforgivable sin? Or do we consider his problem our problem because if we don't help him with his deep-rooted problem we lose a teacher who has been considered valuable to others.

This is what I meant even more than the pre-emptive "loving protection of all things" that can happen before-the-fact that you and Lori you have mentioned.

The life of this man, a fellow aikidoist, is for all intents and purposes changed forever for something that would not even be considered wrong in another time and place on earth. If we are the people of integrity we would like to be, where is our compassion?

CorkyQ
04-23-2008, 07:54 PM
I'll leave the religious aspects of your post alone as I don't see it as relevant.

Personally I see the spiritual elements as extremely relevant because compassion is a spiritual value, not to mention the fact that Osensei continually referred to aikido as a spiritual art, including the statement "This budo is both a martial art and a religious practice."

It makes more sense to me that the proper way to deal with this at its roots is to proactively start new "cycles of compassion"
Rob

That sounds right on the money to me, Rob!

CorkyQ
04-23-2008, 07:58 PM
Keith just reminded me of another point I wanted to make:

Corky, are you familiar at all with pedophilia: http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/pedophilia.html

This isn't just a simple "he fell in love with someone who happened to be a child". If the allegations *are* true, this most likely means he has some deep-rooted problems which aren't easy to "fix".

*edited to add: Using Juliet as an analogy is erroneous, since she fell in love with a fellow teenager - not a grown man.

My point in bringing up Juliet was that the appropriateness of mating between two biologically mature individuals differs widely across the spectrum of cultures and times, and the Juliet analogy is appropriate because her parents may well have expected her to receive the approaches of an older man if it meant to them the potential of a beneficial marriage.

As we have seen in the news lately, there is a culture within our borders that believes that when a female reaches sexual maturity she is ready for marriage and a sexual relationship, and any arguments any of us may have for saying this is wrong would be based on our own cultural biases. In no other species of animal on this planet do individuals wait some arbitrary number of years after sexual maturity to bond, so even nature supports this point.

In fact, your bringing up the fact that both Romeo and Juliet were in our culture "underage" implied that you thought that was okay, or at least "more okay" than if Romeo were forty-nine. What if he were thirty-five? What if he was twenty-five? Twenty? Eighteen? Sixteen? At what point would Romeo's age have made it seem less reprehensible? And then, isn't that age that you consider proper arbitrary? If it wasn't, the age of consent wouldn't differ from state to state. In a quick online check of age of consent, I see that South Carolina considered 14 the age of consent for females but 16 the age of consent for males. How's that for cultural relevance?

In South Korea, Japan, and Spain the age of consent is thirteen (http://www.avert.org/aofconsent.htm), so had this occurred in the birthplace of aikido Clint George might have been thought of as a person who was taking advantage of his student, but he would not have been arrested (unless he was breaking prefecture laws). Had he been with his student in the Philippines it would have been legal for them to have a relationship from the time she turned 12 as long as she was not a prostitute.

Jennifer, in your post is the insinuation that the man may be a hard-core pedophile when the most atrocious allegation in the article is of "inappropriate email content" and "inappropriate touching." The article stated that she had been his student for two years, and it is obvious from the article that the inappropriate behaviors were a recent thing (the last three months). If you have some other evidence that "This isn't just a simple "he fell in love with someone who happened to be a child", please present it and clear up my misunderstanding.

Jennifer, I looked at the website at the URL you provided and it states this under Definition:

Pedophilia is defined as the fantasy or act of sexual activity with prepubescent children.

So without knowing the level of sexual maturity of the girl in question, we don't even know if Clint George fits the clinical definition of a pedophile, let alone whether he "most likely" has some deep-rooted difficult problems to fix.

But even if he does have such problems, does that mean we cast out this member of our community who prior to this incident appears to have been well respected? Do we consider his the unforgivable sin? Or do we consider his problem our problem because if we don't help him with his deep-rooted problem we lose a teacher who has been considered valuable to others.

This is what I meant even more than the pre-emptive "loving protection of all things" that can happen before-the-fact that you and Lori you have mentioned.

The life of this man, a fellow aikidoist, is for all intents and purposes changed forever for something that would not even be considered wrong in another time and place on earth. If we are the people of integrity we would like to be, where is our compassion?

Jennifer Yabut
04-23-2008, 08:52 PM
Personally I see the spiritual elements as extremely relevant because compassion is a spiritual value, not to mention the fact that Osensei continually referred to aikido as a spiritual art, including the statement "This budo is both a martial art and a religious practice."

It still seems like to me that you're more about blind "forgiveness" as opposed to really dealing with the problem. Showing "compassion" and "forgiveness" does *not* mean the offender ought to go scott-free without any kind of consequence.

Buck
04-23-2008, 10:14 PM
What Osensei said of love and say what Clint George is accused of is the same is unthinkable. It is terrible a man like Clint George admired and respected by many could have fallen. He held up Aikido, and was very important person to many. But If Clint George fell in love with a child that can't be the same as love talked about by Osensei. That isn't love by any human standard.

I don't think children in Aikido think when the topic of Osensei's ideal of love is talked about believe it is on a physical intimate level with an adult, like what Clint George is accused of.

I have compassion for all those involved. More for the child.

rob_liberti
04-23-2008, 10:23 PM
Disclaimer: This is in NO WAY intended to be a personal attack.

We all have a desire to guide our children to be healthy and well adjusted adults. This is intended to be a cause and effect analysis on the METHOD of achieving that outcome which was provided as an example to this thread - and relate it back to exactly what I disagree with Ellis's 30% stat regarding "cycle of abuse".

In terms of "cycle of compassion": I would suggest a method whereby one redirects the butt-grabbing curiosity as opposed to punishing the impulse. Once a boy is having sexual feelings (far later than 5 years old - like puberty), there is a chance of actually having a productive discussion about respecting women. Teaching respect in general requires conveying to him respect of his needs and feelings.

AGAIN - This is not intended to be an attack on one's parenting. It is intended to offer perspective on what is "under the radar" and HOW IT GETS THERE given the typical parenting paradigm this example reflects.

So, in terms of "cycle of abuse below the typical radar" - I'm also an engineer. I think in terms of basic logical flow. So this is how I lay it out in my mind:

1) To a 5 year old, grabbing butts or touching boobs or hitting for that matter is just normal primate behavior. Please by all means go watch some other primates if you do not agree with this! They are trying to figure out where they fit in physically with their tribe. They are just trying stuff out.

2) "Grabbing butts" CANNOT POSSIBLY BE sexual to a 5 year old in any way. A 5 year old CANNOT be sexually sophisticated enough to think otherwise - regardless of how many punishments he gets.

(disclaimer: AGAIN - The following point is NOT intended as a personal attack, it is just a logical point about what is level appropriate and how that kind of thinking in general seems to fail at every level)
3) It is unfortunately absurd to think a 5 year old CAN POSSIBLY associate losing a Wii with respecting women. (Please - really - I do not mean to offend here.) Is there even any evidence that this works well with adults? For instance, how many prisoners are rehabilitated?

4) Punishing a child's actions gives those actions POWER - which I believe is what he is curious about and experimenting with in the first place - how much power he has.

5) By putting a sexual context around it (for example "invading a woman's personal space is wrong"), it gives them the false idea that this normal childhood impulse to explore human bodies (which goes against our repressed society) makes them BAD PEOPLE as opposed to thinking "oh I should change my behavior" - which is obviously the desired message.

This paradigm tends to favor the false dichotomy of either: a) you smack the kids spirit down OR: b) just let the kid do anything they want.
There is also option: c) You can honor the impulse the child has and help them express it in acceptable ways.

I am concerned about how any child is going to grow up having had the most powerful women in his life exert painful control over him (examples: "amazing the amount of angst", "consequences which to him are rather severe") because he was curious about women's bodies. I sincerely worry about what such a child's opinion of women WILL BE when he IS sexually sophisticated, after having his normal impulses basically crushed by his mother - the most powerful woman in his life - and told that he is wrong and bad.

Have you ever been with a creepy guy and it just didn't feel right? How do you think he got that way such that his perversion was under the radar and came out as a creepy feeling with the women he was with? This goes to the next point:

6) A mother will NEVER KNOW the RESULTS of such a method (punishing and sexualizing primate impulses) in her attempt to raise a good kid. It only hits the radar if there are legal problems. Short of that, a mom will never get a call from her 19 year old son to explain to her that he has gotten really perverted and creepy with women. I believe he will have mastered how to hide it to avoid punishment by then - given the years of practice provided while being raised.

It does not make logical sense to me to think creepy people just happen randomly like lightening striking - or like why I might randomly like vanilla ice cream. It is much more likely that it is a cumulative effect of these examples of under the radar abuses. Maybe I'm wrong, but my opinion is that you better think long and hard about it because you are never going to get any feedback until it makes the radar with some legal action. To me, I simply suggest erring on the side of caution and reading Alice Miller books.

To that end, this is relevant to aikido in terms of teachers and students. How do you raise good students to have better judgment? Same as parenting. You have to ask BOTH questions:
1) what do I want this person to do?
2) WHY do I want them to do it?

Most people are only asking the first question, and THAT is pretty much the REASON for aikido in the first place.

Thanks,
Rob

rob_liberti
04-24-2008, 12:01 AM
You have to ask BOTH questions:
1) what do I want this person to do?
2) WHY do I want them to do it?

I need to clarify that second question much more. I should have wrote:

2) What do you want THEIR reason for doing it to be?

Rob

clwk
04-24-2008, 12:20 AM
I am concerned about how any child is going to grow up having had the most powerful women in his life exert painful control over him (examples: "amazing the amount of angst", "consequences which to him are rather severe") because he was curious about women's bodies. I sincerely worry about what such a child's opinion of women WILL BE when he IS sexually sophisticated, after having his normal impulses basically crushed by his mother - the most powerful woman in his life - and told that he is wrong and bad.

Mother, do you think they'll drop the bomb?
Mother, do you think they'll like this song?
Mother, do you think they'll try to break my balls?
Ooooowaa Mother, should I build a wall?
Mother, should I run for President?
Mother, should I trust the government?
Mother, will they put me in the firing line?
Ooooowaa Is it just a waste of time?
Hush, my baby. Baby, don't you cry.
Momma's gonna make all of your nightmares come true.
Momma's gonna put all of her fears into you.
Momma's gonna keep you right here under her wing.
She won't let you fly, but she might let you sing.
Momma's gonna keep Baby cozy and warm.
Oooo Babe.
Oooo Babe.
Ooo Babe, of course Momma's gonna help build a wall.
Mother, do you think she's good enough,
For me?
Mother, do you think she's dangerous,
To me?
Mother will she tear your little boy apart?
Ooooowaa Mother, will she break my heart?
Hush, my baby. Baby, don't you cry.
Momma's gonna check out all your girlfriends for you.
Momma won't let anyone dirty get through.
Momma's gonna wait up until you get in.
Momma will always find out where you've been.
Momma's gonna keep Baby healthy and clean.
Oooo Babe.
Oooo Babe.
Ooo Babe, you'll always be Baby to me.
Mother, did it need to be so high?

-- Pink Floyd, 'Mother': The Wall.

Josh Reyer
04-24-2008, 01:01 AM
Rob, that's really a well-thought out post, which could lead to an extremely interesting discussion. I do think, however, that it should have been posted in its own thread in the "Open Discussions" forum. This thread has had difficulty enough staying near topic as it is...


This is not a predatory monster, he is man whose crime it was to fall in love with a child who fell in love with him. A child who was the same age as Shakespeare's Juliet when her parents were admonishing her to find a husband so that she could start raising her family.

Like everyone else, I can think of a million reasons to call what this man may have done wrong, and I can say how I would never have fallen prey to the same temptations to which he fell prey, but I will never be able to say that I will not fall prey to some temptation that will cause harm to myself or someone else.
Corky, are you familiar at all with pedophilia: http://www.psychologytoday.com/condi...edophilia.html

This isn't just a simple "he fell in love with someone who happened to be a child". If the allegations *are* true, this most likely means he has some deep-rooted problems which aren't easy to "fix".

*edited to add: Using Juliet as an analogy is erroneous, since she fell in love with a fellow teenager - not a grown man.

Man, I really don't know if I want to wade into this, but in the interest of clear, coherent discussion...

If you'll look at the above quote of Corky's, you'll note that at no point does he mention Romeo or Juliet's relationship with him. He brings her up in the context of what her parents desired, and thus, what was once acceptable in society. This is, IMO, a rather important distinction because (from the link you provided):
Pedophilia is defined as the fantasy or act of sexual activity with prepubescent children. It mentions 13 years as an upper boundary, but this is merely an arbitrary marker for convenience, like 18 as the age of majority, or 21 as the drinking age. I teach at an elementary school, and there are 12 year olds who are clearly pre-pubescent, and there are 12 year olds who have very adult bodies. This is even more true of 13. It's not for nothing that sexual education often starts in the 5th grade, when children are 10-11 years old. Corky's point, I believe, is that in times past a physically mature 13 year old girl was married off and expected to bear children, and Juliet is such an example. And the fact is, we have no idea how physically mature this girl is. Nor, for that matter, how mentally mature. The fact that this relationship seems to have played itself out through email is, IMO, a salient fact.

None of which is to say a 49 year old man engaging in any kind of romantic relationship (let alone a physical relationship) with a 13 year old is at all permissible, or condonable. Let me categorically state that, because in these conversations it can get lost in the noise: I do not believe that the relationship alleged here, assuming everything in the article is true, is healthy, acceptable, justifiable, without grave psychological and emotional consequences, or should be without heavy punishment. It goes against important principles our society holds to today.

However, if the girl was physically mature and sexually aware, it was not pedophilia. Unethical, immoral, illegal, yes, all that and more. But not the same psychopathy as sexually desiring a 9-year old. It is my impression that this is one of the arguments Corky is making: that Clint George may not be a defective human beyond repair, but may be a redeemable one who has committed a grave mistake.

I can see some sense in that, and I might even agree with it, if we had all the information Clint George and the girl had. (Or, at the least, if we knew what the girl looked like -- if she's a clearly pre-pubescent 13 year old, then Clint George might have to be cut off from society.)

However, Corky makes another argument:We are aikidoists, and if we are to live up to Osensei's arguably most quoted description of aikido, we need to understand what the words "loving protection of all things" means. Osensei did not call his art "the loving protection of all things good" or "the loving protection of all things except murderers, rapists and thieves." He called it "the loving protection of all things." And this one I can't quite agree with. It essentially is, "What Would Ueshiba Do?", and I don't buy that when it's "What Would Jesus Do?", and I'm much more amenable to the idea of Jesus' divine infallibility than Ueshiba's. Ueshiba, because of his own particular ideology, was able to condone a number of things that I am not willing to. And no one needs to. Few, if any, aikido practitioners today follow Ueshiba's actual ideology and spirituality, not even the current Doshu.

lbb
04-24-2008, 06:20 AM
However, Corky makes another argument: And this one I can't quite agree with. It essentially is, "What Would Ueshiba Do?", and I don't buy that when it's "What Would Jesus Do?", and I'm much more amenable to the idea of Jesus' divine infallibility than Ueshiba's. Ueshiba, because of his own particular ideology, was able to condone a number of things that I am not willing to. And no one needs to. Few, if any, aikido practitioners today follow Ueshiba's actual ideology and spirituality, not even the current Doshu.

Thank God someone finally said it. WWUD, pass the kool-ade...

dragonteeth
04-24-2008, 07:08 AM
Well, Rob, I guess you missed the very first line of my post, which said "please let me offer an analogy..."

I was not implying that my son's behavior would lead to being a sexual predator. Whether his intent is sexualized at his age (or not) is irrelevant. It is still socially unacceptable behavior, stemming in large part (according to the professionals in his life) from having a mild case of reactive attachment disorder resulting from his adoption at the relatively late age of three along with the death of his adoptive father eight months later.

Please allow me to restate my point in clearer terms for you.

As I love my child unconditionally, so we as the aikido community loves (in varying degrees) the two practitioners who are currently accused of wrongdoing.

As I and society mildly dislike what my child does that is mildly inappropriate, so the aikido community and society severely dislike what these two have done that is severely inappropriate.

As I as a parent try to remove my child from any temptation to perpetuate his misbehavior until he learns complete self control in that area, so the aikido community and society will remove these individuals from situations where they are at risk of repeating their crimes. Part of the aikido community here has expressed a desire to keep all individuals from situations where anyone is at risk of committing these crimes in the first place, which is reflected in the recent line of discussion in this thread.

As I as a parent teach and correct my child out of love and compassion, and in an effort to save him from future pain and humiliation, so the aikido community seeks to teach and correct all of the individuals within itself to save them from future pain and humiliation out of love and compassion.

To accuse those who have posted here of not being compassionate with such vitriol lacks the very compassion which you espouse, IMHO. If they choose to focus on prevention and identification of possible future perpetrators in an effort to keep the practice of our beloved art safe for all and clean of such impurities, then they have my admiration for those efforts. To me, and hopefully to you, this shows their compassion for all aikido practitioners, including those who may unfortunately find themselves in this situation in the future.

I think at this point I will start a new thread on preventing preadators under the teaching file so that we can distance that conversation from this one, which seems to be degenerating rapidly.

Keith Larman
04-24-2008, 09:15 AM
It (the article on Pedophilia) mentions 13 years as an upper boundary, but this is merely an arbitrary marker for convenience, like 18 as the age of majority, or 21 as the drinking age. I teach at an elementary school, and there are 12 year olds who are clearly pre-pubescent, and there are 12 year olds who have very adult bodies. This is even more true of 13. It's not for nothing that sexual education often starts in the 5th grade, when children are 10-11 years old. Corky's point, I believe, is that in times past a physically mature 13 year old girl was married off and expected to bear children, and Juliet is such an example. And the fact is, we have no idea how physically mature this girl is. Nor, for that matter, how mentally mature. The fact that this relationship seems to have played itself out through email is, IMO, a salient fact.

Well, the problem here is that the very definition of pedophilia is one that is a bit controversial. And there is the technical usage within psychology vs. common usage in language. The canonical definition of pedophilia within psychology is defined in terms of pre-pubescence. However, common language usage tend to lump all child sexual abuse incidents under the same general category. But that definition is itself a bit controversial in some quarters for a variety of reasons including the notion that physical sexual development increasingly is outpacing mental sexual development. So let me point out that girls are increasingly developing sexually (physically) at earlier and earlier ages. Some argue it is the hormones in the diet, other the increased caloric intake, but whatever the reason the sexual development of children is occurring earlier and earlier. So even the old "lines" of when it is pedophilia and not are more blurry than ever. Heck, a friend of ours has a 9-year-old daughter who has started menstruating. It is not unusual now to see 9-year-olds developing breasts. So the onset of puberty is going on earlier and earlier. And this is creating problems with the "definition" of the term.

The other side of this same coin is the realization that the mental development lags considerably behind the physical in most kids. And you've already discussed these things and sure, they are salient facts if we're going to discuss whether there was *actual* damage to the child in any particular case.

And sure, back in the olden days 14-year-olds might find themselves married off. I'd like to think we know better.

Finally part of the issue of the difficulty of these definitions stems from the mindset of the abuser. The same disconnect that "makes it okay" to have sex with a minor is consistent among those who abuse pre-pubscent and pubescent children. And you later wrote:

None of which is to say a 49 year old man engaging in any kind of romantic relationship (let alone a physical relationship) with a 13 year old is at all permissible, or condonable. Let me categorically state that, because in these conversations it can get lost in the noise: I do not believe that the relationship alleged here, assuming everything in the article is true, is healthy, acceptable, justifiable, without grave psychological and emotional consequences, or should be without heavy punishment. It goes against important principles our society holds to today.

And therein lies the point. Sure, in the olden days this would have been "okay." We know better now.

My objection to Corky's post has to do with statements like:

This is not a predatory monster, he is man whose crime it was to fall in love with a child who fell in love with him.

and

And here we are, none of us the victim or direct relation of the victim of this act of misplaced love...

I'm sorry, that just doesn't cut it. It is sexual abuse of a child. Equating it with Shakespearean love or calling it "misplaced" is simply wrong. We can argue as to whether it is pedophilia or "just" sexual abuse of a child. But either way it is something much worse, much more insidious than "misplaced love".

However, Corky makes another argument: And this one I can't quite agree with. It essentially is, "What Would Ueshiba Do?", and I don't buy that when it's "What Would Jesus Do?", and I'm much more amenable to the idea of Jesus' divine infallibility than Ueshiba's. Ueshiba, because of his own particular ideology, was able to condone a number of things that I am not willing to. And no one needs to. Few, if any, aikido practitioners today follow Ueshiba's actual ideology and spirituality, not even the current Doshu.

Hence why I felt the topic was irrelevant to this thread. It is absurd on the face of it.

CorkyQ
04-24-2008, 09:50 AM
It still seems like to me that you're more about blind "forgiveness" as opposed to really dealing with the problem. Showing "compassion" and "forgiveness" does *not* mean the offender ought to go scott-free without any kind of consequence.

You must be joking with that last line, if you don't think that Clint George is getting off with anything "scott-free."

Call me a purist, but yes, I am "about" blind forgiveness, not that I am capable of it. It is an ideal for which I strive, just as I strive for perfection of self, though I will most likely never get there.

Osensei said that "Aiki overcomes self. It not only takes hostility from our hearts, but by transforming those who appear as enemies into enemies no more, it leads to absolute perfection of self."

One can certainly write off what this silly old man said as the ravings of a lunatic at worst or as useless at best because "Few, if any, aikido practitioners today follow Ueshiba's actual ideology and spirituality," but I will not be deterred by anyone who practices an art which puts the quote above as its stated goal without thinking that goal is worth pursuing. It seems rather foolish to denigrate the Founder's intention while practicing the art, unless some higher goal can named. What is it?

As I hope I've made it abundantly clear, I am also all about dealing with the problem, but with compassion in my heart. Mary, I don't hold Osensei up to be a deity. I can't say Osensei was a perfect person capable of a flawless existence. I can't say it about Christ, Buddha, Lao Tzu, or Mohammad. Who knows? But one thing I do know is that at the heart of every spiritual endeavor is love and one huge part of love is dedicated to those who screw up. Forgiveness, compassion, and understanding are the basis for every spiritual practice in the world, and the fact that none of us may be capable of attaining a true state of grace while in human form is the reason we must practice it whenever and however we can.

So, while you, Josh, are not able to forgive (condone is something else), something Osensei might have been able to forgive, and Osensei may not have been able to forgive something Buddha might have been able to forgive, and I might have to work on forgiving someone for something you might easily forgive them for, it is the practice of forgiveness that leads to the perfection of self of which Osensei spoke.

Without going into detail I will share that I was in a situation quite similar to the one that Clint George finds himself, though I am the parent of the child. I can not honestly say that I have truly forgiven the person, because I still have flashes of desire for vengeance, but I will tell you that compassion was the way I have gotten as close to full forgiveness as I have gotten so far.

I don't mind being the odd one out, calling for compassion while others are calling for retribution. I really believe what Osensei said is true even though I may never fully embody it before I die, even if he never embodied it before he died. I will continue practicing aikido until I can no longer rise from the mat because I truly embrace the truth of these words of Osensei: "the training in Aiki is training in divine technique. Begin to put this into practice and the power of the universe will come forth and you will be in accord with the universe itself."

You may not believe them yourself, but if you don't, what is your purpose in practicing aikido?

Ron Tisdale
04-24-2008, 10:00 AM
I fail to see how believing in the words of Ueshiba Sensei does not square with wanting punishment of past crimes and prevention of future crimes in the case presented in this thread. If you truly care about the situation, of course you would want these things. That does not imply in and of itself an unwillingness to forgive. I may forgive...but I don't want the child predator back in society with free access to future victims.

I find it strange that someone would use that opinion to say that someone else has no reason to practice aikido. Or that they don't "really" practice aikido.

Best,
Ron

dragonteeth
04-24-2008, 10:08 AM
I don't mind being the odd one out, calling for compassion while others are calling for retribution.

I've reread every post in this thread again - where exactly does anyone call for retribution? I've seen no calls for castration, no calls for ganging up on him and beating him to a pulp, no calls for *ahem* prison justice, and in fact nothing really explicit about what his punishment should be at all...where is this retribution call that you keep railing about? Can you please quote those posts so I can attempt to better understand what you are saying?

Thank you!

Dan Rubin
04-24-2008, 10:12 AM
As I hope I've made it abundantly clear, I am also all about dealing with the problem....

Corky,

In your opinion, what would be an appropriate way to deal with the problem?

Dan

ChrisMoses
04-24-2008, 10:36 AM
Call me a purist, but yes, I am "about" blind forgiveness, not that I am capable of it. It is an ideal for which I strive, just as I strive for perfection of self, though I will most likely never get there.

Osensei said that "Aiki overcomes self. It not only takes hostility from our hearts, but by transforming those who appear as enemies into enemies no more, it leads to absolute perfection of self."



Be careful that you don't take OSensei's words out of their cultural context. A lot of his sayings wind up sounding a lot like Jesus or other "Western" proponents of peace and love. I don't think (and I could be wrong) that he was on that page. His son, for instance, always insisted that OSensei was not a pacifist.

Further WRT your quote about Aiki overcoming the self, there are other quotes where he implies that this overcoming of the self is done so that the practitioner can become a vehicle of divine justice. That is a much different concept than most Western readers would initially assume.

The nail that sticks up gets hammered down, so to speak.

Jennifer Yabut
04-24-2008, 10:44 AM
Call me a purist, but yes, I am "about" blind forgiveness, not that I am capable of it. It is an ideal for which I strive, just as I strive for perfection of self, though I will most likely never get there...

...You may not believe them yourself, but if you don't, what is your purpose in practicing aikido?

*sigh*

Corky, it is simply unrealistic to demand "blind forgiveness". Should it be an ideal? Perhaps. However, trying to force a victim of any kind of sexual abuse to "forgive" doesn't really help the victim. If anything else, it could imply that the victim was somehow equally "at fault" for what happened. Heck, you even said in one of your earlier posts that the young girl involved "fell in love" with Clint George - which implied that she was somehow "responsible" for what allegedly happened to her.

And what is equally disturbing to me is that your "compassion" seems to be sorely misplaced. You seem to be more concerned about protecting the wolf than the sheep.

CorkyQ
04-24-2008, 11:10 AM
Corky,

In your opinion, what would be an appropriate way to deal with the problem?

Dan

Thanks for all the enthusiastic responses! It's wonderful to be part of this fiery conversation! With all the quoting and rebutting, it feels like my point of view is at the center of a wonderful randori!

Dan, I have already stated that I believe what Osensei spoke about, and I truly believe that compassion, when practiced freely, without restraint is the way to deal with the problem. I believe what Osensei said about the transformational properties of aikido because I have seen them at work in my own life. I'm sorry, I would like to be more specific, but I have to get to work soon!

Lori, my statement was meant for my life generally more than for this thread in particular, but it does kind of fit, now that you bring it up.

I was referring to a state of the heart. Just look around. All I have ever said in my posts is that Clint George deserves our compassion. I never condoned what he did, I never said that the parents of the girl or the other members of the dojo did not have a right to feel betrayed. All I said was that this aikidoist and fellow member of our community was worthy of our compassion. Maybe you feel more compassionate about him than you feel vitriolic, do you? Maybe somewhere in the middle? Where in the scale between those two ends of the spectrum do you think you would like to reside? If you were able to go through the posts and measure them on a scale of compassion on one end and vitriol on the other, where would many of them lie? Some are full of compassion, some offer some, some offer none.

Ron, I never said anyone doesn't "really" practice aikido, but that I find it odd that someone would dismiss all the stated goals of the founder as hogwash, and yet practice the art. It simply defies common sense. Then I put forth the question (which you did not answer :) ) as to any reader's higher purpose in practicing the art that does not align with the Founder's intent, that's all. If it does make sense to practice the art for some other goal than the one for which it was intended, fill me in.

Jennifer, (sigh) aren't I just hopeless? lol... I'm not about protecting the wolves more than the sheep - I'm about protecting the wolves as well as the sheep - "loving protection of ALL things."

Chris, you may certainly be right and I can't argue with your interpretation, and maybe I'm crazy, but Osensei also said "the 'Aiki' of which conventional martial artists spoke and the 'Aiki' of which I speak are fundamentally different in both essence and substance. It is my sincere hope that you will ponder this deeply." And ponder it I will. Thing is, the more I ponder it, the greater the revelation to me that love in the Eastern sense is the same as love in the Western sense and that Osensei's declaration that "Budo is love." can only have one meaning. But I could be wrong, I've only been pondering it for a couple of decades - hope I don't die before I get it right! ha!

Thanks again, my friends! Any chance to reacquaint myself with the Founder's teaching and reaffirm what kind of work I will be doing in my heart today while my hands are doing their thing is welcome!

Everyone, enjoy your training!

Ron Tisdale
04-24-2008, 11:24 AM
Ron, I never said anyone doesn't "really" practice aikido, but that I find it odd that someone would dismiss all the stated goals of the founder as hogwash, and yet practice the art.

And who has said this? Not one person in this thread. Not one person has "dismissed all the stated goals" of anything. Nor has anyone represented what "all the stated goals" are. You mentioned a few translated quotes...that's all. It seems we may disagree with what those quotes mean...but the quotes have not been dismissed.

It simply defies common sense.

Oh? Let's take the Yoshinkan as an example. It is a branch of aikido blessed by the founder, which does not make a big deal about Ueshiba Sensei's statements that you quote. Rather, the focus is on the aikido that it's founder, Gozo Shioda made. It is still aikido, right? Does that defy common sense? The second largest aikido organization in the world and all of it's members defy common sense?? ;) I think...not.

Then I put forth the question (which you did not answer ) as to any reader's higher purpose in practicing the art that does not align with the Founder's intent, that's all.

I didn't answer the question because it is based on a false premise. You postulate that the contributers to this thread (or some subset there of) are voicing opinions that are contrary to what you call the "Founder's intent". Though I don't think you read Japanese, and you've never met or talked with him. And it is obvious from your posts that you don't really get what people are saying. Strange, isn't it?

If it does make sense to practice the art for some other goal than the one for which it was intended, fill me in.

I practice the art because I enjoy it. After 15 years or so, that's what keeps me going. Some days, it is enough...

Best,
Ron (for someone who doesn't want others to be judgemental, you seem to have very little problems with doing it yourself...)

jennifer paige smith
04-24-2008, 11:33 AM
I recently emailed the paper ( the reporter, actually ) that reported on this story for any updates related to the charges or to a trial, if there is one. I will let you know if and when I receive a response.

gdandscompserv
04-24-2008, 11:36 AM
Everyone loves a scandal.

ChrisMoses
04-24-2008, 11:54 AM
Chris, you may certainly be right and I can't argue with your interpretation, and maybe I'm crazy, but Osensei also said "the 'Aiki' of which conventional martial artists spoke and the 'Aiki' of which I speak are fundamentally different in both essence and substance. It is my sincere hope that you will ponder this deeply." And ponder it I will.

Right, because the "aiki" used in older/sword arts implies timing and fitting the moment a bit more (as I understand/use it). You meet the attack with the perfect response at the perfect time. OSensei said that there is no attacker in Aikido (thus the breakdown of the old aiki concept) because (and this is what gets left out too much) the attacker becomes a partner you control completely. That doesn't mean that you respect everyone's choices and opinions equally, it means that you dominate and control them to an extent that they cannot express their intent to harm, but rather through you, they are brought into accord with the will of the kami. At least that's how I take him these days. :)

rob_liberti
04-24-2008, 12:39 PM
josh reyer wrote:

Rob, that's really a well-thought out post, which could lead to an extremely interesting discussion. I do think, however, that it should have been posted in its own thread in the "Open Discussions" forum. This thread has had difficulty enough staying near topic as it is...

Fine. I don't know how to copy an entire thread myself. If someone can, and wants to rename it, please do so.
Of course I disagree. A main theme of the thread was how to prevent it. To do that you need to think about what causes it. I'm taking on what Ellis said about the cause. Regardless, examining the root cause is just part of the natural and organic way discussions progress. To break things apart by small topics is the very definition of compartimentalization - which will NOT help anyone. I'll be happy to contine to argue the reasons why it is pertinent on the other thread as long as it doesn't start looking like pearls before swine.

Until then, Lori Snidow wrote:
Well, Rob, I guess you missed the very first line of my post, which said "please let me offer an analogy..."
I'm missing it again. Are you saying it didn't happen? (Telling me it is an analogy doesn't make that point.) Assuming it did happen, I had and still have no intersted in picking on your choices directly. I TRULY assume you do not think of things in the same way I do - and if you did, you obviously would not have handled things in that way. It was just an example you opened your pesonal life up to for discussion on this thread. When you do that you are making a tacit agreement that it is up for discussion. I only intend to discuss the paradigm to make the connection between METHOD of trying to help the kids with potentially causing predators, victums, and women-haters.

I was not implying that my son's behavior would lead to being a sexual predator. Agree. *I* was making the point that the accumulation of many subclinical abuses of how a situation like that is typically handled may likely lead to a predator or a victum, or a sneaky/creepy women-hater.

Whether his intent is sexualized at his age (or not) is irrelevant. I obviously disagree here. How it is handled and all such things like it are handled is the entire point. I was speaking to the METHOD by which one tries to raise good kids being part of the problem and using the example on the table to connect the dots.

It is still socially unacceptable behaviorOf course. No one argued otherwise. Again, just the METHOD of dealing with it was analysed and the connection was made.

To accuse those who have posted here of not being compassionate with such vitriol lacks the very compassion which you espouse, IMHO. Certainly my compassion for chidren was a driver. I certainly did not accuse you of not being compassionate. I simply do not believe you (or many parents) saw how your METHOD of helping the child ties in to what I am calling subclinical abuses. Again, I'm certain that if ANYONE saw things my way THEY would not handle such issues in that way described by the example. As far as my compassion towards parents doing this by accident, well, maybe it is more like the compassion of Jesus storming at the Temple.

Rob

Keith Larman
04-24-2008, 12:43 PM
I recently emailed the paper ( the reporter, actually ) that reported on this story for any updates related to the charges or to a trial, if there is one. I will let you know if and when I receive a response.

I did the same back when it all started. I never received a response.

rob_liberti
04-24-2008, 12:46 PM
Right, because the "aiki" used in older/sword arts implies timing and fitting the moment a bit more (as I understand/use it). You meet the attack with the perfect response at the perfect time. OSensei said that there is no attacker in Aikido (thus the breakdown of the old aiki concept) because (and this is what gets left out too much) the attacker becomes a partner you control completely. That doesn't mean that you respect everyone's choices and opinions equally, it means that you dominate and control them to an extent that they cannot express their intent to harm, but rather through you, they are brought into accord with the will of the kami. At least that's how I take him these days. :)

That was awesome. Well done and thanks. Should we do that even if they are harming by accident? I think yes.

aikilouis
04-24-2008, 12:47 PM
I am not convinced that O Sensei's vision was all about unconditional compassion, and even less about forgiveness.

Buck
04-24-2008, 06:14 PM
I recently emailed the paper ( the reporter, actually ) that reported on this story for any updates related to the charges or to a trial, if there is one. I will let you know if and when I receive a response.

Jennifer, I am looking forward to it. Knowing all the details would help. I think everyone is concerned because it is a well-known Aikidoka who is accused. Having the details of the case will better define the situation pointing to the proper direction for compassion and judgement.

Buck
04-24-2008, 07:13 PM
My compassion for Clint George is that he was highly looked up to. He modeled Aikido for others. But all the while he hid his unlawful immoral behavior from others behind Aikido. I think he is able to realize what he has to face. I don't think he evil, just troubled and ill. My compassion is that he is troubled and ill, he needs serious help, if did it. I wouldn't have any compassion if worse things where experienced by the victim.

This terrible situation that does reflect on Aikido, the very least is embarrassing. Having this terrible situation exist in Aikido does raise many questions about what Aikido teaches, what Aikido represents, and who are Aikidoka. In my mind it runs along the same lines as the Catholic Church's problem with some Priests molesting children. The out come of the case might or might not have the similar effect as the Church. I am not saying it would be on the same scale as the Church. I don't think anyone of us wants anyone thinking Aikido is pedophile friendly.

I would find the topic of how many interpret Osensei's idea of love/compassion along the same lines of Christ or even the Dali Lama and why would be interesting.

Ellis Amdur
04-24-2008, 07:27 PM
"Both good and bad people are part of the family of World Harmony. Aikido instructs us to give up all kinds of attachments, and not to consider the matter of good and evil as a problem since it is only relative." Ueshiba Morihei "Takemusu Aiki"

He was definitely not a Buddhist, so "compassion" was not his thing either. He was a Shinto, god-possessed, self-proclaimed avatar of cosmic energy, and saw his students as sources of power for him to do his cosmic work. He quite comfortably accepted severe brutality by his students towards others in his later years, and was quite comfortable with war criminals as mentors and students. (I don't mean war criminals in some philosophical sense - I mean people who cut up bound prisoners).

In a Western sense, he was not a moral man, nor did he preach morality. That's wishful thinking based on interpolations of translations which mean something very different in the original Japanese. The peace Ueshiba preached was the reconciliation of cosmic forces, NOT world peace. His son, Kisshomaru, rather asutely turned aikido into a martial social work, which is what has made millions of practitioners and millions of dollars.

To be clear, I think he was remarkable. But not in the way wishful Westerners wafting whimsical poesy about abiding love and compassion for our fellow men.

Best

Michael Hackett
04-24-2008, 07:45 PM
I don't think most people would run from Aikido because of these two incidents in any great number, any more than they have run from public schools, police departments, gymnastics, or the hundreds of other activities where children have been victimized by those in power. Perhaps a specific venue, but not the entire art or practice. Joe and Josephine Lunchbox are a little more discriminating than that. They might demonstrate a higher level of alertness, but Aikido as a whole won't suffer from these isolated events.

As for forgiving and forgetting....She Who Must Be Obeyed has forgiven me for a couple of transgressions over the years, but there ain't no way that she's forgotten! I think she's on to something with that.

Keith Larman
04-24-2008, 08:27 PM
I don't think most people would run from Aikido because of these two incidents in any great number, any more than they have run from public schools, police departments, gymnastics, or the hundreds of other activities where children have been victimized by those in power. Perhaps a specific venue, but not the entire art or practice. Joe and Josephine Lunchbox are a little more discriminating than that. They might demonstrate a higher level of alertness, but Aikido as a whole won't suffer from these isolated events.

As for forgiving and forgetting....She Who Must Be Obeyed has forgiven me for a couple of transgressions over the years, but there ain't no way that she's forgotten! I think she's on to something with that.

Heck, I doubt the overwhelming majority of those practicing Aikido today even have a faint idea of these things happening. The number of folk here is rather small compared with the actual practicing base of students.

What it does show, however, is that it can and does happen, even in our insular little (sometimes apparently quite idealized) world. And that we need to be cognizant of that and do what we can to make sure it won't happen again. Shodo o-seisu.

Michael Hackett
04-24-2008, 09:23 PM
Keith, you're right - it can and does happen in every insular world and the best we can do is ensure our own conduct is acceptable and look out for danger to those around us. I don't think any group of humans is immune from something like this. I've seen brother officers, judges, lawyers, doctors, teachers, a couple of clergy, some martial artists, coaches and scoutmasters fall for similar conduct. Oh yeah, a nurse or two and one fry cook I can remember. The organizations were all responsible and above board, but they had a miscreant soul in their midst, albeit well-hidden from view.

Dewey
04-24-2008, 09:44 PM
Ueshiba Morihei "Takemusu Aiki"

He was definitely not a Buddhist, so "compassion" was not his thing either. He was a Shinto, god-possessed, self-proclaimed avatar of cosmic energy, and saw his students as sources of power for him to do his cosmic work. He quite comfortably accepted severe brutality by his students towards others in his later years, and was quite comfortable with war criminals as mentors and students. (I don't mean war criminals in some philosophical sense - I mean people who cut up bound prisoners).

In a Western sense, he was not a moral man, nor did he preach morality. That's wishful thinking based on interpolations of translations which mean something very different in the original Japanese. The peace Ueshiba preached was the reconciliation of cosmic forces, NOT world peace. His son, Kisshomaru, rather asutely turned aikido into a martial social work, which is what has made millions of practitioners and millions of dollars.

To be clear, I think he was remarkable. But not in the way wishful Westerners wafting whimsical poesy about abiding love and compassion for our fellow men.

Best

Thank you, Mr. Amdur, for your very insightful & qualified observations/remarks in this thread. Even more, thank you for making it clear that Ueshiba Morihei wasn't the "uber-hippie" that many modern Aikidoka prefer to cast him as. He was furtherest from such.

Thus far, I have restrained myself from posting in this thread. Why? A bit of background in regards to the "baggage" that I bring: for nearly 6 years I was a seminarian studying for the Roman Catholic priesthood in the Archdiocese of St. Louis ('97 to '03). In that time, I experienced firsthand the sexual abuse crisis that rocked the RC Church in America.

I personally knew of 3 priests who were accused (2 later convicted) of pedophilia (more specifically ephebophilia). I happened to live in the same rectory as one of them...and never would have guessed it in my wildest nightmares. Some of it happened right under my nose and I never saw it! To make a very long story short, I was completely oblivious to their "ulterior" activities. No "red flags"...no warning signs. Nothing. I found out only when the said priest(s) were nowhere to be found one day and a high-ranking monsignor pulled me aside the very same day with a courtesy "heads up" and an injunction to "keep your mouth shut."

The point is: don't put "it" past anybody (male or female perps) and don't think for a second that you've done enough to protect your children. Human depravity and/or mental illness (whichever you choose to see pedophilia & ephebophilia as) knows no limits and is not curable.

For what it's worth...

Fred Little
04-25-2008, 08:22 AM
Ueshiba Morihei "Takemusu Aiki"

He was definitely not a Buddhist, so "compassion" was not his thing either. He was a Shinto, god-possessed, self-proclaimed avatar of cosmic energy, and saw his students as sources of power for him to do his cosmic work.

Good morning Ellis:

At the risk of contributing to further thread drift.....I wouldn't be so quick to state that he was "definitely not a Buddhist," just as I wouldn't be so quick to state that a Santeria or Vodun practitioner is "definitely not a Catholic."

Actually, given the comparative frequency of multiple religious identifications and affiliations among Japanese, I would be even more hesitant in the former assertion than the latter.

On the basis of all the evidence I've seen to date, I would be more inclined to classify Ueshiba as a heterodox Buddhist. In fairness, I should also acknowledge that a great many Buddhists concur with your statement above, precisely because of their zeal to defend more orthodox views regarding what a Buddhist is or isn't.

But if you have a bit of evidence of which I am unaware -- say some clear statement by Ueshiba that he set down or that was reported by a reliable witness -- that clearly distinguishes between his views and Buddhism (not merely a particular sect of Buddhism, but Buddhism in general), then I might have to reconsider.....

Best,

Fred Little

Ellis Amdur
04-25-2008, 08:30 AM
Well, we are talking about Ueshiba, so I suppose it's not thread drift. I take back "definitely." But when an individual practices Shinto and neo-Shinto rites his whole life, very definitely IDENTIFIES himself with the deities as opposed to "seeing through" them as"emanations of mind," only uses Buddhist terminology to claim various Buddhist "demigods" as part of his own identity, talks about a sotereological goal congruent with a Shinto overlay on Taoism, yes, I do not see much evidence he is Buddhist, except in the quibbling sense that most Japanese hold heterodox views. But taking this any further would take this from thread drift to dropping it off the edge of the earth entirely, so let's take any further parsing of his theology off-line. My larger point was that Ueshiba was not focused primarily on morals in either a "person centered" way or even a "doctrinal" way.
Best

lbb
04-25-2008, 09:48 AM
I don't want to disparage anyone's scholarship, but to a degree, aren't all these assertions about what Ueshiba wanted and thought and believed in like a combination of the blind men and the elephant and a game of telephone? This one feels the elephant's side and makes a pronouncement about the nature of the elephant, that one feels the elephant's leg and says, "No, you're wrong, this is what an elephant is like!" Ueshiba says something, someone tries to remember it and repeats it to others, eventually someone writes it down, then someone else translates it, other people read it, then repeat it as they remember it to others, who repeat it to others...and everyone filters what they remember through their own cultural perspective, life experience, etc.

I don't think anyone can dispute the existence of this phenomenon in aikido. Given that, does it make sense to resort to authority and quote/interpret Ueshiba in support of this or that view?

gdandscompserv
04-25-2008, 09:58 AM
Given that, does it make sense to resort to authority and quote/interpret Ueshiba in support of this or that view?
Mary,
That is done so that Jun doesn't shut down the thread for being unrelated to aikido.;)

CorkyQ
04-25-2008, 10:06 AM
Hello again, and thanks for the direct responses to my contributions to this discussion and to the contributions in general.

Let me first say that the point of me bringing this up one more time has only to do with my sincere desire to bring an exploration of the deeper meanings of aikido to those interested in it, not to convince anyone that his or her perspective is wrong or that my perspective is right. Let me add, that I sincerely trust that any path to greater understanding of Aiki is of value even if it is not a path I would take.

To reiterate my point of view without going into specifics, I am of the viewpoint that the purpose of aikido as espoused by the founder is to express a loving response to those who would attack. Particular to this thread, that means that, as well as to the student and her family and their community, we should express compassion to Clint George who has been accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a young woman.

I think it's safe to say that contributions to this thread that support either of my points of view do not exceed those that in some way argue against one or both of my main points.

In the last few responses to my entries, some very good points were brought up about my lack of direct knowledge of aikido and it's founder and my possible misinterpretation of the Founder's words, goals and embodiment of aikido due to my Western mind-set and/or lack of understanding of the Japanese language. All of these are valid points, as far as I am concerned.

Among the aikidoka in this forum is a vast resource in understanding of the art and it's founder, many combined years of study, so I humbly ask your assistance in understanding the point of view that is contrary to one that says that the goal of aikido is the positive transformation of self and others through the extension of loving protection of all things without exception; meaning that everyone and everything that is part of nature, including those who fall prey to the evil within us all, is worthy of our compassionate response.

I consider myself very fortunate to have had direct personal contact with two of Osensei's pre-war uchideshi, one of whom spoke no English. Our conversation was interpreted by both Japanese and American translators, so I feel safe believing that at least verbally, he was understanding my questions and I was receiving a translation that was as accurate as possible. The other pre-war uchideshi speaks fluent English, currently resides in the United States, and is credited with translation of Morihei Ueshiba's book Aikido, and in fact, is a translator by occupation and avocation, having translated many buddhist and taoist texts across a number of languages.

In my conversations with these two gentlemen, both of which were focused on the purpose and nature of aikido, never did either tell me anything that was in any way in opposition to my basic premise as outlined above. To the contrary, both of them, from their Eastern mind-sets and thorough understanding of the Japanese language, supported my understanding of the Founder's purpose as I stated it above.

I concede that I never asked about Osensei's ability to live up to the ideals of aikido as I understand them, nor did they offer evidence or anecdote one way or the other.

Understanding that these are only two men out of the many who have had direct and lengthy relationships with the founder, it could be that they too have misinterpreted the purpose of aikido, and it will take the wisdom of someone here to offer an enlightened contrast to their understanding.

If anyone would please be so kind as to offer me instruction as to how I've misinterpreted the meaning of the following quotes of Osensei to mean something other than the one I have assessed to it, please do so.

Chris Moses has offered an alternate interpretation to the first quote, but I should have included with it the context in which the quote was relayed in Kanshu Sunadomari's book Enlightenment through Aikido:

" 'The "Aiki" of which conventional martial artists spoke and the "Aiki" of which I speak are fundamentally different in both essence and substance. It is my sincere hope that you will ponder this deeply.'

"He further stated:

"Aikido is not the art of fighting using brute strength or deadly weapons, or the use of physical power or deadly weapons to destroy one's enemies, but a way of harmonizing the world and unifying the human race as one family. It is a path of service that works through the spirit of God's love and universal harmony by the fulfillment of each individual's respective role. This way is the way of the universe; the training in Aiki is training in divine technique. Begin to put this into practice, and the power of the universe will come forth and you will be in accord with the universe itself.'"

"The martial arts must be the path that brings our hearts into oneness with the spirit of Heaven and Earth to complete our mission in life by instilling in us a love and reverence for all of nature"

"Aiki is the way of love. It is the path that brings our hearts into oneness with the spirit of the universe to complete our mission in life by instilling in us a love and reverence for all of nature"

"Harmonious ki is in accordance with the principles of nature; drawing things in through the ki of love is the first principle."

"The people of the world are all brothers and sisters. We must connect by the string of love. All of the arts are working for the purpose of doing this. We as Japanese must teach the world the true spirit of Japan. As Japanese, we must spread the teaching of the true Japanese spirit to the people of the world through the 'bu' path of Aikido. More than thinking of each other as mere comrades, we must come to think of people of the world as one family living under the same roof, and move forward giving help to others when they are in need and receiving help when we are in distress."

one of the Founder's poems:

The source of Aiki,
flows from the power of love:
With this as the core
love shall spread through the world
flourishing endlessly.

other quotes:

"The ki of love is like the light from the sun; Left, right, above, below, in front, in back, you must envelop yourself in it."

"The subtle and ever-evolving art of takemusu: to fulfill your destiny through the living ki of love."

"Aiki overcomes self. It not only takes hostility from our hearts, but in turning those who appear as enemies into enemies no more, it leads to absolute perfection of self."

I could go on, but the message, as I see it, is redundant. I concede that most of these quotes were offered in the context of a book which supports the point of view I have represented.

I am very open to hearing how these declarations might be interpreted differently on their face.

I just saw your post Mary, and I think that it is important for us to reflect from our own perspectives what Osensei was talking about because as of today his words are all we have left of his experience. As in the first quote I mentioned, Osensei asks his audience to "ponder this deeply." If there is a goal to our practice other than doing it "because we like to" isn't it reasonable to consider what manifests as the summit of our potential through the art? And who would know what that summit is more than the Founder of the art?

ChrisMoses
04-25-2008, 10:27 AM
If anyone would please be so kind as to offer me instruction as to how I've misinterpreted the meaning of the following quotes of Osensei to mean something other than the one I have assessed to it, please do so.

Chris Moses has offered an alternate interpretation to the first quote, but I should have included with it the context in which the quote was relayed in Kanshu Sunadomari's book Enlightenment through Aikido:

...

I'll point you to my usual interview source. (http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html)

Specifically:

O Sensei: In Aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in Aikido. The victory in Aikido is masakatsu and agatsu; since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength.

Interviewer: Does that mean ~o no sen? (This term refers to a late response to an attack.)

O Sensei: Absolutely not. It is not a question of either sensen no sen or sen no sen. If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory. There isn't any question of winning over or losing to an opponent. In this sense, there is no opponent in Aikido. Even if you have an opponent, he becomes a part of you, a partner you control only. (note: edited for clarity)

Note here that the harmony he's talking about is absolute victory because you act as an instrument in the will of the kami, not a coming together of equals or an appreciation of ones enemies ideals (a la relativism). I think there's an assumption from a lot of Western students that "everyone has a part to play in the world." I think OSensei was concerned with those working as foot soldiers for the divine order he believed in. In that sense, those in Aikido channel the power and purpose of something greater *in order to win over those whose ideas and actions lie specifically outside of that divine vision.* Key distinction, IMHO.

CorkyQ
04-25-2008, 10:57 AM
I can see where you are coming from, Chris, thanks for responding. How does your idea enmesh with the first part of that interview in which Osensei states:

"This universe is composed of many different parts, and yet the universe as a whole is united as a family and symbolizes the ultimate state of peace. Holding such a view of the universe, Aikido cannot be anything but a martial art of love. It cannot be a martial art of violence."

In my interpretation Osensei means to achieve that which is contained in your quote through the power of overcoming one's own imperfections, not those of others - "The victory in Aikido is masakatsu and agatsu".

And what can be said about Ueshiba's reference to having dismay at having"taught martial arts to be~used for the purpose of killing others to soldiers during the War, I became deeply troubled after the conflict ended. This motivated me to discover the true spirit of Aikido seven years ago, at which time I came upon the idea of building a heaven on earth."

What kind of heaven is devoid of compassion?

And then there it is again in the second paragraph of the interview you linked to:

"The realization of this mission is the path to the evolution of universal humanity. When I came to this realization, I concluded that the true state of Aikido is love and harmony. Thus the "Bu" (martial) in Aikido is the expression of love. I was studying Aikido in order to serve my country. Thus, the spirit of Aikido can only be love and harmony."

What do you make of that? Thanks again.

ChrisMoses
04-25-2008, 11:11 AM
In my interpretation Osensei means to achieve that which is contained in your quote through the power of overcoming one's own imperfections, not those of others - "The victory in Aikido is masakatsu and agatsu".



I've addressed a lot of this over the years, both here an e-budo. Short version is that masakatsu and agatsu *doesn't* mean overcoming ones own imperfections. It's the beginning of a kami's name, and OSensei seems to be referencing the kami in most instances when he used that term. One offered translation/exposition of the kami's name btw is, "I won completely by myself with speed and power."

This is drifting a lot however and into areas that I've already discussed at length. Hit up the search feature if you're actually interested.

Ron Tisdale
04-25-2008, 11:29 AM
Hi Chris,
Peter Goldsbury's posts in that area really opened my eyes a lot.

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
04-25-2008, 03:28 PM
I've addressed a lot of this over the years, both here an e-budo. Short version is that masakatsu and agatsu *doesn't* mean overcoming ones own imperfections. Ahem.

FWIW -- I disagree with Amdur's suggestion above that Ueshiba was "not a moral man" in the Western sense or otherwise. It is dangerous to do armchair psychology (even for someone like Amdur who does it for a living) and judge a Japanese, morally, by their set of associations. Most classical Japanese tragedies turn on the web of conflicting giri and ninjo. Unlike we fractious and disputatious Westerners, personal associations during O Sensei's life were not so freely chosen -- or disposed of -- regardless of the present views among the new generation.

As to Chris's related point, it is at odds with some fairly notable statements made by O Sensei in his own words. As with here (at 1:27) [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XTlWDOQBno&feature=related ] speaking explicitly of Aikido being a "path to self-perfection for all human beings."

Or here (beginning at 4:35) [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XTlWDOQBno&feature=related ] where he speaks of assimilating himself to the "one Creator" -- praying and "for the sake of harmony," "saluting all of creation and the divine spirits," and hoping "to live a good life as a man and a Japanese" and to "pray for the peace of the world."

Anybody who chooses to can quibble with the translations of his spoken words, but as far as I am aware they are authoritative. And this is highly consistent with the more extensive and elaborated discussion he has on these points in the Takemusu Aiki lectures.

rob_liberti
04-25-2008, 04:25 PM
I'm not seeing the conflict.
I see aikido as a transformative path to manifesting your true self.
To do that you have to identify your ego (that which separates you from your true self) and not act from it.

We do this in a physical way every class. We move with the attacker such that both uke and nage are contributing to the overall movement. There is no defending from aikido becuase uke is contributing.

To achieve that I'm learning more and more internal aiki - which I find requires that I do not move in an isolated or disconnected fashion from my whole being. It seems natural to me that O sensei learned this way of moving and went spiritual with it. That is my plan as well.

From my perspective nothing I am reading from O sensei is at odds at all.

It always comes back to how to you learn and teach judgment, build people up enough to help them with their own brutally honest self-criticism, and empower them to make the changes they need to make. As I see it, aikido needs to empower us physically so much that we feel secure enough to open ourselves up and make such changes emotionally. That's how it's been going for me so far anyway.

A big thing to deal with is the ego we bring to our first aikido class. How did it get so damaged? Why isn't the current practice of aikido exposing such issues before people become teachers?

Rob

Dewey
04-25-2008, 04:41 PM
Ahem.

FWIW -- I disagree with Amdur's suggestion above that Ueshiba was "not a moral man" in the Western sense or otherwise. It is dangerous to do armchair psychology (even for someone like Amdur who does it for a living) and judge a Japanese, morally, by their set of associations. Most classical Japanese tragedies turn on the web of conflicting giri and ninjo. Unlike we fractious and disputatious Westerners, personal associations during O Sensei's life were not so freely chosen -- or disposed of -- regardless of the present views among the new generation.

As to Chris's related point, it is at odds with some fairly notable statements made by O Sensei in his own words. As with here (at 1:27) [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XTlWDOQBno&feature=related ] speaking explicitly of Aikido being a "path to self-perfection for all human beings."

Or here (beginning at 4:35) [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XTlWDOQBno&feature=related ] where he speaks of assimilating himself to the "one Creator" -- praying and "for the sake of harmony," "saluting all of creation and the divine spirits," and hoping "to live a good life as a man and a Japanese" and to "pray for the peace of the world."

Anybody who chooses to can quibble with the translations of his spoken words, but as far as I am aware they are authoritative. And this is highly consistent with the more extensive and elaborated discussion he has on these points in the Takemusu Aiki lectures.

I can agree with the majority of your argument, Mr. Mead. Ueshiba was a product of his time & culture and it would be intellectually dishonest to hold him "accountable" to our contemporary Western culture's standards, particularly those who wish to cast him as the proto-hippie. However, if we look at his associations throughout his lifetime, he'd squarely fall on the right side of the isle even by today's standards...both politically & socially. He was certainly heavily involved in what was the Japanese rough equivalent of the John Birch Society.

Methinks the real issue is those that subscribe to the hagiographical depiction of O'Sensei as popularized by the likes of John Stevens.

Back on topic pertinent to this thread: I think O'Sensei would let his senior students (i.e. lieutenants) deal with the issue.

Erick Mead
04-25-2008, 06:10 PM
I can agree with the majority of your argument, Mr. Mead. Ueshiba was a product of his time & culture ... , if we look at his associations throughout his lifetime, he'd squarely fall on the right side of the isle even by today's standards...both politically & socially. As Ted Nugent is to rock and roll, so Ueshiba is to mystical martial enlightenment ... ??

He was certainly heavily involved in what was the Japanese rough equivalent of the John Birch Society. Yes, but "Why?" is the question there. The Genyosha certainly cajoled Deguchi into being catspaw for their entry into the "great game" in East Asia (which we and the British already had our hands in). I suspect that certain members of the Genyosha, (and future influential persons in the Kempei-tai) were primarily responsible for getting his ass out of hock when the Chinese captured him in the Mongolian debacle. In which case, I suspect it has little to do with his agreement with their politics or moral opinions. It would have been a life-debt, a serious matter of giri that may not be abandoned however distasteful those may be to whom it is owed.

So far as I am aware, there are no remotely related complicating or extenuating issues in the topic under discussion here.

Methinks the real issue is those that subscribe to the hagiographical depiction of O'Sensei as popularized by the likes of John Stevens. No arguments here. The most useful thing he has published for me was the Doka in kana with both the functional syntax (his take) and more literal syntax translations in parallel.

aikilouis
04-26-2008, 04:10 AM
Why are we mincing words about O Sensei's philosophy or any religious reference ?

If Clint George Sensei really did have a liaison with an underage student (which has not yet been proven), he crossed a legal line. Entertaining such a relationship with a minor, especially when one is in a position of authority (such as a teacher) is against a law that was meant to protect society's weaker elements and that put a clear age limit.
Some young people might be mature before their years, but it is not the law's concern anyway, a limit is a limit.
An experienced teacher is expected to know it and respect it, even if it goes against his personal inclination. If he/she crosses that line, he/she expected to face all the legal consequences of his/her actions, derived from the breach of the trust that was put in him/her.

jennifer paige smith
04-26-2008, 09:45 AM
Why are we mincing words about O Sensei's philosophy or any religious reference ?

If Clint George Sensei really did have a liaison with an underage student (which has not yet been proven), he crossed a legal line. Entertaining such a relationship with a minor, especially when one is in a position of authority (such as a teacher) is against a law that was meant to protect society's weaker elements and that put a clear age limit.
Some young people might be mature before their years, but it is not the law's concern anyway, a limit is a limit.
An experienced teacher is expected to know it and respect it, even if it goes against his personal inclination. If he/she crosses that line, he/she expected to face all the legal consequences of his/her actions, derived from the breach of the trust that was put in him/her.

Yes. It seems pretty straight forward to me.

We can easily move to the kind of theororizing that is included in this thread in just about any thread. Believe me, I've done it. There is a time for common trust to be demanded and exercised in our small but important world. So, let's keep it simple.
Now is a time to be loving, and I think the fact that so little derogatory assumptions are being made in the face of such a strong and 'button-pushing' situation speaks to the benefit of the doubt held in most peoples hearts commenting in this thread. There is more education than accusation. More inquiry than inquisition. More heartfulness than hurtfullness. More caring than cursing. These are good steps in the direction of compassion for everyone.

And the situation remains.

CorkyQ
04-26-2008, 12:15 PM
Ah, these last three posts are just what this thread should be all about, in my humble opinion.

Dewey, the viewpoint of Osensei holding up aikido as a way to offer a loving response to one who attacks is not just a Western-ized concept produced by biographers like John Stevens. The two pre-war uchideshi with whom I have spoken with at length about this both held this point of view. One of them, at 84 years of age, still leading practice sessions after 70 years of training, after beginning his study with Osensei at age 14, told me that he is still finding new levels of aikido. For others this may be different, but for him it is all about erasing animosity from his own heart. He personally emphasized to me to study the words of the founder, that relying on technique would bring me to a wall in my training. He may be wrong about it all, but it all makes perfect sense to me.

Where this brings this all back to the discussion of Clint George is in what Jennifer brought up. The crux of truth here is what we do when someone has crossed the line, as Ludwig put it.

The taking advantage of a child is the most egregious sin in our minds, which is why this is such a litmus test of our ability to forgive and offer compassion.

IF Osensei meant for aikido to offer loving protection to all things, and IF it is about removing hostility from our hearts so that we can view those we would perceive as enemies as enemies no more, then the image of a child molester now becomes our chance to put up or shut up.

This is not a call to abolish punishment, for punishment there shall always be. We will all be punished for our mistakes, for our wrongs, for our deeds when we give in to the evil in our hearts. But compassion is about understanding the pain that evil people feel themselves when they are faced with the consequences of their actions.

Has anyone of us missed out on the pain of humiliation and shame that Clint George is now feeling and will likely feel for the rest of his life? Again, this is not about excusing his behavior, it is about extending love unconditionally to someone whose punishment will meted out. In this way everyone, including Clint George, will be brought into harmony with the universe, if my interpretation of Osensei's words is accurate. So Jennifer, I hold that refraining from derogatory statements and offering the benefit of the doubt is a good start, but the real power of aikido begins when there is a proactive offering of compassion an forgiveness before and after our doubts are proven.

There will always be those whose hearts are hardened, who refuse to give one ounce of love or caring to those who have offended, especially in the most egregious ways. But the path of aikido for me (even though I may be called ignorant and foolish) is to open my heart to victim and perpetrator alike, to draw out compassion and forgiveness to the best of my current and imperfect ability to do so.

To the teenager, to the family of the teenager, to the members of the Helena dojo, to the aikido community at large, and to Clint George whose mistake, illness or evil has invited this calamity to be born, my heart goes out to you in the hour of your need.

Dewey
04-26-2008, 02:52 PM
Ah, these last three posts are just what this thread should be all about, in my humble opinion.

Dewey, the viewpoint of Osensei holding up aikido as a way to offer a loving response to one who attacks is not just a Western-ized concept produced by biographers like John Stevens. The two pre-war uchideshi with whom I have spoken with at length about this both held this point of view. One of them, at 84 years of age, still leading practice sessions after 70 years of training, after beginning his study with Osensei at age 14, told me that he is still finding new levels of aikido. For others this may be different, but for him it is all about erasing animosity from his own heart. He personally emphasized to me to study the words of the founder, that relying on technique would bring me to a wall in my training. He may be wrong about it all, but it all makes perfect sense to me.

Where this brings this all back to the discussion of Clint George is in what Jennifer brought up. The crux of truth here is what we do when someone has crossed the line, as Ludwig put it.

The taking advantage of a child is the most egregious sin in our minds, which is why this is such a litmus test of our ability to forgive and offer compassion.

IF Osensei meant for aikido to offer loving protection to all things, and IF it is about removing hostility from our hearts so that we can view those we would perceive as enemies as enemies no more, then the image of a child molester now becomes our chance to put up or shut up.

This is not a call to abolish punishment, for punishment there shall always be. We will all be punished for our mistakes, for our wrongs, for our deeds when we give in to the evil in our hearts. But compassion is about understanding the pain that evil people feel themselves when they are faced with the consequences of their actions.

Has anyone of us missed out on the pain of humiliation and shame that Clint George is now feeling and will likely feel for the rest of his life? Again, this is not about excusing his behavior, it is about extending love unconditionally to someone whose punishment will meted out. In this way everyone, including Clint George, will be brought into harmony with the universe, if my interpretation of Osensei's words is accurate. So Jennifer, I hold that refraining from derogatory statements and offering the benefit of the doubt is a good start, but the real power of aikido begins when there is a proactive offering of compassion an forgiveness before and after our doubts are proven.

There will always be those whose hearts are hardened, who refuse to give one ounce of love or caring to those who have offended, especially in the most egregious ways. But the path of aikido for me (even though I may be called ignorant and foolish) is to open my heart to victim and perpetrator alike, to draw out compassion and forgiveness to the best of my current and imperfect ability to do so.

To the teenager, to the family of the teenager, to the members of the Helena dojo, to the aikido community at large, and to Clint George whose mistake, illness or evil has invited this calamity to be born, my heart goes out to you in the hour of your need.

That's fine... you're entitled to your opinion.

For one, ephebophilia (or pedophilia, for that matter) cannot be: dismissed, ignored, rationalized in anywise sort of fashion. Regardless, it is "evil" (I say this as a devout Catholic). What Mr. George has done is evil...plain & simple. A pubescent child cannot morally and/or ethically be consensual in regards to their sexuality. The magic number of "18" wasn't arrived at arbitrarily.

O'Sensei might have babbled on about "loving kindness" and/or of "loving protection"...that's fine. He was referring to budo, not to life in general. Compassion & forgiveness as O'Sensei eloquently waxed upon was understood in regards to budo. That's all.

Sure, I as a good Christian, can forgive. Does that mean that I forget? No way!

Keith Larman
04-26-2008, 04:42 PM
Corky, I must admit that I find your comments extremely difficult to swallow. To twist the words of O-sensei into arguing that the act of forgiving the sexual abuse of a child is somehow a noble thing is beyond me. He didn't just write "take one step aside" but "take one step aside and cut them down at the speed of light. (grossly translated, but you get the idea)

And combining that twisted argument with your earlier comments such as this being only a crime of "love" and "misplaced love"... Well in combination I think it shows a truly profound lack of understanding as to the nature of such crimes. And this is very disturbing to me to say the very least.

Obviously I'm not as evolved a human as you for I cannot for the life of me see how anything you wrote is anything more than empty pontification and self-aggrandizing posturing at the expense of a truly horrible situation.

I think Dewey nailed it in his comments above.

For my part I'm working on researching the topic more in order to put together a class for our kids and their parents to present these issues (with parental consent of course). And also to help formulate some ideas as to how we might even want to change some of our practices in the dojo to ensure a safe, enriching environment for all our students, especially our kids. All the time spent getting annoyed on-line is time I'm not spending trying to make sure it doesn't happen in my world. So I'm bowing out of this conversation while my blood pressure is still manageable.

gdandscompserv
04-26-2008, 07:22 PM
A question for all:
If Clint were your sensei, would you continue that relationship at this point in time?

gdandscompserv
04-26-2008, 07:23 PM
The magic number of "18" wasn't arrived at arbitrarily.
Yes it was.

G DiPierro
04-26-2008, 07:43 PM
A pubescent child cannot morally and/or ethically be consensual in regards to their sexuality. The magic number of "18" wasn't arrived at arbitrarily.What "magic number" would that be? If you mean the age of consent, in Montana it is actually 16, as it is in most US states. In most of the rest it is 17 or 18, although in at least one state it is only 14. Outside of the US, 14 is not uncommon and in some countries it is even as low as 12. Do you believe that adolescents mature at different rates in different states and countries or do you think these differences in age of consent laws are arbitrary?

rob_liberti
04-26-2008, 07:58 PM
A question for all:
If Clint were your sensei, would you continue that relationship at this point in time?

I was thinking the same thing while reading about that concept of giri that was being discussed about Osensei and the relationships he maintained.

So, I suppose, if he were my sensei AND he broke me out of Chinese prision, then yes.

Otherwise, no...

Rob

Buck
04-26-2008, 10:17 PM
A question for all:
If Clint were your sensei, would you continue that relationship at this point in time?

It is a no brainer for me, Of course not if he has crossed the line with a child. Clint not beingJapanese, but an American who was rased and brought up in America is judged up against the American morals, ethics and values, a.k.a character. Character is the number one quality for anyone leading others in anything.

If the appropriate behavior and character of a person isn't exercised in a leadership position, that person has forfeited their right to leader.

Why apply compassion to Clint George? I am not Osensei, Dali Lama, Buddha, Jesus, or enlightened. In my book compassion isn't a get out of jail free card. It doesn't let someone off the hook. It means not going out and stoning that person. It means having consideration such as, a fair trial instead of getting a lynch mob together. It is understanding the consequences and what some one is going to go through because of their actions. I am not mean. Compassion for means that.

If he has fallen, he will suffer the concequences of his actions. That doesn't mean I would be nasty to him. But, he would not continue to be my sensei. I wouldn't follow him as my character is different.

Big Dave
04-27-2008, 05:15 AM
I have been high school history teacher for 15 years. If these allegations are true, then this instructor has violated a fundamental trust. Students "fall in love" with their teachers all the time. This happens for variety of reasons. Frequently, the reasons have to do with abusive relationships at home. Teachers are expected to know and understand this, to deflect those feelings and absolutely never take advantage of them. This teacher, if guilty, violated that trust.
There are laws in all states that make relationships between students and their teachers illegal regardless of the students' age specifically because of the common nature of this problem. Once students reach college age then they and their teachers are free to do as like.
I am somewhat disturbed by those that would seemingly defend his actions on the basis that in some cultures, the age of consent is 12.
If these allegations are true, there was a fundamental breach of trust that took place here. Teachers that violate this trust are predators. In my mind, there is no justification for that.

Josh Reyer
04-27-2008, 05:50 AM
I am somewhat disturbed by those that would seemingly defend his actions on the basis that in some cultures, the age of consent is 12.


Don't be disturbed. No one here has done that. Heck, no one has defended him. Even Corky is only suggesting unconditional forgiveness, which by definition means that the forgivee has done something wrong.

aikidoaddict
04-27-2008, 11:35 PM
This sort of thing happened in Australia years ago. It was investifated internally (wrong way to go about it) and was found not to be true. Funny thing was that the girl involved still swore it happened. It ws all hushed up so as not to disturb the Japanese Shihan in charge. The perpitrator finally left and started up his own branch.
Is there a complaints department for wrong doings at Hombu japan? Who can you contact to let it be known something is amiss?
When Hombu does not know what is happening around the world they cannot effectively manage Aikido worldwide. I know many wrong things have happened in Australia (not to mention all over the world) throughout the years, but who do you turn to? It seems a bit unfair that the people who cover up wrongdoings are promoted to ranks demanding respect and awe.
What can aikido people worldwide do to inform Hombu about any wrondoings? They need to be responsable and pro active yes?
Paul

rob_liberti
04-28-2008, 06:19 AM
It seems a bit unfair that the people who cover up wrongdoings are promoted to ranks demanding respect and awe.

I basically agree with the intend of this statement. However, I think giving people respect is *almost* polar opposite with "awe". I think it would be more respectful to not demonstrate your "awe" as much as just appreciate their abilities and hopefully their abilities to transmit to others without being abusive of their power differential. But I do agree strongly believe that if they don't have it, or can't help you with it, or are abusive I say don't promote them past a certain point.

For instance, if they don't have it but are VERY loyal, then promote them up to nidan and never again. It's done in Japan all the time. (not everywhere of course).

If they have it but either don't have the ability to transmit or still display a tendency to abuse the power differential then promote them to sandan and never again. They never need to reach any teaching rank. If loyalty is going to be rewarded, be loyal to the art which therefor MEANS be loyal to protecting the junior students.

The question is how to best evaluate if they abuse the power differential. Most abusers are very sweet to their seniors. I would like to see some online opinion polls of student's dojo behaviors. Set it up so that only the teaching staff and heads of the organizations can access such information. For that matter. I'd like to see incidence reports that follow dojo accidents tied to all involved. If someone has been involved in 10 accidents where they threw someone into someone else (or had some sexual abuse claims), but moved to 3 different dojos and that information would have gotten a bit lost, maybe it wouldn't be so bad if that information followed them around, keyed by their honbu identification number or whatever organizations use to go along with rank.

We have enough people in aikido now. We can take advantage of modern times and start filtering a bit so that we end up with even MORE people in aikido that we WANT in aikido.

Rob

Ron Tisdale
04-28-2008, 08:59 AM
Interestingly enough, when a similar issue arose in the Iwama organization, the head of that organization was able to go to the Aikikai and get the suspect's ranking revoked.

It is my understanding that this is a rather unusual thing to have happen. But when I think about it, it speaks volumes of the integrity of that head instructor (unfortunately now no longer with us).

Best,
Ron

Bill Danosky
04-28-2008, 11:01 AM
It's an interesting (to me) observation that when it's such an easy case to judge, this thread just ran into 10 pages.

I'm honestly not making any accusation here, but what is behind everyone's fascination with this issue?

Ron Tisdale
04-28-2008, 11:08 AM
Hi Bill,
I can't speak to anyone else, but I am not particularly "fascinated" by the thread, or the topic. I simply was shocked at first, and found it necessary to understand later. Understand what? you might ask.

How these things happen right under our noses.
How to prevent them.
The psychology at play when these things happen.

I think this is an important topic, not just for the specifics, but for the general issue as a whole. I have already learned that I personally had some mis-conceptions in this area. Ellis and others were kind enough to point them out, so I actually learned something.

Best,
Ron

lbb
04-28-2008, 12:05 PM
It's an interesting (to me) observation that when it's such an easy case to judge, this thread just ran into 10 pages.

I'm honestly not making any accusation here, but what is behind everyone's fascination with this issue?

Fascination, no. Concern, yes.

jennifer paige smith
04-29-2008, 10:27 AM
It's an interesting (to me) observation that when it's such an easy case to judge, this thread just ran into 10 pages.

I'm honestly not making any accusation here, but what is behind everyone's fascination with this issue?

I can't speak for all reasons for anyone. I've asked the same question regarding the 1000's of pages about 'is aikido effective'converstion.
For me the conversation is driven by several subjects of connection.
1) I am familiar with the teacher, I train in this lineage and I am aware that there are other incidents in the past that relate to abuses in this lineage as well ( if you don't know what those are, another time or place would be better) and as a family I wish to recognize and heal away from the generational problems we carry.
2) I teach aikido daily to young people and support and conversations have come publicly and privately from this forum that are very productive.
3) It is a community issue that when swept under the mat make for lumpy dojo surfaces, as it were.

4) It is a shame and we need to talk about how to be safe with our youth and what happens when we have people trained in arnachronistic environments who return to our society and assimilate inappropriately.

There's more, but that covers my thoughts this AM.

Reasonable question.

Bill Danosky
04-29-2008, 04:51 PM
...1) I am familiar with the teacher, I train in this lineage and I am aware that there are other incidents in the past that relate to abuses in this lineage as well... I wish to recognize and heal away from the generational problems we carry.
...4) It is a shame and we need to talk about how to be safe with our youth and what happens when we have people trained in arnachronistic environments who return to our society and assimilate inappropriately.

That sounds like there is some substantial background to this case that hasn't come to light yet.

When I asked the question about the fascination with this subject, my own answer was this- It's human nature that when there's a tragedy, we like to protect ourselves from similar incidents in the future. Especially in cases where our children are the vulnerable ones.

It'd be a shame if this were a problem that would've been avoidable. And one of the scariest things to hear someone say after the fact is, "If only we had known." Especially when you know someone did.

Dan Herak
04-30-2008, 02:12 PM
This sort of thing happened in Australia years ago. It was investifated internally (wrong way to go about it) and was found not to be true. Paul

I find this rather troubling. If the incident turned out not to have been true, then handling it internally seems to have been the right way to go. No one would argue the damage caused by being sexually violated. Yet the damage of being falsely accused of such an act is exceptionally severe, as well. I have never heard of anyone committing suicide over being falsely accused of stealing a TV set. I have heard of suicides after false accusations of some type of sexual impropriety. There is a good argument to be made that the identity of the accused should not be revealed until at least a conviction, perhaps even after appeals.

Of course, that would leave open the issue as to what to do with an accused until that point. I understand that the parents of one of Clint George's students will respond by stating that, putting safety first, they would want to know of such allegations way before the legal resolution of the situation. I agree. I am speaking, however, of publicizing an accused's name in print. Prohibiting the accused from interacting with certain people (for instance, children under the age of 16) until the case is resolved would not be inconsistent with this approach. Maybe Clint George's name would be darkened in his hometown, but it would not be the subject of conversation here, and perhaps never would.

For another book recommendation, by the way, check out On Evil (http://www.amazon.com/Evil-Thinking-Action-Adam-Morton/dp/0415305195/ref=cm_cr-mr-title), by Adam Morton. It gives you a lot to chew on.

Dennis Hooker
04-30-2008, 02:42 PM
I . I am speaking, however, of publicizing an accused's name in print.

For another book recommendation, by the way, check out On Evil (http://www.amazon.com/Evil-Thinking-Action-Adam-Morton/dp/0415305195/ref=cm_cr-mr-title), by Adam Morton. It gives you a lot to chew on.

We have a local Mayor in central Florida accused by three teens. His name his picture and address appeared in the paper and on TV. The teens were found to be making it up to cover a crime. His life in Central Florida and perhaps everywhere is in shambles even though he is innocent.

I do not have children’s class but the Judo and Karate that use the dojo do. I have a rule that a parent must always be watching class and if possible participating in class. Even if something happened in another class the dojo would be ruined.

Don_Modesto
04-30-2008, 02:53 PM
I think this is an important topic, not just for the specifics, but for the general issue as a whole. I have already learned that I personally had some mis-conceptions in this area. Ellis and others were kind enough to point them out, so I actually learned something.I looked up the book Ellis recommends above, and it's quite a useful read.

CorkyQ
05-02-2008, 02:36 PM
Corky, I must admit that I find your comments extremely difficult to swallow. To twist the words of O-sensei into arguing that the act of forgiving the sexual abuse of a child is somehow a noble thing is beyond me. He didn't just write "take one step aside" but "take one step aside and cut them down at the speed of light. (grossly translated, but you get the idea)

And combining that twisted argument with your earlier comments such as this being only a crime of "love" and "misplaced love"... Well in combination I think it shows a truly profound lack of understanding as to the nature of such crimes. And this is very disturbing to me to say the very least.

Obviously I'm not as evolved a human as you for I cannot for the life of me see how anything you wrote is anything more than empty pontification and self-aggrandizing posturing at the expense of a truly horrible situation.

Keith, I did not twist Osensei's words, I merely presented them with my interpretation and requested others to present their own that might be in opposition to the idea that Osensei created and refined Aikido to be a compassionate response to attack.

I'm open to how your "gross translation" of "cut them down at the speed of light" comes into alignment with ""Aikido is not the art of fighting using brute strength or deadly weapons, or the use of physical power or deadly weapons to destroy one's enemies, but a way of harmonizing the world and unifying the human race as one family." In fact, I remember something taped to the window next to the front door of the Seidokan Hombu dojo in which founder Roderick Kobayashi Sensei quotes Osensei saying that Aikido is not about winning fights or defeating opponents. That quote will do for a comparison as well.

Kanshu Sunadomari, pre-war uchideshi to Osensei from the age of 14 and still leading keiko at the age of 84, still studying the words of the founder in their native Japanese, says that Osensei's message is of unconditional love. If anyone is twisting Osensei's words to fit my point of view then so is he. So who to believe - Keith or Sunadomari Shihan... hm...

Regarding the nature of the crime and the nature of forgiveness and compassion: first - acts of forgiveness and compassion in no way indicate acceptance of the action. Unless you understand this, you will never understand my point. You may have to continue to choke on the meaning of unconditional compassion until you get that simple distinction if you find it that hard to swallow.

Second, when you start assigning levels of crimes to levels of worthiness of forgiveness and compassion, it makes the whole issue arbitrary. When it is arbitrary, compassion and forgiveness become worthless as virtues because their real value comes when we can forgive the unforgivable and feel compassion for those who do the most heinous things. That Gandhi could feel compassion for Hitler while despising the actions of the man is how by nothing more than the strength of his convictions he was able to institute the independence of India from Great Britain. When your level of accomplishment approaches his, I will be more apt to take your contradictory point of view to be more valid.

Lastly, your own insistance that this man did not "fall in love" with this young woman does not stand up to the evidence presented in the one article on which this entire thread is based. The article clearly states that there was mutual engagement. That both you and I feel that this man took advantage of this student is supported by the article, but that he is a pedophile is not. The article talks of 85 emails over three months between them, with the implication that the relationship was "progressing" until there was inappropriate touching over clothing. That was the most extreme behavior reported. Inappropriate touching to you and I could have been a provocative hug, and it could have been that to the law enforcement officer reporting to the reporter who wrote it up. We don't know the nature of the inappropriate touching, That your mind may take you to even more insidious places with their relationship is between you and your imagination, not the facts as reported in the initial article.

With all your research into the subject, please tell what else in the article points to systematic predation.

One thing you will have to face up to (speaking of self-aggrandizement) is that your (and my) reprehension with these actions between a man who is clearly an adult and clearly taking advantage of his student's trust in him - and I'll remind you that I, while admitting that I still struggle with forgiveness in my own situation, am the father of a daughter who was subject to this same kind of thing so perhaps I'm even closer to this situation than you - is based on cultural bias if just considering ages and age differences of the individuals.

The truth is, that had Clint George had a relationship that involved sex with a thirteen year old in Japan, the birthplace of aikido, he may have faced the same scorn for all the same aspects of his behavior for which he is receiving it here, but he would not have been arrested unless by prefecture law, because the age of consent there is thirteen as it is in Spain. In Syria and the Phillipines it is 12. (And please don't use that as an excuse to make racist statements.)

Do you and I feel that a relationship between individuals of this age differential is inappropriate? Yes, and most states in the United States agree. Is it arbitrary? Yes, and a quick review points out that it is arbitrary across state lines. In some states it's 18, in some it's 14, some it's 16. It's arbitrary. Even Jessica sometime ago, said that the Juliet analogy wasn't appropriate because R & J were the same age - so in her mind it was okay as long as Romeo wasn't 49. What about 35? 26? 21? 18? 16? 14? What's the age for Jessica when it becomes acceptable? Again, it will be arbitrary. The point is that there is a line drawn in the sand in which the state says it must butt out if a youth falls in love or at least mutually consents to a sexual relationship, and it is arbitrary and based on cultural bias not biological fact.

So again, lest anyone think I support adults taking advantage of youngsters (or anyone, really) - I certainly do not. But compassion and forgiveness must be unconditional or else they are meaningless as virtues.

My statements have nothing to do with self-aggrandizement as I am in no position to claim to be accomplished in my ability to forgive or feel compassion. My "posturing" is just to point out that this situation gives us a chance to evaluate our own abilities to generate forgiveness and compassion. Ignore it or take it at your own discretion.

Josh Reyer
05-02-2008, 05:49 PM
The truth is, that had Clint George had a relationship that involved sex with a thirteen year old in Japan, the birthplace of aikido, he may have faced the same scorn for all the same aspects of his behavior for which he is receiving it here, but he would not have been arrested unless by prefecture law, because the age of consent there is thirteen as it is in Spain.

Um, just to head off a whole lot of misunderstanding, had Clint George been involved in a sexual relationship with a thirteen year old anywhere in Japan, he would have faced up to 10 years in prison for violating the Child Welfare Law. While the national age of consent is indeed 13 years old, the Child Welfare Law prohibits any adult from engaging in "improper sexual acts" with a child (defined as "under 18").

CorkyQ
05-02-2008, 06:19 PM
Um, just to head off a whole lot of misunderstanding, had Clint George been involved in a sexual relationship with a thirteen year old anywhere in Japan, he would have faced up to 10 years in prison for violating the Child Welfare Law. While the national age of consent is indeed 13 years old, the Child Welfare Law prohibits any adult from engaging in "improper sexual acts" with a child (defined as "under 18").

Fair enough, Josh, my point was not to say I know something about Japanese law, and I was quoting http://www.avert.org/aofconsent.htm which also has the disclaimer that I wrote about prefecture law, but if you know something that this website left out, then I stand corrected.

But my point was that if Japan and other nations are have age of consent at that age they are recognizing that youths younger than 18 (e.g. the age of consent in California) are capable of having sexual/romantic relationships, and that while it may be outlandish and unacceptable within our society and ostensibly in Japan as well, that it is not outside the realm of possibility that Clint George did "fall in love" with his student even if that romantic attraction was stemming from an emotional need based on some deep-rooted dysfunction, as opposed to the definition of pedophilia which indicates an attraction to pre-pubescent children with their age as prime attractor rather than an interest in the actual person herself.

So, sorry for the distracting hypothetical, and thanks for the clarification before the potential firestorm.

Ron Tisdale
05-02-2008, 07:29 PM
Yikes...the false appeals to authority and other nonsense lately are getting kind of...sickening.

Best,
Ron

lbb
05-02-2008, 07:30 PM
But my point was that if Japan and other nations are have age of consent at that age they are recognizing that youths younger than 18 (e.g. the age of consent in California) are capable of having sexual/romantic relationships, and that while it may be outlandish and unacceptable within our society and ostensibly in Japan as well, that it is not outside the realm of possibility that Clint George did "fall in love" with his student even if that romantic attraction was stemming from an emotional need based on some deep-rooted dysfunction, as opposed to the definition of pedophilia which indicates an attraction to pre-pubescent children with their age as prime attractor rather than an interest in the actual person herself.

You're conflating some things that aren't necessarily connected, at least not in the way you're thinking. Age of consent laws don't "recogniz[e] that [people over a specific age] are capable of having sexual/romantic relationships". Instead, they give a legal recognition to a certain biological age as the age at which a person, given normal mental functioning, is considered capable of giving informed consent to a sexual relationship as defined in the specific law, with another person also as defined in the specific law. The issue is not whether one can be sexual or have romantic feelings for another person -- children have proven to be capable of that at a rather young age. The issue is that sexual or romantic feelings may, and often do, precede the development of a fully formed judgment of one's own self-interest. To steal an analogy from a really great article on pornography I read -- wish I still had it -- ian adult woman might say, "I'm going to be in a sex movie because they'll give me a thousand dollars a day," while a child might say, "I'm going to be in a sex movie because they'll give me candy." We might disagree with the woman, we might say, "I'd never do that," but we don't question her ability to weigh the factors in her life and decide that it's worth it for her. The child's reasoning of what is "worth it" is different, uninformed by a mature understanding of costs and value, and thus inadequately developed to make that decision. That is why age of consent laws exist.

As an aside, you really need to read the fine print on age of consent laws, because there's often a lot more than the age. For instance, in a number of states there are several "ages of consent" -- that at which you can consent to sex with someone of the same age, that at which you can consent to sex with someone older, and how much older, and the genders of the people involved, and what type of sex act is considered "sex", etc.

:circle: beats :triangle:
:triangle: beats :square:
:square: beats :circle:

Buck
05-02-2008, 10:51 PM
Definately a complexed issued where dialogue helps.

Mary, enjoyed your response. Kudos.

Corky's possibility that Clint George did "fall in love" with his student. Corky I am assuming your playing devils advocate to get people to think about other possibilities. I hope you are.

I want to start with current events and this group has been and will be in the news spotlight to introduce my view a view different then what Corky is talking about.

FLDS, they have been in the news and it looks like they will be in the news for a while because of their views on marriage. The FLDS situation and what Mr. Clint George is accused of (innocent until proven guilty) has issues that cross over. Keeping that on the back burner for now.

I will now tell a story and then talk about it to flesh out my views. Some years ago a relative did some digging up the family tree and nearly tipping the whole tree over. This is how my relative did it. In my family tree a sister to a great, great grandmother at the age of 16 was married off to a great, great grandfather who was about 46 years of age. This was in the "old country" as it has been coined over the generations. Back then the families where farmers, a time when most folk where farmers. An arranged marriage, they had 10 kids. Yep, they where born to work the farm- an unthinkable reason today isn't it. GG grandmother hated who she was forced to marry. GG grandfather it was said fell in love eventhough it was an arranged marriage that had to do with a wife being property.

I don't think a girl born in the year 1893 is much different when it comes to love then a girl today. Like Mary said the thinking is not the same, the adult understanding what they are doing, and the child not having the full understanding. What Mary wrote was true for GGG mother seen in her writing in her diary about her marriage when an adult. GGG mother's writing shows what Mary said to be true. I am sure we will hear the same things coming from FLDS women, those under aged FLDS mothers and ex-FLDS women in the future.

I can't see how any female under the age of consent really can fall in love. Romantic love between kids has been coined puppy love for a reason hasn't it? Adult romantic is so more involved, complicated, and full up with baggage, and agendas the older a person gets. I would like to meet a 50 year person who has changed on the way the look at love since they where 12 years old. I know I have changed, my parents and their parents idea of love has changed with each stage of their life.

Maybe then it is not 100% on how society looks at this matter. Could it be the way society has come to look at this matter is because of the result that it just isn't good? Because it isn't a good idea for many reasons since it effects the child who does change, develop and grow that having a relationship of romance with an adult which would be on an adult level is a problem. Maybe than other societies haven't figured that out, ignorant, following an ignorant tradition blindly, primitive in their ways or have little respect for the children. Just because other societies do it or have done it does make it right.

Before I give an example it could be uncomfortable for some to read, but it should put my thoughts into a better focus. A female child is born with all her reproductive organs, and all her eggs. But that doesn't mean she should engage in, or give birth, or is ready to be a mother before she has fully matured all the way around. That is the same with having relationships. Children just because they have the capacity to love/have a romantic relationship doesn't mean they can, it doesn't mean it is health for them either. Remember, I said my GGGmother hated my GGGfather. She felt when she was 16 she would handle a relationship. But later as an adult realized that a 16 she was too young. It was not a good thing to marry someone 30 years older. She some 40 years years later after she wed and he was long dead she wrote that she couldn't find any good reason for any adult to wed a young girl. Crazy isn't it.

Now a little of what I think hasn't been talked about. My thing is what does any guy at 50 think having a relationship/in love with a young teen is going to evolve into? Such guys are really oddly selfish about their needs. They don't seem to care how their needs will affect the child.

When that show was on about the journalist catching pedophiles red handed, not one of those guys they caught weren't messed up in the head somehow. It just shows normal men don't seek children to have relations or a romantic relationship with in today's world. It is just not a good and healthy relationship to have. It is the child who suffers from it becoming tweaked from it internally, emotionally, developmentally, and with any future relationship. All these adults seem to care about is their unbalaned needs.

Everything I said I hope shows the underlaying reasons why society doesn't allow adults to be involved with children no matter what the adult feels. I want to show too how societies that still might allow adult with child relationships are backward, undeveloped, ignorant socieities. These are not models to follow ,but are socieities that need to change because they are wrong.

sorry that I got long.

Buck
05-02-2008, 10:56 PM
Something else, I don't blame any organization for the actions of a person if the person's actions are not of the organization. I think an organization can put in actions that can hinder and make it uncomfortable for people who do wrong. I don't think any organization can prevent wrong doing. I feel they can work to limit it. An organization can pay attention and should in keeping wrong doing from being acceptable or attractive to some, and not letting some people get a way with it. An organization is only as good as the people in it.

CitoMaramba
05-03-2008, 01:08 AM
The truth is, that had Clint George had a relationship that involved sex with a thirteen year old in Japan, the birthplace of aikido, he may have faced the same scorn for all the same aspects of his behavior for which he is receiving it here, but he would not have been arrested unless by prefecture law, because the age of consent there is thirteen as it is in Spain. In Syria and the Phillipines it is 12.

As Josh has qualified the situation in Japan, let me do the same for the Philippines..

The website used as reference (http://www.avert.org/aofconsent.htm) has the following note for the Philippines:
The age of sexual consent in the Philippines is 12 for all, but contacts with minors (under 18) are an offence if the minor consents to the act for money, gain or any other remuneration or as the result of an influence of any adult person.
Also, there are two bills pending in the Philippine Senate (just filed last month) that would unequivocally raise the age of consent to 16.
I hope this clarifies matters concerning the age of consent in the Philippines.

CorkyQ
05-03-2008, 01:13 AM
I pushed "send" on my next to last entry before I realized that I would derail my own point by taking Keith's bait over my reflection that Clint George may be more troubled than twisted, and I'm sorry I can't communicate this better.

I am not making a case for overaged people to have sexual relationships with barely adolescent young people. I'm not making a case for the changing of age of consent laws or anything related to laws in place or in process to protect innocence. And I am not asking anyone to excuse Clint George's behavior.

I agree with you Mary that probably no child of 13 has the life experience to enter into an informed relationship with an adult. They need to be protected by whatever means we can afford them.

Philip, I agree with your point entirely, and so with that in mind let's all agree that a man named Clint George had a relationship with a young woman who was his student. Assumably this is a female who has reached biological maturity, as I have seen or heard nothing that would contradict that. If she has not reached sexual maturity biologically, then what Clint George did would be in the realm of pedophilia.

However, if the student has reached puberty, it would not be pedophilia by definition, at least according to some sources quoted in this thread.

Whether or not this is technically pedophilia, I am sure that we are all in agreement that this relationship was out of balance and improper for a number of reasons. Mary, I'm not trying lay blame on the student for reflecting some kind of immature romantic feelings toward a man who should have known better than to take advantage of whatever was fueling her infatuation, but to recognize just what Philip brought up - that a man of Clint George's age, if he is of right mind, could never consider that a relationship like this could have any chance of going anywhere.

Yet, he pursued it, and that indicates someone not of right mind.

Philip's great great grandfather fell in love with his teenaged great great grandmother in the old country when such things were matter of fact. I am suggesting that it is likely that Mr. George, who is obviously a man whose troubled nature led him to take advantage of the infatuation of an innocent may really have believed that he was in love with this girl. From what I read in the article, Mr. George wasn't out to victimize this young lady, otherwise, why would he have demonstrated his affection or suspicious behavior in the presence of the woman who first called him on it and not once but twice! This doesn't seem to me to be the mind of a predator, but of someone in a fantasy land. Further evidence as reported is that "The content of the emails and times they are being written related to the ages of the individuals involved did appear to be inappropriate," court documents note.

Mary and Philip I think we all agree both that adolescents are capable of the kind of hormonal surges that go along with puberty in ways that would make them feel they are in love, and that grown men are capable of being physically attracted to a young, sexually mature female even in an immature way, as was the case with my daughter and the man in my personal situation.

But my point remains, if Mr. George is so far removed from reality that he would think something wonderful might develop out of this, then he has, as someone pointed out in the early pages of this thread, a lot deeper issues than this, and this reckless behavior points to them.

I apologize again for even bringing the idea up again that Clint George might not be a incorrigible child abuser, but a very troubled man who fell in love with a child.

However, my point is and has always been that whether the man is ill, evil, or genetically chained to a lifetime of lusting after children, this episode remains a chance for us to examine our own hearts. That is the last thing you will hear from me on the subject.

Best to you all, enjoy your training!

Buck
05-03-2008, 08:48 AM
Corky it isn't something I think we don't agree or disagree so much, for me that is. What I am saying is I see what your saying.

Young girls say young teens can be involved with older men and see the relationship at that time as wondrous fulfilling their needs or a void in their lives. Some older men are able to have sexual romantic with nurturing feelings for young teens. The way the young girls see it really isn't the same as the men see it. I point to what Mary said and how my GGGmother changed her view later in life as an examples. One more example is that girls are not experienced in allot of way enough to have a relationship with older men. No matter how caring, gentle, kind the experience was.

I understand some 13 year old girls will enter these types of relationships. The results are not always good. I think they are still victimized. The child may not feel victimized because their emotional needs were being cared for. That is the problem, I don't think a 13 year old can see the complexities of the situation from all angles. I don't think they understand or see they are being manipulated and their needs being fulfilled is them getting candy.

Why? Well you have to look at it from the man's perspective. We need to look at his reasons. We don't need to look at the reasons of the child for entering the relationship as we do the man's.

Corky, in terms of affairs of the heart people can love, no doubt. But is that love mismatched. What effects of that love will it have on the child? If a child isn't getting the parental love she needs and is entering hormonal changes the child needs to be properly guided through this time. Not only guided but allowed to develop and not be mixed up on the two different types of relationships. Needing a father figure couldn't be linked to romance and sex. A child is very impressionable and easily manipulated by adults. It isn't a matter of the heart, but of growth and development.

Possibly does anyone know if George Clint case would include statutory rape if that type of physical sexual contact happened? I am not saying there was. Doesn't that eventually happen in those types of relationships? When it does doesn't it get more complexed legally, it is a new ballgame right? Something I thought about while responding to Corky.

aikilouis
05-03-2008, 09:57 AM
I find that many people jump very easily to conclusions and say Clint George's name as if he had already been sentenced, which is not the case yet. He has become today's sensationnal case, the Michael Jackson or Britney scandal of the aikido world. So far all we have is a newspaper article, and we know how unreliable the media can be sometimes. Experience should teach us to be more cautious before using someone's name too lightly.

G DiPierro
05-03-2008, 11:50 AM
Um, just to head off a whole lot of misunderstanding, had Clint George been involved in a sexual relationship with a thirteen year old anywhere in Japan, he would have faced up to 10 years in prison for violating the Child Welfare Law. While the national age of consent is indeed 13 years old, the Child Welfare Law prohibits any adult from engaging in "improper sexual acts" with a child (defined as "under 18").

Despite this, from what I have read, "compensated dating (http://www.flatrock.org.nz/topics/men/name_brand_beauties_on_sale.htm)" (enjo kosai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enjo_k%C5%8Dsai)) between school-age girls and older men is quite common in Japan. Harsher forms of teenage prostitution also exist in in India (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/global/main.jhtml?xml=/global/2008/04/14/noindex/wvirgin113.xml) and elsewhere in Asia (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D01E4D91139F937A25757C0A960958260&sec=health&spon=&pagewanted=1).

George S. Ledyard
05-03-2008, 12:06 PM
I find that many people jump very easily to conclusions and say Clint George's name as if he had already been sentenced, which is not the case yet. He has become today's sensational case, the Michael Jackson or Britney scandal of the aikido world. So far all we have is a newspaper article, and we know how unreliable the media can be sometimes. Experience should teach us to be more cautious before using someone's name too lightly.

Hi Ludwig,
On something like this, what you see on the forums is just the tip of the ice berg. Clint was a part of my Aikido community. He taught at my dojo and the dojos of my closest friends. I know his wife and child. There's been a huge flurry of exchange of info amongst his friends and peers. No one wanted to rush to judgment.

The fact is that the actual criminal side of this is somewhat irrelevant (not to Clint obviously, as it is the difference between jail and not jail). But there is a huge difference between what is required as the "burden of proof" required to put someone behind bars and what is required to ruin you professionally and personally.

Bruce Klickstein never went to trial. He had been predating in his dojo for over ten years but he never was arrested. But he lost his rank, his position, his career, etc. despite the lack of legal conviction in a court. All of this because when he was finally "outed" the victims of a decade of abuse became aware of each other and the community at large became aware of what had been going on.

So the same thing is happening behind the scenes, a lot of information has been and is being shared. People don't just turn around and post those kinds of confidences on the net. So the public at large will never hear about anything else except what comes out at a trial. But the damage to a life time's career, to the friendships, professional relationships, etc is already done. I don't really see how something like that gets un-done.

giriasis
05-03-2008, 02:22 PM
Ledyard Sensei is right. There is a lot that is going on behind the scenes, that none of us know about, in these types of matters. And it would be in the best interests of both sides to not discuss such matters on the internet.

The reason I can state this is that the law firm I work at specializes in representing victims of childhood sexual abuse in civil litigation claims. Our defendents are typically churches/diocese (Catholic and Protestant), schools and other institutions. Unfortunately, the alleged perpetrators are typically people who are in well-respected positions and people would not have suspected them of child abuse.

I think the best focus on this board, is what can we do in our dojos to prevent this kind of abuse from happening? We should be asking ourselves? What should we do when this does happens?

I do have to point out that, yes, it does ruin a person's career when allegations like this come out, but if those allegations are true as alleged, then the alleged victim(s) life has been ruined as well.

Buck
05-03-2008, 10:29 PM
I would like to consider all those young girls out that might be thinking about having a relationship with an older man because they are looking for the normal parental love they are not getting at home. The young girls who don't really understand their own developing emotions. Who lack the understanding of their own needs. Laying out some details of a relationship with an older man show that it isn't the way to get the love and attention they are missing.

As I said before, I don't put much into the accuracy of the media. But it is the article that is damaging and suggests he has confessed and then is guilty. We are talking about him based on the media release to warn the community. To counter the media's report it would be helpful if we heard from those closest to him to why the report is in accurate. I think there then would be a great shift in the direction of the dialogue. The media release is all that is out there. It is pretty damming.

Clint George is innocent until proven guilty.

I am waiting for the end of the trial before making a judgement.

I have compassion for Clint George assuming he is innocent and how this effects him and his family.

I have compassion for him if he is found guilty, I will not lynch him. I don't need to be mean and cruel to him if he is found guilty. If found guilt he will be letting down a lot of people and his family who looked up to him, he has to face them. He has to face the victims' family who trusted him. He will have to go to prison. If found guilty I will not agree with his actions or will like him, but I will not be cruel or mock him.

giriasis
05-04-2008, 10:25 AM
I would like to consider all those young girls out that might be thinking about having a relationship with an older man because they are looking for the normal parental love they are not getting at home. The young girls who don't really understand their own developing emotions. Who lack the understanding of their own needs. Laying out some details of a relationship with an older man show that it isn't the way to get the love and attention they are missing.


First I want to state that my comments are stated as a generality. And that the following comments are not an attack of the accused.

Most pedophiles claim that their victims came on to them. Such statements are really part of their excuse for "it" happening. It is a lame excuse that the perpetrators like to use to excuse their actions. And often the victims who are chosen come from broken homes or do not have a strong sense of boundaries. Yes, they accept the attention from the perpetrator because they are not getting it at home. thus, a boundary is crossed. However, they are not seeking the perp out, the perp has been seeking them out. They will do things to test their victims. First, they will start to touch in appropriate areas and give appropriate hugs. Then the touching gradually moves to inappropriate areas - a hand a little down lower on the back, a hug that starts to be a little longer, etc. A child that knows their boundaries will pull away and thus the perp knows that this child will not be their victim. They go to the next one until they do find one who is vulnerable and compliant.

Secondly, an adult man or woman should know better and know and understand that such boundaries should NOT be crossed. The adult is the responsible party here, not the child.

Third, many child sex abuse perpetrators utilize two methods. The first is by force and the second is by grooming. The grooming method really is the means by which they gain the trust of the victim (and sometimes the victims family) convincing the victim that this is what they want to do. This can occur over a short period of time to over a period of years before the first inappropriate contact takes place. Please realize, the victims by grooming are not consenting, they are compliant. Often times as a result of the grooming, they convince the victim that they are the "only one." They think that they have this "special relationship" with the perp; however, they often are not the only one. When the news hits the media, they discover for the first time that they were not the only one that they were not special and that they indeed had been abused. They keep quite because of shame and fear and once one comes out they finally are able to gain the courage to speak out. They are not coming out to attack or defame the person, they are speaking out because they realized that they, too, had been victimized.

Here is a good article from SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Preists) in addressing this issue while still being compassionate to both the victim and the accused. You can easily switch out the words priest/sensei and church/dojo, Christian/compassionate. Ledyard Sensei, I hope you share this with the parties that you know.

http://www.snapnetwork.org/links_homepage/when_priest_accused.htm