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notsure
05-27-2010, 05:46 PM
i have been training a few months at a wonderful dojo run by two wonderful people. my difficulty is that i recently found out the dojo has been excluding people of a certain religion, based on certain parts of training that they can't do per religious order (bowing, training with the opposit gender, etc). in fact, they have managed to anger certain people of this religion ( which is very predoninate in this area) to the point they are calling for a boycott of the dojo by all "sypathizers against anti discrimination". the are doing this through local places of worship and giving the dojo a very bad name. my problem is that i don't know if any of what they say is even true and i don't know how to bring it up with the senseis to find out without causing offense. if it is true, i will leave the dojo because i don't believe in discrimination or supporting organizations that do. this is my choice and i see that others feel differently. what i want to now is how to find out if these wonderful senseis really are what is being said about them

Mark Uttech
06-01-2010, 02:44 PM
Onegaishimasu, I see no harm to the senseis or to you by simply asking. You can ask to see them after class and talk in private.

In gassho,

Mark

sakumeikan
06-01-2010, 03:16 PM
i have been training a few months at a wonderful dojo run by two wonderful people. my difficulty is that i recently found out the dojo has been excluding people of a certain religion, based on certain parts of training that they can't do per religious order (bowing, training with the opposit gender, etc). in fact, they have managed to anger certain people of this religion ( which is very predoninate in this area) to the point they are calling for a boycott of the dojo by all "sypathizers against anti discrimination". the are doing this through local places of worship and giving the dojo a very bad name. my problem is that i don't know if any of what they say is even true and i don't know how to bring it up with the senseis to find out without causing offense. if it is true, i will leave the dojo because i don't believe in discrimination or supporting organizations that do. this is my choice and i see that others feel differently. what i want to now is how to find out if these wonderful senseis really are what is being said about them
The bowing to the picture of O Sensei is not a prerequisite in any dojo.If any person has objections to this custom [which is just a way of showing respect to the Founder ] any Sensei should have the common sense to appreciate that due to possible religious practice some people will not bow to the Kamisa/O Sensei picture.Let people practice the art in a manner which is comfortable for them.Why ban them?Surely common sense would prevail here?Have the non bowing students made their views known to the dojo leaders?If not maybe a talk would resolve the problem.As far as not practising with opposite gender again the same thing applies-just let them get on with it and be comfortable.
Seems to me your group dont talk to each other.Is it a cultural problem???

Marc Abrams
06-01-2010, 08:41 PM
This wonderful dojo asks that people display a common sign of respect for partaking in some aspect of an Asian culture. This wonderful dojo asks people to train together regardless of gender. Seems to me like this wonderful dojo is not discriminating against anyone. The people who choose not to train in a manner that everybody else is training in should not be allowed to take away from the training experiences of others.

I frankly am a little sick and tired of people who want to be able to do exactly as they please regardless of the circumstances. I do not care of it is in the name of religion or any other reason for that matter. What do they say, "when in Rome..."

If you are enjoying training in this wonderful dojo, enjoy the training. I am sure that the people who are "banned" would only take away from the wonderful atmosphere that you train in.

Marc Abrams

RED
06-01-2010, 09:30 PM
In my dojo we bow to everyone. The teacher, the sempai, the students, bokken, pictures on walls...you name it we bow. It is almost like we do it to acknowledge each other...a very formal howdie i guess.

however, i visited a dojo last month where they bow three time and clapped and bowed again. That was too much for me. I just bowed... and no one really cared.
So what I'm saying is that you shouldn't do something that makes you uncomfortable... no one will think you are weird if you opt out. Just don't be a buzz kill and let it effect everyone's training experience.

Michael Hackett
06-01-2010, 09:47 PM
I'm with Marc Abrams here. The OP used the word "excluding" individuals, and if that is the case, then it is discrimination. On the other hand, if the dojo leaders insist on cross-gender training and other requirements that might antagonize a particular sect, that isn't discrimination in itself. The individual can make a choice for himself to put his religious convictions aside and train or choose not to train at that dojo.

Janet Rosen
06-01-2010, 09:59 PM
What Marc said. Somebody once said "a dojo ain't a democracy" and this ol' leftie anarchist actually doesn't have a problem with that.

Keith Larman
06-01-2010, 10:28 PM
I have to add to the chorus. I read the original poster saying...

...based on certain parts of training that they can't do per religious order (bowing, training with the opposit gender, etc).

So let me get this straight. They are choosing not to train because part of the training is against their perceived religious convictions which prohibit interaction with other genders. So it is discriminatory to *not* to let them discriminate against other genders?

Ouch, I think I pulled a frontal lobe...

Seriously, I can be very flexible about a lot of things. However, sometimes the issue of entitlement can really be a hot button issue for me. Are these same groups boycotting all the local businesses, restaurants, social clubs, etc. that allow genders to interact? I sure hope the movie theaters keep women separate too. What about the public schools -- can't have the women in the same classes with men -- think of the chaos that could ensue! And surely there are no female teachers teaching male students. Oh, and the public pools... And... And...

No. They cannot train in that dojo because their religion prevents them. No one has to alter their work, training, or beliefs to accommodate yours or anyone else's. It's their problem. No one else.

If someone wants to start a training class for those who have particular requirements and restrictions, more power to them. And I'd support them 110% in doing it however they want to. And I would respect them enough *not* to insist on sitting in on the women's classes. And I would respect them enough to try to act properly in their context. I have friends from a variety of religious backgrounds. When I walk into their house I do my level best to abide by their rules, their customs and their habits. I'm sure they also compromise many things and "overlook" many of my bad habits and obviously poor upbringing. But I still do my level best to respect their right in *their own freaking house* to live how they see fit.

Step through the door to someone else's house and you need to simply... Deal with it. Or don't go in. Doors are cool that way -- they open allowing you to move in *both* directions. Or not go in at all.

And heck, even if the sensei is being unreasonable and I found that I wouldn't agree with him or her, well, it is still their place. I won't protest -- I will just go somewhere else.

Come to my house and want to play with my toys? Well, guess what? My house, my toys, my rules.

In my personal religion I am required to sacrifice a live, baby seal in someone else's living room. Gonna invite me in?

Abasan
06-02-2010, 01:41 AM
Aikido the art of harmony is not just a title we can spout whenever we like it. Either you subscribe fully to it or you don't in which case you're probably doing a quasi aiki jutsu martial art.

However being harmonious does not imply bow down to every tom, dick and harry's demand. Instead it revolves around the natural law and a major part of that law requires respect as its back bone. That's why Rei is 1 of the 7 characters intrinsic in Budo.

Rei is sincere respect and can only be given willingly. It can't be demanded nor enforced. However, rei can also be given in many forms. A slight bow does not diminish the heart's true intention or respect in any way at all. Nor does a head to the floor bow actually signifies true respect.

Form outside, ignore. Its the intention that counts.

The sensei may have to appear generalistic in enforcement in what would be something that is difficult for him to do. This is to maintain order. Or he could genuinely feel disincline to blend with the wishes of the particular group. Either way, his intent will translate to his waza. You can sense true harmonious feeling in his waza or not. If you can feel that, then stay on because whatever the outward reason those particular group is excluded, the sensei bears no ill will. If you don't feel it, then maybe you can explore other options.

Eva Antonia
06-02-2010, 02:04 AM
Hi all,

I think if the "excluded" people started already a campaign against the dojo via their temples, that is pretty strong. They are not excluded because of being strict Moslem/ Jew/ evangelical Christian (or whoever refuses training with the opposite sex) but because of upsetting aikido training rules, which is a strictly technical issue.

In my dojo we once had some boys refusing to train with the girls. Not because they were religious, just because they had the age when girls are absolutely unworthy, ridiculous, feeble creatures whom a REAL BOY doesn't want to mix with. Obviously they had to leave the tatami when showing this attitude. So if they are sent away but other boys refusing girls for religious reasons are admitted, who would be discriminated? The non-religious-anti-girl boys, or the girls? I think if a dojo is pretty straightforward postulating that everyone trains with whoever bows to him, then no exceptions should be made, be it for personal dislike reasons, religious reasons, technical reasons (X is such a bad uke!) etc.

But on the other hand, as already someone wrote, no one prevents people who are uncomfortable to train with the opposite sex to set up a strictly purdah dojo. In Turkey, most Turkish baths are gender separated, everyone knows, and it's a problem for no one. But on the other hand, no one would issue a fatwa against a Turkish bath were mixed bathing hours are allowed - but conservative or very religious people just wouldn't go there.

Best regards,

Eva
(who would hate NOT to train with men and would do my best not to be confined to an all-women.dojo....although it might be fun to try that once or twice)

Nafis Zahir
06-02-2010, 02:14 AM
The bowing to the picture of O Sensei is not a prerequisite in any dojo.If any person has objections to this custom [which is just a way of showing respect to the Founder ] any Sensei should have the common sense to appreciate that due to possible religious practice some people will not bow to the Kamisa/O Sensei picture.Let people practice the art in a manner which is comfortable for them.Why ban them?Surely common sense would prevail here?Have the non bowing students made their views known to the dojo leaders?If not maybe a talk would resolve the problem.As far as not practising with opposite gender again the same thing applies-just let them get on with it and be comfortable.
Seems to me your group dont talk to each other.Is it a cultural problem???


I agree with you Joe! Aikido is a Japanes art that has spread around the globe to different cultures. We have to seperate the 'art' from the culture. I hope to have my own dojo one day, and when I do, this will not be an issue. I would gladly respect anyone's religious restrictions. That doesn't mean they get to train the way they want. It only means that they don't have to do anything they don't want to do if it goes against their religion. It's not a hard thing to do and it really is no big deal.

Amir Krause
06-02-2010, 07:45 AM
While I do not fully disagree with all the statements supporting the Sensei's, I think most here are looking at the picture from a very specific point of view.


Come to my house and want to play with my toys? Well, guess what? My house, my toys, my rules.

When was the last time you met by strict religious people of other faiths?
Their limitations come from God, yours are man made cultural issues. They can not make the slightest amendment or change - that wold hurt their beliefs. You must accommodate them.


So let me get this straight. They are choosing not to train because part of the training is against their perceived religious convictions which prohibit interaction with other genders. So it is discriminatory to *not* to let them discriminate against other genders?

Ouch, I think I pulled a frontal lobe...

Yep, that is their argument, and in some strange way they even have some point. The way you train is adjusted to your beliefs, they want to train according to their beliefs. It reminds me of the French who decided on a law against wearing overt religious clothings in some (specific) public places, and claimed it was not discriminatory, while in fact, only Christians were not affected by it.


Seriously, I can be very flexible about a lot of things. However, sometimes the issue of entitlement can really be a hot button issue for me. Are these same groups boycotting all the local businesses, restaurants, social clubs, etc. that allow genders to interact? I sure hope the movie theaters keep women separate too. What about the public schools -- can't have the women in the same classes with men -- think of the chaos that could ensue! And surely there are no female teachers teaching male students. Oh, and the public pools... And... And...

You must be joking. Such groups will have their own schools (in Israel, funded by the public :grr: ), they will demonstrate (some times violently) against any business that does not follow their rules
(be it sex segregation, working on Sabeth, or selling non-kosher food). They will demand to get all the social services their way (including public-beaches that are men only or women only with ugly fences blocking the view of anyone in them)...


No. They cannot train in that dojo because their religion prevents them. No one has to alter their work, training, or beliefs to accommodate yours or anyone else's. It's their problem. No one else.

Again you are missing the very point of those groups - they wish to force you to convert. You believe in freedom of religion and from religion - they do not. You are against discrimination - they are only against any discrimination to them.


If someone wants to start a training class for those who have particular requirements and restrictions, more power to them. And I'd support them 110% in doing it however they want to. And I would respect them enough *not* to insist on sitting in on the women's classes. And I would respect them enough to try to act properly in their context. I have friends from a variety of religious backgrounds. When I walk into their house I do my level best to abide by their rules, their customs and their habits. I'm sure they also compromise many things and "overlook" many of my bad habits and obviously poor upbringing. But I still do my level best to respect their right in *their own freaking house* to live how they see fit.

Step through the door to someone else's house and you need to simply... Deal with it. Or don't go in. Doors are cool that way -- they open allowing you to move in *both* directions. Or not go in at all.

In most cases, a host does take some consideration to accommodate his guests. In my own opinion, and from my experience, it is possible to accept some religious people, with their limitations intact, and still keep the impact on the dojo life acceptable.
The level that is acceptable has to be set by the Sensei, and should not harm anyone else. My Sensei refuses to accept student who will not bow to others, but accept those who will not bow to the Shomen. He accepted in the past few students who did not train with women, but they were alway the minority, and the rule was no woman would be left anytime not-training because one of them refuses to train with her (in such a case, the partner of that one trained with the woman and he was left partner less).

Hi all,
I think if the "excluded" people started already a campaign against the dojo via their temples, that is pretty strong. They are not excluded because of being strict Moslem/ Jew/ evangelical Christian (or whoever refuses training with the opposite sex) but because of upsetting aikido training rules, which is a strictly technical issue.

In my dojo we once had some boys refusing to train with the girls. Not because they were religious, just because they had the age when girls are absolutely unworthy, ridiculous, feeble creatures whom a REAL BOY doesn't want to mix with. Obviously they had to leave the tatami when showing this attitude. So if they are sent away but other boys refusing girls for religious reasons are admitted, who would be discriminated? The non-religious-anti-girl boys, or the girls? I think if a dojo is pretty straightforward postulating that everyone trains with whoever bows to him, then no exceptions should be made, be it for personal dislike reasons, religious reasons, technical reasons (X is such a bad uke!) etc.


Don't be that naive, the training rules and their religion contradict. Many here seem to imply in such cases, they can change their strictures, just like the "teenage boys". But if they change their strictures, they will no longer belong to the same religion.


But on the other hand, as already someone wrote, no one prevents people who are uncomfortable to train with the opposite sex to set up a strictly purdah dojo. In Turkey, most Turkish baths are gender separated, everyone knows, and it's a problem for no one. But on the other hand, no one would issue a fatwa against a Turkish bath were mixed bathing hours are allowed - but conservative or very religious people just wouldn't go there.

You do realize for that to happen, there must be some religious Sensei who trained with someone who did accept him.

This wonderful dojo asks that people display a common sign of respect for partaking in some aspect of an Asian culture. This wonderful dojo asks people to train together regardless of gender. Seems to me like this wonderful dojo is not discriminating against anyone. The people who choose not to train in a manner that everybody else is training in should not be allowed to take away from the training experiences of others.
Religion is too often not tolerant, and not open to accept other cultures, definitely not to experiencing them.


I frankly am a little sick and tired of people who want to be able to do exactly as they please regardless of the circumstances. I do not care of it is in the name of religion or any other reason for that matter. What do they say, "when in Rome..."


For a jew : "when in rome, live in a ghetto" (for that matter, this was true for jews living in any Christian country, not so long ago.

Amir

{ who would hate NOT to train with men and would do my best not to be confined to an all-men dojo, nor thinks it is fun. And who actually believe that as a man, training with women is important to my own technical advancing in doing practical Aikido.
And who is willing to make minor accommodations, but only minor and not as an opening to bigger changes}

Marc Abrams
06-02-2010, 08:08 AM
While I do not fully disagree with all the statements supporting the Sensei's, I think most here are looking at the picture from a very specific point of view.

When was the last time you met by strict religious people of other faiths?
Their limitations come from God, yours are man made cultural issues. They can not make the slightest amendment or change - that wold hurt their beliefs. You must accommodate them.

All of the time. Their limitations come from GOD? Only according to them. The words that they read where written by man. Who among those religious people are actually communicating directly with GOD?

Yep, that is their argument, and in some strange way they even have some point. The way you train is adjusted to your beliefs, they want to train according to their beliefs. It reminds me of the French who decided on a law against wearing overt religious clothings in some (specific) public places, and claimed it was not discriminatory, while in fact, only Christians were not affected by it.

This is not about training to our beliefs. This is about partaking in some aspect of another culture-> Japanese culture. It is our choice as to whether or not to partake in it. If we choose to partake in it, then we should follow the customs of that tradition. I have had many meals with people from the middle east where we sat on the floor and ate with our hands. I did not ask for silverware. it was my choice to join them and partake in some aspect of their lives. I am not so closed-minded that I insisted that they adapt to me.

You must be joking. Such groups will have their own schools (in Israel, funded by the public :grr: ), they will demonstrate (some times violently) against any business that does not follow their rules
(be it sex segregation, working on Sabeth, or selling non-kosher food). They will demand to get all the social services their way (including public-beaches that are men only or women only with ugly fences blocking the view of anyone in them)...

Again you are missing the very point of those groups - they wish to force you to convert. You believe in freedom of religion and from religion - they do not. You are against discrimination - they are only against any discrimination to them.

You have clearly spoken of the gross double standards that the very religious people intentionally use. I can talk at length about how their morality seems to be narrowly defined to fit within their fellow believers. They seem to do a good job at talking about faith while failing to live up to the morality which is the underpinning of their faith.

In most cases, a host does take some consideration to accommodate his guests. In my own opinion, and from my experience, it is possible to accept some religious people, with their limitations intact, and still keep the impact on the dojo life acceptable.
The level that is acceptable has to be set by the Sensei, and should not harm anyone else. My Sensei refuses to accept student who will not bow to others, but accept those who will not bow to the Shomen. He accepted in the past few students who did not train with women, but they were alway the minority, and the rule was no woman would be left anytime not-training because one of them refuses to train with her (in such a case, the partner of that one trained with the woman and he was left partner less).

You are right, the host does maintain the right to run things according to the host's standards. That being said, it says an awful lot about the visitor by how the visitor seeks to impose their standards upon others.

Don't be that naive, the training rules and their religion contradict. Many here seem to imply in such cases, they can change their strictures, just like the "teenage boys". But if they change their strictures, they will no longer belong to the same religion.

You do realize for that to happen, there must be some religious Sensei who trained with someone who did accept him.

Religion is too often not tolerant, and not open to accept other cultures, definitely not to experiencing them.

Religion speaks of treating everyone in the image of GOD while failing to live up that standard.

For a jew : "when in rome, live in a ghetto" (for that matter, this was true for jews living in any Christian country, not so long ago.

I too and Jewish, I do not seek to identify myself based upon a long-ago past. Maybe, we as Jews need to formulate a new, positive identity based not upon how others seek to treat us (or treated us) poorly, but upon the positives that represent how we can choose to live.

Marc Abrams

Amir

{ who would hate NOT to train with men and would do my best not to be confined to an all-men dojo, nor thinks it is fun. And who actually believe that as a man, training with women is important to my own technical advancing in doing practical Aikido.
And who is willing to make minor accommodations, but only minor and not as an opening to bigger changes}

NagaBaba
06-02-2010, 08:28 AM
M.Kanai sensei wrote:
"Therefore, it is said that Rei is the origin and final goal of budo.

Some people may react negatively to this emphasis on etiquette as old-fashioned, conservative, and even feudalistic in some societies, and this is quite understandable. But we must never lose sight of the essence of Rei. Students of Aikido are especially required to appreciate the reason for and the meaning of Reigi-saho, for it becomes an important step towards misogi , which is at the heart of Aikido practice. "

It is very clear, that ppl who are bringing their cultural/religious behavior to the dojo, and trying to impose them to others, are not coming here with pure heart to study aikido. Not only they can't achieve misogi themselves, but they also prevent others to do it. Of course it is the first duty of instructor to create environment in the dojo that promotes achievement of misogi. In that context, such impure hearts can choose other activities.

Rabih Shanshiry
06-02-2010, 09:34 AM
I agree with you Joe! Aikido is a Japanes art that has spread around the globe to different cultures. We have to seperate the 'art' from the culture. I hope to have my own dojo one day, and when I do, this will not be an issue. I would gladly respect anyone's religious restrictions. That doesn't mean they get to train the way they want. It only means that they don't have to do anything they don't want to do if it goes against their religion. It's not a hard thing to do and it really is no big deal.

+1

If one is willing to train with others who have phsyical limitations (i.e. Janet's experience with an autistic student), then one should also be a little open to accomodating cultural/religious limitations. I would expect the actual dojo dynamics of having an autistic student in the class to be far more "disruptive" than having someone who feels uncomortable bowing or practicing with the opposite sex.

Of course, the *reasonable* accomodation rule applies - a small all male dojo would have a hard time accomodating a woman who wished to train only with other women.

That said - isn't this dejavu all over again? Here is another ultimately fruitless thread on the exact same topic....

http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10006

ruthmc
06-02-2010, 09:42 AM
my difficulty is that i recently found out the dojo has been excluding people of a certain religion, based on certain parts of training that they can't do per religious order (bowing, training with the opposit gender, etc). in fact, they have managed to anger certain people of this religion ( which is very predoninate in this area) to the point they are calling for a boycott of the dojo by all "sypathizers against anti discrimination". the are doing this through local places of worship and giving the dojo a very bad name. my problem is that i don't know if any of what they say is even true and i don't know how to bring it up with the senseis to find out without causing offense. if it is true, i will leave the dojo because i don't believe in discrimination or supporting organizations that do. this is my choice and i see that others feel differently. what i want to now is how to find out if these wonderful senseis really are what is being said about them
Hiya,

You are right to want to find out the truth, and you are right to ask your instructors what their policy is on admission to the dojo.

However, there is a difference between active discrimination (eg The instructors are saying no Jews or Muslims are allowed to train here) and allowing people to self-discriminate (eg The instructors are saying that everyone must bow and train with both genders, and if you're not prepared to acept that then maybe training here is not for you, so you yourself then decide not to train there).

Until you know which one applies, then you can't make a decision, so I'd suggest that you ask your instructors and don't worry about causing offence - their admissions policy is obviously public so why should you worry? If you subsequently decide to leave this dojo, then you can write them a letter explaining why - you don't have to get into a debate with them!

Ruth

lbb
06-02-2010, 10:54 AM
When was the last time you met by strict religious people of other faiths?
Their limitations come from God, yours are man made cultural issues. They can not make the slightest amendment or change - that wold hurt their beliefs. You must accommodate them.

Why must I accommodate them? Because your god says so? No, that isn't going to work. Your god does not make rules for me.

BTW, I understand that you are faithfully representing a certain point of view here, and that it is not necessarily one you subscribe to yourself. My point is that no matter how fervently a religious person may believe that their directive from God takes precedence over any civil laws, "man made cultural issues" or other codes of any kind, fervent belief does not create reality, and "because my holy book says so" doesn't mean that people have to do it your way.

Janet Rosen
06-02-2010, 11:02 AM
If one is willing to train with others who have phsyical limitations (i.e. Janet's experience with an autistic student), then one should also be a little open to accomodating cultural/religious limitations. I would expect the actual dojo dynamics of having an autistic student in the class to be far more "disruptive" than having someone who feels uncomortable bowing or practicing with the opposite sex.


I am very happy to train with a person who comes in with an open heart and mind, training to the best of his or her abilities.

But I cannot reconcile that with including people who would refuse to train w/ me on the basis of a set of beliefs that are fundamentally at odds with our dojo's culture of inclusion.

I truly think they would be better off creating their own gender-separate dojo, which I would be free to not join.

Buck
06-02-2010, 11:21 AM
i have been training a few months at a wonderful dojo run by two wonderful people. my difficulty is that i recently found out the dojo has been excluding people of a certain religion, based on certain parts of training that they can't do per religious order (bowing, training with the opposit gender, etc). in fact, they have managed to anger certain people of this religion ( which is very predoninate in this area) to the point they are calling for a boycott of the dojo by all "sypathizers against anti discrimination". the are doing this through local places of worship and giving the dojo a very bad name. my problem is that i don't know if any of what they say is even true and i don't know how to bring it up with the senseis to find out without causing offense. if it is true, i will leave the dojo because i don't believe in discrimination or supporting organizations that do. this is my choice and i see that others feel differently. what i want to now is how to find out if these wonderful senseis really are what is being said about them

Everyone discriminates, in your case you are discriminating against practices of the dojo you don't believe in. These practices are religious and cultural. They are an integral part of Aikido just as technique to the whole of Aikido, even though some dojos are not as strict with the practice as others. I know of a dojo that filed as a church, a religion. There are many supports that point to Aikido qualifying as a religion.

The Japanese have a saying that I see many dojos and non-Japanese follow in the dojo. The saying goes something like if a nail is sticking up, you hammer it down.

In Sikhism, I believe in loose terms, the removal of the head dress is forbidden. If a Sikh came into my dojo, I would ask him to remove his head dress or not train. We have had Christians who thought bowing was a pagan act, and refused to do it. We asked them to leave. Now when people come to the dojo we screen them and have a prejudice against those who we know are not willing to accept or follow our practices. We dictate everything involved in Aikido from a uniform to behavior, that is pretty much the norm. Aikido isn't like many religions that tell you what to believe and if you don't conform stone you, but there is pressure to follow the group and conform to behaviors and practices, much like a sports team. We don't tell you what to believe and if you don't you will go to hell. We are discriminatory along the lines of a sports team, the military and alike. This angers people and we are called out on it. In our defense, there is no law or rule, and it is in fact an accepted practice among martial arts to be discriminatory and selective.

With all that said, this knowledge may be helpful to you understanding martial arts and Aikido. I suggest find a dojo that is more accommodating to the practices of others. Please keep in mind that isn't the norm. But it is a Japanese martial art, of O'Sensei and that is what attracts millions of people to it. Unless you don't live in a free country, it is a right for people to discriminate in this sense, like we have private country clubs, not everyone gets into the sheik night clubs. There are women only gyms, etc.

Now if this Aikido dojo was a place of employment, and not offering a cultural experience then that would be a different story. Please don't misunderstand I just think understanding this maybe helpful to you and ease your discontent.

Buck
06-02-2010, 11:51 AM
Oh this as well, there are many Aikido dojos who accept people of different views politically, religiously, gender and culturally. But in general ask people to follow the dojo practices and cultural. You may run into some who will train with you but they hide the fact they don't like your race, religion, or politics. You may run into those who are more honest and open and tell you upfront why they will not train with you. There are other people who have no reservations. Be aware of the fallacy that Aikido is and should be some kind of perfect utopia where one lives in peace and harmony. The fact is we are all people and by nature, discriminatory.

No matter how hard we present other wise, we are discriminatory. Be it the Aikido dojo rejecting based on their beliefs and criteria, or the student who is upset at those dojos and believes there should not be any discrimination against others. The best thing to do, again, is to find a place that fits your criteria. in that way you will be at peace.

My advice is to do what many do, and that is find a place where you fit in best with people like you.

Michael Hackett
06-02-2010, 12:05 PM
Dear Anonymous:

In your original post you raised two issues. You stated that you wanted to know if your instructors were truly discriminatory and said that you didn't want to belong to, or support an organization that is discriminatory. That's commendable and I salute you for that. The solution is simple; open your eyes and ears and see for yourself. Do you see any specific actions that disadvantage or harm any particular group? By that I mean specifically, does your dojo have a policy or practice of refusing to accept students because of their race, their religion, their sex, their sexual orientation, or any other human quality? Or do they set rules and practices that some may not wish to abide by? If it is the former, then your school is probably discriminatory. If it is the latter, then it is not. That part of the equation seems easy to me.

The second issue is more troubling to me. If the school doesn't exclude others on the basis of their religious beliefs, then on what basis does this group chose to attack this school? What then is the problem? Granted, I'm just an Ugly American and don't fully understand the nuances of other cultures around the world, but I do show respect and courtesy to those whose beliefs I don't share. I don't have any problem with the leaders of the "local places of worship" telling their flock that the practices of the dojo are antithetical to their beliefs and they should not train there. That seems to be the role of religious leaders of any faith.

Maybe I read more into your original post, but I am concerned at the level of anger suggested. Religious or cultural zealots of any stripe worry me, and worry me greatly.

jonreading
06-02-2010, 12:12 PM
I think this topic has been discussed before, so I don't know how much of my response will simply be a repeat of previous posts.

Dojo are places of training and sensei is responsible for maintaining the safety and sanctity of the environment so students feel comfortable training. One of those decisions may involve the alignment of goals, values, and expectations of the students within the dojo. I would not argue this alignment is discrimination but it creates an inclusive demographic of the dojo members. I think this type of alignment should be done openly and with consistency. The student is then empowered to make a decision to train in the dojo within a set of "rules" that are public and enforceable. I think each dojo faces smaller decisions which establish the line in the sand for larger issues, and those decisions should remain variable to fit the conditions, location, and culture in which the dojo is situated.

1. For those sensei who make poor decisions about what their dojo should represent, their dojo will fail. Discerning students who do not align with that instructor's goals and expectations will choose not to attend class.
2. Training is conditional gift. If a student is unwilling to accept the conditions of the gift they should not expect to receive the gift.

Taken to another level, why would New York Mets fans attend a Yankees game? Why would a republican attend the Democratic National Convention? Why would a math major spend her time studying English? We spend our time aligning ourselves with activities, friends, and lifestyle to match our beliefs. Why would I walk into a dojo that does not share those beliefs, then demand that they change to accommodate me? The friction will be larger than just what you see on the mat...

Abasan
06-02-2010, 12:16 PM
On a side note (if I'm not wrong and memory serves)... the current president or advisor to Aikikai Indonesia was a direct student of Osensei. He is also a muslim. And he didn't bow to shomen. Osensei did not berate him or throw him out for his 'unbudolike' behaviour...

Say what you will about japanese culture or beliefs or whatever, Osensei understood religion and faith. He did not discriminate against it.

Men... and their zeal...

Nafis Zahir
06-02-2010, 01:41 PM
On a side note (if I'm not wrong and memory serves)... the current president or advisor to Aikikai Indonesia was a direct student of Osensei. He is also a muslim. And he didn't bow to shomen. Osensei did not berate him or throw him out for his 'unbudolike' behaviour...

Say what you will about japanese culture or beliefs or whatever, Osensei understood religion and faith. He did not discriminate against it.

Men... and their zeal...

As-Salaamu-Alaikum!

Thanks for posting that!

RED
06-02-2010, 02:04 PM
I don't believe altering your own, widely accepted and appreciated traditions for the sake of not offending one or two people. I'm all for spreading the art, but there is a point where it is ridiculous. If it is against your beliefs to touch women, maybe Aikido should also be against your beliefs...because since it's formation women have been encouraged to train with men and vise versa.

If you don't want to bow, fine, don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable. No one will be offended if you don't bow.
But not wanting to be on the same mat with another person based on gender, race or orientation...too far, and very un-Aiki. Don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable, including stepping on a mat with women. You know there are women there, you can choose not to step out with them... like you can choose not to bow.

You walk into a dojo fully aware of the rules! I'd be a little peed off if a 7th kyu walked in the door and wanted to change my dojo's training rules just to suit them. That breaches the amount tax that a student has the right to demand of their school.

Keith Larman
06-02-2010, 02:40 PM
On a side note (if I'm not wrong and memory serves)... the current president or advisor to Aikikai Indonesia was a direct student of Osensei. He is also a muslim. And he didn't bow to shomen. Osensei did not berate him or throw him out for his 'unbudolike' behaviour...

Say what you will about japanese culture or beliefs or whatever, Osensei understood religion and faith. He did not discriminate against it.

Men... and their zeal...

No one said anything about berating anyone for not bowing to shomen. Or about throwing anyone out. And the original poster mentioned things beyond bowing (bowing I would personally be flexible on). They talked also of refusal to train with students of the opposite gender. Well, if someone wants to come and pay for private lessons in order to have classes done how they like, schedule permitting, I would be fine with that too. But I personally would not alter the schools schedule, essentially excluding one gender from classes solely to accommodate a group that had a problem with contact with the opposite sex. Classes are open to all students. If a student has a problem with who might get on the mat, they can choose to stay off the mat themselves. I would not restrict a student due to someone else's religious views.

My views and my views only...

Keith Larman
06-02-2010, 02:43 PM
I'm reminded of an expression -- "Your freedom ends where my nose begins."

David Maidment
06-02-2010, 02:52 PM
So let me get this straight. They are choosing not to train because part of the training is against their perceived religious convictions which prohibit interaction with other genders.

This really hits the nail on the head. Although the sensei may be saying "go away " (though hopefully he isn't), it seems more like them choosing not to participate because they don't like a certain aspect of it. Which is fine. I think pottery would be great if it wasn't for all the damned mess. So I take it upon myself not to do it.

It puts you in mind of the kind of people who would sue a dairy farm because their allergies stop them drinking milk. No one is forcing you to do Aikido, so if you don't like what it involves then don't do it. Other activities such as work (which arguably [I]is a daily requirement for life) then sure, make allowances for reasonable religious customs. But a hobby? Why would you choose to go out of your way to do something which is blasphemous to your religion?

Although... when God gives you lemons, you get a new god!

The way you train is adjusted to your beliefs, they want to train according to their beliefs.

Then surely what they want isn't what's on offer?

Let us not forget that most sensei give up their free time to teach us Aikido for nothing other than the pleasure of doing so. Martial arts (especially Aikido) are very much rooted in Japanese culture. To learn Aikido is to accept that you're learning and practicing East-Asian customs. That is what the instructor has chosen to teach. If you don't like it then find someone who's willing to teach you whatever it is exactly that meets your requirements, or play ball long enough to be that person yourself. Sensei doesn't have to keep coming every night; they could just as easily pack it in and teach no one, if their students think they know better about what constitutes Japanese customs. You simply cannot say that you want to learn something Japanese but not be okay with something as fundamentally Japanese as bowing.

My God, I wouldn't go into a Hindu temple upon my own volition and insist they let me read the Bible.

Marc Abrams
06-02-2010, 02:56 PM
On a side note (if I'm not wrong and memory serves)... the current president or advisor to Aikikai Indonesia was a direct student of Osensei. He is also a muslim. And he didn't bow to shomen. Osensei did not berate him or throw him out for his 'unbudolike' behaviour...

Say what you will about japanese culture or beliefs or whatever, Osensei understood religion and faith. He did not discriminate against it.

Men... and their zeal...

Ahmad:

After WWII, O'Sensei pretty much came and went as he pleased, training when and how he wanted to. His son and some advisers were really in charge of running the dojo. Without the ability to ask him directly about how he would or did interpret and/or feel about someone not bowing to shomen is simply conjecture on our part. When you say that O'Sensei understood religion and faith and did not discriminate against it, what exactly are you basing this statement upon. I would assume that this is simply your assumption.

If those teachers asked that students follow particular rules in order to VOLUNTARILY train at that school, then so be it. The poster talked about what a wonderful school it was! Once again note that it was those people who did not want to abide by the dojo rules who sought to frame the school in a discriminatory manner. Why is it that these religious people seek to impose their standards on everybody else and cry wolf about discrimination when other people do not choose to live by those standards? I frankly have heard nothing to date that describes the teachers as anything less than sincere in leading a wonderful dojo.

The Rabbi of the temple that I use to belong to once asked my why my wife and I trained at a dojo on Friday nights, rather than attend services for the Sabbath. My response was, and remains simple. I go to the dojo to practice what religion preaches yet fails to live up to.

Marc Abrams

Hellis
06-02-2010, 02:57 PM
For me Marc Abrams makes so many valid points that are too many to list... I faced this issue just a few years ago. A guy came into my dojo and after watching awhile said he was interested in joining, before I could answer him he said " I am not doing any bowing, Allah said we should bow to no man !! " I explained that we do not bow in submission but in mutual respect..he stated flatly that he would not bow....To cut the story short, I told him that I had been teaching for 50 years and no one comes in my dojo and tells me they will do whatever they want to do. Imagine a dojo where indvidual students do their own thing ? I personally escorted him
out of the dojo....I have good students of the same faith and there has never been an issue.....
Henry Ellis
www.british-aikido.com

Jonathan Guzzo
06-02-2010, 03:03 PM
You know, I think something very important and special gets lost when we start down this road. Our art is handed down to us from new and old martial traditions that evolved in a very specific context. Anyone entering that context is going to be challenged, particularly if they insist that accommodations have to made for their preconceived notions, whether religious or cultural. Dave Lowry speaks to this very eloquently in an essay Moving Toward Stillness.

He says that true teachers, true sensei, will tell you that they can in no way accommodate your baggage. That, even if you have physical health issues that limit your ability to train, you have to try and put in the effort. I think the same goes for these cultural idiosyncrasies. If you're always accommodated, you're never challenged. And aikido, at its best challenges everything we know about how to respond to aggression and what constitutes violence. It challenges us to walk a very specific, very profound path with integrity and clarity.

So, if it were my dojo, you'd have to bow or you'd be out. You'd have to train with women or you'd be out. I'd apply to same rubric to people of any religion. You conform to the art. The art does not conform to you. And this is coming from a pinko civil libertarian.

RED
06-02-2010, 03:57 PM
I don't get the big deal. If you enter a private organization you are adhering to their rules and regulations. Who would visit a place that didn't a line with their personal beliefs, then demand the organization conform? Not logical, and very arrogant.

Buck
06-02-2010, 04:16 PM
What would happen if you go to a Muslim temple and not bow when you prayed. You stood erect with hands stretched out in the air, what would happen? There is a certain level of respect people have to understand.

A student may not bow because he is Jewish, Christian, or Muslim not bowing (to false idols) and O'Sensei may have allowed it, but that doesn't reflect upon his opinion. Bowing is a sign of respect, just as a hand shake. There allot behind a bow, a show of civility, respect, etc. In fact non-Asians, such as the English have employed bowing as a greeting and show of respect. Bowing is a not verbal communication of respect, civility, and good sportsmanship and friendship, in context to the object being bowed to. If you don't bow that agreement of behavior and attitude you are sending a message not of peace but of war.

I see bowing no different than a handshake, and in my book if you don't do either you are saying you will not respect me, be friendly, courteous, a gentlemen or a lady, etc. I don't want to train with those kind of people or have them in the dojo. They are not interested in Aikido's message of peace.

jss
06-02-2010, 04:22 PM
Although... when God gives you lemons, you get a new god!
Or...

RED
06-02-2010, 06:56 PM
Although... when God gives you lemons, you get a new god!


:cool:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-3qncy5Qfk

Nafis Zahir
06-02-2010, 11:03 PM
What would happen if you go to a Muslim temple and not bow when you prayed. You stood erect with hands stretched out in the air, what would happen?



Nothing would happen. If you're not Muslim, then you would not be expected to pray along with the worshippers.

Michael Hackett
06-03-2010, 12:45 AM
Nafis,

You left out the next line about having respect for the environment you're in and that's the key. I wouldn't expect anything to happen to a person visiting a mosque and not praying the first time, but I don't think the individual would be welcome there more than once if he continued with that behavior. Of course I don't understand why one would visit someone else's house of worship and then try to maintain his own religious practices there.

There are rules in every organization that must be followed to be a part of that group. I can't enter the Morman Temple in Salt Lake City and I can't visit the holy city of Mecca since I don't follow either faith. While I'd like to do both, I'm not willing to convert to either religion for the privilege. I'm not offended and don't feel that I'm being discriminated against. I'm sure that I would be welcome if I were willing to convert. This isn't the same as the dojo situation that started this thread, but awfully similar in nature.

We bow to each other, we train with everyone present without regard to their sex, their sexual orientation, their race, their national origin, their politics, or their religion. Heck, we'll even train with BJJ guys - and you know how THEY are. Seriously, we are inclusive and if you don't wish to share that inclusive spirit, train somewhere more to your liking. We don't have to be disagreeable or antagonistic.

Janet Rosen
06-03-2010, 01:22 AM
Heck, we'll even train with BJJ guys - and you know how THEY are. .

Oh, man....do we HAVE to ??? ;-)

Nafis Zahir
06-03-2010, 01:26 AM
Nafis,

You left out the next line about having respect for the environment you're in and that's the key. I wouldn't expect anything to happen to a person visiting a mosque and not praying the first time, but I don't think the individual would be welcome there more than once if he continued with that behavior. Of course I don't understand why one would visit someone else's house of worship and then try to maintain his own religious practices there.

There are rules in every organization that must be followed to be a part of that group. I can't enter the Morman Temple in Salt Lake City and I can't visit the holy city of Mecca since I don't follow either faith. While I'd like to do both, I'm not willing to convert to either religion for the privilege. I'm not offended and don't feel that I'm being discriminated against. I'm sure that I would be welcome if I were willing to convert. This isn't the same as the dojo situation that started this thread, but awfully similar in nature.

We bow to each other, we train with everyone present without regard to their sex, their sexual orientation, their race, their national origin, their politics, or their religion. Heck, we'll even train with BJJ guys - and you know how THEY are. Seriously, we are inclusive and if you don't wish to share that inclusive spirit, train somewhere more to your liking. We don't have to be disagreeable or antagonistic.


I can respect your opinion, but why is this subject such a big deal? Accomodating someone's religious preferences is not the same as changing the rules just for that one person. It really is not that big of a deal. And it really is something that is not hard to do.

Michael Hackett
06-03-2010, 02:06 AM
I'll grant that a dojo can make accomodations for an individual - we do that all the time. We have people who can't perform suwari waza because of bad knees and so forth. The bowing to the shomen at the start and end of class is another simple example. I've seen people who didn't and that wasn't a problem. Where this becomes a big deal to me is when an individual won't train with other dojo members on the basis of gender. That's where the world becomes a damned slippery slope in my estimation - if I'm a fundamentalist Christian, would it be acceptable to refuse to train with a gay or lesbian member? An unreconstructed southerner who refuses to train with african-americans? A conservative Republican who refuses to train with a leftie anarchist? My answer is simply no, it isn't acceptable and is discrimination in any of those cases. I would choose not to be a member of a dojo that allowed or encouraged that kind of conduct. In the same manner, those who are adamant about their beliefs to the contrary can choose to train somewhere where they can maintain the integrity of their beliefs. I think we can treat each other with respect and can live very well on either side of the threshold to a dojo not of our liking.

This reminds me of an old friend, a Marine staff sergeant, who once said "I went to Vietnam to support your right to spit on the American Flag and my right to salute it." I fully support Keith Larman's new religious practice to slaughter animals, but won't allow him to do so in my living room. I don't agree with his practices and won't allow my family or guests to be offended by his conduct in my home. Keith can choose not to visit me or choose to change his religious practices. He can tell his friends what a hard-headed jerk I am and he can even boycott my neighborhood. The choices are his to make.

Nafis Zahir
06-03-2010, 03:00 AM
I'll grant that a dojo can make accomodations for an individual - we do that all the time. We have people who can't perform suwari waza because of bad knees and so forth. The bowing to the shomen at the start and end of class is another simple example. I've seen people who didn't and that wasn't a problem. Where this becomes a big deal to me is when an individual won't train with other dojo members on the basis of gender. That's where the world becomes a damned slippery slope in my estimation - if I'm a fundamentalist Christian, would it be acceptable to refuse to train with a gay or lesbian member? An unreconstructed southerner who refuses to train with african-americans? A conservative Republican who refuses to train with a leftie anarchist? My answer is simply no, it isn't acceptable and is discrimination in any of those cases. I would choose not to be a member of a dojo that allowed or encouraged that kind of conduct. In the same manner, those who are adamant about their beliefs to the contrary can choose to train somewhere where they can maintain the integrity of their beliefs. I think we can treat each other with respect and can live very well on either side of the threshold to a dojo not of our liking.



Some of your examples make no sense. Political and racial preferences are not the same thing as religious preferences. I amy not agree with your religion, but I would respect it. So if you were a practicing Christian and didn't want to practice with someone you knew was gay, then that would be your choice. Why? Just like gay people want to be treated like everyone else and respected as people and want you to respect their choice of lifestyle, then likewise, it is not unreasonable for them to do the same. Funny thing is, if men decided to open a dojo for men only, as to avoid such a problem as this, then someone else would have a problem with that.

Flintstone
06-03-2010, 03:13 AM
Some of your examples make no sense. Political and racial preferences are not the same thing as religious preferences.
That's the point and it's what I say all the time. That's called "laicism" is as such is just another fundamentalism. They won't change their mind, Nafis.

Abasan
06-03-2010, 05:54 AM
No, it wasn't conjecture. The student told me, he told Osensei that he wouldn't bow low because it's against his faith as he interpreted it and Osensei told him, that's ok.

Then, some other time, Osensei talked a lot about kami waza, spiritual stuff and etc etc... The student told him, that what Osensei taught sounded familiar and similar to what is taught in Islam. Then Osensei said...please excuse the paraphrase "Yes, you understand. And then pointing to the japanese students... but they don't".

Keith,

That's all I'm saying... bowing, its not the outward form that matters. Its the rei in our spirit that's more important. To exclude someone because of this... well that's shallow.

As for cross gender/cross sexual preference training. Training is training. To me that's the end of it. But honestly, its the dojo's right to discriminate against potentially harmful pairings. I.e. disease, bad intentions and etc.

Ahmad:

After WWII, O'Sensei pretty much came and went as he pleased, training when and how he wanted to. His son and some advisers were really in charge of running the dojo. Without the ability to ask him directly about how he would or did interpret and/or feel about someone not bowing to shomen is simply conjecture on our part. When you say that O'Sensei understood religion and faith and did not discriminate against it, what exactly are you basing this statement upon. I would assume that this is simply your assumption.

If those teachers asked that students follow particular rules in order to VOLUNTARILY train at that school, then so be it. The poster talked about what a wonderful school it was! Once again note that it was those people who did not want to abide by the dojo rules who sought to frame the school in a discriminatory manner. Why is it that these religious people seek to impose their standards on everybody else and cry wolf about discrimination when other people do not choose to live by those standards? I frankly have heard nothing to date that describes the teachers as anything less than sincere in leading a wonderful dojo.

The Rabbi of the temple that I use to belong to once asked my why my wife and I trained at a dojo on Friday nights, rather than attend services for the Sabbath. My response was, and remains simple. I go to the dojo to practice what religion preaches yet fails to live up to.

Marc Abrams

dps
06-03-2010, 06:36 AM
These people who want to join a dojo but are not willing to practice with certain students due to whatever reason, are they okay if the rest of the students in the class decide to ignore them?

David

Marc Abrams
06-03-2010, 08:41 AM
Ahmad:

O'Sensei was NOT in charge of running the dojo after WWII. O'Sensei seemed to be acknowledging that religious people can understand the spirituality that he was connected to. That is a FAR cry from explicit acceptance of Islamic practices (or any religious practices for that matter). Would you like to comment on what O'Sensei would say about child marriages, Jihad, floggings and some other distasteful practices common within the Islamic faith?

Being spiritual is entirely different from interpreting and enacting religious dogma that is discriminatory. The people who were/are running the dojo that was mentioned by this poster ran a "wonderful" dojo that explicitly required bowing to shomen and training with everybody regardless of gender.

About 1.5 years ago, a Muslim gentleman wanted to join my dojo. I made it a point to talk to him at length about the history behind bowing and the handshakes (which comes from the battlefields). I placed this in context of bowing to shomen, bowing to the teacher and bowing to each other as part of the practice in the cultural milieu of training at my school. This gentleman did not seem to have a problem with that. He did seem to have a problem with my also offering his wife the opportunity to train here as well. I went on to explain that women did train at my dojo and that my wife was the assistant instructor. He chose not to join my school. I did not discriminate against him and he did not discriminate against me. Neither one of us (to the best of my knowledge) felt bad, wronged or insulted by the actions or inactions of the other person. The US is a wonderful country in which tolerance and acceptance of differences are encouraged (sadly not enough!). In many countries of the world that are dominated/run by a fundamentalist religious belief, this openness does not exist. That is why I speak of the gross hypocrisy that these religious people engage in when they accuse societies and people of discriminating against them, while knowing that they would never reciprocate in kind.

Marc Abrams

No, it wasn't conjecture. The student told me, he told Osensei that he wouldn't bow low because it's against his faith as he interpreted it and Osensei told him, that's ok.

Then, some other time, Osensei talked a lot about kami waza, spiritual stuff and etc etc... The student told him, that what Osensei taught sounded familiar and similar to what is taught in Islam. Then Osensei said...please excuse the paraphrase "Yes, you understand. And then pointing to the japanese students... but they don't".

Keith,

That's all I'm saying... bowing, its not the outward form that matters. Its the rei in our spirit that's more important. To exclude someone because of this... well that's shallow.

As for cross gender/cross sexual preference training. Training is training. To me that's the end of it. But honestly, its the dojo's right to discriminate against potentially harmful pairings. I.e. disease, bad intentions and etc.

Keith Larman
06-03-2010, 09:37 AM
Keith,

That's all I'm saying... bowing, its not the outward form that matters. Its the rei in our spirit that's more important. To exclude someone because of this... well that's shallow.

Gee, thanks for that, but I've been called worse. If you read what I've written that isn't what I said. I think I was quite clear in my posts above differentiating among a series of issues. Adherence to Rei is a issue that varies from location to location. Some are more flexible than others. And we can disagree over what is "reasonable", but... It is *still* the sole decision of the individual sensei. It would be nice if people would be more flexible about things, especially given what you said about the spirit above. However, that is the choice of the person running the dojo.

But... If a person says they can't train with women, well, they may need to find somewhere else to train. Or else they can pay to have their own private classes. If there is no time/desire to offer up private classes to accommodate someone's particular needs then those needs may not be meant. That is not discriminatory. Discriminatory in *my* world is refusing to work with women. That means I'd be offering classes that women cannot attend solely due to their gender. And that is morally reprehensible to *my* sensibilities. Often we are faced with competing moral issues. Why should I have to bend to accommodate your moral beliefs when you refuse to do the same?

So, turning this around, how shallow is someone who thinks it is somehow wrong for me to refuse to discriminate against my women students, colleagues and friends? I should tell them they can't train in classes I teach just because someone else might have an issue? Just because they're women? Talk about shallow.

This is the point I think most of us are trying to get at. There *is* a conflict here between two ideologies. Some religions have rather strict prohibitions on certain things. I'm fine with that. I won't ask someone else to change their religion to train. But I also won't change the training to fit their religion *if* that change involves something I find morally reprehensible. At least have the courtesy to treat convictions against sexual discrimination with the same respect as you are demanding for those with convictions against training with women.

Michael Hackett
06-03-2010, 09:38 AM
I find I now agree with both Nafis and Alejandro. Political and racial preferences are not the same as religious preferences, and what I espouse IS liaicism. The effect of political, racial and religious preferences is the same on the excluded however. And I choose to live in a secular society rather than in a theocracy - admittedly I was born and raised in a secular world and knew no better, but now that I am adult it is a matter of choice.

I have no real problem with a religious based all-male dojo or an all-female dojo as long as it is a private organization and not operated with tax dollars or with government sanction.

Chris Covington
06-03-2010, 09:59 AM
When people come into my dojo (well the dojo I rent... it's mine while I'm there) they follow the rules I have or they leave. It is very simple. If someone doesn't like the rules I have, go somewhere else. I don't care why you won't follow the rules I have. That is between you and whoever. My rules are between you and me. No one is forcing anyone to train with me. I don't charge anything when I teach, hell, it costs me money to rent the space. If you don't like it you can get your money back :D

Just like many people here I don't want Keith killing a baby seal in my living room. If God tells him to do it, God needs to send carpet cleaners, too.

Abasan
06-03-2010, 10:05 AM
Keith,

What I meant was, I agree with what you said earlier. The fact is, bowing is meaningless without the spirit behind it. I subscribe to the need for mixed gender training. When I said shallow, I meant disallowing someone to practice in the dojo because they won't bow.

Marc,

Well I've no idea what Osensei would have said about those things you pointed out about Islam. Mainly because its apparent that you're intent on focusing on negativity without context. (edit: Though, if I'm reading you wrong then I sincerely apologise, you know how it is when reading posts without facial, tonal and body language indicators.). Similarly, I won't be able to think what Osensei would have said about the Jews killing unarmed activists on aid boats, manhandling old men, women and child, sexually abusing children in prison and the other stuff going about right now... I see both points as being nothing relevant to the religion of Islam or Judaism and I don't think Osensei would see its relevance to his spiritual pursuit either way.

lbb
06-03-2010, 10:18 AM
I can respect your opinion, but why is this subject such a big deal?

It's a big deal when (as in the example that began this thread) accommodating someone's religious beliefs means denying access to another student. If you step onto the mat, you must train with all students, not just students of your gender. If you refuse to train with students of the opposite gender, and that refusal is accommodated, you are depriving those students of practice partners, others as well as yourself.

Use a simple example: Bob wants to join a dojo. Because of his religious beliefs, Bob will not train with women. He steps onto the mat with Jeff, Steve and Ann. Not only can Ann not train with Bob, but she also is deprived of practicing with whoever Bob is paired up with because he "needs" this special accommodation. If the class consists only of Bob, Jeff and Ann, what then? Jeff is okay training with everyone. Ann is okay training with everyone. Bob insists that he will only train with Jeff. Should Ann have to sit out so that Bob's beliefs can be accommodated?

Insisting on accommodations like this is the kind of big-elbows, "you're not letting me practice my religion" behavior that gives religion a truly deserved bad name.

Marc Abrams
06-03-2010, 10:22 AM
Keith,

What I meant was, I agree with what you said earlier. The fact is, bowing is meaningless without the spirit behind it. I subscribe to the need for mixed gender training. When I said shallow, I meant disallowing someone to practice in the dojo because they won't bow.

Marc,

Well I've no idea what Osensei would have said about those things you pointed out about Islam. Mainly because its apparent that you're intent on focusing on negativity without context. Similarly, I won't be able to think what Osensei would have said about the Jews killing unarmed activists on aid boats, manhandling old men, women and child, sexually abusing children in prison and the other stuff going about right now... I see both points as being nothing relevant to the religion of Islam or Judaism and I don't think Osensei would see its relevance to his spiritual pursuit either way.

Ahmad:

Let me make myself VERY CLEAR to you.

1) Killing people in the name of ANY religion is WRONG!!!
2) Israeli soldiers were attacked with weapons- I suppose the person who stabbed the soldier in the gut was unarmed? The situation in that region is simply unacceptable to me. Jews and Muslims should be able to live in peace, UNCONDITIONALLY! I am sure that Hamas as well as some ultra-orthodox Jewish groups would agree with me :eek: !
3) Would you prefer to spend time in an Israeli prison or one in say, Yemen? Wasn't that movie "Midnight Express" about what happened in a prison in Turkey? Regardless of where it occurs, abuse of any kind is morally wrong!

I was in no way focusing on negativity without context. There is plenty of context involved. Many religious practices run counter to a larger sense of morality. O'Sensei talked about world peace. I am sure that you could guess what O'Sensei would say about the Crusades, throwing acid in the face of female students attending school, or a Jewish settler burning the land of a Muslim inhabitant. Please spare me your convenient "not knowing" what O'Sensei might say about repugnant, cruel and immoral practices. When a person speaks of world peace, having lived through a world war in which vast destruction of places and people throughout the world, I would think that they would be above making exceptions to that belief for a particular group of people.

Once again, I will emphasize that the poster clearly pointed out that training took place in a "wonderful" dojo! If people did not want to train there because of the rules that the teachers put in place to create and "wonderful" dojo, then so be it. They can cry wolf to whom ever they like, it still does not point out discrimination, simply a deep, dedication to create a wonderful training environment.

Marc Abrams

Flintstone
06-03-2010, 11:19 AM
Use a simple example: Bob wants to join a dojo. Because of his religious beliefs, Bob will not train with women. He steps onto the mat with Jeff, Steve and Ann. Not only can Ann not train with Bob, but she also is deprived of practicing with whoever Bob is paired up with because he "needs" this special accommodation. If the class consists only of Bob, Jeff and Ann, what then? Jeff is okay training with everyone. Ann is okay training with everyone. Bob insists that he will only train with Jeff. Should Ann have to sit out so that Bob's beliefs can be accommodated?
Don't you see the fallacy and the flaw in your logic up here?

Hellis
06-03-2010, 11:35 AM
When I first became involved in the martial arts in 1956. I know without doing a memory search that students left all their `` baggage `` outside the dojo. A Gay person was a `happy` person ( probably still is :-) Students came along to practice a martial art . This thread has touched on so many different issues, from various religions - discrimination - gender - what OSensei thought ??? . Someone asked " Why is this issue such a big deal " ...Well ! It wasn't a big deal until someone walked into a dojo wanting to change that dojo's etiquette.

Further to my earlier post, I should have added, the guy I escorted from my dojo threatened to report me to various PC organisations and have my dojo shut down.:-)

Henry Ellis
http://kenshiroabbe.blogspot.com/

Abasan
06-03-2010, 11:41 AM
Marc,

"Please spare me your convenient "not knowing" what O'Sensei might say about repugnant, cruel and immoral practices. When a person speaks of world peace, having lived through a world war in which vast destruction of places and people throughout the world, I would think that they would be above making exceptions to that belief for a particular group of people."

You're right. I can only conjecture in either case Osensei would have been opposed to it, as he was also opposed to Japan going to war during WW2. Killing people senselessly is not only morally wrong, it is repugnant. I'm glad we both agree in that regard.

As to how and why the 'unarmed' International activist manage to gut an armed and well trained Israeli commando, we can only guess. It would not have happened and we won't be discussing it, had the Israel government allow the humanitarian aid convoy consisting of various countries press, Members of Parliaments and aid workers to pass through. Still they didn't and we live with the consequences. If this thing didn't happen, no one would know about the crippling sanctions forced upon palestinians who die every day from lack of nourishment and proper health care. Preventing aid to get through is tantamount to senseless killings, which we both agree to be morally wrong.

So since we've well deviated from the original post. Allow me to make myself very clear, minus the caps.

1. I'm against hypocrites, who claim to be for justice yet turn a blind eye when evil is being done.

2. I believe we are human beings that deserve respect and kindness from each other, and that given a choice, most of us who are sane would want to live in peace. But given the state of affairs in the environment today, I doubt most human beings are sane.

3. Instead of mincing words, I choose to adopt openness in my dealings with others. I place my trust in them and hope they will honour that trust. Perhaps I have misjudged some people and that trust has been broken, but I would be in error to assume the worst before it has happened. Nevertheless, I fully understand why some people justify preemptive strikes against perceived future threats. Not everyone is willing to risk their health, safety and sanity to prove that human beings are just. Not everyone is born a Ghandi.

4. I don't want to argue for argument's sake. So I won't deviate any further from the original topic. To which I have only this opinion which I've said earlier. If you subscribe to Aikido fully, then you must fully embrace its meaning to be in harmony. Be it the teacher who sets his dojo rules, or the student wishing to learn from that teacher. Each person is different, no one is perfect and no one can hope to make every individual happy. Majority is important as long as it subscribes to the Aiki principle. We can beat the horse to death here, and no answer will make everyone happy. We can only hope that in providing the final solution, the sensei has given weight to his Aikido ideals in making the decision, and not his personal preference or ego. If it was me, I won't go to a dojo where I'm not welcomed or if I don't agree with the way things are done. I won't make a scene or demand for 'justice'. Making mountains out of molehills is just another sign of a diseased mind.

Keith Larman
06-03-2010, 11:45 AM
Don't you see the fallacy and the flaw in your logic up here?

Maybe I'm dense, but I don't see a logical fallacy. A "flaw" would depend on how you define it. Please elaborate.

jss
06-03-2010, 12:41 PM
Maybe I'm dense, but I don't see a logical fallacy. A "flaw" would depend on how you define it. Please elaborate.
I'm not Allejandro, but I interpret his comment like this:
"Should Ann have to sit out so that Bob's beliefs can be accommodated?" is a legitimate question, but so is "Should Bob have to train with Ann so that Ann's beliefs can be accommodated?" The only answer to this is deciding whose beliefs are worth more and accommodate those beliefs. Unfortunately, logic does not give us the tools to make that decision. Acting as if it does, would be a logical fallacy. One that in my opinion Mary did not commit, as she did not claim to use 'pure' logic to reach her conclusion.

Fact is that there is no objective means to decide whose beliefs are worth more. So by accommodating Ann but not Bob you're making a subjective decision about the worth of the beliefs of the people involved. That's perfectly ok (How to survive otherwise?), but I do think one should be clear about it. (Not much of an issue in this thread, I think.)

lbb
06-03-2010, 12:46 PM
I'm not Allejandro, but I interpret his comment like this:
"Should Ann have to sit out so that Bob's beliefs can be accommodated?" is a legitimate question, but so is "Should Bob have to train with Ann so that Ann's beliefs can be accommodated?"
Being female is now a "belief"?

Thanks, I can sure see the "flaw" in my reasoning now :rolleyes:

David Maidment
06-03-2010, 12:52 PM
The problem is that people have subjective views of what is 'good'. Evidently some can accept that bigotry of a certain type is indeed very good. With that I can't argue (that is, I won't argue because you can't change such a fundamental view in a person).

Let us put it simply; if your religion states that you cannot train with women, don't go and put yourself in a position to get offended and indignant by traipsing into a dojo that's open to all.

Keith Larman
06-03-2010, 12:58 PM
Ah, okay. That's one problem with having a philosophy degree -- I couldn't see anything even remotely related to what we would call a formal fallacy in the statement. The point is that there are different perspectives for the people involved. And that creates competing requirements.

Mary, I think the point Joep made was the female's belief that she should be able to work out with anyone regardless of gender vs. the belief of the male that he can't work out with a female.

Another way to frame the discussion. Assume a strict Islamic training hall (doing whatever). All men. A woman insists on joining. Should the men be forced to train with the woman? Assuming this is a private venture then I see no reason why they can't train the way they choose -- I would argue the woman has simply gone to the wrong place to train. Those men have every right to have their own private club to train in the way they see fit.

There is a "women only" health club just a mile from my house. Should I raise a stink because there aren't any other health clubs closer that I can go to?

In cases of competing, mutually exclusive moral imperatives it is virtually impossible to logically resolve some issues without judging that one position is somehow "more correct" than another. Absent that you're left with what I posted before -- your freedom ends at the tip of my nose. Don't walk into my house with dirty shoes and I won't slaughter that baby seal in yours... ::eek: (I never should have used that example -- it's gonna stay with me forever I think...)

lbb
06-03-2010, 01:23 PM
Mary, I think the point Joep made was the female's belief that she should be able to work out with anyone regardless of gender vs. the belief of the male that he can't work out with a female.

Oh. So the conflicting beliefs are as follows:

1)I believe that I am equal to others and should have equal opportunity.
2)I believe that I should be able to join a dojo and then deny opportunity to others.

Got it. Makes all kinds of sense now.

There is a "women only" health club just a mile from my house. Should I raise a stink because there aren't any other health clubs closer that I can go to?

Are you trying to draw some kind of parallel? Your analogy fails. A valid analogy would be if you were to go to a mixed-gender health club, demand that it become male-only because you don't like working out with/near/among women, and then raise a stink when the club declines to change its policies.

jss
06-03-2010, 02:06 PM
Ah, okay. That's one problem with having a philosophy degree
LOL ... I have one of those too. :D

Mary, I think the point Joep made was the female's belief that she should be able to work out with anyone regardless of gender vs. the belief of the male that he can't work out with a female.
Yep, that's it. I was not stating that being female is a belief.
(Off-topic: In a discussion about transgender that statement would actually make sense: "Being female is a belief.")

Michael Hackett
06-03-2010, 02:08 PM
I am now a Malmosian. I was thinking about becoming Larsonian, but the ritual was too messy.

Marc Abrams
06-03-2010, 02:49 PM
You know folks, this thread makes me look forward to a nice afternoon and evening of Aikido classes, followed by some of us Aikidoka going to the loca,l born-again, crescent moon, kosher deli to wash back some beers over BBQ pork ribs, along with some good cussing and fornication, before we go back to purgatory for a good nights sleep :D !

Marc Abrams

ps- To all of you who are seriously offended by this post, thank you for exercising your right and choice to decide to read it. Have a wonderful evening!

Keith Larman
06-03-2010, 03:18 PM
You know folks, this thread makes me look forward to a nice afternoon and evening of Aikido classes, followed by some of us Aikidoka going to the loca,l born-again, crescent moon, kosher deli to wash back some beers over BBQ pork ribs, along with some good cussing and fornication, before we go back to purgatory for a good nights sleep :D !

Marc Abrams

ps- To all of you who are seriously offended by this post, thank you for exercising your right and choice to decide to read it. Have a wonderful evening!

First round is on me... :)

Keith Larman
06-03-2010, 03:23 PM
Oh. So the conflicting beliefs are as follows:

1)I believe that I am equal to others and should have equal opportunity.
2)I believe that I should be able to join a dojo and then deny opportunity to others.

Got it. Makes all kinds of sense now.

Never claimed it made sense. Actually quite the opposite. Hypocritical at best.

Are you trying to draw some kind of parallel? Your analogy fails. A valid analogy would be if you were to go to a mixed-gender health club, demand that it become male-only because you don't like working out with/near/among women, and then raise a stink when the club declines to change its policies.

Actually I was trying to argue that even in a vastly weaker case (as you pointed out) I would still not intrude upon those who wanted to train at an all-women's health club. Often it is useful to come up with thought experiments that are extreme (clubbing baby seals) in order to make a point. Other times one might try to show that even in instances where things are vastly less complicated and with less moral "friction" the answer remains the same. In both cases the end result is that I would have no expectation of others adjusting their practice to accommodate me. Whether it is me clubbing seals in their living room or even just wanting to quietly train as a male in an all-women's health club.

I'm not arguing with you.

Back to my tuna sandwich and then my cave for me. Carry on...

lbb
06-03-2010, 03:51 PM
I hear ya, Keith -- I just thought the points were worth stating because all too often these days, we have people stating "conflicts" on just such terms -- my right to walk down the street vs. your right to not have the sight of people like me "forced on you", for example -- in the apparently sincere belief that there is an equivalence between fundamental rights, and the "right" to infringe on others' fundamental rights. When the failure to see the distinction is so widespread, it's hard to overstate it.

RED
06-03-2010, 04:07 PM
I hear ya, Keith -- I just thought the points were worth stating because all too often these days, we have people stating "conflicts" on just such terms -- my right to walk down the street vs. your right to not have the sight of people like me "forced on you", for example -- in the apparently sincere belief that there is an equivalence between fundamental rights, and the "right" to infringe on others' fundamental rights. When the failure to see the distinction is so widespread, it's hard to overstate it.

Yeah the idea of it all is about as ridiculous as having "No Marys" and "Marys only" Restrooms, just so people name Bob can avoid contact with women named Mary.

Chris Covington
06-03-2010, 08:55 PM
Yeah the idea of it all is about as ridiculous as having "No Marys" and "Marys only" Restrooms, just so people name Bob can avoid contact with women named Mary.

My ex's name is Mary so I'd like the "No Marys" restroom please :D

RED
06-03-2010, 09:51 PM
My ex's name is Mary so I'd like the "No Marys" restroom please :D

hmm, sounds like a personal problem..:cool:

Chris Covington
06-04-2010, 07:53 AM
hmm, sounds like a personal problem..:cool:

Yes, yes it is lol.

MM
06-04-2010, 08:23 AM
I hear ya, Keith -- I just thought the points were worth stating because all too often these days, we have people stating "conflicts" on just such terms -- my right to walk down the street vs. your right to not have the sight of people like me "forced on you", for example -- in the apparently sincere belief that there is an equivalence between fundamental rights, and the "right" to infringe on others' fundamental rights. When the failure to see the distinction is so widespread, it's hard to overstate it.

Nice round of recent posts by you, Keith, and Marc.

Kudos to everyone, though, for keeping a really civil discussion on such hot topics. Don't have anything to add, just wanted to say thanks.

gregstec
06-04-2010, 09:21 AM
You know folks, this thread makes me look forward to a nice afternoon and evening of Aikido classes, followed by some of us Aikidoka going to the loca,l born-again, crescent moon, kosher deli to wash back some beers over BBQ pork ribs, along with some good cussing and fornication, before we go back to purgatory for a good nights sleep :D !

Marc Abrams

ps- To all of you who are seriously offended by this post, thank you for exercising your right and choice to decide to read it. Have a wonderful evening!

Don't forget to post pictures of the fornication part :D

Kevin Leavitt
06-04-2010, 10:20 AM
Not sure you want pictures. I might be offended too!

Michael Hackett
06-04-2010, 10:34 AM
Kevin,

You wear a Ranger Tab - the only thing that you offend you is a day off, a dry place to sleep and a full belly.

Semper Fi!

Marc Abrams
06-04-2010, 10:38 AM
Not sure you want pictures. I might be offended too!

Hey,

I resemble that "remarc" ! :p

ps- My best friend and I used a line from a Billy Joel song as our tag line growing up "ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG!"

Stay Well Kevin, Live Long!

phitruong
06-04-2010, 01:39 PM
Don't forget to post pictures of the fornication part :D

you know he's lying right? nobody sleep in purgatory. it's an all-night party town. it's a depraved place filled with naked aikidoka drinking, dancing, among other things. no good budo folks should enter. :D incidentally, i got a free pass to the place next week. see you there. first drink on Marc.

as far as the subject goes, i can't stand intolerance folks! :)

Marc Abrams
06-05-2010, 08:28 AM
you know he's lying right? nobody sleep in purgatory. it's an all-night party town. it's a depraved place filled with naked aikidoka drinking, dancing, among other things. no good budo folks should enter. :D incidentally, i got a free pass to the place next week. see you there. first drink on Marc.

as far as the subject goes, i can't stand intolerance folks! :)

Phil:

There you go again, letting out our dirty little secrets of our all-night shugyo experiences:eek: ! That's right folks, first round is on Satan's bastard child- little old me :D ! Be there or freeze your A** off up above.

Marc Abrams