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angry_father
03-17-2012, 11:22 AM
Around the time of my shodan test my home dojo was joined by a returning aikidoist, a middle aged gentleman some decades years out of training, from a certain very proud lineage different to the one on home dojo. My senior instructor and sempai accorded him all privileges and responsibilities of a nidan as befitted him. In a short time, he started instructing in one of the week classes I attended to regularly. I noticed then that he started paying particular attention to the youngest women in the class, the teenage girls. In a few months time I started getting concerned at the paritcular relationship he struck with one of them; which extended to out of the mat. I did not socialize with them, and frankly after a few months I stopped attending that class, because of the discomfort this paritcular picture caused in me. I am a father of girls, and a reader of Aikido history and Aikiweb and the whole thing just was looking really bad to me, but I dont want to be morbid and paranoid, I walked away. A year later I was told her parents had talked to the dojo heads about the situation and asked for help; a few years later , their relationship seems enduring, the young teenage girl is now a young adult woman, sports the proverbial baby boomer, balding out of shape ugly pretender on her arm, he is still practicing Aikido while I am not. My older daughter now entering her teenage asked me when she could join Aikido; my face fell. This is killing me; I love the art, but the culture that accepts and enables this repels me. What would you do?

LinTal
03-18-2012, 03:04 AM
Work for a solution at the source, if possible.

Go for a solution to the police, if necessary.

That quiet voice at the back of our minds is often onto something that our conscious thought-track won't accept. However, it's important to distinguish the important, immediate and permanent from their opposites.

The culture of a place can change, for example, though situational awareness and caution is highly important. For your daughter, if you believe the issue is localised to the people/style of your dojo, you way want to shop around.

Marc Abrams
03-18-2012, 09:50 AM
Let your daughter join a dojo you are comfortable with. Speak to the dojo cho privately about your concerns. Watch your daughter's classes. One sick person should not used as the example for the art that you love.

Good Luck

Marc Abrams

Michael Douglas
03-18-2012, 11:51 AM
... I started getting concerned at the paritcular relationship he struck with one of them; which extended to out of the mat.

snip

... a few years later , their relationship seems enduring, the young teenage girl is now a young adult woman, sports the proverbial baby boomer, balding out of shape ugly pretender on her arm, ...
So everything turned out nice in the end, apart from loss of hair and figure, lack of beauty, and your own disapproval.
I guess I'm out of fashion in my attitude ... oops, my wife is twelve years younger than I am! Aargh.

Your story seems to have only a tiny connection to Aikido, it could as well have been badminton.

Janet Rosen
03-18-2012, 01:16 PM
I would have addressed it w/ dojocho back when the now adult young woman was a minor, but too late now.
If the dojo overall has a good training environment and a good dojo culture, then trust how you have raised your daughter and also be open with her about your concerns. Unless you have been raising her in a bubble, it is not an issue she will be shocked by although discussing w/ her dad may discomfort her.
If you actually have reservations about the training environment and culture, why are YOU training there?

SeiserL
03-18-2012, 03:49 PM
This is killing me; I love the art, but the culture that accepts and enables this repels me. What would you do?
IMHO, the art does not accept and enable this.

The culture does not accept and enable this.

Being protective is better than wishing you has been.

I personally would not let my daughter train where I did not feel she was safe.

If I were the Sensei or Senpai in a school that allowed this - I would be upside his head and he'd be outside the doors.

Zero tolerance.

Malicat
03-18-2012, 05:38 PM
So everything turned out nice in the end, apart from loss of hair and figure, lack of beauty, and your own disapproval.
I guess I'm out of fashion in my attitude ... oops, my wife is twelve years younger than I am! Aargh.

Your story seems to have only a tiny connection to Aikido, it could as well have been badminton.

Well, primarily I have to ask if his attention was inappropriate ON the mat. Off the mat is no one's business but their own. If they intended to pursue a romantic relationship, I feel that speaking to the Dojo Cho would have been the respectful thing to do since he was teaching a class. It sounds like they have a steady relationship that has been ongoing for awhile and this wasn't some sort of fling designed to make him feel better about himself at the expense of the girl's self esteem. Plus, as a woman, I generally only date men 8-12 years older than me as a rule. I've found that the way my life has gone, I work better in a relationship with a man with more life experience.

On a side note, you do realize you will despise all of your daughter's boyfriends, right? If it isn't an age issue, there will be multiple other reasons for you to decide he's not good enough for your little girl. Keeping her out of Aikido for fear she will meet an older man may seem rational to you right now, but I assure you the teenage boys she goes to school with who will inevitably ask her out will be just as distasteful to you.

--Ashley

Michael Hackett
03-18-2012, 07:26 PM
"Angry Father" described a situation in terms that suggested to me 1) an older man was teaching at his dojo, 2) that older man started paying inappropriate attention to teenaged girls on the mat, 3) those teenaged girls were under the legal age of consent, 4) one girl's parents became concerned and discussed it with the dojo cho, 5) Angry Father did and said nothing, but stopped attending the older man's classes, and 6) the conduct continued and the older man and now young woman are a couple.

If my understanding is correct, I wouldn't be able to train there myself and wouldn't allow a child of mine to train there. On the other hand, if these "girls" were young women and of the age of consent, my view might be a little different, although I think it a bad practice for anyone in a position of power to initiate a relationship with someone under his control, but adults can make their own choices.

Aikido as I understand it doesn't support predators. It happens in aikido dojo, in the workplace, at schools, clubs, and even religious organizations. That doesn't mean that it should be condoned or accepted. If this situation was as I understood it, much more should have been done by the dojo cho, Angry Father and others. What's the old quote? All it takes for Evil to triumph is for a good man to do nothing.

robin_jet_alt
03-18-2012, 07:35 PM
Well, I'm probably stating the obvious here, but a few ideas are as follows.

1. Tell her about the situation and ask her to avoid this guy's classes.
2. Find another aikido dojo.
3. Tell her about the situation and let her make up her own mind.
4. Set up a dojo in the shed.
5. Just say no.

I wouldn't recommend number 5.

kewms
03-18-2012, 09:22 PM
Does this individual confine his attention to a single (now adult) young woman, or is he inappropriately attentive to underage students generally?

Which is another way of asking if the problem has solved itself now that the man is in a stable relationship with a consenting adult.

Katherine

Michael Hackett
03-19-2012, 12:11 AM
If the young woman in question was of the age of consent, then the conduct, however distasteful to me personally, was probably lawful.

ON THE OTHER HAND, if she was underage and their relationship was anything other than platonic, then we are discussing criminal and predatory behavior in almost any culture or jurisdiction. If that was the situation (and Angry Father isn't clear on this), his current relationship is irrelevant to his future behavior. These guys are on the hunt and stay on the hunt until they are stopped. Many, if not most, sexual predators I've dealt with over the years were in significant relationships and still continued to seek out victims. Allowing such an individual to continue training and teaching speaks volumes about that dojo and its' leadership.

Since Angry Father hasn't been entirely clear, I won't throw stones, but this situation has alerted my Spider Sense.

Hanna B
03-19-2012, 02:25 AM
he is still practicing Aikido while I am not. My older daughter now entering her teenage asked me when she could join Aikido; my face fell. This is killing me; I love the art, but the culture that accepts and enables this repels me. What would you do?

You are no longer doing aikido, it seems. If you still love aikido maybe it's time for you to find another dojo and/or suggest another dojo for your daughter.

philipsmith
03-19-2012, 06:05 AM
If the young woman in question was of the age of consent, then the conduct, however distasteful to me personally, was probably lawful.

ON THE OTHER HAND, if she was underage and their relationship was anything other than platonic, then we are discussing criminal and predatory behavior in almost any culture or jurisdiction. If that was the situation (and Angry Father isn't clear on this), his current relationship is irrelevant to his future behavior. These guys are on the hunt and stay on the hunt until they are stopped. Many, if not most, sexual predators I've dealt with over the years were in significant relationships and still continued to seek out victims. Allowing such an individual to continue training and teaching speaks volumes about that dojo and its' leadership.

Since Angry Father hasn't been entirely clear, I won't throw stones, but this situation has alerted my Spider Sense.

Utterly agree

one other thing might be an issue. Even if the original relationship was platonic was the girl "groomed" to enter into a relationship when it was legal? I have seen this happen both in Aikido and my professional life in higher education.

On the other hand if the girl was an "old" teenager (19 or so) althogh the situation may be distatsteful to the OP this may just be acase of mutual attraction. My daughters partner is 10 years older than her, and one of my best friends wives (who he met through Aikido) is 20 years younger than him.

All situations are different

Amir Krause
03-19-2012, 10:43 AM
As a father of small girls (about 4 yrs old), Ido realize your reasons for concern, but I am not sure the of the nature of the situation. It seems to me, neither are you.

There are two possibilities here:
* The innocent one: He & She were attracted to eachother despite the age difference, both waited until she came of age. Nothing could have affected the relationship in the dojo or outside of it, and it has nothing to do with Aikido. Their relationship was "meant to be" regrdless of your prejustice about it, and would likly continue until he dies of old age.
And, most important, he is not looking for a younger replacement of her. Further, if the relationship breaks he may find anyone else (young or old).

* The predatory one: He is a predator, who found some young victim who enjoyed his attention, but he keeps looking and will not be satisified.

Another question to be asked here, is why did you not interfere while she was younger? If you thought you shouldn't, why do you think others should have (including the dojo cho)? Are you sure the dojo-cho did not look into this and got convinced it is the first type?

Aikido community is not safer inherently than any other, you can still have adults of mixed sex and age mingling and befriending each other. Few might be predators, others may be just looking for a soul mate without limits. It is the responsibility of all members of the community to stop the predators, regardless of rank.

Amir

angry_father
03-19-2012, 12:52 PM
the age difference is more like 30 years. Maybe you are right, It is none of my business, I did nothing then because I did not know what to do. I left the dojo altogether; it has been years now; it hurt I helped build that place; I put a piece of my life in that school. Both people joined years later than I. I saw them together casually, out of class, recently, and it made me angry again, but I see that the "love" will be brought in as a justificaition. I am not going to speculate on what else goes on in their lives, as I see this, I am not going to be comfortable with any situation in which such difference in power exists. The dojo cho did not see fit to constrain the man , he must have concluded it is love.

Michael Hackett
03-19-2012, 01:38 PM
So, Angry Father, which was it? Was the young woman under the age of consent at the time or not? It makes a difference.

Marc Abrams
03-19-2012, 01:58 PM
Angry Father:

Nobody is saying that the past was appropriate as much as nobody was saying that this conduct is acceptable within Aikido as a martial art. Why are you allowing that one incident to so govern how you would like to respond to your daughter's request to try Aikido?

Marc Abrams

kewms
03-19-2012, 02:59 PM
If you are not comfortable at a dojo, you shouldn't train there and shouldn't encourage your daughter to do so. That's independent of the objective reality of the situation. Only you can decide whether you are comfortable allowing your daughter to be around these people.

But there are lots of other dojos. It's one thing to say "this dojo is wrong for me," quite another to abandon the art altogether.

Katherine

danj
03-19-2012, 06:17 PM
A slight segue - Aikido I think has definite tendency to operate as a charasmatic group (sometimes called cult). All of the major tick boxes can be there
- a clear hierarchy with absolute power
- magical mystical power you can only get from one source
- absence of external controls
- clear boundaries of who is in and who is out
- presumption that demonstrable expertise translates to character and expertise in other areas

All that stops this from running away is the head of the dojo. I have seen the tendencies in quite a few dojos I've been in. It works, people are looking for direction and meaning and an infallible teacher can be seen to have it all. Rightly or wrongly students can beg for it and support it in their behaviours and Aikido as 'the way of harmony' attracts those interested in becoming whole and easy for instructors to be 'intoxicated' by it as well. When power comes to those stepping into authority and such a structure exists the results can be unpredictable. Abraham Lincoln says it best “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”

Sometimes its almost impossible to do anything other than walk away, so sympathies with Angry father and similar. Here is a quote form a treatment on the subject - its the only one on hand…sorry. " ..In such groups leaders can make demands on followers that are seen as abusive by outsiders,... the group operates as a close knit social system and its activities are generally only carried with other members of the group. ...Boundary control is exercised by the group and compliance with group norms is assured by members....A clear difference between members and non-members is exercised"† (Cults, Faith Healing and Coercion, M. Galanter, Oxford university Press 1989).†

lbb
03-19-2012, 08:49 PM
A slight segue - Aikido I think has definite tendency to operate as a charasmatic group (sometimes called cult). All of the major tick boxes can be there
- a clear hierarchy with absolute power

Absolute power, how? What's to stop you from walking out?

I understand how cults work. But in order for a cult to have power, you have to buy into the idea that the cult is the sole avenue to something that you absolutely have to have. Do you have any evidence that such is true for the majority of aikido practitioners?

Janet Rosen
03-19-2012, 08:59 PM
Absolute power, how? What's to stop you from walking out?

I understand how cults work. But in order for a cult to have power, you have to buy into the idea that the cult is the sole avenue to something that you absolutely have to have. Do you have any evidence that such is true for the majority of aikido practitioners?

In 16 years training in a variety of styles I have been aware of one dojo - not one I was a member of - that I would consider a cult in that people allowed the dojocho to make decisions over things outside of their on the mat training. That's one out of a whole lotta dojos I"ve visited, trained at seminars w/ folks from, etc.

danj
03-19-2012, 10:35 PM
Cult is a strong word, probably i should have softened it a bit as we tend to think of extreme examples, rather than the subtleties we might see in different dojo.

I wouldn't say aikido are cult members, though one persons cult is anothers mainstream religion. After all we do wear funny clothes, bow to some dead guy who did this amazing stuff we can aspire to yet never be able to do ourselves and only do authentically through one of his disciples.

Walking away I think depends on the buy-in and history is replete with sad stories and the levers applied at the boundary by the group.

Anecdotally I suspect for dojos with a strong charismatic/cult element that there seems to be a tendency to keep away from the aikido fraternity.

Where there are unusual cultural norms..perhaps in the case of this thread...i suspect there is something to it

best,
dan

Aikibu
03-19-2012, 10:50 PM
In 16 years training in a variety of styles I have been aware of one dojo - not one I was a member of - that I would consider a cult in that people allowed the dojocho to make decisions over things outside of their on the mat training. That's one out of a whole lotta dojos I"ve visited, trained at seminars w/ folks from, etc.

Word.. Thanks Janet. This is America and here...Most Aikido "Cult" pretenders go out of business PDQ. The last one I saw had to move back overseas because his students all quit over his BS and like all good cult leaders he announced he was just too good for them and split. :rolleyes:

Aikido is about making connections...even some that I may not "approve" of (Which to date I can count on the fingers of one hand.)...Again in America Sexual Harassment is very clearly defined from both a legal and a social standpoint and most (including young) woman are capable of drawing the line without help.

My personal life and what I do off the mat is none of my Sensei's business However since I may be the only example someone ever sees of Aikido.. I try to be mindful "off the mat". :)

William Hazen

Ayu
03-22-2012, 08:48 AM
So everything turned out nice in the end, apart from loss of hair and figure, lack of beauty, and your own disapproval.
I guess I'm out of fashion in my attitude ... oops, my wife is twelve years younger than I am! Aargh.

Your story seems to have only a tiny connection to Aikido, it could as well have been badminton.

I loved your response! :D

NagaBaba
03-22-2012, 12:08 PM
the age difference is more like 30 years. Maybe you are right, It is none of my business, I did nothing then because I did not know what to do. I left the dojo altogether; it has been years now; it hurt I helped build that place; I put a piece of my life in that school. Both people joined years later than I. I saw them together casually, out of class, recently, and it made me angry again, but I see that the "love" will be brought in as a justificaition. I am not going to speculate on what else goes on in their lives, as I see this, I am not going to be comfortable with any situation in which such difference in power exists. The dojo cho did not see fit to constrain the man , he must have concluded it is love.

What a hypocrite!
YOU allowed to happen this situation and now you blame everyone around (instructor, dojo and entire art of aikido!!).

You are part of society, and you have the rights and Responsibilities. "I did not know what to do' - no kidding? How about asking first police officer on the street - is that too complicated?
It is entirely your fault, you was not up to this situation, don't try to justify your cowardice by blaming aikido now.

angry_father
03-22-2012, 02:32 PM
apologies for late response mr Hackett: I doubt there was anything ilegal when the person was under the legal age.

Mr Baba: Ok, you would call me a coward. Or you would call the first police officer you found, what is that you would have done? Say a 17 year old mooning over a mid 40s aikido yudansha in your class?

kewms
03-22-2012, 08:19 PM
17 year olds can legally consent in many states.

I agree that it's inappropriate for an instructor to get involved with a student, but a 40 year old dating a 17 year old is not necessarily a law enforcement matter.

Katherine

Basia Halliop
03-22-2012, 08:36 PM
The law depends on age but also on whether the older person is in a position of authority or trust.

But it's true, if you're disappointed no one else did 'something' (talk with her parents, discuss with police or other authorities and ask them for advice), the exact same question applies to you as to any other adult there. If there was something potentially harmful happening to a child every adult who suspected it but didn't do something - which of course includes you as much as anyone else - is jointly responsible.

Diffusion of responsibility is often a culprit when people need help and no one helps them despite multiple people seeing -- everyone assumes it's someone else's responsibility to 'do something'.

OTOH, if the young woman was an adult unless the relationship was abusive it's not really anyone else's business. I might find a 30 year age difference very off-putting but so what? It's her life, not mine or yours. We're all free to live our own lives as we choose.

Keith Larman
03-23-2012, 10:07 AM
17 year olds can legally consent in many states.

I agree that it's inappropriate for an instructor to get involved with a student, but a 40 year old dating a 17 year old is not necessarily a law enforcement matter.

Katherine

Yeah, there are multiple issues intertwined here.

One is about sexual abuse of a minor.

The other is about age differences.

Sexual abuse of a minor is inexcusable and adults need to be proactive to protect kids. No excuses here. If that's the case then NagaBaba's rather bombastic post has a foundation.

Age differences, well, that's another "can of worms" as they say. I remember having dinner years ago with a friend who was upset about the whole "Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton" affair. As we enjoyed our pasta I came to realize the core of her anger came from seeing Clinton as, in her words, "abusing that poor girl through his power". Which I found unfair to Ms. Lewinsky. I agree that some men use their position/wealth/power as means of attracting women. But... An *adult* women also has free will, also has a brain, and also is allowed to live her life as she see's fit. OF COURSE, if the person in a position of authority/power and is using that authority to actually coerce, that is one thing and is clearly wrong. But if the woman is attracted to the guy because of that authority or perceived power, well, that's her thing. I may end up thinking less of both parties, but they're also both adults. Maybe the older one is taking advantage of their position while the younger one is shallowly attracted to the perceived (or real) power. The issue her is whether both parties are willing participants. In some cases they are (and I've read nothing that indicates that the Lewinsky/Clinton thing was anything other than a young woman willingly having a "relationship" with a powerful man). We may find their motivations crass and shallow, but in both cases it is their life to live.

So WRT Lewinsky I thought my friend's position that she was "abused" by the powerful man somewhat misguided. She was an adult at the time and decided to do what she decided to do. Implying she wasn't able to control herself or was somehow not able to refuse paints a rather insulting view of young women as weak creatures unable to control themselves. Frankly I felt the issue was between Clinton and Lewinsky or Clinton and Clinton. Consenting adults (and I'm leaving aside the discussion of Clinton lying about having the affair and the political firestorm that erupted). So fwiw I never saw any interview with Lewinsky that showed she was coerced in any fashion. Sure, maybe she was attracted to power and his charisma, but again, she is an adult and can make those decisions for herself.

As a tangent, I recently noticed a review of a book that argued that the increased number of single professional women in positions of power and authority is starting to change the "playing field" WRT sexual politics and relationships for some.

Anyway, predatory behavior with minors is never permissible. That is a given. But that's quite different from an older person who has a relationship with a younger adult (as contrasted with *child*). I may think less of the people involved as I may think they're acting on base, crude or shallow instincts, but as adults, well, that's what they get to do.

NagaBaba
03-23-2012, 12:27 PM
The law depends on age but also on whether the older person is in a position of authority or trust.

But it's true, if you're disappointed no one else did 'something' (talk with her parents, discuss with police or other authorities and ask them for advice), the exact same question applies to you as to any other adult there. If there was something potentially harmful happening to a child every adult who suspected it but didn't do something - which of course includes you as much as anyone else - is jointly responsible.

Diffusion of responsibility is often a culprit when people need help and no one helps them despite multiple people seeing -- everyone assumes it's someone else's responsibility to 'do something'.

OTOH, if the young woman was an adult unless the relationship was abusive it's not really anyone else's business. I might find a 30 year age difference very off-putting but so what? It's her life, not mine or yours. We're all free to live our own lives as we choose.
Good post Basia!

Keith Larman
03-23-2012, 12:31 PM
I just reread my post and felt I really should add something. I do think that some will get in to relationships for all the wrong reasons sometimes. Sometimes it's the appeal of experience/age/power/wealth/whatever. But that said people fall in love because they, well, fall in love, and it can be really complicated. In which case it just is what it is. Whether they're both 35 or whether one is 60 and the other 25. And even in cases where others on the sideline look sideways at a couple thinking they're in it for all the wrong reasons, I'm just happy that someone found another soul who loves them back. And hope for the best for everyone.

Kids -- watch and protect.

Adults -- live and let live.

Marie Noelle Fequiere
03-23-2012, 01:52 PM
Well, primarily I have to ask if his attention was inappropriate ON the mat. Off the mat is no one's business but their own. If they intended to pursue a romantic relationship, I feel that speaking to the Dojo Cho would have been the respectful thing to do since he was teaching a class. It sounds like they have a steady relationship that has been ongoing for awhile and this wasn't some sort of fling designed to make him feel better about himself at the expense of the girl's self esteem. Plus, as a woman, I generally only date men 8-12 years older than me as a rule. I've found that the way my life has gone, I work better in a relationship with a man with more life experience.

On a side note, you do realize you will despise all of your daughter's boyfriends, right? If it isn't an age issue, there will be multiple other reasons for you to decide he's not good enough for your little girl. Keeping her out of Aikido for fear she will meet an older man may seem rational to you right now, but I assure you the teenage boys she goes to school with who will inevitably ask her out will be just as distasteful to you.

--Ashley

Thank you, Ashley, I love your answer. Now, I would like to add something:
Angry Father, let's talk about your daughter.
She's a teenager, and it might be time to talk to her about boys and men. You cannot raise her in a fortress, and if you want her to be a responsible and independent adult one day, you need to start teaching her now.
Wherever you will take her, or let her go, she will be in danger of attracting some pedophile's attention. You will not be able to follow her step by step wherever she will go, and she needs to be informed about the dangers out there. Not to mention the fact that preventing her to have some activities outside of her school is not recommended and will backfire one day.
So look for another dojo, if you feel that it will make you more comfortable, but we have a saying here that says: you know what you are leaving behind, but you do not know what you will find ahead.
You want to keep your little girl safe, your wife and you need to talk to her.

David Maidment
03-23-2012, 07:40 PM
I have to say that I read the original post and felt a certain level of disgust.

What business is it of yours if a teacher someone pursues a student outside of the 'classroom'? I am friends with my sensei outside of training, and during class I'm fairly certain they extend a certain level of preferential treatment and attention to me; it's not necessarily fair, but it's human nature. Should he ignore someone he's got close to in 'real life', just because you have an irrational knee-jerk belief that there is something inherently wrong with an older man who is involved with a younger girl (by your own admission, nothing 'illegal' was taking place)?

And now they're in a happy, enduring relationship? How awful, sir. How truly awful. Lock up your daughter now, before she gets ensnared by someone who will stick by her for years.

Unless you have actual proof that something illegal transpired, I sincerely hope that you have kept these opinions to yourself; what you are implying (rather baselessly, from what you have said so far) can be extremely damaging to a person's reputation, career and personal relationships.

Marie Noelle Fequiere
03-24-2012, 08:33 AM
Another thing, Angry Father. What worries me is not so much your reaction to the events that you witnessed but rather your attitude toward your daughter. Beware of the danger of over protecting her. And, also, since you are so worried about her safety - like any responsible parent should be -, Aikido might teach her a thing or two about fending off unwanted attention.
So what do you say?

danger run
03-24-2012, 01:43 PM
Around the time of my shodan test my home dojo was joined by a returning aikidoist, a middle aged gentleman some decades years out of training, from a certain very proud lineage different. This is killing me; I love the art, but the culture that accepts and enables this repels me. What would you do?
Hard and fast reality check, no beating arond the bush. What is with the comprise mom? Any good parent would not question what to do. You sound like a good parent. How can a parent even make a choice between their child's welfare and a recreational activity. A 40 YEAR OLD MAN has no business with teenagers. This is an emotional and personal issue for me too. As a father who does aikido I would not hesitate to leave that dojo instantly.

sakumeikan
03-24-2012, 07:53 PM
Hard and fast reality check, no beating arond the bush. What is with the comprise mom? Any good parent would not question what to do. You sound like a good parent. How can a parent even make a choice between their child's welfare and a recreational activity. A 40 YEAR OLD MAN has no business with teenagers. This is an emotional and personal issue for me too. As a father who does aikido I would not hesitate to leave that dojo instantly.

Hi,
While I agree that grooming or behaviour of a sexual nature is clearly out of order if the girl in question is underage , if the girl in question is over the age of consent and both parties are happy to be together in a relationship built on a sound foundation, pray , make I ask , what has age got to do with it?People are human, what may well attract one person may well repel someone else. Older women , some quite famous, now marry much younger men.My own view is this, if two people care and respect each other and are of legal age what business is it of anyone else? A father or mother may well have reservations but in the end its the man/ woman who makes the decision.If the relationship is sound it will survive if not both parties will split up.This of course is quite normal in couples where the age difference is not so great.
Cheers, Joe
Cheers, Joe.

lbb
03-24-2012, 08:07 PM
I have to say that I read the original post and felt a certain level of disgust.

What business is it of yours if a teacher someone pursues a student outside of the 'classroom'?

Well, unfortunately, the answer to that isn't cut and dried. At the risk of oversimplifying, I think there are two issues -- speaking in the general case, not specific to this one.

The first is whether the student is being harmed. Let's leave age of consent out of it for the moment, and suppose the student was an adult. If you knew someone who was in a relationship and you believed that relationship to be abusive, what would you do? Possibly nothing. But possibly you would do something -- talk to the person that you believe is being abused, express concern, listen carefully to the answers, offer information on resources. You wouldn't be obligated to do any of that, and to some people, that would make it "none of your business". Other people see it differently.

The second is whether the student is under the age of consent, which varies a lot from state to state. In some cases, it's low enough that being below the age of consent virtually guarantees that the person's judgment is not mature enough for a sexual relationship. In others, it's high enough that by the time you can legally consent to sex, you can also join the military. You can see, therefore, that the age of consent doesn't tell you whether someone actually is capable of giving informed consent -- but as Zonker Harris once said, "It may or may not be wrong, but it sure is against the law." If one partner is below the age of consent, the adult partner is risking a world of legal hurt. Even if you think the relationship is fine and dandy and are favorably disposed towards the parties involved, you might drop a word to the wise and help them avoid a lot of trouble.

I am friends with my sensei outside of training, and during class I'm fairly certain they extend a certain level of preferential treatment and attention to me; it's not necessarily fair, but it's human nature.

Eh. I understand what you're saying, but what if your sensei's preferential treatment makes other students unhappy? It's "not their business" to tell your sensei not to be friends with you, but the atmosphere in the dojo and the way that they are treated most certainly is their business. If your sensei takes a "not your business" attitude towards that, why would any other students stay?

Unless you have actual proof that something illegal transpired, I sincerely hope that you have kept these opinions to yourself; what you are implying (rather baselessly, from what you have said so far) can be extremely damaging to a person's reputation, career and personal relationships.

Damaged how? OP posted anonymously, gave no hints and named no names.

You don't have to have proof to be convinced in your own mind that something is wrong, and just because it's not legally actionable doesn't mean there's nothing you can do, if the situation strikes you as wrong. At the most basic level, every person has the right to say, "I don't want to be around this" and walk away.

David Maidment
03-25-2012, 08:33 AM
If you knew someone who was in a relationship and you believed that relationship to be abusive, what would you do? Possibly nothing. But possibly you would do something -- talk to the person that you believe is being abused, express concern, listen carefully to the answers, offer information on resources. You wouldn't be obligated to do any of that, and to some people, that would make it "none of your business". Other people see it differently.

This is a huge problem; the leap between 'older man and younger girl' to 'abuse' of some kind. I know you're not necessarily implying it, but we could infer abuse from any relationship that we don't approve of; I don't see any relevance for that being raised here.

The OP has told us both that nothing illegal transpired and that they are now still in an enduring (and from his disgusted description of the couple, happy) relationship. He has said nothing whatsoever to suggest that the sensei in question was ever anything other than decent.

And with regards to age of consent, Jesus... I don't even want to get started on that one. I agree; young people can't make informed decisions, but then most people don't really reach the level where they can until they're well into their thirties, at the very least. But it's also true that, when a child makes a decision, they know damned well what they're doing (if not being able to realise the full repercussions of their actions) -- we're far too comfortable as a society to strip children of any responsibility for their actions. So that issue is probably best left untouched, if no 'age of consent' laws were broken.

Damaged how? OP posted anonymously, gave no hints and named no names.

I'm more worried about him saying or hinting at these things not-so-anonymously in the local community or even around peers, students or sempai of the sensei in question. He seems extremely angry and under those circumstances it is very easy to let slip with an off-hand remark.

If he has a genuine concern, he should speak to the police and provide them with evidence that something illegal has transpired. If not, he should let other people get on with their lives and just accept that people will willingly make decisions that he may consider bad ones.

At the most basic level, every person has the right to say, "I don't want to be around this" and walk away.

What bothers me is that he has went beyond doing this, to say "My older daughter now entering her teenage asked me when she could join Aikido; my face fell. This is killing me; I love the art, but the culture that accepts and enables this repels me."

Why has no one taken issue with this? I could be wrong (and please correct me if I am), but it does not seem the case that he has considered finding a dojo for his daughter where people that he approves of teach, but rather that he's associating what he considers predatory and somehow-immoral behaviour with the Aikido community as a whole.

danger run
03-25-2012, 10:22 AM
Many laws of consent are out dated. The antiquated thought of womenhood was based on primative ignorance of a woman's body and her identity was sorely abused. when a female child started menstration that deemed her marriage ready. Women where generally considered breeding chattel. Simply property of men of 20-50+ years old starring at the time of menstration. Completely disregarding what the girl may have felt. It seems reminents of such barbarian thought still hangs on. In these modern times it isn't acceptable.

kewms
03-25-2012, 11:06 AM
Many laws of consent are out dated. The antiquated thought of womenhood was based on primative ignorance of a woman's body and her identity was sorely abused. when a female child started menstration that deemed her marriage ready. Women where generally considered breeding chattel. Simply property of men of 20-50+ years old starring at the time of menstration. Completely disregarding what the girl may have felt. It seems reminents of such barbarian thought still hangs on. In these modern times it isn't acceptable.

I'm not sure what your point is... Since modern law recognizes a right to bodily integrity -- ie, the right not to be raped -- non-consensual sex is always illegal. That's not what's at issue here.

Katherine

Aikibu
03-25-2012, 01:27 PM
I'm not sure what your point is... Since modern law recognizes a right to bodily integrity -- ie, the right not to be raped -- non-consensual sex is always illegal. That's not what's at issue here.

Katherine

Agreed...In fact there is no real issue here...The only thing I can see is that this man has an issue with his own morality and he thinks this particular Dojo and Dojo-Cho shares some of the "blame".

While the some laws (and minds) still need to be changed to address the equality of woman in our Society The facts are this person has no "case" here and is just wondering why his version of morality is not the norm.

I know allot of men and woman in relationships that share a 10 to 30 year age difference between partners. Who am I to judge? I myself am 51 and have been single a long time. I still wish to have a family. Do the Math. Thank God I live in a Society that allows for a normal healthy relationship to develop between two people regardless of age, race, or creed.

William Hazen

LinTal
03-25-2012, 02:09 PM
The only thing I can see is that this man has an issue with his own morality and he thinks this particular Dojo and Dojo-Cho shares some of the "blame".

I know allot of men and woman in relationships that share a 10 to 30 year age difference between partners. Who am I to judge?

Age difference becomes a much more pertinant issue in youth; the question here isn't essentially (in my opinion) legality, but a reconciliation of headspace. A gap of 10-20 years at, say, the 18y.o. mark would be more more significant than one at the age of 30-40.

It's not about judging, as in placing an emotional quality on the situation. It's about judging to try our best to assess the merit and mutual benefit of a scenario or state as best we can.

As for the rest... I believe this thread has become largely speculative, hence the silence from many responders. Maybe some clarity by the o.p. on the issues raised could be shed. Otherwise, what's the point in going on as we've been? People being taken advantage of is clearly abhorrent, but the extent to which that has happened is questionable, and has been clearly questioned.

Mary Eastland
03-25-2012, 03:42 PM
I see 2 different issues here.

1. You blaming your leaving Aikido on someone elses behavior.
2. A dojo feeling unsafe because of a predatory older male.

My thoughts on # 1: I would not feel comfortable practicing in that dojo. I would find another.
My thoughts on # 2: I would tell the leader of the first dojo why I was leaving.

lbb
03-26-2012, 09:32 AM
This is a huge problem; the leap between 'older man and younger girl' to 'abuse' of some kind. I know you're not necessarily implying it, but we could infer abuse from any relationship that we don't approve of; I don't see any relevance for that being raised here.

I wasn't making the leap. If it wasn't crystal clear, I was pointing out that IF you suspect abuse, then you may feel you should do something, whether the victim is of the age of consent or not.

The OP has told us both that nothing illegal transpired and that they are now still in an enduring (and from his disgusted description of the couple, happy) relationship. He has said nothing whatsoever to suggest that the sensei in question was ever anything other than decent.

Well, see, legal and decent are two different things, and clearly he didn't think it was decent. Whether you and I would agree is kind of beside the point.

And with regards to age of consent, Jesus... I don't even want to get started on that one. I agree; young people can't make informed decisions, but then most people don't really reach the level where they can until they're well into their thirties, at the very least. But it's also true that, when a child makes a decision, they know damned well what they're doing (if not being able to realise the full repercussions of their actions) -- we're far too comfortable as a society to strip children of any responsibility for their actions. So that issue is probably best left untouched, if no 'age of consent' laws were broken.

I'm not in favor of treating adolescents as infants until they reach the magic age of majority, but there is also growing evidence of developmental (physiological?) differences that make younger people less capable of making a reasoned judgment -- not due to lack of information or even the means to process it, but due to a stronger (or perhaps less governed) tendency towards impulsiveness.

I think also that we in the United States have to struggle against a strong identification of impulsive behaviors as gratifying behaviors. It's been a strong part of product marketing for a long time, the sort of "hey, what the hell, if it feels good do it" approach, creating positive associations with impulsive behaviors: they're fun, they're how we reward ourselves, they indicate a free and adventurous and spontaneous character, etc. We don't have a culture that encourages the development of restraint (not to be confused with repressiveness). People like to dismiss our age of consent laws as a puritanical holdover, but I wonder if it's not also a recognition that we don't foster self-governing characters as much as we could/should.

What bothers me is that he has went beyond doing this, to say "My older daughter now entering her teenage asked me when she could join Aikido; my face fell. This is killing me; I love the art, but the culture that accepts and enables this repels me."

Why has no one taken issue with this? I could be wrong (and please correct me if I am), but it does not seem the case that he has considered finding a dojo for his daughter where people that he approves of teach, but rather that he's associating what he considers predatory and somehow-immoral behaviour with the Aikido community as a whole.

Well, what's the point of taking issue? Anytime someone starts painting with that broad a brush, it's clearly not rational, so why would you bother to address it with a rational argument? "All suchandsuch are thusandso" is so obviously flawed, why even bother to address it? It's not like the person who made the statement is going to say, "Hmm, you know, you're right! The aikido community is NOT immoral and predatory as a whole!"

chubbycubbysmash
04-26-2012, 03:10 PM
*slowly raises hand...*

Um, can I just say that my fiance is 12 years older than me, was and is still my Aikido teacher, met when I was 20, dating when I was 21, been together for two years and we're now about to waltz into our happily ever after with our wedding just a month away, and not once did I feel like I was coerced or interested in his "power?" In fact, we ended up liking each other OFF the mat (because he's pretty much strict and professional and has the emotional capacity of a rock on the mat) so the whole teacher-student thing, especially to two consenting adults, pretty much means zilch to me, although one or two people did express the thought that it was "indecent."

Although I wonder if it's a cultural thing as my parents were actually quite supportive of it. Those people quickly changed their minds though, after getting to know me better, seeing us together, and what our relationship was able to bring out so we effectively have everyone's blessings.

I do think 17 is a bit young, but there are quite a few mature 17 year old out there who can handle older relationships. Like a previous poster, I had and have trouble connecting with boys my age and tend to prefer older company for more intellectual pursuits. Try convincing a typical 23 year old boy to indulge with you into the teachings of the Dalai Lama and you'd get quite a few blank stares.

Now, that's not to say there aren't strange and creepy and predatory people in ANY community, no matter which one you go to (I can't think of one that isn't, except maybe the deceased), that may prey on the weak and naive and defenseless--but at a certain point you have to say: I've given my child enough skills for him/her to know the signs, and to make informed decisions. I cannot protect him/her from all the evils of the world, so I need to trust that he/she will know what is best for himself/herself.

I think it depends on the age and maturity level of the child in question though, but requires the parent to truly know their child's capabilities, and not dismissing or downplaying it. I know all parents would be horrified if their children made a choice they don't agree with, regardless of age, but that the choice may not be "wrong." Just different.

If my child chose a path I disagreed with, and if it was not illegal to do so, I would express my displeasure but I would not stop them (unless of course it results in health or life-threatening situations) as long as they were not living under my roof. My house, my rules. Don't like it, you may leave and support yourself and be the adult you wish to be.

I do find the blanket statements about age and maturity (although often correlated, does not hold true all the time) a bit off putting, particularly because to many people, my age would afford the the respect of a "child." But my life experiences and responsibilities (multiple home-owner, multiple business owner, having been primary caretakers of hospitalized and aging grandparents and an immature younger sister when my own parents had other duties to attend to) would place me into the category of someone who is considerably older.

I also know of several people who are well into their late 30's and those well into their 70's who, although adult in a physical sense, are considerably childish in their emotional capacity and ability to deal with different situations.

So I guess my question is: who sets the standard for what counts as moral or immoral, decent or indecent, adult or child, when no laws have been broken?

ninjaqutie
04-30-2012, 01:36 PM
.....My own view is this, if two people care and respect each other and are of legal age what business is it of anyone else? A father or mother may well have reservations but in the end its the man/ woman who makes the decision. If the relationship is sound it will survive if not both parties will split up. This of course is quite normal in couples where the age difference is not so great.

I couldn't agree more with you Joe and you will see why once I finish my story after this other quote....

Um, can I just say that my fiancť is 12 years older than me, was and is still my Aikido teacher, met when I was 20, dating when I was 21, been together for two years and we're now about to waltz into our happily ever after with our wedding just a month away, and not once did I feel like I was coerced or interested in his "power?"

I am along for the ride here with you. I met my husband in a dojo when I was in 9th grade- donít be alarmed yet!!! He was more or less just another person in the dojo and I paid him no mind for the longest time. In fact, many of those years, I had boyfriends my age. It wasn't until I was 20 that I became attracted to him. An unusual set of circumstances that I was going through had my world falling apart and he became a great friend to me and that friendship slowly grew into something more.
At that time, he was an instructor of mine (he was not an instructor of mine until about a year before that) and was teaching me tai chi and aikido. My main martial arts instructor had a big issue with it because he was in a position of authority over me.... and then there is the age difference. He is older than my parents.... He was in his early 50's when I met him. Disturbing to some.... disgusting to others. To us, it was love.

We were able to keep things professional on the mat. In fact, if anything, he kept more distance away from me in an attempt to not give me preferential treatment and he also wasn't the main teacher, so things worked out fine. That was back in 2005.... now we are going on almost four years of happily wedded marriage and we are still practicing martial arts together. I have found it surprising that among my seminar travels that we are not the only huge age gap couple in the aikido community (Iím talking 20 years plus). Nor are we a rarity that a teacher and a student ended up happily married.....

Iím not saying what we did is right for everyone, but it was right for us. It could have been right for the couple in your dojo too IF she was of legal age at the time. Some states also have really tricky legal consent age things. Like Delaware (I think) is 17, but the other person also has to be within five years age wiseÖ so if anything sexual was going on, then that relationship is still considered illegal. Once they are of age though, then that five year rule goes out the window. Or at least that is what the law used to beÖ could have changed by nowÖ

BOTTOM LINE: If your daughter wants to do aikido, let her. Find her a dojo you are happy with. The past is the past. You canít change what you did or didnít do.

chubbycubbysmash
05-01-2012, 02:26 PM
...I am along for the ride here with you. I met my husband in a dojo when I was in 9th grade- don't be alarmed yet!!! He was more or less just another person in the dojo and I paid him no mind for the longest time. In fact, many of those years, I had boyfriends my age. It wasn't until I was 20 that I became attracted to him. An unusual set of circumstances that I was going through had my world falling apart and he became a great friend to me and that friendship slowly grew into something more.

At that time, he was an instructor of mine (he was not an instructor of mine until about a year before that) and was teaching me tai chi and aikido. My main martial arts instructor had a big issue with it because he was in a position of authority over me.... and then there is the age difference. He is older than my parents.... He was in his early 50's when I met him. Disturbing to some.... disgusting to others. To us, it was love.


Yes yes, precisely! I thought he was just another person, and quite an unremarkable person at that because he's introverted and I didn't notice him at all, except for the fact that I took his classes. Also count me in for the unusual set of circumstances (although it was he that was going through it at the time) and we ended up being good friends that developed into something more.

Even to some of my peers it was strange, but you can't help who you love, right?