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memyselfandi
07-23-2002, 03:12 PM
As an Orthodox Jewish male I'm not permitted to purposefully touch a woman (not before marriage that is. And no, this is not a sexist issue). After watching a class at a local dojo, I discovered that while some of the practice is 1 on 1, a lot of it is everyone in the class lining up for Ukemi against one Nage. The former is not so much of a problem (just never pick a female partner), but the latter may cause some difficulties.
I’ve already spoken with the sensei about it, and he said that it shouldn’t be a problem for a couple of years at least (until I’m more advanced and have to practice with anyone I can).
I’m wondering if I should really go through with this. I'm kind of embarrassed to have to exclude anyone from practicing a technique with me, but I think I'll be able to handle it. What I'm really worried about is offending someone else...
Has anyone else witnessed (or experienced) this problem? How was it handled in your Dojo?

rachmass
07-23-2002, 03:37 PM
I would be offended if someone refused to work with me because of their religion. This is my feeling as a woman, I don't know how others feel about it. I don't impose my beliefs on others and don't expect theirs imposed on me, in particular on the mat.

Rev_Sully
07-23-2002, 03:41 PM
It seems that perhaps uke/nage should be viewed beyond gender.

Although you have a prohibition against touching women pre-marriage, perhaps you should see beyond the gender of your uke/nage. I have no practical examples for you. Only opinion. The dojo is a sacred space just as a Temple or Church is.

With the like prohibitions, you should also be concerned about bowing to the Kaimza, the altar at the head of the dojo under O-Sensei's portrait as violation of the Mosaic Covenant Respecting graven images and gods before YHWH seeing that the Kamiza Respects the Japanese notion of the Kami, the Deity which watches over "us".

But people should respect your religiosity and you should not have to made to practice with women if that makes you uncomfortable/violates Judaic Law.

Cheers!

rachmass
07-23-2002, 03:44 PM
In twenty years of aikido, I have never heard of someone not working with a woman because they are a woman! Sorry about the bluntness of this, but it is offensive as a woman aikidoka.

rachmass
07-23-2002, 04:03 PM
another thought on this: substitute woman for a person of color, someone with a handicap, an older person, you get the gest of it. would that be acceptable? I dont think so. "Sorry Sensei, I can't work with Joe because he's ....."

Choku Tsuki
07-23-2002, 04:11 PM
OSensei said [something to the effect that] "aikido is a way to make the world one family."

You have to practice with everyone.

If you can't practice with everyone, then you shouldn't show up to class, and you should forget about aikido.

I don't think we should discuss religion within this forum.

rachmass
07-23-2002, 04:13 PM
here, here Chuck, well said!

Jakusotsu
07-23-2002, 04:27 PM
As much as it may offend you, it's his religion. He is as perfectly justified in subscribing to his religious beliefs as you are to venturing the idea that your five senses provide you accurate information about the world around you and that you are not being controlled by some great malevolent force whose sole reason for existence is the perverse amusement it receives from orchestrating your deception.

One might consider Orthodox Jewish religious beliefs offensive. Rene Descarte might venture to say that one who believes in indirect realism without justifying it is naive.

One is capable of differentiating bowing to the kamiza, and to each other from worship. It does not necessarily follow logically that if one believes that one should not purposefully touch women, that this stricture does not apply to martial arts.

The Orthodox Jew, insofar as I understand them, do not avoid touching women because they are women. They avoid touching women to keep themselves pure. Not because women are dirty, but because they wish to prevent anything illicit from happening and have taken the above measures as a precaution.

They make this choice not because they believe women degraded, but because they wish to maintain personal integrity. This has nothing to do with the qualities that inhere in women, but the qualities that inhere in the self. This is a description of self-control, not of prejudice. Substituting "woman" for "person of color" in this case is ridiculous, unless one feels an unusual attraction to persons of color.

My suggestion to Mr. Ari Fuchs is that he reflect on whether or not training with women constitutes a violation of his personal ethics. This is something he should do rationally, without heeding knee-jerks reaction to imagined insults.

If he decides he does not wish to train with women, and if he is questioned about it, he should assert simply that he doesn't purposefully touch women in any way in accordance with his religious beliefs. If this is likely to cause offense, he should qualify it with the statement that he is doing this to maintain his personal integrity, not because he lacks respect for women.

That said, I do offer this old Zen proverb:

Two monks were walking along a path in a snow-capped mountain. It was spring and the snow was beginning to melt, forming little rivulets. On their way to the monastery, the monks saw a woman who couldn't get across the water. Offering to help, one of the monks let the woman climb onto his back, and he carried her accross the stream.

Later the monks had almost returned to the monastery. One monk looked to the other and said, "I can't believe you did that! You know its our policy never to touch women!"

The other monk looked to him and said, "I put her down after we crossed the river. Are you still carrying her with you?"

Mr. Fuchs may or may not find that useful. That's for him to decide after considerate reflection.

I apologize for the length.

Kent Enfield
07-23-2002, 04:54 PM
If I were running a dojo and you came to me with this situation, I'd recommend that you don't train with us. Not because I find your beliefs offensive, but because practicing with everyone in the dojo is part of training. It's like (in effect, not purpose, obviously) saying you'd like to train, but you won't train techniques with the left leg forward, or that start off of yokomen-uchi. It conflicts with part of the curriculum. It is a self-imposed limitation that, as I am sure you are aware, makes some things difficult or impossible. Unfortunately, training aikido just happens to be one of those things.

memyselfandi
07-23-2002, 05:17 PM
This was exactly the response that I was afraid of :( . I repeat, "I do not want to offend anyone". I (as well as my religion) do not have any problem with women, handicap, the elderly, or "people of color". In fact, an orthodox woman would have the same problem training with a male. So whether or not training with women violates my personal ethics, it does violate my religious beliefs.
OSensei said [something to the effect that] "aikido is a way to make the world one family."...If you can't practice with everyone...you should forget about aikido.

I'm sorry, but I do not believe taking Aikido should mean giving up any prior beliefs. I'm trying to find a way to take this Art without offending anyone, but if my religious beliefs cannot be accepted (not by you but by the other students at the dojo) then I will indeed "forget about Aikido".

PS - Thank you Eric for understanding.

lt-rentaroo
07-23-2002, 05:36 PM
I must say I'm suprised at the responses to this question. Really, if anyone should be open minded about this situation, it should be Aikido people.

It's sad that according to most of you, Mr. Fuchs should not study Aikido solely because of his beliefs.

While I personally find this particular belief silly, to Mr. Fuchs it is not. To him, it constitutes a large part of his life and I respect him for having the personal integrity to uphold his beliefs.

I'm certain Mr. Fuchs is not the only Orthodox Jew practicing (or wanting to practice) Aikido.

My advice to you is essentially what you've already done. Speak with Sensei regarding your situation. And even though you wish not to offend anyone, you invariably will, but only because he/she does not fully understand your beliefs. Make it your mission to explain why you maintain this belief. Educating your fellow Aikido students will help tremendously with your desire to study the art.

I wish you well.

shihonage
07-23-2002, 05:45 PM
I was about to say "cue the two zen monks and a woman story", but someone beat me to the punch.

Chris Li
07-23-2002, 06:03 PM
In twenty years of aikido, I have never heard of someone not working with a woman because they are a woman!
I have, more than once. I've heard it the other way, too - they were called "women"s classes". More than a few dojo have those types of classes, but if you think about it they are just as discriminitory as the other way around, and without even having the excuse of a religious tradition that goes back thousands of years.

I had a student years ago who was an orthodox Jew, and although he would touch women there were other parts of the practice (such as bowing to the picture) that he didn't feel comfortable with, Nobody, including well known students of Morihei Ueshiba had a problem with him eliminating those things from his practice, and it really caused no problems at all. As long as the reasons behind the alteration are clearly known to the members of the dojo I don't see any reason why it should present a problem. Certainly I wouldn't try to argue him out of his religious beliefs, as many people seem in favor of doing.

Best,

Chris

Jakusotsu
07-23-2002, 06:08 PM
>>.PS - Thank you Eric for understanding.

Understanding is something that I work hard at doing. Thank you for having given me an opportunity to succeed.

...................................

As a previous poster pointed out, O'sensei said that the goal of Aikido was to make all the world one family.

I think this would be accomplished much more quickly if we would begin accepting those with reasonable, if somewhat different from our own, beliefs, as opposed to trying to railroad everyone into a set of dogmatics.

"All people are created equal" is just as dogmatic as "There is no God but Allah and Muhammed is his prophet" (to borrow from another thread). "Women are equal to men," "AIDS cures gays" and "We all have a right to express our opinions" are likewise.

We live in vary confusing times and the media, e.g., will not provide the truth for us. I maintain that we must rationally reflect, and allow no one to dictate to us of what this rational reflection should consist. When we express dogma as accross-the-board-truth, we cheapen the human power of reason.

I encourage Mr. Fuchs' practice of Aikido. To disallow him that oppportunity would be to disenfranchise him from the "world family" to which Aikido aspires.

He should of course be mindful of his differing beliefs and practice where it will cause the least conflict. I do not recommend he join the Sister Mary Francis Catholic School for Girls' Aikido Club. :)

Chuck Clark
07-23-2002, 06:15 PM
I wanted to respond to this subject and have deleted half-a-dozen streams of thought. I have strong feelings about this. I will leave it at this...

I have personally (on several occasions) not accepted students in the Jiyushinkan (my dojo) that had similar beliefs (Orthodox Jews and Muslims). No one refuses to practice with another member of our dojo.

Mr. Fuchs certainly has the right to his beliefs. He may find a dojo that will allow him to not touch women. Most likely it will be an all male dojo or an all male orthodox Jewish dojo, etc.

Best of luck to you, Mr. Fuchs. You may learn to throw people down, but in my opinion, you won't be doing aikido. (and with my opinion and about $3.50 you can get a really good cup of coffee!)

Chris Li
07-23-2002, 06:15 PM
OSensei said [something to the effect that] "aikido is a way to make the world one family."

You have to practice with everyone.

If you can't practice with everyone, then you shouldn't show up to class, and you should forget about aikido.

I don't think we should discuss religion within this forum.
So Aikido should make the world "one family", except for those who won't follow the rules? How are people going to become "one family" if they should "forget about Aikido"?

Best,

Chris

rachmass
07-23-2002, 06:16 PM
All of you have valid points in your comments. I still would feel this that this situation does not belong on the mat. Bowing is one thing, discrimination (and it is discrimination, whether it is religious beliefs or not) is another. Everyone of us is entitled to our opinion, but it shouldn't be foist upon others. I accept all of your opinions, but do not necessarily agree with them (they are yours, and are therefore valid to have). I would like to hear what other women have to say on this matter.

We all benefit from working with each other, men and women, strong and weak, beginner and senior. We all learn from each other.

I think we need to keep religion out of this conversation, as Chuck noted above.

Steven
07-23-2002, 06:25 PM
Dear Ari Fuchs,

I expected you'd get these types of replies too. However, everyone is entitled to their beliefs just as you are. I personally don't see anything offensive about it and have seen a lot worst in Aikido dojos in my view. I visited one dojo that actually had a womans only class taught by a woman but when the men wanted their own class, the women cried fowl. I made the mistake of not calling the dojo before arriving and showed up on ladies night. EGADS! If looks can kill ... Like, how dare I enter the dojo on THEIR night. YIKES!

Then again, I can see Rachel's point too. I've seen the behavior where men did not want to train with women simply because they are women and nothing else. But then again, I would have to say that for someone who is looking at opening their own dojo, lashing out at someone because of their religous beliefs doesn't help your cause of potential new students that might be lurking in these halls.

I had one little girl in my dojo say she didn't like training with the boys because in her view, all boys were stupid. I'll note at this time it was my youngest daugther. I immediately put her with a boy and only allowed her to train with boys. Her attitude has changed and when it's time to take a partner, she usually grabs a boy. (I think she likes the power it gives her when she man-handles them).

Bottom line is this is between you and your dojo/sensei. If they don't have a problem with it, then to heck with what anyone here thinks.

For the record, you're welcome in my dojo anytime.

Regards ...

Chris Li
07-23-2002, 06:26 PM
I have personally (on several occasions) not accepted students in the Jiyushinkan (my dojo) that had similar beliefs (Orthodox Jews and Muslims). No one refuses to practice with another member of our dojo.
In principle, I agree. I'm not in favor of special treatment for anyone. However, I also believe that any rule should be able to shift dependent upon the intent and the reasoning of the circumstances. I'm not, for example, in favor of seperate classes for women. I might, however, be in favor of seperate classes for battered women who have severe problems interacting physically with men.

I'm a strong believer in inclusive practice. Realistically, that means that in some cases accomodations may have to be made. Many people disagree with that to one degree or another, and that's fine, but it's just not the way that I feel.

Best,

Chris

memyselfandi
07-23-2002, 06:37 PM
rachmass-

I repeat, I have nothing against women!!! And I agree with you Rachel, "men and women, strong and weak, beginner and senior" all do in fact learn from each other. That is not what my religion is against. Not touching members of the opposite sex can indeed be seen as a precautionary measure as Eric mentioned. Let me put it this way; how much easier do you think it would be to avoid premarital sex (a sin in many religions) if you could not touch a member of the opposite sex to begin with?

PS - I’m sorry for bringing in religion, but that is after all what this discussion is about.

PPS – I too would like to see what other women would have to say on this matter.

Jim23
07-23-2002, 07:16 PM
I'm really baffled by this thread.

Tolerant, (even senior) aikido people discriminating against someone else's beliefs or customs? Shame on you all! So what if he doesn't want to have a female partner, who cares?

Respect him and his religion - please.

I can't believe what I've been reading here!

Jim23

giriasis
07-23-2002, 07:26 PM
Ari,

My knee-jerk reaction to you religious views and similar other religious views is that it is sexist. I would be more offended though if someone just didn't want to train with me just because I was female. If we met on the mat at a seminar, and you said that you can't train with me because your an Orthodox Jew, I would respect you albeit not totally understand. Although, I would want to be understanding and would try to flag you down later to learn more about you.

In regards, to whether avoiding pre-marital sex would be easier if I didn't touch men. When I'm on the mat, sex doesn't enter my mind. It's not even an allure while I'm on the mat. For me, training in aikido is genderless, asexual even. I've been training in aikido for three years now and have not had the temptation to have pre-marital sex as a result of touching my partner in the course of aikido training.

Off the mat, hand shakes and friendly hugs don't bring the allure of sex in my mind either. There are different kinds of touching, and I've learned the tell the difference between a sexual attraction and just a friendly affection. So it is hard for me to understand the need to not touch to avoid that temptation.

P.S. I think religion is something that needs to be discussed, since it is very relevant to the question at hand.

Richard Harnack
07-23-2002, 07:27 PM
As an Orthodox Jewish male I'm not permitted to purposefully touch a woman (not before marriage that is. And no, this is not a sexist issue). After watching a class at a local dojo, I discovered that while some of the practice is 1 on 1, a lot of it is everyone in the class lining up for Ukemi against one Nage. The former is not so much of a problem (just never pick a female partner), but the latter may cause some difficulties.

...

I’m wondering if I should really go through with this. I'm kind of embarrassed to have to exclude anyone from practicing a technique with me, but I think I'll be able to handle it. What I'm really worried about is offending someone else...
Ari -

1. As you have seen by Rachel's posts, you may have difficulty in not giving offense.

2. Have you talked to your Rabbi? As an Orthodox Jew I would have thought you would have consulted with him first, since you clearly state it is a religious issue.

3. Perhaps the resolution lies with you. I suspect that ritual purification may be in order after practice anyway.

4. Lastly, not knowing where you live, I in larger cities (NYC or LA) there may be a dojo comprised of Orthodox martial artists.

Our organization has dojos in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and Haifa, how they handle it I do not know. I strongly suspect that Ultra-Orthodox do not practice Aikido or any other "foreign" philosophy.

Chuck Clark
07-23-2002, 07:32 PM
Chris,

I agree, however, this is not one of the reasons that I will bend on. At what point do we draw the line...some folks don't want to practice with beginners, or old people, or skinny, fat, black, white, etc.?

I have told a few students that they could only practice with people on a certain list for awhile. They were leaving great bruises, etc. on others and the ones on the list could handle them with principle and softness until they "caught on".

We have had quite a few students that didn't want to bow or clap, etc. Fine, shake hands with your partner before practice and after is okay.

I think Mr. Fuchs has every right to practice within his beliefs if he can find a place that will go along with it.

Mr. Fuchs,

As far as curtailing pre-marital sex...it's simple...if you don't believe in it...Don't Do It!

There are more than a few in the world that feel nothing wrong with beating women in public if a man has "improper" thoughts when they look at the woman. Of course, it's the woman's fault. I realize I have taken it to a different level than you meant, but if each one of us isn't responsible for our decisions, where does it end?

memyselfandi
07-23-2002, 07:46 PM
I guess that wasn't a very good example. I was not implying that one is not responsible for his actions, I was just trying to give a possible reason for the law. I was never really taught anything of the sort...it's just something that occured to me that might be a reason.

Jim23
07-23-2002, 07:52 PM
The man has a simple request: he doesn't want train with women. Respect it based on his religious belief, let go of predjudice.

Blend with him. I won't make you Jewish.

Jim23

rachmass
07-23-2002, 07:52 PM
From what I understand of this tool of a forum, this conversation between everyone here is just exactly what is supposed to happen. People are voicing their opinions and everyone is listening and replying with theirs. I seem to have stirred up a hornets nest with my response, and I apologize if I have caused offense, as it was certainly not my intention. My intention was, and is, to say what I think in response to Ari's letter. Isn't that what he wanted?

Please accept my apologies if I've offended any of you, it was certainly not my intention.

memyselfandi
07-23-2002, 08:17 PM
I do thank you for voiceing your honest opinions. It is indeed what I wanted. And I can understand where your coming from. The truth is, that in a secular world, this can indeed be seen as descrimination. Especially in a class where there isn't normally any division of any kind. If this does become a problem where I hope to study, I will try explain my issues, and if all else fails, find another dojo.

Thank you

and keep 'em coming :)

Jakusotsu
07-23-2002, 08:23 PM
For those of you who still disagree with me, please read my previous two posts again. I don't feel like rewriting old ideas. :)

............................

New Business:

Mrs. Giri:

>>My knee-jerk reaction to you religious views and similar other religious views is that it is sexist.

Knee-jerk reactions are bad for you. They should be avoided at all costs.

>>In regards, to whether avoiding pre-marital sex would be easier if I didn't touch men. When I'm on the mat, sex doesn't enter my mind. It's not even an allure while I'm on the mat. For me, training in aikido is genderless, asexual even. I've been training in aikido for three years now and have not had the temptation to have pre-marital sex as a result of touching my partner in the course of aikido training.

Do you believe that this would be the case if practice was the only time you had the opportunity to touch men?

I practice Kendo with my significant other and because of our busy schedules it is one of the few times we get to see each other. I've found her distracting a couple of times. It is the nature of the beast, given deprivation.

.............................

By Mr Clark:

>>I have personally (on several occasions) not accepted students in the Jiyushinkan (my dojo) that had similar beliefs (Orthodox Jews and Muslims). No one refuses to practice with another member of our dojo.

I agree with your having done so. You run or aid in running the Jiyushinkan, which is representative of the Jiyushinkai. Necessarily your dojo must maintain different standards. What constitutes these higher standards is your prerogative. (Please note: I do not run a major dojo representing a major system of Aikido. I may be off base. :) )

I maintain that any dojocho has the right to establish what sort of students are permitted to join any his or her dojo. It does however seem improper that Mr. Fuchs' sensei has given him the go-ahead to train, yet a good number of people here insist that he doesn't even belong on the mat. That seems a little presumptuous of them.

>>As far as curtailing pre-marital sex...it's simple...if you don't believe in it...Don't Do It!

Do you believe that pre-marital sex is wrong? :) "if you don't believe in it.... don't do it" is a heck of a lot easier said than done. :)

>>There are more than a few in the world that feel nothing wrong with beating women in public if a man has "improper" thoughts when they look at the woman. Of course, it's the woman's fault. I realize I have taken it to a different level than you meant, but if each one of us isn't responsible for our decisions, where does it end?

I consider this to be an entirely different kind of animal. The case of the Orthodox Jew is one of self-discipline. The one you mention disciplines the woman for the actions/thoughts of the man. :)

Where does it end, one asks? One is reasonable (self-discipline) the other is not. It seems to me that the former is most certainly in keeping with the idea of being responsible for one's own action, whereas the latter is contrary to this.

...................................

By Mr. Harnack:

>>2. Have you talked to your Rabbi? As an Orthodox Jew I would have thought you would have consulted with him first, since you clearly state it is a religious issue.

I heartily recommend this, Mr. Fuchs, if you've not done so already. Your Rabbi might inform you that it is alright in this regard, or he might confirm your belief. Either way, only good comes of it.

I doubt seriously that anyone with whom you might train would become particularly indignant. If you state your reasons with a bit of humility and a bit of conviction, few people would be able to become genuinely angry with you. Those who would probably would be little benefit to your training anyway.

One finds righteous indignation in much greater supply on the internet, where we can't see each other face to face. With such dettachment it becomes much easier to judge each other. If you have your future sensei's blessing, do not let the opinions voiced here impede your training.

rachmass
07-23-2002, 08:23 PM
Thanks Ari,

and Jim, how do you know I'm not??

;)

best to all of you

jeda
07-23-2002, 08:37 PM
I have to fare on the side of tolerance. I find nothing wrong with respecting some one's religious belief. As a woman, Ari, I would not be offended if you did not train with me if I understood the reasons.

I must admit I might be a bit biased. I live in a religion dominated culture and I am used to having strange quirks in my daily life. Adapting a little won't kill you.

Ari, good luck to you.

Chris Li
07-23-2002, 09:02 PM
In regards, to whether avoiding pre-marital sex would be easier if I didn't touch men. When I'm on the mat, sex doesn't enter my mind. It's not even an allure while I'm on the mat. For me, training in aikido is genderless, asexual even. I've been training in aikido for three years now and have not had the temptation to have pre-marital sex as a result of touching my partner in the course of aikido training.
Seeing the sexual antics common in so many dojo - even among direct students of Morihei Ueshiba, it seems to me as if not everybody feels that way :).

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
07-23-2002, 09:08 PM
Chris,

I agree, however, this is not one of the reasons that I will bend on. At what point do we draw the line...some folks don't want to practice with beginners, or old people, or skinny, fat, black, white, etc.?
Of course, there's always a line somewhere, but it's such a moving target :). If folks don't want to practice with beginners, or old people, or skinny, fat, black, white, etc. then they would have to present their reasons and motivations. The judgement as to whether those reason are sufficient or not is, I suppose, left to the instructor. Personally, based on what I read in the series of postings I wouldn't have problem with making an exception in this case, but YMMV.

Best,

Chris

PeterR
07-23-2002, 09:09 PM
I must say it depends on attitude. If you expain your reasons in a kind and gentle manner the sensei may or may not accomodate you.

I am not sure I could in that it would disrupt the training flow of the group. Refusing to bow to the kamiza is in my mind far less of a problem since it really does not effect the flow and interpersonal relations however, even here, it depends on how one not bows.

I have heard stories (never witnessed) of certain religious people being quite disruptive in their refusal to carry out an action. Again attitude.

Shoot me for this - but it is the same reason I really don't want blind people in the dojo. It disrupts the intensity that I prefer to train to. Again it come down to flow.
I have to fare on the side of tolerance. I find nothing wrong with respecting some one's religious belief. As a woman, Ari, I would not be offended if you did not train with me if I understood the reasons.

I must admit I might be a bit biased. I live in a religion dominated culture and I am used to having strange quirks in my daily life. Adapting a little won't kill you.

memyselfandi
07-23-2002, 09:12 PM
To tell you the truth I have not yet spoken with a Rabbi on this matter (though be assured that I will). I was taking my fathers word on it as he himself has taken Judo and has had these same problems (he has also had years of rabbinical training so he does know what he's talking about). Now I disover that he is worried about wrestling being sexual. I'm not quite sure how much wrestling there is in Aikido, but fortunately I have a local rabbi who has done both (jodo and aikido). Perhaps he will be able to guide me in this matter.

PeterR
07-23-2002, 09:20 PM
Please let us know the advice you get from the local Rabbi.
To tell you the truth I have not yet spoken with a Rabbi on this matter (though be assured that I will). I was taking my fathers word on it as he himself has taken Judo and has had these same problems (he has also had years of rabbinical training so he does know what he's talking about). Now I disover that he is worried about wrestling being sexual. I'm not quite sure how much wrestling there is in Aikido, but fortunately I have a local rabbi who has done both (jodo and aikido). Perhaps he will be able to guide me in this matter.

memyselfandi
07-23-2002, 09:33 PM
Will do :)

Dean H.
07-23-2002, 09:52 PM
Ari,

Thank you for your question and for your integrity. I am not so very experienced

in Aikido, but I have trained with a Muslim fellow, and have lived in the Middle East and have, of course, experienced cultural clashes between religion and "popular" endeavors.

The women I train with are far too self confidant to care if someone doesn't want to train with them, for whatever reason.

You should realize, though, that women are very insightfull in regards to Aikido, and, in fact, O-Sensei had women in his classes.

Hope you are fullfilled...

Rev_Sully
07-23-2002, 10:33 PM
Ask the Rabbi about bowing to the Kamiza also. I am very interested on that angle too. Very. You should be just as concerned about respecting/disrespecting O-Sensei as you are about respecting/disrespecting women. It is on the same belief. And I hold you to that.

If you cannot practice with women you should not bow to Kamiza either. But should you still be able to practice Aikido if unable to perform these things. Of course you should but the almost ritual aspect of respect transcends personal religious beliefs IMHO.

O-Sensei himself says:

"When anybody asks is my Aiki budo principles are taken from religion, I say "No." My true budo principles enlighten religions and lead them to completion."

http://www.aikiweb.com/general/memoir.html

But do remember that Kami means:

"A divinity, living force, or spirit. According to SHINTO, the natural world is full of KAMI, which are often sensitive or responsive to the actions of human beings."

and KAMIZA is derived from KAMI. Kamiza means:

"A small shrine, especially in an aikido, generally located the the front of the dojo, and often housing a picture of the founder, or some calligraphy. One generally bows in the direction of the KAMIZA when entering or leaving the dojo, or the mat."

http://www.aikiweb.com/language/vocab.html

And Ari please know for the record I did not infer anything about the touching of women in Aikido training and pre-marital relations as you mentioned in Post #20 of this thread. You said:

"Not touching members of the opposite sex can indeed be seen as a precautionary measure as Eric mentioned. Let me put it this way; how much easier do you think it would be to avoid premarital sex (a sin in many religions) if you could not touch a member of the opposite sex to begin with?"

Please refer to my previous post.

Any information I had on this subject was given by you in Post #1 in particular in this matter. You said in Post #1:

"As an Orthodox Jewish male I'm not permitted to purposefully touch a woman (not before marriage that is. And no, this is not a sexist issue)."

I do not think this is a sexist issue but if the rules of your faith do not allow you to practice with women then I would be insulted if you bowed to Kamiza and O-Sensei. To disrespect women is to disrespect O-Sensei anyway. Sorry if this sounds coarse but I do feel this way.

Abasan
07-23-2002, 10:56 PM
Its sad to see that many ppl here don't understand that religion's dictum is not a question of personal choice. If you can't find a dojo that understands that, in particular, the sensei is the one who doesn't understand then don't go there. It'll be better for your aikido anyway.

You see, they in refusing you, have elected to discriminate your religion. Because it is within their power to see through the superficiality of not being able to train with women, and into the crux of the issue, which is about you who sincerely wants to train in aikido although in a limited fashion. It is not in your power however to refuse God.

If all else fails, use a glove! :P

Kat.C
07-23-2002, 10:59 PM
As an Orthodox Jewish male I'm not permitted to purposefully touch a woman (not before marriage that is. And no, this is not a sexist issue). After watching a class at a local dojo, I discovered that while some of the practice is 1 on 1, a lot of it is everyone in the class lining up for Ukemi against one Nage. The former is not so much of a problem (just never pick a female partner), but the latter may cause some difficulties.

I'm a woman and I don't find this offensive at all ,I was in fact surprised at the number of people who thought it was wrong or discriminatory. Mr.Fuchs said that his religion forbade him from touching women before he is married and he wishes to stay true to his beliefs, what is offensive about that? He is not saying that he doesn't want to work with women or that they would not make good partners just that it might be forbidden. Why should he be excluded from practicing aikido because he wishes to keep faith with God?

Personally I would find it offensive if someone joined aikido so they could touch women!:eek:



Mr. Fuchs I hope that you do decide to do aikido, it is so enjoyable. And if it turns out that you must decline training with women I hope that when you explain why, they will understand and accept your reasons graciously.

memyselfandi
07-23-2002, 11:08 PM
-Rev_Sully

I do understand your feelings and I'm sorry I didn't mention the bowing earlier. Upon visiting the dojo (with my parents) we did notice the bowing to the picture of 0-Sensei (along with the calligraphy). My fathers response this was that he had no problem with bowing to other students or sensei, but he did worry about the bowing on ones knees to the "shrine". I will mention this to the Rabbi when I speek with him and see what he has to say about it.

Edward
07-23-2002, 11:11 PM
Well, not all dojos are women friendly, and certainly not for religious reasons.

memyselfandi
07-23-2002, 11:21 PM
I thank you all for your support in this matter (and if not support than at least for the honest responses ;) ). If all the Aikidoka I meet are like you than this will trully be a rewarding experience. :)

PS - Abasan - the sensei does not have a problem with it, it is the other students that I am worried about offending. But thank you anyway :)

Edit: well it's off to bed with me now, so until tomorow :)

Ari Fuchs

Kat.C
07-23-2002, 11:24 PM
Ask the Rabbi about bowing to the Kamiza also. I am very interested on that angle too. Very. You should be just as concerned about respecting/disrespecting O-Sensei as you are about respecting/disrespecting women. It is on the same belief. And I hold you to that.

If you cannot practice with women you should not bow to Kamiza either. But should you still be able to practice Aikido if unable to perform these things. Of course you should but the almost ritual aspect of respect transcends personal religious beliefs IMHO.
I know this post is meant for Mr.Fuchs but I have to ask a couple of things and comment too.

Where is the correllation between a Kamiza and women? And how is it disrespectful to not work with women because of the rules of one's religion? I mean the man is saying that he wishes to obey a rule that says that he cannot go around touching women and you think that is disrespectful?!!:confused: I've run into men who do the opposite, respectful certainly isn't the term that comes to mind describing that behaviour!
I do not think this is a sexist issue but if the rules of your faith do not allow you to practice with women then I would be insulted if you bowed to Kamiza and O-Sensei. To disrespect women is to disrespect O-Sensei anyway. Sorry if this sounds coarse but I do feel this way.

I think it would be silly for Mr.Fuchs to not bow to the Kamiza just because he cannot train with women, if his religion forbids it fine, but otherwise the two issues are not related. If respect enters into this at all it is the respect that Mr.Fuchs is showing to God.

Edward
07-23-2002, 11:26 PM
Here in thailand, the custom is generally opposite. Women of good education and manners here do not touch men. It is considered seductive. There are no handshakes, let alone friendly hugs and kisses, which I am accustomed to in my french influenced culture (it's ok to shake hands with men though). Honestly I do not avoid practicing with women at our dojo, but I do feel uneasy for the fact that my partners will be taking too many precautions to reduce the physical contact to the strictest minimum (which in the countrary keeps the sexual awareness quite present), and also by the accusative looks of the feminine members who will be scrutinizing for any inappropriate behaviour to feed their gossip.

Kat.C
07-23-2002, 11:35 PM
Here in thailand, the custom is generally opposite. Women of good education and manners here do not touch men. It is considered seductive. There are no handshakes, let alone friendly hugs and kisses, which I am accustomed to in my french influenced culture (it's ok to shake hands with men though).
And all these rules are around simply because men are to weak to resist temtation!:D
Honestly I do not avoid practicing with women at our dojo, but I do feel uneasy for the fact that my partners will be taking too many precautions to reduce the physical contact to the strictest minimum (which in the countrary keeps the sexual awareness quite present), and also by the accusative looks of the feminine members who will be scrutinizing for any inappropriate behaviour to feed their gossip.

Do the women really report on each other? :disgust:

Edward
07-23-2002, 11:39 PM
And all these rules are around simply because men are to weak to resist temtation!:D



Do the women really report on each other? :disgust:
You'd be suprised how fast the news spread around here ;)

Kat.C
07-23-2002, 11:45 PM
You'd be suprised how fast the news spread around here ;)
Well women are supposed much better at communicating than men :p

Kevin Wilbanks
07-23-2002, 11:49 PM
I think it's silly the way everyone bends over backwards to accomodate people who insist on violating a community standard just because the justification given is that their 'religion' requires it...

"Its sad to see that many ppl here don't understand that religion's dictum is not a question of personal choice. "

This is simply false. Everyone is responsible for their own behavior. Either they make each choice for themselves on a case by case basis, or they choose a religion, which is in essence making a choice to accept a ready-made group of choices. Even then, they are faced with the choice of whether or not to follow the religious rules in every particular case. The religious person could choose to violate the rules of his chosen religion, or leave the religion althogether at any time. He has just as much choice as I do as a religionless person.

What I don't understand is why so many are ready to renege on a valuable principle (everyone trains with everyone), just because the source of an individual's refusal is purported to be religious. I say the prior principle takes precedence over the principle of respecting someone's beliefs, religious or otherwise. I'll bet most of you do too...

What if I refuse to train with blacks because I have a deep belief that they are inferior to me and not worthy of my interaction? And, I present this belief, along with elaborate reasons and historical data, calmly and without anger or uttering any personal insults? Most here would say "Not OK". What if we take it further and I claim that I am a member of an Aryan Nation Church denomination that expressly prohibits me from touching anyone of African descent? Still not OK? How do you decide whether the religion is valid?

Even worse, in my view: in actuality, I subscribe to no religion, yet my beliefs and wants are just as important to me as anyone else's are to them. Are such exemptions available to me? If not, why am I second class? Because I think for myself instead of doing what some creed or authority figure tells me to do without question?

If one member can refuse to train with another based on religion, it is only fair that any other member can similarly refuse based upon any reason they choose. If it were my dojo, I would not accept such refusals from anyone for any reason other than demonstrable physical danger (e.g., contagion, disease, etc...). It is up to the student to choose between the dojo rules and their own.

K.

Chocolateuke
07-23-2002, 11:53 PM
Gee, I say go for it dude! train train train! I mean some people really dont have a choice in religiouse matters. :) and when they do keep their belifs held high they are really are trying to stay faith full which is good!

Kat.C
07-24-2002, 12:03 AM
If a woman had posted a similar question I wonder what the responses would have been like?

Erik
07-24-2002, 12:14 AM
Kevin, ya nailed just about every point I planned to make. Nicely done.
Snipped!

kironin
07-24-2002, 12:46 AM
As an Orthodox Jewish male I'm not permitted to purposefully touch a woman (not before marriage that is. And no, this is not a sexist issue). After watching a class at a local dojo, I discovered that while some ...

I’m wondering if I should really go through with this. I'm kind of embarrassed to have to exclude anyone from practicing a technique with me, but I think I'll be able to handle it. What I'm really worried about is offending someone else...

Has anyone else witnessed (or experienced) this problem? How was it handled in your Dojo?
Have you discussed this issue of touching in aikido practice with your Rabbi ?

Why are you looking in to aikido ?

self-defense ?

balance, movement, fitness ?

you should check out Tai'Chi Chuan where the bulk of practice won't require you to touch anyone so the whole issue of offending someone is less likely to come up.

if you pursue aikido, you had better realize that up front that the generally accepted practices in aikido are in direct opposition to the cultural rules of many conservative religions.

like it or not, others do see it as a sexist issue.

You are only presented with this pang of conscience because

women are not excluded from aikido practice.

Craig

Diablo
07-24-2002, 01:15 AM
Ari Fuchs, if I met you in person, I would like to shake your hand. To meet someone who stands by the religious beliefs is something rare these days. Hold your head up high, and you should feel good about yourself. Your parents should feel proud because you are putting your religious convictions before peer pressure. I am appalled by the general consensous on this issue. Especially by the women.

I don't know how many Christian or Catholic women read this forum, but I know it is taboo if you are not a virgin when you get married. I have also known women, or girls at the time, who lost their virginity because of peer pressure from their so-called friends. God? God who? Their teen-age lust was greater than any religious inhibitions they may have carried. What does this have to do with the topic? This poor man is standing by his convictions and he is being torn down because of it while the rest of this society has put religion on the backburner.

To me, his religion is a little extreme, but from a Christian website, http://www.rustyparts.com/sexethics/premarital.php I found this: "Statistics say 63% of youth, aged 14 to 21, are sexually active, and thus why not join the crowd?"

I have had friend who were extreme Christians, they believed there is no "gray", only black and white, I disagreed with some of their viewpoints, but I never nocked them down because of it.

Some of you said they didn't know why bowing to the kamiza had to do with anything, well, I don't know anything about judaism, but in Christianity there is a part about not having false idols. I have been in other Aikido forums where this act is not looked at as having respect for O'Sensei, but rather an act of giving O'Sensei the status of God.

Ari, talk to your rabbii, see what he has to say about this, and bowing to kamiza. If touching other women while training is wrong, find a dojo that will respect this. If you cannot, find something else besides Aikido that can improve your well being.

For everybody else who believes that sexuality has nothing to do with Aikido, needs to look at a post by Joff (Ivar Jasnon) titled: "Should women wear brassiere under their gi." It had 47 replies, and a huge 2660 views. NO TOPIC in the general forum in the last 100 days has had as many views.

It's all about connection.

Diablo

Dangus
07-24-2002, 01:48 AM
Why not a compromise? You're not technically touching women if you are wearing gloves are you? ;)

DavidM
07-24-2002, 02:45 AM
I don't find anything wrong with him wanting to follow his beliefs...much respect for the man anyway.

But as far as the bowing to people, to sensei, and to kamiza....My grandmother took Judo back in the day and she is VERY religious (Christain)...she said she didn't bow as to think of anyone/thing as a god, but bow for respect, when you bow to a partner, it's a thank you...

Jim ashby
07-24-2002, 03:31 AM
As a born-again atheist and an observer of human nature it's really nice to see the unifying effects of religion as evidenced on this thread.

BTW no sex before marriage? As far as I've read in the Bible,Adam and Eve were not married.

Just a thought.

Have fun

BrokenKnees
07-24-2002, 04:07 AM
Just a rhetorical question, really. But what would you do if you wanted to take up medicine and heal people, and your religion prohibited touching women? How would you accomplish said healing?

Not to knock your religion, but surely there are exceptions? I mean even Jesus healed on the Sabbath day :-) Then again, they nailed him to the cross...

Anyway.

My humble take on this: Why look at Uke's and Nage's as sexes (i.e. men or women)? Instead, take them as the MA expects you to take them, as opponents or partners in furthering your knowledge and practice. When I square up against an Uke or Nage, I have totally no care at all what race, religion or sex that person is. What matters is that he's coming at me (or vice versa) and I've got to do something.

I dunno, but I'm willing to bet that you can ask 10 rabbis this question and get probably 10 different answers. I mean how does the Israeli army handle their training?

Good luck.

Bronson
07-24-2002, 04:36 AM
Hello Ari,

Here are a couple of links to some of our organizations member dojo in Israel. They both have contact info on them and I'm sure they would be happy to answer questions as to how they deal with this in their dojo if and/or when it comes up.

http://yoav.8m.com/

http://www.geocities.com/seidokan_aikido/Page_1x.html

I would also like to echo the "ask your rabbi" advice. If I remember correctly, In the book Moving Zen by C.W. Nicol he writes about a situation slightly similar to yours. One of his karate sensei was asked to come to a country (I can't remember which one right now) and teach. The only problem was that they couldn't bow because of their religious practices. The sensei said that if they couldn't bow he couldn't teach them karate as it was part of the art. They talked to their religious leaders and explained the situation. They were given special permission and the sensei was invited back to teach.

Good luck,

Bronson

jk
07-24-2002, 04:49 AM
...it's really nice to see the unifying effects of religion as evidenced on this thread.
If you think that's bad, you should see the view from here...

Regards,

Rev_Sully
07-24-2002, 07:07 AM
I know this post is meant for Mr.Fuchs but I have to ask a couple of things and comment too.

Where is the correllation between a Kamiza and women? And how is it disrespectful to not work with women because of the rules of one's religion? I mean the man is saying that he wishes to obey a rule that says that he cannot go around touching women and you think that is disrespectful?!!:confused: I've run into men who do the opposite, respectful certainly isn't the term that comes to mind describing that behaviour!



I think it would be silly for Mr.Fuchs to not bow to the Kamiza just because he cannot train with women, if his religion forbids it fine, but otherwise the two issues are not related. If respect enters into this at all it is the respect that Mr.Fuchs is showing to God.
Dear Kat,

Onegai Shimasu.

The same religious prohibitions that restrict Ari from practicing with women also might restrict him from bowing to Kamiza. And not in the misinterpreted way of equating O-Sensei to God. I specifically mentioned 2 possible violations of the Mosaic Covenant aka the 10 Commandments.

The first being the worship of Graven Images. This is better known to Christians as the "False Idols" rule but the translation is better served when one understands that the rule applies to ANY graven depiction of God not False Idols.

The second possible violation of the Mosaic Covenant could be the prohibition of having gods before YHWH. The Kamiza is a shrine to the Kami, not O-Sensei. But traditionally the portrait of the Sensei is above the Kamiza. Bowing to O-Sensei also means bowing to Kamiza. We do it when we enter dojo, step on & step off the mat and when we exit dojo.

The only correlation between Bowing to Kamiza and Training with Women respects the topic of the thread "Jewish Issue". Under this auspice the two are not mutually exclusive since both can be considered violations of Judaic Law.

I believe the consensus is that Ari check on both. I feel that Ari does understand what I mean concerning bowing to Kamiza.

If Ari has religious concerns about training with women then the same concerns do apply to bowing to Kamiza. I also do remain adament about that it is only possible and await judgement of Rabbi in this matter.

Thank you.

aiki_what
07-24-2002, 07:53 AM
Why make it so tough a decision....Devoted belief in Religion forces one to make choices. Make your choice and move on...that is waht responsible adults do..don't whine and try and have it both ways.

Kat.C
07-24-2002, 08:00 AM
BTW no sex before marriage? As far as I've read in the Bible,Adam and Eve were not married.

Just a thought.

Have fun
Back in those days if you had sex with someone you were then considered to be married. Quite a bit different from wedding ceremonies now.;)

IrimiTom
07-24-2002, 08:11 AM
"if you don't believe in it.... don't do it" is a heck of a lot easier said than done.

I'm sorry but for a mature adult with true deep rooted beliefs or convictions (as it sounds Mr. Fuchs is) it shouldn't.

Ari: I don't know much about Orthodox Jewish beliefs or dogmas, but do you have a problem just with premarital sex or with THINKING about it? If it is the latter then I believe you have to make a choice or find an understanding sensei or an all male dojo as a last resort. If it's the former then just view your uke/nage as a partner in martial practice, regardless of sex.

Aikido can bring a lot of good things into your life if you keep an open mind. I'm a Catholic and since I study Aikido I've been introduced to a few Buddhist ideas and I don't feel I betrayed my religion or anything like that, in fact, as silly as it may sound to some, I feel the spiritual side of aikido practice has helped me with my faith and other aspects of my Christian life.

As for the wrestling, you said that your father did Judo... well, I did too once and I think there is considerably more grappling and wrestling (that includes ground work) in Judo (and Jujutsu) than in Aikido.

Good luck and keep and open mind

IrimiTom
07-24-2002, 08:24 AM
Shoot me for this - but it is the same reason I really don't want blind people in the dojo. It disrupts the intensity that I prefer to train to. Again it come down to flow.
I'm not going to shoot you for that, Peter :) but I don't agree with it. I mean yes some are going to say that Mr. Fuchs doesn't really have a choice because he is already bound to his previous beliefs, etc. But in reality he does more than a person who lost the ability to see. One chooses to accept dogmas and the set of beliefs in a religion. A blind person did not choose to be blind and therefore I believe an instructor and all students should make an effort to accomodate. Again you have to decide how rich you want your aikido to be, I mean you did say "the intensity that I PREFER to train to". Frankly I find that training with someone who cannot train with women would reduce the intensity in general. Training with someone who is trying to overcome a challenge such as blindness has to be VERY intense. Sorry for going off topic a bit, maybe I should have posted in the thread about blind aikidoka.

Kat.C
07-24-2002, 08:31 AM
Dear Kat,

Onegai Shimasu.

The same religious prohibitions that restrict Ari from practicing with women also might restrict him from bowing to Kamiza. And not in the misinterpreted way of equating O-Sensei to God. I specifically mentioned 2 possible violations of the Mosaic Covenant aka the 10 Commandments.

The first being the worship of Graven Images. This is better known to Christians as the "False Idols" rule but the translation is better served when one understands that the rule applies to ANY graven depiction of God not False Idols.

The second possible violation of the Mosaic Covenant could be the prohibition of having gods before YHWH. The Kamiza is a shrine to the Kami, not O-Sensei. But traditionally the portrait of the Sensei is above the Kamiza. Bowing to O-Sensei also means bowing to Kamiza. We do it when we enter dojo, step on & step off the mat and when we exit dojo.

The only correlation between Bowing to Kamiza and Training with Women respects the topic of the thread "Jewish Issue". Under this auspice the two are not mutually exclusive since both can be considered violations of Judaic Law.

I believe the consensus is that Ari check on both. I feel that Ari does understand what I mean concerning bowing to Kamiza.

If Ari has religious concerns about training with women then the same concerns do apply to bowing to Kamiza. I also do remain adament about that it is only possible and await judgement of Rabbi in this matter.

Thank you.
But we are not worshipping the Kamiza,or Osensei or our partners,when we bow ,we are bowing out of respect and appreciation. Or at least I am. So the bowing does not break those laws or offend God.This is just my view point as a christian,others may feel differently and I don't know about Mr.Fuchs religion, perhaps he is forbidden to bow down at all whether in worship or not. But as he didn't see it as an issue, I was just surprised that you were telling him it had to be one.

Heck, why give the man even more problems?

;)

Chuck.Gordon
07-24-2002, 09:06 AM
As an Orthodox Jewish male I'm not permitted to purposefully touch a woman ... SNIPPAGE
Hi Ari,

A couple-three thoughts on the topic:

First, a question: I may be (probably am) mistaken, but doesn't strict adherence to orthodoxy also require you not to touch the Gentile at all, regardless of gender? Or is that just a Hasidic (sp?) thing?

Second, regardless, I agree with the folks who have advised you to talk to your Rabbi ... if you want to do aikido, you'll have to find a position of spiritual comfort in order to train well and learn. Your spiritual leader can help you find that point of balance.

Last, I'm with Chuck Clark in that folks in _my_ dojo either train with everyone on the mat (my philosophy has always been that you pretty much leave gender/race/preference/whatever issues at the edge of the mat with your street-clothes) or you don't train. That's just the way I run things. I'm the same way about performing reishiki. Do as we do or don't, it's your choice, but if you don't, then don't expect to train with my folks.

That's not to say that there aren't places wherein your needs can be accomodated, just not mine.

I know there have been instances of women-only classes, and I figure if a dojo wants to fold you into the membership, they'll, at best, make allowances or at worst, help you find a place that will.

Good luck and good training!

Chuck

Choku Tsuki
07-24-2002, 09:24 AM
[snip...] I'm with Chuck Clark in that folks in _my_ dojo either train with everyone on the mat (my philosophy has always been that you pretty much leave gender/race/preference/whatever issues at the edge of the mat with your street-clothes) or you don't train. That's just the way I run things. I'm the same way about performing reishiki. Do as we do or don't, it's your choice, but if you don't, then don't expect to train with my folks.

Good luck and good training!

Chuck
Word [the bold stuff is my emphasis].

--Chuck

memyselfandi
07-24-2002, 09:36 AM
Let me just sum up for all those who post without reading:

1. Neither male nor female Orthodox Jews are allowed to touch any member of the opposite sex (that they are not married to) "sexually"...I'm sorry that this last bit was not stressed in previous posts (mostly because I didn't totally understand the issue myself). Now I understand that many of you would claim that the relationship with a partner in Aikido should be asexual. But I just don't believe that this is the case (not always anyway). And think about it from the perspective of an obviously sexually deprived teen (myself)? Do you really think that sex would (or could) in no way enter my mind?

2. Be assured that I will be speaking with a Rabbi on both the above matter and about the bowing.

3. I have no intention of giving up my religion (or religious beliefs) for this or any other reason. If you cannot understand that then I am truly sorry.

------------------------------------------
First, a question: I may be (probably am) mistaken, but doesn't strict adherence to orthodoxy also require you not to touch the Gentile at all, regardless of gender? Or is that just a Hasidic (sp?) thing?

I am sorry that you have come to believe this, but it is completely false (for the Hasidic as well). It’s only a gender issue.

PS - Jim ashby - Adam and Eve weren't Jewish. Besides, what you should really be worrying about is how their children procreated ;)

Chuck.Gordon
07-24-2002, 09:42 AM
Let me just sum up for all those who post without reading:

(About touching Gentiles) I am sorry that you have come to believe this, but it is completely false (for the Hasidic as well). It’s only a gender issue.
Hi Ari,

Believe? Nope. No firm personal information on it. Have I heard that info from folks who have had dealings with the Orthodox and Hasidic communities? Yep. From more than one source, as well. Your info is more data for the hopper.

Just asking. No need to be so defensive. I don't think anyone's asking you to give up your religion. Certainly not me.

However, if you want to study traditional budo, you _may_ have to find some points of compromise or seek another path (the Tai Chi suggestion might be a good avenue to explore) for your martial leanings.

Good luck! Keep us posted on what you do find and how things work out for you.

Chuck

(Who mostly lurks and does often post after only reading a few entries ...)

Rev_Sully
07-24-2002, 09:49 AM
But we are not worshipping the Kamiza,or Osensei or our partners,when we bow ,we are bowing out of respect and appreciation. Or at least I am. So the bowing does not break those laws or offend God.This is just my view point as a christian,others may feel differently and I don't know about Mr.Fuchs religion, perhaps he is forbidden to bow down at all whether in worship or not. But as he didn't see it as an issue, I was just surprised that you were telling him it had to be one.

Heck, why give the man even more problems?

;)
Dear Kat,

I am very happy you brought this up. It is my opinion that if Ari chooses not to practice with women due to his religiousity then the same applies for bowing to the front of the dojo in the respectful manner. It is not to give him more problems but instead to be mindful that he should be consistant with his beliefs and practicing Aikido.

I feel it would be odd if he declined to practice with a woman but bowed to Kamiza. That it would not be consistant with the Judaic Law that he supports. Ari already mention his conversation with his rabbinically trained father and that bowing to an uke/nage doesn't seem like a problem but bowing to the Kamiza might.

If he does one thing, he should be consistant.

Cheers!

cguzik
07-24-2002, 09:59 AM
Rachel was right when she said it's discrimination.

My question is: what's so wrong with that?

There is a common conception that all discrimination is bad. To get caught up in that idea, though, is just as bad. This is the lesson taught by the story about the zen monks and the woman quoted earlier in the thread.

This is good. That is bad. This is discrimination itself! Discrimination is bad? There has to be more to the story.

Now I am not advocating situational ethics. But there is a point at which one must accept discrimination in the interest of harmony.

If I do not hire a candidate for a job, who is technically qualified but has a personality that would be disruptive within the department, am I discriminating? Yes!

If I do not accept a student who would disrupt the harmony of the school, is that discrimination? Yes!

If I refuse to train with someone who will disrupt my sense of religious faith, is that discrimination? Yes!

What's my point? If I think I am offended because of discrimination alone, then I probably have a little more digging to do to figure out what I am really offended by. And I also have to ask myself if I might be discriminating a bit as well.

Respectfully,

Chris

memyselfandi
07-24-2002, 10:06 AM
Yeah, this "not touching Gentiles" came up in in a Pluralism and Diversity class I took last semester as well...This was of course accompanied by questions about "the sheet with the hole in it" and why Jews must have it between them during sex :rolleyes: . They both came from the same source, rumors. Most of what the people saw as not touching gentiles was actually men or women avoiding touching members of the opposite sex. (Such as when giving or accepting change over a counter.) Are any of your sources Jewish?

PS - the "sheet with the hole in it" is really a "prayer shawl". People saw them hanging over cloth lines in Jewish neighborhoods and just assumed (because of the hole in it) that it was for sex...though the hole is big enough for someone’s head (the one at the top of the body ;) ) to fit through so I never quite understood how anyone could actually believe those stories...

And as one woman in the class mentioned: "If those rumors were really true, everyone would be converting to Judaism" :D

Dangus
07-24-2002, 10:14 AM
Just a rhetorical question, really. But what would you do if you wanted to take up medicine and heal people, and your religion prohibited touching women? How would you accomplish said healing?

Not to knock your religion, but surely there are exceptions? I mean even Jesus healed on the Sabbath day :-) Then again, they nailed him to the cross...
In most, if not all sects of Judaism, doctors are exempted, and exemption is also made for saving a woman's life even if you are not a doctor. If you find a woman trapped in a burning building, you may, and in fact are required to touch her in order to save her life under Judaic law. It really is not about disliking or hating women, people here need to get that through their heads in a hurry. I do understand why a sensei would choose to not allow him to study there, but it should not be under false interpretations of what his religion is asking of him. Personally I think it's a very silly rule that's been badly interpretted out of obscure text, but that's my opinion alone. I would not allow him to study at my dojo if he would not work with women, assuming I had a dojo.... I do think though, if his rabbi has half a brain, he'll find that martial arts practice really isn't sexual and thus doesn't really fall within the intent of this religious law.

Fminor
07-24-2002, 10:21 AM
Hi, Ari.

I might be the perfect candidate to answer your question.
You see - I'm an Orthodox Jewish woman. :)

I've been training in Israel for less then a year now, so I'm still quite new to Aikido (though very enthusiastic about it).
In my case - I do practice with male aikidoka - I personally have no problems with that, but I understand completely what you're going through.

People sometimes don't understand that it's not easy living by the moral rules you set for yourself.
It needs a great spirit and belief to follow them and I appreciate your persistent.

So - no, I'm not offended by your behavior.
You sound like a good and gentle person and I know that the open minded people in your Dojo won't see your behavior as offensive or discriminating.

My advice - try to talk to the Aikidokas individually and explain to them your reasons.
Sure, they'll be people who won't like it, some might even try to debate with you ("to show you the light") - don't be discourage by that.
You'll love the Aikido world - it's so fulfilling and exciting and I hope you'll stay a part of it. :)

Efrat

P.S about Kamiza - I've been debating with myself about it since I started doing Aikido.
I usually bow by leaning forward, but without lowering my head to the ground.
That's how I pay O-Sensei respect and honor, without feeling uncomfortable about it.

Andy
07-24-2002, 10:28 AM
Personally I think it's a very silly rule that's been badly interpretted out of obscure text, but that's my opinion alone.
The same thing could be said about a hell of a lot of aikido texts, too.

Abasan
07-24-2002, 10:29 AM
Kevin's point makes sense, especially in the world today. But try take it the other way...

What gives you the right to impose on you your set of beliefs? ie. that its totally a personal choice on whether or not to follow precepts laid down by religion. If he believes it to be otherwise, then that is his right.

But then again, this going to degenerate into a debate of personal opinions. We've all given Mr Fuchs there our opinion, it is his thread after all, let him decide his course of action. If this forum can be considered as a reasonable sample, then I would expect that he will get mixed reactions from his dojo mates. Good luck!

Jim ashby
07-24-2002, 10:45 AM
Hi Ari. Like I said, I'm an atheist. The Adam and Eve thing should give most people who take the Bible as absolute truth cause for thought. That level of incest is N.I.N (or even bedworth) but it's not something I'm going to take up in a hurry.

But seriously, it would really be a shame if someone as spiritually aware as yourself was dissuaded from practicing Aikido. Aikido has been a large part of my life for a long time now and has given me more than i have put in.

I sincerely hope that you can solve this dilemma and enjoy the journey.

Have fun.

Sherman Byas
07-24-2002, 10:49 AM
I'll make it plain.

You mean to tell us, that after all of this back and forth, all this GD international Uproar that the way to solve this is for you to keep your mind on Aikido? Young man you ought to be ashamed. You knew from the beginnign that the key to this whole thing was you and your horny mind! You intentionally misled everyone (and in turn caused a huge debate) into thinking that the touch that happens in class was prohibited No, what's prohibited is you getting a boner while working out. Keep your mind on AIKIDO!

I will now extend my Ki from Chicago and pop you upside your head.

nuff said

ChristianBoddum
07-24-2002, 11:06 AM
Hi There !

I'll put it like this -

if you train in divine flow and rythm

there will be no opening for sin.

This is how I see it and that's what training is like for me, and maybe therefore also the reason that I've never been able to act out

any sexual attraction on the mat,which is perfectly fine with me.

yours - Chr.B.

Rev_Sully
07-24-2002, 11:23 AM
Perhaps it is the idea of seeing beyond the gender of the uke/nage. And address the motive behind the touching. The motive for touching the uke/nage is to train.

Also the motive to train and what Martial Art to train should be examined in Ari's case. Aikido fascinates me on a spiritual level. Although I am not a current practitioner, I have been and will be again. But Aikido is a very spiritual martial art in the way that other styles are not. My other two experiences with the Martial Arts are Shaolin Kempo (which I dubbed as "Fred Villari's Fast Food Kung-Fu") and Ju-Jitsu (which was a 12 week course but very interesting). These did not address the spiritual side of budo but the self-defense aspect. But I like to think Aikido and prepare for Aikido by reading O-Sensei's memoirs, by reading the all the helpful resources here at Aikiweb and by contributing to robust conversation on Message Boards such as this one.

I think there is no conflict IMHO. The possible conflict could be Dojo Culture/Etiquette versus Religious Belief. The conflict is a personal one but I tend to agree with the school of thought that choice must be made to take Aikido or not. I feel that there might not be the room for compromise although there is the possibility. My concern of compromise in Ari's favor stems from it might disturb the dynamic of the mat. The points of concern really hit home to Dojo Culture. He has every right to take Aikido and every right to be comfortable taking Aikido but expensing the culture for the rest of the class & mat time.

I guess it depends on Ari's motive for taking Aikido. Is it for self-defense? To keep in shape? What makes Aikido special to Ari.

The person of the Way (do-jin) is something I strive for. The thought of it makes me happy. But Ari might be a do-jin already in another culture/belief system.

I think two things Ari should answer for himself would be:

What is the motivation for touching uke/nage?

And what is the motivation for taking this particular budo?

Cheers and best regards.

Erik
07-24-2002, 12:16 PM
It's interesting to me how we support convictions within a certain context. I'm not hearing people loudly proclaim their support of the two Chuck's convictions for instance? Because it's religious, and it's of the A-ok kind (not one of the evil religions) many support Ari's convictions and expect that others should shunt aside their convictions (that everyone practices together) because of it. How interesting.

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-24-2002, 12:18 PM
Interestingly, four years ago I was approached by the rabbi of one of the Lebovich groups in Brooklyn. He wanted me to teach a group of their men "serious" aiki-self defense techniques. He was interested in having a mixed class between the military "right wing" radicals in his organization with their all-to-easily-ruffled feathered counterparts in the black community, in an effort to open dialogue between these two notoriously adversarial groups.

Having started a program teaching Aikido to HIV+ homeless teens in New York City, I looked at this - and even bigger challenge - as one of the best opportunities ever to come my way. Unfortunately, the program got caught up in the small mindedness of some politically motivated underlings, and was killed before it got started. Why - in an effort to close the dialogue before any progress could be made, those looking to scuttle the program latched onto the bowing, and O-Sensei's Picture and said, "NO WAY!" never even asking if I had come up with a way of providing a traditional experience in some other manner.

If I ever have the chance to set up a program like this, I would do it in a Heartbeat!

rachmass
07-24-2002, 12:35 PM
okay, now I know I should keep out of this, since I seem to have spurred on so many ruffled feathers, but, here I go again.

Ari started the thread because he wanted to know what peoples reactions might be to his not wanting to train with women. I answered what my feelings were. I was attacked on this, and even to the point of me being told that I might not fit to open a club because I have feelings about what I perceive as discriminatory behavior (interesting though that the person who attacked me could have his own personal feelings, but I cannot have mine?). This thread is all about how we would react. It most certainly should not be a free for all with people attacking each others views. This should be a place where we can discuss our views without fear of being villified. I personally do not think Ari is even the slightest bit of a villan. He has strong feelings about what he can and cannot do, and wants to get our opinions. Nothing more, nothing less.

If Ari were to come to me with his problem, I would most likely be very understanding, but I still would not want to bring it into the dojo. That is my opinion. Others would welcome him, and that is their opinion. Thankfully we have a system that allows for individual differences. I certainly hope that Ari can find a solution to his dilemma, and I hope that involves him practicing aikido!

Best to all of you, and without rancour.

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-24-2002, 12:50 PM
...The depths of depravity seemingly take another step down. Simply speaking, there is so much biased, Jew-hatred crap behind many of the responses. Some people are trying to pass this off (to themselves and to us) as being the basis for intelligent discussion. You may not know who you are, but there are many with a clear mind who can see it for what it is. In all fairness to those same people - who in my book are entitled to love, dislike or hate whomever the choose, whenever they choose, Ari will no doubt meet many like you on the mat, so it is good that he get an introduction to the feeling and taste and smell of it here in a venue less likely to be too confronting. What I hear is akin to telling a hemophiliac, "Train hard - JUST BE DAMN CAREFUL OUT THERE"

Since everyone is "entitled" to an opinion, even if completely stupid, I will chime in - judge for yourself mine own content, good, bad or ugly.

first - Buddha sat and starred at a blank wall and was enlightened. As it is so, so it must be that a person will go about their life, and others will be offended. No matter where you go, what you do, and no matter how hard you try to not offend, or to try and have others not dislike you, if you are focusing on "not" doing something, you will surely fail - miserably.

Second - If it were O-Sensei's religious beliefs or convictions and the corresponding behavioral modifications we might have to make that we were questioning, would the responses be the same? I wonder!

Third - Those of you who are students, those not running your own school - whatever the "culture" on the mat at your dojo, please realize that it is by convention - meaning that it is based upon the traditions established by the dojo Cho. Bowing to O-Sensei, to other students, or "training with everyone" is only valid when someone says it is - AND IT AINT YOU - It is the Dojo-Cho who makes these decisions. They can be changed at a moments notice, whether you as a student like it, understand it, or agree with it. For those of you who are teachers, and are against allowing Ari to train at your dojo - although I understand your point, I believe that you are limiting the training of all of your students, preventing them from blending with the feelings that come up in this unique situation. You are also limiting yourself from coming up with ways to expand your own horizons. Astute students may recognize this for what it is and choose to find another teacher more open to discovery and letting students learn from their own experiences. I would hope that you would reconsider, but the choice is yours to make - YOU ARE THE TEACHER. (??)

Lastly - I am surprised that not one person (unless I missed it) asked Ari where he is located. I guess letting the opinions fly was more important than actually trying to find him a place to practice. (??)

So, Ari, where are you located? If you are in the NY, FL, TX or CA areas, we can speak off line and arrange something that will work for you.

My Feeling is that bowing and O-Sensei's picture are pure representative objects within Japanese budo. Although they are fixtures, and required in my Dojo and between my students, I recognize them as only vehicles with which to ingrain the idea of respecting others at all times, between people.

When I asked Seiseki Abe Shihan, aikido 10th Dan about this he said, "All martial arts are about respect. Begin with Bow. End with Bow." But the bow is the Japanese form of showing respect. It is not, nor should it be required as the only way in which to acknowledge the seeking spirit within your partner. As a further example, he offered this while he was instructing me in the Misogi of O-Sensei:

During instruction of Norito-no-Gyo (daily practice of chanting Japanese prayers) he said, "[I]These (prayers) are in Japanese and represent one's things deeply spiritual in meaning, and your connection to them from this plane of reality. However, you are not Japanese. Therefore, you can create your own, in English, based upon your own spiritual convictions. This way, when you chant, you can connect at an additional level, to the meaning behind the words, and not just the use the sound and required breath training." With this flexibility of mind (Takemusu Aiki) It follows that when we bow to O-Sensei's picture, it is not to O-Sensei that we bow. Also, that when we bow to our partner, it is not to the person that we bow. In both cases it is to the spirit - that which is God within each of them, the bow acknowledging the difficulty in bringing this out in ourselves, and in others.

Ari - There simply is no connection between touching women during practice (prohibited) and bowing to the Kamiza, or O-Sensei's picture, or another student (acceptable in the above context). When one deeply studies Shinto, and the etymology of the words found within the Kojiki - the reference manual from which O-Sensei drafted the core principles of his art - it becomes clear that "Kami" has a very different meaning than the Judeo-Christian concept of God.

If anyone is interested in the Misogi or Kojiki as it was interpreted by O-Sensei, please send me email off the message board and I will try to get your answers our without clogging up the board with boring minutia, most of which has no place in most of the dojos who happen to hang a picture of Ueshiba Morihei somewhere on the wall.

...Glad I could get all that out being that my foot is in my mouth.

Rev_Sully
07-24-2002, 12:57 PM
Dear Rachel,

Onegai Shimasu.

May I play "Devil's Advocate" and wonder what you feel about Women's Classes? Any opinion on a potential double-standard in some dojo. In cases of having Women's Classes but having Men's Classes is un-PC.

Thank you and best regards.

PS Thank you Erfat for sharing your feelings about being an Orthodox Jew and bowing to Kamiza. I feel it is just as important as the role of a female uke/nage in this argument. Same problem on a different area.

rachmass
07-24-2002, 01:20 PM
Hi Eric,

I feel if there are womens only classes, there should be mens only classes. I prefer that everyone trains together. Sometimes I would really like an over 40's class though ;) where your body takes a bit less of a beating. I also don't like it when women wear hakama under dan ranks and men don't. I guess I'm a bit of a feminist, trying to learn how to be a bit more flexible here though. Thanks for your thoughts.

Kevin Wilbanks
07-24-2002, 01:33 PM
With regard to the fellow from NY who appears to be insinuating that I and others are full of 'Jew-hatred': get a grip. In general, we are elevating the issue of inclusiveness and equality in practice over special exceptions for individuals that disrupt or defy this principle. As I stated, the fact that the individual's purported reasons for wanting to be exempted from customs central to the spirit of the dojo are religious should gain him or her no special consideration.

On a more personal note, since that's where your insinuations are directing this, I have no hatred of any particular religious group of people. However, I do have trouble respecting anyone who subscribes to any dogma or creed without question. It leads to all kinds of trouble, and I fail to see why so many find it courageous and admirable.

As I said before, everyone is personally responsible for everything they do. Thus, I am quite unfavorably disposed to any kind of religious orthodoxy, particularly the fringe factions of the big 3 monotheisms. When it comes to mistrust and antagonism to religion, I am an equal opportunity antagonist.

In the particular instance of behavior in question, I would be unable to respect or take seriously a leader who prohibited me from touching women on the assumption that such contact would cause me to lose control. If they don't trust me, why should I trust them? If I chose not to touch women because I didn't trust myself, then I would have an even bigger problem.

In general, I personally find the extremity of this kind of sexual repression absurd and harmful to the human spirit in the first place. Touching, sexual and otherwise, is vital to human emotional health and perfectly natural. Any religion that prohibits, circumscribes, and attaches guilt and worry to touching and sex is on my s--t list and will get no quarter from me.

I think the opportunity to touch other people without all the everyday hangups and social baggage, often in a spirit of play, including rolling around on the floor like a kid is one of the most valuable aspects of Aikido.

K.

Rev_Sully
07-24-2002, 01:36 PM
...

Ari - There simply is no connection between touching women during practice (prohibited) and bowing to the Kamiza, or O-Sensei's picture, or another student (acceptable in the above context). When one deeply studies Shinto, and the etymology of the words found within the Kojiki - the reference manual from which O-Sensei drafted the core principles of his art - it becomes clear that "Kami" has a very different meaning than the Judeo-Christian concept of God.
Dear Shaun,

Onegai Shimasu.

I disagree. Erfat from Israel said she felt something similar to this but reconciled herself. There has been extensive discourse already about fellow students and O-Sensei and bowing but in bowing to Kamiza there is a direct and unmistakable violation of the Mosaic Covenant. Kamiza is a place where Kami "lives". Although it is far from the Judeo-Islamic-Christian concept of the God of Abraham, it is still a Deity. I do not deny nor do I dispute the definition of Kami but how can bowing to Kamiza be anything but 1.) giving worship to a Graven Image and 2.) respecting a Deity besides and before YHWH?

I wait to hear from Ari about what Rabbi says. I think Rabbi is a better source of information and advice for him than we are.

I hope that Ari is given blessing to train without hindrance.

Best regards.

Kat.C
07-24-2002, 01:46 PM
This is getting a bit weird, people are saying the kamiza is a shrine to a god but that religion should be kept out of the dojo. By that reasoning the kamiza then does not belong in the dojo. Neither would O-sensei I guess, as from what I understand he prayed in his dojo, and his religion was very much a part of his aikido. So now I am very much confused! Anyone want to enlighten me?

Rev_Sully
07-24-2002, 01:50 PM
Hi Eric,

I feel if there are womens only classes, there should be mens only classes. I prefer that everyone trains together. Sometimes I would really like an over 40's class though ;) where your body takes a bit less of a beating. I also don't like it when women wear hakama under dan ranks and men don't. I guess I'm a bit of a feminist, trying to learn how to be a bit more flexible here though. Thanks for your thoughts.
Thank you for your thoughts too. I did not know about women wearing hakama under dan and men not. As a beginner I think that will confuse me for a spell until I understand more. I wholeheartedly agree with your judgement.

I espcecially like your idea of an over 40 class. Wonderful!

Kat.C
07-24-2002, 01:51 PM
Dear Shaun,

Onegai Shimasu.

I disagree. Erfat from Israel said she felt something similar to this but reconciled herself. There has been extensive discourse already about fellow students and O-Sensei and bowing but in bowing to Kamiza there is a direct and unmistakable violation of the Mosaic Covenant. Kamiza is a place where Kami "lives". Although it is far from the Judeo-Islamic-Christian concept of the God of Abraham, it is still a Deity. I do not deny nor do I dispute the definition of Kami but how can bowing to Kamiza be anything but 1.) giving worship to a Graven Image and 2.) respecting a Deity besides and before YHWH?

I wait to hear from Ari about what Rabbi says. I think Rabbi is a better source of information and advice for him than we are.

I hope that Ari is given blessing to train without hindrance.

Best regards.
Hi Eric, I've just got to ask you this, as you believe the Kamiza is a place where 'kami' lives are you worshipping when you bow to it?

Steven
07-24-2002, 01:58 PM
I was attacked on this, and even to the point of me being told that I might not fit to open a club because I have feelings about what I perceive as discriminatory behavior (interesting though that the person who attacked me could have his own personal feelings, but I cannot have mine?).
Okay ... so for the record that would be me.

Rachel ... darling dearest .... I did not attack you and I apologize if you read that into my post. In fact if you re-read what I said you'll see I AGREED with you and still do.
Then again, I can see Rachel's point too. I've seen the behavior where men did not want to train with women simply because they are women and nothing else.
As to the rest of my post, all I tried to convey is that as a teacher and soon to be chief instructor, compassion and cool headed responses go a longer way. Trust me on this. My own students called me on this when I went off on another BB some time ago. I never said you were UNFIT and in an Aikido kind of way, I played both sides of the fence.

So please accept my most sincerest apologizes and know that I did not mean to question your abilities as a teacher. I hope to visit your soon to be new school some day. This way you can whoop on me personally. :D Oh yes .. and for the record .. My best training partner was a woman. Because of her height and agility, she kept my techniques honest. Whenever I was feeling good about myself with other students, all I had to do was train with her to bring me back down to earth. So to that I say, anyone who refuses to train with a woman is only doing themselves a dis-service.

I would have taken this offline, but you have no e-mail available so please feel free to email me privately at aysdojo@seikeikan.com

Heiwa ...

Erik
07-24-2002, 02:07 PM
Good to see we've got a bunch of Erik/c/ck's on the list. It's appropriate to my life that there be at least 3 wherever I go.

Hi Eric,

That said, I feel if there are womens only classes, there should be mens only classes. I prefer that everyone trains together. Sometimes I would really like an over 40's class though ;) where your body takes a bit less of a beating.

You raise an interesting point. That of practicality. In some cases, you may have a group of women who have been abused by men. Throwing them in with the group (the deep end so to speak) may, or may not, be the best choice. I can certainly see an incubation group for women, or men for that matter, which is then worked into the general population. It's kind of what we do in the children's classes.

I don't think a dojo should be permanently separated but I can see a place for it.

I also don't like it when women wear hakama under dan ranks and men don't.
The single dumbest thing I know of in our art. And, you know what, I'm convinced it stays there because no one really questions it. We are often so passive in this art that we never stop to question things. I just about guarantee that no one could provide you with a good reason why it's done, or for that matter, even who say's it should be that way. I'd just about bet that the heads of the organizations which operate this way would scratch their heads if asked about it.

Paul Schweer
07-24-2002, 02:08 PM
"Who trains at your dojo?" I was asked.

I answered, "Have you trained before?"

"Not anymore." Not since converting.

No touching, you see, between the boys and girls.

"Don't see how to get around that," I said.

Didn't understand. Half didn't believe it.

"You talk with your Rabbi?"

"Maybe I will."

And that was the end of that. I thought.

But the questions continued.
I didn't have answers.
Didn't have the heart
to say, "Give it up."

The Rabbi said training is fine -- no bowing
right? -- okay, that's fine. Long as the boys
don't touch the girls.

What in the world did he think training was?

What in the world could I tell somebody
so heart sick from missing a love abandoned?
And why should I say anything, after all?
Not my decision who trains and who doesn't.

Delegate it up the chain of command.
That's why Sensei gets the big bucks.

And Sensei said welcome. Train as you can.

Just like the rest of us, I guess.

I wonder, now, why she wanted to train.
Wonder at my attitude and hers...
at her simple sincere desire.

To train.

That's all. Just train.
Best that she could.

She knew it was a stretch.
She admitted that to me.
She didn't expect to progress in the art.
She just wanted to train.

And she did.

And loved every short improbable instant
of motion and balance and happy accident
of bumping, now and then, into one of the boys.

And then she didn't train anymore.

So what did she get out of training?
Say goodbye, maybe? One last walk
holding hands? I don't know.

But I'm glad we gave her a chance to do
whatever it was she was trying to do.
Glad we gave her a chance to play.

Grateful our art allowed for something
that seems so contrary
to the art itself. It gave
her a chance -- gave me a chance
to practice what I practice for.

Best to you and yours,

Paul Schweer

Nacho_mx
07-24-2002, 02:16 PM
Aikido has it´s own set of values, beliefs and traditions. They are open to healthy discussion, but they cannot be denied, rejected or ignored to accomodate for each individual need. To accept or accomodate this standards in our own lifes comes with the practice and I honestly feel there´s no way around it. Aikido is meant to be universal and inclusive, but the fact is that there will always be someone (individual or group) whose own habits, traditions and beliefs do not mix at all with those of Aikido. Unless of course somebody launches a "Holy Crusade" to try and convert the heathens! (sarcasm) That´s not gonna happen of course, so instead we must be careful that when we try to appeal to people from every walk of life, we do not dilude the essence of our art in an effort to be "all inclusive".

DanD
07-24-2002, 02:16 PM
Fellow Aikodokas,

Now that’s a one heated debate !! It seems to me that religion caught too much attention here.

Ari,

Take a look at the following it might help , and for the rest of us - just a friendly piece of info.

Just to cool down and get another perspective, take a look at the following article (written by a Rabbi who is also an Aikido practitioner), http://www.tikkun.org/magazine/index.cfm/action/tikkun/issue/tik0107/article/010713c.html



P.S

“Tikkun” means in Hebrew “fixing” or “correcting”. In Jewish mysticism it’s a fundamental concept that refers to “fixing of the world”- by fixing of one’s self. Or better to say- striving to make the world a better place by being a better person (by your daily behavior and intentions).

It exists in most other religions as well, but might "ease" this case...

;) ;)

Rev_Sully
07-24-2002, 02:44 PM
Hi Eric, I've just got to ask you this, as you believe the Kamiza is a place where 'kami' lives are you worshipping when you bow to it?
Dear Kat,

My beliefs are my own really and my beliefs are not in conflict here. I don't follow any particular creed, dogma, or religion. I am an Ordained Minister of a Universal Faith Church.

And the argument isn't what I believe but about what others believe and how their beliefs might limit their Aikido. Also, I don't believe per se that Kami is actually living in the Kamiza. Your words were "as you believe".

Does God live in a Church, Temple or Mosque? Ask the faithful who lives there. I bet a Shinto practitioner would say "Yes, Kami lives there" in the Kamiza. I do not practice Shinto. I cannot answer that as a Shinto would.

But I also have no problems in bowing to Kamiza. My view of the Divine encompasses all so I will have respect for the Shinto and assume that Kami is there.

Am I worshipping when I bow to Kamiza is your question. In my own way yes I am. I consider it respecting the Japanese culture and the dojo culture. I am also bowing to O-Sensei's memory so it's hard to seperate the two.

I don't consider it idolarty because all avenues to the Divine are just that. But that's for me. I'm not holding myself against a set standard such as Orthodox Judaism which might or might not find bowing to the Kamiza kosher.

Cheers!

Jim23
07-24-2002, 02:54 PM
Ari, tough luck buddy. You're not welcome to train in aikido if you're not willing to change your beliefs to suit us. You have to play by our rules, because we're not flexible on this one.

I once watched an aikido class where there was a disabled guy training - amazing. His forward rolls were a bit awkward and he couldn't fall/roll on his left side. Somehow the class worked around it - I don't think he should have been there. However, I was actually surprised at how good the guy was ... then there was this old woman - better suited to mall walking if you ask me.

Sorry, I lost my train of thought. Anyway, next thing you know Ari, you'll want special dietary considerations at the dojo's annual dinner: it's tempura for you my friend.

(I hope you realize I'm not serious.)

This is so silly. The last thread that I remember being so heated was about gun control.

I'd be interested to see what the results would be if this were today's poll - then again, perhaps not.

Jim23

memyselfandi
07-24-2002, 03:08 PM
mmm...tempura *drool* :D Ice cream tempura is actually my personal favorite :p

Hmm, gun control, now theres an interesting topic. I'm sorry I missed that one ;)

Rev_Sully
07-24-2002, 03:10 PM
http://homepage.powerup.com.au/~aiki/newpage1.htm

Kamiza: Its Meaning

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-24-2002, 03:22 PM
With regard to the fellow from NY who appears to be insinuating that I and others are full of 'Jew-hatred': get a grip. In general, we are elevating the issue of inclusiveness and equality in practice over special exceptions for individuals that disrupt or defy this principle.
Hi Kevin,

I intentionally did not point at any specific person or comment. I also did not infer that to disagree with allowing Ari to practice, or for making special accommodations for him to practice, was the same as "Jew-bashing." Without trying to be confrontational, was there something that I said that you took personally? If so, what? Was there something you believe I was specifically referring to in the comments that you made that would, or could be construed as such?
As I stated, the fact that the individual's purported reasons for wanting to be exempted from customs central to the spirit of the dojo are religious should gain him or her no special consideration.
I have, over the years, received abrupt "corrections" in attitude when attaching meaning to things like, "who lines up where or in what order." When things become traditional, but lose effectiveness at encouraging students to seek and perceive aiki, then they should be looked at and revised when needed. In the end, I follow my teacher because I am his student. Always. However, along the way, you can be sure that I have critically analyzed it from all sides, understood my own feelings from both subjective and objective reference points, and then at some point arrive at a place where I feel comfortable accepting my teacher's way. It is not for me to question my teacher, for nothing can be learned there other than how he feels like answering in the moment I chose to confront him. However, much can be learned from seeking my own understanding, by looking within.
On a more personal note, since that's where your insinuations are directing this, I have no hatred of any particular religious group of people. However, I do have trouble respecting anyone who...
It really doesn't matter what you put after the "who." We all have trouble finding a way to respect others with whom we differ or strongly disagree - that is to be human. This is the root cause for all religious wars, World War I, II and III (when it comes)... etc. However, that is why I (and many on the board) personally train - to consistently open myself up to other points of view, or metaphorically (in O-Sensei's terms) "...expand to become the universe." If I/we/you can't, won't, or don't see the reason to push through whatever is keeping me/we/you from expanding in a way to accept all that is, that is fine too - as long as we understand that this too is a choice, albeit, extraordinarily narrow minded.


As I said before, everyone is personally responsible for everything they do. Thus, I am quite unfavorably disposed to any kind of religious orthodoxy, particularly the fringe factions of the big 3 monotheisms. When it comes to mistrust and antagonism to religion, I am an equal opportunity antagonist.
Having focused on comparative religious studies for twenty years, I might tend to agree with you. But your, my and a billion other people's opinions combined still don't add up to anything if one of those "monotheisms" just happened to be right.
In the particular instance of behavior in question, I would be unable to respect or take seriously a leader who prohibited me from touching women on the assumption that such contact would cause me to lose control. If they don't trust me, why should I trust them? If I chose not to touch women because I didn't trust myself, then I would have an even bigger problem.

In general, I personally find the extremity of this kind of sexual repression absurd and harmful to the human spirit in the first place. Touching, sexual and otherwise, is vital to human emotional health and perfectly natural. Any religion that prohibits, circumscribes, and attaches guilt and worry to touching and sex is on my s--t list and will get no quarter from me.

I think the opportunity to touch other people without all the everyday hang-ups and social baggage, often in a spirit of play, including rolling around on the floor like a kid is one of the most valuable aspects of Aikido.
Again, I may or may not disagree with you on your sentiments. But, "ALAS" whether it be you, me or the Doshu, who feel that way, that would only be based upon our own experience and our own constitution. I too grew up believing that everyone else had the same strength of character as I. However, If that were the case, there would be no alcoholics, no drug addicts, no poor people, and no depression. If you take a look out a window of your choice, you will notice this not to be the case.

My suggestion to others who may see themselves in anything that I have stated above, try seeing it from the other person's perspective instead of trying to convince them that your way is not only the right way, but that your way is the only possible way it could ever be.

Lastly, it is important for me to state that Ari did ask for opinions. To those who responded they would feel positive or negative when confronted with training with someone with his considerations, regardless of your opinions, reasons, or biases, you gave him an honest answer, and that is to be highly commended.

BrokenKnees
07-24-2002, 05:10 PM
Rev_Sully wrote:

I do not deny nor do I dispute the definition of Kami but how can bowing to Kamiza be anything but 1.) giving worship to a Graven Image and 2.) respecting a Deity besides and before YHWH?

I am chinese. I'm also Catholic. Due to the order of my birthline (I won't go into that) traditional Chinese dictums require that I bow with incense towards pictures of my deceased elders during a funeral. We bow three times. In cases where the deceased is extremely highly respected, we even kneel and bow three times, touching our foreheads to the ground each time.

At no time at all is this bowing akin to giving worship. However in Chinese tradition, bowing in this manner is an act of utmost respect . I believe that bowing in Japanese culture also denotes that.

So yes, I bow to the Kamiza. But no, I DO NOT consider it worship of any kind, but as a mark of deep respect for the founder of Aikido. In the same manner that I would bow to my Uke, showing him respect in the manner that the Japanese show respect. This being the case, I don't understand how bowing can even remotely be considered a problem to anyone's religion.

Ari, think again. What's more important here, the FORM or the INTENT.

Good luck.

Kent Enfield
07-24-2002, 05:14 PM
Neither male nor female Orthodox Jews are allowed to touch any member of the opposite sex (that they are not married to) "sexually"...I'm sorry that this last bit was not stressed in previous posts (mostly because I didn't totally understand the issue myself). Now I understand that many of you would claim that the relationship with a partner in Aikido should be asexual. But I just don't believe that this is the case (not always anyway). And think about it from the perspective of an obviously sexually deprived teen (myself)? Do you really think that sex would (or could) in no way enter my mind?I do think that sex could enter your mind, but it won't be from the physical contact involved in training. I did aikido during college, and there certainly were some hotties in the dojo. (There are now as well, but the hormones arn't quite so raging.) Looking at women in the dojo isn't any more sexually tempting than walking down the street. Probably less so, as they're covered from wrist to ankle. When it comes time for physical interaction, "Oh no, I'm going to die!" is much more likely to enter your brain than "Boy, is she hot." In fact "Why won't this work?" is probably more likely than the first two until you get the hang of things, and by then you'll be thinking "extend the right hand in spiral" instead of "my hand's near her boob!" The commonness and intent of any contact during training will make it quite asexual.3. I have no intention of giving up my religion (or religious beliefs) for this or any other reason.Good for you!

Ecosamurai
07-24-2002, 05:15 PM
SNIP

Last, I'm with Chuck Clark in that folks in _my_ dojo either train with everyone on the mat (my philosophy has always been that you pretty much leave gender/race/preference/whatever issues at the edge of the mat with your street-clothes) or you don't train. That's just the way I run things. I'm the same way about performing reishiki. Do as we do or don't, it's your choice, but if you don't, then don't expect to train with my folks.

SNIP

Chuck
Ari, it might be worth noting here that what our estemed colleague the LOEP here neglected to mention is that he doesn't actually teach Aikido. He's a koryu bunny and so what he says isn't necessarily something that that should be considered the opinion of an Aikido teacher. A Budo teacher certainly, but not Aikido as it was envisioned by O Sensei.

(sorry cg but I think it was worth mentioning).

FWIW, I'm jewish, not orthodox, Reform. I'm just about the most hardended sceptic as far as religion goes you're likely to meet, I'm a die hard scientist who finds religion tiresome, boring and basically just a load of old rubbish. But you're always welcome to train with me, if you don't want to bow, don't bow, just say thanks when I bow to you. If you can't practise with women you don't have to, we'll find ways around that. Just as we'd find ways around it if you were blind, or in wheelchair or had another obstacle to overcome, whether it be spiritual, religious, moral or physical.

Reportedly, amongst O Sensei' last words were: "Aikido is for the whole world", that means everyone, whether they be orthodox jew, muslim, christian or whatever. Aikido is for EVERYONE. If you won't teach it to someone because of their religion then you shouldn't be teaching it at all.

Mike Haft

Kent Enfield
07-24-2002, 05:30 PM
but how can bowing to Kamiza be anything but 1.) giving worship to a Graven Image and 2.) respecting a Deity besides and before YHWH?I'm a Christian and have had to deal with this issue myself. Well, for me it hasn't been much of an issue, but for others it has, and I've learned why it isn't for me.

Here's the reason:

Because there's no deity involved in the kamiza. Now, others may think there is, but as a Christian, I "know" that there isn't. It's just a picture on a shelf with some nice calligraphy. For me, it has the same amount of "worship" as a secret handshake or doing the hokey-pokey.

Even when I visited Noma Dojo (an old kendo dojo in Tokyo, and the one where the older set of photos in "Budo" were taken), where you enter the dojo by bowing to the Gokokuji shrine outside, go in, go to the changing room, sit down in seiza, perform a seated bow to the picture in the shrine there, change, go into the dojo, make a standing bow to the kamiza (and a real one at that), get ready for practice, line up in seiza, and perform another zarei to the kamiza, with all the pictures of the deceased head instructors, then finally get to begin practicing, it's still not any more an act of worshipping idols than a really complicated version of the hokey-pokey.

Just because someone else believes they are summoning the Great God Hoak-n-Poak, Lord of All He Surveys, by doing the hokey-pokey, doesn't make the act any more meaningful to me than putting my left leg in and shaking it all about.

Kevin Wilbanks
07-24-2002, 05:37 PM
"However, that is why I (and many on the board) personally train - to consistently open myself up to other points of view, or metaphorically (in O-Sensei's terms) "...expand to become the universe." If I/we/you can't, won't, or don't see the reason to push through whatever is keeping me/we/you from expanding in a way to accept all that is, that is fine too - as long as we understand that this too is a choice, albeit, extraordinarily narrow minded."

Well, that sounds admirable, but I don't have such high-falutin reasons for training Aikido. I'm a cash and carry kind of guy, and a recovering philosopher. In fact, if I feel good about my training, and feel eager to attend the next class, I prefer not to try to codify my motivations and expectations in word-thoughts at all. Chop wood, carry water, as the Zen literature says.

I think it is silly to suggest that anyone who doesn't empathize and identify with the POV of everyone on earth is "extraordinarily closed-minded". For instance, I don't think my inability to identify with child molestors, serial killers, or terrorists is a deficiency, or signifies that my mind is closed. If no one in our society is trying to understand them, then our strategies for dealing with them will suffer from our own ignorance. However, it doesn't follow that it's necessarily my job.

Frankly, the kind of ultra-PC magnanimous posturing represented by that statement is probably the least attractive aspect of Aikido for me. In my experience, striving to conform to high-minded Aikido/Omoto Kyo ideals is often inhibitive of honest communication, and can easily become a psychological scheme of denial, emotional repression, and smug condescention toward others.

I think we should be our honest messy selves and train, and let the training do its work. Perhaps the wisest, happiest, healthiest older man I've met (a yogi) said during a yoga practice that we are better off paying attention to the position of our heel than the state of our soul, and that this is where our practice is. I tend to agree.

K.

Bruce Baker
07-24-2002, 05:50 PM
This whole thing sounds like Ari is trying to remake the principles of Aikido fit into his world.

That could be done, but then who will the first Orthodox Jew to endure the full exposure to the Aikido training then with a certificate of teaching be? What person will remake it into the mold of what is proper for an Orthodox Jew?

I really think this should have been in the spiritual section, but here it is, so...

All human beings create, CREATE their own religions. Whether it is by some divine inspiration, or some incredible religious experience, it is still created by human beings.

Some of what is laid down as practices for a religion is from social lessons learned over periods of time to curb our animalistic behavior and priority to appropriate by sexual liason. Some of it is from physical behaviors, and sometimes it is from mental exercises in thought and logic, but each of use choose the life we want to lead.

As far as not having contact with women before you are married, that is a carryover from observing sexual appetite of human beings from teenage to what is now middleage as we let our baser instinct overcome our intellect. Not a bad thing, but this choice is yours to make, not yours to inflict upon others.

Either grow up, and deal with the circumstances, or quit whining about it.

There are many things to be learned from Aikido, not just the physical lessons.

If you want to do it badly enough, you will either get a dispensation from elders and rabbi, or someone will have to be your observer as you go to practice. That is an irritating thing to put up with, but if you are as passionate about Aikido as you are about your faith, you will find a way to do both that is equitable both for your religion, and your own moral conscious.

As others have expressed, in the beginning most teachers will make exception, but if you discuss this with those in your religious circles, I do believe an observer will be the answer for more advanced training ... at least until you get married.

Make the effort. You won't have to change your values, and it will help to grow as a human being.

Who knows ... there might be a whole group of Orthodox Jewish women who want their own Aikido class?

Nacho_mx
07-24-2002, 06:02 PM
I wonder if orthodox jewish women are even allowed to take martial arts...

Chuck Clark
07-24-2002, 08:32 PM
Reportedly, amongst O Sensei' last words were: "Aikido is for the whole world", that means everyone, whether they be orthodox jew, muslim, christian or whatever. Aikido is for EVERYONE. If you won't teach it to someone because of their religion then you shouldn't be teaching it at all.
For what its worth, I do not refuse to teach anyone because of their religion. One of the understood rules in our dojo is that "everyone trains with everyone else". If someone is unwilling to take part in our dojo practice because of their own religious beliefs then it is their decision, not mine.

Please remember, there are lots of people that may interpret many things that the founder of aikido said in ways that differ from your understanding.

Regards,

guest1234
07-24-2002, 09:45 PM
Ignatio--one Orthodox Jewish woman already replied to this thread

Sancho---uhmmm, you directed the reminder to be a virgin to Catholic WOMEN...the rule applies to both genders, sorry

Ari---although most seem to have missed it, it appears to me you are a young teenage male. Of course touching can lead your mind astray...heck, just being in the same room could probably give you ideas...I understand your convictions, but I think Rachel is right that even with your explanation some (men and women) will find it unlikable behavior. And they don't have to approve of your actions anymore than you do of theirs, so expect that some may not want to train with or hang out around you (men and women). But as long as it is OK with the sensei, and you want to do it, fine. But you may also want to consider an alternative, like Tai Chi. Or find a dojo that has all male classes.

Do I personally like that particular religious viewpoint? No, because it can lead to things like the recent deaths of many schoolgirls in Saudi, not allowed out of their building in a fire. I think it devalues the ability of an individual (male or female) to control themselves, relying on rigid rules and actions rather than self control and internal values. I attended co-ed schools, shared call-rooms/ surgical locker rooms as a resident, shared tents and life support areas in the military, and at 37 was a virgin when I married (although some say my wonderful personality had something to do with that ;) ). So what would I think if you were in my dojo---not much, and there are plenty of others around I like to train with, anyway. But I won't say people have to like your stand, either. Just let you be. I think they need to allow you your religious views, but they do not need to like them.

Jim23
07-24-2002, 10:12 PM
I'm really shocked by the intolerance shown here in this thread and all the silly comparisons.

This is all so damn petty. Like a bunch of kindergarten children who won't play with the new kid because he is different/fat/black/sissy ... whatever. The guy just wants to study aikido - isn't that what you all want? He's not asking to bring his dog to class or to redesign your hakama! Cut him some slack, show some maturity. If you respect his beliefs, maybe he'll respect yours more.

And Chuck, regarding everyone training together in the dojo, I beg to differ. There's a guy in my dojo that I avoid like the plague. I just refuse to train with him ... can't bring myself to do it. I just can't take the onion/chilli breath. He has his own secret weapon! :D

Ari, find a dojo (or, dare I say it, another martial art) that's not threatened by your requests. The more secure one's beliefs are, the more tolerant one is of others.

Aikido, the art of cooperation ... really.

Jim23

SeiserL
07-24-2002, 10:16 PM
My compliments and respect for maintaining your religious position. You may need to shop around and discuss this issue with the Sensei. My hope is that you and the school and learn to enter and blend with what is so that you can train. Again, deepest compliments on your conviction.

Until again,

Lynn

guest1234
07-24-2002, 10:26 PM
Jim--I would disagree. They should respect him as a fellow human being. They should seek a way to accomodate his training with his beliefs if possible within the dojo. But they do not need to respect or like his beliefs. They should not put him (or them) down, but they don't need like them (or even him). He should be allowed to have his beliefs, but not allowed to insist everyone else like those same beliefs.

There are Christians who believe non-Christians (or even some other Christian religions) are going to hell.

There are some religions who believe those of certain colors are inferior.

There are those who believe certain genders are inferior.

There are those, like Erik, who insist on worshiping The Great Pumpkin.

I can respect the humanity of those groups, and understand their right to hold those beliefs, but I definately do not need to like those beliefs (except the Pumpkin one) or even those who hold them. I can even spend way too many months of my life in the Desert defending those whose beliefs I very much don't like. But I still don't need to like them, or want to be around them.

Jim23
07-24-2002, 10:46 PM
Colleen, what are you disagreeing with? I didn't say that anyone should like or accept his beliefs. I said pretty much what you said.

I also hear what you're saying about different religions and different views.

I just find that these forums are really just a place for people to voice their views, no matter how opinionated they are. We're not here to listen, just to preach.

And please leave Erik out of this, he's my aikido-pal - the man of the baby finger.

Jim23

Choku Tsuki
07-24-2002, 10:52 PM
Deeds are what I'm interested in.

Ari wants to follow his faith. That's excellent. I wish everyone could make their deeds speak louder for themselves. This debate centers on one of many subjects Talmudic scholars have discussed for centuries! We took the bait. I think we laid ourselves bare [Ari, no pun, don't get excited:)] and revealed our true selves to everyone [Ari, please]. It's been fun. A few people even got upset [like going Manson during a randori] and that's human, that's cool too, I can learn from that.

Bottom line: Ari can't practice in dojo where the Sensei says "no discrimination." What the Sensei says, goes. And so will I, when I disagree. Otherwise it depends.

It depends. My standard answer, seeing as I don't know much [though I can quote plenty, but that's not walking the talk, so to speak]. So Ari, good luck. Go practice, do it and let us know what happens.

--Chuck

P.S. No religion in this thread please.

Nacho_mx
07-24-2002, 11:14 PM
Ignatio--one Orthodox Jewish woman already replied to this thread

Indeed a jewish woman and fellow aikidoka already answered my quite ignorant question...my bad :(

By the way, do this topic now holds the record for most replies?

Chocolateuke
07-25-2002, 12:45 AM
Um Ill proably be burned to hell for saying this ( just kidding) but I get all sorts of ideas in my head during aikido at times ( when im not focuesed) but it does happen and CA is right teens get that sometimes, being in the same room with a sexy chick ( ahem girl sorry) can get intresting in us teens heads. sorry but anyone who says its almost impossible to have sexual thoughts during aikido is WRONG!

Erik
07-25-2002, 01:19 AM
For Colleen:

http://www.backyardgardener.com/pumkin.html

For Jim:

http://www.kilroywashere.com/sarah/jim.wav

mike lee
07-25-2002, 03:37 AM
If one cannot blend with the dojo environment, one should leave. ;)

Rev_Sully
07-25-2002, 05:37 AM
Ari,

We hope you talk to Rabbi soon and share what s/he says.

Kent Enfield wrote:

"Because there's no deity involved in the kamiza. Now, others may think there is, but as a Christian, I "know" that there isn't. It's just a picture on a shelf with some nice calligraphy. For me, it has the same amount of "worship" as a secret handshake or doing the hokey-pokey."

I posted this link in Post #102 of Page 5 of this thread.

http://homepage.powerup.com.au/~aiki/newpage1.htm

Perhaps you should see if there is no Deity involved with Kamiza or not. As a Christian, you "know" Jesus "lives" in your church right?

I've reevaluated my argument to this point. I'll exclude the graven image agrument. There is no actual worship of statues of any Deity but in placing other gods before God, that's completely different and stays. If an Orthodox Jew cannot practice with a womon due to Judaic Law then they should also have the same awareness about other "innocent" things we take for granted in dojo such as bowing to Kamiza.

Kent, check out the link. I would like to hear what you think after that. :)

Cheers and Best regards.

Rev_Sully
07-25-2002, 07:45 AM
IMHO:

This topic has interested and delighted me. Being an amateur theologian, I love to discuss theology and differnt world religions. Especially when there is an ideological clash such as this. It's as a puzzle is, waiting to be figured out. Thank you Ari for bringing it up.

I think though that you should practice Aikido but you should practice as any other Aikidoka would and leave the religiousity off the mat and out of the dojo. I do still wait to see how your Rabbi instructs you in this matter. As some have pointed out, no religion in threads please I'll say no religion in dojo please.

My harping upon Kamiza is just semantical argument. Nothing more. It's another angle in your quandery and something to be mindful of since you are attempting to integrate your Jewish-ness with the Aikido-ness.

I will submit that the dojo is a sacred space akin to Temple, Church, or Mosque regardless of the religiousity of the symbols involved in a dojo. Those symbols are not overtly religious but have a religious and/or historical signifigance in a different culture than my own and other than Ari's. I love learning about that culture and respecting the values it contributes to my everyday life.

What I mean by the Sacredness of the Dojo comes from a spiritual feeling outside of religion. The Dojo has rules, culture, history, and ettiquite that must be or should be followed. A theological writer Mirecea Eliade in his book "the Sacred and the Profane" writes something to the extent that time and space in the sacred place is different than outside in the "normal", profane world. That a sacred space is created with the intention of being closer to the powers that be (whatever it happens to be). These "rules" (for lack of a better word) creates and sustains the sacredity of the space which seperates it from the profane (profane in this context means "nonreligious in the subject matter, form or use; secular". It is not used negatively) world.

I care about Ari's question and hope for fruitful resolution for him: meaning he can train unfettered by things brought into dojo from another unrelated sacred space.

Thank you all. Best regards. And I wish for nothing but Ari being an Aikidoka in this matter.

:)

Genex
07-25-2002, 08:13 AM
damn i love being a pagen none of this cant worship this that and the other stuff, sometimes tho i dont understand why jews dont just say "aww to hell with it" they've been persicuted for so long they should change their name and ppl might leave them alone ;)

pete

virginia_kyu
07-25-2002, 08:14 AM
I have to agree that it is absolutely at the dojo's discretion whether or not to make any accomodations, it is a private organization and it can discriminate all it wants. But I bet that many who are jumping on his case would be perfectly fine making accomodations for an HIV positive person even though that person may pose a risk to the other dojo members (I see blood on the mat on occasion). Not allowing someone who won't train with women seems trivial in comparison.

It seems to me that political correctness is being implemented here under the guise of "harmony" on the mat. :rolleyes:

paw
07-25-2002, 08:15 AM
I think though that you should practice Aikido but you should practice as any other Aikidoka would and leave the religiousity off the mat and out of the dojo.

Chris Li noted in another thread:
Interestingly, in the beginning of "Take Musu Aiki" (which is really the most extensive work on the subject of Aikido in the founder's own words) M. Ueshiba attempts to define "Aikido", but he doesn't use (haromony) with (energy) as one of the examples . FWIW, he does give four definitions of what he believes that Aikido is. There's an accompanying passage for each point, but I'm not going to translate all that! Disclaimer - these are quick rough translations:

1) Aikido is the path of the eternal principles of the universe.

2) Aikido is the truth bestowed from heaven in the workings of Take Musu Aiki.

3) Aikido is the great way of harmony and entrance into the service to the path governing the universe.

4) Aikido is the mystery of Kotodama, the great way of universal Misogi.

It seems to me that the Founder brought religion onto the mat, but I'll grant there may be other interpretations of the Founder's words and actions.

Regards,

Paul

mike lee
07-25-2002, 08:31 AM
I've got it! No more women in the dojo!!! :blush:

REK
07-25-2002, 08:43 AM
My point can be summarized pretty shortly: lighten up people. Ari asked for opinions, yes. He sure received a lot of them.

I agree to both sides and have no brilliant answers. But I do think it's odd how heated this debate became. I have met the most bizarre, off the wall people (spiritually) in aikido. That seems ok to everyone. Yet a member of one the world's oldest western religions is attacked for an attempt to work through his understanding of his faith and aikido's philosophy? Some of you need a vacation. Opinions are not laws. Lucky for us private organizations allow us to make them so, huh?

Rob

Kat.C
07-25-2002, 08:55 AM
Dear Kat,

My beliefs are my own really and my beliefs are not in conflict here. I don't follow any particular creed, dogma, or religion. I am an Ordained Minister of a Universal Faith Church.

And the argument isn't what I believe but about what others believe and how their beliefs might limit their Aikido. Also, I don't believe per se that Kami is actually living in the Kamiza. Your words were "as you believe".

Does God live in a Church, Temple or Mosque? Ask the faithful who lives there. I bet a Shinto practitioner would say "Yes, Kami lives there" in the Kamiza. I do not practice Shinto. I cannot answer that as a Shinto would.

But I also have no problems in bowing to Kamiza. My view of the Divine encompasses all so I will have respect for the Shinto and assume that Kami is there.

Am I worshipping when I bow to Kamiza is your question. In my own way yes I am. I consider it respecting the Japanese culture and the dojo culture. I am also bowing to O-Sensei's memory so it's hard to seperate the two.

I don't consider it idolarty because all avenues to the Divine are just that. But that's for me. I'm not holding myself against a set standard such as Orthodox Judaism which might or might not find bowing to the Kamiza kosher.

Cheers!
Eric,

My apologies, I was not trying to put you or your beliefs on the spot, nor be nosy about them. I just couldn't quite grasp where you were coming from. I should have skipped the last question and just asked these ones.

Why are you so adamant that it is idolatry for Ari to bow towards the kamiza? It would only be idolatry if he believes another deity exists and lives there and is bowing in worship to it wouldn't it?. If he is just bowing out of respect, appreciation etc.then how is it idolatry? Just because it is a shrine to a god to some people does not make it so for others. I mean if a group of people decided to worship a box of smarties as their god it does not mean that smarties then become a god to me. Now, I can't imagine I'd ever bow to a box of smarties but if it ever happened it would hardly be idolatry. Then again perhaps my idea of what constitutes idolatry is incorrect.:confused:

ze'ev erlich
07-25-2002, 09:46 AM
it is better for you to choose another martial art.

Rev_Sully
07-25-2002, 10:27 AM
Eric,

My apologies, I was not trying to put you or your beliefs on the spot, nor be nosy about them. I just couldn't quite grasp where you were coming from. I should have skipped the last question and just asked these ones.

Why are you so adamant that it is idolatry for Ari to bow towards the kamiza? It would only be idolatry if he believes another deity exists and lives there and is bowing in worship to it wouldn't it?. If he is just bowing out of respect, appreciation etc.then how is it idolatry? Just because it is a shrine to a god to some people does not make it so for others. I mean if a group of people decided to worship a box of smarties as their god it does not mean that smarties then become a god to me. Now, I can't imagine I'd ever bow to a box of smarties but if it ever happened it would hardly be idolatry. Then again perhaps my idea of what constitutes idolatry is incorrect.:confused:
Dear Kat,

No apologies needed. I love robust and positive discourse especially about theological issues.

This is from an on-line Tanakh.

http://www.beliefnet.com/frameset_offsite.asp?pageLoc=http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Bible/jpstoc.html&query=&script=%2Fhelp%2Flink%5Fdirectory%2Easp

This is from Torrah. Shemot is the Hebrew for the "Book of Exodus". As in Exodus 20, it is the creation of the Mosaic Covenant, God/YHWH's covenant with Moses and his people. It is what Christians know and Respect as the "Ten Commandments" (although ideally Jews respect all 614 laws put down in the Mosaic Covenant found in Shemot/Exodus).

Shemot Chapter 20.

1 And G-d spoke all these words, saying:

2 I am HaShem thy G-d, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;

5 thou shalt not bow down unto them, nor serve them; for I HaShem thy G-d am a jealous G-d, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me;

6 and showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that love Me and keep My commandments.

Now, in Shemot 20:5, it is explicitly written that "thou shalt not bow down unto them".

For me, my adamant stance comes from that if Ari can't practice with women due to his faith it is not the only thing he's got to worry about.

Idolatry itself means the worship of graven images. Basically statues, tikis, etc. But notice in 20:3 the prohibition of other gods and then to 20:5 about bowing. Do we follow that bowing is prohibited to other gods or just graven images as written in 20:4? 20:4 gives the list: nothing in the likeness of anything physical that walks, swims, flies or burrows. A Kamiza is a shrine, not an idol. But a shrine to Kami that is a spirit. A spirit is non-corporeal. But it is a shrine to a Deity that is not YHWH.

Bruce Baker
07-25-2002, 10:28 AM
It seems to be the nature of conflict and following your own path that when you go against the tide with success, you extoled, but when you go against the tide and fail you are condemned.

This is the general means of small minds who demand society be conducted on their terms without questions.

In this particular roundtable, we have covered the morality of standing by your beliefs while demanding others bend to our will, and the opposite side of bending to the will of others beliefs. Well, what if we step back, see the situation for what it is, and swallow some pride here?

Realize that bowing is a thank-you, training with women is not a sexual encounter, no matter how sleazy your thoughts get, it is a matter of your own self control. If you need to grow in years to attain maturity, then leave Aikido and return when that happens. Aikido will still be there.

As far as the detailed explanation of what the Kamiza stands for ... I had better get a shovel cause it is getting too deep with manure in here.

Get back to basics. It is our connection to what our spiritual beliefs which we believe connect us with strength or powers beyond our logical comprehension to sooth our emotional or spiritual egos to connect with these powers. " My faith gives me strength" is the explanation.

So, if you take the time to rationally observe the things you take on faith, or defend with blind faith, you will see that many of the laws, religious clauses that restrict your life are modifications by elders seeking to control the baser instincts of human behavior.

If following the rules to the point of making other people bow to your will because you are the chosen ones of a particular god, well ... let's just let that one go before we start some kind of holy war.

As far as the discussion of this question, well ... If you don't want to be dinner for the heathens, you had better curb your behavior out among the natives.

I am pretty adamant about people who are "chosen ones" for a particular religion, following holy ways, simply because they don't seek to find out how silly it is.

The earth doesn't care what kind of chosen people are here or not. A couple of million years, another layer of dirt ... time a new race of rulers. A bit cynical, but check the facts.

This whole thing about changing the dojo to suit the needs of a student ... How far should we consider a handi-capped person to be.

Physically handicapped, or religiously handicapped?

Sounds like the difference in finding the meaning of the words in the Communist manifesto compared to the practice of said words. Funny how they can be twisted to mean different things?

mike lee
07-25-2002, 10:37 AM
When we bow to each other in the dojo we are following an Asian traditional way of saying hello, goodbye and for showing respect. WE ARE NOT IDOLIZING EACH OTHER. (Well, except for this one chick ...)

When we bow to a photo of O'Sensei, we are also showing respect and thanking him and remembering him for giving us the wonderful gift of aikido.

If an individual wants to idolize O'Sensei as a deity, that's their option. Personally, I idolize St. Patrick because I was born on St. Patrick's Day and it's an especially good day for me because I can always get free drinks when I show people my drivers license. So I idolize St. Patrick because he's been so good to me over the years, especially when I had no money and it was my birthday. :D

P.S. In the West, we shake hands, hug and kiss each other on the cheek to say hello, goodbye, and to show respect. Some of this hugging and kissing in Asia is considered disrespectful. And just think -- bowing is much more hygenic!

paw
07-25-2002, 10:52 AM
Mike,

You first wrote:
When we bow to each other in the dojo we are following an Asian traditional way of saying hello, goodbye and for showing respect. WE ARE NOT IDOLIZING EACH OTHER.

Then later:
If an individual wants to idolize O'Sensei as a deity, that's their option.
Conclusion:

So someone could be idolizing O'Sensei as a deity when they bow, that is, as you wrote, their option. (I assume that you do not idolize O'Sensei when you bow.)

The point of this is that Rev_Sully's concerns about bowing to the kamiza may not be trival given the context of some religious beliefs, although it may be trival to yours.

Regards,

Paul

Kat.C
07-25-2002, 10:57 AM
Dear Kat,

No apologies needed. I love robust and positive discourse especially about theological issues.
Me too.:)
This is from an on-line Tanakh.

http://www.beliefnet.com/frameset_offsite.asp?pageLoc=http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Bible/jpstoc.html&query=&script=%2Fhelp%2Flink%5Fdirectory%2Easp

This is from Torrah. Shemot is the Hebrew for the "Book of Exodus". As in Exodus 20, it is the creation of the Mosaic Covenant, God/YHWH's covenant with Moses and his people. It is what Christians know and Respect as the "Ten Commandments" (although ideally Jews respect all 614 laws put down in the Mosaic Covenant found in Shemot/Exodus).

Shemot Chapter 20.

1 And G-d spoke all these words, saying:

2 I am HaShem thy G-d, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;

5 thou shalt not bow down unto them, nor serve them; for I HaShem thy G-d am a jealous G-d, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me;

6 and showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that love Me and keep My commandments.

Now, in Shemot 20:5, it is explicitly written that "thou shalt not bow down unto them".

For me, my adamant stance comes from that if Ari can't practice with women due to his faith it is not the only thing he's got to worry about.

Idolatry itself means the worship of graven images. Basically statues, tikis, etc. But notice in 20:3 the prohibition of other gods and then to 20:5 about bowing. Do we follow that bowing is prohibited to other gods or just graven images as written in 20:4? 20:4 gives the list: nothing in the likeness of anything physical that walks, swims, flies or burrows. A Kamiza is a shrine, not an idol. But a shrine to Kami that is a spirit. A spirit is non-corporeal. But it is a shrine to a Deity that is not YHWH.
Okay, but if you don't believe in that particular deity, then when you bow to the kamiza you aren't actually bowing to the deity.I don't think that you can worship or serve or bow down to a god that you don't believe exists. And I'm not sure about other places but I think that in our dojo the only reason that the kamiza is there is because of tradition, I pretty sure it wasn't set up as a shrine to a deity.

mike lee
07-25-2002, 12:18 PM
The point of this is that Rev_Sully's concerns about bowing to the kamiza may not be trival given the context of some religious beliefs

If someones' religous beliefs tell them that a whore-house is a bad place to go, I suggest that they don't go there. ;)

Bronson
07-25-2002, 01:14 PM
Now I'm no theologian, amatuer or otherwise but something about these two phrases caught my attention so I thought I'd bring it up.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

What if the other god isn't put before God? What if it's an equal or lesser god to the big God? I'm mean if the rules of big God are what one uses all the time in everyday existence, but during a very limited time (dojo) acknowledges the existince of another god could you argue that the worshiper hasn't put the sometimes god "before" the bid God? I'm not saying this is how it should be, it just popped into my head :)
5 thou shalt not bow down unto them, nor serve them; for I HaShem thy G-d am a jealous G-d, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me;

The question I have with this one is whether we should take it literally word for word or take what I perceive as the "spirit" of the passage as a whole. A literal interpretaion tells us that we cannot bow to anything listed in 20:4 (which you've addressed in another post already). But if I read what I feel is the spirit of the post I get that if someone leaves God behind to completely follow these small gods. In essence becomeing a "hater" of the big God. If the big God remains first and foremost in the persons mind and heart could you argue that other lesser gods could be allowed as long as they don't completely "take over".

I don't know if any of this makes any sense. But like I said it popped into my head when I read it so I thought I'd share.

Thanks for listening....or not

Bronson

Kat.C
07-25-2002, 01:48 PM
Now I'm no theologian, amatuer or otherwise but something about these two phrases caught my attention so I thought I'd bring it up.



What if the other god isn't put before God? What if it's an equal or lesser god to the big God? I'm mean if the rules of big God are what one uses all the time in everyday existence, but during a very limited time (dojo) acknowledges the existince of another god could you argue that the worshiper hasn't put the sometimes god "before" the bid God? I'm not saying this is how it should be, it just popped into my head :)



The question I have with this one is whether we should take it literally word for word or take what I perceive as the "spirit" of the passage as a whole. A literal interpretaion tells us that we cannot bow to anything listed in 20:4 (which you've addressed in another post already). But if I read what I feel is the spirit of the post I get that if someone leaves God behind to completely follow these small gods. In essence becomeing a "hater" of the big God. If the big God remains first and foremost in the persons mind and heart could you argue that other lesser gods could be allowed as long as they don't completely "take over".

I don't know if any of this makes any sense. But like I said it popped into my head when I read it so I thought I'd share.

Thanks for listening....or not

Bronson
I'm certainly no expert on this but I think that if one ever worshipped another god then you would be putting that god before God even if it is just for a short time. The point would be that you are turning to another god I don't think that the duration of the worship would matter it's the fact you've worshipped, so I think it would be a sin. But I also agree that you probably wouldn't be considered a hater of God unless you turned your back on him and followed the lesser gods completely or at least most of the time.

Can't see why you'd want more than one god though,one set of rules is enough!;)

Rev_Sully
07-25-2002, 02:17 PM
Dear Bronson,

Onegai Shimashu.

In Islam, the saying is "There is no God (Allah) but God (Allah)...and Muhammed is his Messenger (Rasul)."

Judaism and Islam are true Monotheistic religions in this. There is no other God but God. Allah and YHWH are both different names for the God of Abraham.

There are no side gods, no equal gods. Only God. Lesser gods only lead to a polytheism.

True Monotheism such as Judaism and Islam offers no variance to its adherents. Especially if those adherents are of the Orthodox persuasions.

Deb Fisher
07-25-2002, 03:49 PM
Respect is a two way street. I respect this man's faith and its prohibitions. In the dojo I train in, it would be very disrespectful of anyone (regardless of their reason) to disrupt the open environment in which everyone trains with everyone. I don't know anything about the dojo Ari wants to train in, but I can say that if it is like my own, it would be disruptively selfish of him to train selectively.

To Ari: I would really look at exactly how much you'd be asking of your training partners - especially the ones who wouldn't be able to train with you.

To the person who shot the first anti-semitism cannon: How completely uncalled-for. This is an issue of personal responsibility - I don't see how all the Jew Hating, Woman Hating, or any other kind of Hating tangents are anything but a red herring here. Just as Ari has the right to abide the dictates of his faith, he also has the responsibility not to harm others with his beliefs and attendant rules.

I mean, as a vegan I have the common sense not to walk into an ice-cream parlor or a steak house and demand accomodation.

Kat.C
07-25-2002, 04:40 PM
Well I guess my husband and I wouldn't be welcome in some dojos as we try very hard to not train with each other. Nor would I wish to train with someone who was trying to really hurt or injure me.

Kent Enfield
07-25-2002, 04:50 PM
Perhaps you should see if there is no Deity involved with Kamiza or not.Apparently I didn't make my point clear, though I thought I had done a good job explaining it. When it comes to my beliefs about the kamiza, it doesn't matter what others believe about the kamiza, including its builders or designers.As a Christian, you "know" Jesus "lives" in your church right?Um, no. I don't know of any Christian branch or sect that does. Based on this and other posts in this thread, I suggest that you ask people of other faiths about their beliefs instead of telling them.

Rev_Sully
07-25-2002, 05:18 PM
Apparently I didn't make my point clear, though I thought I had done a good job explaining it. When it comes to my beliefs about the kamiza, it doesn't matter what others believe about the kamiza, including its builders or designers.
I don't think you made your point clear either (your ire, but not your point ;) ). But even if Kamiza doesn't mean that to you spiritually, it does not negate its sacred status nor does it negate its history or meaning.

But when it comes to Ari, and the subject here in this thread, he might have a problem with it. There's the possibilty he could have a problem with it. He doesn't even have a problem with it yet. This is a semantical argument. The issue being an Orthodox religion and Aikido training. If there is a conflict, which will "win"? Would there be tolerance? Which side would be tolerant? Which side would have to make a concession? Lots of things at hand.

I have much respect for anyone in an Orthodox religion of any persuision. They must live in a noisy, noisy world with things to be religiously wary about at all times.
Um, no. I don't know of any Christian branch or sect that does. Based on this and other posts in this thread, I suggest that you ask people of other faiths about their beliefs instead of telling them.
I grew up Catholic. I'm not even Christian anymore but in a sacred space such as a Church, Christ does "live" there. Especially in a "real" manner in the Tabernacle where the pre-transsubstination host and wine reside. And if not in a physical sense, Christ definately lives there in the hearts, minds and souls of the Christians who attend.

And about your last sentance, argue the argument, not the arguer. It's the first sign that an argument isn't going your way. That's called an Ad Hominem defense.

Deb Fisher
07-25-2002, 05:47 PM
Come now, Kat.

Surely you will agree that there is a huge difference between *trying* not to train with someone you're emotionally involved with, or who might injure you or get you sick and a *strict proscription* against training with a group of people.

Your own language makes this distinction clear: you try not to train with your husband. You don't wish to train with some people. Don't we all? And I assume you figure out a way to handle each discrete issue without disrupting the social order of your dojo. I "try" not to train with certain people, too. And when I have to, I bow and smile and try to learn as much as I can. This is a valuable part of training.

My point: If Ari's potential dojo is anything like my dojo, it would be difficult to impossible to make his restriction work without disrupting this learning environment, making difficult training opportunities harder for all the members to seek out and embrace.

Deb

Jim23
07-25-2002, 06:11 PM
This thread is spinning out of control, fast (where's mj when you need him?).

I think it's time for a decision ... about what? Oh yeah, should Ari be allowed to join the religion of aikido or is it a clash of beliefs? That's what it seems like reading this thread.

Jim23

Diablo
07-25-2002, 07:35 PM
Well Ari, how long are you going to keep us hanging? When are you going to talk to your rabbii and let us know what he had to say? This has been a heated and interesting debate however I think we're ready for some closure on this topic. Too many toes have been stepped on, and we don't need a wedge driving everybody apart.

It's all about connection.

Diablo

memyselfandi
07-25-2002, 07:46 PM
yeah sorry about that :( I left him a message and I'm awaiting his call. I too would like to resolve this :)

Rev_Sully
07-25-2002, 07:57 PM
yeah sorry about that :( I left him a message and I'm awaiting his call. I too would like to resolve this :)
Dear Ari,

Does your Rabbi use Internet access and/or have email?

Perhaps you should email him the link for this thread if he does! :D

I wonder if he'd get a kick out of all the discourse it has started.

Cheers!

Sully

memyselfandi
07-25-2002, 08:34 PM
Oh dear...I'm afraid to say that I will not be getting a response from him until saturday evening :( . I understand that to many of you this is unaceptable ;) and I am truly sorry.

PS - I must say that I am truly suprised and very happy that most of you have come an understanding on this issue. After all that heated bickering, in the end you all seem to be able to sit down and discuss this rationally. You have restored my faith in Aikido and what it seems to stand for :) (peace and harmony and stuff ;) )

PPS - I'm not sure about the e-mail address, but if he does not have time to discuss this issue with me at the moment, I doubt he'll have time to read this monstrosity ;) . If I were to have just come across this thread, I would probably avoid it like a plague ;)(well, maybe not...it is a pretty interesting topic :D )

Paula Lydon
07-25-2002, 08:52 PM
Hi Ari,

I'm a woman and I'm not going to take your head off. I respect you for you depth of belief and it's your business but...I also agree with the folks who (try) to take a non-gender view of training; we're all Aikidoka. I say 'try' because we ARE male and female, each one half of an incredible, dynamic whole. If I trained only with women I'd have missed so much, and if you can train only with men, so be it, but you will miss so much. I'm certain that you'll learn useful self-defense while refining your body/mind/spirit. What you'll miss is a lot of the energy training, deeper changes within yourself and understanding the philosopy of Aikido. Oh well, your loss...good luck resolving your delima :ai: :ki: :do:

Kat.C
07-25-2002, 09:09 PM
Come now, Kat.

Surely you will agree that there is a huge difference between *trying* not to train with someone you're emotionally involved with, or who might injure you or get you sick and a *strict proscription* against training with a group of people.
Yes I do believe there is a distinction between the two, but some people have posted that everyone has to train with everyone else, no exceptions.
Your own language makes this distinction clear: you try not to train with your husband. You don't wish to train with some people. Don't we all? And I assume you figure out a way to handle each discrete issue without disrupting the social order of your dojo. I "try" not to train with certain people, too. And when I have to, I bow and smile and try to learn as much as I can. This is a valuable part of training.
Actually there isn't anyone at my dojo who I avoid training with, I was just using that possibility as an example, My apologies for being misleading, I should have made that clear.
My point: If Ari's potential dojo is anything like my dojo, it would be difficult to impossible to make his restriction work without disrupting this learning environment, making difficult training opportunities harder for all the members to seek out and embrace.

Deb
What is it about your dojo that would make it so difficult? I think it would work at our dojo, though such a person may end up without a partner sometimes as we're a small dojo, but often when we pair up there is a group of three so he could join up with a pair and just work with the male. I am not by the way saying that this would be acceptable at our dojo, I really have no idea, and it wouldn't bother me if sensei allowed it or not, I just don't see how it would interupt my training, I just wouldn't end up training with that student,and as I usually only train with five or six partners a class it wouldn't be unusual or hard.

I'm not saying that it would be a wonderful thing to happen, just that it wouldn't upset me or my training.

Anyways as you're not touching people in a sexual manner in aikido, regardless of what passes through you're mind, it will likely end up not being a problem.

paw
07-25-2002, 09:25 PM
Open Question:

If Ari is "disruptive" or "disrespectfull" because he is insisting not to train with women....is it "disruptive" or "disrespectfull" to have women's only classes?

A further question:

Has a thread ever grown as quickly as this one?

Curious,

Paul

Leslie Parks
07-26-2002, 12:11 AM
This is directed to Ari.

WOW, this thread got so long so fast, really, I've stopped reading at page 4. Not that the responses aren't interesting, but I have a small contribution and I want to go to sleep.

Work it out with your rabbi and your sensei, separately or all together. Aikido is worth it and so is your faith. Constructive communication should hopefully eliminate or reduce potential conflicts. And someone is always going to be offended.

As for bowing, a sensei in our organization is a catholic priest who teaches theology in Rome. Several years ago, out of curiosity, I asked how he handled this question. To him, it was a matter of respect and humility. The action of bowing or not bowing did not confer or deny worship as that could only come from his heart. Bowing to the shomen was to show respect for those who had come before and, through their experience, given us this art of Aikido, which we practice.

Oh, as a woman, I couldn't give a rats a** if you do not practice with me due to religious strictures. Doesn't seem like a problem, I'll catch up with you for jo nage anyway, grinning like a maniac. Now, as an instructor, show up for my class, bow in and refuse correction (as has happened to me)...now that ain't cool.

NOT THAT YOU WOULD DO THAT.

Anyway, those are my thoughts...

Chuck Clark
07-26-2002, 12:55 AM
In my experience the people that you don't want to train with are often the ones that you eventually learn a lot with.

If someone is rough, use that experience to get sensitive and knowledgeable about "rough people" and what it takes for your aikido to be successful. If you're frightened of someone, use that fear to fuel your kiai and rise above it. If someone has some behavior that you don't like, learn to be tolerant and make your aikido successful. And so on and so on....

We all act as mirrors for each other in our practice. If we pay attention, we learn a lot.

Regards,

giriasis
07-26-2002, 02:03 AM
Mrs. Giri:
Just to let you know. It's Ms. or Miss. I'm unmarried and unattached. No-offense.
>>My knee-jerk reaction to you religious views and similar other religious views is that it is sexist.

Knee-jerk reactions are bad for you. They should be avoided at all costs.
No, they should not be avoided. I am acknowledging that I might initially feel that way. I have the bravery to admit to this. I am boldly stating my inner demons within. However, I can choose not to act on those knee-jerk reactions. If you go back and re-read what I wrote after that sentence you will see that I would check my reaction and act with decency. I would even follow-up by reaching out to him to discuss and understand his beliefs.

My gut reaction is based on fear. Fear comes from ignorance. The best way to rid oneself of fear is to educate one-self about the situation. In this case I would want to know more about his beliefs and learn why such a practice is important for him to follow.
>>In regards, to whether avoiding pre-marital sex would be easier if I didn't touch men. When I'm on the mat, sex doesn't enter my mind. It's not even an allure while I'm on the mat. For me, training in aikido is genderless, asexual even. I've been training in aikido for three years now and have not had the temptation to have pre-marital sex as a result of touching my partner in the course of aikido training.

Do you believe that this would be the case if practice was the only time you had the opportunity to touch men?

I practice Kendo with my significant other and because of our busy schedules it is one of the few times we get to see each other. I've found her distracting a couple of times. It is the nature of the beast, given deprivation.
No, I would not feel differently if was the only opportunity I could touch men. Actually it usually is the only time I touch men. As mentioned above I'm unmarried and unattached. I don't have a significant other. I'm definantly "deprived", but I'm way too busy worrying about my ukemi or my technique to think of sexual desire. And the few months that I have had a boyfriend on the mat, no, I didn't have sexual thoughts about him when I touched him during aikido practice.

Now, off the mat was/ is a different story. That time, to me, is the time to get to know someone as other than a practice partner. Off the mat, I'll admit my mind will wander, but usually not a result of a touch. But just in general.

I'm 32 years old and have grown past my adolescense. At the time of writing my previous post I didn't know that Ari was still a teen. Now with that considered that changes some circumstances. Part of my point, too, was to show Ari, that not everyone thinks of sex when they touch another person and that it is not possible to think of sex -- especially if he is worried about his ukemi and technique. That doesn't mean I think he should change his beliefs, I just want him to know that all opposite-sex touching is not sexual - perhaps at his age and hormonal level it is sexual.

guest1234
07-26-2002, 05:07 AM
Erik---my, that's a BIG one...

Michael N.--actually, I think a lot more people were intolerant of those who prefer not to bow to the kamiza for religious reasons (and that action does not require a change in action by anyone else in the dojo) than someone who will is saying he wants to come to the dojo and be accepted by them but refuse to train with certain members. That action does directly impact some.

There are some neo-Nazi 'religious' groups who would refuse, on religious grounds, to train with African-Americans or Jews---do we smile and accept those actions as well?

I think if I were the sensei (oh, stop laughing)) I would think long and hard about accepting such a student...I would question them on why they want to do Aikido, perhaps suggest another dojo if there are all male ones, or an alternate art (kendo, iado, tai chi) where physical contact was not an issue. I would definately suggest a discussion with a Rabbi, and perhaps a school counselor or physician (lets face it, the bottom line concern is a natural reaction of teen age males, and it's going to happen even if the girl is three partners over or lined up in front of him in warm up...perhaps just anywhere in the room). The sensei is responsible for the harmony within the dojo, and how one's religious views of not training with certain members in the dojo impacts the dojo as a whole is important. Not only can those who would support not training with women vote with their feet, those who condem refusing to train with women can vote with their feet. Beginners often leave, do you perhaps chase out long time members because a beginner doesn't want to train with them and you say it's OK not to?

Dojos should make an attempt to reasonably accomodate...how reasonable that is depends on the dojo. Since this would mean action by more than just the one seeking admission (as is all that the bowing issue requires), by the fact that others must make an active attempt to keep him from partnering with women, perhaps the others should be consulted.

guest1234
07-26-2002, 05:12 AM
Oh, I got dizzy on my soap box I forgot to say what I wanted to, each time I've posted on this: personally, I think an emphasis on touching the opposite sex=BAD, touching the same sex=GOOD, can cause a host of problems in developing personalities, especially when mixed with normal hormonal influence. I think the Catholic Church is reaping the result of centuries of that right now, and that is why I think a counselor or physician is a good referal to make, along with an implied acceptance of this belief if the student is allowed to join.

guest1234
07-26-2002, 05:42 AM
Hmm---guess I missed a lot of posts with this new reply system...anyway:

Kat---good thing you don't see how it could impact you, probably because you are in a medium to large dojo. But lets pretend you are in a small one, and think back to your first few classes---you got a fairly senior partner a few times I bet, to help you. Made it more enjoyable, right? Now lets pretend: smaller dojo, your first night, one other female in the class, she's fairly new (maybe the level you are now), and can't train with men. You train the entire class with her. Next time you come to class, same story. Finally you've been there a few weeks, trainingly almost exclusively with partners not much more advanced with you (no fair pretending you husband is there and will train with you later, most of us don't have that option)...now a new girl joins. The other girl is gone that night. New girl can't train with men, so you are partnered up with her... right now we're talking about a guy, so we're all saying 'no big deal' but try being the only other female in a class with a female who won't train with men, and it will get old fast.

Kat.C
07-26-2002, 09:12 AM
Hmm---guess I missed a lot of posts with this new reply system...anyway:

Kat---good thing you don't see how it could impact you, probably because you are in a medium to large dojo. But lets pretend you are in a small one, and think back to your first few classes---you got a fairly senior partner a few times I bet, to help you. Made it more enjoyable, right? Now lets pretend: smaller dojo, your first night, one other female in the class, she's fairly new (maybe the level you are now), and can't train with men. You train the entire class with her. Next time you come to class, same story. Finally you've been there a few weeks, trainingly almost exclusively with partners not much more advanced with you (no fair pretending you husband is there and will train with you later, most of us don't have that option)...now a new girl joins. The other girl is gone that night. New girl can't train with men, so you are partnered up with her... right now we're talking about a guy, so we're all saying 'no big deal' but try being the only other female in a class with a female who won't train with men, and it will get old fast.
Okay, apparently I came across as too understanding of Ari's problem. There is no way that I would put up with this. If this situation arose that girl may well spend quite a bit of time without a partner. Obviously if you have restrictions upon your training you are going to be inconvienced, no way do I think that others should suffer for it. I don't believe that my current sensei would ask this of me, he likes us to train with a variety of partners each class. Anyone with this problem is going to have to accept that they might not always have a partner. Of course as I said in a previous post such a person could always join another group. In the situation you described Colleen, that girl could make a threesome with me and one of the males, I'd end up training with her alot but I would also get in some time with others. Personally though, I wouldn't want to do that,not the entire class anyway, I wouldn't have a problem doing it a few times, and as we often just have a small class it wouldn't be the first time I would work with someone more than once. So unless my sensei wished me to do this all class she'd just have to practice going through the movements on her own sometimes. I am only so accommodating.;) Anyways I agree that it could be a problem, but it should be for the person with the training restrictions not everyone else. I am referring to restrictions that are one's own choice; while I don't believe we can just shed the rules of our respective religion when they become inconvenient, we are still the ones who chose our faith and therefore the rules that go with it, so we can deal with the problems. It is nice though when others try to be understanding.

By the way the most students we've had on the mat since I've joined is about 15 and that has only happened twice so far, usually there is alot less.

virginia_kyu
07-26-2002, 10:43 AM
Erik---my, that's a BIG one...

Michael N.--actually, I think a lot more people were intolerant of those who prefer not to bow to the kamiza for religious reasons (and that action does not require a change in action by anyone else in the dojo) than someone who will is saying he wants to come to the dojo and be accepted by them but refuse to train with certain members. That action does directly impact some.
Colleen,

As I said in my previous post, I think the dojo has every right to make these decisions. I am just pointing out that in many cases the ones making these judgements are hypocritical.

If the dojo was refusing someone because they were HIV positive because they believed that they posed a real risk to the students (not just the potential for hurt feelings as in this case) the same people condemning Ari would be up in arms against this type of discrimination.

Actually Ari, if the dojo is partially funded with government funds, for example, if it is held at a public recreation center and it refused to allow you to train then you might have grounds for a lawsuit.
There are some neo-Nazi 'religious' groups who would refuse, on religious grounds, to train with African-Americans or Jews---do we smile and accept those actions as well?
I don't think that is a fair comparison. But while I think that anyone who refuses to accept African-American's, Jews etc. is a low life I am one of those rare individuals who actually believes in freedom, and not just freedom for select groups of politically correct identities.

If these people (nazi's, radical religious sects, etc..) want, let them train, and I bet more people would refuse to train with them than the other way around. But I don't think Ari's beliefs fall into this catagory.

To you sensitive folks out there, don't get too worked up over any of my comments. I am just trying to show how we often selectively apply our morals when it suits us.

Kevin Wilbanks
07-26-2002, 01:51 PM
Actually Ari, if the dojo is partially funded with government funds, for example, if it is held at a public recreation center and it refused to allow you to train then you might have grounds for a lawsuit.
Disgusting. Why even mention this? Aren't there enough lawsuits as it is, without encouraging people to sue Aikido dojo(s) over something so silly?

Kevin Wilbanks
07-26-2002, 02:03 PM
No, they ["knee-jerk" reactions] should not be avoided. I am acknowledging that I might initially feel that way. I have the bravery to admit to this...
Right on! There is way too much sanctimony and repression preached in the name of Aikido. I think the kind of comment you reacted to has a lot more to do with trying to affect an approximation of some imagined ideal than any kind of real enlightenment. As I stated before, I think this kind of faux-holy repressive attitude inhibits honest communication, and it seems to be unfortunately pervasive amongst Aikidoka. From my point of view, allowing oneself to be oneself without judgement or condemnation is pretty basic. You have to start from where you're at.

K.

Lorien Lowe
07-26-2002, 03:02 PM
Ari-

I'm with Anne Marie on this: I don't see any of the contact in aikido as being sexual, but I would respect your decision if it was explained to me (-before- you refused to practice with me!).

To be honest, if a man can't keep sex out of his head I'd rather -not- practice with him. It's not honest practice (he tends to not be seeing me as potentially dangerous, and thus not be guarding his openings, if he's thinking about sex), and I feel that it's degrading to me.

I do think that the inability to practice with anyone in the dojo is a tsuki, but you must do the best you can (and do what you feel is most honorable for yourself).

-Lorien

memyselfandi
07-26-2002, 03:07 PM
Oops, meant to post this earlier (place right after post #160)

----------------------------------

hmm...law suit, now we're getting into the spirit of Aikido ;)

I just wanted to say that I don't think it matters whether or not each individual situation is sexual. I think that overall, rolling around with a member of the opposite sex is inherently sexual and just because that’s not what I'm thinking about at the time doesn't mean that I can do it :)

Disclamer: Just because I say it, don't mean it's true ;) I'm not actually qualified to preach Judaic law. I'm just explaining it how I best understand it.

Deb Fisher
07-26-2002, 03:18 PM
Kat, Colleen pointed out exactly what I was trying to get across:

"Now lets pretend: smaller dojo, your first night, one other female in the class, she's fairly new (maybe the level you are now), and can't train with men. You train the entire class with her. Next time you come to class, same story. Finally you've been there a few weeks, trainingly almost exclusively with partners not much more advanced with you (no fair pretending you husband is there and will train with you later, most of us don't have that option)...now a new girl joins. The other girl is gone that night. New girl can't train with men, so you are partnered up with her... right now we're talking about a guy, so we're all saying 'no big deal' but try being the only other female in a class with a female who won't train with men, and it will get old fast."

To answer your question about what makes my dojo a bad place for this: We've just got a really nice, inclusive feeling going on. Almost everybody is incredibly supportive and human, everyone works with everyone and nobody talks smack about anybody, and this creates an atmosphere that I really treasure. Just look at how quickly this thread became divisive - complete with comparisons with racism, accusations of sexism and anti-semitism and now the mention of the dreaded lawsuit! In real life, I think that someone who refused to practice with any member of my dojo would foster the same kind of divisiveness because it would hold up the practice of picking partners and make for inequity at least some of the time, as Colleen describes above.

That might bother me enough to leave, especially since I would have the pre-event dojo experience to compare this new, more socially confusing and sometimes inconvenient atmosphere to.

memyselfandi
07-26-2002, 03:26 PM
It's not so much an issue of picking partners (more male than female so it wouldn't be so obvious). As I mentioned in my first post, what I'm really worried about is the times when everyone stands in a line and acts as Ukemi to one Nage. This would make the "discrimination" much more obvious. (I'm not sure if this is how they always do it, as I have only viewed one class so far)

Richard Harnack
07-26-2002, 03:44 PM
As the length and breadth of this forum indicates quite a few people have opinions on this topic.

1. To reiterate a basic understanding, Ari's concern is essentially a religious one that impinges on training. It does not matter in what art he trains, he will be confronted with the same dilemma. Thus it is not an Aikido question.

2. What others believe about his beliefs is not germane at all. What he understands about his beliefs is.

3. Ritual purification may be an opportunity for him. Such a ritual would have meaning for him, if it were available to him. This says nothing about his training.

4. Lastly, a general comment about ignorance of others traditions, if one does not know anything about anothers tradition, one should first learn the facts, then form an opinion. Much of what has been posted has been of the "I heard from..." category and had very little to do with Orthodox Judaism. (PS: In Judaism the parents who count are Abraham and Sarah, not Adam and Eve.)

tittle
07-26-2002, 04:24 PM
[QUOTE="Ari Fuchs (memyselfandi)"]rachmass-

Not touching members of the opposite sex can indeed be seen as a precautionary measure as Eric mentioned. Let me put it this way; how much easier do you think it would be to avoid premarital sex (a sin in many religions) if you could not touch a member of the opposite sex to begin with?

[END QUOTE]

I don't think that's a good example: that viewpoint seems to encourage thinking about premarital sex by forbidding it, hanging it tantalizingly out of reach, creating a big mystery around it and so on. However, if *you* think that's the way to handle it, I won't gainsay you that, so long as you don't think that must be the way I should handle it.

While I would never dream of telling you that you shouldn't practice your religion, etc., I also believe that within the context that it affects only you (and others who choose to believe/practice the same way as you do). But by refusing to practice with other women in your dojo, they are now being affected by your practices whether or not they believe them as well. And I see that as unfair, particularly since it's over an issue they have no control over (can't flip on a boy switch).

I'm sure you'll find the best way to handle this for your circumstances, but you wanted to know what women thought...well many of them will find it offensive. But you knew that, I think.

memyselfandi
07-26-2002, 04:28 PM
I agree, it was a bad example and I apologize for it again.

Erik
07-26-2002, 04:44 PM
I just wanted to say that I don't think it matters whether or not each individual situation is sexual. I think that overall, rolling around with a member of the opposite sex is inherently sexual and just because that’s not what I'm thinking about at the time doesn't mean that I can do it :)

Disclamer: Just because I say it, don't mean it's true ;) I'm not actually qualified to preach Judaic law. I'm just explaining it how I best understand it.
Uh, Ari, what happens if you practice with homosexuals? In an all-male dojo, ya never know for certain do you? All that rolling around on the mat, if it's inherently sexual then we wouldn't want you to be led into temptation now would we? Or, are there no gay Jews?

memyselfandi
07-26-2002, 04:50 PM
As the length and breadth of this forum indicates quite a few people have opinions on this topic.

1. To reiterate a basic understanding, Ari's concern is essentially a religious one that impinges on training. It does not matter in what art he trains, he will be confronted with the same dilemma. Thus it is not an Aikido question.

2. What others believe about his beliefs is not germane at all. What he understands about his beliefs is.

3. Ritual purification may be an opportunity for him. Such a ritual would have meaning for him, if it were available to him. This says nothing about his training.

4. Lastly, a general comment about ignorance of others traditions, if one does not know anything about anothers tradition, one should first learn the facts, then form an opinion. Much of what has been posted has been of the "I heard from..." category and had very little to do with Orthodox Judaism. (PS: In Judaism the parents who count are Abraham and Sarah, not Adam and Eve.)
1. Actually my concern is a training one. I'm not asking what anyone else thinks the law is, I'm asking for a way to deal with it without either offending anyone or giving up my religion.

2. You are correct sirrah... ;)

3. yeah...some others of you have suggested this "ritual purification"...Ill be sure to ask the rabbi about it, as I'm sure hell get a real kick out of it ;) . Seriously though, I have no idea what your talking about. (I suppose you could be confusing Judaic law with that Christian business of baptizing to get rid of Original Sin...though I don't know to much about that either :( ...)

4. You are correct again sirrah :D
Uh, Ari, what happens if you practice with homosexuals? In an all-male dojo, ya never know for certain do you? All that rolling around on the mat, if it's inherently sexual then we wouldn't want you to be led into temptation now would we? Or, are there no gay Jews?

I'm sorry I do not know what one would do in such a situation as I am not homosexual and I have never had the opportunity to ask. :)

henry brown
07-26-2002, 04:59 PM
Organized religion is the scourge of the world

Kat.C
07-26-2002, 05:07 PM
Kat, Colleen pointed out exactly what I was trying to get across:

"Now lets pretend: smaller dojo, your first night, one other female in the class, she's fairly new (maybe the level you are now), and can't train with men. You train the entire class with her. Next time you come to class, same story. Finally you've been there a few weeks, trainingly almost exclusively with partners not much more advanced with you (no fair pretending you husband is there and will train with you later, most of us don't have that option)...now a new girl joins. The other girl is gone that night. New girl can't train with men, so you are partnered up with her... right now we're talking about a guy, so we're all saying 'no big deal' but try being the only other female in a class with a female who won't train with men, and it will get old fast."
I replied to Colleen's post already, perhaps you missed my response. In short I just cannot see a sensei using this as a solution. Either the girls with the training restrictions would end up practicing the techniques on their own sometimes,while I work with one of the guys or they would join me and a male partner to make a group of three and I would train with both people. I have trained in a group of three before when there has been an odd number of students. So no big deal. Really though, I cannot see someone who cannot train with members of the opposite sex joining a dojo that has just one or two members of the same sex, it would be stupid.
To answer your question about what makes my dojo a bad place for this: We've just got a really nice, inclusive feeling going on. Almost everybody is incredibly supportive and human, everyone works with everyone and nobody talks smack about anybody, and this creates an atmosphere that I really treasure. Just look at how quickly this thread became divisive - complete with comparisons with racism, accusations of sexism and anti-semitism and now the mention of the dreaded lawsuit! In real life, I think that someone who refused to practice with any member of my dojo would foster the same kind of divisiveness because it would hold up the practice of picking partners and make for inequity at least some of the time, as Colleen describes above.

That might bother me enough to leave, especially since I would have the pre-event dojo experience to compare this new, more socially confusing and sometimes inconvenient atmosphere to.
I don't think that there is anything wrong with picking and choosing who can join your dojo, I agree it is nice to have an enjoyable training atmosphere and that it is basically up to the sensei who can be there. What I found odd was that so many people would find Ari's restriction offensive. It does not stem from a hatred of women or from thinking that women are inferior or anything else degrading. It is simply about remaining chaste, at least from what I understand, which admitedly isn't much. If you don't think your dojo can deal wtih this without losing its atmosphere then obviously it's not the place for such a person to train in.

memyselfandi
07-26-2002, 05:08 PM
Then the world was doomed long ago my friend, cause this ones been around for about 3500 years and it's still kickin'.

Marc Kupper
07-26-2002, 05:32 PM
It's not so much an issue of picking partners (more male than female so it wouldn't be so obvious). As I mentioned in my first post, what I'm really worried about is the times when everyone stands in a line and acts as Ukemi to one Nage. This would make the "discrimination" much more obvious. (I'm not sure if this is how they always do it, as I have only viewed one class so far)
Ari, since your sensei has already said it's ok for you to attend classes and to be selective about partners you could go back to him/her and ask about these line drills. When injured there was a time I sat out a line drill and it was fine with everyone as I could still participate in the one on one parts of a class.

If you do choose to participate in the line drills and the nage is a woman then you can either sit out or when you are at the head of the line to walk back to the end (skipping the technique).

If you are nage and have a line of people coming at you it's a little stickier. Either all the women sit out, skip you, or you do "no contact" throws. In this case you are really imposing your own beliefs on others. No "neat" solution comes to mind but perhaps the rabbi you know of that practices aikido has a solution.

What happens if a woman touches you by accident? I assume you have some form of purification ritual to deal with situations like this. As contact during the line drills is so incidental/quick you may be better off just doing the drill with women and then after class purifying yourself.

Marc

memyselfandi
07-26-2002, 05:50 PM
No, there is no purification ritual for acidental touching as there is nothing wrong with it (no cooties or anything ;) ). It's with the purposeful touching where the problems come in :). So in otherwords no; I could not just go out and do the deed with the intention of repenting or "purifying" when I'm done.
That's not to say that we can't repent for our sins, we just can't go out and do something we know is wrong with the intention of repenting for it later.

Disclamer: Just because I say it, don't mean it's true ;) I'm not actually qualified to preach Judaic law. I'm just explaining it how I best understand it.

Deb Fisher
07-26-2002, 05:56 PM
Just to continue this little sidebar Kat and I have going on...

I don't find the restriction offensive per se. I do think that anyone who has placed restrictions on their personal habits should be responsible for those restrictions and not sacrifice the experience of the larger group because of them.

Listen, this is just a pet issue of mine because I have a funny diet and I do try to make sure I'm the only one who is put out by it. That's why I feel like this is not a gender/religion issue as much as it's about personal responsibility.

Marc Kupper
07-26-2002, 06:26 PM
... It's with the purposeful touching where the problems come in :). So in otherwords no; I could not just go out and do the deed with the intention of repenting or "purifying" when I'm done.
Ari, if you can't go into a situation knowing there may be contact with a woman then it looks like you should sit out line drills where there are one or more women in the line.

Your aikido will not progress as quickly and in the long run you may be better off finding a dojo that does not have women.

Shalom and good luck,

Marc

ps: I'm interested in how the aikido practicing rabbi dealt with this.

memyselfandi
07-26-2002, 06:41 PM
Ari, if you can't go into a situation knowing there may be contact with a woman then it looks like you should sit out line drills where there are one or more women in the line.
Oh dear this is embarassing; I'm very ashamed to say that I had not thought of that :blush: . I would still have to apologize to any women I might offend by not training with them, but I wouldn't be excluding anyone from practice. If the Rabbi does ends up saying that I can't participate, then I will ask the sensei what he thinks of this. Thank you very much :)

memyselfandi
07-26-2002, 07:14 PM
Well it's almost Shabbos here, so I'll be leaving you all now. If all goes well, I'll have the Rabbi's response for you sometime tomorow night.

Until then,

Ari Fuchs

Kat.C
07-26-2002, 07:42 PM
Just to continue this little sidebar Kat and I have going on...

I don't find the restriction offensive per se. I do think that anyone who has placed restrictions on their personal habits should be responsible for those restrictions and not sacrifice the experience of the larger group because of them.

Listen, this is just a pet issue of mine because I have a funny diet and I do try to make sure I'm the only one who is put out by it. That's why I feel like this is not a gender/religion issue as much as it's about personal responsibility.
Well I can understand where you're coming from I have friends who have certain restrictions too, one has M.S, one cannot drive at night due to an operation on her eyes, and 3 have relatively strict diets to adhere to. I do not mind in the least accomodating them, I am happy to, probably you would put people out a whole lot less than you think.

But I agree with what you said, and I wasn't implying that people have to accept him at their dojo and be inconvenienced by his needs, nor would it be my place to say so. I thought it silly that people chose to take offense at something so inoffensive; he just doesn't wish to touch women in a sexual manner before he is married. The idea that he should just throw the rules of his religion out the window while in a dojo is silly too, that is just not the way faith works. But all Ari was asking, I believe, was if it would be offensive to people, and how to limit the offense caused,he had already said that the sensei would accept him with his training restrictions, so finding a dojo where this could work wasn't a problem.

All in all I believe that dealing with different people with different needs helps to prevent intolerence.

And don't you think it would be less interesting if there weren't such varied customs and cultures?

Speireag
07-26-2002, 08:23 PM
"Who trains at your dojo?" I was asked.

I answered, "Have you trained before?"

"Not anymore." Not since converting.

No touching, you see, between the boys and girls.

"Don't see how to get around that," I said.

Didn't understand. Half didn't believe it.

"You talk with your Rabbi?"

"Maybe I will."

And that was the end of that. I thought.

But the questions continued.

I didn't have answers.

Didn't have the heart

to say, "Give it up."

The Rabbi said training is fine -- no bowing

right? -- okay, that's fine. Long as the boys

don't touch the girls.

What in the world did he think training was?

What in the world could I tell somebody

so heart sick from missing a love abandoned?

And why should I say anything, after all?

Not my decision who trains and who doesn't.

Delegate it up the chain of command.

That's why Sensei gets the big bucks.

And Sensei said welcome. Train as you can.

Just like the rest of us, I guess.

I wonder, now, why she wanted to train.

Wonder at my attitude and hers...

at her simple sincere desire.

To train.

That's all. Just train.

Best that she could.

She knew it was a stretch.

She admitted that to me.

She didn't expect to progress in the art.

She just wanted to train.

And she did.

And loved every short improbable instant

of motion and balance and happy accident

of bumping, now and then, into one of the boys.

And then she didn't train anymore.

So what did she get out of training?

Say goodbye, maybe? One last walk

holding hands? I don't know.

But I'm glad we gave her a chance to do

whatever it was she was trying to do.

Glad we gave her a chance to play.

Grateful our art allowed for something

that seems so contrary

to the art itself. It gave

her a chance -- gave me a chance

to practice what I practice for.

Best to you and yours,

Paul Schweer
Magnificent. Normally I edit out as much as possible when I reply, but I couldn't remove anything here without being violent to the whole.

Domo arigato gozaimashita!

-Speireag.

virginia_kyu
07-26-2002, 09:57 PM
hmm...law suit, now we're getting into the spirit of Aikido :)
:) I was not attempting to suggest that you actually try a law suit. I was just trying to make a point about the selective application of discrimination.

guest1234
07-26-2002, 10:50 PM
I agree with Deb, the responsible person does not ask for Unreasonable accomodation. And Kat, again, you don't get to pretend that there are TWO other women there, just you and one other woman. So unless she's going to sit out alot so you get to train with the guys, you will be training with her all the time. Or are you saying it is OK for a male with those prohibitions to join a dojo, because it wouldn't affect you, but a woman with those same issues couldn't.

I've been in situations where, since I was the only other female, I missed out in order to pair up with someone. It is not fun. The same could be said for guys, there have actually been a few classes (not many, but a few) where the sensei and all but one student was female. It adds in a constant confusion point in partnering up. And I don't buy the 'it will be easy for me to avoid except for in randori' (although I think it is not actually randori, but just training in a line, and that is common at all levels), because I've seen LOTS of beginners end up paired with another brand new beginner, because they are NOT very skilled at getting a partner.

I don't recall who said the religion issue applies to all MA, not just Aikido, but that is not correct. Since the issue is over touching a female, choose an art where you can partner, but not touch (Iaido, Kendo both come readily to mind...in fact, with all the extra layers/mask and shinai between you, Kendo should be great), or arts that are singular--no partner--Kyudo, Tai Chi. That to me would seem like the choice of someone who wanted to stay true to his religious convictions and to the spirit of including all in his practice vs purposely excluding some, and yet still do a MA. He could have the heritage of MA, and approach it without worry of touching a female or offending others.

Or find an all male dojo. Or ask to be accomodated, but don't expect everyone to be happy about your excluding them. If they allow you to train, then they are accomodating you. They do not need to like your viewpoint, and they are entitled to feel like they are being deprived of the training experience they had before your arrival, as you will impact on who they get as partners. But Aikido folks are pretty giving, and will probably accomodate you, even without the lawsuit.

And on that point, Michael, you want to choose which religious prohibitions against certain partners are OK and which are not...talk about grounds for a lawsuit.

guest1234
07-26-2002, 11:03 PM
Oops, my APPOLIGIES to Kat, I just saw that you got the point of my another girl analogy...this thread is growing so quickly, I cannot keep up as I type...must go put on glasses so I can type faster. Anyway, yeah, sometimes the 'field expedient' solution when you have one person who won't mix with certain others really impacts those they do mix with, and those they don't.

As I've proven I can't keep up now more than once I think I will just stop trying...especially since somewhere in here there must have been a reference that the sensei in question already said he could train, but I don't recall that, that really the only one consulted so far (besides us) was Dad... that they'd gone to class (that was my hint Ari was a teen, adults don't usually take their Dads with them), not that he'd already signed up.

mike lee
07-27-2002, 04:15 AM
I trained at a university club dojo and there was a male Moslem there. He regularly practiced with a small group of blue and green belts in one section of the gym. It was a really big place -- about 90 students.

I generally trained with black belts on another side of the mat. I often practice with women for a number of reasons. One reason is that women need to train with men on occasion because they need to get used to size and strength differences. I'm big and strong and I think they gain confidence from the experience.

I also enjoy practicing with women because I like the feeling I get from the experience. I like their ki and I like the way they blend.

I noticed this feeling from practicing with my master. It seemed to me that his ki was more smooth and steady, like that of a woman's, and yet he had a very strong will, like a man.

Anyway, after class the Moslem student and his friends often liked to stay around and practice other martial arts, such as karate and judo. One day he asked if I could help him after class with his aikido because he had a test coming up. I gradually got to know him better and we became friends. We sometimes even walked home together after practice.

One night as we were walking home, I mentioned to him that he shouldn't be afraid to come over and practice with some of the black belts during the training sessions. I mentioned one girl that I thought would be especially good for him to practice with. Then he told me that his religion forbid him to touch any woman except his wife.

I was amazed. I had never heard of such a thing.

But the point here is that I had been training with this man for over one year in the same dojo, and I didn't even notice that he never practiced with a woman. :blush:

Richard Harnack
07-27-2002, 06:23 PM
One last reply.

At our dojo, I ask everyone totrain with everyone else, regardless of gender, race, size, etc. It would be noticeable if someone was not training with a particular group of people.

In such a situation the person who chose not to train with a particular group would have to let me know why. I would most likely inform them that their training would suffer if they did not train with everyone.

If they explained that it was for religious reasons, ala Ari, I would still ask them to train with everyone. Their religion and their commitment to it is their own.

If an individual has difficulty working with others for any reason, I give my input and allow them to exercise their choice. However, if Ari were in class and a female student came to him to train, I would expect him to either put up with it or inform the woman of his religious scruples.

Beyond this I would also assume that everyone would behave as polite adults.

Joshua Livingston
07-28-2002, 12:51 AM
Dear Ari Fuchs,

I expected you'd get these types of replies too. However, everyone is entitled to their beliefs just as you are. I personally don't see anything offensive about it and have seen a lot worst in Aikido dojos in my view. I visited one dojo that actually had a womans only class taught by a woman but when the men wanted their own class, the women cried fowl. I made the mistake of not calling the dojo before arriving and showed up on ladies night. EGADS! If looks can kill ... Like, how dare I enter the dojo on THEIR night. YIKES!

Then again, I can see Rachel's point too. I've seen the behavior where men did not want to train with women simply because they are women and nothing else. But then again, I would have to say that for someone who is looking at opening their own dojo, lashing out at someone because of their religous beliefs doesn't help your cause of potential new students that might be lurking in these halls.

I had one little girl in my dojo say she didn't like training with the boys because in her view, all boys were stupid. I'll note at this time it was my youngest daugther. I immediately put her with a boy and only allowed her to train with boys. Her attitude has changed and when it's time to take a partner, she usually grabs a boy. (I think she likes the power it gives her when she man-handles them).

Bottom line is this is between you and your dojo/sensei. If they don't have a problem with it, then to heck with what anyone here thinks.

For the record, you're welcome in my dojo anytime.

Regards ...
:cool:

I agree fully with this post. It really doesn't matter what the Aikido community as a whole thinks. As you can see, there is not one solid mindset among us. If everyone in the Aikido world thought the same way then it would certainly matter. However, that is not the case.

So in this instance what really matters is what you think, what your sensei thinks, and what the other dojo members think.

If I were you, (and I'm not, so you should use your own mind to decide what is right) I would suggest to your sensei to allow you to remove yourself from parts of the class that would force you to violate your religious beliefs. If you took part in line drills only when the guys were up and skipped the females when performing your own techniques, that would result in a blatant display that (even among those who do understand your reasons) would cause specific examples of offense to occur on regular occasions. One cannot help but feel offended when singled out at specific moments.

However, if you took yourself out (sitting Seiza at the corner of the mat) of that whole training sequence as people often do when they are limited by injuries (though I realize religion is quite different, it is in this case a limitation on the mat) it would be less targeted and much easier for others to get use to it without feeling offended. Yes, you would be missing out on an entire training sequence, but that is the price one must pay when working under limitations. You should strive to make your classmates feel as comfortable as you can.

If the Sensei agrees to you practicing under these conditions or any other conditions that you may come up with, I would also suggest a way to make sure that your dojo members are also comfortable with it. Suggest to the Sensei to have a discussion with the other dojo members (while you are not present) or hold a secret ballot where each member decides if they would be comfortable with the practice of your religious beliefs on the mat. If everyone agrees that they have no problem with it, then you have nothing to worry about. However, this scenario is pretty unlikely so I would decide with the Sensei what the minimum amount of disfavored votes should be and if that number occurs I would either find another Dojo or hobby. Also, keep in mind that the female ratio of students is going to be really important. It would be folly to consider success if only 5 of 50 students voted negative, but all votes came from females and there are only 9 females at the dojo. You really don't want to practice Aikido in a situation where most of your partners feel uncomfortable, because as mentioned earlier from others, the unity of the Dojo is a very major part of training. You could also make a note to have friendly talks with the females after class on regular occasions. It becomes a lot easier for people to accept foreign and even offensive customs when they know what kind of person you are and are on friendly bases.

Sorry for the length of the post, but I really hope this helps and I hope that you can find some way to practice Aikido as it is truly a very wonderful path.

:triangle: :circle: :square:

Joshua

BrokenKnees
07-28-2002, 03:27 AM
Oh, I got dizzy on my soap box I forgot to say what I wanted to, each time I've posted on this: personally, I think an emphasis on touching the opposite sex=BAD, touching the same sex=GOOD, can cause a host of problems in developing personalities, especially when mixed with normal hormonal influence. I think the Catholic Church is reaping the result of centuries of that right now, and that is why I think a counselor or physician is a good referal to make, along with an implied acceptance of this belief if the student is allowed to join.
Personally, Colleen, I think you know a great deal about Aikido. However, I have to take umbrage with what you say about the Catholic church. Sorry everyone, for making this a religious issue, but as a God-fearing Catholic, I can't let this slip without registering my protest. I won't however say more...except that Colleen, you should've known better.

evileyes

Joshua Livingston
07-28-2002, 03:31 AM
Wow, I actually made my reply after only reading the first 3 pages as I didn't notice it actually had 8!

After reading all of them (OY!) I see that some of my suggestions were later stated, but I don't think anyone used my specific combination or some of the smaller suggestions I made. Anyway I hope they help.

Seeing as how it has been two nights since your last post, I hope you haven't left us hanging in relation to what the Rabbi said...

Joshua

Rev_Sully
07-28-2002, 07:26 AM
Sabbath is over.

Waiting on you Ari. ;) (Take your time buddy...just kidding!)

Hope you had a nice and restful Sabbath.

Most people are agreable to Ari, that is nice. I felt that somewhere along this thread it helped me to form an opinion about this kind of subject: personal religion vs. aikido.

Case in point: I used to frequent the Message Board for the NPR news talk show "The Connection". Full of robust debate over political, theological, environmental, issues, etc. One time, the subject of the Confederate Flag as a racist symbol came up. I didn't really have an opinion on it but joined the conversation because the thread was very good. But I ended up forming and opinion because of fellow posters of both sides producing good (and sometimes bad) arguments.

Although I searched for facts and formed an argument, I ultimately decided that yes, indeed the Confederate Flag can (and dare I say should) be considered a racist symbol and I would support it's removal from the State flags that carry it.

What do Racist flags and Aikido have in common?

The Internet! And Message Boards! And my opinion. The dialog and conversations of these nature help me to form my opinion. Same as here and same as on this thread. Look at the Jefferson quote in my signature, it sums up everything for me.

I look forward to Rabbi's dictum in this matter because I almost have reached opinion on this matter. I wait on Rabbi to further enlighten me on this. Rabbi after all is the expert on Judaism and I am only a bookish amateur theologian. I think Rabbi's dictum is, not only Ari's guidance, but the last piece in this theological puzzle I've helped create by insisting that Kamiza must be as seriously taken into consideration along with practicing with women.

Cheers!

Dana
07-28-2002, 10:07 AM
My only interaction with Orthodox Jewish aikidokas is in seminars taking place in Jerusalem. I notice religious Jews (male and female) there and they practice with men and women, even a guy who comes in complete Orthodox Jewish outfit (outside the mat of course).

On the other hand I know (not related to my aikido experience) religious Jewish men who abstain touching women, therefore I suppose it is not something coming from Judaism but a way of interpreting it.

memyselfandi
07-28-2002, 12:28 PM
Oh sorry about the lateness; I went to see that new Austin Powers movie and got back to late to post (sooo tired...).
Well, I spoke with the Rabbi and got a general idea of what's going on. Apparently I was mistaken; he did take Judo (Bronze medal in National Championships sometime late 60s early 70s (would have been at least silver but he was pushed back to bronze because the final match was on a saturday)) and his sensei did also teach Aikido (though not until the student was at least a shodan in Judo) but the Rabbi never actually took any Aikido. He's gonna speak with his old sensei (sounds like Wantanabe?) and find out if there are any other religious problems. He (the Rabbi) said that in the beginning touching is not necessary so it is definitely not allowed. He does seem to think that it will be necessary later due to differences in the way women train so there he would allow it (though he admitted that most other Rabbaim would disagree). As to the Kamiza; He said that normal bowing for respect is not an issue, but we are not allowed to bow in any form of fealty or adulation to a graven image (or person for that matter). So in other words, bowing to Kamiza is out.
Well that's all for now folks, I hope I answered enough to keep you satisfied for now ;)

paw
07-28-2002, 03:25 PM
ttt for all those awaiting the response....

Oh and Ari,

Welcome. Good training to you.

Well, one more thing....
Well, I spoke with the Rabbi and got a general idea of what's going on. Apparently I was mistaken; he did take Judo (Bronze medal in National Championships sometime late 60s early 70s

That's potent!

Warm Regards,

Paul

memyselfandi
07-28-2002, 03:48 PM
Indeed :D

Erik
07-28-2002, 07:21 PM
I'm sorry I do not know what one would do in such a situation as I am not homosexual and I have never had the opportunity to ask.
Ari, my point is pretty subtle. If the attempt is to prevent sex, well, you've got to be smart enough to know just what will interest those whom you are protecting from themselves. I think the Catholic church has more than adequately proven just how difficult this is.

Joshua Livingston
07-28-2002, 07:51 PM
Ari, my point is pretty subtle. If the attempt is to prevent sex, well, you've got to be smart enough to know just what will interest those whom you are protecting from themselves. I think the Catholic church has more than adequately proven just how difficult this is.
Actually I could be wrong, but I believe the point of the practice is to protect "himself" from touching others in a sexual way. So, unless he is himself a homosexual, he has nothing to worry about in that regard.

If some guy secretly gets off on touching other guys then it is that person's business to do what they must to follow their own belief systems.

If the guy "openly" shows that he is touching other guys on the mat in a sexual context, then the person should immediately be brought to the attention of the Sensei as it has no place on the mat and can/is indeed a form of sexual harassment.

Erik
07-28-2002, 09:08 PM
Actually I could be wrong, but I believe the point of the practice is to protect "himself" from touching others in a sexual way. So, unless he is himself a homosexual, he has nothing to worry about in that regard.
I hear what you are saying but I'd tend to think it's someone else who is/was attempting to stop Ari's touching. I'm just guessing here but I'm pretty sure that Ari would be all for touching. We should not go here. It will massively digress the conversation.
If the guy "openly" shows that he is touching other guys on the mat in a sexual context, then the person should immediately be brought to the attention of the Sensei as it has no place on the mat and can/is indeed a form of sexual harassment.
Excellent point, and I agree completely. Is it not also sexual harassment when it's between a man and a woman? Another place we should not go for fear of thread digression.

Joshua Livingston
07-28-2002, 10:08 PM
I hear what you are saying but I'd tend to think it's someone else who is/was attempting to stop Ari's touching. I'm just guessing here but I'm pretty sure that Ari would be all for touching. We should not go here. It will massively digress the conversation.
Ok....
Excellent point, and I agree completely. Is it not also sexual harassment when it's between a man and a woman? Another place we should not go for fear of thread digression.
Of course it is and I did not mention it because most people are aware of that type of problem and in a well maintained dojo it is obvious that the one must watch out for man/woman situations of sexual harassment. I pointed out the man/man sitaution because often times people don't think about that.

The only reason I brought up the example of a blatant display of sexual conduct was because I mentioned that he would not have a problem if the male secretly held these thoughts, and I wanted to make sure that I covered the opposite side as well.

Erik
07-28-2002, 11:50 PM
I pointed out the man/man sitaution because often times people don't think about that.
To be truthful, it wasn't even in my thinking on this one.

I brought up the female side because we, as a group, could never agree on just what that was exactly. Some think it's ok for teachers to date students, other's not. Anyways, this is thread drift, so I'll leave it alone.

Fminor
07-29-2002, 02:20 AM
As to the Kamiza; He said that normal bowing for respect is not an issue, but we are not allowed to bow in any form of fealty or adulation to a graven image (or person for that matter). So in other words, bowing to Kamiza is out.
Is it just me or do I hear a contradiction ?

Most of us talked over this thread about Kamiza being a way to show respect and gratefulness to O-Sensei and to the other Aikidokas.
By no mean do we worship or idolizes O-Sensei or the Aikidokas (except for the cute guy in hakama... but that's a different story). :)
According to your Rabbi - it's normal to bow out of respect, so why determine "Kamiza is out" ?

Efrat

Joshua Livingston
07-29-2002, 04:22 AM
Is it just me or do I hear a contradiction ?

Most of us talked over this thread about Kamiza being a way to show respect and gratefulness to O-Sensei and to the other Aikidokas.

By no mean do we worship or idolizes O-Sensei or the Aikidokas (except for the cute guy in hakama... but that's a different story). :)

According to your Rabbi - it's normal to bow out of respect, so why determine "Kamiza is out" ?

Efrat
His rabbi considers it a graven image. Just because many of us choose to interpret it as something else doesn't mean that everyone does or can.

Though I do agree that this should not stray off the main topic and turn into a thread about other religious interpretations of the Shomen/Kamiza (besides how they affect Ari's main question), so if anyone has comments about my own interpretations of the Shomen/Kamiza, please start another thread in the spiritual forum and let me know that you have done so.

Fminor
07-29-2002, 04:35 AM
His rabbi considers it a graven image. Just because many of us choose to interpret it as something else doesn't mean that everyone does or can
Hi, Joshua

I just couldn't resist answering you (though it does belong to a different thread)...
As I mentioned 100 posts ago (time just flies by...) - I'm Orthodox Jewish as well.
I was looking forward to the Rabbi reply, because I never really discussed this issue with a Rabbi myself (I made my own choices at this subject).
Ari's answer confused me and I wish he would clarify it.

No more Kamize talking from me... :D

Efrat

mike lee
07-29-2002, 04:38 AM
The devil weaves doubt in the minds of the innocent. evileyes

Joshua Livingston
07-29-2002, 06:34 AM
The devil weaves doubt in the minds of the innocent. evileyes
evileyes Moo Wha Ha Ha!

Kevin Leavitt
07-29-2002, 07:25 AM
Quick question. What role does "intent" play in this moral/ethical/religous issue?

What I mean is, I am married. It is okay for me to "touch" woman in a dojo because my intent is to practice aikido. therefore I could grab there wrist or even around the waist.

In a bar or night club, doing the exact same thing may not be acceptable. Reason: the intent of my actions changed, not the mechanics.

In my view, if your intent is to practice then it would be okay. If thoughts are other than that, then no it is not okay.

Same with the Kamiza. If you personally view it as a sign of respect then it would be okay. If you view it as "idol" worship, then it is not okay.

It all is with the individual and their perception of "intent".

mike lee
07-29-2002, 08:47 AM
Jesus said that if one looks at a woman with lust in his heart, he commits adultry.

He raised the religious bar by indicating that the wrong intent, not only wrong action, was a spiritual error. :do:

Sara M
07-29-2002, 10:53 AM
mike,

doesn't it also say somewhere... thats everyone is tempted by satan (hence looking at a women with lust) its whether or not you react to that, that makes you wrong

Kat.C
07-29-2002, 11:09 AM
I believe Mike has it right, sin is not necessarily a physical act.

mike lee
07-29-2002, 11:27 AM
Temptation and intent are two different things -- although one can influence the other, if you let it.

Everybody makes mistakes, even when it comes to learning about intent. :freaky: The trick is to realize what the mistakes are and then get back on the right path. :do:

Sara M
07-29-2002, 11:39 AM
kat, i didn't say he was wrong...

Kat.C
07-29-2002, 12:31 PM
kat, i didn't say he was wrong...
I didn't say you did.:)

In fact when I posted my reply I hadn't even seen yours. I was just agreeing with what Mike said in response to what Kevin posted.

I will add though, that even if one starts out the practice with just practice in mind, if your thoughts stray to umm, lust, then that would be sinning, (unless of course its lust for your spouse). I think that is what Ari was concerned with.

And yes Sara, the bible says satan will try to tempt us, and if you give in, even only in your thoughts, its sinning. nfortunately its usually fun stuff.

Kenn
07-29-2002, 03:25 PM
Sin is subjective.

Rev_Sully
07-29-2002, 10:59 PM
But respect is Universal.

batemanb
08-11-2002, 08:41 PM
Just curious, but whatever became of this?

Kenn
08-11-2002, 08:44 PM
But respect is Universal.
perhaps, but respect is also earned.

guest1234
08-11-2002, 09:32 PM
I didn't say you did.:)

I will add though, that even if one starts out the practice with just practice in mind, if your thoughts stray to umm, lust, then that would be sinning, (unless of course its lust for your spouse). I think that is what Ari was concerned with.

And yes Sara, the bible says satan will try to tempt us, and if you give in, even only in your thoughts, its sinning. nfortunately its usually fun stuff.
No, Kat, Ari is concerned with touching women. Period. He stated that he wasn't concerned about having sexual thoughts, which easily come to teenage males just by being the same room (which would rule out training in a coed class), but he specifically said that he was not worried about having sexual thoughts. He was only concerned about touching, because it is a rule. Similar rules in other religions put women in abayas, keep them from attending school, or driving.

BTW, the Bible also says: Now we have been released from the law---for we have died to what bound us---and we serve in the new spirit, not the antiquated letter. (Romans 7:6 ;) )

guest1234
08-11-2002, 10:04 PM
Personally, Colleen, I think you know a great deal about Aikido. However, I have to take umbrage with what you say about the Catholic church. Sorry everyone, for making this a religious issue, but as a God-fearing Catholic, I can't let this slip without registering my protest. I won't however say more...except that Colleen, you should've known better.

evileyes
Uhmm, so the fact that the Pope had to call a special meeting to decide how to deal with rampant (pardon the pun)sexual misdeeds and rape by priest, primarily homosexual in nature, has nothing to do with centuries of reinforcing over-and-over to youth that touching the opposite sex was BAD, but OK as long as the same sex? :confused: yeah, right. Or I guess it's just one huge coincidence that there are daily reports in any of the three newspapers I read, and that not only my parrish, but two adjoining ones have had to remove priests in the recent months? :eek: yep, I'm definately off base on this one.

memyselfandi
08-11-2002, 10:57 PM
ca

I really don't want to get into this :dead: , but, I must point out that there is a difference between not being able to touch another woman but your wife (or man but your husband :) ) and not being able to touch a member of the opposite sex, period.

BrokenKnees
08-12-2002, 12:41 AM
"yep, I'm definately off base on this one."

Yes Coleen, you are.

You should read up a little more. I'm sure you don't just depend on the newspapers for your info. You DO know about newspapers and news right?

PS; If you'd like to discuss this off-list, I'd be glad to.

Kate Qazi
08-12-2002, 01:43 AM
"Similar rules in other religions put women in abayas, keep them from attending school, or driving."

I know what you're getting at, and I guess I understand why you think that, but you're wrong. There are no rules in Islam mandating any of those. These are all cultural issues, not religious ones.

Kate

SeiserL
08-12-2002, 09:12 AM
IMHO, even if I don't personally agree or follow another's belief, I want to respect and accept it. That is the basis of harmony, two different notes that vibrate together to sound good, versus dischord. If we want to challenge other rigidity, maybe we should start by examining our own.

Until again,

Lynn

Bruce Baker
08-12-2002, 12:39 PM
The whole point of the poor fellow being caught up in the religious fervor of his religion, verses the impure thoughts that will be forced upon him with physical touch. I say, let him grow up. If he is not ready to practice without convelooting the entire process of training into a sexual encounter, Go somewhere else.

Otherwise, get a grip, go to practice, deal with life, his religious issues, and find a solution that will befit intelligence of an adult, not a child.

memyselfandi
08-12-2002, 01:01 PM
Oh yeah, I just wanted to point out that thinking of commiting a sin is not in itself a sin (at least not for Jews ;) ).

PS - "Romans" is a christian book I believe :confused: . Part of that "New" fangled Testament ;)

Disclamer: Just because I say it, don't mean it's true ;) I'm not actually qualified to preach Judaic law. I'm just explaining it how I best understand it.

Paul Clark
08-12-2002, 01:50 PM
Similar rules in other religions put women in abayas, keep them from attending school, or driving.

Colleen,

Careful, don't buy the same misunderstanding a certain other officer is trying to sell. Abaya and driving in Saudi have more to do with traditional Arab, bedouin values than with Islam. As proof, note that you don't find abaya anywhere across Muslim North Africa, nor in the Levant, nor in Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, or basically anywhere outside the Gulf (Iran another exception, but only since 1979, and that won't last). These things are national/cultural issues, not religious.

Also, my wife is closely acquainted with a number of Saudi women (I'm not, since I'm not allowed to be), and she informs me that while you hear of the occasional Saudi woman who would like to shed the abaya, the vast majority feel protected by it and would have it no other way. Many of them want to drive, though, and they're working on that, but if you've ever driven in Riyadh, you'll understand that one would have to devise a pretty comprehensive drivers' ed program to guard against the widespread carnage you'd get if you suddenly flushed several million new, untrained drivers onto the roads. :-)

Paul

Rev_Sully
08-13-2002, 08:11 AM
Ari,

I still believe that uke/nage transcends gender. Is this a circumstance in which your Rabbi could allow you to practice with women if this is kept in mind?

For me I guess it's not a question of if you'd like to practice with women but if you'd want to practice at all.

Perhaps you should follow the lead of our Muslim friends who've stated (or was noted to) they practice Aikido in accordance with Islam and not bow or practice with women.