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Janet5
08-21-2002, 09:34 PM
Hello, I have been practicing Aikido for 3 months now and I am falling in love with my Sensei. I would love everyone's opinion as what should happen (or not) with this very delicate situation. Has anyone gone through this before? It is very nerve racking...

Thank you

Greg Jennings
08-21-2002, 10:52 PM
Take a lot of cold showers? Find a distraction to take your mind and romantic thoughts elsewhere?

Sometimes it works. Many times it doesn't. Especially if he's otherwise committed.

When it fails, it fails spectacularly and causes a lot of discomfort for not just the parties involved but the whole dojo family.

Just my opinion.

Best Regards,

Arianah
08-21-2002, 11:17 PM
Hoo, tough subject. I think that it is common to feel strongly for someone that is an authority figure that you respect, since it's popped up here more than once. Sometimes these feelings of deep respect and maybe a little bit of awe are sometimes confused for other emotions, since they are new ones. Though I've never had any desire to date my sensei, when I first started I felt differently about him than any other person I had known before. He was a bit larger than life. I think it was because the sensei/deshi relationship is unlike any other (at least any other that I've experienced.) He was a bit god-like in my eyes because of the authority he held. But since I've gotten to know him more personally, and we've got more of a friendly relationship, I see his human side. He isn't just "the incredible, immortal Sensei" to me anymore, though I still respect him profusely, and still have the sensei/deshi relationship. Hmm ... I don't know if I'm getting across what I'm trying to say. My point is that perhaps you are feeling a new type of relationship and new emotions toward your sensei, and applying the emotions you already know to try to explain them.

How well do you really know your sensei? Do you know him personally, or simply how he is in class? The reason I ask is that people put forth certain personas in different situations. Your sensei, when in ďinstructor modeĒ (which he may be in even if you are speaking with him off-mat, since you are one of his students) may be a completely different person than outside of class. These are things to consider. Do you love your sensei, or the idea of your sensei? The role is a powerful one in the mind of students. There is a power structure in place which is impressive to students, who constantly see the instructor excelling in something that they are trying desperately to grasp. Iím not trying to dismiss what youíre feeling. I just want you to examine your emotions and make sure that they are what you really think they are. A lot of people have been taken advantage of and hurt by this power structure in the past. Not that Iím saying that youíre sensei would do that. I just want you to be aware that these things can happen because I donít want anything to happen to you.

If you really look at your emotions and still feel that they are genuine, I donít think I have much in the way of good advice. I would advise not to act on any of it, even though this must be extremely confusing and distressing. I donít want you to quit, or have to dodge this instructorís classes because of this. Since I havenít been in the situation, I canít say what you should do. Iíll leave that up to others here. Iíve said my piece (as incoherent as it was), everyone else is free to jump in and save Janet from me. :)

Sigh. Sorry, itís late and my mind isnít quite as coordinated as I would like.

Off to bed.

Sarah

Janet5
08-21-2002, 11:46 PM
Thank you for the response. I do know him a little off the mat. I do not see him on a pedestal...when we are training, I give him the respect he deserves as Sensei at that time. When we joke around after class, I see him as a friend. I thought that I didn't want to act on these feelings because at that point he could probably no longer be my teacher. I don't want to lose him as an instructor so I felt as though I should keep smiling and hide what is really going on. But that causes the "what if's" I don't know...grrr.

Unregistered
08-22-2002, 01:19 AM
Don't go there, if you can help it. I went there, and it cost me alot - sometimes you find things out about people later and they are not who you think they are, character-wise, even if you think you are friends. Like maybe you find out you are one of several people who have had similar experiences - people you haven't met because they are no longer at the dojo.

If you've fallen really hard, it may be too late, whether things progress to a relationship or not.

How long have you been practicing there?

Sorry to dump a bucket of water on you, but consider this a public service announcement.

Chris Li
08-22-2002, 02:04 AM
Take a lot of cold showers? Find a distraction to take your mind and romantic thoughts elsewhere?

Sometimes it works. Many times it doesn't. Especially if he's otherwise committed.

When it fails, it fails spectacularly and causes a lot of discomfort for not just the parties involved but the whole dojo family.

Just my opinion.

Best Regards,
That pretty much covers it, in my experience. I would add, that when a breakup occurs what usually happens is that someone gets the dojo and someone ends up quitting (in this case I assume that the instructor would probably get the dojo).

Best,

Chris

Unregistered
08-22-2002, 03:08 AM
Oh, ye, I've been there.

My Sensei is a good looking, early 30s, non-married man and I felt we had "a click" from the moment I've started practicing.

The Sensei wasn't indifferent to me either, everything was there - the small signaling and the hidden messages (after class, of course).

It was the first time I was introduced to Aikido and I instantly LOVED the Dojo and the other Aikidokas -

They were like family : going to movies together and sitting after class in coffee shops.

I became a part of this family in a very short time.

Easy to say - I had a big dilemma.

I didn't want to loose it all, which would have definitely happen whether the relationship would have broke down on the account of one of us.

But the "what if" question kept echoing in my head...

Finally, I made up my mind to just continue as I am and see where things lead (fate usually takes us to the place we should be anyway).

It took some time, but things eventually cooled down between us.

I still like him very much and we keep teasing one another and act very warmly with each other, but no romantic feelings anymore.

It came to a point we both talked about what could have happened and the similar decision we both made.

I don't regret it - NOW it's easy for me to see that he wasn't meant for me.

A question for you - do you think your Sensei feels the same (I won't say love) affection towards you ?

Don't hurry to overrule what you feel as some people suggested in this thread - sometimes two people that share the same passion (this time it's Aikido) have a lot more in common.

Good luck and my 0.2$ advice - don't act fast, let time and a lot of thought guide you.

mike lee
08-22-2002, 04:28 AM
Who can say what's right or wrong?

But if things ever become confusing, remember the purpose of going to the dojo. :do:

Genex
08-22-2002, 04:38 AM
Well i'd say that you should give it time, dont get too exited about your fealings just relax and let them take their course.

you could simply have a crush on your sensei, the best way to find out is if you bide your time, when the dojo 'Family' go out go out with them, dont miss it just because he's there you need to be confortable and relaxed and your true feelings will show. If say in a few more months time you talk alot and get on really well and the fealings are stronger then ever then i'd be tempted to go against what ppl have said here and say go for it, ask him out! if you deny your heart even the heartbreaks then why are we here? even if he is your teacher that shouldnt stop you NOTHING should stand in the way of the heart it is what drives us to carry on and learn (of course all the motor functions are controlled by the brain etc...but you know what i mean)

basicaly

Wait

Relax

BE YOURSELF (seriously stressed)

and see how you feel a few months from now

hope it works out.

Janet5
08-22-2002, 09:19 AM
Thanks everyone for the support, I have had to keep this in and family/friends have been absolutely no help! I have been practicing there for 3 months. It is possible that he has feelings for me as well, but again would he say anything? I doubt it as he knows the risks involved as well.

I will heed everyone's advice that makes sense to me right now which is to be patient. It's weird because when I am at the dojo and he is teaching I am very well focused, it's when I am not there that I get the tight stomach and longing thoughts. I will try to stay distracted so that I can at least breathe again (sorry for sounding so dramatic, this has been one very weird experience) I think that what makes it difficult is knowing that it is very possible for a wonderful relationship to come out of this. So I guess now it is a question of how do you deal with someone you love that you can't have, and I am sure that is a much more common problem even outside of the dojo. But I do hear what you are saying Genex, if this could be something great, should I really not take the risk. I think I need a new hobby...

Edward
08-22-2002, 12:26 PM
My 2 cents: You're free as a student to feel whatever you want towards your Sensei. But I wouldn't respect any instructor who dates his students. If he does, he's not worthy of this position. I wouldn't allow my sister or daughter to practice at his dojo. I know this sounds harsh, but if someone pretends he's a "master" of MA, he better walk the walk, and this starts with self-control.

Nacho_mx
08-22-2002, 12:54 PM
Since when martial arts instructors are not allowed to date? Or fall in love? Theyīre not monks or Jedi you know.

Unregistered
08-22-2002, 01:38 PM
Nacho_mx - nobody said instructors aren't allowed to date, but dating the students, especially if it is a habit rather than a one-time occurrence (fell in love and got married), is not exactly admirable - because when the relationship fails, it is the student much more than the instructor that can get hurt.

In addition to the heartbreak that both individuals may experience, the student faces the choice to leave the dojo, or else continue to take orders from an ex (that's right, take orders - in most dojos you are dealing with a military-like heirarchy).

That's a vulnerable position to be in, not to mention miserable. Especially if the instructor takes up with another student.

Get the picture?

Unregistered
08-22-2002, 02:25 PM
Don't get involved with anyone who you see as being in a position of power in any major aspect of your life.

Don't get involved with someone who you see as being in a subordinate position in any major aspect of your life.

That should cover the both of you.

Any particular case could be an exception, but I wouldn't bet on it.

unreg
08-22-2002, 02:28 PM
I wouldn't allow my sister or daughter to practice at his dojo.
Whoa, since when should a brother decide what his sister can and can't do?

opherdonchin
08-22-2002, 02:45 PM
A lot of people here seem to be ignorning the fairly large percentage of sensais who are quite happilly married to former students.

In my head there is a sort of 'one strike' (or MAYBE 'two strike') rule. It's a bad idea, generally, to date inside the dojo (sensei or no sensei). However, it's a worse idea to pass up on twu luv. So, you get one chance (or at least I do). That's why the advice to take your time and really find out what your feeling seems like great advice to me. The advantage of your situation is that you know he isn't going anywhere and, in the meantime, neither are you.

Good luck

:)

Opher

rachmass
08-22-2002, 02:50 PM
It is not at all uncommon to have very strong feelings for your teacher, in particular if he or she is a handsome and unattached. It is important however, not to get into any kind of relationship when you are not on equal footing, and as a person with three months training, you certainly would not be on equal footing with your teacher. Step back from this and your feelings for a moment to really reflect on the nature of your feelings for him. Is it perhaps infatuation? This is pretty typical.

Some organizations have policies against relationships among teachers and students, primarily due to the imbalance of power, and the possible abuse of power by the teacher. A teacher must hold him/herself to a very high moral standard of not engaging in relationships casually within the dojo. Certainly instances happen where teachers and students fall in love, but it should not be casual and must be given very deep thought and consideration to the possible ramifications of a relationship.

I hope I am not sounding too trite, or moralizing; it is just that I have witnessed relationships happen in the past (it hasn't happened to me directly) that have caused terrible turmoil and disruption within the dojo environment.

Best wishes to you on this! Give some time and see how you feel.

Chris Li
08-22-2002, 06:08 PM
My 2 cents: You're free as a student to feel whatever you want towards your Sensei. But I wouldn't respect any instructor who dates his students. If he does, he's not worthy of this position. I wouldn't allow my sister or daughter to practice at his dojo. I know this sounds harsh, but if someone pretends he's a "master" of MA, he better walk the walk, and this starts with self-control.
OTOH, I know of at least one world-famous well respected student of M. Ueshiba who married one of his students, and they seem to do OK. One of the dojo that I train at is run by a husband-wife team - she was originally one of his students, and they do just fine. All in all, it can be a difficult situation, but they're all consenting adults, so I see no reason to catigate them catigorically.

Best,

Chris

Deb Fisher
08-22-2002, 07:15 PM
I think there's a huge difference between dating students habitually and dating a student...

But that's off topic, really. Now that you've declared your true feelings using your name on a popular aikido discussion forum, what else is there to do but wait and hope you didn't place either yourself or your sensei into a major pickle?

I hope that:

a) Janet is not your real name

b) You are the only one in your dojo who reads this discussion

c) Your sensei loves you back, or failing that...

d) There is another good dojo in your area

I can't imagine letting The Crush Bomb drop really publicly and facing the consequences in a really specific social setting like a dojo... I am wincing and crossing my fingers for you.

Best of luck,

Deb

Edward
08-22-2002, 11:48 PM
Whoa, since when should a brother decide what his sister can and can't do?
If she's a minor, for instance ;)

Anyway, I am a mediterranean, you know.

Edward
08-23-2002, 12:09 AM
OTOH, I know of at least one world-famous well respected student of M. Ueshiba who married one of his students, and they seem to do OK. One of the dojo that I train at is run by a husband-wife team - she was originally one of his students, and they do just fine. All in all, it can be a difficult situation, but they're all consenting adults, so I see no reason to catigate them catigorically.

Best,

Chris
Well, just because you picked 2 successful cases doesn't mean that this practice is alright. I am sure there are other similar cases with happy endings, but more often than not, it ends up badly, and some teachers actually abuse their positions. Anyhow, it is not acceptable in any culture that I know of, whether eastern or western, for teachers to date their students, and this applies to aikido.

opherdonchin
08-23-2002, 12:28 AM
I think we could come up with much more than 2 succesful cases. I think it happens fairly often. Also, the succesful cases, in some ways, outweigh the failures. Two people finding each other vs. some difficulty in the dojo? For me, the cost benefit analysis says that some times, you have to take the risk.

Of course, that's not to condone in any way the serial predators, and it doesn't matter whether they are sensei or sempai.

Chris Li
08-23-2002, 12:30 AM
Well, just because you picked 2 successful cases doesn't mean that this practice is alright. I am sure there are other similar cases with happy endings, but more often than not, it ends up badly, and some teachers actually abuse their positions.
Of course there are unhappy endings, as there are in every type of relationship. Abuse would always be wrong, but abuse is not uncommon in normal male-female relationships either, and those don't seem (I assume) to be taboo to you...
Anyhow, it is not acceptable in any culture that I know of, whether eastern or western, for teachers to date their students, and this applies to aikido.
Well it depends on the setting, really. I'd say that it's pretty common, for example, for aerobics instructors to date students, and that for the majority of people this kind of behavior would not be unacceptable. I think that it's important to note that we're talking about a voluntary activity. It's one thing to be dating students, for example, who are required to pass your class in order to receive a degree. It's quite another, IMO, to date a student in an entirely elective and non-essential activity. That's not to say that I would encourage it (because of the obvious complications that arise), but I don't think that it's necessarily unethical either.

Best,

Chris

Unregistered
08-23-2002, 01:01 AM
aerobics instructors are a dime a dozen. good aikido sensei are harder to find.

Chris Li
08-23-2002, 01:05 AM
aerobics instructors are a dime a dozen. good aikido sensei are harder to find.
That's true, but it doesn't change the fact that both are optional, voluntary activities.

Best,

Chris

Edward
08-23-2002, 01:42 AM
Aerobics is a recreational activity, aikido is a serious matter (at least it is supposed to be so). On the other hand, I have the feeling that people who go to aerobics classes are actually looking for sex, to say it bluntly.

Chris Li
08-23-2002, 01:48 AM
Aerobics is a recreational activity, aikido is a serious matter (at least it is supposed to be so). On the other hand, I have the feeling that people who go to aerobics classes are actually looking for sex, to say it bluntly.
Well that's a matter of outlook. I've known some very serious competitive aerobics folks. Still, serious or not, it's still a completely optional, voluntary activity, and we're still talking about the private lives of two consenting adults.

Best,

Chris

opherdonchin
08-23-2002, 01:48 AM
Aren't we being a little bit unfair to aerobics? Any aerobics aficiandos out there want to stand up for it?

Unregistered
08-23-2002, 02:44 AM
Our resident 7th Dan Shihan is married to his student..

Edward
08-23-2002, 02:58 AM
Aren't we being a little bit unfair to aerobics? Any aerobics aficiandos out there want to stand up for it?
Why? Is the sensual character of aerobics a secret, or is it not what they advertise for selling their videotapes and class memberships? ;)

Bronson
08-23-2002, 03:39 AM
My sensei is also married to a student. I don't think it would be possible for me to respect him or her more.

Bronson

mike lee
08-23-2002, 06:23 AM
Aeorobics videos are hot! Aikido videos ... well, I'm already sleeping.

One more; two more ...

rachmass
08-23-2002, 06:32 AM
There are plenty of examples of sensei who have fallen in love and married students (both men and women teachers) and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. My comment was that it can be construed as an abuse of power to have a relationship with a student, and that it is quite common to have strong feelings or infatuation with your teacher. Give it time, don't act hastily, and definately remember there will be an inbalance of power in the relationship (at least within the dojo).

I have seen relationships go both ways; where the relationship doesn't work out, and the student leaves unhappily (sometimes with other members of the dojo who were disturbed that a relationship happened to begin with, or who took sides); and sometimes where true love really blossomed.

My $.02 is to back off and wait it out. If it is really love, then it can wait. Don't do anything rash (like I sure hope this isn't your real name-or your teacher doesn't read Aikiweb forums), give it time, explore what you are really feeling.

All the best! :)

Unregistered
08-23-2002, 10:17 AM
What about the case of a sensei who has several unsuccessful relationships with students,losing alot of students and developing something of a reputation as a womanizer in the process, then settles down with yet another student in (what appears to be so far) a sincere and solid relationship.

It' nice if people change but you can't undo what was already done, which was kinda ugly in this case.

Erik
08-23-2002, 10:50 AM
That's true, but it doesn't change the fact that both are optional, voluntary activities.
That's true and the similarities are actually many but Aikido does differ in that it's often presented as a way to, well, something. Aerobics is a way to fitness, Aikido, supposedly, is something more. If so, the standard should be higher.

Whether it's so, is another question entirely, but I do think most people come to the dojo for reasons other than fitness.

To my own way of thinking, and I lean towards Edward's thinking on this one, falling in love, getting married and living happily ever after is one thing. Finding all of your dates in the dojo is something entirely different.

REK
08-23-2002, 12:48 PM
Of course there are unhappy endings, as there are in every type of relationship. Abuse would always be wrong, but abuse is not uncommon in normal male-female relationships either, and those don't seem (I assume) to be taboo to you...

Well it depends on the setting, really. I'd say that it's pretty common, for example, for aerobics instructors to date students, and that for the majority of people this kind of behavior would not be unacceptable. I think that it's important to note that we're talking about a voluntary activity. It's one thing to be dating students, for example, who are required to pass your class in order to receive a degree. It's quite another, IMO, to date a student in an entirely elective and non-essential activity. That's not to say that I would encourage it (because of the obvious complications that arise), but I don't think that it's necessarily unethical either.

Best,

Chris
All of your examples are "voluntary, elective and non-essential". Any class where a teacher possesses the power to grant a student's goal (be it a degree in school or a degree of white belt) contains an unbalanced relationship. It is for that reason I think many people are hesitant to endorse it in the dojo. Such a relationship is considered unethical in all the other elective and non-essential situations you described. Why would aikido teacher/student relationships be different? I haven't heard a cogent counterargument yet.

REK

Janet5
08-23-2002, 01:19 PM
This is very helpful..thank you to everyone!

The more I read, the more perspectives I get to come to a conclusion...

Chris Li
08-23-2002, 09:51 PM
That's true and the similarities are actually many but Aikido does differ in that it's often presented as a way to, well, something. Aerobics is a way to fitness, Aikido, supposedly, is something more. If so, the standard should be higher.

Whether it's so, is another question entirely, but I do think most people come to the dojo for reasons other than fitness.

To my own way of thinking, and I lean towards Edward's thinking on this one, falling in love, getting married and living happily ever after is one thing. Finding all of your dates in the dojo is something entirely different.
I don't disagree. My point was that there is a difference between something that is perhaps unadvisable and something that is unethical.

Best,

Chris

Unregistered
08-24-2002, 01:19 AM
do you think aiki energy, especially for beginners newly experiencing it, has anything to do with this crush-on-the-sensei phenomena? I suspect it does.

I mean, does this happen as often in Tae Kwon Do? In ballroom dancing? Tai Chi? Yoga?

We have some newspaper evidence of it happening in yoga, but the Yoga Federation or whatever they call themselves strictly forbids student-teacher relationships.

Yoga works with body energy also,except they have Prana (breath) and Chakras and whatnot.

This is not a joke, I'm serious.

DaveO
08-24-2002, 07:30 AM
IMHO, Ki has nothing to do with it; it happens in any student-teacher relationship; particularly female student, male teacher. (That's not sexist, believe me; it's just the difference in attitudes: when it comes to infatuation, romance-driven girls tend to fall in love; hormone-driven boys tend to fall in lust.) I've been on the recieving end of this situation twice; it's not a pleasant one for the teacher. You have to try to concentrate on teaching, but sooner or later, you'll have to deal with the situation.

Now, my case is different from yours, Janet, in that I only had to deal with teenage girls who at that particular time in their lives, tended to get their hearts broken about once a week. You, on the other hand, are ( I assume from your posts) a mature, intelligent woman who knows what she wants, desires...Yikes, I have no idea how I'd handle it.

My thoughts on it from the instructor's side are these: while it's flattering to be looked at in such a way (even taking into account that, by looking at me, they're showing uncommonly terrible taste in men ;) ), a teacher cannot get involved with a student without both people losing credibility and risking serious repercussion. That's not always easy - a student with a crush can be a nightmare to deal with in class; concepts such as 'discretion' and 'subtlety' tend to go right out the window. Also, for fully mature students - say 25 and up, there may be a strong return of desire; a potentially fatal distraction for a teacher. Difficulties arise from outside as well: other students who see what's going on can blame one, the other or both; can see preferential treatment whether it exists or not. Same goes for the teacher's superiors. A student-teacher crush or affair is, to put it bluntly, one heck of a minefield for both parties.

BUT...

All that being said, my own opinion on this situation is that it is not a high-school, military or federal class, it is a martial arts dojo; a social class populated by normal human beings. Both you and your sensei are rational adults, capable of dealing with the situation and making up your own minds without the impediments of doctrine or policy. Also, yours is, as you say, no simple crush, but love; that's a powerful and special thing. In the final count, however it works out, there's not a single damned person who has any right to tell you what you can and can't do, think or feel. My own advice would be worthless, but I would say choose caution; wait and watch and learn until you know without a shadow of a doubt what your feelings are. Then, do the hardest thing you possibly could; tell him. Talk to him about it; let him know how you feel; I think you owe that to both of you.

:) Hope it works out!

Dave

opherdonchin
08-24-2002, 11:45 AM
So, it sounds to me like we've pretty much discussed this side of the issue to death, but David's post got me thinking about the flip side of the coin. It must happen with some regularly that teachers get crushes on their students. I've got to say that this seems like a harder place to be. As the student, you've got much more limited responsibility. You want to make sure you aren't unduly disrupting the class, and there may be a lot of wisdom in waiting, but, ultimately, it is the sensei's job to deal with the feelings that come up in his students one way or another. On the other hand, a sensei who is finding him or herself strongly attracted to a student has a lot more responsibility (it seems to me) not to disrupt or derail the students training. It seems like it would be a confusing place to find yourself.

Of course, everyone who said that such feelings don't belong in the dojo will say that again. Probably, they will think that that's true even more pointedly in this case. However, what I'm most interested in is teachers who have had experiences with this(or students who watched it happen to their teachers), how they've dealth with it, how succesful that was, and, most especially, what they learned.

LoggedOut
08-24-2002, 04:57 PM
Unregistered wrote:

"do you think aiki energy, especially for beginners newly experiencing it, has anything to do with this crush-on-the-sensei phenomena? I suspect it does. "

I don't think it has anything to do with Ki, it has to do with the fact that aikido is a sexy thing to do. Seriously, first of all there's all the role-play, uke and nage, defined power relationships, which makes it all faintly redolent of S&M play. Add to that the physical intimacy, the way in which uke and nage communicate (which is, at its best similar to the kind of communication that takes place with great sex). It makes you feel good, it flushes your face, it gets your heart thumping. Everybody's touching everybody, and seriously concentrating on how they're making eachother feel (on some level) while indulging in role-play that defines Top and Bottom...

Sure makes your sensei start to look like your daddy, if you know what I mean (wink wink)...

That was just a joke, and I'm not saying that aikidoists are a bunch of pervs or for that matter even have sex in mind when training. All I'm saying is that power and intimacy are strong sexy signifiers (not to mention kiai-ing men in skirts!), and that it's no surprise that sexy, crushy feelings happen in an environment that is full of sexy, crushy cues.

Of course I would never admit that I could ever find aikido sexy to anyone in my dojo because no one would ever train seriously again. But I can't be the only one who's noticed...

guest1234
08-24-2002, 05:56 PM
Janet,

I hope things work out for you, and I'm fairly certain, in the long run they will. Which is not to say that they will necessarily work out for you and your sensei. And I think perhaps not is more likely.

I am guessing you are young, for two reasons: you feel like you are falling in love with someone you really don't know and don't have a relationship with so far other than student-teacher; you seem to hold him in a position of relative power, which I don't consider appropriate for an adult female. But that is me, too, and I could be wrong.

If you are indeed young, STAY AWAY FROM ANY ROMANTIC INVOLVEMENT. PERIOD. NO EXCEPTIONS. Young ladies with adoration in their eyes are very tempting, and even good men might fail, and bad men will take advantage.

If you are not so young, then you should be able to decide for yourself if the risks outweigh the potential, but I'd take a self assesment first: to seek the opinion of family, friends, and fellow Aikidoists on whom you should date is, purely from my point of view mind you, not giving yourself the credit you should.I mean this in a nice way, I really do, but it's kind of like "if you have to ask, you can't afford it"...I do wish happiness ahead.

guest1234
08-24-2002, 06:27 PM
Rats. I just cannot get used to this reply feature in the middle. Missed a bunch of posts. Aerobics is serious for some, eye candy for others. I think Aikido senseis have no more power over me than an aerobics teacher would (if I would ever take aerobics- HA) which is why I'd consider either 'potential' for dating. But that is me. People with boundry problems and children should not date instructors, or the other way around. I don't care when any of my instructors have dated students (I say, "good for them") since none of them have picked children or people who hand over power inappropriately. I'm happy for them, as I am for students who date other students, and it holds out hope that I might even find someone who would share my love of Aikido someday...

Yes, I've seen folks leave a dojo over broken relationships/broken hearts, and it is sad, but I also have seen folks leave for many other reasons as well. Perhaps they continue on in a new dojo. Or not. But aren't they better for the time in the dojo while they were there, and we are better for the time they spent?

I had my heart broken by a FAIP once (that's for the AF group), we'd dated for the three months we were both TDY to San Antonio. When we broke up, he tried to show me the positives of the time we'd spent: "Hey, I stopped smoking" he said. Through the sniffles I said "but you don't smoke...and we met at the club, and you weren't smoking". He said "yeah, I'd just run out, and was going to get more when I met you, and you were complaining about the smoke...it was so stressful once we were dating that you'd smell it on me, or find a cigarette in my car, that I quit"

Probably even the most miserable dojo dating nightmare has something equally good that came of it, as most dating nightmares always do. And some turn into wonderful relationships, so I'm solidly on the 'as long as they are adults, good for them' side.

Unregistered
08-24-2002, 08:44 PM
Dating students can get sticky for the instructor. First, is the issue of the possibility of the relationship failing. What happens from there out? It can be ugly sometimes. Second, there are issues of power and age to consider. I believe one senrior student of Saito sensei was stripped of his rank for having sex with an underage student. People are people and adults can be adults. However, when you go into a relationship like this with all its potential pitfalls, make sure you do so with open eyes and an upfront agreement with both parties as to what will happen if things fall apart.

deretsigernu
08-25-2002, 09:31 AM
Of course I would never admit that I could ever find aikido sexy to anyone in my dojo because no one would ever train seriously again. But I can't be the only one who's noticed...
No, you definitely are not the only one. All you wrote is right on.

Aikido is a sexy, sexy thing.

Unregistered
08-25-2002, 11:32 AM
In response to:

"People with boundry problems and children should not date instructors, or the other way around. I don't care when any of my instructors have dated students (I say, "good for them") since none of them have picked children or people who hand over power inappropriately."

Of course, senseis NEVER have boundary issues, and there have never been cases where the sensei used their power inappropriately, and if there's a boundary violation, the student is not only at fault but is not a true adult to boot. Yeah, right.

And of course, real adults NEVER have their boundaries violated, and if they do, it's because there's something wrong with them.

Some people take aikido precisely to work on their boundary issues, or to learn to deal with interpersonal conflict. Some take aikido because they have been in physically or emotionally abusive situations and wish to learn to defend themselves. That's the student part. And I agree, these types of students should probably not date their instructors.

Some students eventually become instructors. Becoming an instructor does not magically remove emotional baggage. Hopefully you've worked it out by then, but maybe not, right?

There is a chapter or two in Ellis Amdur's book "Dueling with O'Sensei" that I think addresses these issues with great clarity.

Edward
08-25-2002, 12:02 PM
I have the feeling those who find aikido sexy are the ones belonging to these dojo where you would easily confuse aikido and tango. I can assure you that when you are faced with the constant possibility of breaking your bones, the last thing you would think about is sex.

wanderingwriath
08-25-2002, 12:25 PM
On the contrary Edward: there is a large body of psychological study that shows a big association and corolation between sex and violence. You have to consider that there are many reasons why one would date a fellow Aikidoka. Common interests, the ability to handle stressful situations with aplumb, a certain grace of movement that we're known for, and of course like every relationship two people who have practiced aikido together will very likely grow together. I'm not condoning anything here folks, just playing devil's advocate.

guest1234
08-25-2002, 12:42 PM
In response to:

"People with boundry problems and children should not date instructors, or the other way around. I don't care when any of my instructors have dated students (I say, "good for them") since none of them have picked children or people who hand over power inappropriately."

Of course, senseis NEVER have boundary issues, and there have never been cases where the sensei used their power inappropriately, and if there's a boundary violation, the student is not only at fault but is not a true adult to boot. Yeah, right.

And of course, real adults NEVER have their boundaries violated, and if they do, it's because there's something wrong with them.

Some people take aikido precisely to work on their boundary issues, or to learn to deal with interpersonal conflict. Some take aikido because they have been in physically or emotionally abusive situations and wish to learn to defend themselves. That's the student part. And I agree, these types of students should probably not date their instructors.

Some students eventually become instructors. Becoming an instructor does not magically remove emotional baggage. Hopefully you've worked it out by then, but maybe not, right?

There is a chapter or two in Ellis Amdur's book "Dueling with O'Sensei" that I think addresses these issues with great clarity.
First, I said "in the cases when any of my instructors have dated..." I did not say this would never happen between someone who is underaged (student only situation) or had boundry issues (atudent or teacher). Your generalization does not apply.

That said, Aikido is NOT therapy. People who have psychological problems certainly can gain a lot from Aikido, but any adult-aged indiviudual who hands over THAT much control to an Aikido instructor that any relationship between them is not that of equal adults but power-over to powerless, then they should be in therapy as well, and their therapist would no doubt be counselling them against ANY relationship with ANYONE the individual would call powerful.

I was in an abusive marriage; as I left it, I was counselled 'no dating', then dating with a good set of guidelines. I have no doubt that without the help of a wonderful therapist I would have drifted into another bad relationship: and yes, it would have been MY fault. To me, to say "I was a victim, and so everyone has to protect me from myself in the relationships I try to enter into" is like saying "I was in a car wreck, and so everyone should look out for me on the road" rather than saying "OK, my driving skills got me into an accident, what can I do to improve them so it doesn't happen again" and until I'm confident of my ability to drive safely on the highway, I stick to the parking lot or deserted country roads.

Unregistered
08-25-2002, 08:03 PM
To CA:

I agree with you in that I feel that people who have had bad experiences with husbands or aikido teachers or bosses or whatever are responsible to some degree for what has happened - but they are not responsible for ALL of it.

To only focus on the "victim's" responsibility is more or less to absolve the other party of responsibility. There is a difference between failure to set boundaries (your responsibility/fault) and setting clear boundaries and not having them respected (not your fault) - you cannot control and are not responsible for other people's behavior.

People can, if they choose, override your wishes in one way or another, no matter how clearly you state what your boundaries are, and what the consequences will be to you or others.

Sometimes you can either leave, or continue to put up with BS. If you must leave something you have invested in (be it a marriage, or your aikido training/dojo community, or a job), the loss of your marriage, training, or job is NOT necessarily all your fault.

The key it seems to me is information.

Not seeing red flags most people would notice? your fault. Failure to communicate what you need? your fault. Sticking around a lousy situation hoping it will get better all by itself? also your fault. Denying that bad things are happening because you don't want to look at it? your fault.

Not knowing someone's history because they choose to lie about it and nobody has told you otherwise? Not really your fault, unless you believe in hiring private eyes to check everyone out.

Trusting someone because up until point A they have only been pleasant towards you? How can that be your fault?

Forming some kind of agreement or contract with someone, and they don't hold up their end of the bargain? Not your fault.

Someone does something to hurt you, even if you already told them it would? Not your fault, they chose to do it with knowledge of the consequences. It is your fault if this happens over and over and you don't leave.

In some settings, asserting yourself (setting clear boundaries) is not acceptable to the Person In Charge, as it is seen as a threat to their authority. Then you are in the "put up with BS or leave" situation. There are dojos like this. This kind of environment is hard on healthy people and can be dangerous to the aikido student with boundary or past-abuse issues.

opherdonchin
08-25-2002, 08:24 PM
Boy, lots and lots of fault being thrown around in that post. In my life, it seems like almost all the problems start when we try to figure out whose fault something is. As soon as something is either your fault or my fault (rather than 'our fault' or, even better, 'our issue to work on'), it becomes very hard to function in a useful or productive matter, now matter whose fault you decided it is. At least, that's how it seems to work in my life.

guest1234
08-25-2002, 09:15 PM
People can lie about their past, and hide their behavior. But that has nothing to do with my original statement about adults in a consenting relationship. It does not change my belief that anyone who invests the kind of unequal power you are saying they give a sensei needs more than Aikido, they need therapy (and probably a 'no dating' period). Have I dated men who have been less than honest? Yes. When I find out, I drop them. Too fragile to deal with Aikido instructors who may not be honest? Then don't date them. Or anyone else who may lie, which is a pretty sizable group.

If you are too fragile an adult to date an Aikido instructor, because you give them this unreasonable power over you, then you are too fragile to be dating just about anyone---they do not have that power, you are giving it to them (forcing it on them?), and the fact that you think they are so powerful is just another indicator that it is not yet time to give up those 50 minute hours. With appologies to all past senseis, they are just not all that important or powerful, and someone who makes them so can just as easily ascribe power to they guy who pet-sits their dog, the woman who cuts their hair, or the guy who works three desks over at work.

I am not saying such a person is bad; and I was someone once who had no business dating until I took care of some things in my head. So I did myself (and the male half of the population) a favor, and sat out the game while tending to my injuries. But I am saying that adults who cannot enter into adult relationships like an adult should get therapy, and it is their responsibility to do so.

I've been in 'put up with it or leave' dojos. I left.

Edward
08-26-2002, 04:48 AM
On the contrary Edward: there is a large body of psychological study that shows a big association and corolation between sex and violence.
Great News! Would this mean that every time I practice aikido, I am unconsciously involved in S&M? ;)

mike lee
08-26-2002, 04:52 AM
After making love, I don't feel very violent -- just want to sleep. :ki:

guest1234
08-26-2002, 06:09 AM
After making love, I don't feel very violent -- just want to sleep. :ki:
I seem to recall a famous 'sex educator' perhaps Dr. Ruth but I don't recall for sure, who talked about this and pointed out that if, after sex, one's best buddy called with 50-line seats for the big game, one probably would be able to wake up and roll out of bed, so snuggling for a few minutes is not totally unreasonable :D

opherdonchin
08-26-2002, 09:05 AM
snuggling for a few minutes is not totally unreasonable
I thought snuggling afterwards was the main reason we do all that sweaty, sticky stuff in the first place!

Maybe what's wrong with my AiKiDo is that there is not enough snuggling afterwards!

SeiserL
08-26-2002, 09:24 AM
IMHO, preadtors know their victims by their fear. Healthy relationships are between equals. Look at your own part of the dance, and be on the look-out for their part.

Until again,

Lynn

mike lee
08-26-2002, 09:29 AM
Sometimes I like taking on the role of a preditor to see how people react. I especially admire the one in every thousand individuals that handle such advances with aplomb.

guest1234
08-26-2002, 10:53 AM
Whoa, Opher! It's going to be difficult to attack you without laughing now...

You are taking all the fun out of "making disagreable an artform"...now I'm going to have to go to that dojo south of here if I want to beat up anyone...

jeesh, what's an evileyes viscious geen-eyed devil to do...

opherdonchin
08-26-2002, 10:58 AM
Isn't that the whole idea of AiKiDo, though: being difficult to attack not because you are threatening or scary but because you smile and make them laugh!
So I did myself (and the male half of the population) a favorThis is the one that got me laughing (although I know you meant it seriously). I wsa trying to decide whether I should thank you or protest that this is the sort of favor we don't need! (Then I thought better of it because I didn't want to undermine your point which was very well taken.)

Chocolateuke
08-26-2002, 12:06 PM
Wow, big topic glad im young to learn all this in advance thx guys!

guest1234
08-26-2002, 12:11 PM
Uh Oh. Dallas, we were just joking. You came from under a cabbage plant, really. :)

Deb Fisher
08-27-2002, 12:30 AM
Opher wrote:

"Maybe what's wrong with my AiKiDo is that there is not enough snuggling afterwards!"

Woo hoo!

Deb

unreg
08-27-2002, 12:39 AM
Maybe what's wrong with my AiKiDo is that there is not enough snuggling afterwards!
That's why you have to get your significant other involved! ;)

Unregistered
08-27-2002, 04:54 AM
Wow. When I first started Aikido I was concerned that most Aikidoka were boring lifeless people without anything better to do than attempt to throw others around. I've been practicing for about a year now, and have been in denial of my initial thoughts. From reading this thread (and others), its seems apparently obvious that my initial assuption was correct. Have fun in your strange wanna be real world people. I quit this suppsosedly "spiritual enlightening military self defense". The majority of you are hippocrates. I've learned that it is much easier to just kick an attacker in the balls than in is to avoid an attack (trust me I know from physical experince). There is a life to live out there. Live it.

ex-wanna be aikidoka

mike lee
08-27-2002, 05:02 AM
Glad you finally found your way OUT! :D

P.S. FYI: Hippocrates
SYLLABICATION: Hip∑poc∑ra∑tes
VARIANTS: Called ďthe Father of Medicine.Ē
DATES: 460?Ė377? B.C.
Greek physician who laid the foundations of scientific medicine by freeing medical study from the constraints of philosophical speculation and superstition. He is traditionally but inaccurately considered the author of the Hippocratic oath.

DaveO
08-27-2002, 07:56 AM
Wow. When I first started Aikido I was concerned that most Aikidoka were boring lifeless people without anything better to do than attempt to throw others around. I've been practicing for about a year now, and have been in denial of my initial thoughts. From reading this thread (and others), its seems apparently obvious that my initial assuption was correct. Have fun in your strange wanna be real world people. I quit this suppsosedly "spiritual enlightening military self defense". The majority of you are hippocrates. I've learned that it is much easier to just kick an attacker in the balls than in is to avoid an attack (trust me I know from physical experince). There is a life to live out there. Live it.

ex-wanna be aikidoka
Oh, terrible; we lost another exciting prospect.

Oh, well, anyone who would write such an insulting post (in a thread that had nothing to do with it anyway) without the courage to sign his name doesn't belong in Aikido anyway.

Dave

Hanna B
08-27-2002, 08:22 AM
Have fun in your strange wanna be real world people. I quit this suppsosedly "spiritual enlightening military self defense".
I'd say judging a budo art from what you read on a discussion forum is not a very good idea at all... I must say I am more troubled over those who get so eager to start from what they read, than those who are put off.

Regards

Hanna

guest1234
08-27-2002, 10:03 AM
Obviously a case of not enough snuggling.

Erik
08-27-2002, 10:57 AM
The majority of you are hippocrates. I've learned that it is much easier to just kick an attacker in the balls than in is to avoid an attack (trust me I know from physical experince).
Damn it man, it's 'hypocrites'.

mike lee
08-27-2002, 11:16 AM
Maybe she thought that we were all descendants of a Greek physician.

BC
08-27-2002, 02:21 PM
Everybody sing along, whereever you are!

"Na na na na

Na na na na

Hey hey hey

Goodbye!"

:rolleyes: :o

shihonage
08-27-2002, 03:59 PM
I've learned that it is much easier to just kick an attacker in the balls than in is to avoid an attack (trust me I know from physical experince).

What if it's a she ?

:eek:

opherdonchin
08-27-2002, 11:32 PM
All right, let's get back on track here (although I admit that I'm REALLY curious what it was about these posts that turned anonymous off so much. If the person is still around, perhaps they would tell us.):

This is an issue that I'm really interested in. Can you tell?

No Senseis volunteered stories or shared ideas about how they dealt with situation of falling in love with students, but I can sort of understand that.

Here's another question about this issue that interests me: given that AiKiDo can be an exciting physical or even sexual experience for some people (as they said on this thread), what's the appropriate way to deal with situations where those feelings might be getting in the way. In Contact Improv, it's acceptable to stop dancing with someone for any reason without explanation. Perhaps you feel attracted and it embarasses you; perhaps you feel that your partner is attracted and that is uncomfortable or threatening to you; perhaps it has nothing to do with that, and you just feel like stopping. I don't think we have the same ethos in AiKiDo. Maybe that's the sort of thing you just have to deal with. There are lots of reasons why you might not particularly enjoy working with someone, and this is just one of them. If it gets really bad, you try to avoid them without being blatant, but otherwise you figure it's part of the training.

Anybody have any other thoughts on the matter?

guest1234
08-28-2002, 07:05 AM
Well...if you want answers from senseis, I'd suggest either calling, writing, emailing, or cornering after a class or seminar. I can think of several (and so can you) that either live in the local area or frequently travel here...and somehow I don't imagine you being too shy :)

As for partners, I'd go with the answer you've already made: most of us know how to tactfully avoid those we'd rather avoid. If it is unbearable during a technique, a quiet excusal to rest/drink water/use the restroom/tape your ankle etc is fairly reasonable. If it seems like the other is getting a complex from you avoiding them, or certainly if they ask if you're avoiding them, you could always be honest and say you're having some personal issues you are dealing with...if they are nice Aiki people, they will understand and do their best to stay out of your way (if you have the attraction) or thank you for letting them down gently and move on (if they have the attraction)...better than all that tension I think.

Oh, and for all those who are now thinking "hmmm, she avoids me on the mat" it is just because I don't like you evileyes

Hanna B
08-28-2002, 07:24 AM
If it is unbearable during a technique, a quiet excusal to rest/drink water/use the restroom/tape your ankle etc is fairly reasonable.Might be OK, or not.All depending on the local standards for dojo behaviour. This kind of thing can easily be misused.
If it seems like the other is getting a complex from you avoiding them, or certainly if they ask if you're avoiding them, you could always be honest and say you're having some personal issues you are dealing with...if they are nice Aiki people, they will understand and do their best to stay out of your wayIf I wanted to avoid you simply because I am picky about who I choose to practise with, I would probably phrase my answer to your "why" exactly like this.

Regards,

Hanna

Deb Fisher
08-28-2002, 03:10 PM
Opher, as always insightful question!

Yes! I do have thoughts about this:

1. First, as a disclaimer, I think you can think aikido is sexy in general without feeling sexy while doing aikido. I totally agree with the earlier post - aikido is conceptually very sexy. That doesn't mean that I am throwing people around in a constant state of arousal or that I ever think about sex while training.

2. I think that someone who is thinking about sex during training is presenting her/his partners with yet another variation on "the difficult uke". I think that learning how to deal with any kind of inappropriate or not fun or bad energy (as long as it's not hurting anyone) in a connected, positive way - learning how to work with It, whatever It is, is the cornerstone - it's what I'm doing spending all the money and time learning aikido. Once class is over, if Joe Neckbone is asking you out or making nasty eyes or rude, lewd suggestions, etc, then boundary setting is of course more than called for. But I vote train on unless it hurts. I train with a couple of people who have weird energy that feels personal (not quite sure if it's sexual, pretty sure it's gender oriented and it's definitely a little creepy) and when I train with them I learn a lot from it. I learn how to train without compromising my integrity, how to hold my own even though the situation is a little intense, I confront one of my biggest everyday fears, which is this kind of creepy attitude that women I think get a lot of. It adds a sense of intensity that is very challenging - every once in awhile!

If everyone I train with was like that, I would quit, it would suck. But one or two of these experiences every once in awhile has been a very positive learning experience for me.

Janet5
08-28-2002, 04:24 PM
I have decided that I do not want to change the way my relationship is now with Sensei. Therefore I will keep my feelings to myself as I would rather continue learning from him than to have that change. After reading all of the posts, I do not want to completely ignore the fact that there is something more than just friends (potentially) but I will be patient and let things unfold as they should without any pressure on either end. I am grateful for everyones advice and I am glad that some of you got something out of this as well.

Unregistered
08-28-2002, 04:25 PM
Falling in love with your sensei is a bad idea, not that people have control over these feelings. There are instructors that take advantage of new, awe-struck students. There are even cases in which the sensei might feel a sense of entitlement to their female (usually) students in the same way a lord of the manor may see female subjects as their chattel.

Some get off on the power relationship inherent in a student/teacher situation. I believe the student is the one who suffers most, especially since they are on another's "turf" and can be easily manipulated.

I've seen a sensei obviously hook up with one student one night, and the following day, ignore her on the mat and deliberately focus instruction on all the other females present, a few of which were his former conquests. The poor student would just look up with wistful eyes, probably wondering how badly used she's been.

In situations where the feelings are mutual and sincere, dating the sensei is ok. But usually, as someone had stated earlier, the student has no idea what she or he is getting into until it's too late.

Hats off to those who can continue training under those circumstances and overcome that barrel the ugly feelings of being used and lied to.

Janet5
08-28-2002, 04:28 PM
Just so everyone knows...this particular Sensei is NOT at all some sort of Aiki player who goes around hunting for his next conquest.

Bruce Baker
08-28-2002, 07:42 PM
Just as an after thought, I have seen student who marry their martial arts teacher, become teachers themselves, and more than half of those marriages break up in the middle age period of 35 to 50 years old because of incompatability in these later years.

Should this fall into this category, the succesfull relationships are by those who support their mate, but actively pursue their own hobbies and interests to allow each to grow and become mature.

Unregistered
08-28-2002, 08:35 PM
As a teenage male, I see sensei [and the rest of the aikidoka] in my dojo as almost family. Romantic love, though, can cause problems in any previously solid non-romantic relationship. The question of jeopardizing a good friendship for the risk of something 'greater' is one that is far from rare among male/female friendships.

Unfortunately, there's no definitive answer.

I've experienced situations that went both ways, and know many people who would advise to "back off" and play it safe, and many who say go for whatever you feel.

I urge you, ironically, not to let the comments in this thread guide you. Use them, instead, like a coin toss. Don't go by which side turns up, but by your emotional reaction to whichever choice chance chooses.

If you read a response in this thread urging you to stay away, but in your heart and head you feel the urge to skip or disregard this comment - there you go.

If this is about ruining a teacher/student relationship, though, I suggest you persue romance. It's indeed possible for that relationship to continue. At my dojo, Sensei's wife practices with us. On the mat, she calls him sensei. Off the mat is a different story, of course.

Either way, good luck!

(and thanks for all of your time)

Chuck.Gordon
08-29-2002, 12:25 PM
The majority of you are hippocrates.

ex-wanna be aikidoka
"First, do no harm"

seems relevant.

mle

posting as her LOEP & laughing hard enough to startle the cat..

Chuck.Gordon
08-29-2002, 12:51 PM
I have decided that I do not want to change the way my relationship is now with Sensei.
mle, too lazy to log out and be herself:

Janet, I'm gonna have an 80s moment.. thank you for sharing.

This is a real spectre in the world of teaching and training, what has been called the Svengali complex, that is, you fall for someone who is shaping you, has power over you somehow.

I could blather inaccurately about transference, but that's Lynn Seiser's territory so I'll hold off.

It's just very common to develop strong feelings in such intimate and intense surroundings. In fact, some think it the meat and potatoes of the experience. I have always been mad about my instructors, in choosing someone you click with you take the risk of losing your heart for a little while.

Concentrate on this: there is a third thing which is more important than the simple emotions of any two people, and that is the art itself. To pass it on is, in a way, an act of creation... one of my instructors told me that Ki was transmitted by sweat, and the other would simply bounce me around the mat after three hours of training until I was limp and mumbling. Yeah, that's sexy. It's incredible. If you aren't getting what you need elsewhere in your life, it can really own you. So, become more complete... fill the holes inside- find them, own them, fill them.

You need to have someone you can throw yourself against until you break.

And yes, it's a love you will cherish until you die, but it's one borne under different parameters.

That said, I'll share some of my rules:

Get to know someone for a year before you consider a Relationship.

Never, ever, ever date an instructor until you have your own black belt wrapped around your waist. Some horrid little part of the mind thinks it can get power by associating with it (you get cooties just as often) I call it "rent-a-belt disease" and I've seen it happen too many times.

That said, I am married to my instructor.

It wasn't easy, it was in fact disastrous at times. I was not a member of his dojo, and the relationship came before the training.

Not until I moved to be with him did I start training with him, and it was agreed that I didn't have to train with him. Training is a major part of both our lives, a major part of who we are, and that's part of what brought us together.

Good luck to you- braver than most of us.

mle

Janet5
08-29-2002, 04:45 PM
Thanks mle, it is difficult and yes I will be waiting awhile until I know him better. I have learned to be patient in this situation. One other thing, I don't see him as having any power over me as I am taking Aikido but I will not be testing. Aikido is not a high priority in my life, but I do enjoy it, and it doesn't fill some emptyness so much as other things in my life.

UnReg
08-30-2002, 11:21 AM
"Some horrid little part of the mind thinks it can get power by associating with it (you get cooties just as often) I call it "rent-a-belt disease" and I've seen it happen too many times."

Boy have I ever seen this!

fawning sycophants, yes-men, groupies, brown-nosers, gold-diggers, the "its-who-you-know" crowd, ad nauseum.

Problem is, sometimes you CAN get power by associating with it, and for some people, that's a better strategy than relying on, say, talent.

So endearing, and worse if the person in power is oblivious or enjoys it.

mike lee
08-31-2002, 04:56 AM
The proof is in the pudding.

Unregistered
09-21-2002, 12:36 AM
Having been there and then dropped for some one else who is also a student, I would advise extreme caution.

Janet5
09-24-2002, 06:21 PM
I have realized that as long as the situation is what both people want at a mature level, then to go for it. But it is very difficult to keep two people apart who want the same thing, on or off the mat.

rachmass
09-24-2002, 06:23 PM
Janet, does that mean.....?

Anonnnnn
09-24-2002, 06:38 PM
Not that it really matters, but does anyone else think that Janet is a made up person/situation?

rachmass
09-24-2002, 06:50 PM
interesting thought. could well be. I certainly never thought of that. Do you have reason to think so?

UnReg
09-24-2002, 07:49 PM
Could be someone looking for "permission" to get involved with one of their students.

Unregistered
10-01-2002, 02:20 PM
With all the blending and heavy breathing on the mat, how can we not " love the Sensei ", at least a little. Especially three months into a new contact sport. I say, channel that energy into training for 2 years and get to know the man and Aikido better.

Anonymous
10-22-2004, 05:25 PM
Janet, if you are still here, can you fill us in on what happened in this relationship?

thomas_dixon
10-24-2004, 01:52 PM
How old are you and your sensei anyway?

BTW I very much doubt it's love, more like infatuation.

Hanna B
10-24-2004, 02:31 PM
This thread is more than two years old...

RIP

thomas_dixon
10-24-2004, 07:24 PM
Heh..i didn't notice. :x

Janet5
10-30-2004, 07:33 PM
Wow, I just came back for reminecing(sp?)purposes and I saw this thread with more replies recently! Anyways, to respond...yes it was a real situation and I am not a made up person. He is quite older than I am or was two years ago (25), but after two years this is what happend.
I gave the situation time, even though I felt I was in love with him. The feelings were mutual, but nothing could be done as I found out he had a partner that I hadn't meant. So what can you do right? I haven't been to the dojo in awhile and she started training there as well. I stuck around for a bit and all was good, I got over my feelings and moved on. It was more lust than love, but these terms seem to downplay the situation. I'm sure many other students have gone through something similar, so I hope this thread has helped to shed light on this subject.
I learned that no matter what the feelings are and if they are directed toward Sensei or another aikidoka, that the emotions are real and surprisingly enough, being on the mat can guide you to the answer. A cheesy cliche but we learn about ourselves through the dojo experience and sometimes patience is the best way to deal with something in order to get a better perspective. People can give advice, but in the end the decisions and choices are yours. Thankfully we have time to aid in life altering choices.

Anonymous
10-30-2004, 11:08 PM
Thanks, Janet. You're right -- I think this happens quite commonly, and so I'm glad that you took the time to update this thread. Thanks.

A couple of questions. You say the feelings were mutual -- how do you know? Did you ever talk to him about it? Also, are you completely over your feelings for him now? Was it painful when you discovered he had this other person? Are you glad, in the end, that nothing happened to disrupt your relationship with him as a teacher?

Hagen Seibert
11-01-2004, 04:37 PM
A couple of questions. You say the feelings were mutual -- how do you know? Did you ever talk to him about it? Also, are you completely over your feelings for him now? Was it painful when you discovered he had this other person? Are you glad, in the end, that nothing happened to disrupt your relationship with him as a teacher?

Your questinons are indiscrete. This is not your business.

Lan Powers
11-01-2004, 07:54 PM
Your questinons are indiscrete. This is not your business.


HMMMMMM
Didn't the young lady bring her situation here? :rolleyes:
Perhaps the questions were indelicately couched, but not really appropriate for you to speak so to him.
Of course, I am probably not being appropriate either, so
let's all have a beer and get along, shall we? :p

Just my observations.....Lan

Anonymous
11-01-2004, 08:33 PM
My apologies if the questions are indelicately couched. Janet has been very nice about sharing her situation and what happened to her. As she and others have pointed out, this probably happens a lot between students and senseis, so I was hoping she'd tell us a little more about what happened in the hopes it will be helpful to other people.

Janet, if I have offended...please forgive me, and just ignore the questions. I think you've been terrific in sharing with us and I appreciate your honesty.

unreg redux
11-01-2004, 11:02 PM
It definitely happens a lot. There's sometimes an undercurrent of sexual attraction between me & one of my teachers. But we're both grown-ups, and happily married (to other people), and I just cheerfully shrug it off as one of those things, and have a feeling he does the exact same thing. Friendship preserved, teacher-student relationship preserved, marriages preserved, no harm done.

An on
11-02-2004, 01:32 PM
I have undercurrents with my boss, but I would never do anything about it - he's married. These things sometimes do just happen.

Rocky Izumi
12-05-2004, 05:51 PM
This all reminds me a couple we had in a dojo many years ago. They were just living together at the time. They would come into Aikido practice looking all stressed and upset with each other. They would sit down next to each other at the beginning and everyone else would move away very discretely. For the next hour, they would beat the crap out of each other and toss each other as hard as possible (one a power lifter and the other a semi-pro dancer and weight lifter). Then, they would break off and practice normally with everyone else. At the end of practice, they would hurry off together. We thought about buying them fur-covered handcuffs for their wedding present but settled on matching jos. We wanted to see them get upset with each other with jos. We wouldn't be able to enjoy the fur-covered handcuffs very much.

Rock

Jerry Miller
12-05-2004, 08:34 PM
You are a bad person. :D

anonymous
02-23-2005, 02:21 PM
Think about it. A sensei is an everyday person who achieves stature and authority over a tiny niche of followers. If he/she is insecure or power hungry, then the stage is set for abuse. It's an opportunity to be an alpha dog in some realm and to assert this power over the followers. Big pathetic fish in a small pond.

Stay away from the power relationship. You're too vulnerable, because as a student, you want to rely on your sensei to train you, to be trustworthy. You're lucky if the sensei, out of ethical responsibility, will either discourage any advances, reciprocate with real love, or have a reality talk with you. If you're unlucky, you'll be used to inflate a weak and vacuous ego and join the harem.

When you're new to an organization, it's best to keep a safe distance. Wait until you've heard all the nasty gossip and testimonies and then judge for yourself. If he or she's a creep, the evidence will be apparent and you'll find out soon enough.

Unfortunately, there are some really nasty people out there who have no problem using others for their own pleasure without regard for feelings. If you fall in love with them, they will suck you dry. Or try, at least.

Anon
02-23-2005, 04:20 PM
and sometimes sex really is just sex - especially the older you get.

Undercurrents are a great spice of life, and "aiki-touch" is a wonderfully safe outlet for the urge to be physical with other people.

Qatana
02-23-2005, 07:44 PM
Undercurrents are a great spice of life, and "aiki-touch" is a wonderfully safe outlet for the urge to be physical with other people.

But it is not sex, not is it a replacement for sex. Intimacy, yes. Aikido is as intimate as it gets.
But it is by no means an effective substitute.

Anonymous
02-23-2005, 11:46 PM
Be very careful here. As an Aikido teacher I can tell you that this is a huge trap for a teacher. If we were mental health professionals or lawyers, or doctors we would have had ethics training as part of our professional development. Standards would have set out for waht was considered accpetable and not acceptable behavior with those entrusted to ones care.

In the case of Aikido, those of us who are running dojos not only didn't get the least training in the ethics of relating to students, especially in the area of relationships and sex, but most of our role models were horrible.

Being an Aikido teacher is a trap. In my own younger days I fell into trouble myself but I got my act together before it damaged the dojo. I have had this discussion with other male friends who are teachers. Some have realized that their behavior was inappropriate and copped to it, others seem to have matured and now behave better but you never hear them admit to any wrong doing, and others, well you hope you don't get mixed up with one of them...

Can you have a relationship with a teacher and have it work out? Yes, as mentioned by many, it can work out just fine and has for many Aikido teachers of my acquaintance. Just some ground rules...

Don't make anything secret. If you are dating, let everyone know you are dating. The worst abuses have happened when everything was secret. This allowed both repeated and multiple simultaneous offences because people were not aware of each other. Each thought he or she was "special".

If you are getting messages about being "special" or that the teacher has "special plans" for you, run away. This is standard predatory behavior; you are being groomed.

If your relationship with the teacher seems to be causing problems with the other folks in the dojo, this is a big warning sign. They are probably seeing something that you are not. On the other hand, if you are having a relationship and your realtions with your mates at the dojo stay as they were, then things are probably just fine. Although be aware of the following possibility.

If you feel like the teacher is paying attention to other females in the dojo in the same way that he pays attention to you, run away... It's all a big setup. What is interesting about a dojo in which there is serious dysfunctional behavior is that the membership becomes codependent. One acquaintance was having relations with several females in his dojo at the same time and others had left due to failed relationships with the sensei. It wasn't until this teacher got better through therapy and copped to what he had been doing that he lost 60 of his students. While he was screwing around with every female he could, the dojo looked the other way but when he stopped, the folks couldn't face their parts as enablers so they had to blame the teacher and leave in disgust.

People who run dojos and are serious about their training have a hard time even meeting anyone oustide their own dojos to date. So I am quite sympathetic to the issue of dating a student. But you REALLY need to be careful. I can't stress enough that things should be open and above board. Then there won't be any elements which end up surprising you or the others in the dojo.

fooBar
02-24-2005, 07:07 AM
In the case of Aikido, those of us who are running dojos not only didn't get the least training in the ethics of relating to students, especially in the area of relationships and sex, but most of our role models were horrible. I'm a churchman first and a student of Aikido second and I find that the community life of a congregation and the community life of a dojo have much to tell each other. I'm simply amazed at the lack of sexual and financial accountability in a dojo. In my branch of Christianity, all clerics are required, and lay leaders are encouraged, to undergo training in sexual misconduct avoidance. And nobody is allowed to go near a teen ager without the training. We learn what to watch for in ourselves, how to spot a sexually abused child, how to spot a preadator and how to avoid misunderstanding. Anyone running a dojo and anyone teaching young people really should go through something like it. If they're in the US they can simply call up their local Episcopal bishop and enquire. They might charge you or they might not but it is well worth it.

When the rector of a congregation starts dating a member of that congregation three things happen: the Bishop is told, the congregation is told and the two start worshipping in separate congregations. If you are going to date your sensei then certainly the sensei should inform somebody in authority or a council of sensei peers. And certainly the dojo should be informed. Training in a separate dojo may not be necessary or practical but keeping it mind might just remind you of the possible dangers.

anonymous
02-24-2005, 03:37 PM
[QUOTE=]and sometimes sex really is just sex - especially the older you get.


Is there such a thing as "just" sex?

Why not hire someone for the job then? What's the difference?

Adam Alexander
02-24-2005, 04:20 PM
Your questinons are indiscrete. This is not your business.


Regarding this quote: I think it'd be appropriate to revise it like so:

"I don't feel comfortable talking about that."


It's not a matter of politically correct posting, it's a matter of categorizing the original poster's questions in a box that doesn't have universal support (what is "indiscrete").IMHO.

If the subject of "indiscrete" goes without notice, then a rule regarding certain questions develops.

Joe Bowen
02-24-2005, 06:18 PM
A couple of questions. You say the feelings were mutual -- how do you know? Did you ever talk to him about it? Also, are you completely over your feelings for him now? Was it painful when you discovered he had this other person? Are you glad, in the end that nothing happened to disrupt your relationship with him as a teacher?
Your questions are indiscrete. This is not your business.

Hagen is right, those particular questions are not appropriate. It is similar to asking a paraplegic, if the accident where they lost their limbs was painful or if they can still feel the limbs that are missing. It just dredges up potentially painful memories for no real purpose other than morbid curiosity. Janet's last post, in my opinion was closure on the specifics of her story. Anything more is just gossip/rumor mongering. The further points made by Rocky and the two posters about relationships being above board were good and contributed something constructive.

It's not a matter of politically correct posting, it's a matter of categorizing the original poster's questions in a box that doesn't have universal support (what is "indiscrete").IMHO. If the subject of "indiscrete" goes without notice, then a rule regarding certain questions develops.

Be careful here Jean, you're potentially standing on the edge of a very slippery slope. How many boxes truly have "universal support"? Sometimes rules can be good, and the board is not entirely without control. Jun deletes and/or ends threads that he deems surpass a certain level of appropriateness. Our contributions, since we don't have editorial control over the board, are to remind people to not ask questions they are not prepared to answer about themselves. To put it another way, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Don't ask people to dredge up painful experiences, just to satisfy your morbid curiosity.

pezalinski
02-25-2005, 10:50 AM
Be very careful here. As an Aikido teacher I can tell you that this is a huge trap for a teacher. If we were mental health professionals or lawyers, or doctors we would have had ethics training as part of our professional development. Standards would have set out for what was considered acceptable and not acceptable behavior with those entrusted to ones care.

In the case of Aikido, those of us who are running dojos not only didn't get the least training in the ethics of relating to students, especially in the area of relationships and sex, but most of our role models were horrible.


Many of my instructors are/were professionals outside of Aikido. To my knowledge, all have had exposure to such professional standards of ethics, and abide by them. :ai: :ki: :do:

Do the national and international "umbrella" Aikido (MAF, USAF, AAA, etc, ) organizations have ethics policies as a part of their bylaws?

If so, they need to be refreshed on a regualr basis; if not, they need to be enacted.

Justin Gaar
02-25-2005, 11:02 AM
Alright to be serious here, i think someone has already said this but I might recant it. The feelings for your sensei are only feelings. Albeit, feelings are strong, and have large effects on people. But, If you act out on these feelings, it can go either way. Small chance you could actually "get together" with him and it would be great for a little while. However, what if ya'll went your different ways. Would you be willing to find another dojo (if it was that akward). I'm sorry I have to say, Aikido is a great art. But theres not many dojos around here. Just my two cents.
Sayonara :ai: :ki: :do:

Anonymous User
02-25-2005, 11:32 AM
Our contributions, since we don't have editorial control over the board, are to remind people to not ask questions they are not prepared to answer about themselves. To put it another way, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Don't ask people to dredge up painful experiences, just to satisfy your morbid curiosity.

Well...I'm the person who resurrected this thread, and I'm perfectly willing to answer these questions about myself. I developed very strong feelings for my own sensei and was finding it hard to separate my feelings for him from my love for martial arts. I did not ask Janet any questions out of morbid curiosity, but out of personal pain. I was hoping to know more about how she was able to disengage herself from personal feelings for her sensei, because I needed to do that myself. I would have contacted her privately, but she did not make her private email available.

Please do remember that Janet brought her situation to this board herself. She has been very open and honest, and as I said in a previous post, I appreciate and honor that. She had the option of ignoring the more personal questions I asked, and that's what she has chosen to do.

One of the benefits of the Internet, I think, is that it allows us to discuss things which are important to us, but which we might all feel much less comfortable discussing in person.

I appreciate all the recent postings warning about the dangers of sensei-student relationships; this has been helpful to me and I'm sure to other people.

Adam Alexander
02-27-2005, 06:35 PM
Be careful here Jean, you're potentially standing on the edge of a very slippery slope. How many boxes truly have "universal support"? Sometimes rules can be good, and the board is not entirely without control. Jun deletes and/or ends threads that he deems surpass a certain level of appropriateness.

Exactly. It's not our position, as posters, to dictate the rules of this board. So it seems that we should avoid making statements that give the impression that our values are the ones that set the forum's standard.

troubled
07-05-2008, 09:12 AM
i thought i was e only dummy in this situation. apparently, not.

i too have a strict maths teacher in his mid thirties. Honestly speaking, it wasn't love at first sight. infact i didnt like him at all till the third month of school. somehow, i just started admiring him. he is a realy handsome teacher. i started to get even more obsess and sometime started asking myself whether i'm " too concerned for him". there was once when he had a really bad sore throat and i secretely left him a pack of "sore throat sweet".

However, after a year or s , i accidentally found out that he left my school and cred for 2 nights. just when i thought everything was over, i found out that he actually teaches tuition outside. and Lucky Me, i actualy became his student.

But recently, i feel that i am more and more in love. and he can easily control my feelings. as in ... just by seeing him or thinking about him, i can't stop smilling to myself. my friends even ask me " hey, why are u smiling to urself like an idiot". or recently, i invited him to come to my concert, and after curtain call, i was really expecting to se him coming to the stage to congratulate me but i did not see him. i was totally down. so many of my friends gave me flowers but despite having my friends, i couldn't smile, i had to "fake smile".... afterwhich, i smsed him and he reply... apparently he left ith some of the other teachers for supper. but after he congratulated me, i was extremly happy agin. i feel like and idiot! i can't control my feelings anymore. i'm more and more worried.. what if ican't controll my feelings, i feel like telling him everything but i can't. help...

spelling error
07-05-2008, 09:17 AM
sorry i spelt cried as cred

and ... a year or so

Gernot Hassenpflug
07-05-2008, 10:20 AM
In my 15 years in Aikido I've seen all manner of dojo relationships (none of my own for those who care) and some of them resulted in one or other party leaving the dojo. Frankly, I personally did not care one way or the other, since every single one of the people involved was an adult---the situation with students (university) would be completely different.

Now, in some countries, to teach martial arts there is a national certificate that is required, which involves several weeks of training. In Israel I believe the major reason for this is simply reducing the risks, in other words something lobbied for successfully by the insurance companies. I am pretty sure ethical training forms a role in this too. In France there is also some certificate, perhaps for similar reasons. To me this makes perfect sense, especially as organizations grow in size and become more attractive for legal action. I am also in favour of organizations (or dojos) instituting their own even stricter codes which would have the effect of perhaps reducing insurance premiums in the future. In any case, I think this thread is a very valuable one.

boyana
07-06-2008, 10:00 PM
Can anyone help not falling in love?
Can you stop it?

Janet Rosen
07-06-2008, 10:45 PM
Can anyone help not falling in love?
Can you stop it?

Yes. Because in most of these kinds of one-sided situations, it isn't really "falling in love," it is an infatuation based on idealizing another person. Coming back to reality is all it takes.

And when it is not infatuation, but a reality-based combination of affection, respect, caring, etc, well I think there is still a very human capacity to be mature and not only not act on one's desires, but pre-emptively recognise the potential and simply place the other person "off limits."

Chuck Clark
07-07-2008, 12:55 PM
Powerful stuff Janet. Lots of people can't do this because they're thinking mostly about themselves and what they want and think would be "good." Valuing the other person is a different thing. Maturity and aging don't always go together...

Michael Hackett
07-07-2008, 01:04 PM
What a strange concept - taking personal responsibility.......

jennifer paige smith
07-07-2008, 09:21 PM
What a strange concept - taking personal responsibility.......

Yeah, and unlike love, when it comes to personal responsibility it should be all "me,me,me". If you now what I mean.

in deep water
07-14-2008, 04:21 PM
And when it is not infatuation, but a reality-based combination of affection, respect, caring, etc, well I think there is still a very human capacity to be mature and not only not act on one's desires, but pre-emptively recognise the potential and simply place the other person "off limits."

Speaking from experience - it is one thing to place the person off limits in your head and quite another to do it emotionally.
When you have had no male affirmation in your life and then all of a sudden meet someone who is kind and encouraging and emotes caring, how do you not fall for him????

Janet Rosen
07-14-2008, 04:34 PM
Sorry, guess I really am a Seneca style stoic in that emotions give us valuable feedback but need not rule us. Recognising "I'm falling in love" can lead to examining and accepting it AND accepting there ain't nothing positive to be done about it, and also accepting the pain. AND I do firmly believe that how we frame or reframe the messages we give ourselves in itself changes the emotions we experience and can be used to ameliorate emotional pain. Guess what I'm saying is, prior expereince may prime us for certain emotional reactions, but we still get to decide what to do about it.

Esaemann
07-15-2008, 08:34 AM
Not the same, but this relates to the "male influence" in life.

Never had much of a father growing up, so in some way I see my Sensei and Tai Chi instructor as male influence (father-type) figures; however, with no real expectations or desire for it, since I'm 37. I told my Tai Chi (head) instructor during our graduation, but I don't think it surprised him much. Nice thing about Daoist (relationships?) is there is no embarassement afterward, just being what is.

Telling an instructor of love feelings would probably be more complicated (less advisable), though.

Eric

Sava
07-18-2008, 11:42 AM
To Janet and everyone, I truly feel compelled to thank you. It has helped me, personally, more than you could know, to read this thread. I have come to the following place, and I just wanted to share it in the hope that I may reciprocate in some small way to anyone finding his/herself in a similar predicament. Please know that though I may speak definitively, I do so only by means of my own conviction to what I say, feel and think, not in any way to make generalizations or to impose my beliefs on anyone else.

You cannot help who you love. Love doesn't let you choose. However, you always, at any singular moment, have the choice of what to do with that love, or that anger, sadness, etc. I find reassurance in Ms./Mrs. Rosen's words. The answer lies in the art itself: aikido. The way of harmony of the spirit. Few things may be more spiritual than love, and love takes many forms. I think the difficulty is in distinguishing between love, lust, adoration, obsession- and those answers come only with having the courage to know yourself. Once knowing yourself, the even more challenging task of being true to yourself. Aikido will give you that, if you let it.

I have had a deep fondness and attraction to one of my senseis for nearly one year. For me, I have found a great love for him. It continues to grow. It was painful only at first, but now I truly believe that was only because I allowed it to hurt me. If I let the myriad physical ramifications take hold of my mind, then yes, the nights of wishing and longing and hoping can consume me. I actually found myself digging deeper into my training. I found myself welcoming contact with him, welcoming the dichotomous joy and pain it brought, forcing myself to feel everything to the utmost, letting it in and not letting it go until I found the lesson waiting inside. Emotions can teach us so much if we let them. I truly feel there is this stereotype, if that's the right word, that says that love may only be realized if it is reciprocated by the one with whom you are in love, and through the prescribed acts thereof, i.e. sexual intercourse, and so on. But where I stand today, I feel I know differently. I'll try to explain.

I am still very much in love with him. I do not know or, in truth, care if he feels the same way for me. That's not to say I wouldn't be ecstatic were it to be possible, but it is highly unlikely. Regardless, I have been true to myself and acted accordingly to the best of my ability. I did not seek out another more attainable relationship with which to divert my feelings for my sensei. I remain true to him because I have to face what I feel and who I am, and for whatever reason, I do love him, and for whatever reason, it is through this love that I am growing, becoming a better person, much stronger, and it has everything to do with how much aikido means to me this very moment.

I would never want to burden him with my feelings. It would put him in a terrible position, and to lay the responsibility of trying to deal with me and maintain his status at our dojo is something I could never do to him. I would never want to make him uncomfortable, or to break the beautiful harmony that occurs when training begins. I know he is very fond of me as a student- his words and actions dictate this, and in his case due to his profession outside the dojo, it is particularly rewarding to him to see his students progress over time. Of this joy I could never deprive him, not for a moment, not on my account, never for my sake. He is far too valuable to our dojo, and to the art of aikido, and for me to put him in that position would be asking of him, though inadvertently, more than I would ever want to ask of anyone I care for so much.

I love aikido. I love all my senseis, but I love one sensei in a way I've never loved a man before. The aikido and love are at once separate, and at once entirely the same. As many of you have said, time is often the best course, and it seems the answers we're looking for are already in our own questions. Sometimes just the act of asking means an answer. Sometimes we know what we want, or what we think we want, and we ask questions for validation; in the end, it is of no consequence- we can no more hide from our own truths than we would, truly, wish to avoid them.

Being human, as human is all any of us can ever hope to be, I feel it is dangerous to set parameters on human nature. It is almost an absurd yet understandable notion to think that we can tidily put such situations in a box and label it "ethical", "unethical", "immoral", "moral" or "inappropriate" and shelve it, neatly, in the catacombs of our mind if only to make living in our own skin more manageable. Every being and every circumstance is unique. The threads may weave a similar pattern, but the threads always are different. If anyone conducts his/herself in a manner inconsistent with the most intrinsic basis for human compassion and consideration, then the issue is the behavior, not the circumstance. Love has no boundaries, no stipulations, and no "rules" to play by. Could you call it love if it did? I truly believe, and please try not to take offense, but I truly do believe that there can be nothing wrong between any two people, regardless of what label we impose on them, be it "sensei", "student", "boss", etc., loving each other. It is up to the individuals to conduct themselves in a manner consistent to that love, and in honoring their commitments and obligations to those around them. It doesn't have to be about what is tricky or difficult, complicated or perhaps met with resistance. It is only ever about what is worth doing.

I never thought I would see things this way. I never thought I'd find peace in myself again. The desire to be as close to him as anyone could be- to be his confidant and supporter, his lover, and the longing to be desired by him, was all-consuming, and there were many times, countless times, I thought I'd never overcome or resolve this. Time is what it took, and only time could've done it. I am so pleased to share this with Janet- I now have a newfound respect for time and all its wonders.

Love can be anything you let it be. Of that I feel certain. For me, my love for my sensei has grown into a profound respect and admiration for aikido. It has inspired me to train even more devotedly. It has compounded, rather, an already keen appreciation for the art; I could never leave this dojo, permanently, or my training companions. Were I to do so due to something such as love unreciprocated, or a love failed, that would be truly in poor form, selfish, egotistical, even, these all of which, as we all do know, have no place in the heart of an aikidoka. To run away from that pain would mean a great sacrifice to training. We are our own enemies; the discord in our minds our only opponent. And I walk through the door to the dojo, and step onto the mat, and my love grows, and I'm joyously overwhelmed, and for even a few hours, a few days a week, I am more myself, more alive, than ever I was even moments before. And when this glorious man, for he is a man, first and foremost, comes in, and we bow, and he steps on the mat, I am more his student and a student of life than ever I could've been, otherwise. He has made me a better person, and I have let myself become better because of him. If that's not love, if that's not aikido, what is?

in deep water
07-18-2008, 05:53 PM
Love can be anything you let it be. Of that I feel certain. For me, my love for my sensei has grown into a profound respect and admiration for aikido. It has inspired me to train even more devotedly. It has compounded, rather, an already keen appreciation for the art; I could never leave this dojo, permanently, or my training companions. Were I to do so due to something such as love unreciprocated, or a love failed, that would be truly in poor form, selfish, egotistical, even, these all of which, as we all do know, have no place in the heart of an aikidoka. To run away from that pain would mean a great sacrifice to training. We are our own enemies; the discord in our minds our only opponent. And I walk through the door to the dojo, and step onto the mat, and my love grows, and I'm joyously overwhelmed, and for even a few hours, a few days a week, I am more myself, more alive, than ever I was even moments before. And when this glorious man, for he is a man, first and foremost, comes in, and we bow, and he steps on the mat, I am more his student and a student of life than ever I could've been, otherwise. He has made me a better person, and I have let myself become better because of him. If that's not love, if that's not aikido, what is?

What an awesome, inspiring post!
I could have written this myself, but could never find the words, or bravery to do it. It discribes exactly how I feel about my Sensei. He has made my love for Aikido grow and inspires me to try harder and practice better. He has made me a better person and given me the courage to live as that person. I am sure he has no idea; the immense gift he has given me.
And yes I love him, but will never tell him because he is first and formost my Sensei and deserves that respect.

dematteo84
01-18-2009, 09:55 PM
Reading a few of the above posts has made me realise that the situation I am in is more normal than I previously believed. I may not be in love with my Sensei but I have similar feelings towards a more senior ranked student at my dojo.

I felt bad about the situation at first, like I had committed a crime. It was as if I purposely fell in love with the girl and felt guilty for committing such an offence. Later I came to realise that there was nothing I could have done to prevent the feelings from emerging. Why do we fall in love with someone?
Do any of us really know? We don't wake up in the morning and say to ourselves I will fall in love with this person.

The hardest thing is falling in love with a person that may in a certain context not be appropriate to fall in love with. We shouldn't feel guilty about this but rather find a way to deal with it. I admit that I don't know how to deal with love, I am a shy and quiet person, so I find it hard to talk to people at the best of times, let alone when feelings are involved.

One positive that has come out of my situation is a new found respect for people in similar situations. I also have a new understanding of poetry, music and art. It is amazing how much of what I feel has already been expressed by others in my situation.

On a more humorous note, I replied to a similar post earlier and didn't realise I was logged in before I sent the reply. As a result a reply that was meant to be anonymous was posted with my name and location, plus the dojo I train at. Although I didn't give the girl a name on the post, it would be obvious to anyone from my dojo who I was talking about. Ooops! :o

I have found that talking about and acknowledging my situation has helped a great deal, and the more I understand it the easier it gets. It is still damn hard none the less.

Do what you feel is right and don't feel bad if things don't go to plan, that is all I can say.

follow the path
10-06-2011, 12:59 PM
i know this is an old thread but their were lots of people posting about the sensei's side of this dilemma, so i thought i'd post my thoughts as well

i am an instructor and have found myself very attracted to one of the senior students in our dojo, she is not my student but rather trains under the head master in his advanced class, the two of us have trained together for over a decade and we are friends first and foremost.

im not in love with her, at least not yet, but a part of me wants to be, i really dont know what her feelings for me are, chances are she sees me as an older brother which is great, we have known each other since we were kids, we grew up together trained together, and there is no relationship i respect more than that of a brotherhood of arms.

i dont date students as a personal rule, as an instructor i try to set a good example and hold myself to some rather strict if not harsh personal moral standards, and as a flawed human failing to meet those standards results in a tremendous amount of guilt. hence i am cautious with situations like this.

as her training advances and we spend more and more time together both on and off the mat i find us growing closer as friends and cant help finding myself hoping for more.

with that said i have not expressly told her how i feel as i dont want to make things awkward for her but i have also not tried to hide it, in my opinion its fairly obvious how i feel, though no one has really noticed, mostly because they are all focused inward.

so to students and sensei alike i can only suggest this, being professional does not mean being void of a heart, just follow your path and if it brings the two of you together then wonderful and if not the you will find your journey taking you in a new direction, but regardless do not try to force a relationship where there is none, because the risk of loosing a dojo or worse ruining your training is too great.

a relationship is a path in and of itself just as your training is, start with a strong foundation and master the principles before you attempt to learn greater things, in the same way, start with a friendship and understanding of each other and let life take its course.

it takes patience, self discipline, and an empty cup, good luck and may the universe treat you well

robin_jet_alt
10-06-2011, 07:35 PM
i know this is an old thread but their were lots of people posting about the sensei's side of this dilemma, so i thought i'd post my thoughts as well

i am an instructor and have found myself very attracted to one of the senior students in our dojo, she is not my student but rather trains under the head master in his advanced class, the two of us have trained together for over a decade and we are friends first and foremost.

im not in love with her, at least not yet, but a part of me wants to be, i really dont know what her feelings for me are, chances are she sees me as an older brother which is great, we have known each other since we were kids, we grew up together trained together, and there is no relationship i respect more than that of a brotherhood of arms.

i dont date students as a personal rule, as an instructor i try to set a good example and hold myself to some rather strict if not harsh personal moral standards, and as a flawed human failing to meet those standards results in a tremendous amount of guilt. hence i am cautious with situations like this.

as her training advances and we spend more and more time together both on and off the mat i find us growing closer as friends and cant help finding myself hoping for more.

with that said i have not expressly told her how i feel as i dont want to make things awkward for her but i have also not tried to hide it, in my opinion its fairly obvious how i feel, though no one has really noticed, mostly because they are all focused inward.

so to students and sensei alike i can only suggest this, being professional does not mean being void of a heart, just follow your path and if it brings the two of you together then wonderful and if not the you will find your journey taking you in a new direction, but regardless do not try to force a relationship where there is none, because the risk of loosing a dojo or worse ruining your training is too great.

a relationship is a path in and of itself just as your training is, start with a strong foundation and master the principles before you attempt to learn greater things, in the same way, start with a friendship and understanding of each other and let life take its course.

it takes patience, self discipline, and an empty cup, good luck and may the universe treat you well

In this case, I really don't see an issue. She is not directly your student, and it's not like you would be taking advantage of your position as an instructor. The only pitfall is if you make an advance and she turns you down, or if you get together and then break up. Then things might get awkward afterwards. But, there really isn't any harm in treading lightly and asking her out for a coffee is there?

sakumeikan
10-07-2011, 06:04 PM
Hi folks,
For what its worth when I was a young guy I started Judo.I got the job of teaching the ladies class.So every Fri I went to the dojo, bounced the ladies around , got bounced around by them , then we all went to have a coffee.
In time I found myself getting to like one of the girls[she was 4years older than myself].A friend suggested I took her to a Jazz concert and to my surprise she accepted the date.
We went to further concerts, I met her Mum /Dad etc. They were nice people . Very stable unlike my own life which at that point was a catastrophe.
Anyway to cut a long story short today we are celebrating our 51 years of married life.We have two sins, four grandkids.
Jenny is a well known figure in the Aikido community.Although she does not do Aikido[see below] she knows loads of people .Every year we have for some time attended Birankai Summer Schools.Until this year she did all the vids for the British Biankai Summer Schools for years.
So as far as we are concerned the Martial Arts brought us together.By the way , her Aikido [Big Aikido ]skills are far superior to my own. Cheers, Jenny /Joe Curran

Janet Rosen
10-07-2011, 06:29 PM
Sweet, Joe :-) hugs to you and your Jenny!

Mary Eastland
10-07-2011, 07:29 PM
Thanks Joe...that was nice to read.

void
10-08-2011, 02:36 AM
In our dojo our sensei got together with one of his students, no drama.
They were together for a few years, no drama.
They brook up, no drama.
The student slowly dropped out of aikido while being in the relationship. Now a few years later she is slowly coming back, no drama.
This is just to show you that within this whole relationship life cycle the dojo was unaffected/unharmed (if you discount a student dropping out, which happens all the time).

I'm just a little bit supprised to read all these accounts of people willing to swallow their love in order to train, if the worst case would be that they would have to swallow their grudge against their ex in order to train if things don't turn out well. (and there is always the chance of a happy end like in Joe's case)

genin
10-12-2011, 09:07 AM
What matters is if the feelings between the two are reciprocated, and if it doesn't cause problems within the dojo. What's it matter if a man and woman meet at a dojo and then get married, or if they were already married and then joined a dojo?

I will say that I do have personal experiences with this in my old dojo. There was a beautiful peruvian woman who dumped instructor #1 so she could date instructor #2. Needless to say, instructor #1 was very upset about this. Also, my mom dated the head instructor at one point as well. I'd like to say there was no blowback from these relationships, but I know for a fact that it caused drama, inside and outside the dojo.

Old but Pertinent
01-12-2013, 10:22 PM
Apologies in advance for another thread resurrection, but, it appears this topic is timeless! Just to clarify a few points I noticed as questions in the thread:

I have been studying Aikido for 2 years now, with the same Sensei primarily. I have been attracted to him from the beginning, and this is something that has gotten deeper over time. I am in my mid 30's and he is in his mid 40's, so neither of us are children. I am quite firmly entrenched in our organization, I regularly travel to train in other dojos in the organization because we have a pretty extensive family, and I have maintained close friendships with many of the people in our organization. Sensei has been in a relationship for several years, but broke it off a few months ago. I, on the other hand, have been single the entire time. I frequently feel that I am the kind of girl who gets immediately 'friend zoned' for some reason I am unable to identify. Since he has been single for some time, however, I am beginning to think that I should talk to him about my feelings, but I am more worried about our relationship if he is not interested in me romantically.

So, my actual question is to the Sensei's on the forum. How do you feel when you have a female student you don't have romantic feelings for approach you, and how does that affect your relationship with her if you reject her because you simply aren't interested in her? Would that rejection cause you to view her differently on the mat afterwards?

--Still Pertinent

James Sawers
01-14-2013, 03:56 PM
Below is the ethical standards for teachers in my system. I'm sure that your own system has similar standards. This may be a good place to start.

Birankai North America Teachers Statement of Professional Ethics

1. Aikido Teachers, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of advancing the path of Aikido, recognize the special responsibilities placed on them as teachers and guides for their students.
2. Aikido teachers encourage and support the learning process of their students and demonstrate the best possible standards of the discipline and art of Aikido. They demonstrate respect for the student as an individual and adhere to their role as a guide and teacher. Aikido teachers avoid exploitation of their students for their personal advantage. They make every effort to assure that their evaluation of students reflects their true merit. Aikido teachers are aware of and sensitive to the power differential inherent in the teacher-student relationship.
3. As a member of Birankai North America, the Aikido teacher is committed to creating and maintaining a community free from all forms of disrespectful conduct including harassment and exploitation.
4. Aikido teachers and practitioners do not engage in sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is sexual solicitation, physical advances, or verbal or non-verbal conduct that is sexual in nature, that occurs in connection with the Aikido teacher's activities or role as a teacher and that either: (1) is unwelcome, offensive, or creates a hostile environment, and the teacher knows or is told this; or (2) is sufficiently severe or intense to be abusive to a reasonable person in the context. Sexual Harassment can consist of a single intense or severe act or of multiple persistent or pervasive acts. Sexual harassment also includes requests of sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's Aikido training or creating an abusive, hostile or offensive practice or learning environment.
5. Harassment is not limited to that of a sexual nature. Aikidoists do not knowingly engage in behavior that is harassing or demeaning to persons with whom they interact in the dojo environment based on factors such as the person's age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language or socio-economic status.
6. The process to file a complaint for violation of this statement of ethics follows:
a. Discuss the complaint with your Chief Instructor for guidance and recommendation.
b. If the complaint involves the Chief Instructor, directly contact the Ethics Committee as in (c) below. c. If the issue remains unresolved, a formal complaint must then be made in writing and sent to the Ethics Committee at the following address:

chubbycubbysmash
05-08-2013, 08:15 PM
This thread is interesting... I thought I'd give my two cents since I'm err, well past the point of beginning.

Disclaimer: Married my Aikido teacher (been together for 3 years this month) and we're welcoming our first child later this year. We have a large age difference (12 years) but we don't really notice it.

God writing it down like that sounds so bad but it might just be how society perceives it. When I think about HOW we began to like each other and pursued each other, it doesn't seem so weird after all. I didn't like him because he was my teacher, and I liked him after we got to know each other off the mat. We just clicked as people, Aikido happened to be a mutual hobby.

To be honest I didn't think he was so remarkable as a person on the mat, sure he had great technique and was a great teacher but... I went to learn, not to develop a romantic relationship. And you know, he was bland and dry and just... I don't know, kind of an old fart even though he's quite young. Not the kind of guy I would have went for if he was that way on and off the mat.

We run the dojo like a family still, even now. I cook for the seminars, direct cleaning, deal with marketing, finances, etc. I do miss practicing but the pregnancy has been hard and somewhat risky but I still try to be as involved as possible.

I know from his point of view he tried really hard to distance himself from me. He stopped teaching some of the classes that I attended, and he kept telling himself that it would be okay if we were just friends, and he'd be totally fine with that. I probably wouldn't have liked him though if we didn't attend some parties of mutual friends together and got to talking at those times because we didn't really know anyone else other than the host. We were friendly with each other and it just developed into something more by itself. Maybe we were flirting without realizing it, because thinking back we didn't tease or play around on or off the mat, we just talked about life and a some personal things and that's where our relationship stemmed from,

I don't know. True love, compatibility, I can say that I found these things with him and it can get rocky at times so setting boundaries in the conduct in the dojo despite a relationship is important so that whatever you guys are going through does not affect how the dojo is run. It's not impossible for there to be a happy ending (although what do I know, still got an entire life ahead of me) but I think it's not about one person liking the other or pursuing the other, it's about two people walking closer to the same path.

I personally don't think a relationship can be built upon a student teacher relationship or BECAUSE of the teaching of the instructor or BECAUSE of the hobby--an imbalance in power and I don't think that's what love is about. It can be built when two people, off the mat, click more than on the mat, that they as people match each other, not just being in awe of each other's ability. What I mean is, if I never practiced Aikido again, if he never taught me another technique, if I stopped being involved in the dojo (which I have occasionally due to health or other reasons) we'd still be together and in love. So I think that's something you have to ask yourself honestly if you are considering a relationship with a teacher or a student: Can we still be together if Aikido was not involved at all? Can we still survive without that difference of power (i.e. are we equals in real life or does the power imbalance carry on off the mat--if it does, I believe there will be problems)?

Over the years you hear the anecdotes of female students falling in love with their teachers because they are attracted to their skill, I think it may be an evolutionary thing given that in the animal kingdom, the males usually have to put on some sort of display that show their prowess. It often ends badly,like dating a coworker, sometimes it ends up good though, so I think every situation is unique in itself.

Regardless of the tangible situation around, every relationship needs the three C's. Communication, Compromise, and Cuddling. If something's wrong, chances are one or more of those departments are lacking. :)