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Jermaine Alley
09-18-2002, 09:59 AM
There is a very interesting thread on the line now discussing the pro's and con's of flirting with fellow aikidoka or budoka.

My question is: Does anyone attend a dojo that keeps the sexes separate while training?

I am sure that there aren't any here inthe U.S....but what about abroad?

jermaine

Creature_of_the_id
09-18-2002, 10:04 AM
I dont know of any here in the UK either. But, I do sometimes recommend women train with women for certain techniques when I am teaching.

To be honest, there are a few techniques in which you dont even have to recommend it. Women will just partner up with each other out of instinct over potential pitfalls of training with men at that time.

Genex
09-18-2002, 10:20 AM
If there are there shouldnt be, today were living in a sociaty where everybody should be treated the same (although they're not) weather your a particular colour, sex, or even if your a lawyer you can still train with all the other human beans.

I beleive there have been many threads on aikiweb about this and they have ranted on and on about the same stuff over again some women think its a great idea so they dont have to put up with men, some men think its a great idea for the same reason, some for religious perposes, some for the fact that they think women are inferior or that men just plain cannot understand women (who can)

aikido is about the art, it doesnt matter who you train with, it doesnt matter because weather you have breasts or not has no influence on wheather you can throw someone 20 ft or drop a guy like a sack of spuds.

at our school if your black, white, green, pink, female, male ,N/A or just plain nutz i'm still gonna practace yonkyo on yer and i aint gonna ask does it hurt because it bloody well should.

yoroshiku

pete

Jermaine Alley
09-18-2002, 04:05 PM
Thanks guys,, i didn't think that there were too many dojo now a days that actually separate the sexes.

Did they do it in the old days though? In our dojo we like to concentrate on street effective techniques. If we separated the sexes, we would be instilling a false sense of security in our instudents and removing a valuable learning too....the opposite sex. Thanks again.....

jermiane

batemanb
09-18-2002, 09:08 PM
One of my Sesnei`s here in Japan went to Indonesia to train for a vacation, he told me that they have segregated classes there, the women also keep their faces concealed as they do in public. Must be bloody hot for them during keiko.

I have seen a dojo`s here in Japan, including the Aikikai Hombu that have womens classes, all other classes are mixed though.

opherdonchin
09-18-2002, 11:27 PM
I was in a dojo in Burlington VT where men and women not only train together on the same mat, but actually dress in the same dressing room. Disconcerting at first, but somehow not very difficult once you get used to it.

I was brought up on the lie that men and women are the same, and I believed it for many years. I was very annoyed when I found out that they are very different creatures, with different brains, different hormonal systems, different behavioral patterns, different sensibilities, and different skills. The support this myth got from many circles was unconscionable: a victory of a dream over a willingness to struggle with reality.

Not that difference justifies any sort of inequality before the law or oppressive patriarchy within society, of course.

Tadhg Bird
09-19-2002, 12:16 AM
Did they do it in the old days though?

I was perusing _Aikido, The Way of Harmony_, the other day and there is a picture of a woman doing ... wel I'm not sure *what* technique she is doing, any way uke is a dude, and he's bent over backwards, and the caption reads: "Throughout the history of Aikido, women have practiced together with men under the same conditions on the same level" So I would say, yes. They *did* do it in the old days. :D
But, I do sometimes recommend women train with women for certain techniques when I am teaching.

What techniques would these be? And why?
i'm still gonna practace yonkyo on yer and i aint gonna ask does it hurt because it bloody well should.
*owie* I'm glad that last night's yonkyo pratice didn't hurt at all!

Smooth Roads,

-- Tadhg (who likes his yonkyo effective and pain free)

Chris Li
09-19-2002, 12:27 AM
I was in a dojo in Burlington VT where men and women not only train together on the same mat, but actually dress in the same dressing room. Disconcerting at first, but somehow not very difficult once you get used to it.
Happens a lot in Japan. Nobody pays much attention to it...

Best,

Chris

drDalek
09-19-2002, 02:55 AM
I have an issue training with women, luckily its not a big one because we only have about two girls in the dojo.

The issue is not a sexual one though, I can make the seperation between sexual intimacy and aikido intimacy.

The issue is the whole 'never hurting a girl' thing that I was raised with. I sometimes catch myself going a bit easy on the girls when practicing with them and I am a bit scared that they are picking up on this and that it might hurt their feelings because they might think that I think they are unable to take the falls.

Anyone else having a case like this?

peteswann
09-19-2002, 03:25 AM
I was in a dojo in Burlington VT where men and women not only train together on the same mat, but actually dress in the same dressing room. Disconcerting at first, but somehow not very difficult once you get used to it.
We went to a course in Holland at a Dojo run by a former student of our Sensei and they all seem to get changed and even shower male and female together!! :blush: As you say, it was a bit of a shock at first being from the slightly prudish UK but people soon got over it!! :p

Pete

JJF
09-19-2002, 05:49 AM
I have an issue training with women, luckily its not a big one because we only have about two girls in the dojo.

The issue is not a sexual one though, I can make the seperation between sexual intimacy and aikido intimacy.

The issue is the whole 'never hurting a girl' thing that I was raised with. I sometimes catch myself going a bit easy on the girls when practicing with them and I am a bit scared that they are picking up on this and that it might hurt their feelings because they might think that I think they are unable to take the falls.

Anyone else having a case like this?
This was discussed A LOT quite some months ago. Since then I have been wondering wether I 'go easy' on women or not. At first I thought I did, but then I realised, that yes I do go easy on most of the women in our dojo, but that is because they are not very advanced students and tend to be easily hurt. I act the same way with male beginners, who are not used to take ukemi and ajust their movements to the pain. It all comes down to the fact that I ajust the level of power and intencity in my techniques according to the other person. I HAVE been practicing with very competent female aikidoka and they can take just as much heat as any man on the mat.

Just rambling.....

stoker
09-19-2002, 09:32 AM
I have always been taught that the smallest person must be able to do the technique on the largest person (usally me at six foot five and 265 lbs) or the technique is not valid. It's easy for someone to use my strength but there is always someone stronger jsut around the corner.

DGLinden
09-19-2002, 09:35 AM
I not only seperate the sexes, I keep women out of the dojo altogether.

I may have the only dojo in the country that does not accept any women students.

I could go on for hours as to why, but the real reason is that it pleases me. As I turn away anywhere from 5 to 10 potential students a week (the dojo has a waiting list) I seem to be doing something right.

We have no issues with dating, male dominance, PMS, jealosy, locker rooms or toilets. Back when I allowed women to train I NEVER let husbands and wives or couples train together. Over 30 years I've seen too many personal problems brought to the mat. I should mention that my lovely wife is a Shodan. I have no problem women training everywhere else, I think its just fine.

opherdonchin
09-19-2002, 09:46 AM
Please do go on a bit about why you decided to do that.

akiy
09-19-2002, 10:04 AM
I was in a dojo in Burlington VT where men and women not only train together on the same mat, but actually dress in the same dressing room. Disconcerting at first, but somehow not very difficult once you get used to it.
One dojo in Germany where I trained had "coed" dressing rooms.

One of my teachers went over to Germany a long while back when she had just gotten her nidan. After training with a bunch of burly guys, slamming each other on the mat, she thought it was quite a test for her to get into the showers with them all.

Incidentally, her dojo (in the United States) also had coed dressing rooms for quite a long time -- over twenty years, if I remember correctly. She said it was actually the men who started feeling uncomfortable and asked for separate dressing rooms, interestingly enough.

-- Jun

Don_Modesto
09-19-2002, 03:22 PM
One of my Sesnei`s here in Japan went to Indonesia to train for a vacation, he told me that they have segregated classes there, the women also keep their faces concealed as they do in public.
Indonesia? They never covered their faces when I was there. They seldom even covered their heads as they do in Malaysia...

batemanb
09-19-2002, 07:26 PM
Indonesia? They never covered their faces when I was there. They seldom even covered their heads as they do in Malaysia...
Don,

thanks for that, rusty memory, it was Malaysia that he went to, not Indonesia.

Abasan
09-19-2002, 11:07 PM
'Don,

thanks for that, rusty memory, it was Malaysia that he went to, not Indonesia.'

Really? I've been to a lot of dojo's here in Malaysia... being Malaysian and all, and I don't recall any segregation of sexes. There is a university dojo that does this, but thats more an exception than the rule.

Furthermore, they don't cover their faces. They cover their hair, neck. Like nuns...

Keiko with it is not extremely uncomfortable. You may need to get used to it... but hey, ask the kendoist who cover their heads (even without the helmet thingey).

Did your Japanese Sensei which dojo he went to? Or was it during the Asian Aikido Federation meet? Was it when doshu came over?

batemanb
09-20-2002, 02:51 AM
'Don,

thanks for that, rusty memory, it was Malaysia that he went to, not Indonesia.'

Really? I've been to a lot of dojo's here in Malaysia... being Malaysian and all, and I don't recall any segregation of sexes. There is a university dojo that does this, but thats more an exception than the rule.

Furthermore, they don't cover their faces. They cover their hair, neck. Like nuns...

Keiko with it is not extremely uncomfortable. You may need to get used to it... but hey, ask the kendoist who cover their heads (even without the helmet thingey).

Did your Japanese Sensei which dojo he went to? Or was it during the Asian Aikido Federation meet? Was it when doshu came over?
I could well have the whole thing twisted, especially the country. I am positive he told me they had separate classes, because his wife trained in one and he trained in the other. He also mentioned the head scarves, although I may well have misinterpreted his story to me. As to which dojo, I have no idea, it was a couple of years ago, I don`t believe it was in conjunction with Doshu as they went for a vacation.

Wasn`t trying to cast aspersions at any specific country, just relaying that someone had told me about training in a segregated dojo.

I`ll try and confirm next time I see them.

PhilJ
09-20-2002, 03:12 AM
General B.S.:

I have to believe that there are more options besides running away from the situation.

If we don't practice with the opposite sex... is there a balance? Where's the yin for the yang? Sure it works for a while, but isn't it unhealthy to the body, mind, and soul to only deal with one kind of energy?

At work, there's some people I don't enjoy -- but I still have to work with them. Conflict is at the heart of harmony -- without conflict, there is no need for harmony, right? Rivers would sink through the earth into space and lawyers would be jobless. ;)

Bruce Baker
09-20-2002, 08:30 AM
There is a polarity of body to consider when learning techniques. Men and women do have a different polarity, so in the application of techniques and that little spark that flashes brightly, or the dull action of a physical throw, there is a difference when men work with men or women work with women.

I do advocate people of same ability working the same sex, but not for the entire class. If , for nothing else, than to get a feel for the technique before moving on to a male or female partner. As for separation of training for male or female? Well, I guess that is up to the society or the people who are practicing, isn't it?

Even if they practice gender separation, sooner or later, they will advance in skill level, visit other countrys or dojos, and have to train without gender separation.

As for the polarity thing, you will need to study this when you see the hidden meanings for many techniques with pain, or in pressure point study by finding them within your Aikido techniques. But that is for another time.

rgfox5
09-20-2002, 08:51 AM
It seems to me that any dojo where the sexes are separated, or as in one remarkable case mentioned women are disallowed altogether, is doing an extreme disservice to both men and women but especially the women. Where then should women learn to deal with attacks, which almost always will come from men?

There are some women in our dojo that are so tough that any thought of "taking it easy on them" totally evaporates as my concentration has to be 100% in order to try and take their center or take the best ukemi I can so I don't get hurt. It is quite an uplifting experience since I was also raised not hit girls. So to attack them with my best attack and then feel myself completely and thoroughly dealt with shakes loose the cultural baggage and feels great.

An interesting aside, I fairly recently had a road rage incident directed at me where a pretty small girl came up to my parked car and screamed and cussed at me and spit in my face. I moved my head but still caught a little spray on my cheek. The temptation to knock her out was quite strong, but I thought to myself "Whoa, have I studied martial arts for years just to damage this, admittedly obnoxious, girl?" So I swallowed my pride and did nothing except get more distance. I have no doubt that had it been a man my reaction would have been quite different.

I am quite shocked that a dojo in this country in the 21st century would not allow women, and would be very interested in hearing what possible justification the teacher has for what is, to me, a completely untenable position.

Rich

DanielR
09-20-2002, 09:21 AM
I am quite shocked that a dojo in this country in the 21st century would not allow women, and would be very interested in hearing what possible justification the teacher has for what is, to me, a completely untenable position.


Same here. As much as I sympathize with the principle of a private practice and the complete discretion of its owner in business decisions, the fact there're segregated dojos out there is rather surprising.

Interesting observation, I checked the web site of this dojo, and, unless I'm missing something, there's no mention of the fact that women are not welcome there.
Back when I allowed women to train I NEVER let husbands and wives or couples train together. Over 30 years I've seen too many personal problems brought to the mat.
Would you please elaborate on how you deal with other types of personal problems that your students might be having? Say, if over the 30 years you had several student that experienced prolonged depressions because they'd just been laid off, would you condlude that you'd rather not deal with such problems at all and expel students that let their personal problems affect their performance on the mat?

opherdonchin
09-20-2002, 09:59 AM
All right, now that we've created a truly supportive and accepting environment for Daniel to explain his approach, it's a wonder that he isn't coming forward to explain himself.:rolleyes:

I've very curious about the single sex policy. It doesn't sound like something I'd enjoy or be particularly interested in trying, but I don't see a reason to condemn it out of hand, or even to condemn it once it is in hand. If a group of men want to train together then one imagines, given the state of AiKiDo in the U.S. today that the women will have plenty of other options that they can go to for their training.

I wonder if Daniel Rozenbaum or Richard would have felt the same way about a woman teacher who had a woman-only dojo. I'm not implying that they would feel necessarily differently (or even that they should). I'm honestly curious whether for either of them that would be a different situation.

paw
09-20-2002, 10:03 AM
Hmmmm....
I not only seperate the sexes, I keep women out of the dojo altogether.

Is that legal? Even if it is, seems like a lawsuit just waiting to happen....
Back when I allowed women to train I NEVER let husbands and wives or couples train together.

What about same sex relationships (ie homosexual men)? In 30 years you must have had a few.

Chuck Clark
09-20-2002, 10:05 AM
Two of my teachers that I've learned the most from were women. I'm certainly glad they let me in their dojo and, for sure, I'm glad that their teachers had decided to allow women in their dojo.

Each to his own.

Regards,

DanielR
09-20-2002, 10:28 AM
I've very curious about the single sex policy. It doesn't sound like something I'd enjoy or be particularly interested in trying, but I don't see a reason to condemn it out of hand, or even to condemn it once it is in hand.
I apologize to Mr. Linden if my comments sounded as an outright condemnation; that was certainly not my intention. Opher - thank you for pointing this out. However, I did wish to express my surprise both with the fact and with the way it was presented in Mr. Linden's post. It was also my intention to understand why Mr. Linden chose to eliminate this particular source of personal problems in the dojo, and how is it different from all other possible conflict situations that may and do arise when there's more than one person in a room.
If a group of men want to train together then one imagines, given the state of AiKiDo in the U.S. today that the women will have plenty of other options that they can go to for their training.
It's quite a dilemma for me. On one hand, I am rather fed up by the overwhelming political correctness in the US. Indeed, if such dojo exists, no women would want to train there in the first place, so apparently there's no problem. On the other hand, it's not a secluded group of men. It's a publicly advertised dojo. What happens when a woman aikidoka comes to that dojo? Is she told "males only"? How does this make her feel?

What I'm trying to say is - it's not against the law, but it looks and feels offensive. Again, maybe there're reasons for it that would convince me otherwise.
I wonder if Daniel Rozenbaum or Richard would have felt the same way about a woman teacher who had a woman-only dojo. I'm not implying that they would feel necessarily differently (or even that they should). I'm honestly curious whether for either of them that would be a different situation.
It very much depends on the circumstances. If I heard a woman sensei say "I don't allow men in my dojo because it pleases me", I'd most certainly be as surprised.

rgfox5
09-20-2002, 10:30 AM
I take the point about rejecting the men-only dojo concept out of hand without hearing the rationale. I will turn the flame off.

I feel that a women-only dojo would be doing the members a disservice as their attackers outside will be men and they should learn to deal with them on the mat to have a decent chance on the street, no?

Women-only gyms are common but that is different because the women would like to work out without having guys oggling them and the purpose is very different from learning a martial art.

I guess the same-sex dojo would only be illegal if they were receiving public funds?

Rich

DGLinden
09-20-2002, 11:05 AM
I have received a good number of private e-mails concerning my recent post as well as a couple lively mentions here right out loud on this string. Allow me to explain, and I hope you will be patient.

My choice to close the dojo to women students was not entered into lightly, as anyone must imagine. The decision came more from my desire to give the students something which has disappeared in this world. Exclusivity.

A half century ago my family would take to the woods each hunting season and spend a week at our lodge. My grandfather, father, uncles and cousins, brothers, dogs, (yes, a few of those were female) would gather and survive without female interference in a ritual that is still evoked when the autumn leaves fall.

In this place of guns and men, fishing rods and bourbon, the smell of old leather and flannel, fine machine oil and wet dogs; this place taught many young men how to be men.

I am not speaking of a redneck hunt camp but a place where men wiped off their boots, hung up their coat and hats, emptied their ash trays and washed their drink glass before turning in. It was a place where I could wake in the early dark to snuggle in a little deeper with my labrador retriever and smell the wood smoke and coffee and bacon cooking on the black iron stove. My grandfather would tug the covers and tell me to get going.

The men played cards at night after the hunting and I never heard vulgarity unless it happened in jokes, and men never discussed their wives good or bad. It wasn't done.

It was a place for men.

During the rest of the year we would box golden gloves down at the Boys Club, and there were no women there, then. We would swim at the YMCA and as I recall we didn't even wear trunks because it was a place for men. Later when I served our country in Viet Nam it never occured to us that women would someday have to share the horrors of combat, but now they do.

My father took me to study judo and karate at the police accademy and of course the only women officers were meter maids. That's changed too.

I don't think having a place where you can go to get away from the world is such a bad thing and sometimes men just like to get away from things. Getting away from the women has always been a part of most real men's lives. Sorry, but there it is.

I offer the guys a place to come train, meditate, throw pottery, study and develop orchids, work bamboo, and simply garden. We offer archery, woodworking, wood carving and sometimes basic construction. We have raised a hog and butchered it and gone off shotgunning for quail. If I listed all the Aikido shihans who have shot a gun on this property, trained here, drank a beer or two here, and relaxed here you would be very surprised.

So I have a place of men, by men, and for men.

They wipe their feet, and clean up their own mess. Women come visit on occassion and Patty Saotome has taught here as well as a nice lady from Montreal named Donna. We have a couple events a year and wives and kids are required to attend if possible.

The rest of the time it is for the men. They train hard, drink an occasional adult beverage and never discuss their wives.

And as for legality, or some depressed guy, or someone who doesn't understand what his digestive track is made for...well, they can go train at your dojo. I think thats fine.

Aikido is a big world and what we do here works for us. My students have made me proud and continue to do so, and they accept women students, of course. We feel blessed.

Oh, and one last thing. If you do not have a Master's degree, it is difficult to get accepted here to train as well. Oh jeez, here we go...

nic an fhilidh
09-20-2002, 11:31 AM
Gee, Mr. Linden, I'm sorry we women have encroached so much on your world. I guess we should all go back to the kitchens and bedrooms where we belong, and not trouble you by desiring to hunt, or box, or join the armed forces, or learn to defend ourselves against predators.

Really, I have no problem with sex-segregated organizations of any type. But it's supremely irritating to hear a guy say he doesn't want women around because of PMS. Really, why not just say your dojo is male-only because you believe it provides a different kind of discipline than can be found elsewhere? That would be true enough, and you wouldn't sound like you were lamenting the fact that you happen to live in a time and place where women are no longer under an oppressive boot which limits what they can do in their lives.

DanielR
09-20-2002, 11:54 AM
And as for legality, or some depressed guy, or someone who doesn't understand what his digestive track is made for...well, they can go train at your dojo. I think thats fine.
This is so refreshing! Finally, a thread were political correctness doesn't seem to prevent the real personal opinions from being publicly posted. I'd like to use this opportunity to be as forthcoming.

I couldn't agree more with the above quote. Respectfully, I think it's a great service to the society - providing a place where people with similar approaches to women, homosexuals and undereducated could do their thing. Hopefully, they all concentrate in such places and keep out of other dojos.

Ann,
why not just say your dojo is male-only because you believe it provides a different kind of discipline than can be found elsewhere? That would be true enough
I think Mr. Linden should be as candid about his dojo as he was on this thread. For the same reasons I just stated.

Kat.C
09-20-2002, 12:14 PM
Mr. Linden,
I think your men only dojo is a good thing for guys, it sounds like it would be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, there seems to be very few places now for either men or women to go without be bothered by the opposite sex. Personally I think its healthy for people to be able to have a girls night out or a guys night out, if they want. I must say though,that I am glad that our dojo accepts both sexes as it is the only one in town.

nic an fhilidh
09-20-2002, 12:20 PM
I think Mr. Linden should be as candid about his dojo as he was on this thread. For the same reasons I just stated.
Sure. But if I take issue with what he's said, I can be as candid as I want, too. Right? :)

To repeat, I see nothing wrong with sex segregation in and of itself. I'm sure Mr. Linden is a fine person and a fine teacher. But I still think he could run a sex-segregated dojo without the implied attitude of misogyny. It's one thing to acknowledge that there are certain things that can only be understood within specific genders; it's quite another to pine for the days when women weren't allowed to do anything but cook and pump out babies.

DanielR
09-20-2002, 12:31 PM
But if I take issue with what he's said, I can be as candid as I want, too. Right? :)
Absolutely. I was trying to express the idea that the more prospective students know about the real reasons behind someone's decision to have a segregated dojo, the better.

PhilJ
09-20-2002, 01:05 PM
Respectfully, I think it's a great service to the society - providing a place where people with similar approaches to women, homosexuals and undereducated could do their thing. Hopefully, they all concentrate in such places and keep out of other dojos.
DanielR, you mention a place for "them" to group and "keep out of other dojos". To which group do you belong, and do the others "keep out"? :confused:

PhilJ
09-20-2002, 01:06 PM
I like Kathryn's mention of "guys/girls night out". Those nights can be very fun and enjoyable, where men don't need to worry about how women perceive them, and vice-versa.

Everyone seems to want to change Mr. Linden's mind here -- which likely won't happen. This is an interesting point of view, so much so to some of us it seems "alien".

There are some issues here, hidden deep within words that will never come to light publicly for fear of retribution. Favoritism or segregation between groups is usually because of some kind of past experience(s) with those groups, or, because of environment or upbringing.

This is aikido we're talking about, not a poker group or treehouse club. The way I see it, it's only "right" or "wrong" if it somehow violates how the universe works. And I can't believe that practicing with only the people you like is a true representation of what O'Sensei tried to tell us.

More comments? I love a good, non-PC thread. :)

opherdonchin
09-20-2002, 01:32 PM
Daniel and Ann,

I found Daniel Linden's comments to be very interesting. I heard him saying that there were a number of places where, in earlier parts of his life, he had enjoyed male-only camraderie, and that, while it seems natural enough now that few of those places exist, he still thinks the male-only camraderie is appropriate. That doesn't sound misogynist to me, nor can I see anything in his post indicating feelings that women should be excluded from any of the men's places where they have now gained their rightful place.

Perhaps in discussing what he likes about the male-only environment, Daniel should have focused solely on the positive aspects of men and not complained about any of the negative things he found in women's company. On the other hand, in the modern age, we've sort of gotten past worrying about that so much, haven't we? I mean, we now know pretty clearly that men and women behave differently, and that part of that is because their brains and hormonal systems are different. Surely it makes sense that some aspects of uniquely female behavior would be grating for some men, just like some aspects of male behavior are clealry grating for some women. I don't see why that has to be a source of friction here.

On the other hand, I do think that Daniel's response to the issue of gender-induced difficulties in a dojo vs. difficulties induced by other factors was flippant, and I'm still curious to hear a more considered answer. I'm sure that he didn't mean, as Daniel Rozenbaum implied, that he doesn't value people who have problems or bring them into the dojo. It'd be nice if he'd help us understand whether he sees a difference between same-sex partners training together and husband and wife training together, or whether there are other common 'dojo issues' that he has decided that his dojo doesn't need to deal with.

DanielR
09-20-2002, 01:42 PM
DanielR, you mention a place for "them" to group and "keep out of other dojos". To which group do you belong, and do the others "keep out"? :confused:
"They" corresponded to the previous sentence: "...people with similar approaches to women, homosexuals and undereducated...".

The "keep out" thing was probably out of line. It basically puts me on the same level as Mr. Linden's remarks. I guess as long as it's on the level of a theoretical argument, I don't mind. It's the practical application that worries me.

I'm not buying the "men-only club" thing. There was much more in Mr. Linden's comments. How is this different from, say, a KKK-based dojo? Or a neo-nazi dojo? "Jews can go train at your dojo, that's just fine".

opherdonchin
09-20-2002, 01:53 PM
Well, a lot depends on the availability and quality of the options. In a world (and it seems we are talking about the whole world here) basically all the dojos are co-ed, a mens-only dojo doesn't seriously threaten training opportunities for women. It might be different if Daniel's dojo was the only dojo in his town (is it?), but I don't see anything wrong with a Jewish community center, or an Italian Opera lover's club, or even a society for underpaid, overworked, caucasian, male postdocs in science.:-)

DanielR
09-20-2002, 01:55 PM
Opher,

I admire your diplomatic style. Every time I sit down to write a response, I try to make it at least a bit as full of tact, but I obviously don't have much success there.

I chose to address Mr. Linden's remark about "someone who doesn't understand what his digestive track is made for" because it contradicts so much with the rest of the post, which was so... romantic? I also believe this is a more important and worrisome part, which I believe sanctioned my next question about its difference with racist reasoning.

opherdonchin
09-20-2002, 02:00 PM
I also found the comment about the 'digestive tract' offensive. It's both demeaning and vulgar. Luckily for my diplomatic style, I didn't get it the first time 'round, and by the time I figured out what Daniel meant, we were further along in the discussion. Still, for the record, I think the remark went beyond 'innapropriate' and settled solidly into 'ugly and offensive.'

nic an fhilidh
09-20-2002, 02:01 PM
Daniel and Ann,

I found Daniel Linden's comments to be very interesting. I heard him saying that there were a number of places where, in earlier parts of his life, he had enjoyed male-only camraderie, and that, while it seems natural enough now that few of those places exist, he still thinks the male-only camraderie is appropriate. That doesn't sound misogynist to me ...

Really, that's not what bothered me. I too believe male-only (and female-only) camaraderie is not only appropriate, but healthy - as long as it is engaged in in a spirit of honest respect for the opposite sex.
nor can I see anything in his post indicating feelings that women should be excluded from any of the men's places where they have now gained their rightful place.
See, I did get that from his post. He made a long list of activities he used to enjoy, and implied strongly that having women there decreases his enjoyment of those same activities. I just wish he could have explained his decision without treating the concerns of women in that ... what was the word you used ... "flippant" way.

OTOH, Daniel's comment that it's better to know a person's mind up front than to hide behind political correctness, also has a lot of merit. I'm sorry Mr. Linden is bitter about women encroaching on historically male activities, but he's certainly entitled to his opinion and to run his dojo any way he wants, and the world does keep on turning.

Veers
09-20-2002, 03:00 PM
He didn't sound very bitter to me. His post about all the things he and the guys did, I can sympathize with some of. I, too, hunt, and, while sometimes my mom and sister come with us, it's usually just us guys. I see nothing wrong with women hunting, or swimming, or whatever else he listed...

He also didn't seem to be saying that he didn't like women. However, what happens to you (Ann) when someone starts accidentally getting on your nerves? Do you not wish to not be around them for a while? I'm not saying every woman gets on every man's nerves all the time, but I'd like to know why you think he's committing a crime by not letting women participate in his dojo. Like you and Opher said, it's not like he's the only one around, and he's not saying women should not do aikido.

My three cents.

Deb Fisher
09-20-2002, 03:09 PM
Why is your dojo any different from a country club that won't admit black people or Jews? Why is exclusivity as you define it worth preserving?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry... this explication as comical as it is repulsive. I guess I can only thank my lucky stars that this romantic, furtive world, with its Byzantine structure of Places For Men and Hiding From Women has never reared its ugly, frightened little head on any of the hunting trips or skinny dippin' sessions I cherished as a youth. Ozzie and Harriet meets Robert Bly...

truly sublime, truly unreal.

If you ever decide that shutting out slightly over half of the population (even periodically) is an incomplete, unenlightened way to live, feel free to join the rest of us out here in the real world. Most people think of women as actual human beings with very diverse capabilities and ranges of experience these days.

nic an fhilidh
09-20-2002, 03:19 PM
but I'd like to know why you think he's committing a crime by not letting women participate in his dojo.
I don't think he's committing a crime by not allowing women participating in his dojo (I guess I'm going to have to repeat this indefinitely.) I think his post explaining why was full of bigotry, though. The shame is it didn't have to be.

opherdonchin
09-20-2002, 03:21 PM
Hey Deb,

I know a number of women who went to schools like Mount Holyoke, Wellesley, and Smith and found it to be a wondeful, productive, and fulfilling experience. They say it was nice to put men in the background for a few years and nice to come back to them later.

I attended an all-male college(not many of those left, are there). I can't say that it was a selling point of the school for me, but I sure did learn something from being in an all-male environment that I value today.

DanielR
09-20-2002, 03:27 PM
Jonathan,

The posts weren't bitter. But if you get past the non-bitterness, do you see anything more than just nostalgic references to men-only hunting trips? I don't know, maybe I'm just paranoid or suffer from acute case of selective vision...

I'm not arguing that Mr. Linden is a criminal. I'm arguing against the very line of reasoning that he's utilizing. "Women can practice aikido... but not in my dojo". "Jews are great... but not in my country". Do you think the analogy is too far-fetched?

Veers
09-20-2002, 03:40 PM
Ann, ok.

Dan R, yeah, I think it's too far-fetched...but that's just me.

Maybe it comes down to this...

Dan L, time for a bit of imagination and fanticizing. If you were able (and I realize you're not, and probably no one is, but just think "if") to run two dojos, an all male one which you attended, and a co-ed one which you could, but didn't have to, go to, would you?

tittle
09-20-2002, 05:44 PM
Surely it makes sense that some aspects of uniquely female behavior would be grating for some men, just like some aspects of male behavior are clealry grating for some women.
Er, what sort of behaviors would "uniquely female behavior[s]" be? I mean, you can make this argument in the aggregate (and whether those effects are due to nature vs nurture is actually still an open question despite your assertion), but when you come down to the individual -- I can't think of any behavior I've seen a woman do that I haven't seen a man do and vice versa.

OTOH it's fine that I'm not welcome in his dojo: it just means that he's not welcome in mine, either...

Veers
09-20-2002, 05:54 PM
Yeah, that'll make things better, Cindy.

Kat.C
09-20-2002, 06:31 PM
I really can't believe that Mr.Linden is being compared to the KKK. There is no similarity at all. The KKK was spawned from hate, Mr. Linden's dojo is just a place for men to get together and enjoy themselves and train. He already stated that the wives and children are expected to attend a few get togethers if possible, and that a couple female senseis have taught there and other women have visited as well, so obviously it has nothing to do with hating women. Why is it some women feel that they have to do everything with men, that if the men wish to have a male only club of any sort that it is degrading to women? :confused: My mother goes out on a regular basis with other retired teachers, and no one else is invited to go along, including their friends who still teach, is that offensive? Is it degrading to people who were never teachers? When I lived in Ottawa, some of my friends and I would get together on a regular basis for a girls night out, men be they boyfriends or husbands, were not welcome, it certainly never bothered the men, in fact they were probably happy to see us go:rolleyes: And I really miss those evenings, and I'm not a man hater. It sounds to me as if Mr.Linden's dojo is a place for men to relax and socialize with each other, not just to train, and for that some of you condemn him, consider him as loathsome as the KKK, or ban him from your own dojo?:disgust: Don't you think that is a bit much?

DGLinden
09-20-2002, 06:39 PM
Interesting. I wasn't sure that anyone would understand all that I said. It is probably a lot like teaching a white belt, a shodan or a sandan. The truth is that each person hears what he wants and responds to what pushes his button.

This is about choice. About self awareness and self knowledge. About choosing to preserve something that is rapidly going by the way. And about personal happiness. C'mon women, it's only for a few hours a week. Let my people go. But seriously...

I have a number of Jewish students. I have Russians, Syrians, Irish, Catholic, Japanese, Protestant, white, black and Hindu. And you know the funny thing? They all have the ability to go train at any of the 6 or 7 other dojos in Orlando but they choose to come here. According to what has been posted, well, lets see:

I read the word bigot. I read mysoginist. I read bitter. I read angry. I read a lot of things from a lot of people who clearly are not in my peer group and who really cannot judge me. Nor should they try.

What it comes down to my friends is pesonal freedom. You join an aikido dojo for lot of reasons. When someone wants to come here we start with an interview. He has the choice to participate or not. I have the choice to invite him to watch a class. We both, then have the choice to decide if we want to train together. Sometimes we don't agree and as it is my dojo, I always win these disagreements. That is as it should be.

I still believe in personal freedom and in a man's choice to make his own decision about what concerns him. Sort of like O'Sensei. Do you folks really believe that he would train just anyone who walked up and said "here's my money, gimme aikido!"?

Or Mitsugi Saotome Shihan. He sends out personal invitations to his top 20 instructors each year and all head down to Sarasota and train at the Shihan taining facility. Simply put, if you are not invited - dont come. It is Sensei's choice who he wants on his mat. He has the freedom to choose.

All the angry women in this world can train in every other aikido dojo, anywhere. The non-angry ones too. As was asked by someone, why would you want to? We train hard here and it not about love. Did I mention that I have a waiting list to join this dojo? Those people are exercising their right to express personal freedom. Just like I did in my last post.

Perhaps 'they' will all end up here. Good for you , good for me. I'm sorry I made some of you so angry or that you seemed to be hurt by my desire to associate with whomever I chose to the exclusion of an entire gender, but that is my right. I earned it.

I am what is known as a man's man. It is kind of an archaic term, usually associated with John Wayne and the like who believe that things like honor and friendship and trust and loyalty are more important than paying lip service to whatever is currently popular. And I understand that there are some who do not feel comfortable with ideas like that. I hope 'They' will all stay and train at your dojo. It is why I train in aikido, a place where personal freedom and personal expression is honored and respected.

I like women. I just don't like training them. They constantly whine about one thing or another and if they're cute then the guys are like a pack of dogs. I have had too many occasions when a wife stared to cry because her husband did something because... something happened at home last night. I have had too many couples walk out not speaking to each other. I have had too damn many guy posturing over some woman on the mat who did a nikkyo pin too long with some other guy.

I no longer have that. I have wa. There is harmony on my mat and the only thing we argue about is who will buy the beer.

DanielR
09-20-2002, 07:06 PM
Kathryn,
I really can't believe that Mr.Linden is being compared to the KKK.
It was a question, not a statement, although it was asked to express a certain point. We're having a discussion, and I think it is normal to ask questions, giving the opponent the chance to explain his/her position and, if possible, prove me wrong.
Why is it some women feel that they have to do everything with men, that if the men wish to have a male only club of any sort that it is degrading to women?
In my opinion, the degrading part wasn't the fact of segregation but the way in which it was presented and argumented.
...for that some of you condemn him, consider him as loathsome as the KKK, or ban him from your own dojo?:disgust: Don't you think that is a bit much?
I readily concede that my comment about gathering all "those" in Mr. Linden's dojo was inapropriate and basically used the same sort of logic. However, I still maintain that some notions in Mr. Linden's responses were beyond "a place for men to socialize and relax". If you choose to ignore them, that's your choice.

I wasn't trying to show that Mr. Linden is a racist. I was asking a question whether the same type of logic can be applied in this case. Mr. Linden replied that he has representatives of different ethnic groups in his dojo - good for him. That's not the point. Also, I don't see how the analogy with a certain Sensei choosing students for a practice works here. This seems to be a professional decision based solely on one's abilities in Aikido. If it happens to be that this Sensei also chooses not to invite women to these sessions - that changes the situation completely.

DGLinden
09-20-2002, 07:18 PM
Okay, okay, anyone who gets me that right deserves a chance. I'll ask my wife.

Kathryn, you can come train here if you ever get to Orlando for a family vacation. Give me a couple days notice...

Kat.C
09-20-2002, 07:50 PM
Why is your dojo any different from a country club that won't admit black people or Jews? Why is exclusivity as you define it worth preserving?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry... this explication as comical as it is repulsive. I guess I can only thank my lucky stars that this romantic, furtive world, with its Byzantine structure of Places For Men and Hiding From Women has never reared its ugly, frightened little head on any of the hunting trips or skinny dippin' sessions I cherished as a youth. Ozzie and Harriet meets Robert Bly...

truly sublime, truly unreal.

If you ever decide that shutting out slightly over half of the population (even periodically) is an incomplete, unenlightened way to live, feel free to join the rest of us out here in the real world. Most people think of women as actual human beings with very diverse capabilities and ranges of experience these days.
Deb, I'm just curious as to why it bothers you so much that Mr.Linden and his dojo members want to enjoy some time without women.

Men and women really are different which is good. But it also means that we can find the other sex aggravating. Of course there have been occasions when I've enjoyed hanging out with just the guys, it is a completely different experience and one I truly enjoy whenever I get the chance.

For quite a few years my father was a member of the Kinsmen and my mother a member of the Kinettes, do groups such as these bother you as well, I mean its basically the same as Mr. Lindens club. I don't think that groups like these or retreats that cater to women or to men are organised out of fear of the opposite sex, just as a break form them.

nic an fhilidh
09-20-2002, 08:09 PM
I still believe in personal freedom and in a man's choice to make his own decision about what concerns him.
Sure you do. But you chose to enumerate your reasons in a public forum, and you chose to enumerate those reasons in such a way that it was clear you have bigoted views about women and gays.

Since it was your choice to do these things, then you should not be surprised that some people will quesion you.
Sort of like O'Sensei. Do you folks really believe that he would train just anyone who walked up and said "here's my money, gimme aikido!"?
I dunno, but all I read about the man suggests that he'd have sounder reasons for excluding women beyond "women whine constantly and I imagine myself like John Wayne."
Or Mitsugi Saotome Shihan. He sends out personal invitations to his top 20 instructors each year and all head down to Sarasota and train at the Shihan taining facility. Simply put, if you are not invited - dont come. It is Sensei's choice who he wants on his mat. He has the freedom to choose.
Does he exclude women?
I am what is known as a man's man. It is kind of an archaic term, usually associated with John Wayne and the like who believe that things like honor and friendship and trust and loyalty are more important than paying lip service to whatever is currently popular.
I take exception to the characterization that "honor and friendship" and the female sex are somehow mutually exlusive. Not that you care, of course ... after all I am just a woman. ;)
I like women. I just don't like training them. They constantly whine about one thing or another
Hmmmm.
and if they're cute then the guys are like a pack of dogs. I have had too many occasions when a wife stared to cry because her husband did something because... something happened at home last night. I have had too many couples walk out not speaking to each other. I have had too damn many guy posturing over some woman on the mat who did a nikkyo pin too long with some other guy.
So you had discipline problems, and so you chose to blame it entirely on the women. I see.

Your choice, your happiness. But as long as you post in public forums your "man's man" reasoning, your choice is fair game for criticism. And I don't care about the choice itself ... it's the reasoning that I find abhorrant.

Kat.C
09-20-2002, 08:17 PM
Kathryn,

It was a question, not a statement, although it was asked to express a certain point. We're having a discussion, and I think it is normal to ask questions, giving the opponent the chance to explain his/her position and, if possible, prove me wrong.

In my opinion, the degrading part wasn't the fact of segregation but the way in which it was presented and argumented.

I readily concede that my comment about gathering all "those" in Mr. Linden's dojo was inapropriate and basically used the same sort of logic. However, I still maintain that some notions in Mr. Linden's responses were beyond "a place for men to socialize and relax". If you choose to ignore them, that's your choice.

I wasn't trying to show that Mr. Linden is a racist. I was asking a question whether the same type of logic can be applied in this case. Mr. Linden replied that he has representatives of different ethnic groups in his dojo - good for him. That's not the point. Also, I don't see how the analogy with a certain Sensei choosing students for a practice works here. This seems to be a professional decision based solely on one's abilities in Aikido. If it happens to be that this Sensei also chooses not to invite women to these sessions - that changes the situation completely.
Daniel,

I hope it didn't seem that all my comments were directed to you, they really weren't. And I know you phrased your KKK comment as a question but it seemed to me as if you were implying a similarity between that organization and Mr. Linden's club. And I really wasn't trying to critisize you for asking questions I just thought that your comparison was a bit extreme. A desire to do things without women isn't the same as hatred of another race.

DanielR
09-20-2002, 08:38 PM
Kathryn,
I know you phrased your KKK comment as a question but it seemed to me as if you were implying a similarity between that organization and Mr. Linden's club.
I indeed implied the similarity, but not with Mr. Linden's club, but with his arguments (please see my post #31 in this thread). I was just surprised that you didn't address this in your response. But, as Opher mentioned, it wasn't too obvious in the first place.

Kat.C
09-20-2002, 08:40 PM
Okay, okay, anyone who gets me that right deserves a chance. I'll ask my wife.

Kathryn, you can come train here if you ever get to Orlando for a family vacation. Give me a couple days notice...
Really?! That would be wonderful. (I nearly missed reading this as I kept getting disconnected while making my other posts).

I'm not sure what all you'd let me do but out of the things you listed that you offer the guys, the only ones I don't have an interest in are woodcarving and butchering a hog.:D Still just going there to train sounds appealing, so thank you very much for the invitation, I hope it's still in effect when I get to the States again.



PS I don't have a Master's degree in anything though ;) .

Kat.C
09-20-2002, 08:50 PM
Kathryn,

I indeed implied the similarity, but not with Mr. Linden's club, but with his arguments (please see my post #31 in this thread). I was just surprised that you didn't address this in your response. But, as Opher mentioned, it wasn't too obvious in the first place.
Well I understood what he meant, but it really doesn't have anything to do with why his dojo is closed to women. Mr.Linden was just responding to a question someone asked of him.

Chris Li
09-20-2002, 09:03 PM
Daniel,

I hope it didn't seem that all my comments were directed to you, they really weren't. And I know you phrased your KKK comment as a question but it seemed to me as if you were implying a similarity between that organization and Mr. Linden's club. And I really wasn't trying to critisize you for asking questions I just thought that your comparison was a bit extreme. A desire to do things without women isn't the same as hatred of another race.
No it isn't, although I note that the argument he uses is very similar to that used by people like David Duke - not anti-black, just "pro-white".

Personally, I don't miss segregation by sex and don't particularly feel that it ought to be encouraged. OTOH, I also feel that he ought to be able to form an exclusive training group if that's what he really wants. I would think that he might be on shakey ground legally if it were ever challenged, but I suppose that's another thread :).

Best,

Chris

Kat.C
09-20-2002, 10:52 PM
No it isn't, although I note that the argument he uses is very similar to that used by people like David Duke - not anti-black, just "pro-white".
I must be missing something, I don't see the correlation between the two. Mr.Linden just wants to enjoy his men only time,as many men I know do, whereas David Duke's beliefs are a part of him, fully integrated into his life. I'm not sure I've worded this well at all. Let me ask you this; do you think that my desire to have girl only times makes me like David Duke?
Personally, I don't miss segregation by sex and don't particularly feel that it ought to be encouraged. OTOH, I also feel that he ought to be able to form an exclusive training group if that's what he really wants. I would think that he might be on shakey ground legally if it were ever challenged, but I suppose that's another thread :).

Best,

Chris
Well most of the time I'm with both men and women, but there are times I'd like to be with just other women, times with just some friends who are guys, and times by myself. To me its just a natural inclination. (There are even times when I'd just rather be with my pets, no other humans). The social interaction of men and is quite different most of the time. And yes, I know it varies by individuals as well, but women and men think differently, and that does affect the way we all interact. Well, that's what I've found anyway and I really enjoy the differences.

Well, there are times when men are irritating because they don't think right!:p

As for the legality of it well, what would be the point of challenging it, that would be pretty mean, some guys are just getting together to train, let them.

Peter Goldsbury
09-20-2002, 10:58 PM
Here in Japan, the only separate sex aikido dojos are those attached to single sex private colleges, where the general public are not admitted anyway. There is one women's class in the Aikikai Hombu, though, interestingly, the instructors are male despite the fact that there is a female shihan in the Hombu's Shidou-bu.

I have never come across a dojo of the type that Mr Linden runs and even the Founder had women students in the Kobukan Dojo, who trained on an equal footing with the male students.

I would also think that even the notions of personal freedom might well vary with the culture. Though the notion of human rights has come more into prominence here recently, I think that the idea of individual freedom based on a certain concept of the individual to do as he or she wishes is accorded some lip service here, since Japan considers itself democratic, but is not really deeply ingrained. This does not, of course, affect Mr Linden's freedom to run his dojo as he wishes. Simply, it might be more difficult for me to do something similar here if I wanted to.

In any case, I personally believe that is essential to aikido training that men and women train together. Physical differences have an obvious effect on training and it is essential that both sexes become aware both of these differences and how to deal with them during training. My dojo population is currently about 50/50 male/female and everthing works very well.

Best regards,

DanielR
09-20-2002, 11:13 PM
I might have taken the analogies with racism to an extreme... So here's a more lighthearted one that's just occured to me (knowledge of Seinfeld req'd) - the Soup Nazi :D

He had lines (waiting lists) too...

Kat.C
09-20-2002, 11:19 PM
I might have taken the analogies with racism to an extreme... So here's a more lighthearted one that's just occured to me (knowledge of Seinfeld req'd) - the Soup Nazi :D

He had lines (waiting lists) too...
:confused: Soup Nazi?:confused: I've seen Seinfeld but I didn't get this at all.

Chris Li
09-20-2002, 11:22 PM
I must be missing something, I don't see the correlation between the two. Mr.Linden just wants to enjoy his men only time,as many men I know do, whereas David Duke's beliefs are a part of him, fully integrated into his life. I'm not sure I've worded this well at all. Let me ask you this; do you think that my desire to have girl only times makes me like David Duke?
Well, if you created a formal girls only organization then I would say yes, the reasoning is similar. You're creating an exclusive club whose membership is based on a genetic (and generally speaking, immutable) characteristic. Now, I venture to say that your intent in forming the group and the result of its activities would probably not be as destructive as David Duke's are, but it's still gender based discrimination. Now, contrast that with, for example, the requirement for a master's degree. I may not have one, but I could go out and get one if I had sufficient motivation. There's a world of difference there.

Suppose I said that I had a desire to have "white only" times? Would that be different then "girl only" times? If so, then why?
As for the legality of it well, what would be the point of challenging it, that would be pretty mean, some guys are just getting together to train, let them.
I wasn't advocating any kind of legal challenge - as I said in my post,"I also feel that he ought to be able to form an exclusive training group if that's what he really wants", but you probably know as well as I do that in the US these things often come around anyway, like it or not.

Best,

Chris

DanielR
09-20-2002, 11:22 PM
:confused: Soup Nazi?:confused: I've seen Seinfeld but I didn't get this at all.
Maybe this will help:

http://tomsquotes.amhosting.net/sitcom/seinfeld/others/others.htm#soup

Edward
09-20-2002, 11:28 PM
It's so surprising for me to see the extent of reactions to Mr. Linden's posts. I think things have been too exagerated. I really respect Kat.C position as a mature open-minded adult. I don't like the self-righteousness of some posts at all. The good thing about aikido is its versatility and and the availability of so many different styles and principles. I personally feel that Mr. Linden's dojo is quite interesting. If there was one like that in my area, I would definitely practice there from time to time (if I was accepted, that is ;)), but I will not drop the mixed dojos neither. Both present certain benefits, and it's good to be able to do both.

Kat.C
09-20-2002, 11:48 PM
Well, if you created a formal girls only organization then I would say yes, the reasoning is similar. You're creating an exclusive club whose membership is based on a genetic (and generally speaking, immutable) characteristic. Now, I venture to say that your intent in forming the group and the result of its activities would probably not be as destructive as David Duke's are, but it's still gender based discrimination. Now, contrast that with, for example, the requirement for a master's degree. I may not have one, but I could go out and get one if I had sufficient motivation. There's a world of difference there.
So Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders, Linx, Beavers, Scouts and all the ones I missed are comparable to The David Dukes of this world? Do you think groups like these are wrong?

Do you think as long as a requirement can be met by anyone that it is okay? In that case one could go out and have a sex change.;)
Suppose I said that I had a desire to have "white only" times? Would that be different then "girl only" times? If so, then why?
Okay I'm going to try to explain why I feel it is very different. So far as I know the colour of ones skin doesn't contribute to the thought process or any such thing. In the case of men and women there have been studies done showing the different ways our brains work. I don't believe skin colour does that, my thought paths certainly don't change when I get a tan. Well I'm not really satisfied with how I've explained what I mean but I hope it's relatively clear.



I wasn't advocating any kind of legal challenge - as I said in my post,"I also feel that he ought to be able to form an exclusive training group if that's what he really wants", but you probably know as well as I do that in the US these things often come around anyway, like it or not.

Best,

Chris
I know you weren't advocating legal action, sorry about that, I don't seem to be wording things too well. And yes I know how it is in the States with things like this.

Kat.C
09-20-2002, 11:54 PM
Maybe this will help:

http://tomsquotes.amhosting.net/sitcom/seinfeld/others/others.htm#soup
Well it might have, except I couldn't access the page.

Kat.C
09-21-2002, 12:17 AM
It's so surprising for me to see the extent of reactions to Mr. Linden's posts. I think things have been too exagerated. I really respect Kat.C position as a mature open-minded adult.
Thanks Edward,:) I was beginning to feel like a social pariah!
I don't like the self-righteousness of some posts at all. The good thing about aikido is its versatility and and the availability of so many different styles and principles. I personally feel that Mr. Linden's dojo is quite interesting. If there was one like that in my area, I would definitely practice there from time to time (if I was accepted, that is ;)), but I will not drop the mixed dojos neither. Both present certain benefits, and it's good to be able to do both.
Well said.

I know my husband would enjoy being able to train at such a dojo as well as our regular one too.

Chris Li
09-21-2002, 12:19 AM
So Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders, Linx, Beavers, Scouts and all the ones I missed are comparable to The David Dukes of this world? Do you think groups like these are wrong?
Well yes, they are the same in that they participate in discrimination. And yes, I think that they are wrong in that aspect of their activities. I also note that are a number of co-ed boy scout (and other) groups now.
Do you think as long as a requirement can be met by anyone that it is okay? In that case one could go out and have a sex change.;)
Generally speaking, yes. Put it this way - do you think that discriminating on the basis of skin color would be ok even though it's possible to change the color of your skin through medical procedures?
Okay I'm going to try to explain why I feel it is very different. So far as I know the colour of ones skin doesn't contribute to the thought process or any such thing. In the case of men and women there have been studies done showing the different ways our brains work. I don't believe skin colour does that, my thought paths certainly don't change when I get a tan. Well I'm not really satisfied with how I've explained what I mean but I hope it's relatively clear.
Historically, women have fought hard to break away from the "biology is destiny" argument that locked them in the kitchen and out of math and science classes (among other things). I always find it kind of sad that many women now bring up essentially the same argument to bolster their own arguments. No offence intended, of course.

Best,

Chris

Kat.C
09-21-2002, 01:03 AM
Well yes, they are the same in that they participate in discrimination. And yes, I think that they are wrong in that aspect of their activities. I also note that are a number of co-ed boy scout (and other) groups now.
So scouts are misogynists?:confused:

What is wrong about this type of discrimination as it is not preventing either sex from doing the related activities? They all go camping, they all earn merit badges etc. I guess alot can depend on a persons definition of discrimination, it means to treat someone differently based on things other than personal merit, not necessarily treat them better or worse just differently. Women and men are different why do we need to be treated exactly the same.

Generally speaking, yes. Put it this way - do you think that discriminating on the basis of skin color would be ok even though it's possible to change the color of your skin through medical procedures?

I don't agree with discriminating due to skin colour at all there is no logic to it, and it is done from hatred.
Historically, women have fought hard to break away from the "biology is destiny" argument that locked them in the kitchen and out of math and science classes (among other things). I always find it kind of sad that many women now bring up essentially the same argument to bolster their own arguments. No offence intended, of course.

Best,

Chris
Wait, I'm talking the different parts of the brain being active for different things not that womens brains dictate that we are only good in the kitchen! It's 3 in the morning here and I can't think of where any of the stuff is that I'm talking about. It's to do with different parts of the brain being active for the same thing in men than in women. Umm that's a bit confusing isn't it?

Okay a picture would show that in a situation a part A of the mans brain is active whereas in the womens brain it's a different part. Did that make sense? I don't mean that we can't do the same things that men do just that our brains function differently, not better or worse.

Chris Li
09-21-2002, 01:40 AM
So scouts are misogynists?:confused:
No they're not, that's why they're going co-ed :).
What is wrong about this type of discrimination as it is not preventing either sex from doing the related activities? They all go camping, they all earn merit badges etc. I guess alot can depend on a persons definition of discrimination, it means to treat someone differently based on things other than personal merit, not necessarily treat them better or worse just differently. Women and men are different why do we need to be treated exactly the same.
Seperate but equal? Seperate drinking fountains for coloreds must be fine then - there's nothing stopping them both from drinking water, after all...

I'm not talking about treating people the same, I'm talking about giving people the same access, the same opportunities - what happens after that ought to, IMO, depend upon the individual, and nothing else.
Wait, I'm talking the different parts of the brain being active for different things not that womens brains dictate that we are only good in the kitchen!
Because it's convenient for your point of view. The argument itself, that biology is destiny and women and men are by their nature suited for different activities is exactly the same one that was used by men to justify locking women out of certain areas of society.

OK, so if brains function differently and it's OK to shut people in or out of certain groups because of that then why wouldn't it be wrong to (for example) shut women out of a mathematics class (since women have demonstrably lower scores in mathematics) because of their gender?

Best,

Chris

DGLinden
09-21-2002, 08:28 AM
I can't remember when I've enjoyed a discussion so much. The passion, the deep emotions. Good for all of us.

However, my wife just handed me a list that includes rewiring the back porch, digging the fall garden and painting the kitchen. Yes Dear, I'll be glad to.

I like women and to be compared to the KKK or David Duke, to be called a mysogonist and describerd by words like 'hate' or 'bigot' is really unworthy of those who did so. I really expect more from Aikidoka. It really is about being comfortable with the person who you are and the decisions you make. A strong man listens and nods or shrugs. To be attacked by an 'aikidoka' over some decision made hundreds of miles away by someone you don't know concerning people you will never meet, well I admire your youthful zeal and salute it. Just don't ever make the mistake of calling me a racist or bigot or such to my face. But then you wouldn't would you?

Once you wake up and realize that forty years of martial training is done and over and that there are many fewer days ahead than behind you just don't want to waste your time. I like to train people with master's degrees because they usually do very well. They have demonstrated that they know how to set a goal and that they have the perserverance to maintain the course. If I had to beg and advertise to keep the doors open I might choose a different tack but I don't.

I train men because I disagree with a lot that has been said about the benefit of taining with women. Lets save that for another string when I get my chores done. All my students go to seminars and train with women. I teach seminars and women come and thats fine. For day to day, well, it is my choice how I want to spend my old age.

I really admire you all for your impassioned response both for and against my position. But of course, regardless, I will do what I want. I learned a long time ago that absolutes in sociology are nonsense.

I hope you all fare well.

DGLinden
09-21-2002, 08:33 AM
One last thing...

I also open the doors to anyone who has served our country in police, fire, or the armed services. As well as anyone who has previous Aikido training under a recognized Sensei.

Yes, before you ask, recognized by me.

DGLinden
09-21-2002, 08:35 AM
Anyone who is a man.

nic an fhilidh
09-21-2002, 09:03 AM
Just don't ever make the mistake of calling me a racist or bigot or such to my face. But then you wouldn't would you?
Actually, if you stood in front of me and said "Women whine constantly", I probably would respond by pointing out your bigotry. Your reaction from there is your own business. :p

suebailey
09-21-2002, 01:40 PM
lo all

personnally i find trainning with men an a advantage as most of them r physically staonger and make me think and wrk harder therefore i learn more and geyt more out of my lesson.

i do however understand that yes sum women/men do feel uncomfortable about been grabed by the opesite sex very off putting/embarrassing during a session.

i think it should be put to the class at the beginning of each session so that it can be decided by every one.

i dont mind either way.

till nxt time sue ;)

Wayne[RATS]
09-21-2002, 01:52 PM
i dn't really know alot about aikido ... BUTT!

as i can see it's about self defence,

if a bloke built like a brick **** house came up to a lass in the street and started pushing her about,

if in an instructional session she was able to handle men built bigger than herself, she would be able to deal with this situation ...

certainly there should be an option for female's and males to be able to train seperatly but i personally think it defeats the object :/

LukeTBrown
09-21-2002, 03:15 PM
I want to keep this as short as possible and still make a clear and concise point concerning this entertaining thread.

Let me begin by announcing that I am a proud member of The Shoshin Aikido Dojo in Orlando, Florida and study diligently under Linden Sensei. I am 100% Jewish. I have not yet earned a Master’s degree. Oh, I am a man.

I am one who generally sits in the bleachers during such threads and reads with a smirk on my face because of the sheer pointlessness of getting involved. It is difficult enough to change one’s mind during a heated discussion nonetheless over a webpage. Yet, the time has come where I will make my point and slip quietly back to work.

A question was asked to the general readers of the AikiWeb and Linden Sensei answered honestly. There have been too many posts to this thread for me to single out any one, but I will interject in a global way.

Linden Sensei trains men because it is his choice. He does not hate women to any extent. Furthermore, he does not hate Jews, blacks or any other denomination. Our dojo is made up of men of many ethnicities. This is simply a place where men can be men. We train very hard in an open-air non-air conditioned dojo. (May I remind you that we are located in Orlando, Florida…?) This place just isn’t for everybody. Sensei interviews his potential students and hand picks all of his students. I’m assuming that this technique saves time and energy from obvious non-hackers.

Not more than a month ago, my mother, a tai chi instructor, visited the dojo and was greeted warmly and respectfully, participated in class and even had lunch with the class afterward. She now has a place in her heart for Linden Sensei and sends her regards each time we speak. Just two days ago, my girlfriend joined us after class and had dinner and drinks. There was no tension in the air to say the very least.

With that said, I hope my point is made. If not…too bad. I am not going to write anything further. I think that some of the comments made on this thread were disgusting. I hope some of you wrote for the sheer joy of being seen and heard

Regards to all,

Luke Taylor Brown

Shoshin Aikido Dojo

Brian
09-21-2002, 03:45 PM
I would like to clear up a few points on legality.

Many in this thread have said that Mr. Linden's policies might not hold up if legally challenged. Although he may very well lose a court battle in the 9th circuit court of appeals, or some place else in the California area, he can discriminate on any criteria he chooses since his organization is private. If he wanted to admit only those with naturally black hair, he would be legally allowed to. If he wanted to admit only those who were pigeon toed, those with widow's peaks, or those with 20/20 vision, he would be protected under the law. His is a private organization. He makes the rules. The KKK? Guess what folks! Protected under the law! (*Note* : Before I get any knee jerk reactions, no, I'm not a white supremacist. But crack open any modern college textbook on law and government, flip to the 'civil liberties' section, and I can guarantee you somewhere in that chapter will be a photograph of a KKK parade marching through the streets with police escorting them to prevent riots or violence.)

Kat.C
09-21-2002, 04:54 PM
No they're not, that's why they're going co-ed :).

Seperate but equal? Seperate drinking fountains for coloreds must be fine then - there's nothing stopping them both from drinking water, after all...

I'm not talking about treating people the same, I'm talking about giving people the same access, the same opportunities - what happens after that ought to, IMO, depend upon the individual, and nothing else.

Because it's convenient for your point of view. The argument itself, that biology is destiny and women and men are by their nature suited for different activities is exactly the same one that was used by men to justify locking women out of certain areas of society.

OK, so if brains function differently and it's OK to shut people in or out of certain groups because of that then why wouldn't it be wrong to (for example) shut women out of a mathematics class (since women have demonstrably lower scores in mathematics) because of their gender?

Best,

Chris
Okay to me there is a huge difference to wanting to socialise with whomever you choose or don't choose to for different activities, and laws that state that people cannot associate with certain groups, or that coloured people would have to drink out of different fountains. If some of my friends and I wish to go out with just each other and not invite anyone else to come along, or a group of us girls want to go ut out and don't want any of the men with us, that is not hate or oppression or degrading. If women want to have a gym for only women so they don't have to worry about guys oggling them, if some adults want to go out without kids, if guys want to get together with no women, what is wrong with that? I believe that creating restrictive laws, such as your examples of different drinking fountains, and banning women from math are wrong, because they affect all of those people all of the time, and they stem from one group thinking another is inferior, or from hate and fear.

Chris I stated before that I don't believe that one's gender predetermines what activities you will be good at, just that it generally affects how you percieve things. Men and women tend to see things in a different light. I don't think that being male makes you better at something then a female. (Except maybe peeing in a pop bottle!:D)

I think that discriminating against people who have a different skin colour is as stupid as discriminating against people with different colour hair or eyes, there is just no basis for it. It comes from fear and ignorance which leads to hate. Now I'm not saying that aren't any gender specific clubs that aren't full of people prejudiced against the other sex, just that being a single sex club doesn't neccesarily make it so.

I'm not attempting to change your mind Chris,or anyone elses, if you don't think male or female only dojos or clubs or gatherings are good,fine. I just don't think that it is neccesary to accuse people who enjoy such places of being the same as racists.

opherdonchin
09-21-2002, 05:41 PM
I've been thinking about this thread a lot, and I think my thoughts about it are best summed up like this:

Exclusionary activities (including single sex institutions) have a problematic history. They should not be undertaken lightly, and it makes sense to question them and to see them in the light of that problematic history. On the other hand, you don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Exclusionary activities have much to offer in different ways. They are a uniquely valuable part of our processing of discovering and understanding ourselves. There is nothing 'inherently' wrong with them, and there is a lot that is right about them. Perhaps it makes sense to think of them as a powerful and dangerous tool. That gives the sense of picking it up with a clear respect for the power and danger you are weilding, as well as the enormous amount you may have to learn from weilding it.

Chris Li
09-21-2002, 06:30 PM
Okay to me there is a huge difference to wanting to socialise with whomever you choose or don't choose to for different activities, and laws that state that people cannot associate with certain groups, or that coloured people would have to drink out of different fountains. If some of my friends and I wish to go out with just each other and not invite anyone else to come along, or a group of us girls want to go ut out and don't want any of the men with us, that is not hate or oppression or degrading. If women want to have a gym for only women so they don't have to worry about guys oggling them, if some adults want to go out without kids, if guys want to get together with no women, what is wrong with that?
There is a difference, and part of the difference is that between "going out with the guys" and establishing a publicly advertised exclusive group affiliated with an international organization.

In my mind, there's nothing wrong with guys getting together with no women, but I don't like the idea of that extending into formal organizations.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
09-21-2002, 06:33 PM
I would like to clear up a few points on legality.

Many in this thread have said that Mr. Linden's policies might not hold up if legally challenged. Although he may very well lose a court battle in the 9th circuit court of appeals, or some place else in the California area, he can discriminate on any criteria he chooses since his organization is private. If he wanted to admit only those with naturally black hair, he would be legally allowed to. If he wanted to admit only those who were pigeon toed, those with widow's peaks, or those with 20/20 vision, he would be protected under the law. His is a private organization. He makes the rules. The KKK? Guess what folks! Protected under the law! (*Note* : Before I get any knee jerk reactions, no, I'm not a white supremacist. But crack open any modern college textbook on law and government, flip to the 'civil liberties' section, and I can guarantee you somewhere in that chapter will be a photograph of a KKK parade marching through the streets with police escorting them to prevent riots or violence.)
What's legal or not depends, as you say, on the jurisdiction. Certainly there are some jurisdictions in which he may have problems. Still, that doesn't mean that I can't object personally, just as I object to (for example) golf clubs that exlude women or other minorities, regardless of the fact that they may still be legal in some places.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
09-21-2002, 06:37 PM
II like women and to be compared to the KKK or David Duke, to be called a mysogonist and describerd by words like 'hate' or 'bigot' is really unworthy of those who did so. I really expect more from Aikidoka. It really is about being comfortable with the person who you are and the decisions you make. A strong man listens and nods or shrugs. To be attacked by an 'aikidoka' over some decision made hundreds of miles away by someone you don't know concerning people you will never meet, well I admire your youthful zeal and salute it. Just don't ever make the mistake of calling me a racist or bigot or such to my face. But then you wouldn't would you?
I'm sorry Dan, but I don't think that "I like women" justifies gender based discrimination. And yes, I would say that to your face, why not? Give me a ring if you make it to Japan in November with Saotome.

For the record, I'd note that I've said at least twice in this thread that I believe that you ought to be able to form an exclusive group if that's what you want.

Best,

Chris

Tadhg Bird
09-21-2002, 07:46 PM
I must say this thread has indeed been ... interesting. I do have to wonder if Mr. Linden's post would have had the same reaction if it was a Mrs. Linden talking about her Women-only dojo.

I have often seen female-exclusivity praised as "empowering" whereas male-only groups cast in the light of being "deviant". Makes no sense to me.

I was a boy scout in my youth. Many of the exeperiences there would have been catagoricly different if there were adolescent girls along with us boys. Not worse, not better, but different. There is a time and place to be with just those of your gender.

On another note, there was a comment WAY WAY back in post number two:
But, I do sometimes recommend women train with women for certain techniques when I am teaching.

To be honest, there are a few techniques in which you dont even have to recommend it. Women will just partner up with each other out of instinct over potential pitfalls of training with men at that time
Again, I ask, what techniques are these, and why? And as a rejoinder, are there techniques where it is "recommended" that men work with other men?

Chris Li
09-21-2002, 10:57 PM
I must say this thread has indeed been ... interesting. I do have to wonder if Mr. Linden's post would have had the same reaction if it was a Mrs. Linden talking about her Women-only dojo.

I have often seen female-exclusivity praised as "empowering" whereas male-only groups cast in the light of being "deviant". Makes no sense to me.
Personally, I feel exactly the same way about women-only classes (with the exception of special circumstances such as abused women).

But yes, it makes no sense to me either :).

Best,

Chris

Edward
09-21-2002, 11:34 PM
Just a few thoughts:

- Here in Bangkok, there are only Thai clubs, only Japanese clubs, only gay clubs, only British clubs...etc. There is a whole street reserved for the Japanese. I tried once to enter one of the bars, I was kicked out. You need to be invited to visit the British club if you don't come from a Commonwealth country. Does this discrimination disturb me, well, only when I am not allowed in, that hurts my pride. If I am allowed in, then no problem, the feeling of exclusivity is so good!

- It is interesting that people find, for instance, an only gay place quite normal, but an only strait place intolerant. The same goes for only women, only men, only black, only white... etc.

- It is true that in most instances, women add a nice feminine touch to the training, where men have to try using pure technique for a change instead of muscle power while training with ladies. However, if it is flat out intense training that you are looking for, I am sorry to tell you that most women aikidoka that I know are not able to withstand this kind of punishment, so do old people and kids. So their presence might become a hindrance if this is the kind of training you want. So like every thing else, there are pluses and minuses. Please note that I said most, because I will never forget when, about 10 years ago, a French Judoka lady, humiliated me during Judo randori training....

Edward
09-21-2002, 11:37 PM
I later knew that she was a member of the French olympic team !!!!!!!!

Edward
09-21-2002, 11:51 PM
One more thought about tolerance and intolerance:

Most people who advocate tolerance are only tolerant towards groups who share their views, and take very strong rigid positions against groups that do not share their views. I guess this doesn't make them very tolerant after all.

Hanna B
09-22-2002, 08:33 AM
Again, I ask, what techniques are these, and why? And as a rejoinder, are there techniques where it is "recommended" that men work with other men?I would not recommend women to work with women specifically, nor men with men. Once, though, a man was embarrased about attacking me muna dori. I personally think this is overreacting, but when he did not want to practise this specific technique with me, I understood why and could accept it.

As I posted on AJBB some time ago, especially younger men who have not practised so long time can be kind of nervous about being thrown koshi-nage by a woman. Everybody who have problems figuring out why, please raise a hand. Anyone who thinks it is not OK to let these guys avoid practising this technique with women for as long as they need, raise the other one.

Hanna

DGLinden
09-22-2002, 03:28 PM
Okay Chris, I think this has gotten out of hand. I am not going to 'call you' in November, nor am I going to step in the street and strap on six guns for some high noon crap. I teach Aikido in a Dojo which is respected and recognized. If you don't think much of my 'gender based descrimination' that is simply too bad. I don't know you or care what you think beyond the fact that one or two of your posts are clever. And you always seem to have something to say, don't you?

It's funny how when I travel around I go to dojo after dojo but never see a black man or woman on the mat. Accross the country maybe one or two. There's no descrimination, right? Just no black people. Chris, there is descrimination everywhere and the sad fact is that most people do not acknowledge it, understand it, or are even aware of it. If you ask those dojos without blacks if they 'descriminate' they will say no, of course not. It's just that the black people who come to watch a class just don't seem too comfortable. Is that it? They just don't seem to want to sign up?

Ever heard the word xenophobic? Let's see, the Japanese word for non-Japanese is, ummm, that's right, barbarian. No descrimination there.

This is not about women at all. It is about my choice to decide who will or will not train here. I am simply aware that women are not tough enough to cut it in this dojo and refuse to waste my time teaching someone who is going to be gone next month. I don't accept children under 21 or old men over 50. I don't accept people who are unemployed or without health insurance. I don't accept people who are grossly overweight or who complain about back problems the first time I meet them. There is a great long list of attributes that I consider each time someone requests to join this dojo and I 'descriminate' against PEOPLE for countless reasons.

I pick strong, intelligent, athletic, trustworthy, musical, artistic, loyal, helpful, friendly, sporting, courteous, kind, obediant, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverant men. I prefer that they be married, but it's not important if they impress me in other ways. For all intents and purposes, give me a SEAL Team or a platoon of Rangers and I'll be just fine. All others need not apply. And if they could do it without having this kind of hoodoo, most other instructors (married, non-cheating) would too. Believe it.

I am sure that ALL instructors have certain criteria for accepting students. Most simply require money. Some are more 'desriminating'. They prefer students to be clean. They like students to not have criminal records for multple murder. Whatever. I am proud of being very 'desrimnating' in my tastes. I come from an era when a man was complimented when someone said he is 'descriminating'.

One more time, last time. This is a hard school. Conditions are often brutal. Experience has taught me (the hard way) that certain types of people can't cut it here. I don't enjoy wasting my time. It is my choice and untill someone else starts paying my mortgage and electric bill it is no ones elses business but mine and the fine men who train with me.

Hanna B
09-22-2002, 04:03 PM
I pick strong, intelligent, athletic, trustworthy, musical, artistic, loyal, helpful, friendly, sporting, courteous, kind, obediant, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverant men. I prefer that they be married, but it's not important if they impress me in other ways. For all intents and purposes, give me a SEAL Team or a platoon of Rangers and I'll be just fine. All others need not apply. And if they could do it without having this kind of hoodoo, most other instructors (married, non-cheating) would too. Believe it.All others would do the same choice as you do?

I have no trouble with what you are doing. Well, I would if I lived around and your dojo was the only one at decent distance. But, not all other instructors would take only the most elite students if they could. You are judging others after yourself. That's a mistake.

Best regards,

Hanna

Chris Li
09-22-2002, 06:11 PM
Okay Chris, I think this has gotten out of hand. I am not going to 'call you' in November, nor am I going to step in the street and strap on six guns for some high noon crap. I teach Aikido in a Dojo which is respected and recognized. If you don't think much of my 'gender based descrimination' that is simply too bad. I don't know you or care what you think beyond the fact that one or two of your posts are clever. And you always seem to have something to say, don't you?
It was an invitation Dan, not a challenge. I just meant to let me know if you make it to Japan with Saotome in November and we can get together and flap our gums or get drunk and throw up on the train platform (which is what Japanese men usually do together :) ) or whatever.

I'm not sure what's wrong with having something to say, but if you don't want people to comment on your policies than you probably ought not to put them out in a public forum, I think.
It's funny how when I travel around I go to dojo after dojo but never see a black man or woman on the mat. Accross the country maybe one or two. There's no descrimination, right? Just no black people. Chris, there is descrimination everywhere and the sad fact is that most people do not acknowledge it, understand it, or are even aware of it. If you ask those dojos without blacks if they 'descriminate' they will say no, of course not. It's just that the black people who come to watch a class just don't seem too comfortable. Is that it? They just don't seem to want to sign up?
Actually, I know a number of black Aikido folks, although I'd certainly agree that the percentage seems to be small. I also agree that there is discrimination everywhere - that's why I believe that it is important to eliminate organized discriminitory structures wherever possible.
Ever heard the word xenophobic? Let's see, the Japanese word for non-Japanese is, ummm, that's right, barbarian. No descrimination there.
That's more or less an urban legend. The Japanese word for non-Japanese is (most commonly) "gaijin", which just means "outside person" - pretty much the same meaning as "foreigner". Many foreign residents in Japan complain about being designated as "aliens" (in English, as in "Alien Registration Card"), but I note that US immigration and the IRS both use "alien" when referring to foreign nationals, so I wouldn't put too much weight on that.

Yes, there is discrimination in Japan. But the one doesn't justify the other.
One more time, last time. This is a hard school. Conditions are often brutal. Experience has taught me (the hard way) that certain types of people can't cut it here. I don't enjoy wasting my time. It is my choice and untill someone else starts paying my mortgage and electric bill it is no ones elses business but mine and the fine men who train with me.
If it's nobody's business then don't put it out in a public forum for comment.

I've said a number of times that I believe that you ought to have the right to do what your doing. I've also said that I believe that what you're doing is wrong. I don't think that those two statements are incompatible, and I don't think that I'm particularly out of line for expressing my opinions on statements made in a public forum.

Best,

Chris

nic an fhilidh
09-22-2002, 07:48 PM
One more time, last time. This is a hard school. Conditions are often brutal. Experience has taught me (the hard way) that certain types of people can't cut it here. I don't enjoy wasting my time. It is my choice and untill someone else starts paying my mortgage and electric bill it is no ones elses business but mine and the fine men who train with me.
I don't think anyone, Chris included, has said you don't have the right to train whoever you want.

Really, the more I think about it, it's pretty honest of you to have admitted to yourself that you aren't able to deal constructively with women or other people you consider problematic, and that you'd rather keep your teaching as easy on yourself as possible.

This raises another question in my mind, though, and that is, why do you teach? It's not a trick question, I'm sincerely interested in the answer ... and the answer of any other instructor who would like to share.

- aine

G DiPierro
09-22-2002, 08:18 PM
The one thing that I find most interesting about this whole thing has not yet been mentioned. The Shoshin dojo is a member of the ASU and hence the ASU and Saotome Sensei obviously must approve of this policy. I find it a little surpising that they do, but then I don't know Saotome Sensei that well. AFAIK, no dojos in the USAF discriminate on the basis of sex (or otherwise). Given what I know about the Federation, I don't think that it would happen there. If anyone can provide a counterexample please do.

Deb Fisher
09-22-2002, 09:19 PM
I want first to thank Mr. Linden for outing himself as a bigot in a public forum. He is right, discrimination does exist, everywhere, and I do think that "political correctness" obfuscates that fact, as Mr. Linden pointed out himself.

I think that the allusions to Nazi Germany, the KKK etc, are somewhat useful because this is only a discussion forum and our fingers and eyes would get all worn out if we didn't resort to some kind of shorthand for dealing with why Mr. Linden's language feels so wrong. Even though it's slightly simplified and could lead some to a not-quite-fair comparison between, say, Mr. Linden and Hitler (which is NOT my intention), I would like to indulge in one more of these comparisons. I think that the most interesting concepts to evolve out of this thread have to do with the nature of political correctness.

I think that political correctness exists today, even though it does not solve the problem of discrimination, because we are living in the aftermath of Selma, Auschwitz, Stonewall, etc. In the case of post WWI Germany, for instance, most Germans didn't hate Jews as much as they had strong preferences that sound a lot like the rationale Mr. Linden has been explicating. Similar strains of 'separate but equal' were common in the Jim Crow American south. It wasn't about hatred, it was about people knowing their place.

This bigotry, sense of separate but equal, or of 'personal preference', was very easy for evil people to exploit in troubled times - Hitler didn't create hatred for Jews in Germany, he exploited the bigotry that already existed there and without that bigotry - a bigotry that most people felt was okay and had lots of justifications for - the holocaust would not be possible.

I would argue that women face a holocaust as well, a holocaust in which at least as many women have suffered and died as in Europe, over the course of many more years. Violence against women affects hundreds of American women every day - we are raped by strangers, beaten and killed by our lovers and husbands. In the eyes of these rapists, batterers and murderers, it is culturally appropriate to violate and kill women because women are less human than men, because they have a social place, because they're always whining. Men who hurt women are act because they think they are right to hate women, because they see their own bigotry reflected all around them, in the words and deeds of people like Mr. Linden, for example, who surely would not rape or murder anyone.

... but back to political correctness. I think that it is verboten to speak of 'black behavior' or 'jewish behavior' - to categorically pronounce that a huge group of people all act the same way because of their ethnicity - because we have witnessed the insane violence that slavery, the holocaust, the civil rights movement, etc, have wrought. I think that feeling ashamed or repulsed by this talk is an act of connecting the violence itself and the attitudes that make it possible.

It deeply, deeply saddens me that we do not see the violence that women face daily and feel at least ashamed of the kind of bigotry that has been thrown about by quite a few people on this thread, among them women.

I am even more saddened that in the end Mr. Linden gets the last word. For all the political correctness in the world, of course, divisiveness and bigotry seems endemic, as well as the hatred and violence that feeds on it.

I have been thinking a lot about this thread - it gives me a very heavy heart. Why haven't we learned that divisiveness creates violence? Why haven't we all taken responsibility for that?

PhilJ
09-22-2002, 11:35 PM
Don't stop with women, Deb. Pain, murder, war are all things that, by themselves, are not discriminating (and the same goes for joy, elation, happiness).

We're putting the weight of the world on our shoulders, and most humans can't bear that. I sure can't, no doubt.

What we can bear is our own function and our own responsibilities. It helps to think of something I was asked: when you see a lion acting like a lion in a zoo, are you surprised? A monkey acting like a monkey? How long would an animal trainer's mind last if s/he tried to train an elephant like a labrador?

Mr Linden is his own kind of person, just like everyone else. I whole-heartedly disagree with his perspective, but that's just it: a viewpoint.

Views are created by past experience. It is impossible for us to change someone's "experience". Take a 30-year old and try to convince him/her that the red iron on the stove top isn't hot and is okay to touch.

What we can do is learn from the people we disagree with -- at least, we learn about ourselves. "Ourself" is what we CAN try to control (masakatsu agatsu) and refine our self-technique. Mr Linden has already shown me a couple things I didn't know about myself, and I thank you for that Daniel.

As an aikidoist, I will concern myself with men and women. These people, even the ones I don't like, are our family and the ones we protect from each other and themselves when we have to.

What is truly the aiki response here?

Abasan
09-23-2002, 12:31 AM
'So scouts are misogynists?'

Is this what Lord Baden Powell had in mind when he started the scouts movement? After all, why then did Lady Powell start the Girl Guides after him?

Its easy enough for a female to join the scouts since there legitimately has been boy scouts and girl scouts and the name itself has never been discriminatory. But has there ever been a boy girl guide ever?

My point is... nothing will ever satisfy women. If we started a boys club, the girls would cry foul and want to join in. But then when the girls had the tea party club, no sane boy at that age would have wanted to join in the first place.

Leave him in peace. Its his dream, its his property and his time, effort and money. If you want to start a women's only dojo that has seasonal invites for the husbands to come join in as well, that would be your problem. And no one would be bothered by it.

In malaysia and singapore there is a word to term this behaviour. Its called 'kiasu'. In short it means, having a 'must win' or 'one up' attitude. I don't think having that kind of attitude would contribute much to your spiritual upliftment.

Chris Li
09-23-2002, 12:39 AM
The one thing that I find most interesting about this whole thing has not yet been mentioned. The Shoshin dojo is a member of the ASU and hence the ASU and Saotome Sensei obviously must approve of this policy. I find it a little surpising that they do, but then I don't know Saotome Sensei that well. AFAIK, no dojos in the USAF discriminate on the basis of sex (or otherwise). Given what I know about the Federation, I don't think that it would happen there. If anyone can provide a counterexample please do.
That's an interesting point. I notice that in the ASU student handbook it states:

"The Aikido Schools of Ueshiba is an equal opportunity organization, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, ethnic group, religion, age, or sexual orientation."

Japanese people tend, in general, to be less conscious of this kind of thing (with both good and bad effects), but I haven't spoken with Saotome in over ten years, so I really wouldn't want to say one way of the other what his thinking on the subject is.

Best,

Chris

Hanna B
09-23-2002, 03:58 AM
Would it be better if Mr Linden was forced to accept students he does not want? They would feel it, for sure, and drop out rather quickly. Probably they would not be happy about the experience, but blame this on themselves.

Hm. Some dojos complain they have difficulties in attracting and or/keeping female students. There could be a connection here...?

Hanna

nic an fhilidh
09-23-2002, 06:25 AM
Hm. Some dojos complain they have difficulties in attracting and or/keeping female students. There could be a connection here...?
Well, yeah, exactly. Mr. Linden has several times enumerated reasons for excluding women that include things like "crying on the mat" and "whining." These are things I have yet to see in the dojo I train in, and I haven't indulged in them myself, so I have no reason to believe they're widespread in the aikido world. I'm guessing that Mr. Linden simply has difficulty in maintaining discipline when women are around. It's his problem, and he's chosen to deal with it by training only men.

Which is just fine. Let's leave him to it!

Chris Li
09-23-2002, 07:30 AM
Well, yeah, exactly. Mr. Linden has several times enumerated reasons for excluding women that include things like "crying on the mat" and "whining."
As a side note, Yukiyoshi Sagawa mentions (in "Tomei na Chikara") that M. Ueshiba, after having techniques applied upon him by Sokaku Takeda at their first meeting, ended up crying in the corner :).
These are things I have yet to see in the dojo I train in, and I haven't indulged in them myself, so I have no reason to believe they're widespread in the aikido world. I'm guessing that Mr. Linden simply has difficulty in maintaining discipline when women are around. It's his problem, and he's chosen to deal with it by training only men.

Which is just fine. Let's leave him to it!
I have seen women whine. OTOH, I've seen men whine as well...

I don't teach regularly these days, but my deepest regrets from the days when I did (not only in Aikido) were the people I failed to reach, or people that I realized later I could have done much better with. I didn't think so as much at the time, but looking back I feel more responsibility for what went on now then I did then. Anybody can work with the folks who are easy to teach - talented and motivated, physically fit and focused. To teach the other ones, now that takes some skill, and hard work.

Best,

Chris

JJF
09-23-2002, 09:19 AM
Mr. Linden

I have now read the whole thread and I noticed that it was (heavily) suggested that you also exclude male homosexuals from you dojo. Is that so ? In that case why ?

DGLinden
09-23-2002, 09:31 AM
It's weird, I can build a computer but for the of me I can't figure out how to make those little colored quote boxes you guys use.

I'd like to answer a few of these comments individually, but it is starting to all get to be a bit much.

As far as ASU goes, Sensei lets us all do what we want. He knows us intimately and trusts that we are doing our best for God and country, ASU and aikido. If Dennis Hooker didn't have a fine dojo a few miles from here I would accept anyone who came through the door. That would certainly be my responsibility. But as Dennis is right accross town and my space and facilities are limited, I am in the enviable position of being able to pick and choose my students from a large willing group.

I certainly did not want this to go where it has. Nor did I want to cause discussion that ranged from the KKK to Hitler to David Duke. Really, I have never been compared to such before and am a little startled by it.

In fact, not one person has ever raised so much as any eyebrow prior to this concerning my dojo policy. No one. Not ever.

As for putting it out there on the line... well, I am a big man and my shoulders are wide. I can take the hits. Normally however, I prefer to tenkan.

Aikido is not an egalitarian social program. Things like equality and fairness have never entered into the truth of it. If that were so, everyone would be a 9th dan. Very damn few of all those white belts ever get to take part in the ceremony when Sensei ties on their coveted black belt. And even fewer are good enough, strong enough, have enough courage, perserverance, stamina, and old fashion will to make it to sandan. And then the real weeding begins. What are the odd of becomeing a shihan? What does it take in terms of personal sacrifice, money, social gratification and loss of freedom? I look around at the Shihans I know and nearly all married late, if at all, are childless, and live quite modestly. The sacrifice to get here is beyond despair, it is total. There is no equality in aikido. Only the unmitigated will to perservere in the face of rediculous odds. I tell my students constantly to quit and go home to their wives. But as long as they stay, so will I.

Chris, I'd love to sit down and toss back a few. Anytime. Anywhere. Sometimes the writen word gets too subtle, too cute, too double entendre and meaning is obfuscated. I've always noticed that beer clears up these problems.

rgfox5
09-23-2002, 10:08 AM
This is a very interesting discussion! On the one hand, I completely respect Daniel's right to allow whomever he wants into his dojo, and dissallow whomever he wants. He can allow only PhD's and blond men over 6'5" tall and 220 lbs if he wants. He can put them through an arduous physical exam before admission and require that they be able to tie sailor's knots and shave their heads. It is his right and he is not funded by public money so there is no question of illegality.

On the other hand, the ASU's stated policy is that no discrimination will take place on the basis of sex, which is counter to Daniel's admission policy.

If someone wanted to, I guess they could make a stink about this with Saotome sensei. I for one would not touch this with a ten foot pole, and will continue to train hard in our happily coed dojo and wish that all aikidoka are happily training in a great dojo of their choosing as well.

opherdonchin
09-23-2002, 11:02 AM
I really appreiciate Daniel's mentioning that if there weren't another good dojo in town, he might change his policy.

I also appreciate Deb's post on the relationship between subtle, seemingly innocuous, bigotry and more sinister kinds of behavior. It said something that was somewhere in my head for a while, but that I wasn't quite able to describe.

It is my feeling that while a lot of the arguments about bigotry and the potentially dangerous associations associated with Daniel's policy are worth thinking about, I think they have, in general, given very short shrift to the advantages of (specifically) single-sex experiences. I have no idea whether these advantages are scientfically documented (almost certainly not and how would you know whether to trust the science anyway), but they have often been eloquently expressed. I know that I've heard the most and most consistent praise from women who attended single-sex colleges, but there are almost certainly plenty of examples. I wonder whether there isn't room in the post-PC era for a discussion of the appropriate role of single-sex institutions and the appropriate balance with the very real dangers they entail.

Bruce Baker
09-23-2002, 11:33 AM
After reading the entire thread, many of the posts have proved in words that men and women do have opposite polaritys and operate in different ways to come up with conclusions.

Get over it! Men and women do have different polarities for their meridian and pressure points, making it easier for women to train with women and men train with men.

As for Mr. Linden's dojo, and choice of students ... I wish I was fifteen years younger, 34, and could have some fun training with bigger stronger bodies than myself. It does make it more interesting to find their weak points and laugh when technique reigns over strength.

As for this childish discussion of men's clubs or women's club, and the whole subject of moratlity .... maybe it is time to do what I do when my wife gets mad at me, look out the window and say,"... there is no room for a horse out there," and walk away.

Guys, if you don't know the rules let me enlighten you. Women have the right to be wrong, change their mind to be right, and change the rules if it doesn't suit them. I guess it is the combination of sexual agression and the polarity thing with men creating the comforts of modern society to please women.

Hell, men would be just as happy to live out in the woods, coming into town twice a month, so this entire society of comfort and choice is given to then need to protect our women and children, isn't it?

Our need to learn or practice Aikido is indeed the same as making a commitment to see it through, and some teachers do adopt the "Boot Camp" attitude that weeds out the pretenders from the those who commited to see through the learning process.

Daniel, there are many, many blacks who practice in the Philadelphia to Boston corridor, maybe it is just in the USAF? Collins Smith, who trained under Yamada sensei, Stickles sensei, and is a good friend of my teacher, Chet Griffin sensei, has more black students than white, but that could just be Bermuda? On the other hand I could name four other teachers in the immediate area who are black, so that kind of disproves that statement of not seeing blacks on the mat. It must be the people you are hanging with.

As for manly, gun toting, hunting and fishing types, well ... isn't that a stereotype in itself? I have more respect for someone who sacrifices his own needs for the needs of his family. Doesn't mean they can't hunt, fish, and get to the great outdoors, but it does address the commitment of spirit you examine in your students character.

As for pounding back a few drinks, well... those days are done for me ... and for those of you who are drinking and smoking, it will take over a year to get your brain chemistry straight so you can think without the chemical dependency of nicotine or alcohol. It might take even longer for a man's man because the self reflection is hell on wheels when you face the reality of who you really are. (just my slant on the demon alcohol, and the sacred smoke)

So, we come to the crux of the arguement, the acceptence of students based on character assessment from the teacher. Most teachers test the students with their reactions to instructions in practice. Those who understand the sacrifices we make to get the most out of our training with hard work, insight, putting away our emotional agenda are the ones who come back day after day, week after week, year after year.

I have to give Linden sensei credit for standing up to his convictions, not very popular, but I applaud his conviction and integrity.

As for the whining, bitching and moaning, I guess this is as good a forum to do it as any.

So long as you realize that it is YOUR opinion, your right to have that opinion, express that opinion, but in no way is it your right to have others agree with that opinion.

On the mat, the sensei is sensei. Off the mat, the sensei is a human being who happens to be sensei, and can express his or her own opinions based on the polarity of their thoughts, be they man or woman, that are generated in one direction or the other depending upon their polarity of man or woman. ... don't get me started with AC-DC or the Testla generator.

Obviously, big guys are big in the same way that a parent is big around children under ten years old, so indeed there are different considerations. Just like a bigger gun will shoot a bigger shell causing more destruction, so too the larger body must consider the application.

Maybe that is the cause of misunderstanding, being the morality verses the understanding of time we have to train, or learn from an individual? My teacher turned seventy two this year, he is slightly less in muscle mass than when I started with him five years ago, but everyday we train I thank the Great Spirit for our time together and the chance to practice another day. Although I am gentle when moving my 280 pounds to his 140 pounds the practice is still technically sound.

Get off your high horse of morality ladies, it is but a dream of perfect society. Even in perfection there must be imperfection to find the measurement of perfection, thereby nullifying even perfection. The entire creation of society is the experiment of natural selection ... even with the creation of Aikido unions,federations, and restricted dojo's that limit themselves to either men only or women only. If natural selection allows for variations that either flurish or die, then let it happen ... and be amazed at the results.

Or, start your own group to find the perfection you seek. In either case, there must eventually be interaction of men and women if we are to have a balanced Aikido community in our society.

I am starting to believe we are here to spread and feed the insect population ... they are one of the few creatures that continually overcome the forces and nature as their lineage reaches back as far a we can imagine.

Does that put the human race into perspective, or not ... both men and women?

DanielR
09-23-2002, 12:01 PM
Hi Bruice,
Get off your high horse of morality ladies... The entire creation of society is the experiment of natural selection ... even with the creation of Aikido unions,federations, and restricted dojo's that limit themselves to either men only or women only. If natural selection allows for variations that either flurish or die, then let it happen ... and be amazed at the results.
If you agree with the existence of segregated dojos on the basis of the natural selection, it would only be logical to allow people "on high horse of morality" to execute their right to criticize that existence, on the same basis... The results might be just as amazing ;)

Just a thought.

batemanb
09-23-2002, 08:00 PM
'Don,

thanks for that, rusty memory, it was Malaysia that he went to, not Indonesia.'

Really? I've been to a lot of dojo's here in Malaysia... being Malaysian and all, and I don't recall any segregation of sexes. There is a university dojo that does this, but thats more an exception than the rule.

Furthermore, they don't cover their faces. They cover their hair, neck. Like nuns...

Keiko with it is not extremely uncomfortable. You may need to get used to it... but hey, ask the kendoist who cover their heads (even without the helmet thingey).

Did your Japanese Sensei which dojo he went to? Or was it during the Asian Aikido Federation meet? Was it when doshu came over?
OK, checked at the weekend. It was Malaysia that he went to, although I didn`t get the dojo location. The class was segregated, i.e. women and men did not train with each other, although they did train in the same "room", the women and men had their own areas and didn`t cross over at all. Apparently, this was for religious reasons, the women did wear the head scarf, although the face was not covered.

Deb Fisher
09-23-2002, 11:12 PM
Just as a side note, there is an interesting little article in the NY Times Sunday Magazine this week about girls only K-12 public and private education.

Kevin Wilbanks
09-24-2002, 01:48 AM
I can't believe I read the whole thread...

But I did, and the comments I have may seem unfortunately flippant. So be it.

I think the real 'tell' here is in the line that stuck in my mind: something to the effect of a general dismissal of "guys who don't know what their digestive track (sic) is for".

The first thing that caught my attention, of course, was the grammatical error... except not just a grammatical error. A track is not a tract, although the two have conceptual similarities, and hence it seems like almost an ignorant conceptual error. In addition, all of DGL's posts were littered with heinous grammatical errors. I put this together with his stated strong preference/requirement that his students have master's degrees, and if makes me go hmmmmmm...

The other thing that makes me go hmmm, that no one has mentioned, is the strong homoerotic overtones of his whole original nostalgic post about the same-sex institutions of yore... replete with warm snuggly dogs, graphic sensual imagery, and naked boys swimming at the Y. I mean, come on! Anyone who looks deeply into human behavior is bound to recognize that what is commonly dubbed 'homophobia' has a lot to do with people who have trouble dealing with their own homoerotic impulses.

Look at the comment. It wasn't "I don't like gays." It was cleverly constructed slam including imagery about anal sex. Something someone spent some time thinking about, if you know what I mean.

Same sex institutions are famous for both inciting homoerotic energies, while violently repressing their ultimate expression. If the institution is designed and run properly, this whole seething potential homo-fest can be carefully sublimated and marshalled to the group's purposes quite nicely... usually violent ones (e.g., most militaries up until the near-present).

Anyway, the point is that here we have the whole 'men's club' phenomenon, machismo, homophobia, and the negative woman stereotypes all mixed together. Being indignant about how wrong it is isn't very interesting to me - not good grounds for inquiry. What I think would be interesting would be a documentary on the dojo, including extensive, probing interviews with DGL and many of the students (no pun intended). Interesting hell, it would be fabulous!

Chris Li
09-24-2002, 02:31 AM
I can't believe I read the whole thread...

But I did, and the comments I have may seem unfortunately flippant. So be it.
Oh boy, now I guess that it's my turn to say that things are getting out of hand.

Now, I don't agree with seperate sex classes, or the reasoning presented for them, but I think that some of the indirect (and not so indirect) inferences, especially personally directed inferences are getting a little bit strong.

Maybe I was too inflammatory when I brought up David Duke, but my intention was to compare Dan's line of reasoning with David Duke's line of reasoning, not to make a personal attack. Inferences as to sexual habits or attaching labels like "bigot" are, IMO, moving into the realm of personal attacks and away from a discussion of the issue at hand.

I've never met Dan, that I can remember, but he seems like a perfectly decent and reasonable person, albeit with some opinions that I disagree with.

Maybe it would be best to just stick with the issues.

Best,

Chris

Abasan
09-24-2002, 02:48 AM
'OK, checked at the weekend. It was Malaysia that he went to, although I didn`t get the dojo location. The class was segregated, i.e. women and men did not train with each other, although they did train in the same "room", the women and men had their own areas and didn`t cross over at all. Apparently, this was for religious reasons, the women did wear the head scarf, although the face was not covered.'

Bryan,

It maybe an Islamic University Dojo which has strict rules with regards physical interaction between women and men. Its the only one in the country, and frankly I'm surprised your sensei was there. Btw, what's the sensei's name? I can check with my gf if he was there.

The headscarves are common and quite comfortable to train in actually.

batemanb
09-24-2002, 03:26 AM
Abasan,

His name is Nakao Shingo, 6th Dan from Kobe.

Kevin Wilbanks
09-24-2002, 09:58 AM
Chris,

Sorry, but in my mind you've got it backwards. If a guy comes on a public forum and makes slanderous comments about gays and women, I think he's inviting a little satire and psycho/social analysis... at least.

On the other hand, making an analogy between someone and Nazis, satanists, Al Queda, etc... then recanting when they react -claiming that nothing serious was implied by the analogy - is argumentative dirty pool, a cheap shot. If my post made you significantly more uncomfortable than rhetorically putting other people in league with evil, perhaps you're in line for a little teasing as well...

nic an fhilidh
09-24-2002, 10:20 AM
Chris,

Sorry, but in my mind you've got it backwards. If a guy comes on a public forum and makes slanderous comments about gays and women, I think he's inviting a little satire and psycho/social analysis... at least.
Amen!

DanielR
09-24-2002, 10:25 AM
...making an analogy between someone and Nazis, satanists, Al Queda, etc... then recanting when they react -claiming that nothing serious was implied by the analogy - is argumentative dirty pool, a cheap shot.
The problem is, for some reason, along this thread, some participants tended to ignore the fact that the analogy was made not between someone and Nazis/racists/other evil things, but between the lines of reasoning, as Chris points out. Then your opponent comes out and cries "Bloody murder!", calls you a self-righteous moralist and even threatens you if you ever mention something like that to his/her face. So now you can either give up because you realize your opponent is incapable of conducting a civilized discussion, or, if you're still interested in hearing what the other side has to say, you try to tone things down...

opherdonchin
09-24-2002, 10:26 AM
Yeah, I also thought that Kevin's analysis was interesting and perhaps a tad too challenging but ultimately appropriate. The only reservation I have is that I really try to overlook grammar and spelling mistakes in the forum. They often result from hurried typing rather than from poor knowledge of english, and even if they do result from poor knowledge of english then 'so what?' Daniel did leave himself open to this, just a bit, by making fun of someone elses spelling in an earlier post, but that's neither here nor there.

The only real problem I see with Kevin's post is that it leaves Daniel (his uke?) very few comfortable ways of responding. So, while it was an interesting perspective from my point of view, I'm hoping it won't derail the discussion.

Perhaps Kevin could have written it as more of an abstract discussion on homoeroticism and single sex male institutions, but then it might have lost much of its power.

In any case, it was certainly an interesting exercise in 'verbal aikido,' if nothing else.

Kevin Wilbanks
09-24-2002, 10:38 AM
The problem is, for some reason, along this thread, some participants tended to ignore the fact that the analogy was made not between someone and Nazis/racists/other evil things, but between the lines of reasoning, as Chris points out. Then your opponent comes out and cries "Bloody murder!", calls you a self-righteous moralist and even threatens you if you ever mention something like that to his/her face. So now you can either give up because you realize your opponent is incapable of conducting a civilized discussion, or, if you're still interested in hearing what the other side has to say, you try to tone things down...
Sorry Daniel, but whether it's to a person or their line of reasoning, Nazi or KKK analogies are still a cheap shot, designed to evoke emotional responses. If you don't want to whip up hysteria, don't liken them or their acts to historically quintessential incarnations of evil. Doing so, then reproaching your opponent for being 'incapable of conducting a civilized discussion' is very lame, very Geraldo Rivera. There must be some other way to make your argument. Think PBS, not FOX daytime.

Kevin Wilbanks
09-24-2002, 10:53 AM
The only reservation I have is that I really try to overlook grammar and spelling mistakes in the forum. They often result from hurried typing rather than from poor knowledge of english, and even if they do result from poor knowledge of english then 'so what?' Daniel did leave himself open to this, just a bit, by making fun of someone elses spelling in an earlier post, but that's neither here nor there.
Maybe I should have left that out, but I thought there were enough mistakes, including the one in the crucial offensive phrase, that they seemed to have some significance.

There's just something about saying something inflammatory and derisive with an element of illiteracy that makes it come off differently. In Madison, there used to be grafitti up near campus that said: "If life is sacred, than abortion is a sin." Another example is in the classic comedy Porky's, when the greaser attempts to bait the jewish kid in the locker room by calling him a "kite".

What made it seem worthy of comment was the fact that he also claims to discriminate against people with sub-master's level educations. I see a connection between this irony and the irony of waxing homoerotic prose about the joys of same-sex institutions combined with an anti-gay epithet.

DanielR
09-24-2002, 11:05 AM
...Nazi or KKK analogies are still a cheap shot, designed to evoke emotional responses... Doing so, then reproaching your opponent for being 'incapable of conducting a civilized discussion' is very lame...
It depends on the forum. Anything you say can evoke an emotional response from an emotional person.

Q: Do you think your policy is different from racism?

A1: Yes, because A,B,C.

A2: You're calling me a racist?!

What you're saying is "Don't ask the question unless you're prepared to respond to A2"?.. Well, I am, and the response would be "No, I'm asking." Unless your opponent punches you in the face, then the response would be different, too.

opherdonchin
09-24-2002, 11:08 AM
I think the Nazi thing was probably innapropriate to start with and is best left to die, but since it isn't dying:

Daniel Rozenbaum, if people repeatedly have this response to your post, wouldn't it be pragmatic and wise (and aiki) to think about ways that you might more effectively provoke the response you are interested in?

Hanna B
09-24-2002, 11:08 AM
After reading the entire thread, many of the posts have proved in words that men and women do have opposite polaritys and operate in different ways to come up with conclusions.

[...]

Guys, if you don't know the rules let me enlighten you. Women have the right to be wrong, change their mind to be right, and change the rules if it doesn't suit them. I guess it is the combination of sexual agression and the polarity thing with men creating the comforts of modern society to please women.I definitely have other ways of coming to conclusions than does Mr. Baker. I suppose this proves the first statement to be true.

Best regards

Hanna

DanielR
09-24-2002, 11:18 AM
if people repeatedly have this response to your post, wouldn't it be pragmatic and wise (and aiki) to think about ways that you might more effectively provoke the response you are interested in?
Oh, most definitely. Unless the response you are interested in is to the very question I asked ;) , in which case I don't know (yet) of too many ways to ask it.

Kevin Wilbanks
09-24-2002, 11:29 AM
Opher,

Incidentally, I do think the whole issue of the relationship between 'homophobia' and homosexual inclinations, and same-sex institutions is an interesting one for Aikido discussion. It illustrates a direct analogy between what happens physically on the mat, and psychological and political dynamics.

We know from our practice that directly resisting an attack makes it stronger and more effective. I think a similar dynamic is in effect whenever people attempt to directly repress urges or energies, either on a personal or societal level. Eventually whatever is getting pushed down builds up so much pressure that it explodes, bringing calmitous consequences. Plus, the preoccupation with pushing it down transforms the pusher. An individual who fears and represses their homoerotic energies makes them more powerful, requiring more repression... eventually they're out beating on some guy who happens to appear effeminate to prove to themselves, their buddies, or whoever, that they aren't gay.

In the case of militaries, I perhaps this is handled in more complex way, where the repressed energies are sanctioned to be released against official enemies, and in hazing rituals. It seems like mild homoeroticism - like wrestling, or getting naked and snapping each other with towels - is encouraged in military culture, but overt sexual acts are violently discouraged, considered shameful, and apparently the common substance of grave insults.

As an interesting aside, my Dad was telling me that when he was in Vietnam, there were elite Southern soldiers there called 'Tiger Marines', I believe. It was their custom, among male friends, to hold hands - when they were walking, eating dinner, etc... The US soldiers were warned that it was merely a cultural difference, and that they should ignore it. Several US GIs couldn't resist, and attempted to tease and pick fights with some of the Tiger Marines. They ended up finding out the hard way that - unlike US soldiers - those apparently cissy little Vietnamese guys were extensively trained in martial arts/unarmed combat. Apparently, several GIs were seriously injured, and their seniors just said 'I told you so'... Just one of my Dad's stories, which aren't always so good on facts, but are usually entertaining.

opherdonchin
09-24-2002, 11:32 AM
I guess this would (or would most definitly not?) be the place to admit that when people ask me why I like AiKiDo I say that I like spending 2 hours a day touching other people.

akiy
09-24-2002, 11:54 AM
Hi everyone,

Phew! Things are getting quite heated here! I can see some folks are searching their closets for their full-body asbestos-lined underwear.

I just wanted to pipe up and remind people to please be respectful of each other's thoughts, however much they may differ from your own. Discussing sensitive subjects such as what's being discussed here requires tact, civility, and sensitivity. Please take the time and effort required to discuss in a manner designed for sharing rather than polarizing, regardless of the subject matter.

After all, we're here to bring people together -- not drive them (us) apart...

Now, back to your regularly scheduled AikiWeb Forums programming.

Regards,

-- Jun

opherdonchin
09-24-2002, 11:57 AM
Thank you, Jun.

DGLinden
09-24-2002, 02:27 PM
Yes, Thank you Jun. Perhaps I would have been better to have descriminated against most of these folks and stayed on the 'Voices of Experience' page. Just joking. Well, almost.

I think that any thinking individual who has read this string must surely, by now, fully understand why I pick and choose my students very carefully. Why would I expose my family to individuals who are not of our kind? Kindness is very important to me. To be 'of the same kind' in fact, defines family. Kinship is what holds people together. I feel that few families are born together in the same house. The best are made by choice and have a common thread that unites them.

Like an aikido dojo. My best man was an aikidoka. So was my wife, actually both of them. All the people I play music with are aikidoka. All the guys I hunt with, fish with, camp with etc. My whole family. We are together at Christmas, at birthdays.

I hear you gearing up to say 'what kind'? Okay, though you seem to keep ignoring it, nice people. People who would never have written some of the things I have read on this string. Opher seems like a fine person, thoughtful and intelligent. Chris has been very clear and deliberate, almost wise, though we disagree, I don't feel any mean intent. But some have grabbed onto one word or one line and shaken it like a dog that picks up a wounded pheasant. Not with any true intent to understand, but to attack, to further their own agenda. Those are the people I don't want around me. I'm geting too old for this.

In fact, when interviewing prospective students, one of the things I always mention is that there is not one person who trains here that you would not want for your best friend. No hard cases. No bad attitudes. No chest thumping, testosterone, or PMS.

I won't allow it and if it happens, well, like a family, we deal with it.

This thing about gender based decrimination is really the topic, remember. I have had women students and found it easier not to have them. Chris, it is true I am trying to make things easier on myself. I have fought all those wars and don't want to have to work that hard anymore.

Now if you don't think you would be accepted here and it makes you angry, well I understand. Does that get under your skin a bit? It should. But let me say this clearly. No one has ever left here and been denied access to a dojo or aikido. There are many dojos in this town and most of them only require you to pay money. This dojo is my home and I doubt if most of you would invite just anyone into your home without some form of descrimination. I won't even watch Seinfeld.

aikigreg
09-24-2002, 02:33 PM
Admittedly, the gentleman in question could have chosen some of his words more carefully. However, he has built a place that he likes and admitted the people he wants there and that should be the end of it.

Why must people seek to break apart something just because they have an issue with it? I personally am not that fond of republicans, but I don't waste my time trying to get them disbanded or anything :D

Personally I think they are some women who would like the hard training, and their dojo is missing out on some stuff, but who's to say? I enjoy training with women - they often kick the hell out of me. :D For some reason I like that. Go fig.

opherdonchin
09-24-2002, 02:53 PM
But some have grabbed onto one word or one line and shaken it like a dog that picks up a wounded pheasant. Not with any true intent to understand, but to attack, to further their own agenda.
But Daniel, I think that the point is that those individual lines really unsettled people. To say that people responded the way they did because they had an 'agenda' is to overlook what it was in them that their agenda was designed to protect. Or, if you want, they were not so much furthering an agenda as defending it, and they were defending an agenda because they felt that issues (important to them as individuals) on that agenda were under attack.

Now, I don't mean to conclude from that that you shouldn't have said those things, or even that you should have strained and stretched to find some PC way to say them. Instead, I'm arguing for you to treat their hostility/discomfort in just the way you described it: the result of a failure to understand.

Just like, on the mat, every attack is an opportunity or an opening, in this forum, every attack is hiding a question or an opportunity to explain. I know that I still have some questions that I would love to hear you answer. I can understand if the forum has put you off, but I'm going to list them just in case your interested:

1) Would an (otherwise qualified) homosexual fit into your dojo? What do you think about Kevin's analysis of the relationship of male single-sex institutions and homo-eroticism?

2) What do you think of Deb's discussion of the subtle connection between bigotry and true hatred? I feel that being honest with oneself, differences in behavior between men and women are impossible to ignore. There are ways in which I think men have an advantage, and plenty of ways in which I think women have an advantage, and even more in which they are just different. How could I help feeling that way? On the other hand, I know, and Deb explained nicely, how this sort of thinking can cause very serious problems. I wonder how you feel about these issues.

3) As someone who is in a better position to judge than most of us, I would love to hear your sense of the positive and negative sides of running a single sex dojo. Perhaps because so many people have disagreed with you, you haven't gotten much of a chance to describe your own hesitations and questions about your policy. Surely it must have weaknesses as well as strengths? Your experience here would be really interesting to me.

BC
09-24-2002, 03:54 PM
Well, I'll just say that I don't agree with Daniel's policy and leave it at that. He has a right to do as he pleases, just as I have a right to disagree. Whatever. :rolleyes:

The aikido dojo where I train has plenty of women, and I like it that way. In fact, some of our most senior members are women, and (dare I say) over 50, and are instructors. Some of the women kick my butt on a regular basis. Some of my favorite training partners are women. What they or other members may lack in physical strength, they more than make up for in technical precision. I have never seen a woman cry or whine on the mat. I take that back; I remember one woman (a mudansha) complaining about her male (a yudansha) partner's weak technique and ukemi. He thought she was throwing him too hard!

We don't have a women's only program, although it has been discussed in the past. I could be wrong, but I believe the reason we don't have a women's only class is that the female members didn't want one. However, we do have some women's only sessions at our annual association's summer camp.

Daniel, I think one reason that you haven't encountered minority aikido practitioners in your travels may have more to do with geographical locations and their resultant demographics rather than any potential discrimination issues. Our dojo has a pretty decent representation of the ethnic and racial population of the north side of Chicago. I believe that most dojo will reflect demographic traits similar to the towns/neighborhoods in which they are located. At least, that's been my observation when I've visited dojo in places around the U.S. Just my two cents.

DGLinden
09-25-2002, 05:12 PM
Yes, Opher, I'll try.

1. I made an unfortunate remark in one of my first posts about grossly overweight individuals not being accepted as students here. I referenced that one other time with a remark about their unfortunate abuse of their digestive tracts. I apologized for that already. I will apologize again. I also apologize to all the homosexuals who miscontrued the remark to refer to them. I know nothing about homosexuals, their auto erotic whatevers and would face twentyfive dead stares if I asked the members in class to comment. I don't know any homosexuals, am not interested in their practice and as all the men here are either married or in solid relationships, can't even comment on your question. I have never made reference to homosexuals in any of my posts except this one and have studiously ignored the posts from those who seem to find this an appropriate topic.

However, this forum is about excluding women, not homosexuals. It is about sexual descrimination not sex. To answer your question, about 'would I accept a homosexual?' I had a friend in D.C. many years ago who died of AIDS. If he could walk down my bamboo lined board walk and step into the dojo to train I would certainly welcome him. He was a good friend and a fine man.

One of the single greatest things that keeps me excluding women is the overall, nay, vast support I receive in this regard from the wives and girlfriends of the men who train here. They regard it as healthy, positive, and are completely in support of it. I mentioned earlier that no one has ever said a negative word concerning this prior to my first post. The wives and girlfriends are totally in support of this policy. They know aikido is a healthy activity. It is a positive, emotional release as well as solid phisical training and they want their husbands healthy. They don't wonder what's going on at the 'health club' or the 'golf course' or when they will be home. They like the idea of a 'Man's Club" and often get together by themselves for what ever.

As far as the positive aspect of training in only one sex, okay hold on. I will simply say that when training the human body it is far easier to explain certain aspects of the training if one does not have to concern oneself with ofending a woman. I know many Senseis have no problem with this and I admire them, however Chris LI was pretty close to home when he said that teaching in a dojo like mine would be very easy and he might not think much of the challenge.

I don't like paying lip service to political correctness and rarely do it. I am very plain spoken to the point of bluntness. My old friend and Sensei, Ed Baker, Shihan, had a similar difficulty. Perhaps it is our shared Navy background. Baker Shihan welcomed women on his mat but they seldom lasted long. May I mention that over the years I have trained three women shodans and one woman nidan? I am not a stranger to women on the mat.

I don't know Opher, perhaps I worry about women too much and tend to focus on their well being to too great an extent. I never let a woman take a break fall if I could help it. I didn't let them do Koshi nages because I was afraid the heavy weight of lifting might cause stress fractures in their hips. I read something about that and couldn't stand to see a woman even stretch someone after class. The last woman to leave this dojo was injured (just bruised) and I still am not sure what happened or why, only that it happened and I felt as if I had failed her. It just all seemed too much. I don't like it whan a man is injured either, but somehow we all admire a man who takes the pain, sets his own broken finger with duct tape and then get back on the mat to train some more. Assuming the broken bone is not protruding from the skin, that is...

I have enjoyed this forum greatly and although this is the first time I have taken part in a conversation like this I feel that some good communications has taken place. Truth be told, though, I'd still rather talk over the phone or over a cold beer.

God Bless You All.

Abasan
09-26-2002, 02:07 AM
Bryan,

'His name is Nakao Shingo, 6th Dan from Kobe.'

Heck, Nakao sensei? I've trained with him once or twice! He runs 5km before training... crazy old man. But then, that was in our dojo... no seperation of sexes there. I'll check anyway.

Fminor
09-26-2002, 04:31 AM
I came across this thread long after it started and I'm glad it happened so.
This thread made me run back and forth on a range of opinions and feelings.
In each passing post I've changed my mind.
At first I was startled with the "only men might enter these gates" idea.
But the more I read Mr. Linden rationales and other observant people posts - I realized I can almost relate to the idea and even got a bit jealous a Dojo like that doesn't exists where I live.
Dan, you made it tough for me to fully appreciate what your doing - in every early post you've sent, there was one offensive or generalization remark about women,
I'm glad you've posted the last one to soften your tone. It made things much clearer for me.

I'm a woman - I get bruised easily (I even started a thread on that subject...:) ) and sometimes I whine about it, That's me.
But I love Aikido and I still come to every class - bruised or not.
I wish you all the best and I appreciate the time and effort you spent here.
This thread helped me learn a lot about first impressions, judging other people and different points of view.
That's an important and beneficial lesson for life.

Efrat

P.S I can only wish the name 'Hitler' won't be mentioned on the Aikiweb again. It's beneath us all to do so.

Kevin Wilbanks
09-26-2002, 05:49 AM
Oh well. Looks like a good portion of my edifice was built on sand. I never would have thought that the digestive tract bit was about overeating. I guess I have to retract the portions of what I said that had to do with anti-gay slurs, as they apparently don't apply. In this context, my harping on the grammatical errors seems pretty irrelevant too.

mle
09-26-2002, 12:13 PM
.

As far as the positive aspect of training in only one sex, okay hold on. I will simply say that when training the human body it is far easier to explain certain aspects of the training if one does not have to concern oneself with ofending a woman. I know many Senseis have no problem with this and I admire them, however Chris LI was pretty close to home when he said that teaching in a dojo like mine would be very easy and he might not think much of the challenge.
All I can say is, sorry to hear this.

I had thought, if I ever made it to Florida, gee, I'd like to train with Dan, he's a friend of Dennis', cool.

I don't go where I'm not wanted.

I've proved myself in all-male dojo, changed in the broom closet (I was scaring the boys in the locker room), gone to the x-ray room, fought on while bleeding (under the skin and over it) and don't really give a damn who's in the changing room as long as they're interesting to talk to.

It's been very interesting to be the only female in the room at times, and be standing in the front of the room teaching.

I think adults should be able to deal with other adults regardless of gender (adopted or inherited). I find it immature, of either male or female budoka, to make this division in life or training.

Too bad.

I'll let people speculate as to whose loss your decision is.

mle

um, Chuck wants to know what aspects of training one can better explain in a single sex group?????? maybe he's just an insensitive lout... ;-)

Alan Drysdale
09-26-2002, 12:57 PM
Women are part of life. Women can be dangerous. Women can be faced with danger. Aikido is about self defence, so IMO women should be part of the dojo.

Are women inherently weaker? Smaller, on average, which can be a disadvantage, but not always. And I've seen women put up with things that would make most men cringe. If they are tough enough (and it isn't that hard in most dojos I've been in), they should be allowed in.

mle
09-28-2002, 12:22 PM
Just so you know, Daniel, I don't waste time on people I don't respect. I was on a committee which tried to get you nominated as a teacher for an Aikido-L seminar, and I voted for you, so I have to hope there's hope.
Interesting
That it is.

I like men, I'm married to one, I count among dear friends, males. Frankly I sometimes get along with men better, I love the same things, in many ways. I also look pretty good in a dress (I'm sure my male friends might too, but I never ask ;).

So, what do you do when Patty Sensei comes to town? pretend she was never female? I don't get this dichotomy. If you're married to an Important Shihan, you're somehow transmuted into nonoffensive nonsexuality? Please explain.

When I see the term "man's man" I think of Rock Hudson.

I read the word bigot. I read mysoginist. I read bitter. I read angry. I read a lot of things from a lot of people who clearly are not in my peer group and who really cannot judge me. Nor should they try.

Um, what peer group? who might they be? I've trained a couple times with your buddy and a personal favorite of mine, Dennis Hooker. He didn't seem to care what sex I was.

And we didn't argue about who bought the beer, either (I think we both got Barq's).

What it comes down to my friends is pesonal freedom. You join an aikido dojo for lot of reasons. When someone wants to come here we start with an interview. He has the choice to participate or not. I have the choice to invite him to watch a class. We both, then have the choice to decide if we want to train together. Sometimes we don't agree and as it is my dojo, I always win these disagreements. That is as it should be.

I also belong to a dojo which is carefully selected. Here in Germany, I am the only member. So far. Frankly I'd like some company, get Sensei on the mat more often. ;-)

As a person who is about to commence teaching an all-female group, the Girl Scouts, I have a few comments to share with you.

I would constantly encourage "my girls" to train with men whenever they get the chance. They desperately need the practice. Who will be assaulting them? for the most part, men. Who has been traumatizing them most of their lives (if they are suffering the same things I suffered) men. So, ask yourself, why do I still insist on training with men? because to do otherwise is to deny statistics, cold hard crime statistics. Who needs to learn how to fight? or END fights by strategy, or violence, if need by? Women.

And you, teacher of some reputation and respect, would deny them that for selfish reasons of peace and quiet. The only other teacher I know of who does that is Don Angier and I refuse to speculate publicly why.

Are you obligated to teach women? depends on your sense of social responsibility. I feel that I am, and so I shall.

A large part of my personal healing came from training with men, and just training in a women's dojo, much as I wanted to at the time, wouldn't have done the trick.

I still believe in personal freedom and in a man's choice to make his own decision about what concerns him. Sort of like O'Sensei. Do you folks really believe that he would train just anyone who walked up and said "here's my money, gimme aikido!"?

I have never walked up to an instructor and expected "free" wisdom whether it included money or not.

I put my soul in the hands of my instructor, and contribute to the welfare of the dojo and maintain it. I have run seminars, made web sites, interviewed and recruited students, etc. I conducted a divorce with a fellow student and trained with him at the same time, in a dojo I helped start. It ain't all been roses.. lots of thorns in there. I didn't scream like a woman and run away, nosirree, I stuck in there and bled.

Wait.. I'm not a man.. I'm not supposed to do that! Oh well.

Or Mitsugi Saotome Shihan. He sends out personal invitations to his top 20 instructors each year and all head down to Sarasota and train at the Shihan taining facility. Simply put, if you are not invited - dont come. It is Sensei's choice who he wants on his mat. He has the freedom to choose.

How many females does Saotome sensei include in this invitation? I know of at least one personally.

All the angry women in this world can train in every other aikido dojo, anywhere. The non-angry ones too. As was asked by someone, why would you want to? We train hard here and it not about love. Did I mention that I have a waiting list to join this dojo? Those people are exercising their right to express personal freedom. Just like I did in my last post.

Ignorance, especially willful ignorance in the face of knowledge and talent, pisses me off.

Nope, not sorry. No reason to be. Face the fact that I am angry, hell, I've been groped, abused, raped, what do you want?

Would you be angry? No? What's wrong with you?

My choice, who I train with. I know male sensei who gauge the health of their dojo by the number of female students they have.

Your choice... and indicative of your character.

Perhaps 'they' will all end up here. Good for you , good for me. I'm sorry I made some of you so angry or that you seemed to be hurt by my desire to associate with whomever I chose to the exclusion of an entire gender, but that is my right. I earned it.

As I earned my right to be on the mats of some of the more respected budo teachers (Nishio, Bryner, Zdenek, Hussey, Clark, Gordon, Wilby, Skoss, Friday, Ikeda....), through my heart and through the dues I have paid and the injuries I have sustained proving that I am, indeed, mortal. Female, strong, and mortal.

Man's man, huh. Try being a woman's man. Your wife will appreciate it! LOL! *abject apologies to our ever-civil Jun*

I like women. I just don't like training them. They constantly whine about one thing or another and if they're cute then the guys are like a pack of dogs. I have had too many occasions when a wife stared to cry because her husband did something because... something happened at home last night. I have had too many couples walk out not speaking to each other. I have had too damn many guy posturing over some woman on the mat who did a nikkyo pin too long with some other guy.

Ah. Here is your problem. You have some extremely immature students. I have never even HEARD of such a thing. I have trained with my ex-husband on the mat and we managed our own conflicts silently and nicely thank you very much.

THAT'S Southern gentility for you, not all this angst and hoo-rah.

I didn't whine when my shoulder was separated. I didn't whine when my ankle was smashed. I didn't even cry. I didn't whine when Bob Bryner (7th dan) demonstrated with some firmness all the places available for atemi in the nikajo pin (with audible thuds) on my body. I thanked him silently, because he had done this in a slightly misinformed San Antonio dojo where all the men were afraid I would break if they played with me. Bob proved them wrong. Then his wife came along and thumped some sense into them herself, and we all had a great time together.

I no longer have that. I have wa. There is harmony on my mat and the only thing we argue about is who will buy the beer.

I think you're a man of great talent, and you're short-changing yourself. It's like watching a judoka who will only do kata and not randori/shiai. I don't know what kind of people you've been playing with, but I've been dealing with folks of a far different caliber, and I've never had your problems. Never even heard of them. I was raised by an East Texas Redneck male who taught me to shoot, ride, fix cars and wear purty hats at Easter. His son never took to the woods like I did, so he took me. And we had fun.

God save us from short-sighted, fearful, prejudiced (with solid blinders in place) individuals.

If it was one night a week, I'd be cool with it.

One for women, one for men. A blanket policy bothers me because, as I said, it's a lost chance in training for all parties. Aikido is in how you manage your emotional life, how you hold your own center, as much as anything you do with your body. Do less and you miss the point. Might as well just be doing jujutsu. ;-D Like me.

Shaddup and train on.

If you're in Florida and female, train on with Dennis Hooker and Alan Dryesdale.

mle

DGLinden
09-28-2002, 05:37 PM
Ms. Gordon,

Well, what can I say to that? You started out respecting me then became so disrespectful I can't even imagine the pain you must be feeling.

Do you see that this is one of the reasons that I choose to distance myself from women for 4.5 hours of the 112 hours a week that I am awake?

I'm sorry, that was an attempt at humor when humor is clearly not called for.

You are obviously in great pain. You have been groped, abused and raped and that would make anyone want to lash out. If I were a woman who had been groped, abused, and raped I would want to emasculate every living man on the planet prior to cutting their throat.

So I understand your rage. I understand your desire for lashing out and I realize that I represent, here, a target for you to attack that is representative of all that is anethma to you. I am a big man and my shoulders are wide and strong. I can take the hits. And I will here. For you.

But can't you work your way back through everything I have said here and see the goodness in this dojo? The fine men who love their wives and family? The wonderful women who support their husbands in the pursuit of Aikido? Can't you see these men working in the gardens and taking arrangements of flowers home to their wives? The wives and girlfriends cooking and making their favorite dishes for dojo parties and seminars? Children running around the grounds playing with our dogs? This is a healthy place, happy and free of the anger and pain associated with they type of people who would grope and abuse and rape.

And all of the abuse that you heap upon us does not make us less.

Alan Drysdale and his lovely wife Anita trained here and each time she stepped on the mat I stood in awe of her courage, but my heart was in my throat and I feared for her each instant. I found myself changing my lesson plan to accomodate for her being on the mat. When she tested for shodan I was so proud, but I was terrified. Alan is correct. Women should certainly train and in his dojo they do. And he knows perfectly well that that they have here. My decision to exclude women now is well documented here as are all the reasons.

If you would feel more comfortable training in Titusville with Alan or at Shindai with Dennis, then by all means do so. They are fine men and wonderful instructors. They have dedicated their lives to teaching Aikido as have I and the only difference is that I can no longer accept the fear and responsibility of watching a woman put herself in harms way

Chris Li
09-28-2002, 06:10 PM
Alan Drysdale and his lovely wife Anita trained here and each time she stepped on the mat I stood in awe of her courage, but my heart was in my throat and I feared for her each instant. I found myself changing my lesson plan to accomodate for her being on the mat. When she tested for shodan I was so proud, but I was terrified.
Here's an alternate perspective. I'm not a woman, but I'm physically quite small - about average size for a man in Japan, but small and thin by US standards (especially on the east coast). When I first started Aikido my instructor was a large and powerful man who was afraid to throw me (at least, relative to me :)) because he feared that he might injure me. To tell you the truth, I resented it then, and I think that I'd probably resent it if I were a woman as well. While it's good to have people care about you, I also want them to respect my decision to step on the mat and take my own risks.

Basically, I had to push him into throwing me by attacking him as hard as I could each chance I got - he eventually got over his fear that a smaller person can't also be tough. OTOH, he also had similar problems throwing women strongly, and I'm not sure that I would have been able to overcome his cultural conditioning in that case.

Best,

Chris

Chuck Clark
09-28-2002, 08:53 PM
This is really an interesting discussion. Open hearts that stretch around the globe. Amazing!
Thanks everyone.

Regards,

Peter Goldsbury
09-28-2002, 10:50 PM
In the mid-seventies when I was a student in the US, I trained with the local Aikikai organisation. At that time a group started a women's-only dojo and I for one was quite unhappy about it, since it seemed to offend against basic ideas of fairness and equality in aikido training. Members of the same group were quite happy to throw the men around at demonstrations, but not, it seemed, to train on the same terms. The (Japanese) shihan was completely unconcerned, since he thought it was an American thing.

Now, many years later, I have have come to be aware that "the same terms" are rarely the same. The matter of how a culture deals with sexual identity is complex and aikido is culture-based. The extent to which it is culture-based is an essential area of study for me.

In the aikido world in Japan (NB. my experience is solely Aikikai), male/female sexual differences tend to be emphasised in the organisation, perhaps a reflection of Japanese society as a whole, but to be minimised during actual training. A close friend of mine at the Aikikai Hombu was once told by Kisaburo Osawa Sensei to seek out women partners during training because he had too much upper-body strength and needed to learn to use his hips more. It seems to me that Osawa Sensei was taking account of obvious sexual differences, but seeking to minimise them during training, rather than emphasise them.

Best regards,

mle
09-29-2002, 02:57 AM
Ms. Gordon,

Well, what can I say to that? You started out respecting me then became so disrespectful I can't even imagine the pain you must be feeling.
Dan, I'm sure you're a very sweet man, and I don't mean to be disrespectful (I also suffer from Inappropriate Humour Disease) but I did want to give you a peek into why you are being taken to task. I meant to be severe, not rude.

The pain you hear from me is old.

If it weren't for the kind and generous men who showed me appropriate outlets I would never be as functional, as bold and trusting, as happy as I am today.

If they all thought as you did, I could never have come as far as I have.

You seem to have room there in FL for your "boy's club", I know you can't throw a rock there (in FL) without hitting some shihan or other. Plenty of choices.

I always enjoy hearing Chris Li's POV, I am an unusually large, strong woman (5'8" and strapping but not too fluffy) and I used to get the giggles when someone handled me delicately.

Course now it's several years later and I've a host of chronic injuries, but then, so do most male practicioners my age.

Are we not all mortal? do not all our bodies fail, with time?

I'm glad you got to train with Anita, but if she couldn't change your mind, or Patty Sensei couldn't, then I've not got a chance.

Like a thousand other things I'd like to change and can't, I've just gotta let you go.

There's a ton of practicioners out there who see only a gi and a training partner.

mle

Chris Li
09-29-2002, 03:25 AM
I always enjoy hearing Chris Li's POV
Hey, feel free to come change in my locker room anytime :) .

Best,

Chris

DGLinden
09-29-2002, 10:14 AM
Ms Gordon,

I will be in Germany next year to teach a seminar in Frankfurt. I'm not sure of the dates. If you would care to, please attend the seminar as my guest. There will be other women on the mat.

This whole thing has been blown so far out of proportion. It is making me reconsider my decision. Perhaps I will allow women to train here again. Knowing what you have read about this, do you really think that would make anyone happy? Do you really think that one, single, male dojo IN THE WHOLE WORLD really effects Aikido? I'm actually quite flattered that anyone would even consider that what I do here is so important or monumental, but I know that it isn't true. I think people like willing targets and I have made myself a large one. Its okay, I am big man, blah, blah...

If the world aikido community were measured from one to ten and on one side is a school that teaches only women, does it not follow that the opposite extreme is a school for men? And that both extremes are within a base norm? If one school teaches no hard falls at all and one only break falls, don't they comprise the extremes of both possibilities and by defining the edges of 'the extreme left or right' get included in the norm? Without extremes, we are mired in the norm and we need far limits to expand the norm.

The issue here is whether people's opinions about what happens in a private dojo are worth the electricity to publish them. I think they are. And I have listened carefully. I hope you have, too. Ms Gordon, but I sense that you missed something in my posts. We can talk about it over bratwurst and beer, I hope.

Oh, my wife said to check the www.shoshindojo.com link and go to our German school, the information is posted there.

Deb Fisher
09-29-2002, 02:08 PM
DG Linden wrote:

"Do you really think that one, single, male dojo IN THE WHOLE WORLD really effects Aikido? I'm actually quite flattered that anyone would even consider that what I do here is so important or monumental, but I know that it isn't true."

On the contrary, Mr. Linden. What does the world consist of aside from each individual's actions?

Best,

Deb

DGLinden
09-29-2002, 04:54 PM
Deb,

Are you actually the same Deb Fisher that wrote this?

{I hate hate hate hate hate training with men who think it's okay to flirt while training. Not only does it distract from the reason I'm there (duh, training!), but it's *unbelievably manipulative* to sexualize a situation which is already, by necessity, intimate. The flirt-ee can only attempt to send a clear Not Interested message while engaging in a collaborative activity that involves touching and being at an intimate distance from a person - which the flirt-er is either free to understand... or not.

To answer your question, Mr. Fox - yes! This bothers me! This gets in the way! Flirty men have occasionally transformed my aikido practice into a social/personal liability, an opening through which someone with very few social skills can gain a captive audience for his ministrations. It totally sucks, and I can't believe that you are even positing that the dojo is an appropriate place to meet women (plural important). Is it okay to start flirting with your partner in Massage Therapy or accupuncture school? Is it okay for your doctor or dentist or a nurse to flirt with you while their fingers probe and prod all over and inside you? It would freak you out of someone started flirting with you when you were already doing a necessarily intimate activity, wouldn't it?

It's just so simple, I just don't understand why anyone would be asking if it's okay.

Deb "It's Not The Freaking Love Boat" Fisher

__________________

Deb Fisher }

With that kind of attitude I would think you would find a nice man's or woman's only dojo refreshing.

paw
09-29-2002, 05:51 PM
Dan,

A while back in this thread, it was pointed out that according to the ASU Student Handbook

"The Aikido Schools of Ueshiba is an equal opportunity organization, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, ethnic group, religion, age, or sexual orientation."

Your dojo is an ASU dojo, is it not? Yet, on this thread you have stated:
I not only seperate the sexes, I keep women out of the dojo altogether.

If you do not have a Master's degree, it is difficult to get accepted here to train as well.

I also open the doors to anyone who has served our country in police, fire, or the armed services. As well as anyone who has previous Aikido training under a recognized Sensei.

Yes, before you ask, recognized by me.

Anyone who is a man.

So to summarize, you only allow men, who most likely have a Master's degree (high likelihood of a specific socio-econonmic background, and a certain age), who have trained under a Sensei you recognize.

How do you reconcile your dojo policy with ASU's policy?

mle
09-30-2002, 08:22 AM
Ms Gordon,

I will be in Germany next year to teach a seminar in Frankfurt. I'm not sure of the dates. If you would care to, please attend the seminar as my guest. There will be other women on the mat.
Well thank you sir, I'll take you up on that if at all possible.

Much of my personal mission in budo has to do with unification and understanding across style, art and gender lines, and you just happened to trip over one of them ;-).
This whole thing has been blown so far out of proportion. It is making me reconsider my decision. Perhaps I will allow women to train here again.
My big concern in your decision, made bigger by reading about your dojo on your web site, is that you concentrate on training instructors.

These poor guys are going to go out there and open dojo, and won't have experience training women. Or training WITH women.

This is like raising hothouse flowers, I fear.

Not to mention the dire shortage of female instructors even in the supposedly woman-friendly art of aikido.

If I complained to you that I cannot train with men, that they crush my wrists, that they whine when I crank their stiff joints too hard or laugh at me when I goof up and pull some big lunk on top of me and get squished, what would you tell me?

If I told you I couldn't hack it, that I was sick of their size and patronizing attitude, sick of being overinstructed and hit on and under-trained, mauled and bruised, what would you tell me?
Knowing what you have read about this, do you really think that would make anyone happy? Do you really think that one, single, male dojo IN THE WHOLE WORLD really effects Aikido? I'm actually quite flattered that anyone would even consider that what I do here is so important or monumental, but I know that it isn't true. I think people like willing targets and I have made myself a large one. Its okay, I am big man, blah, blah...
It's not you, Dan, not you I'm thinking of at all (and I'm not going to pick on you about your size ;-)).

I'm thinking of the women and girls who live in fear like I used to. Fear, or ignorance.

I'm thinking of the difference budo made in my life, about how much walking into the fear can help.

There's a parable:a kid is walking on the seashore tossing sea stars back in the ocean from the dry sand.

Someone says "you can't possibly make a difference".

The kid calmly hurls another one back in, as far as he can, and says "It made a difference to that one".
If the world aikido community were measured from one to ten and on one side is a school that teaches only women, does it not follow that the opposite extreme is a school for men? And that both extremes are within a base norm? If one school teaches no hard falls at all and one only break falls, don't they comprise the extremes of both possibilities and by defining the edges of 'the extreme left or right' get included in the norm? Without extremes, we are mired in the norm and we need far limits to expand the norm.
I don't know of any aikido schools strictly for women. I know of one karate school, Sun Dragon, in Austin. I had a male friend who taught there sometimes.

We barely had enough women for a women's aikido class back in Austin, Texas. We had an informal group, the Austin Budo Babes, but that was just for fun and hanging out.

Statistics, damn lies, and statistics (Mark Twain?).

One foot in boiling water, the other in freezing- numerical average says you're comfortable. Heh.

I thrive on the edges myself. Forest edges, water's edges, blade edges... if it weren't for edges there'd be nowhere for me to be.

I am about to begin teaching an all-female class. It's Girl Scouts, they don't let boys in.

While I am okay with teaching all-female classes for wounded souls and kids, I would fully expect them to progress to a "mixed" class.
The issue here is whether people's opinions about what happens in a private dojo are worth the electricity to publish them. I think they are. And I have listened carefully. I hope you have, too. Ms Gordon, but I sense that you missed something in my posts. We can talk about it over bratwurst and beer, I hope.
Please define private dojo for me?

My instructor runs a private dojo, www.the-dojo.com.

Aikido is supposed to be a public art, AFAIK, though seems anyone can do anything they want with that.

Yes, it used to be by letter of recommendation only, during the aiki-budo days. When it became aikido did it not become public?

When my teacher and I first got together, I was an aikidoka and wasn't sure I was up to jujutsu. We agreed that I would try it, and found that while my body has its limitations, my spirit is up to it. So I train with him, and am happily married to him. It's pretty convenient ;-) .

I'm trying to listen, understand what you are doing. My immediate reaction is that it's not good training, not difficult enough.

Your policy makes me feel undervalued for my efforts, to know that simply because of my gender I would not be allowed to train regularly in your dojo.

I'm welcome to train in some really fine dojo around the world, and it just seems silly that merely my gender would keep me out of yours. And your reasons seem, um, kinda wierd to me. Personality disruptions are normal in any group. Grown-ups keep it off the mat and train anyway.

The real challenges of running a dojo lie in managing and motivating the people, not seeing how rigorously you can train, though there's nothing wrong with that AFAIK.

Edward Abbey: " There is a way of being wrong which is also necessarily sometimes right".

mle

(whose dad has never seen her train, and probably never will, the idea scares him to death 8-\ )

DGLinden
09-30-2002, 08:51 AM
Let's see, first things first.

About being an ASU school and the policy of non-descrimination. Good Question. Damn fine question. I had to think about that. Didn't find an answer so I called Saotome Sensei.

The answer is that ASU believes in the autonomy of each instructor and dojo. In other words, like the Constitution was intended, they believe in States Rights. My dojo, my choice.

Now as to not being welcome to train here, Ms Gordon, of course you could visit. I had a nice couple show up a few weeks ago and we had a fine class. I never said that women would not be welcome on occasion and for all that, Patty and Sensei have been here a number of times as welcome and honored guests. Could I do any less for you?

mle
09-30-2002, 09:31 AM
Let's see, first things first.

...

The answer is that ASU believes in the autonomy of each instructor and dojo. In other words, like the Constitution was intended, they believe in States Rights. My dojo, my choice.
Saotome's good like that.

And I can only respect your choice, your dojo family.

I have one myself.

Heh.. what if I chose to teach only men? Oh dear, I'd be a dirty old lady indeed! LOL!

Your invitation to the Florida greenhouse is lovely, but the Army's got us here for another couple years.

You're on for the beer date in Germany.

There just isn't better beer on the planet.

The training's pretty good, too.

You teach your boys, I'll teach my girls, and I'm sure we'll have pretty similar gripes at the end.

mle

Chuck Clark
09-30-2002, 10:24 AM
I'd like to add a small bit. Emily is on my relatively short list of uke I like to train with for this reason.

She is very "honest" in her feedback as uke. I don't mean verbal feedback, but the way she responds as uke is very educational. I value that a lot. There are about as many women on my list as there are men. (But then my brittany dog, Max, is on the list too. When I mess with his balance, the feedback is instant and totally honest and direct.)

My list may not mean much to some of you, but those on the list have helped me learn a lot.

Regards,

mle
10-01-2002, 02:52 PM
I'd like to add a small bit. Emily is on my relatively short list of uke I like to train with for this reason.

She is very "honest" in her feedback as uke. I don't mean verbal feedback, but the way she responds as uke is very educational. I value that a lot. There are about as many women on my list as there are men. (But then my brittany dog, Max, is on the list too. When I mess with his balance, the feedback is instant and totally honest and direct.)
LOL! Thanks to the other Chuck in my life.. I think!

or should I say "woof"!

Dogs are good people.. I could only aspire to that level of honesty.

What I lack in physical ability I try to make up for in sensitivity.

Chuck's one of my favorite nage, for all that. He has some of the clearest physical budo "language" there is. And in his system, this is far more important than in most kata-based systems.

But that's fodder for another thread.

Right now I'd like to take this somewhere productive.

Give me a reason why you train women, if you instruct.

Alternatively, give a reason why you train WITH women.

Give a reason you Wouldn't train women.

Or a reason why you wouldn't train With them.

Only one. And 50 words or less. This is for Dan Linden and the world's edification, so be concise. I'll try to start it off.

Why train women: because I suffered so much as a young woman from horrible grabby boys-- if I can educate future girls to educate future boys, perhaps succeeding generations will not be so angry and hurt and confused.

Why not: women get their priorities scrambled around men and forget each other. Games among women are deadly. Some need to refocus and prioritize (and quit belt-hunting....) others just need the training.

Next.

mle

Chuck Clark
10-01-2002, 06:33 PM
Quickly...

I train women because they're human beings.

(and I found out long ago that I'm not smart enough to know who is going to learn this and take it further and teach it to other human beings)

I like to train with women because the women that have learned good skills and have also learned to be more assertive physically than our culture usually expects of them are often harder to deal with than men. Low and quick center of gravity, etc.

Why I don't like to train with women... There aren't enough of the ones I described above to go around.

You can exchange the word women for men in most of the above. Men have higher centers but also have more strength that I can practice "not pushing against".

Best wishes for safe practice to us all.

MattRice
10-02-2002, 01:00 PM
I train with women because they're there. I train with women because often they are much better at Aikido than I am. One of my favorite instructors is a woman, and she rocks. I'd train with an antelope if she promised to trim the antlers and could get the hakama around her antelope hips.

I got cracked right in the jib by a woman two days ago in class for attacking without getting offline. So much for weak and wimpering…

achilleus
10-02-2002, 03:25 PM
[QUOTE="Matt Rice (MattRice)"]"I train with women because often they are much better at Aikido than I am. One of my favorite instructors is a woman, and she rocks."

ditto.

Our sensai has been teaching all male classes for weeks now since our two ladies have been away on vacation. If not for her - our female sensai - we would have no aikido!

Marnen
10-02-2002, 05:15 PM
Okay, I'll bite and try to answer Emily's question. I haven't started training in aikido yet (still trying to find a dojo I can conveniently get to that isn't Nihon Goshin :) ), so my answers may be different in a few months or years, but this is my current thinking.

While the idea of training in a men-only dojo has certain tempting aspects (I'm surprised I just wrote that), I don't think it's something I'd want to do. If women do indeed function differently on the mat than men, then I must train with both women and men or my training will be incomplete. If women and men do not function differently on the mat, then I see no earthly reason for separating the sexes -- better to look at the individual.

Note that I have no similar problem with the idea of single-sex yoga classes, since yoga is completely internal and it doesn't really matter much who else is in the class. Aikido, however, seems to me to be largely based around interactions with others (I know it's an "internal" style, but the interactions are used as a training tool for the internal work at least), so it makes sense to have those others be as diverse as possible in as many ways as possible. I don't believe in setting up quotas on gender, race, size, or anything else to achieve this diversity; I just believe in admitting anyone qualified regardless of those other aspects.

Did that make sense?

Just my two zeni,

Marnen Laibow-Koser

marnenlk@yahoo.com

Erik
10-02-2002, 06:20 PM
About being an ASU school and the policy of non-descrimination. Good Question. Damn fine question. I had to think about that. Didn't find an answer so I called Saotome Sensei.

The answer is that ASU believes in the autonomy of each instructor and dojo. In other words, like the Constitution was intended, they believe in States Rights. My dojo, my choice.
Then why have the policy?

Abasan
10-03-2002, 01:59 AM
"Then why have the policy?"

So they won't be sued? I heard americans love to sue... :p

Guest5678
10-03-2002, 08:16 AM
Then why have the policy?
I would venture to say it's because there are many more ASU dojos (like Shindai) that do adhere to the policy. Simple matter really....

-Mongo

aikigreg
10-03-2002, 11:23 AM
Why I train women: Becase they ask to be trained and want to learn.

Why I train with women: Because they have better centers than men sometimes and teach me interesting things about Aikido throuh their instinctual responses, which are different from men's.

Reason not to train WITH women: Some of them won't offer good attacks, act petulantly and flirty, or are so damned limp-bodied that it's like performing aikido on overcooked spaghetti.

I can't think of a reason not to train them though, if they want to be trained. Nothing wrong with helping a woman become stronger and more self assured.

Hanna B
10-03-2002, 02:35 PM
Why I train men: Becase they ask to be trained and want to learn.

Why I train with men: Of course I do. Why shouldn't I? Strange question. Oh yeah, I forgot - nobody asked it... :straightf

Reasons not to train WITH men: Can't find any. OK, Some of them confuse power with efficiency. A few of them try to teach every woman they train with, even if he is a visitor in the dojo and she has had years to figure out how her teacher wants techniques to be performed. But heck, these are problems with individuals and if I avoided training with men because of this, I think most of you would say I had a problem.

Reasons not to train men: none. A few individuals I do not overtly encourage to come to my classes. Those who have "street fighting and effective self defence" scribbled all over their minds won't stay anyway, and they will probably disturb practise by blocking techniques instead of trying to tearn. They are however welcome to have a try. These individuals tend to be male... I would make myself and my club a great disfavour (if that is a word) by shutting all men out because of this.

I've taught one class where only women showed up. I've taught two or three classes where all the students were male. These things happen when classes are small enough... It's different, but difficult to say that one is better than the other.

Regards,

Hanna

DGLinden
10-04-2002, 03:36 PM
Erik,

You are making the mistake of projecting your idea of what ASU is upon the reality of what it actually is.

ASU is an organization that is comprised of students who are accepted by and loyal to Mitsugi Saotome Shihan. Its purpose it to support Sensei and promote his style of Aikido. It is not a provider of, or a support facility for dojos or instructors; rather, the dojos and instructors support and by extension are, ASU.

Hence, there is no descrimination on the part of ASU towards anyone. If you are chosen to be a student of my dojo then ASU will not descriminate against you for any reason. The same for Shindai, The Aikido Dojo, Shobu or where ever you might train. It is up to the instructor to accept the student. Once accepted, ASU does not descriminate.

I hope this will clear up your misconceptions.

G DiPierro
10-06-2002, 06:09 AM
the dojos and instructors support and by extension are, ASU. Hence, there is no descrimination on the part of ASU towards anyone. It is up to the instructor to accept the student. Once accepted, ASU does not descriminate.
I believe I understand the idea behind the policy you have outlined, but I don't exactly follow your logic. You say that the "dojos ... by extension are the ASU" and then go on to say that the ASU does not discriminate. But if the dojos are the ASU, and one of the dojos discriminates, then it can be said that the ASU discriminates.

On the other hand, if the dojos are not the ASU, which is what most of the rest of your post seemed to be saying, then it is at best misnamed. I don't think it's fair to fault Erik or anyone else for assuming that an organization called the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba actually refers to the schools, or dojos, themselves. In fact, you make this statement yourself in the quote above, but then spend much of the rest of the post explaining how the ASU is not actually the dojos themselves but rather an umbrella organization for students that are already members of these dojos. If that is the case, then it would be better named something like the Organization of Students of Saotome Sensei, since that's what it sounds like you are claiming that it actually is.

But even if this is the case, your claim that such an organization "does not discriminate" is, at best, unconvincing. In fact, it only accepts people who have already been accepted to organizations that can and do discriminate, the member dojos. If there is discrimination anywhere along the path to entry for an organization, then the organization effectively discriminates, regardless of attempts to manipulate the organizational structure by moving that discrimination elsewhere.

From your last post, I get the idea that selective dojo acceptance is commonplace, if not official policy, in the ASU. This is not inconsistent with my experience, as I have often heard ASU people talk about being "accepted" by a teacher or dojo. I have never heard anyone the Federation speak in those terms. As I understand it, the Federation policy of accepting all students who seek instruction comes from the vision of Aikido as an art for all of humanity. This is not necessarily the case with other arts, though, and at least one Aikido teacher in the Federation is selective about admitting iaido students, even if they are already Aikido students of his. But iaido is a fundamentally different art, and its teaching methods are based upon different assumptions than those of Aikido. Perhaps, then, the ASU vision of Aikido is more in line with those traditional arts which are at least to some degree not completely open to the public.

Chris Li
10-06-2002, 07:03 AM
On the other hand, if the dojos are not the ASU, which is what most of the rest of your post seemed to be saying, then it is at best misnamed. I don't think it's fair to fault Erik or anyone else for assuming that an organization called the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba actually refers to the schools, or dojos, themselves. In fact, you make this statement yourself in the quote above, but then spend much of the rest of the post explaining how the ASU is not actually the dojos themselves but rather an umbrella organization for students that are already members of these dojos. If that is the case, then it would be better named something like the Organization of Students of Saotome Sensei, since that's what it sounds like you are claiming that it actually is.
That's basically what it is, or was, since it is gradually moving away from that. There is certainly (to my mind) something of a conflict here - ASU as an organization has stated policies that, at least in this case, conflict with what is actually occurring in its own schools. The reason why this happens is that people in ASU, especially instructors, generally have a completely free hand to run things as they see fit. Now, as it happens, that's one of the things that I really liked about the organization, but problems are bound to occur, especially as things get larger.
From your last post, I get the idea that selective dojo acceptance is commonplace, if not official policy, in the ASU.
As I said, things seem to be changing as the organization grows, but when it started out (and when I was connected with them) ASU was just another name for Saotome and his students. Basically, if you were a student of Saotome then you were in ASU, and if you weren't you weren't. In that sense, it was selective. I never knew it to be selective as in choosing who could and couldn't practice, I always found it open to all comers - much more so than many USAF dojo were, although things have calmed down a lot over the years.

Best,

Chris

JO
10-06-2002, 09:00 AM
Why I train with women?

Chuck's answer is about right, because they are human. Also because my wife wouldn't forgive me if I stopped training with her. One of my instructors is a woman, and I would never consider skipping her classes.

I can't think of a reason to not train with women that would apply to all women or that wouldn't also apply to many men.

Chocolateuke
10-06-2002, 03:42 PM
Read the thread... Intresting... I'm still deppressed that I don't have a dojo. grrrrrrrr... well, if you any free girls send them to me :)

G DiPierro
10-07-2002, 03:53 AM
There is certainly (to my mind) something of a conflict here - ASU as an organization has stated policies that, at least in this case, conflict with what is actually occurring in its own schools.Daniel Linden's last post notwithstanding, I just don't see any way around the fact that his dojo is not following the policy. I don't see any problem with this, though, since it has apparantly been approved by Saotome Sensei. However, they should at least admit that the de facto policy is to ignore the written policy whenever they feel like it, or else they should change one policy or the other to bring them into agreement. The argument that they are, in fact, actually adhering to that policy is not at all convincing.As I said, things seem to be changing as the organization grows, but when it started out (and when I was connected with them) ASU was just another name for Saotome and his students.That certainly brings some historical perspective to the matter. Perhaps when there were only a few people teaching Aikido in the US, the ASU was limited to Saotome Sensei's direct students, but today it seems to have become more of a national organization of dojos, some of which are only loosely connected with Saotome himself. My experience of the ASU has always been that it sees itself as a competitor to the USAF as a national political organization, not as the exclusive province of the direct students of a particular shihan, like the the USAF-WR is.I never knew it to be selective as in choosing who could and couldn't practice, I always found it open to all comers - much more so than many USAF dojo were, although things have calmed down a lot over the years.Could you discuss this further? In what ways was the ASU more open than the USAF?

Chris Li
10-07-2002, 07:03 AM
My experience of the ASU has always been that it sees itself as a competitor to the USAF as a national political organization, not as the exclusive province of the direct students of a particular shihan, like the the USAF-WR is.
That wasn't my experience, but things may have changed - I haven't really had any contact with ASU since I left the US for Japan in the late 1980's.
Could you discuss this further? In what ways was the ASU more open than the USAF?
I never had a problem with the big places in the USAF, but some of the smaller places were not so open, in my experience. Saotome accepted everybody, recognized all ranks (even Shodokan and Yoshinkan ranks) and never had a problem with people going off to train with the USAF if they felt like it. Not all USAF dojo had the same attitudes. I have to note that I never had a problem with either Yamada or Kanai (the first time I came to Japan I came with Yamada), but my experience was that some of the smaller USAF places were less welcoming. Again, this was in the 1980's.

Best,

Chris

Bruce Baker
10-07-2002, 08:14 AM
Oh my goodness, to be more polite than what I really am thinking, this thread has taken on a life of its own!

The fact that men train with women should make the men afraid, rather than flirting or feeling superior, those women who seriously train will cause more pain than the big man who seems to uses strength and speed. I know, it takes every bit of my emotional control not to crank them as hard as they crank me, or retaliate for their elbow shots to the ribs which are always too hard leaving some type of mark.

I am no skinny little guy, and physical force could be used, or simply relaxing to increase the amount of force needed to move me can make it extremely difficult to practice, but isn't it obvious this give and take thread is going in circles?

ASU, as Saotome Sensei points out, has the right to refuse of take in students at the discression of the dojo's head teacher. This has always been the way of martial arts teachings even if don't believe it can be so. Believe it or not, there is a moral, as well as legal basis for this policy. Not everyone has the money or time to go through the legal process, but I know of one situation where someone did.

It wasn't a dojo, it was a marina, but the legal system did support the owner of the marina to pick and choose the customers he chose to give service to. Even after the irate customer called in favors from the state EPA, Federal taxes, state taxes, and various other examinations claiming there were mob influences, which were trumped up in a fit of anger by the customer, the law upheld the owners right to choose who he would allow to use his facilities, and who he would choose to service in his facility. Hence, "this establishment chooses to refuse service", although morally faulting was legally upheld in a court of law. Some of this was because there were numerous other Marina's that offer equal facilities at simular rates, and they had openings in their slips for boats.

So, let's put this choice of who teaches who to bed.

About the recognition of grade from other organizations, you should be humble enough to start from the beginning with the teacher's decision if you are at a grade in their style? Or has the old morality given way to whining little brats who get their way? Has this become the way of our training, to bitch and moan?

As far as women, you would have a better chance of not getting shocked by putting a screwdriver across the terminals of a car battery! Simular physiology, different polarity, man meets woman, look out for sparks. There are people who cannot grasp the concept that men and women are anything else than a means to have sex, they need to get a GRIP! They need to let it go in Aikido practice, maintain a better state of mind. It might take the physical experience of getting you butt whooped, but then that is the lesson you need for that state of mind.

As far as the comments about street defense, well, there must be a deeper meaning to Aikido than gently tossing each other about? I can't help it if most men are in Aikido to find fighting techniques, but they should also consider the aspect of finding an art that will cause the least amount of injurys though training and proper practice techniques.

If women need to put up more "red light" signals, then men should learn to do this also to keep female preditors, as well as male preditors in abeyance during Aikido practice. Enforceing the rules of flirting, sexual innuendo, and improper behavior by the entire practicing population may not be the only way to curb behavior, but it is a start.

Let the women practice if they want to, but just the same, be only as gentle as their level of practice. Statistically, women are proven tougher than men, so if they want to train, let 'em.

If you don't think women are tougher than men, try being a househusband for a year or so with two or three children, two in diapers, then tell me women aren't tough!

G DiPierro
10-07-2002, 08:25 AM
That wasn't my experience, but things may have changed - I haven't really had any contact with ASU since I left the US for Japan in the late 1980's.My experience with the ASU has been limited and only during the past several years, but I had been under the impression that there are dojos in the ASU which joined for political reasons rather than because the instructors were students of Saotome Sensei.I never had a problem with the big places in the USAF, but some of the smaller places were not so open, in my experience.One aspect of a large organization like the USAF is that there are a wide range of styles taught in the various member dojos. The shihan and other teachers who maintain large dojos generally have had a lot of exposure to these different styles and do not have problems teaching students who have trained elsewhere. Smaller dojos may not have this kind of experience, and in some cases they isolate themselves by only rarely attending seminars. These dojos might not be as open to students outside of their own style regardless of what organization the student comes from. I have practiced at more than one small dojo nominally under the direction of Yamada Sensei where the instructors openly claim that they consider their primary influences to be teachers from outside the Federation. At one dojo, the teacher had ranking sticks for about a dozen Hombu shihan with which he had studied, including Saotome Sensei, but none for Yamada Sensei or any of the other USAF shihan! If Saotome Sensei is as open about accepting students as Yamada Sensei, then one would expect that the same sort of thing happens in the ASU.

Greg Jennings
10-07-2002, 10:28 AM
I'm happy to have someone to train with.

Best Regards,

Erik
10-07-2002, 11:14 AM
You are making the mistake of projecting your idea of what ASU is upon the reality of what it actually is.
At the risk of repeating earlier posts.

That is why I made the post. My point was that most people will make this assumption. Being a part of an organization implies something more to most people than what most Aikido organizations are. By virtue of a dojo's acceptance into the organization it implies a certain organizational standard and ASU does have organizational standards. Unless it's different in other parts of the country, only Saotome and Ikeda can promote dan ranks, for instance. There are requirements in order to test. I've heard that there have been discussions of issuing teaching certifications as well. These are standards and their existance makes the other seem logical as well.

For the record, I like the ASU and have both direct and indirect ties to a number of the local dojos who have joined ASU. It's just that organizations in our world seem to straddle a line and I thought this would be a good place to bring it up.

Guest5678
10-07-2002, 01:35 PM
Perhaps a better analogy here. Think of the federal government and it's relationship with the individual state governments.....

In the ASU;

The federal government would be represented by Saotome sensei & co.(i.e... the ASU) While the membership dojos represent the individual state governments that make up the federal government…..

Hope that makes sense....

-Mongo

G DiPierro
10-07-2002, 02:06 PM
The federal government would be represented by Saotome sensei & co.(i.e... the ASU) While the membership dojos represent the individual state governments that make up the federal government….So then you're saying that the ASU is a federation, like, well, the Federation. OK, fine. What does it mean to say that a federation does not discriminate? What does it mean to say that it has certain requirements for promotion? What does it mean to say that it promotes the teaching of Aikido? Does it mean that the individual dojos can do anything they want on the basis of some sort of "states' rights" argument? If Dennis Hooker decided tommorow to stop teaching Aikido, replace it with TKD, and starting promoting people based solely on the number of bricks they can break with their heads, could he do that and remain in the ASU? After all, it's his dojo, so he can do what he wants, right?

Obviously, a federation has some right to expect certain behaviors from its members, and in this case the ASU has stated that one of those behaviors is not discriminating on the basis of sex. They could change the policy to say something like "The ASU recommends that its member dojos not discriminate on the basis of sex," and then it would be clear that dojos can do what they want in this regard. But what it says right now is that "The ASU does not discriminate on the basis of sex," and that is obviously not consistent with reality in this case.

Guest5678
10-08-2002, 08:23 AM
So then you're saying that the ASU is a federation, like, well, the Federation. OK, fine. What does it mean to say that a federation does not discriminate? What does it mean to say that it has certain requirements for promotion? What does it mean to say that it promotes the teaching of Aikido? Does it mean that the individual dojos can do anything they want on the basis of some sort of "states' rights" argument? If Dennis Hooker decided tommorow to stop teaching Aikido, replace it with TKD, and starting promoting people based solely on the number of bricks they can break with their heads, could he do that and remain in the ASU? After all, it's his dojo, so he can do what he wants, right?

Obviously, a federation has some right to expect certain behaviors from its members, and in this case the ASU has stated that one of those behaviors is not discriminating on the basis of sex. They could change the policy to say something like "The ASU recommends that its member dojos not discriminate on the basis of sex," and then it would be clear that dojos can do what they want in this regard. But what it says right now is that "The ASU does not discriminate on the basis of sex," and that is obviously not consistent with reality in this case.
Giancarlo,

Well, so much for analogies. jeeez! What I did NOT say however, is that the ASU is a federation.

I was hoping that this analogy would help people better understand the relationship between the ASU and the various dojos. Appearntly not.... I certainly cannot answer all of your questions regrding ASU policies, I will however, suggest that if you're really that curious, you contact the ASU directly and ask them yourself...

While I certainly cannot speak for Hooker sensei, his sensei, or the ASU organization, I can pass on what I've experienced as an ASU member over the past 6-7 years.

It appears to me that Saotome sensei has a great deal of TRUST in his students. As it should be in my book. It also appears that he has a huge amount of common sense and insight regarding human behavior. I think he realizes that all people (his students) are different and the individual dojos they operate will have a tendency to reflect those differences. This is certainly not uncommon.

I have found that although many dojos may belong to the same organization, each will have a unique feel to it. A unique "atmosphere" if you will. Students of the same instructor tend to emphasize different aspects of the art they are taught. This has been repeated throughout history and can be seen in many different arts as well. Look at the history of Japanese sword as an example. Aikido is no different....

Also, on a side note, Hooker sensei DOES like to throw in a little karate here and there, but it's Uechi-ryu (sp?), not TKD...

-Mongo

DGLinden
10-08-2002, 08:34 AM
I guess it is possible that you are using this forum to inflame, whats the term? Whatever.

There are very specific rules that ASU instructors use for conduct and promotions. Once you have been accepted as a student of a dojo you are required to follow them. ASU does not accept students, local dojos do. Once accepted by the dojo, ASU does not descriminate. Dennis Hooker, Shihan would not be allowed to submit a promotion that was not in accordance with Saotome Shihan's requirements. So why not drop this? You are beating a horse not only dead, but decomposed.

As far as outside dojos being accepted in ASU, Saotome Shihan has accepted a few, but for the most part all dojo senseis are his direct students. He has a personal relationship with each one or one of his senior teachers will take responsibility for a new school for an extended probation. This might happen if a Teacher's student wanted to open a school. Our school in Germany is a good example. I am responsible to Sensei for this body. I believe that Shobu in Boston has several locations. I know that Hooker Shihan has a number of schools he oversees.

And before you ask, Shoshin Rodgau does accept women and children.

G DiPierro
10-08-2002, 08:42 AM
What I did NOT say however, is that the ASU is a federation.You made an analogy comparing the structure of the ASU to that of the federal government. The structure of the federal goverment is a federation. Hence the term, "federal government."

G DiPierro
10-08-2002, 08:56 AM
So why not drop this? You are beating a horse not only dead, but decomposed.Several people have posted saying that it looks to them like your policy is not in accord with the ASU policy, so I don't think it's fair to say that we are all "beating a horse [that is] not only dead, but decomposed." Perhaps you see it that way, but from what I have read, most people in this thread don't.

Look, I don't care what you do in your dojo. As far as I'm concerned that's between you and your teacher. But I just don't buy your argument that the ASU policy stated in this thread permits individual dojos to discriminate. I'm not questioning your policy, and I'm not questioning the fact that the de facto ASU policy seems to be that you can do whatever you want regardless of the written ASU policy, but I am questioning your claim that you are actually following that written policy. And I don't think that I am the only one who is not at all convinced by that claim.

G DiPierro
10-08-2002, 09:32 AM
Once accepted by the dojo, ASU does not descriminate.To try to get this discussion back to what I see as the main issue, your claim that the written policy does not mean that dojos themselves cannot discriminate, let's take a look at your statement above. What does it mean to say that the ASU does not discriminate? You are claiming that it means that the ASU does not discriminate against any students who have already been accepted by one of its member dojos. But how could it? Could you imagine a situation where the ASU refused to accept a student who had already been accepted as student at an ASU dojo? Has the ASU ever rejected such a student? If you can provide an example, please do, but it's hard to imagine how this would be possible. The ASU, almost by definition, would not reject, for any reason, a student who was already a member in good standing of an ASU dojo. So it should be easy to see how your statement that "once accepted by the dojo, the ASU does not discriminate" is meaningless. Of course the ASU will accept all students who are accepted to its member dojos, they don't need a non-discrimination policy for that.

Daniel, the only sensible reading of that policy is the one that I and others consider to be the obvious one, that ASU member dojos do not discriminate on the basis of sex. You can try to deny this with as much double-talk as you like but I think that it is clear to almost everyone here what this policy means.

Guest5678
10-08-2002, 09:35 AM
You made an analogy comparing the structure of the ASU to that of the federal government. The structure of the federal goverment is a federation. Hence the term, "federal government."
Giancarlo,

This is a great example of the differences I spoke to in the previous post.

Your focus is on a comparison of the ASU to the federal government, while I was hoping you would focus on the relationship between the two governing bodies....

Oh well.. this is why I don't teach HA!

-Mongo

MattRice
10-08-2002, 10:24 AM
just to clear up, it is incorrect that only Saotome Shihan and Ikeda Shihan can issue dan ranks

aikigreg
10-08-2002, 11:33 AM
Look at it this way. If someone brings their 90 year old mother with Alzheimer's disease to your dojo and tell you you are going to train them, would you?

Heck no you wouldn't, but it's still age discrimination. If you ran the dojo, you'd want to do it your way too, believe me. Nothing wrong with the practice.

And if they relented and allowed someone in they really didn't want, what do you think the training atmosphere would be? That, to me, is a tragedy much worse than just the exclusion at the beginning.

Marnen
10-09-2002, 04:18 PM
Look at it this way. If someone brings their 90 year old mother with Alzheimer's disease to your dojo and tell you you are going to train them, would you?

Heck no you wouldn't, but it's still age discrimination.
No, it's not necessarily age discrimination. There are all sorts of legitimate reasons for believing that someone like that would not be an effective student -- the Alzheimer's disease will make it hard for her to remember what she's taught, for one.

Age discrimination means not accepting someone solely on the basis of age. If she was turned down only because she was 90, where a 50-year-old in the same physical and mental condition would have been accepted, that's age discrimination. There are simply too many confounding variables in your example to make it a clear-cut case of anything.
If you ran the dojo, you'd want to do it your way too, believe me. Nothing wrong with the practice.
I too believe in the right of an instructor to run eir dojo the way ey wants to, but for reasons outlined in my earlier post, I think it's good to have as diverse a student body as possible.
And if they relented and allowed someone in they really didn't want, what do you think the training atmosphere would be? That, to me, is a tragedy much worse than just the exclusion at the beginning.
Maybe...or maybe they'd learn something valuable from having someone "different" in the dojo.

Erik
10-15-2002, 06:47 PM
I guess it is possible that you are using this forum to inflame, whats the term? Whatever.
Not sure if this is directed at me but it wasn't my intention on this one.

Anyways, I have a better understanding of ASU and how it works and for that I thank you.

Erik
10-15-2002, 06:56 PM
just to clear up, it is incorrect that only Saotome Shihan and Ikeda Shihan can issue dan ranks
Thanks for clarifying that. My apologies for the confusion. I made an assumption from afar and we know what sometimes happens then.

mle
05-03-2003, 05:09 PM
Oh well.. this is why I don't teach HA!

-Mongo
Politics don't prove much except who can "power play" whom. Blech.

After doing research, interviews, and working on several articles and papers on the subject, the best quote I received was this, from an Army staff sergeant boxing coach (man with a 14 year old daughter who boxes and competes):

"If you're not willing to teach women, you shouldn't teach anyone."

I still believe that if Dan doesn't feel suited to teach women, he shouldn't; however, he shouldn't blame the women.

Sorry I missed you in Germany, we had a "mission conflict" and Chuck couldn't get the time off. Believe me I complained, but the Army don't care.

We'll try hard for next time.

If all goes well the paper will be presented and published on EJMAS.COM, if not, I'll put it on the web myself and post the link here.

mle

Mallory Wikoff
05-04-2003, 07:10 PM
I not only seperate the sexes, I keep women out of the dojo altogether.

I may have the only dojo in the country that does not accept any women students.

I could go on for hours as to why, but the real reason is that it pleases me. As I turn away anywhere from 5 to 10 potential students a week (the dojo has a waiting list) I seem to be doing something right.

We have no issues with dating, male dominance, PMS, jealosy, locker rooms or toilets. Back when I allowed women to train I NEVER let husbands and wives or couples train together. Over 30 years I've seen too many personal problems brought to the mat. I should mention that my lovely wife is a Shodan. I have no problem women training everywhere else, I think its just fine.

Oh brother, get over it!

If you havent figured it out already, i'm a girl, but I actualy prefer working w/ men b/c first of all, most likely on the street no lady is going to atack me, and second of all, It's better for me to work w/ men b/c it's more challenging.

Mary Eastland
05-05-2003, 07:00 AM
You wrote "I train with men because it is more challenging."

While I think Mr. Linden is certainly missing something because he does not train with women I wonder when I hear a statement like this. It seems like some women are harder on other women than men are.

I was taught that every uke had value and would teach me something about myself. Aikido is about give and take and technique is a vehicle to deeper learning. By limiting oursleves with judgements about who we work with, we can also limit our natural progression to self mastery.

Both men and women at our dojo can offer "Challenges" and we practice our Aikido in joyful and respectful manner.

Mary

SmilingNage
05-05-2003, 08:59 AM
I find this all so amusing, that people would take offense to an all male dojo. What is missing is acceptance and respect for personal freedom and expression. If the man doesnt want sexual tension in his dojo, then he is nipping the problem in the bud by not accepting women. Mr Linden is providing an atmosphere where his teachings are more receptive to the students he wishes to teach to. It must work for some, otherwise he wouldnt have a waiting list to join. In your own dojo, I am sure there are people you dislike and like to train with. Then its not a far stretch to say that you avoid training with the people you dont care to train with. Maybe they throw to hard for you, bad hygiene, or just a bad personality, but it comes down to your choice, your personal choice. Its not a matter of right or wrong, training with or not training with the opposite sex, but rather one of personal choice.



To accept or receive is a fundamental element in Aikido. Blending occurs when acceptance has taken place. Accept where Mr Linden is coming from, then you can either blend or simply let it go. If you dont accept or let it go, then you see the results in this thread, bitter posts and demonization of his charachter. Obviously when you hang your beliefs out on line to be viewed publicly, there are people who will disagree. But all the neo nazi, kkk talk is complete garbage and nonsense. Shame on anyone who would so carelessly throw such unfounded allegations around. Take some responsibility for your words and not hide behind your cowardly keyboard. What have we learned from Aikido if you cant accept/receive, be it an attack, or a difference of opinion?

Now back to the question at hand, I respect and support both sides of the arguement. I sum it up to, its your training do what you want with it. Its your Do/way, find out what it means to you.

From a personal stand point, I found that mixed training has provided me with alot of benefit. It offers a more variety and degree to the situation. The more mixed the "diet" the better it is for me. But I like alot of varied "food" at my table, some people dont like variety and prefer to stick with what they know. Hey thats alright by me, more for me to eat and digest.

Now I am starving.

LoL

Peter Klein
05-05-2003, 09:03 AM
i really would like to train only with the same sex cause i feel kinda securer throwing a man than a woman.

SmilingNage
05-05-2003, 09:19 AM
Nothing wrong with that Pete,atleast your honest. In your experience, you may not have come across women that train as hard as you do. But there are some women who can apply technique or throw. Best keep on your toes

Chris Li
05-05-2003, 01:20 PM
I find this all so amusing, that people would take offense to an all male dojo. What is missing is acceptance and respect for personal freedom and expression.
So you would accept and respect the personal freedom of someone who, for example, had a dojo that excluded African Americans and Jews?

Best,

Chris

Peter Klein
05-05-2003, 03:41 PM
I would. even though I hate racism. But rassist are to stupid to do aikido so this case would never occour :)

LukeTBrown
05-05-2003, 04:00 PM
[QUOTE="Christopher Li (Chris Li)"]So you would accept and respect the personal freedom of someone who, for example, had a dojo that excluded African Americans and Jews?

I would like to direct you to page 4 of this thread. Look for my previous post. It, in some way, should answer your question.

Chris Li
05-05-2003, 05:56 PM
[QUOTE="Christopher Li (Chris Li)"]So you would accept and respect the personal freedom of someone who, for example, had a dojo that excluded African Americans and Jews?

I would like to direct you to page 4 of this thread. Look for my previous post. It, in some way, should answer your question.
Yes, I remember the post, and I'm not accusing Dan of excluding blacks or Jews.

What I am asking is why it is acceptable to exclude women when it is unacceptable (I assume, to most people) to exclude (for example) blacks and Jews? Are you saying that it would be okay to exclude blacks and Jews as long as you don't hate them?

Best,

Chris

SmilingNage
05-06-2003, 12:13 AM
Chris, I dislike when quotes are partially taken and retargeted in a different light.

If you dont like someone, dont train with them. Its just that simple. I am not a moral judge, So asking if I think its right or wrong is fruitless. I accept his choice, because that is how you blend. I believe in personal choice. If someone participated in that type of segregation, which is unlawful, thats their choice. It has no bearing to my person even if I were black,Jewish,female etc. I wouldnt waste my time worrying about it. It would be their problem with the world. I wouldnt make their problem my problem.



Life is to short to walk around with a chip on your shoulder. Read your Dobson, giving in to get your way. Accept and blend, move on. You can only control/center yourself and how you react. The rest falls into place.

Liz Evans
05-06-2003, 06:25 AM
We are all aikido students once we put a gi on and enter the Dojo. I have trained with a variety of ukes - heavier, lighter, shorter, taller, younger, older etc. some women but mostly men. What is the problem ? we are all different and with each uke my aikido is challenged for different reasons. For all you men who are concerned about hurting a 'girl' please remember that if she didnt want to be thrown or have techniques put on she wouldnt have joined in the first place !

As for the men only Dojo - Daniel what are you so scared of? PMS - get real. You have no respect.

Chris Li
05-06-2003, 01:11 PM
Chris, I dislike when quotes are partially taken and retargeted in a different light.
Hmm? I don't follow you - the only quote in the message before yours quoted the entire text of his message. If you're referring to the message before that one then I don't see how it's "retargeted". What I'm asking is a simple question - if it's alright to exclude people from a dojo on the basis of sex (as he quite clearly says it is) then why isn't it also alright to exclude people from a dojo on the basis of race or religion?
If you dont like someone, dont train with them. Its just that simple. I am not a moral judge, So asking if I think its right or wrong is fruitless. I accept his choice, because that is how you blend. I believe in personal choice. If someone participated in that type of segregation, which is unlawful, thats their choice. It has no bearing to my person even if I were black,Jewish,female etc. I wouldnt waste my time worrying about it. It would be their problem with the world. I wouldnt make their problem my problem.
I have never, anywhere in this thread, said (or even implied, I think) that I didn't like anybody. I had a disagreement with a certain policy, that's all.

Life is to short to walk around with a chip on your shoulder. Read your Dobson, giving in to get your way. Accept and blend, move on. You can only control/center yourself and how you react. The rest falls into place.
I'll have to mention that to Rosa Parks :).

So you're saying Martin Luther King an Ghandi should have just accepted the situation and gotten on with their own lives?

Best,

Chris

Dave Miller
05-06-2003, 01:29 PM
In my dojo, we try to have everyone train with everyone else. That means that the tallest person ends up doing techniques with the shortest person and everything in between. This helps to make sure that you can effectively perform the technique on anyone, regardless of height and weight, etc. At that point, gender makes little difference. The only thing that segregates us on the mat is level of ability. (i.e. we don't practice upper-rank techniques on lower-rank aikidokas.)

IMHO, that is how it should be. This is how you learn the technique most fully and effectively. It's one thing to practice with the same person for years and get really good with them. It's another thing entirely to get to where you can work with anyone of any size and/or height and still work effectively.

George S. Ledyard
05-06-2003, 01:51 PM
The one thing that I find most interesting about this whole thing has not yet been mentioned. The Shoshin dojo is a member of the ASU and hence the ASU and Saotome Sensei obviously must approve of this policy. I find it a little surpising that they do, but then I don't know Saotome Sensei that well. AFAIK, no dojos in the USAF discriminate on the basis of sex (or otherwise). Given what I know about the Federation, I don't think that it would happen there. If anyone can provide a counterexample please do.
As a student of Saotome Sensei, it would be my conjecture that Sensei neither endorses nor opposes Sensei Linden's admissions policy. Sensei has always been a big believer that by the time that you have paid your dues enough to start your own dojo and take the responsibilities that go with being Dojo Cho then it's pretty much your call how you choose to run the place. Exceptions would be illegal or immoral activity, consistent physical abuse of students, etc.

That said, I can't think of another ASU dojo that has such a policy. In Saotome Sensei's dojo in Washington, DC where I started back in the seventies there were five yudansha who had moved there to help him open the school. Three out of the five were female instructors. Both Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei have a number of female senior students so I would say that the ASU as an organization is not at all exclusionary and that Linden Sensei's choices about how he runs his dojo are his own.

Michael Neal
05-06-2003, 04:04 PM
I support his decision to have a male only dojo, this is America after all. Or does freedom of association not apply to men anymore just everyone else?

Chris Li
05-06-2003, 05:00 PM
I support his decision to have a male only dojo, this is America after all. Or does freedom of association not apply to men anymore just everyone else?
Would you say the same in the case of (for example) a white only dojo? If so, why, and if not, then why not?

Best,

Chris

SmilingNage
05-06-2003, 05:35 PM
The point is Chris is your making this into something its not. If you(general reference to anyone) dont like to train with someone, dont. And if someone doesnt want to train with you dont train with them. Pretty simple.

As to your reference to civil right legends, certainly Ghandi understood giving in to get your way. That was the crux of his passive resistance campaign. Use the british brutality against the british, accept,blend redirect.Dr King knew what he was up against, but he didnt let it effect him. He choose to become the circle the deflects the pointed attacks. Rosa Parks said all along she was just tired and thats why she sat in the fornt of the bus. She never intended to become a civil rights activist. She was quite embarrassed by all the publicity generated by it.

Back to the point,You cant make anyone do anything they dont want. If a teacher doesnt accept certains students, so be it. There are plenty of other teachers that will accept them. Its about choice, be thankful you have them. Is that so hard to understand? So stop stirring up the racist overtures. Leave that hive alone, it makes for ugly conversation amongst friends.

Chris Li
05-06-2003, 05:45 PM
The point is Chris is your making this into something its not. If you(general reference to anyone) dont like to train with someone, dont. And if someone doesnt want to train with you dont train with them. Pretty simple.
I disagree. The issue has nothing to do with whether or not I want to train there - in fact the likelyhood that I'll ever be in that area is fairly small in itself. It's not even really about that dojo in particular.
As to your reference to civil right legends, certainly Ghandi understood giving in to get your way. That was the crux of his passive resistance campaign. Use the british brutality against the british, accept,blend redirect.Dr King knew what he was up against, but he didnt let it effect him. He choose to become the circle the deflects the pointed attacks. Rosa Parks said all along she was just tired and thats why she sat in the fornt of the bus. She never intended to become a civil rights activist. She was quite embarrassed by all the publicity generated by it.
I don't recall Ghandi "giving in" very much. He used non-violent methods of protest, but he certainly advocated strong and active resistence to injustice.
Back to the point,You cant make anyone do anything they dont want. If a teacher doesnt accept certains students, so be it. There are plenty of other teachers that will accept them. Its about choice, be thankful you have them. Is that so hard to understand? So stop stirring up the racist overtures. Leave that hive alone, it makes for ugly conversation amongst friends.
Well, I'm still interested in how you would answer my question:

"Would you say the same in the case of (for example) a white only dojo? If so, why, and if not, then why not?"

Why should dicussion of discrimination be taboo among friends?

Best,

Chris

Alfonso
05-06-2003, 05:59 PM
How about discriminating students on their ability to pay monthly dues?

Chris Li
05-06-2003, 06:30 PM
How about discriminating students on their ability to pay monthly dues?
Some might see that as discrimination. I don't, because anyone - white, black, purple, male or female has the theoretical potential to raise the money for dues. Not so when discrimination is based upon inherited biological traits.

OTOH, I personally wouldn't turn someone away who wanted to train because they didn't have the money.

Best,

Chris

SmilingNage
05-06-2003, 10:24 PM
You dont understand the principle of "giving in" Giving in doesnt mean submitting in this case. It means accepting what is coming or about to happen,recognition, then moving in accordance.

And I have answered your question, re read earlier posts. Its all about personal choice and thats about all I have to say.

Liz Evans
05-07-2003, 03:09 AM
My two pence worth !

Daniel in my opinion is not running an 'Aikido Club' He has his own private fight club where he only wants certain physical and mental types to participate. If he wants to do this then fine, no problem, their choice. However, this is not in the spirit of what Aikido is about - where the smallest, lightest people can be very affective (mmmm wasnt O'Sensei a little on the short side!!!)

Also my Sensei is well over 50, probably hasn't got a masters (past the age for Daniels Club) and believe me he could seriously kick his ass!! So not Aikido Daniel - just a boys club.

Mike Dougher
05-07-2003, 06:22 AM
My husband is an Aikido blackbelt. He has recently told me that his dojo does not allow women in.

I was surprised by this. When he first started, years ago there were a couple of women participanting in his dojo. He came home many nights reporting how he had learned much from these women. I had noticed that there have not been women involved with his dojo for the last several years, but I did not

realize that his Sensei might have actually turned women away from becoming members.

Now my husband tells me that his Sensei has put the word out that he finds this policy to be to his student's advantage. I know that my husband benefits from his Aikido training in many, many ways.

He is completely dedicated to his dojo.

I am now on the record, crowing that martial arts, this Aikido dojo and every seminar he has ever gone to has been instrumental in making my husband into the awesome father, husband, lover, friend,

son, brother and person that I always knew he could be. The comaraderie, the physical workout ,the spirituality that being an Aikidokan is all about unlocked all that was held back in him before.

And working out with women is part of his experience.

He has told me that women are not hung up about physical strenth, so they never try to overpower the technique being practiced. Women are generally more self aware, so they know their center and use it during their practice. He says they are sneaky, and he can't predict their moves easily. He likes working out with women because it is fun and different than with men. At the seminars, he has pointed out to me different women that he thinks are amazing Aikidokans.

He and I have discussed this at length since he read what his Sensei wrote. He tells me that he understands how there could be discomfort and maybe even dissent on the mat when both sexes are training together. Up close and inside that personal space is very uncomfortable for some people,and worse with someone of the opposite sex. Aikido is a contact martial art, much more than the Karate that his brother and our children train in. We also talked about the other way. What if there was a particularly attractive woman coming out to train? Would all the men line up to work out with her? Maybe. That is alot of game playing that isn't really what martial arts is all about. He does admit that is easier that it is all guys. He likes not having to watch out during his regular training at his dojo.

At the seminars though, he's on his best behavior anyway.

I have found that his dojo, his Sensei, all the people involved there make for a supportive and positive place to spend time. There he can truly be himself. They have seen him through deaths in the family,job loss and prosperity alike. I am proud of him.

LukeTBrown
05-07-2003, 09:09 AM
My two pence worth !

Daniel in my opinion is not running an 'Aikido Club' He has his own private fight club where he only wants certain physical and mental types to participate. If he wants to do this then fine, no problem, their choice. However, this is not in the spirit of what Aikido is about - where the smallest, lightest people can be very affective (mmmm wasnt O'Sensei a little on the short side!!!)

Also my Sensei is well over 50, probably hasn't got a masters (past the age for Daniels Club) and believe me he could seriously kick his ass!! So not Aikido Daniel - just a boys club.
I'm not at all trying to attack you Liz, so please try not to take offense.

That could be the most ignorant thing I have ever read in my entire life. Your opinion is musguided, sweeping and just plain wrong.

/That is all

Michael Neal
05-07-2003, 09:23 AM
Would you say the same in the case of (for example) a white only dojo? If so, why, and if not, then why not?

Best,

Chris
If you want an all white dojo you have every right to do so even though I personally would find it repugnant.

Chris Li
05-07-2003, 01:31 PM
If you want an all white dojo you have every right to do so even though I personally would find it repugnant.
And that's an important point - there are really two seperate but related issues here:

1) Whether or not a dojo that excludes people on the basis of sex, race, or religion is ethically acceptable.

and

2) Whether or not such a dojo ought to be allowed to exist.

Contrary to what has been implied, I believe that people (in general) ought to be able to run their dojo as they please. In fact, I said that very thing in the early days of the thread. My answer to question number 2 would be "yes".

I don't think, however, that presents any conflict with a "no" answer for question number 1.

For people posting about how great the dojo that started this discussion is - I'm sure they're right and that it's a great place to train. That has nothing to do with whether or not such a policy is ethical or not. If you encountered a club (of any kind) that excluded non-whites and Jews as a matter of policy would you defend it by talking about how enriching it was for the members?

Best,

Chris

Dave Miller
05-07-2003, 02:06 PM
For people posting about how great the dojo that started this discussion is - I'm sure they're right and that it's a great place to train. That has nothing to do with whether or not such a policy is ethical or not. If you encountered a club (of any kind) that excluded non-whites and Jews as a matter of policy would you defend it by talking about how enriching it was for the members?I find it interesting to note that no one is trying to argue the reverse, that it would be equally unethical to have a dojo where whites or men were not welcome.

I'd be interested in hearing your comments on that situation, Chris. There are plenty of "women's self defense" clubs out there where men are not welcome. That are also martial arts clubs that cater specifically to blacks or other ethinc groups. Is this ethically superior to an all male dojo?

Chris Li
05-07-2003, 02:21 PM
I find it interesting to note that no one is trying to argue the reverse, that it would be equally unethical to have a dojo where whites or men were not welcome.

I'd be interested in hearing your comments on that situation, Chris. There are plenty of "women's self defense" clubs out there where men are not welcome. That are also martial arts clubs that cater specifically to blacks or other ethinc groups. Is this ethically superior to an all male dojo?
Basically speaking, I would think that those types of dojo are just as unethical. It sometimes has puzzled me why (for example) all female groups are often seen as "empowering" while all male groups are seen as "exclusive". I don't see the difference. The one exception for me would be something on the order of a group for special reasons - for example, an all female class for battered women.

Best,

Chris

Dave Miller
05-07-2003, 03:08 PM
Basically speaking, I would think that those types of dojo are just as unethical. It sometimes has puzzled me why (for example) all female groups are often seen as "empowering" while all male groups are seen as "exclusive". I don't see the difference. The one exception for me would be something on the order of a group for special reasons - for example, an all female class for battered women.

Best,

ChrisBasically, I agree with you. However, there is still such a thing as "freedom of association" that says, for example, that Augusta National Golf Club does not have to admit female members. This is a private club and they can form their own membership requirements. This can be applied to any affinity group that wants to form an exclusive club and celebrate their distinctiveness.

To take this one step further, suppose someone said, "It's really stupid that Aikido people won't let Karate people work out with them." and wanted to force us to take in Karatekas. I doubt that you'd be in favor of such a move, especially if the Karatekas didn't want to study Aikido. However, this is exactly how silly some of the politics of association is nowadays. Because I want to have the freedom to hang out with whom I choose, I am very careful about wanting to mandate that for other people.

Chris Li
05-07-2003, 03:14 PM
Basically, I agree with you. However, there is still such a thing as "freedom of association" that says, for example, that Augusta National Golf Club does not have to admit female members. This is a private club and they can form their own membership requirements. This can be applied to any affinity group that wants to form an exclusive club and celebrate their distinctiveness.
Exactly. As I said above here there are two seperate but related issues that really ought not to get confused. The issue of whether or not something is ethical, and the issue of whether or not something ought to be allowed.

Obviously, people have the right to associate freely. However, that has nothing to do with the issue of whether or not their behavior is ethical.

Best,

Chris

Dave Miller
05-07-2003, 03:27 PM
Yah but who you allow to join your club isn't necessarily an ethical issue. Ethics is a pretty narrowly defined notion. If anything, this is more of a civil rights issue rather than an ethical issue.

Chris Li
05-07-2003, 09:19 PM
Yah but who you allow to join your club isn't necessarily an ethical issue. Ethics is a pretty narrowly defined notion. If anything, this is more of a civil rights issue rather than an ethical issue.
I would say that ethics is the heart of civil rights...

Best,

Chris

Liz Evans
05-08-2003, 02:14 AM
Luke,

So what part of my comment didnt you agree with? Do you not belong to a private club where tough men get to fight? (hunt and do pottery)

Merely pointing out that (as I said 'in my opinion') Aikido is for everyone and Dojo's that teach in the true spirit of Aikido welcome all. (i dont think you can dispute yours is not open to all) You could try another Dojo once in a while - you can learn a lot from training with different physical types. I'm sure you will be more than welcome.

Don't worry, I'm not offended - believe me I'm not the ignorant one in this debate.

LukeTBrown
05-08-2003, 07:19 AM
Luke,

So what part of my comment didnt you agree with?
Liz, this is what I did not agree with. Remember what ignorant is defined as: uninformed.

Describing what we do as a fight club, assuming that we are not in fact training aikido, or a martial art in fact.

You assumed that all of us are extremely large individuals when one of our active members is 105 pounds. He's just a small man, but the strongest by size no doubt.

Then there was the kick his ass statement. Tell me you didn't stoop to the my Sensei can beat up your Sensei level, did you?

That's about it.

Liz Evans
05-09-2003, 04:22 AM
Luke,

Perhaps my comment was a little flipant - (I forget that 'tongue in cheek' humour doesn't translate well via email.) Still the point being made is that highly accomplished Aikido students come from all walks of life - and your dojo may still choose to refuse to train them.

However it's great that 'light' men are allowed in - so it's just women, older people, and those without Masters that fail the interview.

(Discrimination and predujice makes me feel uncomfortable, especially as I am on the list of undesirables I hope you can appreciate this.)

And finally, most people go to the Dojo to practice Aikido - not to assert their gender. You could argue that you go to do both - but I'm not sure the Dojo is the right place to do this. Still each to their own!

A big thank you to all the Dojo's that welcome all and respect to all the Sensais that teach with great tolerance and generosity.

I wish you well.

LukeTBrown
05-09-2003, 07:16 AM
I don't have a master's degree.

Point being, you are not here to see how we train and the people that train in the dojo.

Mark Balogh
05-09-2003, 09:17 AM
All I have to say is thank god for female aikidoka, especially those that keep it up. I would get sick of training with blokes all the time! You need a balance. :)

A nice example is our childrens class that is almost 50:50 male to female. It has a delightful atmosphere. :D

And not wanting to dodge around the obvious issue... I have been out with 2 girls I have met through Aikido in 8 years. I think we all like to met partners with a common interest. As long as the training is maintained correctly, I think this is a positive thing. :)

cindy perkins
05-09-2003, 09:35 AM
OK. I have read the entire thread, which has taken about an hour. Whew. I have lots of feelings about it.

1) Sensei Linden has paid his dues to get his rank and open his dojo. He should be able to select who he trains, by any criteria -- including race, religion, gender, etc. -- that he wishes. As there are many other dojos that are at least as good in the area, he is not single-handedly creating a discrimination/oppression situation. I believe he should state his criteria openly on his website and in any advertising. If he receives some anger about it, we certainly know he can handle it. I just imagine applying, going to interview, being turned down, and wondering if it was some deep character flaw in me that the teacher could see...never underestimate how much power students can give teachers!

2) As his posts in the aggregate have revealed, Sensei Linden is uncomfortable training women. He is afraid for them, he attributes negative characteristics to them, etc. Given this, he should not train women. I for one would not wish to train with someone who responded to me negatively as a member of a class of people; I can imagine how uncomfortable I'd be training with a woman or man who strongly disliked working with me because of my height or color or accent...something I cannot change easily or change their mind about.

3) The question of whether or not this is parallel to racial discrimination is quite apt. There are several older people I know who miss the "good old days" when they could go from their neighborhoods to restaurants to clubs and never have to deal with a black person in an equal role. It just makes them uncomfortable, and they haven't been able to get past it. They usually manage to find such places still, usually by spending more money than most blacks can yet afford to, or by setting up small clubs where blacks instantly know they're unwelcome and leave. (BTW, if ASU forced Sensei Linden to accept women, I suspect that is how his group would handle it.)

4) Saotome Sensei is a wise and compassionate man. He chooses not to enforce ASU policy on Sensei Linden, probably knowing it would not be beneficial for DL, his current group of students, or women who might train there. That said, I believe that ASU should change its stated policy to the "recommends non-discrimination on the basis of sex..." suggested by an earlier poster.

5) I feel hurt by some of the comments made by Sensei Linden in his posts. "Always whining." Unable to hack it. Creating dissension, bringing personal stuff onto the mat, etc., etc. And no, this is not a whine. In aikido, if you have skill, you see in uke's face and motion if you have caused injury. In this forum, DL cannot see injury he may cause; therefore, I must tell him. As with bruises and other injuries I take on the mat, these heal. But please know that any derogatory comments made about a class hurt all members of that class, perhaps most especially those who least fit the comment.

6) It is fortunate for both women and men in the Orlando area that there are several other excellent dojos in the area. It seems that many more posters of both sexes have expressed their preference for mixed-gender settings. Some like single-sex settings. If I were Queen of the World, I would have all areas have at least four or five dojos, with one that is (at least some of the time) men-only, and another that is (at least some of the time) women-only. I have been in men-only and women-only bars, and they do have different atmospheres; there is something to learn there. If Sensei Linden were operating in a more rural area with no other choices around, I would feel much more concerned. I am glad he has chosen such a diverse and dojo-rich location.

7) Read Sensei Linden's posts. He has told us that the reason he excludes women is due to his own limitations. He gets frightened for them. He gets annoyed with characteristics he classifies as peculiarly female. He doesn't like the disciplinary difficulties that have arisen in his classes in the past. He has further stated that he is willing to accept those limitations; that in his view, his time is too short to change now. And, he has built a dojo that accepts and attracts men who more or less share his viewpoint.

You know, I too have weaknesses that I see and am unwilling to work on right now. Some I think are "just too hard" to change, but I intend to really focus on them when I'm in better shape with the batch of flaws I'm working on now. Some I have a mixed relationship with, so I'm not completely sure I want to change. I hope none of these are too obnoxious! Therefore, I at least will leave this thread be. Thank you, Sensei daniel Linden, for starting a thread that obviously engaged a great number of us and a lot of passion. If I am ever in Orlando, I shall be sure to contact Sensei Hooker or another fine teacher and ask for permission to visit. And honestly that is not meant as a jab. It is meant to say, I respect your desire for man-only space, and I rejoice that there are skilled and wise teachers out there who would welcome me.

Cindy perkins

***************

"The day I was born I made my first mistake, and by that path have I sought wisdom ever since." The Mahabharata

Dennis Hooker
05-10-2003, 03:25 PM
Cindy, I can only say a few words on this and I will not comment on the sexes in a dojo. This subject is far too emotional and has brought the emotions out in many people. I think this thread should have died a long time ago. Linden Sensei is my dearest and oldest friend as well as an ASU colleague. He is also blunt and holds no punches when it comes to stating his opinion. He is also about a subtle as a nine pound hammer and as loyal a friend and defender as a person could want. He is of course entitled to his opinion and beliefs, as are we all. The problem with this damn internet is it does not allow us to know the person in many cases. However I must say that Linden Sensei is in my opinion an Aikido Shihan and were you to know him personally I think you would find his statements reasonable and from the heart. I also think you would not be offended. Since he is my oldest friend and brother in Aikido I must say, and hope you under stand, that if you would not train as his dojo then you should not train at mine.

This is an old thread worthy of only a fast death. I will take no further part in it.

Dennis Hooker

www.shindai.com

cindy perkins
05-10-2003, 10:07 PM
My deepest apologies to you, Sensei Hooker, and to anyone else who felt offended by my post. I did my best to speak my feelings without attacking or disrespecting anyone. The only reason I would not train at Sensei Linden's dojo would be because he would not have me.

opherdonchin
05-11-2003, 09:49 AM
Hey Cindy,

I read your post as being heartfelt, sincere, non-confrontational, and one of the more interesting and carefully thought out posts of the thread. It's too bad Dennis Hooker took it as an attack on his friend, but I think that says more about him and his attitude towards this thread than it does about your post, to my mind.

mike lee
05-11-2003, 10:42 AM
I've long considered making my first dojo in the US a "men's club," primarily because it would eliminate a lot of issues that crop up between men, women and teachers during the course of training. I think that a single gender dojo can keep people more focused on training.

On the other hand, this would open up another problem as some would see this as a kind of bias.

I've yet to conclude what I shall do. Maybe, in the end, I'll just stay home and practice tai chi chuan.

Nacho_mx
05-11-2003, 12:50 PM
Here is how it works in our school, you sign up, you change, you train, you change, you go on with your business. This is not a club, there is no social interaction inside the dojo, no chatting or laughing in the mat (plenty of smiles, thought), no condescending attitude towards anyone, no discrimination or bias, no concessions or special considerations, no complaints, no excuses. Everyone gets a fair shot at practicing the art, the only thing that can prevent anyone from training here is a poor attitude (laziness, pride, lack of respect for anyone or anything) and the unwillingness to change it.

So we don´t have this so called "issues" Before O´Sensei watching us from the kamiza, men and women are equal, they all sweat, they all ache, they all grunt and gasp for air, they all have doubts and fears, they take ukemi and get up.

So if anyone is not welcomed at an aikido dojo (a place to celebrate life) for whatever prejudice (of belief, race, gender or age), keep your way and don´t look back, it´s their loss.

mle
05-22-2003, 03:12 AM
I've long considered making my first dojo in the US a "men's club," primarily because it would eliminate a lot of issues that crop up between men, women and teachers during the course of training.
That's a management problem. The fault of problems in the dojo lies with the dojo-cho. Not the students.

What concerns me deeply is Dan's defenders reacting on an ad hominem basis.

That is, they are taking rational questions as personal attacks.

That's a bad sign.

That means there isn't really a rational defense.

Not that there needs to be, but while I am willing to accept an aberration, I will call it an aberration.

I have learned that Don Angier actually WOULD accept women into his dojo if one demonstrated the committment and wherewithal to do so. In his case, that's HIS art. It doesn't belong to anyone else, it's private.

In the case of one or two of the old arts, you must practice a certain religion in addition to your training. It's part of the deal: If you want one, you must have the other.

Aikido, a "public" art, is more difficult to defensibly segregate. I mean, it's only aikido, it's not Navy Seal training.

It's difficult to commit deeply to a budo unless you have someone behind you to wash your gi, make sure your bills are paid and that you eat something besides bacon cheeseburgers and beer.

Women are socialized to take that part in most modern societies. The "caretaker" role is more involving for the supporting mate (whatever gender) than the other tends to understand. So women (the usual support side) tend to never get the chance to really commit to budo and grow.

Not unless the entire dojo pitches in.

I have to tell you that my poor ex washed my gi and learned to keep house while I was in my Crazed Budo Junkie phase. That disconnect and other things ruined the relationship.

Private clubs can make their own rules, but if you make something weird public, expect it to be called wierd.

I'm not going to pass judgement on Mr Linden until I meet him and train with him.

I hope he can do the same for me.

mle

DGLinden
05-22-2003, 07:50 AM
Ms Gordon,

I pass judgement on no man or woman. Either I choose to associate with you or I do not. Nothing anyone does can change my mind. I am old. I have earned the right to be descriminating in my choices. I also reserve the right to change my mind. Until you have trained in Aikido for over thirty years you are not qualified to judge me or make comments cloaked in cute qualifications, that is why I have not looked at this thread for several months and why I will never return to it again. I must say, however, that I found the comments by Mr Oakes to be insightful and intelligent. Please listen to Hooker Sensei and let this thread die a decent death.

Ms Gordon, I look forward to inviting you teach at my dojo. You are what? A godan?, A rokudan? Please let me know so I can set something up.

mle
01-30-2004, 03:52 PM
Ms Gordon,

I pass judgement on no man or woman.
You already have. Colleagues have read your posts with some degree of shock, dismay and disappointment.

I am not an aikidoka, and I forsook that system because of its politics.

You are a victim of said politics, as well as the politics of where you live, and where you grew up.

You and many of my male relatives. I never listened to them either. If I had, I would barefoot in some trailer park somewhere with a bunch o' rug rats and a life I hate. No thanks. Damn shame we women got control of our organs, anyway, huh? ;->
Please listen to Hooker Sensei and let this thread die a decent death.
I've crossed sword points with Dennis.

We had a good giggle together.

I never quit with him, either. He would have been insulted if I had.
Ms Gordon, I look forward to inviting you teach at my dojo. You are what? A godan?, A rokudan? Please let me know so I can set something up.
BWAHAHAHA!

Oh, for Pete's sake Dan!

I left aikido after shodan. I don't know my rank now, nor do I really care to. I might be sandan by now if I had stayed and played the game. I'm no good at games, though.. no one in their right mind would give me a godan, much less a rokudan.. though I did hand my teacher in Austin his godan with my own hands. The shihan asked me to. I do not know why. It meant so much to me.

What is 15 years of practice under no one master worth? A couple severe injuries, chronic pain, and lots of knowledge about what NOT to do. I still love to train, in spite of it all. My teacher feels the same.

However, my current teacher, Chuck Gordon, holds many arts most people have forgotten. Fascinating stuff. He has taught at every single Aikido-L seminar in the US save the one in CA, and that was because we live in Germany and it was simply too much to go. We did make it to Toronto in 2003, however. He taught an atemi class and I taught a massage class. Pretty normal for us.

In any case I have to thank you, as you gave me inspiration for a paper I presented in absentia at last year's Guelph Sword School. You provided some good material. As it was on a public web site, I was questioned as to the source, and when I led my editor to it, she was, um.. what did she say? "It cracked me up to read people defending him. It's his choice, and really, who cares what he does?"

I happen to agree. But like other people with nasty habits, such as writing, poetry, singing, or hamster love, it's best kept private. (in Andy's case the singing is encouraged, however.. ;)

Do what you want. But if it's unusual, or unadvised, don't publicise without expecting someone to ask you what the hell you think you are doing.

Here's what I've done:

http://www.ejmas.com/proceedings/GSJSA03dolan.htm

I wrote this paper to help people like you, Dan.. my father is one such, and while I still baffle him, we have fun together and enjoy each other. He has never, and will never, watch me train. He just doesn't understand how much I am his daughter. 8-)

For those curious about women in budo:

http://koryu.com/library/wwj1.html

http://koryu.com/library/dskoss4.html

There is no more impeccable source of information than the Skosses. They are not biased by affiliation or, I believe, native prejudice. The information is plain and fascinating.

Enjoy.

Emily

aikilouis
01-31-2004, 12:32 PM
Thank you Emily, very interesting read.

Dear, this thread brings back some memories...

... which allows me to salute the female aikidoka who practise(d) with commitment in our dojo : Lucile, Vanessa, Cathy, Leslie, Savanah.

Rich Stephens
01-31-2004, 10:54 PM
An interesting thread. I have no problem with the male only dojo as described.

However, I found one reason for excluding women a little odd. If I read correctly (may not have) one reason was that men can't train properly for fear of hurting the women and this interferes with the training. I could see how that might be true of football, or boxing, or any number of other activities. But Aikido?

Fear of harming someone is essential in Aikido, because Aikido is supposed to be practiced in a way that does not harm out attackers. There exists the potential to be attacked by those that are weaker than we are in this world and it is our responsibility to protect ourselves without harming them. Therefore even the strongest man must know how to stop even the weakest without harming them. Is this not Aikido? Is this forgotten when one only trains with those equal to them in ability and physical strength, flexibility and pain threshold? I don't know but it's at least possible. (however it's equally possible that Linden Sensei has other ways of teaching this without requiring the pressence of women or smaller folks or fat folks or whiners or whatever).

I'd also like to remind everyone hung up on the policy saying one thing while one of its dojos does something different that, well, nothing could be more Japanese than that disconnect between stated policy and reality! I really miss that sort of thing now that I live in California.

Rikimaru
02-07-2004, 08:42 PM
My question in my mind is: Does anyone attend a dojo that keeps the sexes separate while training? for what reason?? 'cause we practice Aikido together, no matter we practice with other sex.

Unregistered
02-16-2004, 01:34 PM
Regarding the thread on separate gender training, I would agree it is Mr. Linden's dojo, he can train whomever he chooses. I agree with many who point out his rationale is really no different from those who say "I choose not to train African Americans, Jews, or White Protestant males". It is his choice, prejudiced though it may be. It is also our choice to see it for what it is. I whole heartedly agree with Cindy--obviously, Mr. Linden is not a good choice to instruct females anyway. Were he the ONLY instructor in town, he would still be an unwise choice for a female to learn from--he obviously has some unresolved issues of his own that need fixing first. I would say anyone who calls himself a 'man's man' is broadcasting his problems.

Regardless, I think we should focus what we think of this prejudice not on Mr. Linden, who is not going to change, and instead look at what we ourselves are supporting: Mr. Hooker would not let anyone train in his dojo who notices Mr. Linden is prejudiced? ASU accepts dojos into their ranks that are prejudiced? Are those people we want to give monetary support? Just as Mr. Linden can have his prejudiced views, and Mr. Hooker and Mr. Saotome can support them, we can choose not to support them. If ASU supports instructors who are so personally limited that they are unable to instruct women, then what is next? They support those who 'don't feel comfortable with Blacks in my class'? Everyone is responsible for their own choices. I choose not to support those who support prejudice. I would encourage others to make similar decisions.

stuartjvnorton
02-16-2004, 09:01 PM
To answer your question, Mr. Fox - yes! This bothers me! This gets in the way! Flirty men have occasionally transformed my aikido practice into a social/personal liability, an opening through which someone with very few social skills can gain a captive audience for his ministrations.
Sounds like you aught to be screening on maturity level, not the presence of the meat & 2 veg.

As for single sex anythings, they seem a little archaic, neh?

Assiciations like Scouts/Guides that were created over 100 years ago are a product of their time, but do single-sex dojo/country-clubs, gyms or whatevers these days have an excuse?

Cheers,

Stuart.

<still trying to figure out how to do ryote mochi with a brandy glass in 1 hand>

Gabriel A
02-17-2004, 10:42 AM
In my dojo, we try to have everyone train with everyone else. That means that the tallest person ends up doing techniques with the shortest person and everything in between. This helps to make sure that you can effectively perform the technique on anyone, regardless of height and weight, etc. At that point, gender makes little difference. The only thing that segregates us on the mat is level of ability. (i.e. we don't practice upper-rank techniques on lower-rank aikidokas.)

IMHO, that is how it should be. This is how you learn the technique most fully and effectively. It's one thing to practice with the same person for years and get really good with them. It's another thing entirely to get to where you can work with anyone of any size and/or height and still work effectively.
Dave, I totally agree!

By the way I want to piont out the change that DG Linden has had (even if I don't agree with you). This has helped us share different views and my opinion it shows how important it is to train with different people.

Well just a piece of my mind

James Kelly
01-28-2006, 10:19 PM
I can’t believe I read the whole thing...

Edwin Neal
01-28-2006, 10:29 PM
ridiculous... aikido is for everyone... nuff said

Edwin Neal
01-29-2006, 01:09 AM
whoa sorry not enough said... after spending a couple of hours reading this thing i will try to be brief...
IT IS WRONG... dance around it any way you like it is discrimination and is illegal... as part of an org. that states such he should withdraw from org or be ejected... it is illegal period these kind of cases bounce back and forth in various juridictions and cases, but it is discrimination based on gender which is illegal... walk into any business and have them say we do not serve women and it would be obviously illegal... it is contrary to the fundamental principles of aikido... there can be no harmony when there is division... now on a more confrontational note... i too read the line about the digestive tract as an obviously offensive reference to homosexuals... in spite of Mr. Lindens later attempt to claim it was not so, even if (which i believe it was not) it was a reference to overweight individuals this is still offensive, as not all overweight person over eat, some are obese because of medical problems... Mr. Linden is an embarassment i would never want to be associated with someone like this... we as aikidoka cannot lay claim to the moral high ground,the Way of Peace and Harmony, and do nothing to stop such immoral acts... there is a proper context in which same sex practice may be valid, but to categorically deny anyone based on gender is wrong no matter how glibly the individual protests that it is innocent... Freedom has limits... with out limits there is no freedom only chaos and anarchy...
if anyone takes offense at my words... sorry, but this is the truth of the matter as i see it... the only person who should take any offense is Mr. Linden, and if he does then it is because his policy is offensive... division and misrepresentation of aikido is something all aikidoka should stand against...
rant off...

neaikikai
01-29-2006, 01:55 AM
Very simple, Osensei did not separate the sexes, they trained with each other. I believe he knew a little bit more than us, on how Aikido should be taught. Also, I feel pretty sure it is going to be a man attacking a woman, not another woman, so they need to understand the difference in size and strength. Why can't people just practice the way Osensei wanted us to.

Edwin Neal
01-29-2006, 02:13 AM
because of egos michael... really sad considering the philosophy of our art...

James Kelly
01-29-2006, 05:45 AM
Actually Edwin, you're only half right. It is wrong. But it's not illegal. There are discriminatory clubs all over this country and they survive because they are private and Americans have the right to associate with whomever they want no matter how misguided their choices.

But what stuck out for me... to think that there are no depressed people among his students. That's a potentially dangerous blinder to have on. The trouble with an authority figure projecting his happiness on others is that someone may in fact be depressed, but not able to express it for fear of messing up the blissful environment (disappointing the sensei, or even worse, being deemed not fit for the group). It's a textbook dystopia and has the potential to do damage to his students.

Didn't mean to give so much time to this long dead thread, but I guess it took so long to read it I might as well spend a little writing about it.

Mark Freeman
01-29-2006, 09:25 AM
Didn't mean to give so much time to this long dead thread, but I guess it took so long to read it I might as well spend a little writing about it.

Me too, but its hard not to read it and not to be moved,

IMHO After getting as far as post # 94 I came to the conclusion that as long as Mr Linden is not breaking the law, there is nothing you can do to change it. He will certainly not take any notice of what has been said here.
What I think upsets many people in the aikido world is that Mr Linden's policy seems so far from OSensei's teaching, that perhaps he should call it something else, Ho-ki-ko-ki or somesuch. That way he can then carry on training the often 'brutal' art that he and his select band of followers choose to do. "It may be life Jim but not as we know it!"
Until you have trained in Aikido for over thirty years you are not qualified to judge me or make comments cloaked in cute qualifications, that is why I have not looked at this thread for several months and why I will never return to it again
In any field of human endeavour this is preposterous, you can't be judged by any that haven't been in the field for longer?? Nonesense. The amount of time spent 'in' a field does not directly relate to 'skill' level, wisdom, understanding or any other benefit that 'should' come with long service. Why should Aikido be exempt from this?
When one says they have 30 of experience it may mean that they have 1 year of 'learning' repeated year on year for 30 years, and will be continued in that vein ad infinitum.
So I've added my 2 cents worth, even though I do not have the required long service requirements to do so.
My own teacher has 50 years of service in Aikido ( so at least he 'qualifies ) and believes that Aikido is for everyone as taught by O'Sensei.

99% of Aikido is practiced in the spirit the founder intended, let's be pleased with that.