View Full Version : Honorable Intentions...

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09-16-2005, 09:06 PM
Hi, everyone, couldn't think of anybody else to ask, so thought I'd post this here...

I am a female Aikido student in my teens. I do Aikido with my dad, and have been since I was ten. My mother has always been somewhat opposed to our training because of the time we spend on it (about eight hours a week), but has never once attended a class to see what we're doing. However, I think it's gone too far...my dad couldn't make it to this weekend's practice, so another (female) student offered to give me a ride. On the way, she told me that my mother had called her up, grilling her about the 'honorable intentions' of the guys at class, and had mentioned that both me and my dad seemed completely 'entranced' by Aikido.

This had disturbed me quite a bit. I have known my teachers and the other guys from class for years, and I know that their intentions are anything but dishonorable, and that they would never cause or allow harm to come to me or to any other student, male or female. However, I don't know how to convince my mother of this since she refuses to even sit in on a class or have anything to do with it. It also worries me that she seems to classify Aikido as a cult or something, and the lack of faith she displays in my and my dad's judgment of character. Any advice on dealing with this one?

Thanks, everyone!


Janet Rosen
09-19-2005, 08:20 PM
Hi, Anita.
It sounds like you are caught in the middle of an ongoing conflict between your mom and your dad that has become a power thing between them-- with aikido representing not just time, but things like energy, affection, respect etc!
I say this because if your mom was just concerned about your welfare or about how her husband spends his time, yep, she'd have shown up at the dojo LONG ago. And if aikido" is standing in for a whole lot of other stuff between them, there is little to be gained by you trying to reassure your mom about how safe you are at the dojo--it is besides the point.
So my suggestion is to not try to solve this chronic issue between your parents; it would be a no win situation for you to try to. Keep enjoying the training, and hope your parents work it out.....

09-20-2005, 05:41 AM
Anita, what would your mom say about inviting your friends round from the dojo for an "aikido party" or even a coffee? That would be a very easy way for her to meet the people you train with, without necessarily ramming aikido down her throat, so to speak.

If she has problems with that then I think her problem is much deeper than just watching out for you.


09-20-2005, 07:01 AM

How is the 8 hours a week spread? Are we looking at you & dad being out for 4-ish evenings per week? 4 evenings a week is a lot to be home alone (assuming she is home alone during those times)? It doesn't leave a huge amount of quality/family time in the week, either.

You don't mention if your mum works or is a stay-at-home mum, if you have siblings or if you share interests with her. (Though I don't know how much difference it makes) Also, is your dojo, one those that nags you about attendance, or has social events that she's not invited to?

It's perhaps best to let your parents sort the problem out between them, though if I were her, I might be feeling a bit neglected.

Perhaps you could give up an evening's training and take her to dinner or something?

09-20-2005, 09:55 AM
Hi Anita,

Most teens go through these kind of issues with one or both parents - I know I did!

Try (without being confrontational) pointing out that aikido is good for your health (any parents prime concern) and keeps you out of trouble. Maybe watch an aikido DVD at a time you know your mum will be around so she can see what it's about.

Good luck,
these things are never easy, but are resolvable :)


PS - It's great you've got a hobby you can enjoy with your dad, maybe find something to do with your mum too in case it's a jealousy thing.

James Davis
09-20-2005, 11:56 AM
One of my students just left for college this year. In the first few months of her training, her mother expressed doubts about the intentions of every guy in the dojo! When she eventually convinced her mom to come check us out, I was confronted with the question, "If aikido is so great, then where are your girlfriends and your wives?!" I said to her, "My fiancee is going to night class to work on her masters degree in theology. She thinks that aikido is good, but there's other stuff she'd rather get done... she's just like you." While she pondered my first statement, I followed up with, "We're training her with techniques that are designed for dealing with men with bad intentions. 'Sempai' means 'elder brother', and we are all her sempai." In the months and years following, our student's mom grew to trust us with her daughter, even with road trips across the state!

Try to show your mom some literature about aikido, and stress that that's what you're there to learn - not Omoto Kyo or any other religion. If circumstances permit it, try to get her to a class. Express to her how important SHE is to you, and that you'd like her to do this stuff with you. Even if it doesn't work, at least you did something to try and fix the situation.

Take care and good luck! :)

09-20-2005, 12:30 PM
Since your mom knows the phone number of another student and feels comfortable enough to question her, I doubt it's the guys she's really concerned with. I would agree with the poster suggesting that she perhaps feels a bit abandoned or excluded. For that reason, focusing your argument on aikido won't do you any good.
Take some time alone with her. Find out what she is interested in. Hear her out. It's great that you have time with your dad like this, but don't forget that your mom is human, too, and probably misses you. Even if she drives you crazy, see if you can't just take short periods of time alone with her and make her feel as if she is part of your life. Set aside an hour for tea (or whatever you might prefer) during the week. Listen. Talk. Don't roll your eyes...

09-21-2005, 12:50 AM
While all of the above are great suggestions, you might want to skip class one night and have a serious heart to heart with your Dad. Why does he think your Mom is so opposed to the aikido training? My guess is that he can offer the best insight as to why she is opposed and may know how to bring your mother round to accepting your passion. Fair warning, his explanation may require you to assume a bit more maturity than you are ready to handle.


Janet Rosen
09-21-2005, 12:53 AM
I respectfully disagree w/ a teenage girl stepping into the middle of a power struggle between her parents...but the suggestion that she sets aside some time for doing stuff WITH mom is a great idea.

09-21-2005, 01:06 AM

I understand your position, but she did not really give enough facts for any of us to offer advice. However, her father may understand more than we do. He may know about medical issues or other matters. He may not be aware of what the mother is saying to the child.

A child should never be responsible for controlling the behavior of a parent. Nor should a child ever have to defend a pursuit that is both healthy and beneficial to the child. My concern was that the mother seems to be acting unreasonably given the facts the poster presented. My hope was that perhaps the father might be able to explain the reason for the unwarranted reaction or direct the poster in how to deal with the situation.


10-02-2005, 09:40 PM
Anita, what would your mom say about inviting your friends round from the dojo for an "aikido party" or even a coffee? That would be a very easy way for her to meet the people you train with, without necessarily ramming aikido down her throat, so to speak.

If she has problems with that then I think her problem is much deeper than just watching out for you.


I think this is an excellent idea. Allowing your mother to meet these people may release some of her fears about the situation.


10-03-2005, 08:48 AM
IMHO, most everyone has positive honorable intentions. Sounds like your mother's objections are not really about Aikido. They may be her own fears, jealousies, and insecurities.

10-04-2005, 11:33 PM
Ditto for what the unregistered user said. It sounds like your mother might want a bit of attention. There's no reason to do less aikido, but try and spend a few hours a week doing something that you and your mother enjoy together. Taking her out for coffee or something might help. Then you'd even be getting out and having some good conversation...an art not taught well enough in the dojo :)

As far as getting involved in a power struggle (if there is one)...do it. Just do it in an understanding, loving way. My parents divorced when I was very young. Not that I have any regrets at all now, since my life has been great, but things may have ended on better terms if someone had said "Hey, we can solve this..." Know what I mean? Just take the time to understand the problem and do your best to solve it. If this means dividing your time between your mother and father, or even doing something as a family, that's great. There is no reason not to get involved. They're YOUR family.

10-05-2005, 12:08 AM
From what you've said, I think there's more at work than your mom just being concerned for your well-being. The reason I think this is I started aikido when I was 11. My dad started around the same time. I didn't start training with the adults until I was 13 or 14 and had the size and ukemi skills not to get killed. I never heard a word of fuss from my mom about the intentions of the men, and my guess is the fact that my father was also on the mat had something to do with it. My dad and I trained A LOT together when I was in HS, and while Mom has never wanted to step on the mat herself she does attend dojo social functions and she knows the regulars. We were gone a lot of evenings, but I never heard any complaint about that either. Of course every family is different, but, from the sound of things, your mother's problem has nothing to do with aikido. It's a shame she's catching you up in it, and other than trying to spend some extra time with her there isn't much you can do. The state of your parents' relationship with each other is not something you should get entangled in, but you can work on your relationship with each parent. Adolesence can be a really weird time for mothers and daughters. I know mine was.