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Old 05-17-2005, 01:19 PM   #10
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,139
Re: Physical contact vs. "no-touch" policy

Touching is the base for many issues from injury to harrassment. Sometimes we are not willing to view "difficult" students as threats to the dojo because they pay dues. As Sensei, I want to protect all students, including those that might become exposed to an assault or harrassment suit resulting from working with a difficult student. I have the luxury of a dojo without overhead, so I freely turn prospects away if I feel they are a threat; specifically children/teens and sensitive women, but sometimes men too. I find that men cause difficulty mostly when are too violent though, which falls on the assault side of things. Usually, I explain my decision and suggest either another dojo or program.

Sad, but this happens in dojo more often now. Couple of things I use as rules of thumb:
1. Always ask permission to touch. I usually ask with all new students. After a while, they understand what is expected and the dojo relationship develops from there.
2. Prepare your students for physical contact. My "spidey senses" tingle whenever someone comes in that does not accept physical contact in the dojo, or they are too physical (I mean crazy). I encourage those students to go elswhere.
3. Be open for feedback. I try to encourage students to provide feedback if they have issues training with anyone else. I make my e-mail and home phone available for students that want discretion.

I expect all my students to understand and accept there is contact in aikido, both intimate contact and combative contact. I also expect my students to understand that contact on the mat is professional, not personal. Finally, I expect my students to report uncomfortable contact or language so it may be addressed immediately.
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