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Old 05-17-2005, 04:20 PM   #12
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
Re: Physical contact vs. "no-touch" policy

Given the sensitivities and varying boundaries associated with aikido or any other contact activity involving the different sexes or age groups it is important that a dojo address the issue up front by establishing a dojo policy on sexual harassment. All instructors should be made to read and sign the policy and all students given a copy of the policy in either a handbook or a separate sheet of paper. At that time, it is my feeling, it would be good to explain that aikido is a physical sport that must involve contact to be practiced effectively. The hands off policy should be stressed but it should also be noted that occasionally, accidental contact may take place. The issue of "intent" should come into play here. If the person intentially touched someone inappropriately or continues to do so after making accidental contact, then I believe harassment is occuring.

This is an extremely complex issue since physical boundaries vary by individual based on their upbringing and history. There are no easy answers other than suggesting one err on the side of caution. When it comes to kids, I'd keep all interactions out in the public domain. A pedophile is not likely to make his/her behavior public and generally uses the threat of violence to keep it quiet.
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