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Old 03-15-2006, 08:18 PM   #22
6th Kyu For Life
Dojo: Oberlin Aikikai, Oberlin Ohio. Utah Aikikai, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Location: Oberlin, Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 59
Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

I'm strongly in the "let him train" camp. It's an issue of ideologies bumping heads with each other. So don't let them bump heads. He will learn to train within his limits, as we all do, and the rest of the dojo will adapt. Both he and the women on the mat will be disadvantaged by not training with each other, and there is undoubtably the potential for problems. But you could say the same about any new student, that they are a potential for problems, and also a potential benefit to the dojo. Be grateful you know what kind of baggage this guy is bringing on to the mat, so you can anticipate how to deal with it.

Maybe after some time in Aikido, he will be able to leave his religion off the mat for a few hours at a time, but isn't asking him to do this as a condition to training imposing your ideology on him?

Clearly, it's not an easy situation, and maybe I'm too idealistic, but I think you should take this an instance to excercise peace. Don't fight, don't back off, engage and move on.

Tom Newhall
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