Re: Religious Restrictions on Training
Our dojo has recently been making accomodation to some muslim aikido practitioners that visit our dojo. They have their own dojo where they do most of their training, but will come to classes with one of our assistant instructors. Pretty much they just don't bow or train with women.
I know my sensei has chosen to make this accomodation to support their practice of aikido. (Heck, he accomodates students with disabilities and keeps a watchful eye out on how the women/ "scared-in-the-headlights" beginners/ elderly are treated in class -- often times correcting a too rough partner.) But at the moment there just happens to be no women taking the classes our muslim aikido brothers take so it really is a non-issue at this point.
However, I can see Mary's point if you only have 2-4 people a night I can see where accomodating someone would be too much of a burden. Where I train we have the opposite situation, it is rather large and we offer three classes a day M-F and two on Sat/ Sun and a "small" class is having 6-8 on the mat. We have on average about 12 people on the mat so it can be very easy to not train with someone for whatever reason.
Also, I want to add there are times I prefer training with another woman. Us ladies at the dojo will grab each other for techniques like koshinage/ maki otoshi/ jujinage, etc as we serve as each other's safety net when doing techniques that require breakfalls since most of us ladies at my dojo have a hard time with them but at the same time encourage each other to do them. While this isn't a religious reason, it is a decision based partly on gender. (The other part is that we're friends and because of that we trust each other more.)