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Old 03-15-2006, 10:45 PM   #25
Chris Li
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Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,299
Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Mary Kuhner wrote:
It would be, practically speaking, a major issue in my dojo. There are frequently only 2-4 students at a given class. A class with one male and one female student who cannot work together is going to be frustrating. The instructor will have to split his time between them. (And a hypothetical class with a man who won't touch women and a woman who won't touch men can't be taught at all, unless you can bring in a second instructor.)
In a class with three people somebody's going to be resting part of the time anyway, so it's not really a problem, it just takes a little more thinking. If there are three people and two of them are women then they can train together and he can practice ukemi, weapons, or other solitary practice - that's the way it goes, no major problem.

Mary Kuhner wrote:
Additionally, some of our instructors, including our head instructor, are female. Because we are a Ki Society dojo, physical contact (in ki tests) between instructor and students is continual and centrally important. There is not always a senior male student present who could substitute in giving ki tests, and omitting the ki tests would, in our style, be a major detriment to the student's training. Not being able to take ukemi from the head instructor would also interfere with our aikido test protocol.
It's entirely possible to teach someone without touching them, or without even getting on the mat - Morihei Ueshiba did it all the time. If that's not the usual way that you do things it may take a little thought, that's all.

Two of the morning classes that I do have regular participants in their 80's. Naturally, they can't train in quite the same ways that other people do, and a number of accommodations have to be made. Years ago I taught someone who was paralyzed from the waist down, and more than a few adjustments had to be made. Anyway, in everything and anything that you do that involves other people accommodations and adjustments have to be made - that's life. In the end, I get more than I give.

An instructor that won't put some effort into trying to instruct a student with special circumstances is not, IMO, much of an instructor.

Mary Kuhner wrote:
Finally, during the larger classes it is impossible to completely prevent physical contact between non-partners. The dojo is small and collisions just happen. There is no way to have a "males only" section of the small, square mat we use. Even trying to enforce this would likely leave the women on the mat feeling cramped and intimidated.
As someone else mentioned, it's unlikely that this kind of accidental contact would be an issue.



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