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Old 03-16-2006, 03:46 PM   #43
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 522
Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

A couple of times in my life I have been involved with groups which said "We have a mandate to include everyone. We can accomodate their special needs, and that's what we'll do."

Sometimes this works out okay, but in several cases it turned out to mean "People who ask loudly for accomodation get what they want, and people who are not so loud get pushed aside." The most awful experience I have had with this involved a group that went to extreme measures to manage and accomodate one member's bad behavior, and eventually lost numerous members because they had been verbally and physically harassed. I was one of the leaders involved, and the outcome shames me to this day. We thought we were being inclusive and fair but we sure weren't inclusive of the people who got hurt.

Whether a dojo can accomodate men who will not train with women is for that dojo to decide. I think it's naive to take, from the outside, the view that *of course* refusing to make a requested accomodation is a sign of bad teaching. The teacher has a vision of how the dojo works, and they have the right to refuse changes that move too far from their vision, or that impede the teaching of their other students too much.

Perhaps I am touchy on this point having been badly burned by it, but I think that "We have a mandate to include everyone" is a dangerous philosophy, loving on the surface but potentially very damaging. "We have a mandate to include everyone we can", okay, but judgement is required to decide who we can accomodate without losing hold of our purpose.

Mary Kaye
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