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Old 03-17-2006, 10:05 AM   #55
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,220
United Kingdom
Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Krista DeCoste wrote:
I agree with what Chris had to say. In my opinion, if we want to live in harmony with others we should accomodate them when possible. If this is his religious belief then it informs all he does and he should not be expected to leave it off the mat, as if it were that simple. This belief is not about hating women, it is a clearly defined boundary between unmarried men and women. More energy should be put towards finding a way to include him rather that trying to justify being rude to him and telling him there is no way he can train. I am wondering if this is not stemming from a resentment (coming from off the mat) of accomodating difference, a resentment of this culture and religion?

Why would explaining the philosophy of the dojo and offering the man a choice be considered rude?

Living in harmony is a two way thing, it is not just up to us to accomodate those who have 'special' needs/belief systems, they also have to understand the context of the practice which we are engaged in.

What would we do if we accomodated the 'man' to come onto the mat and only practice with men, only to find out that his beliefs also didn't allow him to practice with any gay men that might be present. How far do you go in the desire for harmony?

A teachers role is as a guide for his students, their learning is his responsibility, their beliefs and and lifestyle are not ( unless they were bringing him or his dojo any disrepute ). If by admitting a member to join who will only participate with the men ( and maybe not all of them ), then this could upset the whole dojo atmosphere. This of couse would be dependant on the acceptance of each member of the dojo. What if all the higher grades in the dojo are women, how would they feel about it?
For the sake of harmony within the dojo, I would not lose too much sleep over the loss of one 'potential' student. If that is considered rude, my concept of rudeness is somewhat different to yours.

I must admit I do have an off the mat aversion to discrimination on any front, ligitimising a discrimination by giving it a religious backing doesn't make it easier to swallow for me.

IMHO There are far too many nasty practices carried out under the excuse that 'this is our culture, you should respect it' I'm not sure that I am under any obligation to respect something which I abhor.


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