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Old 04-12-2006, 12:35 PM   #77
jonreading
 
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Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 866
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Chris,

In regards to my comments:
1. I beg to differ about the exaggeration of the significance behind a request to accomodate male-only training. I believe the original poster's dilemna was that as a non-prof his dojo cannot discriminate against religion, but yet it would be difficult to accomodate such a request. The post alone implies a significant problem for which the poster is soliciting advice. The significance of a lawsuit resulting from this student accidentally touching a woman against his religion/wishes justify a very close scrutiny of the appropriate response, or from the dojo refusing him as a student based on religious beliefs. Now let's talk about the sexist perception some students may have regarding the individual if the dojo accomodates his request; oh, and I forgot the hardships impressed upon female students of the dojo to avoid touching this student.
2. I don't have any idea of what the individual in question does or does not do in his daily life. I do not know what exceptions or compromises he makes at his place of work or in his personal life, I don't care either. As an instructor, my decision to accomomdate or decline this request has to be based on the negative exposure this student creates for the dojo. Secondly, I do not support enabling individuals to increase their exposure to something that would conflict with their life choices. I would not give an alcoholic a drink, I would not take a vegetarian to a steak house, and I would not support aikido training in an environment that may cause contact with a female if it is against a student's religion. These are all examples of enabling a person to tempt fate.

So what whould I do? I would work damned hard to find a dojo envirnonment conducive to that training and get that student into a safe and protective environment. If that student is interested in training, then he can train safely and with confidence that his religious morals are not in danger; if his intention was to create an accident-prone environment (see previous threads), then I have protected my dojo from danger. In both situations, everyone is protected and safe from harm.
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