Jon Reading wrote:
If during that discussion, I feel that training may create a dangerous environment for that student, I recommend a course of action to reduce that danger; I am not speaking about the inherent danger of the art itself in this scenario, but the physical demands expected to participate. I have recommended for overweight students to obtain support to diet and/or exercise, I have spoken to elderly (especially women suffering from osteoporosis) about the dangers of bone and muscle problems.
Maybe you can say, 'this is the activity we do here, talk to your doctor
and decide if this will be too dangerous for you.' For one, you may be denying a person the chance to improve their condition through aikido; for two, you can't always tell who's going to have a heart attack based on their fat. People with family histories of premature death due to heart attack have a high risk even if they appear fit.
Likewise, I would feel terrible if I participated in creating an environment that faciliated a religious sanctity of a student to be broken. I care enough about those students to tell them "no," and create an alternative solution to get them into a safe training environment.
We are not talking about children here. Tell them, 'this is what we do here; talk with your religious leader
and decide if this activity will be safe for you.'
It's one thing to resist altering your dojo atmosphere for one student; it's quite another to take the choice away from them entirely.