Re: Religious Restrictions on Training
Inherently, Lorien touched on some very common solutions to new student situations, which are great solutions that address the needs of the students with the realizations of training - Pre-screening is a responsible approach to physical activity. For those that play organized sports, health screenings are common requirements before athletes are eligible to play with a team. While screening does not chatch every problem, it significantly reduces the risks of injury for those participants. I simply use a larger "pre-screening" process.
The second part of Lorien's comments touches upon this undercurrent of apathetic behavior for new students. The question, "who are we to deny students the ability to train?" is a perfect example. I'll be the first to say, "The instructor, that's who." As the instructor of the the dojo and the highest authority to manage the affairs of the dojo, I reserve the right to allow or deny any activity within the dojo. My principles of management are based on those of my instructor and protection of the safety and prosperity of the dojo, and they trump any student or behavior in the dojo that threatens those principles.
Training is not a constitutional right, and it's inappropriate to amend man's inalienable right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness with "and to train aikido." If I feel a student does not belong on the mat, I work with that student to find an alternative solution to address that belief; sometimes alternative solutions means private tutoring, sometimes another dojo, sometimes another martial art, and sometimes nothing.
Again, it all comes back to the instructor and head of the dojo. The head of the dojo is ALWAYS responsible for the students and behavior that goes on inside the dojo. If a student is injured by another student, that accident is ultimately the instructor's fault. If a student's actions during a seminar or class are disrespectful of aikido, that disrespect is ultimately the instructor's fault. In the army, this is the "chain of command." Pushing responsibility to another individual is just anothother apathetic gesture. You can push that responsibility off to...the doctor... the student ...whoever... but in the end you are doing nothing but absolving yourself of responsibility.