Re: Religious Restrictions on Training
People have done many trainings nowadays all over the world using virtual system, verbal instructions and many other methods which have used non physical contact in many things including martial arts. It has been a common asian ways of martial arts instruction of learning by observation.
I myself am an instructor in Silat and Aikido and have taught for many years without having physical contact between the different sexes due to religious restrictions.
Aikido as well as other arts originate from a certain culture and they all spread all over the world. How? Tolerance..
It depends whose dojo you go to and which religion u follow. Some dojo cho probably are okay with everything such as bowing to shomen and mixed training between the different sexes. Then, if a person who has such restrictions come to your dojo just allow him or her to do according to their restrictions. It does no harm if u look at it in a more positive point of view.
T o me discrimination wud also mean to force others to strip off their religious practice as well.
In my dojos and gelanggangs, I always tell my students of different beliefs to pray or meditate according to their own beliefs. The important thing is we can train together. The ladies train separately among themselves either during separate sessions or space in the dojo. I've been doing this for many yrs and there has been no complains. I did it as well when I was training in Adelaide for silat.
My students and also teachers which I've trained with have accepted the idea very well. I have many different people in my dojo and with this we r able to gain more friends and learn about one another.
Some people see that not training with different sex as being discriminative. We see it as a sign of respect to the other sex and to avoid sexual harassment issues. We come from different cultural background. That is all.
Muslims, jews and Christians of many different denominations and also other beliefs have long lived side by side according to their own religious adherences. We don't serve beef to hindus, we don't serve meat to vegetarians, we don't bow to objects which signify glorification or prayer. We don't force chirstians to come and train during their Sunday sessions. Neither do we want to be forced to eat pork, drink alcoholic drinks or bow to the shomen in the dojo or train with the other sexes. What is wrong with that?
What I d make sure is I try my best sharing with each individual my experience and knowledge in martial arts so that they come and return home benefiting from my classes.
If u see women training wearing scarfs, let them be. It is their choice much like we Asians don't understand why some westerners like sun bathing and getting tanned. It's hot, why bare yourself in the sun, we would think. Why u want to get your nice fair skin tanned? Of course you'd think otherwise., right?
But what we all don't do is to discriminate based on race, country, religion/beliefs,political,physical disabilities,talents,etc . Heck, I've trained with people who has no religion as well.
Islam is the 3rd largest religion in the world and aikido has spread to may countries and many muslims have trained and still train aikido. Sooner or later we all will meet with people with different kinds of restrictions based on their beliefs. Are we going to be closing our doors to our potential friends and not share this great knowledge and experience of aikido?
How about people with HIV positive coming to your dojo?how would u handle it? I always make it a point to ask my students on the their needs either physical or due to religious. Then I'll ask them how I can accommodate their needs and requirements so that we can train together.
BTW, thanks to everyone for bringing this topic. Good topic to discuss and sorry if my reply is too long and my English is incorrect here and there.happy training everyone...