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Old 09-24-2008, 07:05 AM   #3
Eva Antonia
Dojo: CERIA
Location: Brussels
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 208
Belgium
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Re: Teaching in the times of lawsuit.

Dear Marie-Noelle,

according to my experience - I have four kids doing aikido, during the school time in Belgium, and in the summer holidays in Turkey, where their father comes from -, teachers approach kid students pretty the same way as they do it with adults, apart of the kids being more playful and kidding around. Our Belgian teachers are 82 and 70 years old respectively, the Turkish one is only 26 years old, but their approach to children ist very much the same. They teach them, they coach them, from time to time they give them a scolding, and from time to time a big hug. I'd never, never think that one of them would be pedophile (and I think I would know because I had a very disgusting, pedophile flute teacher when I was a kid).

I cannot very well imagine that it could be otherwise; the adult teacher has a child uke when teaching child classes, so how should he proceed for not touching him when doing things like just a simple ikkyo?

And I'm sorry - I don't see any challenge for honest instructors. I am convinced that the great majority of aikidoka does not have any pedophile tendency, so when having body contact with a kid during a technique where should be the challenge?

We have here even one week aikido camps only for children - my big boy goes there since the age of eight, and it's as innocent as it can (and should!) be. Here in Belgium we also had horrible cases of child abuse, and Belgians are certainly among Europeans one of the most aware people, but if pedophilia awareness goes so far that kids may not be touched anymore and are therefore excluded from a lot pleasant activities, then I get the impression that the kids are punished for the sins of the adults.

As for aikido, in many classes there are also parents present, and as far as I know, many teacher welcome the presence of parents as a sort of deputy teacher (does not work for your own kids).

So I'd continue to train with kids as with other people, and let lawyers worry about real pedophilia, not about imagined cases.

Best regards,

Eva
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