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Old 08-02-2009, 12:18 PM   #136
Guilty Spark
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Location: Flordia
Join Date: May 2006
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Amir Krause wrote: View Post
The Sensei has to make a decision, is he interested in accepting all interested students, or is he going to discriminate against those for whom the Dojo rules must change?

Any decision is legitimate. But please, be honest, if you insist a student must transgress basic rules of his religion, you may as well ask him to change religion. This type of requirement is discriminatory.
Interesting times we live in isn't it.
I come to your house and if you make me take off my shoes at your door you may very well be discriminating against me.

I guess many here miss the importance of sex segregation in Orthodox Judaism and Islam due to your living and being brought up in a Protestant Christian environment (or a secular post Protestant Christian environment). I do not know of equivalent fundamental rules in Christianity. Though I am sure there are some. Growing in a secular post Jewish community, I find a huge distinction between the Orthodox Judaism concept of opposite sexes segregation and discrimination against women.
I may border on being a hypocrite.
Personally I don't like training with females. Might be due to the hooah environment of the military I work. May be due to previous bad experiences I have had and seen in a different MA school. It might be the constant threat (real or feigned) of sexual harassment that often accompanies females places. (Yes happens to guys too but it's uncommon)

This said my current training partner is a female whom I consider to be my best friend. There are female members of this bored who would do circles around me on the aikido mat and I'd love to get the snot beat out of me by them.

The difference is that while I may have personal reservations against training with females (for some valid reasons IMO) I'll never refuse to train with one or refuse to bow to one showing the same amount of courtesy I would a male. They have every right to be on the Aikido mat that I do and I feel I would be disrespecting them, myself and the Dojo if I treated them any differently.

My issue is that people come to various institutions and want to bring their religious and cultural practices.
Why does it often come across that the same people are reluctant to accept that the institution they are attending has different practices than them and choose to modify their own while present?

Do you see where I am going?
I admit I know very little about religion. This may be a bad example but I'll try.
Lets say your religion does not allow you to eat on Fridays. For whatever reason I go to an establishment belonging to your religion. Fridays are TGIFs (ThankGod It's Friday) for me at and my tradition (work/family whatever) to order Pizza at lunch.

Would it be rude of me to order pizza and eat it in front of you at your establishment or would you expect me to respect you your religion and the establishment and refrain from eating?

That may be a little simplistic but that's how I see a lot of religious and cultural issues on the matter. You respect mine while I don' really worry about yours.

True, but are all the rules equally important?
Yes otherwise they would be suggestions.

I agree, this does make a poor training environment. Yet, not traveling and not turning the lights on one day a week seems much more harmful of life quality, and religious Jews do it one full day (>24 hours) every week.
How much does not traveling or turning lights on compare with behaviors at a dojo?
Perhaps an issue would be the actual location of the OPs Dojo.

The difference is the matter of cause\motive. If one is dismissive of other peoples, and a racist, you are right. But if one only follows his religion, and is willing to do the most his religion allows him to, it is not the same.

WE respect Japanese tradition while practicing Aikido, are we bound to disrespect any other tradition (most of which pre-date Aikido by many hundreds of years)? Can one not find a way to respect both?
That may be an ideal solution, a compromise but ultimately I would err on the side of respecting Aikido's traditions vice someone choosing to show up and train there.

Ahmed never said men and women are not equal, this is your interpretation.
Not in as many words no, I was referencing what I've seen and dealt with regarding treatment of women.
Why do you think it woul be offensive to bow to a woman, Amir? Remembering you're not touching them, what might the reason be?

I do not know his explanation (the Islamic one), but for instance some Orthodox Jew interpretations I have heard would believe that the woman is more worthy.
Amir, you should take a few minutes and research Islam and what they think of women being more worthy then men.

-- these are the rules of his religion -- you can either accept him or discriminate against him, period.
Or, they can accept that a school doesn't treat women differently than men for whatever reason (training, bowing) contact) and either accept it or find something else to do.

are you willing to create on in your dojo and ask all women and men to go there prior to training?
If I was running a school in Israel? Maybe.

In Canada I would say no students under 18,men train with women, no heavy make up or cologne, accept and respect my schools rules and traditions and leave the drama at the door.

While we obviously don't agree on this issue Amir (Nor probably will) I appreciate your opinions and the time you took for the well worded and thought out post thank you.

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