Re: Religious Restrictions on Training
Religious prohibitions on contact with members of the opposite sex are part of the standard of modesty for both male and female members of those communities. They are not statements about the superiority or inferiority of one sex over the other.
Consider single sex locker rooms. Every gym/dojos I've ever been in offers them. It is an expected part of our social standard on modesty. Because men and women change in seperate areas has nothing to do with sexism. There really is no need to make this issue more than it needs to be.
A conservative woman of faith who wishes to learn Aikido should not be made to abandon that goal or compromise her religious ideals in order to do so.
All those who argue to the contrary are insensitive and fail to extend the priciniples of Aikido to the matter.
In my mind, there is no doubt how O'Sensei would have handled the matter:
[O Sensei said:] "...Aikido is an art rather than a religion. But if you practice my aikido a great deal you will be a better Christian.” Then I asked, “O Sensei should I remain a Christian?” He replied, “Yes, absolutely. You were raised as a Christian in France. Remain a Christian.” If he had told me to stop being a Christian and become a Buddhist, I would have been lost." - Andre Nocquet