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Old 08-03-2009, 05:07 PM   #150
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
United_States
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

People seem to be mixing apples and oranges here. An Aikido dojo is NOT a religious institution, or place of worship.

If I were to go to an orthodox synagogue, I would expect that I would not be worshiping with the women. If I visited a mosque, I would not expect that I would worship with a women. I can respect the structures that they put in place to demonstrate and teach their value systems.

At the hombu dojo, O'Sensei DID have men and women train together. I should not have to change the nature of the practice environment in order to satisfy all of the students unique demands. One potential student who was a Muslim man did not enroll because of the possibility of his training with women. I liked him, he liked me and the dojo environment, but we agreed to respect the differences that did not allow for him to feel comfortable training at my school.

If people want to start their own schools that blend the religious with training (and there are some out there), then they are entitled to do so.

One person's perception of modesty is another person's perception of bias. I do not discriminate or lack the respect for people who differ in terms of race, gender, religion,...... I do ask that in my dojo, my view of respect is that everybody trains with everybody, regardless of perceived differences. To each their own.... However, we should not confuse a place of training with a place of worship, nor should we have to sacrifice our own values and beliefs to satisfy others. Part of learning to live in a world of differences is to agree to disagree and still respect those differences.

Marc Abrams
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