The bowing to the picture of O Sensei is not a prerequisite in any dojo.If any person has objections to this custom [which is just a way of showing respect to the Founder ] any Sensei should have the common sense to appreciate that due to possible religious practice some people will not bow to the Kamisa/O Sensei picture.Let people practice the art in a manner which is comfortable for them.Why ban them?Surely common sense would prevail here?Have the non bowing students made their views known to the dojo leaders?If not maybe a talk would resolve the problem.As far as not practising with opposite gender again the same thing applies-just let them get on with it and be comfortable.
Seems to me your group dont talk to each other.Is it a cultural problem???
I agree with you Joe! Aikido is a Japanes art that has spread around the globe to different cultures. We have to seperate the 'art' from the culture. I hope to have my own dojo one day, and when I do, this will not be an issue. I would gladly respect anyone's religious restrictions. That doesn't mean they get to train the way they want. It only means that they don't have to do anything they don't want to do if it goes against their religion. It's not a hard thing to do and it really is no big deal.