i have been training a few months at a wonderful dojo run by two wonderful people. my difficulty is that i recently found out the dojo has been excluding people of a certain religion, based on certain parts of training that they can't do per religious order (bowing, training with the opposit gender, etc). in fact, they have managed to anger certain people of this religion ( which is very predoninate in this area) to the point they are calling for a boycott of the dojo by all "sypathizers against anti discrimination". the are doing this through local places of worship and giving the dojo a very bad name. my problem is that i don't know if any of what they say is even true and i don't know how to bring it up with the senseis to find out without causing offense. if it is true, i will leave the dojo because i don't believe in discrimination or supporting organizations that do. this is my choice and i see that others feel differently. what i want to now is how to find out if these wonderful senseis really are what is being said about them
Everyone discriminates, in your case you are discriminating against practices of the dojo you don't believe in. These practices are religious and cultural. They are an integral part of Aikido just as technique to the whole of Aikido, even though some dojos are not as strict with the practice as others. I know of a dojo that filed as a church, a religion. There are many supports that point to Aikido qualifying as a religion.
The Japanese have a saying that I see many dojos and non-Japanese follow in the dojo. The saying goes something like if a nail is sticking up, you hammer it down.
In Sikhism, I believe in loose terms, the removal of the head dress is forbidden. If a Sikh came into my dojo, I would ask him to remove his head dress or not train. We have had Christians who thought bowing was a pagan act, and refused to do it. We asked them to leave. Now when people come to the dojo we screen them and have a prejudice against those who we know are not willing to accept or follow our practices. We dictate everything involved in Aikido from a uniform to behavior, that is pretty much the norm. Aikido isn't like many religions that tell you what to believe and if you don't conform stone you, but there is pressure to follow the group and conform to behaviors and practices, much like a sports team. We don't tell you what to believe and if you don't you will go to hell. We are discriminatory along the lines of a sports team, the military and alike. This angers people and we are called out on it. In our defense, there is no law or rule, and it is in fact an accepted practice among martial arts to be discriminatory and selective.
With all that said, this knowledge may be helpful to you understanding martial arts and Aikido. I suggest find a dojo that is more accommodating to the practices of others. Please keep in mind that isn't the norm. But it is a Japanese martial art, of O'Sensei and that is what attracts millions of people to it. Unless you don't live in a free country, it is a right for people to discriminate in this sense, like we have private country clubs, not everyone gets into the sheik night clubs. There are women only gyms, etc.
Now if this Aikido dojo was a place of employment, and not offering a cultural experience then that would be a different story. Please don't misunderstand I just think understanding this maybe helpful to you and ease your discontent.