Re: An open letter to the martial arts community about conduct in the dojo
Being a sensei or a sempai is a position of power. Whether it's 'REAL' power or perceived power, it's still a position of power. We give our bodies to our practice partners so that we may learn from the interaction in a framework that CAN include actions that CAN lead to severe injury. There's a lot of trust necessary and (in Canadian law, anyway) if a "coach" or "teacher" abuses the position of power to injure or obtain sexual release, it's in the Criminal Code. (At a coaching development symposium, we had a round-table with a sport-law specialist.) Ice Hockey - there are a few NHL-ers who have been taken advantage of by predatory coaches (one in particular but I'd doubt Graham James is alone). It's to the point now in Canada that - if you want to coach or teach, you are almost universally required to provide a recent (less than 2 years old) criminal record check, and if you coach or teach young people, you have to have a VS (Vulnerable Sector) check - which - if your date of birth coincides with that of a convicted sexual predator, requires confirmation via fingerprint search that you're not the convicted one with a changed name... (I know this because there's a )(*&^*&^$^%( out there that has me going for fingerprints every 2 years..)
Here's another look - the sensei should consider himself or herself the servant of the student - not the other way around. The student pays a fee to learn from the sensei - the sensei doesn't pay the student to train 'under' him or her.