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Old 01-16-2014, 03:30 PM   #31
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
Location: Oceanside, California
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,233
Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Individual rights are not accommodated, but are honored in the United States (at least philosophically). This man has an unrestricted freedom of religion that Lynn and I served in the same time and place to protect. While his right must be protected, it does not mean that anyone else can be required to adopt its requirements.

In this case, from an American perspective, the gentleman could have been told that the requirements of his faith could be met by him choosing to only train with the other males, but his training would be seriously impeded by his self-limiting behavior.

The young female brown belt probably needs everyone in the dojo to help her prepare for her shodan testing; big, strong, small, weak, fast, slow, male, female, tall, short, you name it. She could probably do just fine without this single gentleman as a training partner, but that wasn't what was presented to her. Her option was to train in gender-segregated classes, thus limiting her training and experience.

I support that instructor's right to do whatever he chooses with this situation, but I certainly don't agree with it. Segregating his classes into "separate, but equal" groups was not the best solution and seems vaguely familiar......Brown v. Mississippi, maybe? I would have voiced my objection at the time, and if he continued with segregated classes, I would leave that dojo.

I see this situation differently than a situation where someone has been brutalized and traumatized and needs time to adjust. Specifically, I'm thinking of the female rape victim or similar. I would focus on helping her build her own comfort and courage over time. This just seems so much different than someone who had no choice in his or her circumstances.

The "solution" found doesn't meet my muster as rational, logical or reasonable.

I now step down from my soapbox.

"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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