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Old 01-16-2014, 05:05 PM   #32
Chris Li
Chris Li's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,300
Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Before people get too excited (maybe too late...), here's a response to the situation that appeared on Reddit:


I am a student and assistant instructor at East Coast Aikido, and this story has not been accurately or fairly reported. The class was never segregated along gender lines, and the muslim student's request was accommodated by taking care not to partner him and him alone with any of the handful of female students in the class for training. Female students do not train separately from the rest of the class, and continue to train with each other and with male students as they always have with the exception of the one muslim student. If during the regular rotation of training partners, the muslim student was paired with a female student, the instructor managing the training would simply have him switch places with another student so that he would be with a male training partner. This request was accommodated with minimal impact on the flow of training, and it's disheartening to see the situation has been so unfairly misrepresented in the media.

Furthermore, this would not at all have impacted on Sonja's black belt training as she would not have been training with the newer muslim student on the advanced material anyway. I never saw any literature on Islam distributed in the class, and I imagine that if this did happen, if she had brought the booklet to Steve with her concerns, he would have asked the muslim student not to do it again.

Steve handled this situation in about the best way I can imagine any instructor handling it. He saw a way to easily and fairly accommodate the student's request so that he would be able to train with us. If the request had been refused, the news story would be one of Islamophobia instead of sexism. I hope Sonja eventually comes to realise this and comes back to train.


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