Re: Poll: Should an aikido instructor date a student of theirs?
[quote]As a student, I want to believe the special attention I get is for pure reasons.[quote]
This is very important, but I don't think it is impossible to reconcile with Ledyard Sensei's post, which I also agree with. It is a sensei's responsibility to not let sexual interest/tension influence their interaction with students in the dojo. However, if a student and sensei meet through the dojo but get to know each other outside of this setting, there is nothing inherently wrong with that relationship.
My sensei is one of my closest friends. We didn't know each other until I became his student. It is certainly interesting to know him in both ways, but it works. Dating is somewhat different because there is more potential for getting hurt, but the idea is the same. Inside the dojo, I receive attention based on my technique and my dedication to the dojo. My relationship to him as my teacher is very very strong. I have immese respect for both his aikido and his teaching style and I show that respect in the appropriate ways. But outside the dojo we are just friends and we joke around and give each other a hard time equally. We have been there for each other in hard times and shared lots of good ones, just like close friends should.
I think all this is possible in a romantic relationship as well, as long as both people are able keep the two separate (dojo and non-dojo). That said, there are plenty of good reasons to NOT date your students. Each person must make their own decision, weighing the risks and and potential cost to the dojo community carefully. Same goes for relationships between students... But we're all human in the end and must do the best we can for ourselves and those around us. Each situation is unique...
Ok, climbing off the soap box now :-)