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Old 05-21-2001, 11:42 AM   #14
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
slight OT but relevant I think

I have trained in or visited dojos with instructors of the following caliber:

Probably Alcoholic - Drank before class. Of course, it was just a glass of wine as it was explained to me. Besides, no Japanese sensei ever suffered from this problem.
Pot Smoker -- Stoned while teaching the class.
Pedofile -- Shares his name with a famous author and the dojo is not 2 miles from where I grew up. Imagine hearing from your mother, "Aikido was in the newspaper today."
Womanizer -- Man is a legend in the aikido community and the practice is a running joke.
Klickstein was before my time but given my track record I'd have found my way there as well.

Another instructor of mine fell head over heels over a student but there was just one small problem—the student's girlfriend was in the class. Fortunately, I've never had a physically abusive sensei.

Some of these people are folks that I called sensei for many years. I predict in one case and know for certain in four others that the senior people in the dojo (including me) knew about the problems while they were going on. Only once, as far as I know, did someone say anything to the sensei about it. And the only reason there was because I'd gone through it before and couldn't accept the thought of someone getting hurt because of the instructor's hobby. Also, I was new to the dojo and didn't have much investment in it, so if I got thrown out it didn't matter. Even with all that, it was very hard to have this discussion.

I would suggest a book called the Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini in regards to why this sort of behavior happens. He goes into why people would accept this sort of behavior and the structure of a dojo is an ideal breeding ground for it. The short version is that you are part of a community that has embraced the practice; senior people have invested substantial time in that community; it's difficult to admit you made a bad decision, particularly once you've made the time investment; and the instructor is usually a charismatic authority figure with some extraordinary skills that you want.

Another problem is that we are a community that often doesn't listen to its beginners and guess who will be not only the first to get hit on but also the first to notice the issue for what it is. Those very individuals often looked at as a dime a dozen. I've often wondered how many people came into those dojos, looked around, and said "holy shit!" while running for the exit. It's usually the beginners or those outside the situation who recognize it for what it is.

I've said enough. I hope others have things to add.

Last edited by Erik : 06-03-2001 at 01:14 AM.