Re: Falling in love with Sensei
Be very careful here. As an Aikido teacher I can tell you that this is a huge trap for a teacher. If we were mental health professionals or lawyers, or doctors we would have had ethics training as part of our professional development. Standards would have set out for waht was considered accpetable and not acceptable behavior with those entrusted to ones care.
In the case of Aikido, those of us who are running dojos not only didn't get the least training in the ethics of relating to students, especially in the area of relationships and sex, but most of our role models were horrible.
Being an Aikido teacher is a trap. In my own younger days I fell into trouble myself but I got my act together before it damaged the dojo. I have had this discussion with other male friends who are teachers. Some have realized that their behavior was inappropriate and copped to it, others seem to have matured and now behave better but you never hear them admit to any wrong doing, and others, well you hope you don't get mixed up with one of them...
Can you have a relationship with a teacher and have it work out? Yes, as mentioned by many, it can work out just fine and has for many Aikido teachers of my acquaintance. Just some ground rules...
Don't make anything secret. If you are dating, let everyone know you are dating. The worst abuses have happened when everything was secret. This allowed both repeated and multiple simultaneous offences because people were not aware of each other. Each thought he or she was "special".
If you are getting messages about being "special" or that the teacher has "special plans" for you, run away. This is standard predatory behavior; you are being groomed.
If your relationship with the teacher seems to be causing problems with the other folks in the dojo, this is a big warning sign. They are probably seeing something that you are not. On the other hand, if you are having a relationship and your realtions with your mates at the dojo stay as they were, then things are probably just fine. Although be aware of the following possibility.
If you feel like the teacher is paying attention to other females in the dojo in the same way that he pays attention to you, run away... It's all a big setup. What is interesting about a dojo in which there is serious dysfunctional behavior is that the membership becomes codependent. One acquaintance was having relations with several females in his dojo at the same time and others had left due to failed relationships with the sensei. It wasn't until this teacher got better through therapy and copped to what he had been doing that he lost 60 of his students. While he was screwing around with every female he could, the dojo looked the other way but when he stopped, the folks couldn't face their parts as enablers so they had to blame the teacher and leave in disgust.
People who run dojos and are serious about their training have a hard time even meeting anyone oustide their own dojos to date. So I am quite sympathetic to the issue of dating a student. But you REALLY need to be careful. I can't stress enough that things should be open and above board. Then there won't be any elements which end up surprising you or the others in the dojo.