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Old 11-23-2009, 04:33 PM   #293
"Been there...done that"
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Anonymous User
Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Lorien Lowe wrote: View Post
The person with religious restrictions to training with women aren't going to be 'forced' to train with women; they'd just leave. The women in question are not going to be able to train with this religious person no matter what happens. Either he's allowed in class and trains only with men, or he doesn't come to the dojo at all. In your second case, it's not that she'd have two people to train with that she otherwise wouldn't, it's that she'd show up at the dojo alone.
Based upon my direct experience they don't leave the dojo; they are welcomed in the dojo because they are essentially nice people and not thugs. Sensei allows it and accomodates because he is trying to spread aikido to a group of people who would not otherwise practice it. You are told not to train with Mr. X, Y and Z or that Mr. X, Y and Z don't train with women because of their religious beliefs so please don't train with them - try to find another partner and skip them in jiyuwaza. In the name of PCness and propagation of aikido you - as a woman - are caught in the middle.

And, how does showing up alone excuse the fact that the woman in the second case is by her choice to be excluded from training because the two other men in class don't train with women? I show up alone every single day to the dojo would that excuse someone from raping me in the locker room where I change? I don't think so. So why would that kind of logic apply here?

When she shows up for a morning class and is the one of three people on the mat; she is the only woman and the other two have religious restrictions, how the heck is her training not affected? It's not by her choice -- it's by theirs to practice their view of their religion. You can not admit here in this circumstance that her training was adversely affected?

Would it make a difference to you that this was the only time the particular female could train and these men would only occasionally show up as a group? She pays dues like everyone else. Imagine showing up to class a two or three practices in a row and NOT BE ABLE TO TRAIN. And what will you say to yourself? "Oh, I showed up by myself - so my training is not adversely affected?" I don't think so. You will be peeved that you did not get to train. That's it. It is just not a happenstance "oh, well, I just decided to show up alone."

whenever we train with other people, someone is going to be adversely affected by someone else. Stinky Guy? He adversely affects my practice when he interrupts my ability to remain upright in kokyu-ho by breathing on me. Loud Guy? He distracts me from across the dojo with his yelling. Flirty Gal? She just annoys the heck out of me. Heaven only knows what I do to distract or annoy other people. Opinionated Gal? Throat-punch Gal?
Your point here is a bit of a red herring because you are bringing in notions that do not keep another person from training. Stinky Guy just stinks. Loud guy is just loud. Flity Guy is just flirty. And Opinionated Gal is just opinionated. You can still train with a stinky, loud, flirty opinionated person. And as far as 501(c)(3) status goes none of these people fall within a protected class. A dojo will not loose it's non-profit status if they tell stinky guy to clean up or leave, or loud guy to quite down or leave, flirty guy to stop flirting or leave or opinionated gal to stop gabbing on the mat. However, a person's religious status is a protected class for 501(c)(3) purposes.

I think that if there's a question of training or not training, the Religious Guy should be the one to sit out, not the women of the dojo. Nor should women be forced into a females-only ghetto on one side of the mat. Let Religious Guy train, but just like Stinky Guy gets a talking-to when it gets so bad that he's doing no-touch aikido from six feet away, so should Religious Guy be limited in his impact - but if he's willing to take responsibility for that, don't just leave him on the curb. It's good for him and good for all the guys in the dojo to have another set of hands.
It's his choice to follow an orthodox belief system not hers. And by his choice to follow it he will experience consequences because of it. However, the people around him should not suffer because of it either. And, as I have experienced directly - you do and you will.

I am not advocating that the woman should sit out. It is just that she will be sitting out as a consequence. I'm just pointing out that you can not have one side of the coin without the other, especially in the circumstances that I previously explained. Just try participating in jiyuwaza with the person with religious restrictions - you're sitting out whether you like it or not. Just try instructing a small class with the person in it - you can not physically touch him or use him as uke. I've been that woman - you will be sitting out and not by choice -- but by his and by your sensei who "accomodates" it.

Amir said: The idea of "Been there...done that" implies if the Sensei does not agree, they will join without those restrictions. If that were the case, they do not really care for the restrictions.
No, they joined the particular dojo with those restrictions which is why different women in the dojo had issues. Which, is why I had the direct experience that I did. Since the sensei and his assistants were too busy with being PC they didn't stop to think of the implications it was for the women in the dojo.

I think what I really was implying is that as a sensei you need to clearly communicate the type of practice and training that they can expect in the dojo and that you expect everyone to partake in the same experience - everyone trains together regardless of size, gender, age, ability, etc. You need to be clear that there is A LOT of physical contact in your dojo and that there are no exceptions to this physical contact. You can explain bowing is not for religious purposes and that you are in no way asking anyone to surrender their belief system to train. They can sit and watch a class and see if it is suitable for them.
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