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Old 03-19-2012, 06:17 PM   #19
Dojo: Brisbane Aikido Republic
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 298
Re: What would you do? (Older male teacher with young female student)

A slight segue - Aikido I think has definite tendency to operate as a charasmatic group (sometimes called cult). All of the major tick boxes can be there
- a clear hierarchy with absolute power
- magical mystical power you can only get from one source
- absence of external controls
- clear boundaries of who is in and who is out
- presumption that demonstrable expertise translates to character and expertise in other areas

All that stops this from running away is the head of the dojo. I have seen the tendencies in quite a few dojos I've been in. It works, people are looking for direction and meaning and an infallible teacher can be seen to have it all. Rightly or wrongly students can beg for it and support it in their behaviours and Aikido as 'the way of harmony' attracts those interested in becoming whole and easy for instructors to be 'intoxicated' by it as well. When power comes to those stepping into authority and such a structure exists the results can be unpredictable. Abraham Lincoln says it best “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”

Sometimes its almost impossible to do anything other than walk away, so sympathies with Angry father and similar. Here is a quote form a treatment on the subject - its the only one on hand…sorry. " ..In such groups leaders can make demands on followers that are seen as abusive by outsiders,... the group operates as a close knit social system and its activities are generally only carried with other members of the group. ...Boundary control is exercised by the group and compliance with group norms is assured by members....A clear difference between members and non-members is exercised"  (Cults, Faith Healing and Coercion, M. Galanter, Oxford university Press 1989). 

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