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Old 03-16-2013, 07:50 AM   #8
Cady Goldfield
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,025
Re: An open letter to the martial arts community about conduct in the dojo

I agree with Lorien. Martial arts, by their very nature, place an individual, usually male, in a leadership position. His skills - or perceived skills - imply great physical and mental power, particularly over his less skilled students. If he is charismatic, his influence will be even greater.

Note how frequently the topic of "I have a crush on/am in love with Teacher" comes up both in the MA world and in academe, for another example. Predators exploit that, and even when the student isn't overtly attracted, being singled out for attention by a powerful individual is often hard to reject, with all of the conflicting emotions. Add to that the mystique of the traditional Eastern-style teacher-student relationship, and you have the "perfect storm" for abuse if that teacher is inclined to such behavior.

It's a way larger issue than Aikido; it's part of the human condition. Human behavior includes various ways and degrees of expressing the instinct for power and control, and sexuality. One extreme of that spectrum involves predatory behavior, which most of us consider to be the lowest end of the range of our nature. And just as in all other areas of society, in my opinion it's incumbant on we who do not subscribe to that extreme of human nature to monitor and prevent such behavior in others, in order to protect the wellbeing of those who may not be able to speak for or defend themselves.
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