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Old 03-19-2008, 05:44 PM   #92
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 950
Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George


their is a genuine sense of sadness and disbelief. Mr. George was always spoken about in respectful-to-glowing terms, both in terms of him as a person, and he as an Aikidoka. The few times I had met him (translating at the Aiki Expo's), I had left with a positive impression of him. That was why I was dumbstruck by what he was alleged to have done.
It isn't that always the case? 99% of child molesters have to be charming, nice, friendly, and most of all unsuspecting. They have to be able to get close, and get that all important trust. It is always a surprise and a shock to find out such a seemingly well adjusted trusting person who harms a child. That is the dangerous part, well for this parent, and the kids. I don't trust anyone, and suspect everyone. I certainly don't put my kids or allow them to be in any position where they could be vulnerable to a predator.

Mr. George, is innocent until proven guilty. I don't put much weight in what he supposedly said, because it is third hand information. I weigh more what will be proven in court then what is printed in the media.

Several posters, besides myself, have noted that in certain endeavors/professions, people are trained in how to handle the power-inequity relationships that are part of the endeavor/job. What training to Aikido teachers get before they open their own schools? How many of us know stories of well-known teachers who had a woman in every port? What kind of role models were those teachers? If the incidents alleged regarding Mr. George and Mr. Toyoda should move us in any direction, it should be towards an open discussion in how we can seek to establish ways to prevent this from happening in our community.
I think there is a difference in intent and what happens between adults, then the intent of adults and what they do to children. Having an over active libido for a variety of adult encounters is different then acting upon kids. There are two different mind sets, two different goals, two different outcomes. Children are not full developed physically, mentally/psychologically, emotionally to engage at any degree of romantic or sexual intimacy with an adult. A randy Sensei with an adult engagement at every port is a poor role model for kids. A Sensei who drinks moderately, a sensei who goes to bars for a good time is also a bad role model. Unless your are Mother Theresa you are not a good role model for kids. Being a poor role model is different than being a criminal. A child molesting sensei is more devastating then a drunkard or womanizer.

Aikido has a integral spiritual framework that is practiced (many see that it is up to interpretation), so we hold Senseis to this high moral and ethical standard of sainthood. An unrealistic thing of holding the position of Sensei to the purest moral and ethical character standards. I think this is dangerous. It is dangerous because people get too comfortable, too trusting, or even hero worship the Sensei. Giving any human such a blank check in a position of authority is more of a danger over all. If we hero worship the sensei, we ignore the red flags providing an unspoken permission for abuse. We have seen that with the Jacko case.

We cannot fully prevent these types of unacceptable acts from happening in our society, let alone our art. I think that if many of us can agree upon basic standards that help to maintain appropriate boundaries and behaviors, then it will become easier to identify potential problems in our communities when people are known to deviate from acceptable standards of practice. That might be a start, which is better than having done nothing to address a real issue.
A key to stopping the type of molesters we are speaking about is to have vigilant caring well-adjusted parents/guardians to protect their children, but not everyone has such good parents/guardians. I think those basic standard are very clearly mapped out. It is the parents/guardians vigilance and protectiveness that hampers the molester. It is parents/guardians lack of vigilance and protectiveness that allow the molester access to the child. I find if a child is molested by an Aikido sensei it shows there was a great lap of judgment by the parents. A sensei has no business with a child outside the dojo, alone with the child in the dojo. No special relationships with the sensei. The child goes to class with the parents, and the parents watch class, no babysitting at the dojo. The sensei/child relationship is a strict sterile one. No exceptions. There are the boundaries, there is the basic standard. This is for all those 0-17 years old.

The failure of the standard is by the parents who provide the opportunity needed by a molester to victimize the child.
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