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Old 04-12-2006, 02:48 PM   #78
Chris Li
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Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,308
Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Jon Reading wrote:

In regards to my comments:
1. I beg to differ about the exaggeration of the significance behind a request to accomodate male-only training. I believe the original poster's dilemna was that as a non-prof his dojo cannot discriminate against religion, but yet it would be difficult to accomodate such a request. The post alone implies a significant problem for which the poster is soliciting advice. The significance of a lawsuit resulting from this student accidentally touching a woman against his religion/wishes justify a very close scrutiny of the appropriate response, or from the dojo refusing him as a student based on religious beliefs. Now let's talk about the sexist perception some students may have regarding the individual if the dojo accomodates his request; oh, and I forgot the hardships impressed upon female students of the dojo to avoid touching this student.
The original poster said that they were concerned about the possibility of legal problems, not that any legal action had been threatened or that and demands had been made. Also, as I said before, the likelyhood of there being a problem with accidental physical contact is very small - check around in the orthodox Jewish and Muslim communities, this is easy to confirm. Sexist perceptions can be handled through open discussion - I've never seen a problem in the past in similar situations in which the issues were discussed openly and candidly.

I'm not sure what "hardships" would be impressed upon the female students, except in their own minds - which can be relieved the same way, through open discussion.

Jon Reading wrote:
2. I don't have any idea of what the individual in question does or does not do in his daily life. I do not know what exceptions or compromises he makes at his place of work or in his personal life, I don't care either. As an instructor, my decision to accomomdate or decline this request has to be based on the negative exposure this student creates for the dojo.
If you're worried about "exposure", do you keep out the physically unfit and older students?

Jon Reading wrote:
Secondly, I do not support enabling individuals to increase their exposure to something that would conflict with their life choices. I would not give an alcoholic a drink, I would not take a vegetarian to a steak house, and I would not support aikido training in an environment that may cause contact with a female if it is against a student's religion. These are all examples of enabling a person to tempt fate.
As I said before, the "temptation" argument isn't, IMO, relevant here. Orthodox Jews and Muslims are not cloistered monks.



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