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Old 04-12-2006, 06:45 PM   #82
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 522
Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

A question in general:

Probably most of us would be reluctant to train at a dojo in which none of the other students would touch us. It would seem hard to learn aikido under such circumstances, and tempting to go elsewhere.

What is the critical level at which you would feel inclined to leave?

My guess--obviously it only applies to me--is that for our dojo class sizes (all classes but the
Head Instructor's run around 2-4 students much of the time; hers are 7-10) and dojo size (about 20 regular students) I would start to feel very constrained if as many as a quarter of the regular students would not train with me. Much above that level and I would feel so frustrated I would probably leave, no matter the level of instruction. Perhaps I'm not as serious as I might be, but I can't maintain my enthusiasm from the sidelines.

In a bigger dojo the number could probably go higher, but somewhere around 90% I think I would feel hopelessly unwelcome no matter what the absolute numbers were.

I don't know what to do with this information. "I don't want to admit you because if I admitted many people like you, my female students would quit" is a difficult statement to make--one student is not likely to be that devastating, so he is essentially being blamed for a potential problem that he's only a small contribution to. And it *is* only a potential problem. On the other hand, I would feel very uncomfortable as a leader if the result of my policy decisions was to drive out my female students.

(Or my male students. None of these arguments seem specific to which gender is involved, except that in most dojo women are rarer than men and so the numbers crunch a bit differently.)

Mary Kaye
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