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Old 04-13-2006, 06:20 PM   #85
Dojo: Sand Drift Aikikai, Cocoa Florida
Location: Melbourne, Florida
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 824
Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Well, one of the men I mentioned in a prior post participated in a seminar this weekend. He tended to train with the same people -- people who knew and understood his beliefs, but it was his first seminar, too. He also test for 5th kyu and did a great job. There are a few other Muslim men in our dojo but they are not as orthodox in their beliefs and practice with women. He still trained on a crowded mat with women. No problems there and obviously he was not "tempted" by the women on the mat. I met him and he seemed really kind and down-to-earth -- NOT a haughty chauvinistic pig. I've met many chauvinistic men on the mat and they still trained with me and usually treated me rather poorly. He was rather respectful.

I think the key is to try and understand where they might be coming from and offer some warmth and acceptance. I think too many people are jumping to conclusions as if they will get a deluge of Muslims whose orthodox practices require them (Its NOT a choice) to not touch the opposite gender, unless a spouse. And cause a serious strain on the dojo. One person is all we're talking about here -- not a group. Although, he is a part of the group. It looked like he was the only person not training with women.

In my real-life non-hypothetical experience at this past seminar, one person choosing not to train with the women on the mat did not cause a disturbance or a hardship on the other participants.

Anne Marie Giri
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