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Old 01-01-2004, 08:45 PM   #51
Qatana's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Petaluma, Petaluma,CA
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 834
What is "white"?

I am female, of Russian/Persian/Jewish descent.Being Persian i consider myself ethnically Caucasian (of/from the Caucasus Mountain region),and i consider that to be more Asian than European, so i do not consider myself as "white" or "white" as Caucasian.

I have read that the term came into use because ethnic Caucasians( Persians, Armenians, Georgians in terms of "modern" nationality)were lighter skinned than ethnically Arabic, so one day an Arabic person saw a European person and made an assumption.

Sort of like assuming anyone Black to be African American.

I generally enter under "race"- human, and under ethnicity "other".

We have a total of four "Other" or mixed ethnicity & at least one other Jewish person in a dojo of 16 members, and in a formerly rural farming community...


"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 01-04-2004, 12:33 AM   #52
Michael Karmon
Dojo: Aikido Jerusalem
Location: Jerusalem Israel
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 56
Josh Bisker wrote:

I rarely meet other jews on the mat.
You should joing our dojo, no shortage of Jews here :-)

We lit the Hanuka candles, prayers, songs and all, on the shomen and did a nice party after class.
Josh Bisker wrote:
...sometimes it would be comforting and welcoming to have that shared affiliation and understaning with other people in the dojo.
You do have a point here, joining a new place has allot to do with 'friend brings friend' and feeling comfortable socially before getting hooked on the Art itself.

Eat, Sleep, Exercise and watch out for cars
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Old 01-04-2004, 08:09 AM   #53
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 495
Michael K, indeed you make some good points. When you say that "People want to learn how to fight, excersize well and have fun. 'Spiritual' is so un-cool and such a turn-off for so many people that it is a wonder we get any new students at all", of course this is true in many cases but in my travels not too much. I am wondering if this is an issue of place rather than race. The people I encounter in the inner cities of Philly, NYC, DC, etc actually are quite comfortable in their ability to fight. They have had many opportunities to "train" in a live environment. Let's be real - there are many people who would come right off the street and mop of many of the people wearing hakama today. The people I encounter are more interested in finding a place they can go to find a peaceful social atmosphere and peace within.

Also - "The traditional way was to teach newbees the budo as a craft. Do this in this fashion and then learn that. Only after the student has got to a given level of proficiency did the teacher introduse the ART part of the budo " - In all my years of training and researching various arts I have never come across this method, although it may very well exist. In my experience the ART part is never introduced as separate from budo. Practice becomes ART as a result of years of vigorous training. This is a process that no teacher can "introduce" to you. It is up to the practitioner to discover it on his/her own terms. And yes, some practice never becomes art.

So while I am aware that some may choose to emphasize one aspect of aikido (martial or spiritual for example), I personally feel that is not the most effective method to appeal to others outside of the present aikido community. In the inner cities there are more liquor stores, funeral homes, and churches than any other business. This tells me that there is a market for something that appeals to the inner most spaces of those who live there. To me aikido is the perfect tool for healing to give to those who would otherwise have crutches and bandages.

Is this a radical concept - no. Isn't this what O'Sensei had in mind after WWII to aid in the healing of his country? But once again, I go back to the premise that WE must make all people feel welcome and wanted when they appear at our dojo doors.
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Old 01-05-2004, 09:53 AM   #54
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
Josh, I used to train under Goldberg Sensei...he is fantastic! Definately a good role model. And I haven't been his only AA student either.

Jo, please don't take offense at the use of the word 'white'. And like I said, each person has the right to name themselves.


Ron Tisdale
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 04-29-2007, 05:28 AM   #55
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barry.clemons's Avatar
Location: Inglewood
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 52
Re: Race and Aikido: Demographic

I found this thread referenced in another thread, referenced in another thread.

[quote=Ron Tisdale;59979]On another thread, I found the following statement:

Some questions if you are part of a minority group:

Does it matter to you that you might stand out in aikido settings?

I suppose it's crossed my mind; I believe everyone has apprehensions toward stepping on the mat their first time, no matter what the reason. For minorities, it could be race. For women, it could be gender. For youth, it could be age. For the elderly, it could be age as well. I personally try not to let a thing such as race interfere with a decision to join a dojo. Luckily, before I ever stepped foot in an Aikido dojo I believed myself to be thoroughly informed on the art as far as its perceived martial and philosophical benefits. What I've found though is that I stand out more because of my enthusiam on the mat than because of my race. I couple that with this; I've found the dojo to be much like being in the military. There are no color lines or gender differences for me.

Does it matter to you that friends of the same ethinic group and family find it strange that you choose to practice a Japanese martial art?

I have no family that practice the martial arts, so this one is pretty simple for me; however I do have friends that train in martial arts other than Aikido who question my motives. I have one friend in particular who is a sport MMA'er (actually competed in 2 matches, both of which he's won). He's actually quite interested in what Aikido has taught me (martially) and has requested on numerous occasions that we train together so he can learn and apply tenkan/irimi footwork in his technique (I'm no teacher; I told him to pay a $$ mat fee and have an instructor teach him).

What do you feel your reception has been in the aikido community?

My reception has been warm and inviting.

Has your practice of aikido influenced your feelings about race in general?

No, I can't say that it has. The idealist in me comes out now. My mentality somewhat transcends race, especially with respect to the MA's. Whether it's boxing, wrestling, UFC, Karate or Aikido; it's you and the other person. Skill, proper technical execution, and training mixed with a little luck. Race has nothing to do with it for me.

Barry Clemons
"The virtuous man is self-sufficient and undisturbed; not a slave of circumstance or emotion" - Zeno
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Old 04-30-2007, 11:50 AM   #56
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
Re: Race and Aikido: Demographic

Thanks for the responces, Barry!


Ron Tisdale
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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