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Old 07-07-2008, 11:55 AM   #126
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Falling in love with Sensei

Powerful stuff Janet. Lots of people can't do this because they're thinking mostly about themselves and what they want and think would be "good." Valuing the other person is a different thing. Maturity and aging don't always go together...

Chuck Clark
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:04 PM   #127
Michael Hackett
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Re: Falling in love with Sensei

What a strange concept - taking personal responsibility.......

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:21 PM   #128
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Falling in love with Sensei

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
What a strange concept - taking personal responsibility.......
Yeah, and unlike love, when it comes to personal responsibility it should be all "me,me,me". If you now what I mean.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 07-14-2008, 03:21 PM   #129
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Question Re: Falling in love with Sensei

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Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
And when it is not infatuation, but a reality-based combination of affection, respect, caring, etc, well I think there is still a very human capacity to be mature and not only not act on one's desires, but pre-emptively recognise the potential and simply place the other person "off limits."
Speaking from experience - it is one thing to place the person off limits in your head and quite another to do it emotionally.
When you have had no male affirmation in your life and then all of a sudden meet someone who is kind and encouraging and emotes caring, how do you not fall for him????
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Old 07-14-2008, 03:34 PM   #130
Janet Rosen
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Re: Falling in love with Sensei

Sorry, guess I really am a Seneca style stoic in that emotions give us valuable feedback but need not rule us. Recognising "I'm falling in love" can lead to examining and accepting it AND accepting there ain't nothing positive to be done about it, and also accepting the pain. AND I do firmly believe that how we frame or reframe the messages we give ourselves in itself changes the emotions we experience and can be used to ameliorate emotional pain. Guess what I'm saying is, prior expereince may prime us for certain emotional reactions, but we still get to decide what to do about it.

Janet Rosen
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Old 07-15-2008, 07:34 AM   #131
Esaemann
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Re: Falling in love with Sensei

Not the same, but this relates to the "male influence" in life.

Never had much of a father growing up, so in some way I see my Sensei and Tai Chi instructor as male influence (father-type) figures; however, with no real expectations or desire for it, since I'm 37. I told my Tai Chi (head) instructor during our graduation, but I don't think it surprised him much. Nice thing about Daoist (relationships?) is there is no embarassement afterward, just being what is.

Telling an instructor of love feelings would probably be more complicated (less advisable), though.

Eric
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:42 AM   #132
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A heartfelt thanks.

To Janet and everyone, I truly feel compelled to thank you. It has helped me, personally, more than you could know, to read this thread. I have come to the following place, and I just wanted to share it in the hope that I may reciprocate in some small way to anyone finding his/herself in a similar predicament. Please know that though I may speak definitively, I do so only by means of my own conviction to what I say, feel and think, not in any way to make generalizations or to impose my beliefs on anyone else.

You cannot help who you love. Love doesn't let you choose. However, you always, at any singular moment, have the choice of what to do with that love, or that anger, sadness, etc. I find reassurance in Ms./Mrs. Rosen's words. The answer lies in the art itself: aikido. The way of harmony of the spirit. Few things may be more spiritual than love, and love takes many forms. I think the difficulty is in distinguishing between love, lust, adoration, obsession- and those answers come only with having the courage to know yourself. Once knowing yourself, the even more challenging task of being true to yourself. Aikido will give you that, if you let it.

I have had a deep fondness and attraction to one of my senseis for nearly one year. For me, I have found a great love for him. It continues to grow. It was painful only at first, but now I truly believe that was only because I allowed it to hurt me. If I let the myriad physical ramifications take hold of my mind, then yes, the nights of wishing and longing and hoping can consume me. I actually found myself digging deeper into my training. I found myself welcoming contact with him, welcoming the dichotomous joy and pain it brought, forcing myself to feel everything to the utmost, letting it in and not letting it go until I found the lesson waiting inside. Emotions can teach us so much if we let them. I truly feel there is this stereotype, if that's the right word, that says that love may only be realized if it is reciprocated by the one with whom you are in love, and through the prescribed acts thereof, i.e. sexual intercourse, and so on. But where I stand today, I feel I know differently. I'll try to explain.

I am still very much in love with him. I do not know or, in truth, care if he feels the same way for me. That's not to say I wouldn't be ecstatic were it to be possible, but it is highly unlikely. Regardless, I have been true to myself and acted accordingly to the best of my ability. I did not seek out another more attainable relationship with which to divert my feelings for my sensei. I remain true to him because I have to face what I feel and who I am, and for whatever reason, I do love him, and for whatever reason, it is through this love that I am growing, becoming a better person, much stronger, and it has everything to do with how much aikido means to me this very moment.

I would never want to burden him with my feelings. It would put him in a terrible position, and to lay the responsibility of trying to deal with me and maintain his status at our dojo is something I could never do to him. I would never want to make him uncomfortable, or to break the beautiful harmony that occurs when training begins. I know he is very fond of me as a student- his words and actions dictate this, and in his case due to his profession outside the dojo, it is particularly rewarding to him to see his students progress over time. Of this joy I could never deprive him, not for a moment, not on my account, never for my sake. He is far too valuable to our dojo, and to the art of aikido, and for me to put him in that position would be asking of him, though inadvertently, more than I would ever want to ask of anyone I care for so much.

I love aikido. I love all my senseis, but I love one sensei in a way I've never loved a man before. The aikido and love are at once separate, and at once entirely the same. As many of you have said, time is often the best course, and it seems the answers we're looking for are already in our own questions. Sometimes just the act of asking means an answer. Sometimes we know what we want, or what we think we want, and we ask questions for validation; in the end, it is of no consequence- we can no more hide from our own truths than we would, truly, wish to avoid them.

Being human, as human is all any of us can ever hope to be, I feel it is dangerous to set parameters on human nature. It is almost an absurd yet understandable notion to think that we can tidily put such situations in a box and label it "ethical", "unethical", "immoral", "moral" or "inappropriate" and shelve it, neatly, in the catacombs of our mind if only to make living in our own skin more manageable. Every being and every circumstance is unique. The threads may weave a similar pattern, but the threads always are different. If anyone conducts his/herself in a manner inconsistent with the most intrinsic basis for human compassion and consideration, then the issue is the behavior, not the circumstance. Love has no boundaries, no stipulations, and no "rules" to play by. Could you call it love if it did? I truly believe, and please try not to take offense, but I truly do believe that there can be nothing wrong between any two people, regardless of what label we impose on them, be it "sensei", "student", "boss", etc., loving each other. It is up to the individuals to conduct themselves in a manner consistent to that love, and in honoring their commitments and obligations to those around them. It doesn't have to be about what is tricky or difficult, complicated or perhaps met with resistance. It is only ever about what is worth doing.

I never thought I would see things this way. I never thought I'd find peace in myself again. The desire to be as close to him as anyone could be- to be his confidant and supporter, his lover, and the longing to be desired by him, was all-consuming, and there were many times, countless times, I thought I'd never overcome or resolve this. Time is what it took, and only time could've done it. I am so pleased to share this with Janet- I now have a newfound respect for time and all its wonders.

Love can be anything you let it be. Of that I feel certain. For me, my love for my sensei has grown into a profound respect and admiration for aikido. It has inspired me to train even more devotedly. It has compounded, rather, an already keen appreciation for the art; I could never leave this dojo, permanently, or my training companions. Were I to do so due to something such as love unreciprocated, or a love failed, that would be truly in poor form, selfish, egotistical, even, these all of which, as we all do know, have no place in the heart of an aikidoka. To run away from that pain would mean a great sacrifice to training. We are our own enemies; the discord in our minds our only opponent. And I walk through the door to the dojo, and step onto the mat, and my love grows, and I'm joyously overwhelmed, and for even a few hours, a few days a week, I am more myself, more alive, than ever I was even moments before. And when this glorious man, for he is a man, first and foremost, comes in, and we bow, and he steps on the mat, I am more his student and a student of life than ever I could've been, otherwise. He has made me a better person, and I have let myself become better because of him. If that's not love, if that's not aikido, what is?
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Old 07-18-2008, 04:53 PM   #133
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Re: A heartfelt thanks.

Quote:
Lydia Nava wrote: View Post

Love can be anything you let it be. Of that I feel certain. For me, my love for my sensei has grown into a profound respect and admiration for aikido. It has inspired me to train even more devotedly. It has compounded, rather, an already keen appreciation for the art; I could never leave this dojo, permanently, or my training companions. Were I to do so due to something such as love unreciprocated, or a love failed, that would be truly in poor form, selfish, egotistical, even, these all of which, as we all do know, have no place in the heart of an aikidoka. To run away from that pain would mean a great sacrifice to training. We are our own enemies; the discord in our minds our only opponent. And I walk through the door to the dojo, and step onto the mat, and my love grows, and I'm joyously overwhelmed, and for even a few hours, a few days a week, I am more myself, more alive, than ever I was even moments before. And when this glorious man, for he is a man, first and foremost, comes in, and we bow, and he steps on the mat, I am more his student and a student of life than ever I could've been, otherwise. He has made me a better person, and I have let myself become better because of him. If that's not love, if that's not aikido, what is?
What an awesome, inspiring post!
I could have written this myself, but could never find the words, or bravery to do it. It discribes exactly how I feel about my Sensei. He has made my love for Aikido grow and inspires me to try harder and practice better. He has made me a better person and given me the courage to live as that person. I am sure he has no idea; the immense gift he has given me.
And yes I love him, but will never tell him because he is first and formost my Sensei and deserves that respect.
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:55 PM   #134
dematteo84
 
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Re: Falling in love with Sensei

Reading a few of the above posts has made me realise that the situation I am in is more normal than I previously believed. I may not be in love with my Sensei but I have similar feelings towards a more senior ranked student at my dojo.

I felt bad about the situation at first, like I had committed a crime. It was as if I purposely fell in love with the girl and felt guilty for committing such an offence. Later I came to realise that there was nothing I could have done to prevent the feelings from emerging. Why do we fall in love with someone?
Do any of us really know? We don't wake up in the morning and say to ourselves I will fall in love with this person.

The hardest thing is falling in love with a person that may in a certain context not be appropriate to fall in love with. We shouldn't feel guilty about this but rather find a way to deal with it. I admit that I don't know how to deal with love, I am a shy and quiet person, so I find it hard to talk to people at the best of times, let alone when feelings are involved.

One positive that has come out of my situation is a new found respect for people in similar situations. I also have a new understanding of poetry, music and art. It is amazing how much of what I feel has already been expressed by others in my situation.

On a more humorous note, I replied to a similar post earlier and didn't realise I was logged in before I sent the reply. As a result a reply that was meant to be anonymous was posted with my name and location, plus the dojo I train at. Although I didn't give the girl a name on the post, it would be obvious to anyone from my dojo who I was talking about. Ooops!

I have found that talking about and acknowledging my situation has helped a great deal, and the more I understand it the easier it gets. It is still damn hard none the less.

Do what you feel is right and don't feel bad if things don't go to plan, that is all I can say.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:59 AM   #135
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Do symbol Re: Falling in love with Sensei

i know this is an old thread but their were lots of people posting about the sensei's side of this dilemma, so i thought i'd post my thoughts as well

i am an instructor and have found myself very attracted to one of the senior students in our dojo, she is not my student but rather trains under the head master in his advanced class, the two of us have trained together for over a decade and we are friends first and foremost.

im not in love with her, at least not yet, but a part of me wants to be, i really dont know what her feelings for me are, chances are she sees me as an older brother which is great, we have known each other since we were kids, we grew up together trained together, and there is no relationship i respect more than that of a brotherhood of arms.

i dont date students as a personal rule, as an instructor i try to set a good example and hold myself to some rather strict if not harsh personal moral standards, and as a flawed human failing to meet those standards results in a tremendous amount of guilt. hence i am cautious with situations like this.

as her training advances and we spend more and more time together both on and off the mat i find us growing closer as friends and cant help finding myself hoping for more.

with that said i have not expressly told her how i feel as i dont want to make things awkward for her but i have also not tried to hide it, in my opinion its fairly obvious how i feel, though no one has really noticed, mostly because they are all focused inward.

so to students and sensei alike i can only suggest this, being professional does not mean being void of a heart, just follow your path and if it brings the two of you together then wonderful and if not the you will find your journey taking you in a new direction, but regardless do not try to force a relationship where there is none, because the risk of loosing a dojo or worse ruining your training is too great.

a relationship is a path in and of itself just as your training is, start with a strong foundation and master the principles before you attempt to learn greater things, in the same way, start with a friendship and understanding of each other and let life take its course.

it takes patience, self discipline, and an empty cup, good luck and may the universe treat you well
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:35 PM   #136
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Re: Falling in love with Sensei

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
i know this is an old thread but their were lots of people posting about the sensei's side of this dilemma, so i thought i'd post my thoughts as well

i am an instructor and have found myself very attracted to one of the senior students in our dojo, she is not my student but rather trains under the head master in his advanced class, the two of us have trained together for over a decade and we are friends first and foremost.

im not in love with her, at least not yet, but a part of me wants to be, i really dont know what her feelings for me are, chances are she sees me as an older brother which is great, we have known each other since we were kids, we grew up together trained together, and there is no relationship i respect more than that of a brotherhood of arms.

i dont date students as a personal rule, as an instructor i try to set a good example and hold myself to some rather strict if not harsh personal moral standards, and as a flawed human failing to meet those standards results in a tremendous amount of guilt. hence i am cautious with situations like this.

as her training advances and we spend more and more time together both on and off the mat i find us growing closer as friends and cant help finding myself hoping for more.

with that said i have not expressly told her how i feel as i dont want to make things awkward for her but i have also not tried to hide it, in my opinion its fairly obvious how i feel, though no one has really noticed, mostly because they are all focused inward.

so to students and sensei alike i can only suggest this, being professional does not mean being void of a heart, just follow your path and if it brings the two of you together then wonderful and if not the you will find your journey taking you in a new direction, but regardless do not try to force a relationship where there is none, because the risk of loosing a dojo or worse ruining your training is too great.

a relationship is a path in and of itself just as your training is, start with a strong foundation and master the principles before you attempt to learn greater things, in the same way, start with a friendship and understanding of each other and let life take its course.

it takes patience, self discipline, and an empty cup, good luck and may the universe treat you well
In this case, I really don't see an issue. She is not directly your student, and it's not like you would be taking advantage of your position as an instructor. The only pitfall is if you make an advance and she turns you down, or if you get together and then break up. Then things might get awkward afterwards. But, there really isn't any harm in treading lightly and asking her out for a coffee is there?

Last edited by robin_jet_alt : 10-06-2011 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:04 PM   #137
sakumeikan
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Re: Falling in love with Sensei

Hi folks,
For what its worth when I was a young guy I started Judo.I got the job of teaching the ladies class.So every Fri I went to the dojo, bounced the ladies around , got bounced around by them , then we all went to have a coffee.
In time I found myself getting to like one of the girls[she was 4years older than myself].A friend suggested I took her to a Jazz concert and to my surprise she accepted the date.
We went to further concerts, I met her Mum /Dad etc. They were nice people . Very stable unlike my own life which at that point was a catastrophe.
Anyway to cut a long story short today we are celebrating our 51 years of married life.We have two sins, four grandkids.
Jenny is a well known figure in the Aikido community.Although she does not do Aikido[see below] she knows loads of people .Every year we have for some time attended Birankai Summer Schools.Until this year she did all the vids for the British Biankai Summer Schools for years.
So as far as we are concerned the Martial Arts brought us together.By the way , her Aikido [Big Aikido ]skills are far superior to my own. Cheers, Jenny /Joe Curran
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:29 PM   #138
Janet Rosen
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Re: Falling in love with Sensei

Sweet, Joe :-) hugs to you and your Jenny!

Janet Rosen
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:29 PM   #139
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Falling in love with Sensei

Thanks Joe...that was nice to read.

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Old 10-08-2011, 01:36 AM   #140
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Re: Falling in love with Sensei

In our dojo our sensei got together with one of his students, no drama.
They were together for a few years, no drama.
They brook up, no drama.
The student slowly dropped out of aikido while being in the relationship. Now a few years later she is slowly coming back, no drama.
This is just to show you that within this whole relationship life cycle the dojo was unaffected/unharmed (if you discount a student dropping out, which happens all the time).

I'm just a little bit supprised to read all these accounts of people willing to swallow their love in order to train, if the worst case would be that they would have to swallow their grudge against their ex in order to train if things don't turn out well. (and there is always the chance of a happy end like in Joe's case)
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:07 AM   #141
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Re: Falling in love with Sensei

What matters is if the feelings between the two are reciprocated, and if it doesn't cause problems within the dojo. What's it matter if a man and woman meet at a dojo and then get married, or if they were already married and then joined a dojo?

I will say that I do have personal experiences with this in my old dojo. There was a beautiful peruvian woman who dumped instructor #1 so she could date instructor #2. Needless to say, instructor #1 was very upset about this. Also, my mom dated the head instructor at one point as well. I'd like to say there was no blowback from these relationships, but I know for a fact that it caused drama, inside and outside the dojo.
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:22 PM   #142
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Re: Falling in love with Sensei

Apologies in advance for another thread resurrection, but, it appears this topic is timeless! Just to clarify a few points I noticed as questions in the thread:

I have been studying Aikido for 2 years now, with the same Sensei primarily. I have been attracted to him from the beginning, and this is something that has gotten deeper over time. I am in my mid 30's and he is in his mid 40's, so neither of us are children. I am quite firmly entrenched in our organization, I regularly travel to train in other dojos in the organization because we have a pretty extensive family, and I have maintained close friendships with many of the people in our organization. Sensei has been in a relationship for several years, but broke it off a few months ago. I, on the other hand, have been single the entire time. I frequently feel that I am the kind of girl who gets immediately 'friend zoned' for some reason I am unable to identify. Since he has been single for some time, however, I am beginning to think that I should talk to him about my feelings, but I am more worried about our relationship if he is not interested in me romantically.

So, my actual question is to the Sensei's on the forum. How do you feel when you have a female student you don't have romantic feelings for approach you, and how does that affect your relationship with her if you reject her because you simply aren't interested in her? Would that rejection cause you to view her differently on the mat afterwards?

--Still Pertinent
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:56 PM   #143
James Sawers
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Re: Falling in love with Sensei

Below is the ethical standards for teachers in my system. I'm sure that your own system has similar standards. This may be a good place to start.

Birankai North America Teachers Statement of Professional Ethics

1. Aikido Teachers, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of advancing the path of Aikido, recognize the special responsibilities placed on them as teachers and guides for their students.
2. Aikido teachers encourage and support the learning process of their students and demonstrate the best possible standards of the discipline and art of Aikido. They demonstrate respect for the student as an individual and adhere to their role as a guide and teacher. Aikido teachers avoid exploitation of their students for their personal advantage. They make every effort to assure that their evaluation of students reflects their true merit. Aikido teachers are aware of and sensitive to the power differential inherent in the teacher-student relationship.
3. As a member of Birankai North America, the Aikido teacher is committed to creating and maintaining a community free from all forms of disrespectful conduct including harassment and exploitation.
4. Aikido teachers and practitioners do not engage in sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is sexual solicitation, physical advances, or verbal or non-verbal conduct that is sexual in nature, that occurs in connection with the Aikido teacher's activities or role as a teacher and that either: (1) is unwelcome, offensive, or creates a hostile environment, and the teacher knows or is told this; or (2) is sufficiently severe or intense to be abusive to a reasonable person in the context. Sexual Harassment can consist of a single intense or severe act or of multiple persistent or pervasive acts. Sexual harassment also includes requests of sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's Aikido training or creating an abusive, hostile or offensive practice or learning environment.
5. Harassment is not limited to that of a sexual nature. Aikidoists do not knowingly engage in behavior that is harassing or demeaning to persons with whom they interact in the dojo environment based on factors such as the person's age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language or socio-economic status.
6. The process to file a complaint for violation of this statement of ethics follows:
a. Discuss the complaint with your Chief Instructor for guidance and recommendation.
b. If the complaint involves the Chief Instructor, directly contact the Ethics Committee as in (c) below. c. If the issue remains unresolved, a formal complaint must then be made in writing and sent to the Ethics Committee at the following address:

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Old 05-08-2013, 07:15 PM   #144
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Re: Falling in love with Sensei

This thread is interesting... I thought I'd give my two cents since I'm err, well past the point of beginning.

Disclaimer: Married my Aikido teacher (been together for 3 years this month) and we're welcoming our first child later this year. We have a large age difference (12 years) but we don't really notice it.

God writing it down like that sounds so bad but it might just be how society perceives it. When I think about HOW we began to like each other and pursued each other, it doesn't seem so weird after all. I didn't like him because he was my teacher, and I liked him after we got to know each other off the mat. We just clicked as people, Aikido happened to be a mutual hobby.

To be honest I didn't think he was so remarkable as a person on the mat, sure he had great technique and was a great teacher but... I went to learn, not to develop a romantic relationship. And you know, he was bland and dry and just... I don't know, kind of an old fart even though he's quite young. Not the kind of guy I would have went for if he was that way on and off the mat.

We run the dojo like a family still, even now. I cook for the seminars, direct cleaning, deal with marketing, finances, etc. I do miss practicing but the pregnancy has been hard and somewhat risky but I still try to be as involved as possible.

I know from his point of view he tried really hard to distance himself from me. He stopped teaching some of the classes that I attended, and he kept telling himself that it would be okay if we were just friends, and he'd be totally fine with that. I probably wouldn't have liked him though if we didn't attend some parties of mutual friends together and got to talking at those times because we didn't really know anyone else other than the host. We were friendly with each other and it just developed into something more by itself. Maybe we were flirting without realizing it, because thinking back we didn't tease or play around on or off the mat, we just talked about life and a some personal things and that's where our relationship stemmed from,

I don't know. True love, compatibility, I can say that I found these things with him and it can get rocky at times so setting boundaries in the conduct in the dojo despite a relationship is important so that whatever you guys are going through does not affect how the dojo is run. It's not impossible for there to be a happy ending (although what do I know, still got an entire life ahead of me) but I think it's not about one person liking the other or pursuing the other, it's about two people walking closer to the same path.

I personally don't think a relationship can be built upon a student teacher relationship or BECAUSE of the teaching of the instructor or BECAUSE of the hobby--an imbalance in power and I don't think that's what love is about. It can be built when two people, off the mat, click more than on the mat, that they as people match each other, not just being in awe of each other's ability. What I mean is, if I never practiced Aikido again, if he never taught me another technique, if I stopped being involved in the dojo (which I have occasionally due to health or other reasons) we'd still be together and in love. So I think that's something you have to ask yourself honestly if you are considering a relationship with a teacher or a student: Can we still be together if Aikido was not involved at all? Can we still survive without that difference of power (i.e. are we equals in real life or does the power imbalance carry on off the mat--if it does, I believe there will be problems)?

Over the years you hear the anecdotes of female students falling in love with their teachers because they are attracted to their skill, I think it may be an evolutionary thing given that in the animal kingdom, the males usually have to put on some sort of display that show their prowess. It often ends badly,like dating a coworker, sometimes it ends up good though, so I think every situation is unique in itself.

Regardless of the tangible situation around, every relationship needs the three C's. Communication, Compromise, and Cuddling. If something's wrong, chances are one or more of those departments are lacking.

I'm not brave or smart or particularly generous, but I'll take my values and live by them--and that is my standard measurement of strength.

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