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Old 08-03-2009, 04:09 PM   #151
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
Religion is NOT negotiable. That's it. Let the man train with men. What's the problem? The word here is respect. How you want them to respect you if you don't respect them in the first place? Half the world's population belong to a religion with such a constraint. Maybe half of the world is wrong, then?
Maybe?!?
If this went into effect maybe women would have more barriers to break through so they could train.
It is disturbing to read about men not wanting to train with women and women not wanting to train with women.
This makes me glad I have my own dojo...come and train if you want to train with everyone.
Mary
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Old 08-03-2009, 04:51 PM   #152
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
It is disturbing to read about men not wanting to train with women and women not wanting to train with women.
I don't think it is neccesarily a women not wanting to train with women issue (at least with me). It is about preference I think. I prefer to train with men, but that doesn't mean I don't like training with women.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:30 PM   #153
Guilty Spark
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
Religion is NOT negotiable.
How about the barbaric and violent laws that many of those religions promote, are those negotiable?

Quote:
Ashley Carter wrote: View Post
I don't think it is necessarily a women not wanting to train with women issue (at least with me). It is about preference I think. I prefer to train with men, but that doesn't mean I don't like training with women.
Same here.
I can understand women preferring to train with men with self defense/survival in mind because I think the very same thing.
In the long run I assume regardless of their preference they will still train with anyone and everyone. Part of Aikido is being an Uke right? IMO refusing to train with someone is failing the spirit of Aikido.

It's one thing to ask and if people accept and accommodate it that's fine. What gets me is when you hear about lawsuits popping up over it.

Last edited by Guilty Spark : 08-03-2009 at 09:37 PM.

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Old 08-03-2009, 10:26 PM   #154
Chantal
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

ok .. so here is a real life example that fits perfectly with our current conversation. I am a Catholic School Teacher and it is understood that the students at my school will pray with us, go to mass with us, celebrate the liturgical celebrations with us and be active members of the catholic school community. This said, I also understand that most of the kids in my class are not Catholic. Interesting isn't it? ... well, here is my point... The kids are not Catholic yet the parents chose that their child should attent this school. The same thing applies in aikido except that YOU are the one that chooses to attend and are expected to participate as a symbol of respect. If you choose to go, then i believe that you should respect their ways of doing things, regardless of your personal faith.

Now think of this example ... you are a tourist wanting to visit another country. Before you depart, you research your destination and become informed about proper ettiquette concerning things such as greetings and salutations, table manners and how to address people. Now imagine that if you were to shake hands in this country, it would be seen as disrespectful. Instead, the proper thing to do is kiss the hand. Knowing this, and being that you are visitor, you do what is accepted and have fantastic trip...

... Now let's change the lense of this vacation. We are all basically visitors in the art of aikido. We come from all kinds of faiths yet we choose to gather in a dojo to practice a common goal of martial arts aikido training. As a visitor, it would be rude (having already known the protocol) to do something opposite the sensei ... or even refusing to fully participate would be seen as disrespectful.
My question is ... did you not research aikido before joining and become an informed participant ??

In all due respect, my advice to you ... do as the others do!! If you can not handle the traditions of the japanese culture in regards to aikido, perhaps there is another art which would be better suited for you.

(i had more to say but my original post got deleted ... will add more when my thoughts fly back to me)

Chantal

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Old 08-03-2009, 10:40 PM   #155
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

I enjoyed your analogies Chantal

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 08-03-2009, 10:47 PM   #156
Rabih Shanshiry
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Is it just me or does anyone else get the sense that people's positions on this topic depend largely on whether they are sympathetic to the particular religions in question or even religious belief in general?

In most dojos above a certain size, it is very easy to accommodate a request from a man or a woman to train with partners of the same sex. It is much harder to accomodate someone in a wheelchair, for example, but I suspect fewer people would argue against that.

The issue boils down to this: what harm does it do to allow a woman to practice only with other women, provided there are enough female students in the dojo willing/able to accomodate?

That woman is asking for a little understanding, not much more. She is not seeking to impose her views on anyone else. She is not demanding that other students also abide by this restriction.

On the other hand, the owner/instructor of a dojo who says "my dojo, my rules" is imposing his/her standards and views on everyone else. That's their right. It's also their responsibility in many instances - I just don't think this is one of them.
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Old 08-03-2009, 10:56 PM   #157
Rabih Shanshiry
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Chantal Amyotte wrote: View Post
ok .. so here is a real life example that fits perfectly with our current conversation. I am a Catholic School Teacher and it is understood that the students at my school will pray with us, go to mass with us, celebrate the liturgical celebrations with us and be active members of the catholic school community. This said, I also understand that most of the kids in my class are not Catholic.
Funny you should mention this Chantal. I went to a Catholic school myself though I am not Catholic. And yes, we were expected to bow our heads in prayer every morning, go to chapel once a week, and attend mass each month.

That being said, there was LOTS of accomodation and respect for people outside the Catholic/Christian faith. We bowed our heads in prayer, but we were not forced to say specific prayers. When we went to mass, we were not expected or pressured to take the eucharist in any way.

In fact, at the end of every prayer, the school chaplain would always say "We ask this each in his or her own way, I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." I heard that hundreds of times. The spirit of it struck a real chord with me.

It did not take much for the school to accommodate students of other faiths and make them feel welcome. They managed to do this without compromising their Catholic identity. In fact, they saw this celebration of diversity an important expression of their Catholic mission.

That is the model I'm advocating.


(Dang, I hate it when people double post. Sorry y'all).

Last edited by Rabih Shanshiry : 08-03-2009 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 08-03-2009, 11:51 PM   #158
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

What is interesting to me is the self-centered view of those who have a "right" to their beliefs. As if those who hold contrary views do not have values of their own. And that it is egalitarian and fair to expect others to violate their own values to support another.
Because I have values of my own - and among them is a view that the separation of men and women, as sanctioned in such religions as Orthodox Judaism and islam does violence to everyone, but particularly women.
As for what I would do if a student asked to have some sort of accommodation, my assumption is that anyone who comes to study with me, wants to learn what I have to teach. And the only way to do this is my way. I'll listen to you - and decide if I agree with you. If I don't, I won't do it. If I do agree - it's now my way that we are doing.
So if someone came to me and told me that due to their religion they could not bow as prescribed, or would not practice with a woman - because it was against their religious values. I would tell them that I respected them - but their religious values were against my values - both personal and religious - and so they would not be welcome to study with me. It would be an utter violation of what I hold dear to collude in someone refusing to practice with another member of the dojo.
My mother went to a Catholic College. She was a Jewish girl, and the only way she could go to school was by scholarship. And the valedictorian of her high school got a scholarship to the local Catholic College. That was her, so she got to go to college. The bishop visited once - and every girl kissed his ring, until my mother, who walked up, looked him in the eye and shook his hand. She was right to do what she did. It caused somewhat of a scandal, but life went on. But if the school had expelled her, although I would hold such an action in contempt, they would have had a right to do so if there was a RULE that she had to conform to. Sometimes you fight the rules - but you take the consequences.
Back in the days that I was teaching aikido, I had a fellow join a class who obviously had a severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He couldn't touch people - and in fact, if he did - accidentally - he'd immediately retreat to the bathroom and wash his hands for about 5 minutes. Then he'd come back and two minutes later, the same thing would happen. I sat him down and he told me how he had this disorder. I expressed sympathy and told him he couldn't return to my class. I suggested he take up t'ai chi and gave him references. When he objected, saying he was disabled, I expressed sympathy and told him to return when he wasn't disabled - I would be happy to teach him when he was in a condition to be taught.

Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 08-04-2009 at 12:00 AM.

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Old 08-04-2009, 12:22 AM   #159
Ellis Amdur
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Perhaps a more elegant way to say "it"

Aikido IS something. And it is more than just the internal training peace. And it is more than just Daito-ryu lite amalgamated with some eccentric old guy's religious flights, more or less suppressed by his successors.
This from Terry Dobson:
Quote:
What is much more important than anything I say is that I touch you. Through me, through my touch comes the touch of the founder of Aikido. There is no Bible you can buy that syas, "This is what Aikido is." it is transferred from person to person. These vibrations pass among us." From the limited edition book, BETWEEN TRUST, LOVE AND SURRENDER
Those who refuse to touch another human being within the walls of an aikido dojo are betraying the goal of the founder - because, aside from every other debate you may have, what he taught, however, attenuated, is passed from hand to hand. If a male teacher, for example, does not touch the women in the class, then, in essence, he has broken the only link possible to the founder.
I stand by my last post - but this is also true.
Ellis Amdur

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Old 08-04-2009, 02:41 AM   #160
Amir Krause
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

I find it interesting that many here prefer to prevent any contact with people of a different culture. Is this the spirit of Aikido?

For such a religious person (might be an Orthodox Jew, Islamic, or a Nun with such Vows, or any other religion) to come and intend to train on a mixed sex dojo, is already making a great step and lots of concessions. Even if he will not train with women directly, he might still touch a women by accident, he will see women around him. In many ways, that person is embracing the liberal concept of "for each his own". A difficult concept for most religions, which too often impose their views on the world .

Rejecting such a person, and discriminating against him, seems to me as counter productive.
So you will not be able to teach him in your way 100% and he has already set clear boundaries he does not intend to break. Don't everyone do that? (I have yet to see students who realize in advance the change Martial Training will affect on them, or any who can predict this change). Isn't his willingness to learn from a different tradition, his openness, worthy of some accommodations? Isn't it better to give the additional viewpoints of another society to people who belong in another?

The teacher has a choice, it is not the best one, rather of the lesser evil:
- Discriminate against religious people - not letting the train at all.
- Discriminate against women\men - accept some student who will only train with others of the same sex.
Note, the women\men would not directly train with these specific people in any case: these people will either train only with people of their own sex or not train at all.
In my own opinion, the balance is clear. I believe that in the long run, all will benefit from such accommodations. Knowing others of different culture, learning to be really tolerant to different customs, even after they contradict your own beliefs and customs. This is the true meaning of liberal, and "freedom of and from religion" - not just to live according to your own faith, but to accommodate those who follow a different path.

Some of you refer to the Dojo as a private place. I disagree, a dojo, is a public place, even if you hold it in your own yard. The dojo is open to the general public, it is not the same is being in your home.

My Sensei once faced this dilemma, he decided to accommodate the student, who trained with our group, but did not train with any of the women. Even if it meant he had to wait a round.
Some other students, refuse to bow to the Shomen. We let them live with their beliefs too. It does not hurt anyone.
While Sensei accommodates these students, he does not impose their rules on anyone else: we had training camps on Sabbath, even if they could not join (Sensei checked when most could and decided accordingly). We have women trainees (including some Yundasha) - they are not discriminated.

Amir
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:00 AM   #161
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

I've been training in a dojo in Indonesia where men and women trained in different days. So what? Did I miss something by not practising with the women? Not really. Did women miss something by not training with men? Maybe some stronger grips? Well, maybe. But anyway that was their choice.

Your dojo, your rules? Yes, for sure. Many dojos in Spain are not the property of the teacher, so it's not their rules, but the owner rules. The one who gets the money rules, if you get my point.

As someone appointed before, it's much more difficult to accomodate for a wheelchair student that to do so with a man or woman with that constraint. Will the wheelchair guy not be allowed to train, because he will miss some link to the founder? He cannot do tachiwaza, and that's the are in where most of the techniques lay. If I'm an orthodox jew and cannot bow to the shomen, what difference is there with the wheelchair guy? It's just an impossibility. My religion will prohibit me to do so. It's not negotiable. I won't bow. The wheelchair guy won't sutemi, for example. It's just an impossibility, no matter he wants to or not.

Why is religion negotiable and not the other cases? The man won't bow, and won't touch the female students. Not negotiable. If you are not flexible enought as to permit him to train, maybe you're lacking some of the spirit of (or link to) the Founder. That's fundamentalism / laicism and will only feed the flames of hate between religions / lack of.

Just my eccentric views.

BTW, I train with women, bow to shomen, anything... but respect those with such constraints. They are welcome among us. Respect is not about religion.
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:26 AM   #162
ruthmc
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Would somebody like to explain to me exactly what is "immodest" about the way we touch each other while doing Aikido?

I am wrapped up in my underwear, a big T-shirt, gi bottoms, gi jacket, belt and hakama. These clothes are more substantial than what I wear to go to work!

People grab my wrists, and occasionally an elbow or shoulder. These parts of my body sometimes bump into other folk on a crowded street and it doesn't bother me or them.

My arms get grabbed and twisted into assorted locks and pins during the course of a technique. I'd never consider my arms to be a particularly private part of my body - they are what I use to work, shop, drive - people see them all the time, and both men and women have arms.

So come on, explain why any of the above is compromising my modesty?
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:37 AM   #163
Amir Krause
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Ruth McWilliam wrote: View Post
Would somebody like to explain to me exactly what is "immodest" about the way we touch each other while doing Aikido?

I am wrapped up in my underwear, a big T-shirt, gi bottoms, gi jacket, belt and hakama. These clothes are more substantial than what I wear to go to work!

People grab my wrists, and occasionally an elbow or shoulder. These parts of my body sometimes bump into other folk on a crowded street and it doesn't bother me or them.

My arms get grabbed and twisted into assorted locks and pins during the course of a technique. I'd never consider my arms to be a particularly private part of my body - they are what I use to work, shop, drive - people see them all the time, and both men and women have arms.

So come on, explain why any of the above is compromising my modesty?
Why is it releavant?
Why should you have to understand the origin of some or any religous restricion?
The Sensei is not a Reabi nor a Priest nor Imam, he is not supposed to approve the restrictions that believer decided to follow.

Religion is based on faith, not on understanding. Since I do not believe, most of the strictures make no sense to me. And I do not refer only to those related to sex segregation.

Amir
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:59 AM   #164
Flintstone
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Ruth McWilliam wrote: View Post
Would somebody like to explain to me exactly what is "immodest" about the way we touch each other while doing Aikido?

I am wrapped up in my underwear, a big T-shirt, gi bottoms, gi jacket, belt and hakama. These clothes are more substantial than what I wear to go to work!

People grab my wrists, and occasionally an elbow or shoulder. These parts of my body sometimes bump into other folk on a crowded street and it doesn't bother me or them.

My arms get grabbed and twisted into assorted locks and pins during the course of a technique. I'd never consider my arms to be a particularly private part of my body - they are what I use to work, shop, drive - people see them all the time, and both men and women have arms.

So come on, explain why any of the above is compromising my modesty?
It's not about understanding. It's about faith. Whatever fall into this cathegory is a different thing altogether. You can argue ad infinitum, if someone has faith you will not change it. No matter what.

It's not about why my friend is in a wheelchair. It's about he IS. You can argue ad infinitum, if someone is handicapped you will not change it. No matter what.

And I'm not necesarily saying that faith constitutes a handicap, but rather some restrictions.
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:22 AM   #165
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Ruth McWilliam wrote: View Post
Would somebody like to explain to me exactly what is "immodest" about the way we touch each other while doing Aikido?
It is not about touching, see this for an example. It is not about you either. You are (probably) not Muslim or Jewish and so not bound by their laws.
It is about them. They fear that by being a woman you will cause them to sin against their gods.

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Old 08-04-2009, 06:47 AM   #166
Rabih Shanshiry
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
So if someone came to me and told me that due to their religion they could not bow as prescribed, or would not practice with a woman - because it was against their religious values. I would tell them that I respected them - but their religious values were against my values - both personal and religious - and so they would not be welcome to study with me.
Ellis,

I don't quite understand how someone's personal choice not to bow, but perhaps to show some other sign of respect to the dojo, violates your values. You express respect by bowing, they may express it with a Kung-Fu style hand push or something similar. Is it really that big of a deal?

I enjoyed reading the story about your mother. Thank you sharing that. It does leave me wondering how you can hold the position you do in light of your mom's experience. Imagine if the principal of the school told your mom, "my way or the highway." Your mother would have been expelled, probably would not have gone to college, and her life could have been very different - presumably for the worse. What good would that have done anyone? It certainly would not have made her respect the school or bishop any more - probably a whole lot less.

Yes, it's your legal right to refuse to accomodate those whose values are different than yours. Just as it would have been the school's legal right to expel your mother at the time. This is not a question of what is legal but rather what is the greater good.

How many people would have missed out on the benefits of Aikido training had O Sensei required them to convert to the Omoto faith in order to study the art?

...rab

Last edited by Rabih Shanshiry : 08-04-2009 at 06:54 AM.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:58 AM   #167
ruthmc
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
It's not about understanding. It's about faith.
Faith in what? That a bunch of outdated restrictions are relevant in modern society? (and I include the lifetime of O Sensei as modern, because he had no such restrictions)

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
t's not about why my friend is in a wheelchair. It's about he IS. You can argue ad infinitum, if someone is handicapped you will not change it. No matter what.
Your friend in the wheelchair isn't there by choice. Those who chose to adopt religious restrictions DO have a choice.

Unless of course you live in a country where you get flogged for choosing...
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:06 AM   #168
Rabih Shanshiry
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Ruth McWilliam wrote: View Post
Faith in what? That a bunch of outdated restrictions are relevant in modern society? (and I include the lifetime of O Sensei as modern, because he had no such restrictions)....Unless of course you live in a country where you get flogged for choosing...
Thanks for making my point Ruth:

"Is it just me or does anyone else get the sense that people's positions on this topic depend largely on whether they are sympathetic to the particular religions in question or even religious belief in general?"
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:07 AM   #169
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Rabih Shanshiry wrote: View Post
Is it just me or does anyone else get the sense that people's positions on this topic depend largely on whether they are sympathetic to the particular religions in question or even religious belief in general?
Very much so. I think to a lesser extent being religious in general and more having an issue with certain religions rules which they take issue with.

Quote:
Rabih Shanshiry wrote: View Post
The issue boils down to this: what harm does it do to allow a woman to practice only with other women, provided there are enough female students in the dojo willing/able to accomodate?
Over all harm? Probably not much. In larger classes a woman asking to train with women only probably wouldn't be that big of a deal. In smaller classes more so.

For myself and some others it seems that segregation based on religion offends the spirit of the dojo, aikido and the uke.

Here is one possible harm though. Lawsuits. What happens when I, a female show up at your dojo and after 3 days I urn to you and say I will only train with women. If another man touches me during training I will go to the police and accuse them and the school of sexual harassment. If you ask me to leave I will sue you for discrimination because I'm female.

Lets say my parents were racist to the extreme. I grew up in the environment and being racist is as spiritual to me as any religion. I turn to you and say I'll only train with white students, I won't train with any coloured students. It's my preference and how I was brought up. We have a lot of students in the class, why can't you accommodate me and only let me train with white students?

Would anyone here be so quick to accommodate me then?

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
I've been training in a dojo in Indonesia where men and women trained in different days. So what? Did I miss something by not practising with the women? Not really.
If I had a chance to train with someone like Mary, Janet , Ruth or other females from this forum and I skipped the chance on purpose I would be ashamed of myself as an Aikido student. Did I miss something by not practicing with them? Very much so.

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If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

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Old 08-04-2009, 07:10 AM   #170
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Rabih Shanshiry wrote: View Post
What good would that have done anyone?
<snip>
This is not a question of what is legal but rather what is the greater good.
Not everyone is a utilitarian.
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:25 AM   #171
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Why is religion negotiable and not the other cases?
The wheelchair is not negotiable because the guy in it, doesn't have a choice.
Religion is not negotiable, if the religious person says so.
The dojo rules are not negotiable, if the teacher says so.

I don't see a problem here. Religious people don't have some sort of right to be taught aikido at their own terms. Aikido teachers don't have the duty to accommodate everyone.
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:39 AM   #172
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Not training with every person available in your dojo does cause harm...it calls attention to you and makes you different.
You are not blending with what is.
Women bring a different energy to the mat...mixed with men's energy it becomes Aikido.
Take responsiblity for your own choices...Ellis's story about his mother is about this...she chose not to kiss...if she was expelled it was because of her actions.

When I was handed a bag by the founder of Kokikai... I handed it back. I chose not to carry it...if I was ostracized, it was because of my choice. I was not and seemed to be respected more because of it...but I was willing to accept the consequences of my choice.
Mary
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:53 AM   #173
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
United_States
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

I find it both disturbing and interesting how we treat "religious" differences to a another standard than other differences that people might have. Ellis pointed out very clearly that the teacher also has a distinct choice in creating a training atmosphere that best represents the art form and the teacher. This training atmosphere is entirely different than an institution of religious learning or practice. The constraints that Ellis pointed out regarding a person with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) would interfere with and disrupt the training environment to the same level that would occur when one person will not train with a person who just so happens to be of another gender.

Mary is also right when she talks about the harm in a dojo atmosphere that occurs when the insidious introduction of spoken and unspoken rules that delineate personal differences and preferences is allowed to take place.

Despite the failed rationalizations that some religious people try and create, the separate treatment of men and women in these religious cultures is not equal. The women end up (at best) being treated as second class citizens. They suffer from countless instances of different levels of types of abuse and mistreatment (even violence) while being told it is to protect them and treat them as "special." The greatest loss is that the men are simply not placed in a position to learn from the type of wisdom that is gained from being a women (there is also a type of wisdom that is gained from being a man).

I strongly agree with Mary when she talks about the value of having women in a dojo. If a dojo, for what ever reason, chooses to to exclude by designated "types" (gender, race, age,.....) then I would not want to train in that type of environment. A teacher can create that type of world to live, teach and train in. I can respect that person for standing by one's choices, while at the same time, not agreeing or choosing to support that type of environment. That teacher does not owe me an explanation, nor I to the teacher; what we do owe each other is a modicum of respect so that we do not perpetuate a culture of violence due to not accepting the differences between us.

Marc Abrams
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:16 AM   #174
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 643
Israel
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Here is one possible harm though. Lawsuits. What happens when I, a female show up at your dojo and after 3 days I urn to you and say I will only train with women. If another man touches me during training I will go to the police and accuse them and the school of sexual harassment. If you ask me to leave I will sue you for discrimination because I'm female.
Can't you be more inventive then that?
If you look at the beginning of this thread, it seemed like the Sensei could have been also sued just for religion discrimnation.
One could argue you present a legal reason for seperating the practice of both sexes - to prevent such lawsuits.

Quote:
Despite the failed rationalizations that some religious people try and create, the separate treatment of men and women in these religious cultures is not equal. The women end up (at best) being treated as second class citizens. They suffer from countless instances of different levels of types of abuse and mistreatment (even violence) while being told it is to protect them and treat them as "special." The greatest loss is that the men are simply not placed in a position to learn from the type of wisdom that is gained from being a women (there is also a type of wisdom that is gained from being a man).

I strongly agree with Mary when she talks about the value of having women in a dojo. If a dojo, for what ever reason, chooses to to exclude by designated "types" (gender, race, age,.....) then I would not want to train in that type of environment. A teacher can create that type of world to live, teach and train in. I can respect that person for standing by one's choices, while at the same time, not agreeing or choosing to support that type of environment. That teacher does not owe me an explanation, nor I to the teacher; what we do owe each other is a modicum of respect so that we do not perpetuate a culture of violence due to not accepting the differences between us.
So you will not accept religious women of such religions into your classes?
Because the religions they worship reduce their status, how does that make sense?

Instead of creating a dialog, teaching them (men or Women) and trying to create a lrager scale enviroment, you believe it is better
to force "liberal values" on all comers? Against the very spirit behind liberalisem and equality to all?

I happen to know at least one great Person and a good Aikidoka (of another dojo) for whom I am happy he could find a teacher willing to accomodate to his religous requests.

Amir
P.S.
To me, the OCD case sounded like much more dirupting then a religious person not training with the other sex. Perhaps because my experiance has shown it is easy to integrate such people without much of a disruption.
Let us not forget, many here have often recommended people to refuse to train with someone wit whom they can not manage (feel he is abusive / does not let them train). Such behavior is acceptable in most cases.
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:32 AM   #175
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 814
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

1. As for the story of my mom, as I said, I would hold in contempt a school that still had an ideology that we Jews are personally and primarily responsible for the death of Christ expelling my mom because she wouldn't act in a submissive fashion - but if a requirement of the school was such submission, then knowing that, she could be expelled. She or I might fight it - because such values are repulsive to me. But at the same time, I accept that they have the right - (unless they are taking public money). The boy scouts do not have a right to discriminate against homosexuals, because they take public money. The same, I believe, for the American armed forces.
2. I would not go into a mosque and demand that women and men sit together. But if I were a member of that mosque - and a Muslim - I would. Were I an Orthodox Jew, I would similarly fight against such a belief.
3. Now to the criticism of illiberality. So-called fundamentalists have certain views of the world and morality and they do not wish to compromise. Particularly as a religious person, that is understandable. But if those views demand that others conform to their views, now we have a conflict - perhaps an irreconcilable conflict.
Western societies, due to a distortion of "multiculturalism," are easily intimidated by fundamentalist ideology - as in, "the x people are upset, so if we accommodate them, they will stop being upset. Because a fundamentalist has an all/nothing ideology, a compromise is, in fact, the new "point of negotiation." A very fine writer in the Netherlands recently bemoaned the potential loss of freedom in his country due to the changes that were happened based on the demands of fundamentalist groups. "I have always treasured freedom. However, I have no idea how to fight for it."
As a human being, I am certainly curious about the values of other cultures - but I believe that the values I have are the best in the world - the same, honestly, as you. Otherwise, why hold such beliefs? So to state, so to speak, that the teacher is being illiberal for not accepting those whose values conflict with those of either the dojo or the teacher is to assume that the teacher - liberal Westerner or Japanese - must give up his or her values, which conflict with those of the fundamentalist. My reply is not on your life. I am a fundamentalist liberal - I will not willingly abet activities that go against my values.
Speaking as a teacher, you (whoever you are) do not have a "right" to learn from me. I have a choice whether you are suitable to teach. This applies both ways - I recall an aikido teacher in Florida who has an all male dojo. I fully support his right to do this - and fully support his students in training with him. Maybe if I were a member, I'd argue with him, and he'd either change his mind (not likely) or not. And if I were too disruptive, maybe he'd expel me. That's the way of the world.
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