Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Anonymous

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 05-27-2010, 04:46 PM   #1
"notsure"
IP Hash: 803dc1c8
Anonymous User
more religious issues

i have been training a few months at a wonderful dojo run by two wonderful people. my difficulty is that i recently found out the dojo has been excluding people of a certain religion, based on certain parts of training that they can't do per religious order (bowing, training with the opposit gender, etc). in fact, they have managed to anger certain people of this religion ( which is very predoninate in this area) to the point they are calling for a boycott of the dojo by all "sypathizers against anti discrimination". the are doing this through local places of worship and giving the dojo a very bad name. my problem is that i don't know if any of what they say is even true and i don't know how to bring it up with the senseis to find out without causing offense. if it is true, i will leave the dojo because i don't believe in discrimination or supporting organizations that do. this is my choice and i see that others feel differently. what i want to now is how to find out if these wonderful senseis really are what is being said about them
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2010, 01:44 PM   #2
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
Location: Wisconsin
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,218
Offline
Re: more religious issues

Onegaishimasu, I see no harm to the senseis or to you by simply asking. You can ask to see them after class and talk in private.

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2010, 02:16 PM   #3
sakumeikan
Dojo: Sakumeikan N.E. Aikkai .Newcastle upon Tyne.
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,152
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: more religious issues

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
i have been training a few months at a wonderful dojo run by two wonderful people. my difficulty is that i recently found out the dojo has been excluding people of a certain religion, based on certain parts of training that they can't do per religious order (bowing, training with the opposit gender, etc). in fact, they have managed to anger certain people of this religion ( which is very predoninate in this area) to the point they are calling for a boycott of the dojo by all "sypathizers against anti discrimination". the are doing this through local places of worship and giving the dojo a very bad name. my problem is that i don't know if any of what they say is even true and i don't know how to bring it up with the senseis to find out without causing offense. if it is true, i will leave the dojo because i don't believe in discrimination or supporting organizations that do. this is my choice and i see that others feel differently. what i want to now is how to find out if these wonderful senseis really are what is being said about them
The bowing to the picture of O Sensei is not a prerequisite in any dojo.If any person has objections to this custom [which is just a way of showing respect to the Founder ] any Sensei should have the common sense to appreciate that due to possible religious practice some people will not bow to the Kamisa/O Sensei picture.Let people practice the art in a manner which is comfortable for them.Why ban them?Surely common sense would prevail here?Have the non bowing students made their views known to the dojo leaders?If not maybe a talk would resolve the problem.As far as not practising with opposite gender again the same thing applies-just let them get on with it and be comfortable.
Seems to me your group dont talk to each other.Is it a cultural problem???
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2010, 07:41 PM   #4
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
Offline
Re: more religious issues

This wonderful dojo asks that people display a common sign of respect for partaking in some aspect of an Asian culture. This wonderful dojo asks people to train together regardless of gender. Seems to me like this wonderful dojo is not discriminating against anyone. The people who choose not to train in a manner that everybody else is training in should not be allowed to take away from the training experiences of others.

I frankly am a little sick and tired of people who want to be able to do exactly as they please regardless of the circumstances. I do not care of it is in the name of religion or any other reason for that matter. What do they say, "when in Rome..."

If you are enjoying training in this wonderful dojo, enjoy the training. I am sure that the people who are "banned" would only take away from the wonderful atmosphere that you train in.

Marc Abrams
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2010, 08:30 PM   #5
RED
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 903
United_States
Offline
Re: more religious issues

In my dojo we bow to everyone. The teacher, the sempai, the students, bokken, pictures on walls...you name it we bow. It is almost like we do it to acknowledge each other...a very formal howdie i guess.

however, i visited a dojo last month where they bow three time and clapped and bowed again. That was too much for me. I just bowed... and no one really cared.
So what I'm saying is that you shouldn't do something that makes you uncomfortable... no one will think you are weird if you opt out. Just don't be a buzz kill and let it effect everyone's training experience.

MM
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2010, 08:47 PM   #6
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
Location: Oceanside, California
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,136
Offline
Re: more religious issues

I'm with Marc Abrams here. The OP used the word "excluding" individuals, and if that is the case, then it is discrimination. On the other hand, if the dojo leaders insist on cross-gender training and other requirements that might antagonize a particular sect, that isn't discrimination in itself. The individual can make a choice for himself to put his religious convictions aside and train or choose not to train at that dojo.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2010, 08:59 PM   #7
Janet Rosen
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,942
Offline
Re: more religious issues

What Marc said. Somebody once said "a dojo ain't a democracy" and this ol' leftie anarchist actually doesn't have a problem with that.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2010, 09:28 PM   #8
Keith Larman
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,556
United_States
Offline
Re: more religious issues

I have to add to the chorus. I read the original poster saying...

Quote:
...based on certain parts of training that they can't do per religious order (bowing, training with the opposit gender, etc).
So let me get this straight. They are choosing not to train because part of the training is against their perceived religious convictions which prohibit interaction with other genders. So it is discriminatory to *not* to let them discriminate against other genders?

Ouch, I think I pulled a frontal lobe...

Seriously, I can be very flexible about a lot of things. However, sometimes the issue of entitlement can really be a hot button issue for me. Are these same groups boycotting all the local businesses, restaurants, social clubs, etc. that allow genders to interact? I sure hope the movie theaters keep women separate too. What about the public schools -- can't have the women in the same classes with men -- think of the chaos that could ensue! And surely there are no female teachers teaching male students. Oh, and the public pools... And... And...

No. They cannot train in that dojo because their religion prevents them. No one has to alter their work, training, or beliefs to accommodate yours or anyone else's. It's their problem. No one else.

If someone wants to start a training class for those who have particular requirements and restrictions, more power to them. And I'd support them 110% in doing it however they want to. And I would respect them enough *not* to insist on sitting in on the women's classes. And I would respect them enough to try to act properly in their context. I have friends from a variety of religious backgrounds. When I walk into their house I do my level best to abide by their rules, their customs and their habits. I'm sure they also compromise many things and "overlook" many of my bad habits and obviously poor upbringing. But I still do my level best to respect their right in *their own freaking house* to live how they see fit.

Step through the door to someone else's house and you need to simply... Deal with it. Or don't go in. Doors are cool that way -- they open allowing you to move in *both* directions. Or not go in at all.

And heck, even if the sensei is being unreasonable and I found that I wouldn't agree with him or her, well, it is still their place. I won't protest -- I will just go somewhere else.

Come to my house and want to play with my toys? Well, guess what? My house, my toys, my rules.

In my personal religion I am required to sacrifice a live, baby seal in someone else's living room. Gonna invite me in?

  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 12:41 AM   #9
Abasan
Dojo: Aiki Shoshinkan, Aiki Kenkyukai
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 813
Malaysia
Offline
Re: more religious issues

Aikido the art of harmony is not just a title we can spout whenever we like it. Either you subscribe fully to it or you don't in which case you're probably doing a quasi aiki jutsu martial art.

However being harmonious does not imply bow down to every tom, dick and harry's demand. Instead it revolves around the natural law and a major part of that law requires respect as its back bone. That's why Rei is 1 of the 7 characters intrinsic in Budo.

Rei is sincere respect and can only be given willingly. It can't be demanded nor enforced. However, rei can also be given in many forms. A slight bow does not diminish the heart's true intention or respect in any way at all. Nor does a head to the floor bow actually signifies true respect.

Form outside, ignore. Its the intention that counts.

The sensei may have to appear generalistic in enforcement in what would be something that is difficult for him to do. This is to maintain order. Or he could genuinely feel disincline to blend with the wishes of the particular group. Either way, his intent will translate to his waza. You can sense true harmonious feeling in his waza or not. If you can feel that, then stay on because whatever the outward reason those particular group is excluded, the sensei bears no ill will. If you don't feel it, then maybe you can explore other options.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 01:04 AM   #10
Eva Antonia
Dojo: CERIA
Location: Brussels
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 209
Belgium
Offline
Re: more religious issues

Hi all,

I think if the "excluded" people started already a campaign against the dojo via their temples, that is pretty strong. They are not excluded because of being strict Moslem/ Jew/ evangelical Christian (or whoever refuses training with the opposite sex) but because of upsetting aikido training rules, which is a strictly technical issue.

In my dojo we once had some boys refusing to train with the girls. Not because they were religious, just because they had the age when girls are absolutely unworthy, ridiculous, feeble creatures whom a REAL BOY doesn't want to mix with. Obviously they had to leave the tatami when showing this attitude. So if they are sent away but other boys refusing girls for religious reasons are admitted, who would be discriminated? The non-religious-anti-girl boys, or the girls? I think if a dojo is pretty straightforward postulating that everyone trains with whoever bows to him, then no exceptions should be made, be it for personal dislike reasons, religious reasons, technical reasons (X is such a bad uke!) etc.

But on the other hand, as already someone wrote, no one prevents people who are uncomfortable to train with the opposite sex to set up a strictly purdah dojo. In Turkey, most Turkish baths are gender separated, everyone knows, and it's a problem for no one. But on the other hand, no one would issue a fatwa against a Turkish bath were mixed bathing hours are allowed - but conservative or very religious people just wouldn't go there.

Best regards,

Eva
(who would hate NOT to train with men and would do my best not to be confined to an all-women.dojo....although it might be fun to try that once or twice)
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 01:14 AM   #11
Nafis Zahir
 
Nafis Zahir's Avatar
Dojo: Bucks County Aikido
Location: Pennsylvania
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 425
United_States
Offline
Re: more religious issues

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
The bowing to the picture of O Sensei is not a prerequisite in any dojo.If any person has objections to this custom [which is just a way of showing respect to the Founder ] any Sensei should have the common sense to appreciate that due to possible religious practice some people will not bow to the Kamisa/O Sensei picture.Let people practice the art in a manner which is comfortable for them.Why ban them?Surely common sense would prevail here?Have the non bowing students made their views known to the dojo leaders?If not maybe a talk would resolve the problem.As far as not practising with opposite gender again the same thing applies-just let them get on with it and be comfortable.
Seems to me your group dont talk to each other.Is it a cultural problem???

I agree with you Joe! Aikido is a Japanes art that has spread around the globe to different cultures. We have to seperate the 'art' from the culture. I hope to have my own dojo one day, and when I do, this will not be an issue. I would gladly respect anyone's religious restrictions. That doesn't mean they get to train the way they want. It only means that they don't have to do anything they don't want to do if it goes against their religion. It's not a hard thing to do and it really is no big deal.

  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 06:45 AM   #12
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 643
Israel
Offline
Re: more religious issues

While I do not fully disagree with all the statements supporting the Sensei's, I think most here are looking at the picture from a very specific point of view.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Come to my house and want to play with my toys? Well, guess what? My house, my toys, my rules.
When was the last time you met by strict religious people of other faiths?
Their limitations come from God, yours are man made cultural issues. They can not make the slightest amendment or change - that wold hurt their beliefs. You must accommodate them.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
So let me get this straight. They are choosing not to train because part of the training is against their perceived religious convictions which prohibit interaction with other genders. So it is discriminatory to *not* to let them discriminate against other genders?

Ouch, I think I pulled a frontal lobe...
Yep, that is their argument, and in some strange way they even have some point. The way you train is adjusted to your beliefs, they want to train according to their beliefs. It reminds me of the French who decided on a law against wearing overt religious clothings in some (specific) public places, and claimed it was not discriminatory, while in fact, only Christians were not affected by it.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Seriously, I can be very flexible about a lot of things. However, sometimes the issue of entitlement can really be a hot button issue for me. Are these same groups boycotting all the local businesses, restaurants, social clubs, etc. that allow genders to interact? I sure hope the movie theaters keep women separate too. What about the public schools -- can't have the women in the same classes with men -- think of the chaos that could ensue! And surely there are no female teachers teaching male students. Oh, and the public pools... And... And...
You must be joking. Such groups will have their own schools (in Israel, funded by the public ), they will demonstrate (some times violently) against any business that does not follow their rules
(be it sex segregation, working on Sabeth, or selling non-kosher food). They will demand to get all the social services their way (including public-beaches that are men only or women only with ugly fences blocking the view of anyone in them)...

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
No. They cannot train in that dojo because their religion prevents them. No one has to alter their work, training, or beliefs to accommodate yours or anyone else's. It's their problem. No one else.
Again you are missing the very point of those groups - they wish to force you to convert. You believe in freedom of religion and from religion - they do not. You are against discrimination - they are only against any discrimination to them.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
If someone wants to start a training class for those who have particular requirements and restrictions, more power to them. And I'd support them 110% in doing it however they want to. And I would respect them enough *not* to insist on sitting in on the women's classes. And I would respect them enough to try to act properly in their context. I have friends from a variety of religious backgrounds. When I walk into their house I do my level best to abide by their rules, their customs and their habits. I'm sure they also compromise many things and "overlook" many of my bad habits and obviously poor upbringing. But I still do my level best to respect their right in *their own freaking house* to live how they see fit.

Step through the door to someone else's house and you need to simply... Deal with it. Or don't go in. Doors are cool that way -- they open allowing you to move in *both* directions. Or not go in at all.
In most cases, a host does take some consideration to accommodate his guests. In my own opinion, and from my experience, it is possible to accept some religious people, with their limitations intact, and still keep the impact on the dojo life acceptable.
The level that is acceptable has to be set by the Sensei, and should not harm anyone else. My Sensei refuses to accept student who will not bow to others, but accept those who will not bow to the Shomen. He accepted in the past few students who did not train with women, but they were alway the minority, and the rule was no woman would be left anytime not-training because one of them refuses to train with her (in such a case, the partner of that one trained with the woman and he was left partner less).

Quote:
Eva Röben wrote: View Post
Hi all,
I think if the "excluded" people started already a campaign against the dojo via their temples, that is pretty strong. They are not excluded because of being strict Moslem/ Jew/ evangelical Christian (or whoever refuses training with the opposite sex) but because of upsetting aikido training rules, which is a strictly technical issue.

In my dojo we once had some boys refusing to train with the girls. Not because they were religious, just because they had the age when girls are absolutely unworthy, ridiculous, feeble creatures whom a REAL BOY doesn't want to mix with. Obviously they had to leave the tatami when showing this attitude. So if they are sent away but other boys refusing girls for religious reasons are admitted, who would be discriminated? The non-religious-anti-girl boys, or the girls? I think if a dojo is pretty straightforward postulating that everyone trains with whoever bows to him, then no exceptions should be made, be it for personal dislike reasons, religious reasons, technical reasons (X is such a bad uke!) etc.
Don't be that naive, the training rules and their religion contradict. Many here seem to imply in such cases, they can change their strictures, just like the "teenage boys". But if they change their strictures, they will no longer belong to the same religion.

Quote:
Eva Röben wrote: View Post
But on the other hand, as already someone wrote, no one prevents people who are uncomfortable to train with the opposite sex to set up a strictly purdah dojo. In Turkey, most Turkish baths are gender separated, everyone knows, and it's a problem for no one. But on the other hand, no one would issue a fatwa against a Turkish bath were mixed bathing hours are allowed - but conservative or very religious people just wouldn't go there.
You do realize for that to happen, there must be some religious Sensei who trained with someone who did accept him.

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
This wonderful dojo asks that people display a common sign of respect for partaking in some aspect of an Asian culture. This wonderful dojo asks people to train together regardless of gender. Seems to me like this wonderful dojo is not discriminating against anyone. The people who choose not to train in a manner that everybody else is training in should not be allowed to take away from the training experiences of others.
Religion is too often not tolerant, and not open to accept other cultures, definitely not to experiencing them.

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
I frankly am a little sick and tired of people who want to be able to do exactly as they please regardless of the circumstances. I do not care of it is in the name of religion or any other reason for that matter. What do they say, "when in Rome..."
For a jew : "when in rome, live in a ghetto" (for that matter, this was true for jews living in any Christian country, not so long ago.

Amir

{ who would hate NOT to train with men and would do my best not to be confined to an all-men dojo, nor thinks it is fun. And who actually believe that as a man, training with women is important to my own technical advancing in doing practical Aikido.
And who is willing to make minor accommodations, but only minor and not as an opening to bigger changes}
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 07:08 AM   #13
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
Offline
Re: more religious issues

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
While I do not fully disagree with all the statements supporting the Sensei's, I think most here are looking at the picture from a very specific point of view.

When was the last time you met by strict religious people of other faiths?
Their limitations come from God, yours are man made cultural issues. They can not make the slightest amendment or change - that wold hurt their beliefs. You must accommodate them.
All of the time. Their limitations come from GOD? Only according to them. The words that they read where written by man. Who among those religious people are actually communicating directly with GOD?

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
Yep, that is their argument, and in some strange way they even have some point. The way you train is adjusted to your beliefs, they want to train according to their beliefs. It reminds me of the French who decided on a law against wearing overt religious clothings in some (specific) public places, and claimed it was not discriminatory, while in fact, only Christians were not affected by it.
This is not about training to our beliefs. This is about partaking in some aspect of another culture-> Japanese culture. It is our choice as to whether or not to partake in it. If we choose to partake in it, then we should follow the customs of that tradition. I have had many meals with people from the middle east where we sat on the floor and ate with our hands. I did not ask for silverware. it was my choice to join them and partake in some aspect of their lives. I am not so closed-minded that I insisted that they adapt to me.

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
You must be joking. Such groups will have their own schools (in Israel, funded by the public ), they will demonstrate (some times violently) against any business that does not follow their rules
(be it sex segregation, working on Sabeth, or selling non-kosher food). They will demand to get all the social services their way (including public-beaches that are men only or women only with ugly fences blocking the view of anyone in them)...

Again you are missing the very point of those groups - they wish to force you to convert. You believe in freedom of religion and from religion - they do not. You are against discrimination - they are only against any discrimination to them.
You have clearly spoken of the gross double standards that the very religious people intentionally use. I can talk at length about how their morality seems to be narrowly defined to fit within their fellow believers. They seem to do a good job at talking about faith while failing to live up to the morality which is the underpinning of their faith.

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
In most cases, a host does take some consideration to accommodate his guests. In my own opinion, and from my experience, it is possible to accept some religious people, with their limitations intact, and still keep the impact on the dojo life acceptable.
The level that is acceptable has to be set by the Sensei, and should not harm anyone else. My Sensei refuses to accept student who will not bow to others, but accept those who will not bow to the Shomen. He accepted in the past few students who did not train with women, but they were alway the minority, and the rule was no woman would be left anytime not-training because one of them refuses to train with her (in such a case, the partner of that one trained with the woman and he was left partner less).
You are right, the host does maintain the right to run things according to the host's standards. That being said, it says an awful lot about the visitor by how the visitor seeks to impose their standards upon others.

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
Don't be that naive, the training rules and their religion contradict. Many here seem to imply in such cases, they can change their strictures, just like the "teenage boys". But if they change their strictures, they will no longer belong to the same religion.

You do realize for that to happen, there must be some religious Sensei who trained with someone who did accept him.

Religion is too often not tolerant, and not open to accept other cultures, definitely not to experiencing them.
Religion speaks of treating everyone in the image of GOD while failing to live up that standard.

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
For a jew : "when in rome, live in a ghetto" (for that matter, this was true for jews living in any Christian country, not so long ago.
I too and Jewish, I do not seek to identify myself based upon a long-ago past. Maybe, we as Jews need to formulate a new, positive identity based not upon how others seek to treat us (or treated us) poorly, but upon the positives that represent how we can choose to live.

Marc Abrams

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
Amir

{ who would hate NOT to train with men and would do my best not to be confined to an all-men dojo, nor thinks it is fun. And who actually believe that as a man, training with women is important to my own technical advancing in doing practical Aikido.
And who is willing to make minor accommodations, but only minor and not as an opening to bigger changes}
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 07:28 AM   #14
NagaBaba
 
NagaBaba's Avatar
Location: Wild, deep, deadly North
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,146
Offline
Re: more religious issues

M.Kanai sensei wrote:
Quote:
"Therefore, it is said that Rei is the origin and final goal of budo.

Some people may react negatively to this emphasis on etiquette as old-fashioned, conservative, and even feudalistic in some societies, and this is quite understandable. But we must never lose sight of the essence of Rei. Students of Aikido are especially required to appreciate the reason for and the meaning of Reigi-saho, for it becomes an important step towards misogi , which is at the heart of Aikido practice. "
It is very clear, that ppl who are bringing their cultural/religious behavior to the dojo, and trying to impose them to others, are not coming here with pure heart to study aikido. Not only they can't achieve misogi themselves, but they also prevent others to do it. Of course it is the first duty of instructor to create environment in the dojo that promotes achievement of misogi. In that context, such impure hearts can choose other activities.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 08:34 AM   #15
Rabih Shanshiry
 
Rabih Shanshiry's Avatar
Location: Boston/MA
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 197
United_States
Offline
Re: more religious issues

Quote:
Nafis Zahir wrote: View Post
I agree with you Joe! Aikido is a Japanes art that has spread around the globe to different cultures. We have to seperate the 'art' from the culture. I hope to have my own dojo one day, and when I do, this will not be an issue. I would gladly respect anyone's religious restrictions. That doesn't mean they get to train the way they want. It only means that they don't have to do anything they don't want to do if it goes against their religion. It's not a hard thing to do and it really is no big deal.
+1

If one is willing to train with others who have phsyical limitations (i.e. Janet's experience with an autistic student), then one should also be a little open to accomodating cultural/religious limitations. I would expect the actual dojo dynamics of having an autistic student in the class to be far more "disruptive" than having someone who feels uncomortable bowing or practicing with the opposite sex.

Of course, the *reasonable* accomodation rule applies - a small all male dojo would have a hard time accomodating a woman who wished to train only with other women.

That said - isn't this dejavu all over again? Here is another ultimately fruitless thread on the exact same topic....

http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10006
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 08:42 AM   #16
ruthmc
Dojo: Wokingham Aikido
Location: Reading, UK
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 393
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: more religious issues

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
my difficulty is that i recently found out the dojo has been excluding people of a certain religion, based on certain parts of training that they can't do per religious order (bowing, training with the opposit gender, etc). in fact, they have managed to anger certain people of this religion ( which is very predoninate in this area) to the point they are calling for a boycott of the dojo by all "sypathizers against anti discrimination". the are doing this through local places of worship and giving the dojo a very bad name. my problem is that i don't know if any of what they say is even true and i don't know how to bring it up with the senseis to find out without causing offense. if it is true, i will leave the dojo because i don't believe in discrimination or supporting organizations that do. this is my choice and i see that others feel differently. what i want to now is how to find out if these wonderful senseis really are what is being said about them
Hiya,

You are right to want to find out the truth, and you are right to ask your instructors what their policy is on admission to the dojo.

However, there is a difference between active discrimination (eg The instructors are saying no Jews or Muslims are allowed to train here) and allowing people to self-discriminate (eg The instructors are saying that everyone must bow and train with both genders, and if you're not prepared to acept that then maybe training here is not for you, so you yourself then decide not to train there).

Until you know which one applies, then you can't make a decision, so I'd suggest that you ask your instructors and don't worry about causing offence - their admissions policy is obviously public so why should you worry? If you subsequently decide to leave this dojo, then you can write them a letter explaining why - you don't have to get into a debate with them!

Ruth
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 09:54 AM   #17
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,805
United_States
Offline
Re: more religious issues

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
When was the last time you met by strict religious people of other faiths?
Their limitations come from God, yours are man made cultural issues. They can not make the slightest amendment or change - that wold hurt their beliefs. You must accommodate them.
Why must I accommodate them? Because your god says so? No, that isn't going to work. Your god does not make rules for me.

BTW, I understand that you are faithfully representing a certain point of view here, and that it is not necessarily one you subscribe to yourself. My point is that no matter how fervently a religious person may believe that their directive from God takes precedence over any civil laws, "man made cultural issues" or other codes of any kind, fervent belief does not create reality, and "because my holy book says so" doesn't mean that people have to do it your way.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 10:02 AM   #18
Janet Rosen
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,942
Offline
Re: more religious issues

Quote:
Rabih Shanshiry wrote: View Post
If one is willing to train with others who have phsyical limitations (i.e. Janet's experience with an autistic student), then one should also be a little open to accomodating cultural/religious limitations. I would expect the actual dojo dynamics of having an autistic student in the class to be far more "disruptive" than having someone who feels uncomortable bowing or practicing with the opposite sex.
I am very happy to train with a person who comes in with an open heart and mind, training to the best of his or her abilities.

But I cannot reconcile that with including people who would refuse to train w/ me on the basis of a set of beliefs that are fundamentally at odds with our dojo's culture of inclusion.

I truly think they would be better off creating their own gender-separate dojo, which I would be free to not join.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 10:21 AM   #19
Buck
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 950
United_States
Offline
Re: more religious issues

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
i have been training a few months at a wonderful dojo run by two wonderful people. my difficulty is that i recently found out the dojo has been excluding people of a certain religion, based on certain parts of training that they can't do per religious order (bowing, training with the opposit gender, etc). in fact, they have managed to anger certain people of this religion ( which is very predoninate in this area) to the point they are calling for a boycott of the dojo by all "sypathizers against anti discrimination". the are doing this through local places of worship and giving the dojo a very bad name. my problem is that i don't know if any of what they say is even true and i don't know how to bring it up with the senseis to find out without causing offense. if it is true, i will leave the dojo because i don't believe in discrimination or supporting organizations that do. this is my choice and i see that others feel differently. what i want to now is how to find out if these wonderful senseis really are what is being said about them
Everyone discriminates, in your case you are discriminating against practices of the dojo you don't believe in. These practices are religious and cultural. They are an integral part of Aikido just as technique to the whole of Aikido, even though some dojos are not as strict with the practice as others. I know of a dojo that filed as a church, a religion. There are many supports that point to Aikido qualifying as a religion.

The Japanese have a saying that I see many dojos and non-Japanese follow in the dojo. The saying goes something like if a nail is sticking up, you hammer it down.

In Sikhism, I believe in loose terms, the removal of the head dress is forbidden. If a Sikh came into my dojo, I would ask him to remove his head dress or not train. We have had Christians who thought bowing was a pagan act, and refused to do it. We asked them to leave. Now when people come to the dojo we screen them and have a prejudice against those who we know are not willing to accept or follow our practices. We dictate everything involved in Aikido from a uniform to behavior, that is pretty much the norm. Aikido isn't like many religions that tell you what to believe and if you don't conform stone you, but there is pressure to follow the group and conform to behaviors and practices, much like a sports team. We don't tell you what to believe and if you don't you will go to hell. We are discriminatory along the lines of a sports team, the military and alike. This angers people and we are called out on it. In our defense, there is no law or rule, and it is in fact an accepted practice among martial arts to be discriminatory and selective.

With all that said, this knowledge may be helpful to you understanding martial arts and Aikido. I suggest find a dojo that is more accommodating to the practices of others. Please keep in mind that isn't the norm. But it is a Japanese martial art, of O'Sensei and that is what attracts millions of people to it. Unless you don't live in a free country, it is a right for people to discriminate in this sense, like we have private country clubs, not everyone gets into the sheik night clubs. There are women only gyms, etc.

Now if this Aikido dojo was a place of employment, and not offering a cultural experience then that would be a different story. Please don't misunderstand I just think understanding this maybe helpful to you and ease your discontent.

Last edited by Buck : 06-02-2010 at 10:36 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 10:51 AM   #20
Buck
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 950
United_States
Offline
Re: more religious issues

Oh this as well, there are many Aikido dojos who accept people of different views politically, religiously, gender and culturally. But in general ask people to follow the dojo practices and cultural. You may run into some who will train with you but they hide the fact they don't like your race, religion, or politics. You may run into those who are more honest and open and tell you upfront why they will not train with you. There are other people who have no reservations. Be aware of the fallacy that Aikido is and should be some kind of perfect utopia where one lives in peace and harmony. The fact is we are all people and by nature, discriminatory.

No matter how hard we present other wise, we are discriminatory. Be it the Aikido dojo rejecting based on their beliefs and criteria, or the student who is upset at those dojos and believes there should not be any discrimination against others. The best thing to do, again, is to find a place that fits your criteria. in that way you will be at peace.

My advice is to do what many do, and that is find a place where you fit in best with people like you.

Last edited by Buck : 06-02-2010 at 11:03 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 11:05 AM   #21
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
Location: Oceanside, California
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,136
Offline
Re: more religious issues

Dear Anonymous:

In your original post you raised two issues. You stated that you wanted to know if your instructors were truly discriminatory and said that you didn't want to belong to, or support an organization that is discriminatory. That's commendable and I salute you for that. The solution is simple; open your eyes and ears and see for yourself. Do you see any specific actions that disadvantage or harm any particular group? By that I mean specifically, does your dojo have a policy or practice of refusing to accept students because of their race, their religion, their sex, their sexual orientation, or any other human quality? Or do they set rules and practices that some may not wish to abide by? If it is the former, then your school is probably discriminatory. If it is the latter, then it is not. That part of the equation seems easy to me.

The second issue is more troubling to me. If the school doesn't exclude others on the basis of their religious beliefs, then on what basis does this group chose to attack this school? What then is the problem? Granted, I'm just an Ugly American and don't fully understand the nuances of other cultures around the world, but I do show respect and courtesy to those whose beliefs I don't share. I don't have any problem with the leaders of the "local places of worship" telling their flock that the practices of the dojo are antithetical to their beliefs and they should not train there. That seems to be the role of religious leaders of any faith.

Maybe I read more into your original post, but I am concerned at the level of anger suggested. Religious or cultural zealots of any stripe worry me, and worry me greatly.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 11:12 AM   #22
jonreading
 
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 893
United_States
Offline
Re: more religious issues

I think this topic has been discussed before, so I don't know how much of my response will simply be a repeat of previous posts.

Dojo are places of training and sensei is responsible for maintaining the safety and sanctity of the environment so students feel comfortable training. One of those decisions may involve the alignment of goals, values, and expectations of the students within the dojo. I would not argue this alignment is discrimination but it creates an inclusive demographic of the dojo members. I think this type of alignment should be done openly and with consistency. The student is then empowered to make a decision to train in the dojo within a set of "rules" that are public and enforceable. I think each dojo faces smaller decisions which establish the line in the sand for larger issues, and those decisions should remain variable to fit the conditions, location, and culture in which the dojo is situated.

1. For those sensei who make poor decisions about what their dojo should represent, their dojo will fail. Discerning students who do not align with that instructor's goals and expectations will choose not to attend class.
2. Training is conditional gift. If a student is unwilling to accept the conditions of the gift they should not expect to receive the gift.

Taken to another level, why would New York Mets fans attend a Yankees game? Why would a republican attend the Democratic National Convention? Why would a math major spend her time studying English? We spend our time aligning ourselves with activities, friends, and lifestyle to match our beliefs. Why would I walk into a dojo that does not share those beliefs, then demand that they change to accommodate me? The friction will be larger than just what you see on the mat...
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 11:16 AM   #23
Abasan
Dojo: Aiki Shoshinkan, Aiki Kenkyukai
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 813
Malaysia
Offline
Re: more religious issues

On a side note (if I'm not wrong and memory serves)... the current president or advisor to Aikikai Indonesia was a direct student of Osensei. He is also a muslim. And he didn't bow to shomen. Osensei did not berate him or throw him out for his 'unbudolike' behaviour...

Say what you will about japanese culture or beliefs or whatever, Osensei understood religion and faith. He did not discriminate against it.

Men... and their zeal...

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 12:41 PM   #24
Nafis Zahir
 
Nafis Zahir's Avatar
Dojo: Bucks County Aikido
Location: Pennsylvania
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 425
United_States
Offline
Re: more religious issues

Quote:
Ahmad Abas wrote: View Post
On a side note (if I'm not wrong and memory serves)... the current president or advisor to Aikikai Indonesia was a direct student of Osensei. He is also a muslim. And he didn't bow to shomen. Osensei did not berate him or throw him out for his 'unbudolike' behaviour...

Say what you will about japanese culture or beliefs or whatever, Osensei understood religion and faith. He did not discriminate against it.

Men... and their zeal...
As-Salaamu-Alaikum!

Thanks for posting that!

  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2010, 01:04 PM   #25
RED
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 903
United_States
Offline
Re: more religious issues

I don't believe altering your own, widely accepted and appreciated traditions for the sake of not offending one or two people. I'm all for spreading the art, but there is a point where it is ridiculous. If it is against your beliefs to touch women, maybe Aikido should also be against your beliefs...because since it's formation women have been encouraged to train with men and vise versa.

If you don't want to bow, fine, don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable. No one will be offended if you don't bow.
But not wanting to be on the same mat with another person based on gender, race or orientation...too far, and very un-Aiki. Don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable, including stepping on a mat with women. You know there are women there, you can choose not to step out with them... like you can choose not to bow.

You walk into a dojo fully aware of the rules! I'd be a little peed off if a 7th kyu walked in the door and wanted to change my dojo's training rules just to suit them. That breaches the amount tax that a student has the right to demand of their school.

Last edited by RED : 06-02-2010 at 01:10 PM.

MM
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Handmade Aikido Gifts - Handmade functional ceramic art with aikido themes



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Poll: How religious is aikido to you? AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 13 12-16-2007 10:11 AM
Religion and Aikido Jenn Spiritual 91 12-06-2007 11:47 AM
Is aikido a spiritual practice ? jennifer paige smith Spiritual 84 07-26-2007 09:11 PM
Moral issues about teachers agenda Aikiuniversalis Anonymous 15 05-01-2005 08:56 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:27 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate