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Old 09-18-2002, 01:37 PM   #26
BC
Location: Chicago, IL
Join Date: Jun 2000
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I disagree with the concept that a dojo is a "microcosm" of the ret of the world. I believe it is not. Most people in the rest of the world do not practice martial arts. A dojo exists for one very specific purpose: to train in a martial art. It is not a social club. Most people who enter a dojo do so for this very purpose - not to meet potential partners for a relationship. If people want to do that, they can join a sport or social club. Few things make me lose respect for another member of our dojo than seeing a senior member flirt and attempt to make social advances to a new female member, and then have the new female member leave in disgust - largely because the dojo was one place where she didn't think she would have to deal with that kind of crap. And you know what? She shouldn't have to - plain and simple.

One might very well view the whole world as a big "school" or "dojo." But outside of the dojo it's not appropriate to go around throwing and pinning people. In the same respect I believe it is not appropriate to pursue romantic relationships with members within the dojo.

In most instances where one member is agressively flirting with another member, the former is likely the senior in tenure at the dojo. If a relationship ensues, and if and when that relationship goes sour, who is most likely to feel uncomfortable remaining in the dojo and leave? The newer, less tenured person. Who is most likely to know this from the beginning? The senior member. Which person is most expected to take on more responsibility for the benefit of the dojo and its members? The senior student. Who has the greatest conflict in this situation? The senior student.

I mean no offense, but if one finds that they are spending so much time at the dojo that the only possibility for a relationship is to resort to seeking out new and existing members of the dojo, than that person ought to re-evaluate their priorities. One of aikido's greatest lessons both in and outside of the dojo is that of balance. That includes how you prioritize and balance your time with family, friends/relationships, work and training. I don't think of it as being rigid. I think of it as being sensitive to the needs of others and the needs of the dojo.

Last edited by BC : 09-18-2002 at 01:43 PM.

Robert Cronin
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Old 09-18-2002, 02:32 PM   #27
DanielR
Location: New York
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 164
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Robert,

Let's have a little experiment: I'm going to take your post and substitute all aikido-related terms with, say, bakery-related terms, and see what happens:

I disagree with the concept that a BAKERY is a "microcosm" of the rest of the world. I believe it is not. Most people in the rest of the world do not BAKE. A BAKERY exists for one very specific purpose: to BAKE BREAD. It is not a social club. Most people who enter a BAKERY do so for this very purpose - not to meet potential partners for a relationship. If people want to do that, they can join a sport or social club. Few things make me lose respect for another EMPLOYEE of our BAKERY than seeing a senior EMPLOYEE flirt and attempt to make social advances to a new female EMPLOYEE, and then have the new female EMPLOYEE leave in disgust - largely because the BAKERY was one place where she didn't think she would have to deal with that kind of crap. And you know what? She shouldn't have to - plain and simple.

etc.

The conflict you describe is not aikido-specific; it can happen anywhere where there're senior and junior members/students/employees. It all comes down to decency - one shouldn't use his/her seniority to his/her advantage, be it flirting or anything else. If everybody's following simple rules of human decency, most conflict situations are avoidable.

Last edited by DanielR : 09-18-2002 at 02:34 PM.

Daniel
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Old 09-18-2002, 02:46 PM   #28
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
Location: Baltimore
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In some ways, it sounds to me like it's all about a cost-benefit analysis we each make. Each of us has a cost associated with the (not uncommon) cases where someone feels hassled or things get uncomfortable and each of us has a benefit asssociated with the (also not uncommon) succesful relationships that can come out of personal relatoinships in the dojo. We attach subjective assessments of the probabilities to each of these, multiply each probability by the associated cost, make a comparison and follow it with a confident pronouncement about truth.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 09-18-2002, 02:51 PM   #29
DanielR
Location: New York
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Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
...We attach subjective assessments of the probabilities to each of these, multiply each probability by the associated cost, make a comparison and follow it with a confident pronouncement about truth.
Isn't that a definition of a subjective opinion (on anything)? In which case any discussion is exactly that - an exchange of subjective opinions...

Daniel
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Old 09-18-2002, 02:55 PM   #30
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
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Sort of. Subjective opinions can differ as a result of many different aspects of subjectivity. I'm claiming that here it is primarily a difference in the perceived cost and benefit and then perhaps also a slight difference in the perceived probabilities.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 09-18-2002, 03:12 PM   #31
DanielR
Location: New York
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Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
...I'm claiming that here it is primarily a difference in the perceived cost and benefit and then perhaps also a slight difference in the perceived probabilities.
I agree. The bottom line is, any particular behavior will be tolerated in one place and regarded as obscene in another (your analogy with orthodox Jews is a perfect example). As long as everybody (especially the sensei) in a particular dojo has no problem with one student flirting in a certain way with another, there's no room for claims "there should be absolutely no flirting in aikido dojos".

Daniel
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Old 09-18-2002, 03:34 PM   #32
BC
Location: Chicago, IL
Join Date: Jun 2000
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Daniel:

Good point.

Perhaps I should clarify that I'm more concerned with flirtations with newer members by senior members than relations between members with the same or similar level of experience in the dojo.

However, one difference between adojo and a bakery (or any other workplace for that matter in the US) is that there are specific rules for dealing with such situations and prohibiting such behavior, and potentially serious consequences for the offending party. In a dojo, these rules are often ignored or disregarded, and there are not perceived to be any serious consequences by the offending party. Please don't consider this a vote for the introduction of litigation to settle the issue - I don't want that. Ultimately, the dojo cho or head instructor should be monitoring and (hopefully) discouraging such behavior. What I find frustrating is that, for one reason or another, senior students still seem to get away with such behavior, to the detriment of the dojo. Would a possible solution be to prohibit the pursuit of junior/newer members of the dojo until they reach a certain rank, such as 1st kyu or shodan? I don't know...

Robert Cronin
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Old 09-18-2002, 03:55 PM   #33
DanielR
Location: New York
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Quote:
Robert Cronin (BC) wrote:
...What I find frustrating is that, for one reason or another, senior students still seem to get away with such behavior, to the detriment of the dojo.
What you're describing is a dojo where senior students get a special treatment? Or where junior students are afraid to speak out? In both scenarios it seems that the head of the dojo (as well as the "good" senior students) are not fulfilling their responsibilities.

I concede that my argument is based on the assumption that every dojo member acts in a responsible and respectful manner. In any other case the sensei should give serious consideration to whether this student should be a student any longer, and correct the situation so that the basis for my argument is true again
This, of course, assumes that the sensei is objective and just in his/her judgement of the situation... I really hope most are.

Last edited by DanielR : 09-18-2002 at 03:58 PM.

Daniel
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Old 09-21-2002, 02:19 PM   #34
suebailey
Location: sunderland
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 52
England
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lo

right my thoughts r that during a class u shouldnt have time to flirt at all ur mind should be on purly and simply on ur sensi and his/hers instruction and wat ur ment to be doing!

im taken and have been for 8 month and am very happy i would never think about flirting in the dojo for that main reason although i know men and women wo r taken even married and still do! :0(

the doo is not a place to flirt but if u really fall for another student than ask them out as a friend or get together on a class night out and do ur flirting there! ;0)

ceya sue

with out the heart there can be no understanding between body and mind and if u have never linked ur self to true emptiness you will never comprehend the full dimension of aikido.
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