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Old 01-16-2014, 11:23 AM   #26
lbb
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
It does bring up another issue. In many businesses I see a sign that says they reserve the right to refuse services, or have a dress code, etc. If its your business, even open to the public, don't you have any rights to decide who to teach and how to structure your teaching?
If you are a public accommodation -- which includes private businesses open to the public -- you cannot refuse service to individuals based on their membership in a protected category such as gender, race or religion. You can refuse service for other reasons, such as being inappropriately dressed (as some restaurants do) or being drunk (as many bars do).

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Coming up through the arts I have been to many dojos that did not mix classes and have been refused training because I was white. And you know, IMHO, they have that right too.
You may feel that they have that moral right, but in the United States, if they are a public accommodation, they do not have that legal right. That is a matter of settled law, not a matter of opinion.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
I just don't personally believe that my individual rights should have to be accommodated by everyone else.
If you define "individual rights" loosely and sloppily, you will no doubt find that the law safeguards some of these "individual rights" and does not safeguard others. Again, this is not a matter of personal belief.

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Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
While I certainly would not have made this specific request or segregate and school I belonged to or taught it, I simply do not believe that I am the most important person here or necessarily the one in charge.
It has nothing to do with who is most important or who's "in charge". This is what it means to live under the rule of law: that no matter how "important" or "in charge" you may be, you are subordinate to the law, and you are also protected by it.
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Old 01-16-2014, 11:30 AM   #27
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Yes agreed.

How is rigidly forcing others to violate their religious beliefs practicing Aikido?

Curious.
Well, a couple of things for me influenced the approach I have crafted over the years:
1. The student picked the dojo, not the other way around. I work very hard to give an accurate representation of our values, teachings and training methods. I speak to both my strengths and weaknesses and I understand they may affect a prospective student's decision to train.
2. I assume that a new student is looking to find a dojo that aligns with both the change the student is looking to accomplish and the culture in which that endeavor is done joyously. I understand that our dojo is not for everyone and I do my best to get a prospective student into a better fit if they do not flourish in our dojo.

The rigidity I hold is the expectation that students inherit a sense of community to the students, the dojo and training. I value this expectation because I believe it contributes to the safety of training, the level of commitment reflected within the dojo and the personal relationships established between students.
To flip the question, what kind of religious belief would discourage fostering this kind of relationship with students of a dojo?

The only "wrong" in this situation is not standing up for what you believe and expressing that belief with sincerity. My point is that before we become instructors (#3 on the list), we have other obligations to first consider; helping a new student find his place and understand if aikido is right for them. Aikido is not the right place for everyone and that's OK. Aikido dojos are not all the same and that's OK. This is about leading a student to find the best solution to meet his needs, which may not be your dojo. The aikido in that is understanding the solution is not what you want you, but what the student needs.

As an observation about your question, I have two comments:
1. A student is not compelled to participate in class for any reason. You could argue the dojo environment is adversarial to the student's personal beliefs, but without a point of compulsion you cannot really argue anyone is "forced" to do anything.
2. As a point of personal belief, I do not accept poor interpersonal skills cloaked behind any politically charged classification. I would hazard that if the foundation of this article was simply a personal belief and not a religious one, the tone of this conversation would be different.

I find it odd that we say, "be any shape you want," but then we pound that shape into the round hole and complain when it doesn't fit like the round peg. Why not find the right hole for the peg and be happy it fits?

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Old 01-16-2014, 12:04 PM   #28
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
WOW, I am deeply sorry for whatever you thought I said or position you thought I represent.
And I'm sorry if I upset you. To be honest, you said some things that I find quite problematic, not in their intent but in their implications. I think I understand what you're trying to say, that you would like everyone to get along, and you would hope that over time a new student's attitudes would adjust. But you've also talked about legal rights, and as I pointed out, we can't just manufacture different legal rights because we think that's the way things should be.

I've been using the lunch counter analogy, but here's another one: a bar/restaurant. Observant Muslims do not drink alcohol and eat only halal food, and no law in the US compels them to do otherwise. Likewise, the law does not demand all restaurants to be alcohol-free and serve only halal food. If a Muslim chooses to walk into a restaurant that serves alcohol and does not serve exclusively halal food, he/she has no legal right to demand a cessation of alcohol-serving and an all-halal menu.

So what's the solution? We have to accept that there may not be one -- not a mutually-agreeable one. For that, you need flexibility and room to move, and you may not have that. Depending on the composition of the dojo and the nature of the training, insisting on only male partners may indeed deprive female members. Certain Muslims may feel that their beliefs do not permit them to bow to their partners or toward the kamiza: however sincere the belief, on the face of it, this is no more legitimate and should carry no more weight than the belief of a sensei or their partners that not bowing is disrespectful. If there isn't some room to move, there is no solution -- and if one side is rigid and unwilling to move at all, I think it's really unfair to put all the blame on the other side for not being willing (or able) to move far enough. A restaurant owner can't shut down their business because it cannot possibly accommodate the "need" for it to be alcohol-free and totally halal. They can offer non-alcoholic beverages, and part of their menu is almost certainly halal already with no changes made -- if you, as a Muslim, are ok with that, then you're all good. Or the restaurant could add additional offerings to give more offerings to Muslims, which of course non-Muslims would not have a problem with either. But a woman can't stop being a woman.
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Old 01-16-2014, 12:27 PM   #29
Krystal Locke
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Perhaps I am that freak who really believes in freedom of thought and expression. Perhaps I believe in the gentle empathy and compassion of blending-with rather than resisting.

Perhaps an individual has a right to train with whomever they feel comfortable with based on whatever criteria. Forcing them to violated their belief system seems rather un-Aikido-ish. Perhaps with time and mindful compassion, they will change that view. Either way, its their belief and its about them. I have people I tend not to train with. Don't you?

If an instructor chooses in their own school to honor (or not honor) a student's request is their choice and shows their perspective. Its about the instructor.

If another person chooses to take offense/degraded because some one has a different belief, or some one chooses to honor/respect that belief/request - then that's about them, not the other person's belief system.

We all tend to want freedom of belief and expression/choice for what we believe/agree-with. Doesn't that also extend to the beliefs and expression of others, even if we do not agree with them?

If a student feels uncomfortable for any reason being touched by (or touching) another student, I would tend to respect what that student is telling me about themselves even if I do not personally agree with that perspective and position. It may about their fear and ignorance (or traumatic history). I do not expect people to come in with the empathy and compassion (in all three directions in this scenario) that I hope they will leave with.

This may be an unpopular and politically-incorrect stance, but hey, I am that freak who believes in freedom of belief and expression even if its different from my own.

Any thoughts anyone?
So they start a men's class. And, tout suite, a women's class. Taught by a qualified female aikidoka already in the dojo. There is one, isn't there? Hmm. Maybe a men's dojo and a women's dojo? But wait, why dont we map separation to race? Economics? All social differences all at once? Free private lessons only and for all, with the sensei, and sensei better fit the individual student's mapping. That's going to take a lot of senseis.

Or, muslim dude gets to train in class as much as he can under his own value structure, no other changes to the class. He doesn't have to bow. So what, it is a typically misappropriated social gesture anyway. You dont bow, I dont care. He does not have to train with a woman. He can manage his own ma-ai, his own focus, isn't that what martial training is about? If something happens, he takes a bath or whatever he needs to do to get the cooties off. That's fine and great. But now the mat becomes boy side and girl side. Well, okay. And, the next class, he distributes tracts advocating violence toward women. So? They're just words. Today. As far as you know.

That sort of freedom is a broad multi-laned highway. First (and every) radical dyke through the door gets to bring a copy of the SCUM Manifesto for everyone in class. Better respect her beliefs and read that. Dont bitch when the guys in class start getting cut up, shot, bumped off. She is just admirably exercising the courage of her convictions. Identity christian? Let him holler RAHOWA instead of osu or onegaishimasu. He's passing out the Turner Diaries. He's a brave believer when he uses jujishime to break Goldstein's arm.

Where is YOUR line on violence? Where is the line for the sensei involved? Where is my line on violence? Should they be the same line?
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Old 01-16-2014, 02:28 PM   #30
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

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So they start a men's class. And, tout suite, a women's class. Taught by a qualified female aikidoka already in the dojo. There is one, isn't there? Hmm. Maybe a men's dojo and a women's dojo? But wait, why dont we map separation to race? Economics? All social differences all at once? Free private lessons only and for all, with the sensei, and sensei better fit the individual student's mapping. That's going to take a lot of senseis.
I suppose if that meant we got to keep up the toilet seat...

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Old 01-16-2014, 03:30 PM   #31
Michael Hackett
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Individual rights are not accommodated, but are honored in the United States (at least philosophically). This man has an unrestricted freedom of religion that Lynn and I served in the same time and place to protect. While his right must be protected, it does not mean that anyone else can be required to adopt its requirements.

In this case, from an American perspective, the gentleman could have been told that the requirements of his faith could be met by him choosing to only train with the other males, but his training would be seriously impeded by his self-limiting behavior.

The young female brown belt probably needs everyone in the dojo to help her prepare for her shodan testing; big, strong, small, weak, fast, slow, male, female, tall, short, you name it. She could probably do just fine without this single gentleman as a training partner, but that wasn't what was presented to her. Her option was to train in gender-segregated classes, thus limiting her training and experience.

I support that instructor's right to do whatever he chooses with this situation, but I certainly don't agree with it. Segregating his classes into "separate, but equal" groups was not the best solution and seems vaguely familiar......Brown v. Mississippi, maybe? I would have voiced my objection at the time, and if he continued with segregated classes, I would leave that dojo.

I see this situation differently than a situation where someone has been brutalized and traumatized and needs time to adjust. Specifically, I'm thinking of the female rape victim or similar. I would focus on helping her build her own comfort and courage over time. This just seems so much different than someone who had no choice in his or her circumstances.

The "solution" found doesn't meet my muster as rational, logical or reasonable.

I now step down from my soapbox.

Michael
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:05 PM   #32
Chris Li
 
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Before people get too excited (maybe too late...), here's a response to the situation that appeared on Reddit:

Quote:

I am a student and assistant instructor at East Coast Aikido, and this story has not been accurately or fairly reported. The class was never segregated along gender lines, and the muslim student's request was accommodated by taking care not to partner him and him alone with any of the handful of female students in the class for training. Female students do not train separately from the rest of the class, and continue to train with each other and with male students as they always have with the exception of the one muslim student. If during the regular rotation of training partners, the muslim student was paired with a female student, the instructor managing the training would simply have him switch places with another student so that he would be with a male training partner. This request was accommodated with minimal impact on the flow of training, and it's disheartening to see the situation has been so unfairly misrepresented in the media.

Furthermore, this would not at all have impacted on Sonja's black belt training as she would not have been training with the newer muslim student on the advanced material anyway. I never saw any literature on Islam distributed in the class, and I imagine that if this did happen, if she had brought the booklet to Steve with her concerns, he would have asked the muslim student not to do it again.

Steve handled this situation in about the best way I can imagine any instructor handling it. He saw a way to easily and fairly accommodate the student's request so that he would be able to train with us. If the request had been refused, the news story would be one of Islamophobia instead of sexism. I hope Sonja eventually comes to realise this and comes back to train.
Best,

Chris

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Old 01-16-2014, 05:14 PM   #33
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Before people get too excited (maybe too late...), here's a response to the situation that appeared on Reddit:
Thanks for the follow-up.

Perhaps this discussion was a good illustration/demonstration of the emotional energy of the topic.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:18 PM   #34
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
And I'm sorry if I upset you. To be honest, you said some things that I find quite problematic, not in their intent but in their implications.
Not upset at all.

I felt you illustrated my point rather well, thank you.

It would appear that you found what I said problematic by the implications your projected into them.

I learned a long time ago not to take things too personally.

If I thought I said what your thought I said, I'd be jumping on me too.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:21 PM   #35
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

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Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
Where is YOUR line on violence? Where is the line for the sensei involved? Where is my line on violence? Should they be the same line?
There are probably very few people with a line as far into violence as mine.

I would hope yours are not the same as mine. You probably sleep a lot better.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:22 PM   #36
Michael Hackett
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Based on Chris Li's posting, it sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Michael
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:26 PM   #37
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
Individual rights are not accommodated, but are honored in the United States (at least philosophically). This man has an unrestricted freedom of religion that Lynn and I served in the same time and place to protect. While his right must be protected, it does not mean that anyone else can be required to adopt its requirements.

I see this situation differently than a situation where someone has been brutalized and traumatized and needs time to adjust. Specifically, I'm thinking of the female rape victim or similar. I would focus on helping her build her own comfort and courage over time. This just seems so much different than someone who had no choice in his or her circumstances.

The "solution" found doesn't meet my muster as rational, logical or reasonable.

I now step down from my soapbox.
We fought for people to have the right to stand-up shout-out and protest the action that gave them that right that they now feel entitled to.

I am always happy to hear people stand-up and speak-out, even if I don't agree with them. It sorta means it was all worth it.

We too have a right to the soap-box, please stand-tall never stand-down.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:31 PM   #38
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I find it odd that we say, "be any shape you want," but then we pound that shape into the round hole and complain when it doesn't fit like the round peg. Why not find the right hole for the peg and be happy it fits?
Yes agreed.

As you know, I do not certainly fits everywhere with everyone at all times. In fact, I find there are very few places I fit. LOL

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-16-2014, 09:58 PM   #39
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Perhaps the post Chris forwarded is true. Perhaps it is a self-serving shading of the facts, by the powers in the dojo. But let us assume it's true. I still see this as problematic. Caveat: given that the original situation concerned a Muslim male, let us, for the sake of continuity, continue with this religion, though one could shift to another.

Recently a Jewish player from a Dutch soccer team was banned from setting foot in Abu Dhabi because he was Israeli. (Ironic, isn't it, that Jessie Owens and other blacks and Jews competed in Nazi Berlin in the Oympics). The Dutch team cravenly accepted this, even though he was one of their star defensemen. I recall an Iranian wrestler who forfeited an international match because his opponent was Jewish, and he proudly said that he would not compete against a Jew. In fact, I was contacted a number of years ago by an aikidoka in Jordan who wished to inquire about bringing me over to teach. In the course of our conversation online, he found out I was Jewish, and he immediately cut off communication.
So, given that such things happen, what if a young man comes to your dojo and says he cannot/will not practice with Jews (and provides some pretty graphic Koranic references regarding the Jews as apes and pigs as support). So, is it an acceptable solution to simply shield him from contact with Jews, making sure that he has someone else to practice?
I would assume that there is some discomfort with this?

Quote:
On the other hand, Miles Kessler is doing brilliant work, teaching aikido to combined classes of Israeli and Palestinian youth, so I am not asserting this is a given between Jews and Muslims.
OK, maybe some of you are uncomfortable, because I've focused on Islam, given that this is where we started, and in recent years, members of this religion has been particularly aggressive in asserting such religious privilege, let me make you more comfortable, by questioning what may be your own legacy, since we in the West are often so quick to condemn our own) - so how about some individual who subscribes to the Bible and believes that those of African descent are of the tribe of Ham, cursed because he saw his father drunk and naked, and refuses to practice with him or her. "I'm sorry, I cannot practice with him. The Bible makes clear that they are cursed by God."

So - quite aside from the fact that not one of the "reasonable" responders addressed the issue that I raised - that this man is training in a martial arts school and of all the religious tracts he could choose to distribute, picks one that sanctions physical abuse of women. Quite aside from THAT.

If you would, I assume, not allow someone to blatantly discriminate on ideological OR religious grounds against someone of a religious or ethnic group. Why are women not afforded the same courtesy, the same decency, the same protection? Why is this different? Is the status of women more trivial?

A last thought: Let's say I have a late-life revelation (not, under the circumstances, a come to Jesus moment) - and I change from my reformed Judaism to a very rigid Orthodox Jewish denomination, one that insists that I have no physical contact with women. Or, given that there is a mosque right down the street from where I live, I convert to Islam. And I dearly wanted to train in your egalitarian dojo. I would not make any demands to the teacher, . I would request a dojo meeting. I would explain the religious strictures I functioned in. I would tell the dojo members how much I loved aikido (or whatever martial art it was). I would state that I meant no disrespect to the women in the dojo, but that this was a religious requirement for me. Then I would ask if they, collectively, would allow me to practice just with men. I would assure them that I would abide, without resentment, whatever decision they came to. Then I would leave and wait to hear what they decided.

And if there is any confusion, this is my suggestion how you handle such things when they come your way.

Ellis Amdur

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Old 01-17-2014, 03:08 AM   #40
Eva Antonia
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Dear all,

interesting discussion. I am not sur if there is a clear "right" or "wrong" in this situation. As a woman, I'd be offended if someone refused to train with me because I'm a woman (or condescendingly gives "gentle" tsuki), as a middle aged person I'd be offended if some young person does the same, as a white person I'd be offended if in an African dojo people would shrink from touching my skin etc. The latter never happened, but the first and second did...very disagreeable!

This said - while I never saw an "only men's class", I came in several countries across segregated women classes in some dojos, mostly because there are lots of women being initially shy to train with big and muscular guys, but there were also Muslim women stating how good that was because their religion didn't allow them to train with men. I never found any guy, religious or not, having an issue with that. How come that this is more acceptable than men shunning women? Are men more tolerant? Or is sexism against men more tolerated than against women? Or are the men secretly happy to have some women less to train with (and get rid of those they suspect to underperform anyway)?

I think Mary's solution is best - accept the guy and make clear he'd get the men "left over" after partnering. That would take away any sense of shunning for the women and still allow the guy to follow his religious rules.

Best regards,

Eva
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Old 01-17-2014, 06:19 AM   #41
tlk52
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

I had orthodox Jews in my dojo and we had the same issue re touching women and bowing. I told them it was OK not to bow (just to think of being grateful that "god" inspired O'sensei to create such an art) but that they could not refuse to practice with women.

some left some stayed and adjusted

if they'd have wanted a men only class they would have to find their own space, not at my dojo

that was my attitude
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:48 AM   #42
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

In the spirit of understanding that there is often more than one side to a story, I'd like to provide the following link, which was passed along to me by a friend:

http://www.reddit.com/r/canada/comme...aikido/ceqtxk1

As well, the National Post has a follow-up article, in which the sensei in question clarifies that the class wasn't segregated, but rather that the muslim student was accomadated in his request by only being paired with men during practice.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/01...structors-say/
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:48 AM   #43
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

You can't just flip the details and come out with the same situation. A women-only class doesn't mean the same thing as a men-only class; refusing to touch someone because you think they are inferior doesn't mean the same thing as refusing to touch them because it's a matter of respect. Meaning and intention matter.

A class for women creates a space where women, who may feel vulnerable for many reasons, feel safe. A class for men creates a space where women are excluded. Not the same.

Refusing to train with a Jew because you think they are inferior or "the enemy" is one thing. Refusing to train with women because your religion says the way to respect women and protect yourself is by not touching them and risking lustful thoughts is quite different.

You might think both arguments are horseshit--I certainly think the second is--but I can see accommodating it if it's held sincerely and without malice.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:08 AM   #44
Michael Douglas
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

We should all say this ;
Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
... I told him to figure it out or quit.
I mean, quitting a dojo is surely no big thing, there are plenty.

(Assuming the original story is even true) : the guy should have cunningly 'arranged' to partner up with just males durin practice ... subtly, and if pushed he could quietly explain to the Sensei without drama and they could both consipre to arrange male partners.

It just takes intelligence, common sense and cooperation.
Not got? Bye.
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Old 01-17-2014, 11:05 PM   #45
rugwithlegs
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

The situation sounds like it has gotten out of control. The media really should have better things to do. I am doubtful that I would accommodate this man in question. That said:

I have had Islamic students come to our dojo and to my wife's classes. They were respectful, but they do not bow to anyone but God. They dipped their head slightly and brought their hands together in a near prayer position. They were respectful. A visiting instructor came to us from Morocco and his Aikido was excellent, and my wife did train with him as well. Entire dojos exist in the Muslim world, and I can only assume they have modified etiquette.

For me, this does speak to the future of the Art, and O Sensei's vision for Aikido. "The Art of Peace is not a religion. It perfects and completes all religions. The world has 8 millions gods and I cooperate with them all." So, white people now wear funny skirts and make some Shinto references. Is that the sum total of our tolerance? Can we really train with anyone and make this an Art that does cross boundaries and borders? A large segment of the world has religious practices that our standard method of practice does not accommodate. For all my culture (wasp) has learned about Japanese culture in learning Aikido, I have had my teachers accommodate me. Why fight with a Muslim woman who wants to wear a burka in the dojo?

Is there a respectful way to accommodate anyone's religion in the dojo? I have had to dress down some fundamentalist Christians for their own issues in the dojo, but I do try. Where do the lines get drawn? The lines certainly got redrawn many times over the last century in Aikido.

As I wrote before, if a female student did not want to train with a man, I would be expected to allow this. I would be against a certain level of rank being attained - 5th kyu training with only women would be okay with me, but not any yudansha rank and certainly not a teaching rank. I would question a black belt given to a small woman from a female only dojo. If a Muslim man only trained with other men, would I see his rank as too watered down? Admittedly, not martially.

The Muslim men I have trained with treated their beliefs as something of a challenge (dare I use the term handicap?) to overcome in practice. Frankly, that is appropriate for anything that can't be left at the door of a dojo.

For the young woman who was offended at being told to get over her outrage, I would recommend she read Angry White Pyjamas. If she moved to Japan to the Yoshinkan head dojo, she might not find an environment she would find respectful and supportive. it sounded brutal and challenging.
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:10 PM   #46
lbb
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
For the young woman who was offended at being told to get over her outrage, I would recommend she read Angry White Pyjamas. If she moved to Japan to the Yoshinkan head dojo, she might not find an environment she would find respectful and supportive. it sounded brutal and challenging.
Is it really right to tell someone to "get over it" when they're faced with something that will never affect you?
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:10 PM   #47
Janet Rosen
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
For the young woman who was offended at being told to get over her outrage, I would recommend she read Angry White Pyjamas. If she moved to Japan to the Yoshinkan head dojo, she might not find an environment she would find respectful and supportive. it sounded brutal and challenging.
Gee, thanks for being patronizing. The woman in question was not choosing to go off to that course. Many of us carefully choose the dojo we think we want to train in because of the culture we see in it.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 01-19-2014, 02:49 AM   #48
Alic
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Personally, as a junior student myself, one of the things I loved about Aikido was the fact that you aren't segregated. Seniors trained with juniors, guys trained with girls. I've even had one on one training with my own sensei (I went home with a limp that day ). This separation of male and female isn't cool, not on the sensei part, as he's just making sure to comply with the law, but on the student's part, who's imposing himself onto other people's lives.

Islam is his religion, it is his believes, and his alone. His religion is not his fellow students, and is certain not binding to anyone else but himself. Why then, would he feel the need to impose his views on others? It would be like me saying that since I hate green onions with a passion, there should be none at the dojo dinner parties. It is absurd to me, as I would just accommodate myself as much as possible without disturbing others. It is, after all, the polite thing to do.

Therefore, I cannot agree with this student on any ground. Sorry fella, I understand that you have a religious duty to abstain from sexual attraction, just like any good shaolin monk would, but you cannot make everybody follow this rule too, as that would be like you forcing everybody to become nuns and monks. It simply isn't how the world works; everybody must decide on their own their own path in life, and think for themselves.

As for distributing religious material on the mats, just... no. Leave all of your baggage at the door, like everyone else. The dojo, especially a Yoshinkan dojo, is definitely not a church, mosque, temple, or shrine. You do not have to bow to the shomen, or even to your fellow students, as rude as that would be, but do not think that the mats is an appropriate place for recruiting people to your faith. Leave that to your Imam please.

Last edited by Alic : 01-19-2014 at 02:51 AM.
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Old 01-19-2014, 03:09 AM   #49
Alic
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

EDIT: Oops, haha, didn't read enough source material, my bad :P With conflicting evidence and no real resolution as far as I can tell, I suppose the best thing to comment then would be to just wait and see what occurs. It is however, still likely that the Muslim student in question was distributing some form of religious material in the dojo, which would not be appropriate. Nevertheless, I do agree with the reddit post that things have been blown way out of proportion, and sadly, burned Nickerson sensei's reputation unnecessarily and unfairly.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:33 AM   #50
PeterR
 
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Re: Teacher OKs "Avoid[ing] touching females on religious grounds"

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post

Is there a respectful way to accommodate anyone's religion in the dojo? I have had to dress down some fundamentalist Christians for their own issues in the dojo, but I do try. Where do the lines get drawn? The lines certainly got redrawn many times over the last century in Aikido.

As I wrote before, if a female student did not want to train with a man, I would be expected to allow this. I would be against a certain level of rank being attained - 5th kyu training with only women would be okay with me, but not any yudansha rank and certainly not a teaching rank. I would question a black belt given to a small woman from a female only dojo. If a Muslim man only trained with other men, would I see his rank as too watered down? Admittedly, not martially.
Reading the news stories about this (my family is from Halifax if that makes a difference) is I can't help thinking that the young lady in question is too easily outraged.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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