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Old 04-11-2006, 09:54 AM   #76
Dennis Good
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

I see this as a matter of "choice" not so much religion even though that is the reason for the choice. I would explain the way the class worked and what would be expected up front. The difference between this and accommodating someone with a disability is that this is a personal choice as opposed to a condition that he has no control over. The biggest problem I see to accommodating his choice would be the disruption to the dojo and the animosity that would most likely develop. People could be offended because he doesn't want to work with them because they are female. They in turn could start to ostracize him. He could then feel persecuted because of his religion and complains or possible legal action. This scenario may not play out like that or to that extreme and in an enlightened world where everyone plays nice and no one gets offended it would be fine. Unfortunately that is not always the case. I can understand the reasons behind the choice he made and I respect that kind conviction. However I am also the kind of person that doesn't expect or want special treatment and if I were in that position I would never ask for it especially when it is something I have the ability to control.
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Old 04-12-2006, 12:35 PM   #77
jonreading
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Chris,

In regards to my comments:
1. I beg to differ about the exaggeration of the significance behind a request to accomodate male-only training. I believe the original poster's dilemna was that as a non-prof his dojo cannot discriminate against religion, but yet it would be difficult to accomodate such a request. The post alone implies a significant problem for which the poster is soliciting advice. The significance of a lawsuit resulting from this student accidentally touching a woman against his religion/wishes justify a very close scrutiny of the appropriate response, or from the dojo refusing him as a student based on religious beliefs. Now let's talk about the sexist perception some students may have regarding the individual if the dojo accomodates his request; oh, and I forgot the hardships impressed upon female students of the dojo to avoid touching this student.
2. I don't have any idea of what the individual in question does or does not do in his daily life. I do not know what exceptions or compromises he makes at his place of work or in his personal life, I don't care either. As an instructor, my decision to accomomdate or decline this request has to be based on the negative exposure this student creates for the dojo. Secondly, I do not support enabling individuals to increase their exposure to something that would conflict with their life choices. I would not give an alcoholic a drink, I would not take a vegetarian to a steak house, and I would not support aikido training in an environment that may cause contact with a female if it is against a student's religion. These are all examples of enabling a person to tempt fate.

So what whould I do? I would work damned hard to find a dojo envirnonment conducive to that training and get that student into a safe and protective environment. If that student is interested in training, then he can train safely and with confidence that his religious morals are not in danger; if his intention was to create an accident-prone environment (see previous threads), then I have protected my dojo from danger. In both situations, everyone is protected and safe from harm.
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Old 04-12-2006, 02:48 PM   #78
Chris Li
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote:
Chris,

In regards to my comments:
1. I beg to differ about the exaggeration of the significance behind a request to accomodate male-only training. I believe the original poster's dilemna was that as a non-prof his dojo cannot discriminate against religion, but yet it would be difficult to accomodate such a request. The post alone implies a significant problem for which the poster is soliciting advice. The significance of a lawsuit resulting from this student accidentally touching a woman against his religion/wishes justify a very close scrutiny of the appropriate response, or from the dojo refusing him as a student based on religious beliefs. Now let's talk about the sexist perception some students may have regarding the individual if the dojo accomodates his request; oh, and I forgot the hardships impressed upon female students of the dojo to avoid touching this student.
The original poster said that they were concerned about the possibility of legal problems, not that any legal action had been threatened or that and demands had been made. Also, as I said before, the likelyhood of there being a problem with accidental physical contact is very small - check around in the orthodox Jewish and Muslim communities, this is easy to confirm. Sexist perceptions can be handled through open discussion - I've never seen a problem in the past in similar situations in which the issues were discussed openly and candidly.

I'm not sure what "hardships" would be impressed upon the female students, except in their own minds - which can be relieved the same way, through open discussion.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote:
2. I don't have any idea of what the individual in question does or does not do in his daily life. I do not know what exceptions or compromises he makes at his place of work or in his personal life, I don't care either. As an instructor, my decision to accomomdate or decline this request has to be based on the negative exposure this student creates for the dojo.
If you're worried about "exposure", do you keep out the physically unfit and older students?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote:
Secondly, I do not support enabling individuals to increase their exposure to something that would conflict with their life choices. I would not give an alcoholic a drink, I would not take a vegetarian to a steak house, and I would not support aikido training in an environment that may cause contact with a female if it is against a student's religion. These are all examples of enabling a person to tempt fate.
As I said before, the "temptation" argument isn't, IMO, relevant here. Orthodox Jews and Muslims are not cloistered monks.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-12-2006, 03:48 PM   #79
MaryKaye
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
I'm not sure what "hardships" would be impressed upon the female students, except in their own minds - which can be relieved the same way, through open discussion.
Chris
If classes are small, having a pair who cannot work together is significantly disruptive. I think that the people who say "no hardship" are not used to classes of sizes 1-3, which are fairly common where I train.

Two students who cannot touch one another is a difficult class for everyone concerned; the instructor must split his attention and someone will end up sitting out a lot.

This point has been brought up repeatedly in this thread. Have I missed a clear explanation of why it doesn't apply? Why do people keep saying "there's no hardship"?

Mary Kaye
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Old 04-12-2006, 03:52 PM   #80
Chris Li
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Mary Kuhner wrote:
If classes are small, having a pair who cannot work together is significantly disruptive. I think that the people who say "no hardship" are not used to classes of sizes 1-3, which are fairly common where I train.
4 of the classes that I train at each week run around 1-3 students.

Quote:
Mary Kuhner wrote:
This point has been brought up repeatedly in this thread. Have I missed a clear explanation of why it doesn't apply? Why do people keep saying "there's no hardship"?
In many years of teaching (not just Aikido), my experience has been that most "hardship" situations are usually overblown, and can be overcome through a small amount of flexibility and ingenuity on the part of the instructor.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-12-2006, 06:33 PM   #81
MaryKaye
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
In many years of teaching (not just Aikido), my experience has been that most "hardship" situations are usually overblown, and can be overcome through a small amount of flexibility and ingenuity on the part of the instructor.
How, specifically, would you handle this one? Particularly, as a concrete scenario, one or two male students and a female student, where one of the males will not train with a female?

How would you handle a one-student class where the student could not be touched by the instructor? (Do you do ki-testing?)

Would these solutions work for you in the long term, or are they short-term only?

Mary Kaye
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Old 04-12-2006, 06:45 PM   #82
MaryKaye
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

A question in general:

Probably most of us would be reluctant to train at a dojo in which none of the other students would touch us. It would seem hard to learn aikido under such circumstances, and tempting to go elsewhere.

What is the critical level at which you would feel inclined to leave?

My guess--obviously it only applies to me--is that for our dojo class sizes (all classes but the
Head Instructor's run around 2-4 students much of the time; hers are 7-10) and dojo size (about 20 regular students) I would start to feel very constrained if as many as a quarter of the regular students would not train with me. Much above that level and I would feel so frustrated I would probably leave, no matter the level of instruction. Perhaps I'm not as serious as I might be, but I can't maintain my enthusiasm from the sidelines.

In a bigger dojo the number could probably go higher, but somewhere around 90% I think I would feel hopelessly unwelcome no matter what the absolute numbers were.

I don't know what to do with this information. "I don't want to admit you because if I admitted many people like you, my female students would quit" is a difficult statement to make--one student is not likely to be that devastating, so he is essentially being blamed for a potential problem that he's only a small contribution to. And it *is* only a potential problem. On the other hand, I would feel very uncomfortable as a leader if the result of my policy decisions was to drive out my female students.

(Or my male students. None of these arguments seem specific to which gender is involved, except that in most dojo women are rarer than men and so the numbers crunch a bit differently.)

Mary Kaye
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Old 04-13-2006, 08:56 AM   #83
Chris Li
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Mary Kuhner wrote:
How, specifically, would you handle this one? Particularly, as a concrete scenario, one or two male students and a female student, where one of the males will not train with a female?
I answered a similar post of yours further up the thread:

In a class with three people somebody's going to be resting part of the time anyway, so it's not really a problem, it just takes a little more thinking. If there are three people and two of them are women then they can train together and he can practice ukemi, weapons, or other solitary practice - that's the way it goes, no major problem.

Quote:
Mary Kuhner wrote:
How would you handle a one-student class where the student could not be touched by the instructor? (Do you do ki-testing?)
Don't do ki-testing that day. There are plenty of solo exercises (as mentioned above) that he can perform if the instructor puts some thought into it. It's not that hard to teach someone without touching them - Morihei Ueshiba did it, and in fact, most people are really taught by the instructor without being touched when the classes get large.

Quote:
Mary Kuhner wrote:
Would these solutions work for you in the long term, or are they short-term only?

Mary Kaye
I don't see any reason that they couldn't work in the long term.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-13-2006, 08:57 AM   #84
ian
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Interesting how different ideologies clash!

Personally I would NOT go to a lawyer (why throw money at them?!), but instead I would alow them to train and say its their responsibility to avoid training with females and to explain why they can't - also I'd consider mentioning it briefly at the start of a class but not drawing too much attention to it. However, if you feel this would damage the atmosphere in the club I would turn him away.

I presume this also means that his wife could only train with females also?

I suppose a good way to look at these ideological clashes is to understand the reason behind them. For example, I only eat free-range meat, but if I was starving to death I would probably eat a battery hen considering it to be better than dying. Unfortuantely religious conditions are usually inflexible dogma precluding any ability for discussion with people with different ideologies. In such a case, it is nice to be accomodating, but I wouldn't let your classes suffer for it. It cannot really be compared with people with e.g. a disability, since they really have no choice (whereas religious belief is a choice).

Last edited by ian : 04-13-2006 at 08:59 AM.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 04-13-2006, 06:20 PM   #85
giriasis
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Well, one of the men I mentioned in a prior post participated in a seminar this weekend. He tended to train with the same people -- people who knew and understood his beliefs, but it was his first seminar, too. He also test for 5th kyu and did a great job. There are a few other Muslim men in our dojo but they are not as orthodox in their beliefs and practice with women. He still trained on a crowded mat with women. No problems there and obviously he was not "tempted" by the women on the mat. I met him and he seemed really kind and down-to-earth -- NOT a haughty chauvinistic pig. I've met many chauvinistic men on the mat and they still trained with me and usually treated me rather poorly. He was rather respectful.

I think the key is to try and understand where they might be coming from and offer some warmth and acceptance. I think too many people are jumping to conclusions as if they will get a deluge of Muslims whose orthodox practices require them (Its NOT a choice) to not touch the opposite gender, unless a spouse. And cause a serious strain on the dojo. One person is all we're talking about here -- not a group. Although, he is a part of the group. It looked like he was the only person not training with women.

In my real-life non-hypothetical experience at this past seminar, one person choosing not to train with the women on the mat did not cause a disturbance or a hardship on the other participants.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 04-13-2006, 07:46 PM   #86
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

The funniest thing about this whole question to me is that I'm sure there are plenty of both men and women who don't want to practice with the opposite sex without any religious convictions whatsoever....

kvaak
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Old 04-13-2006, 09:46 PM   #87
Michael O'Brien
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
I think too many people are jumping to conclusions as if they will get a deluge of Muslims whose orthodox practices require them (Its NOT a choice) to not touch the opposite gender, unless a spouse.
At the risk of starting another arguement (I mean discussion) this is still America and his religion is a choice and the degree to which he practices his religion is a choice.

Some Catholics choose to eat meat on Fridays, some don't. Some Jews are Orthodox, Some aren't. I won't even get started on the other "Christian" religions such as Baptists, Methodists, etc and what I see some of those people I work with doing during the week before they go to church on Sunday.

So he may choose, or not to choose how devot he is regarding his religious beliefs, or even what religion he is, but it is a choice he is making ultimately.

Now I'm off for vacation for the next 3 days; I can't wait to see where this ends up.

Harmony does not mean that there are no conflicts,
for the dynamic spiral of existence embraces both extremes.
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Old 04-14-2006, 10:45 AM   #88
Mark Freeman
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
I think the key is to try and understand where they might be coming from and offer some warmth and acceptance. I think too many people are jumping to conclusions as if they will get a deluge of Muslims whose orthodox practices require them (Its NOT a choice) to not touch the opposite gender, unless a spouse. And cause a serious strain on the dojo. One person is all we're talking about here -- not a group. Although, he is a part of the group. It looked like he was the only person not training with women.
I am in agreement with Michael here, how devout a person is with their religion IS a choice. If it wasn't all people of a particular faith would behave in exactly the same way, and that is obviously not what happens. The list of religious practices that require particular behaviours is very long, and we would be here for ages listing all the common transgressions.

I hope the original poster and the devout prospective student have found some way of working things out. Meanwhile the rest of us can discuss the issue, until we chose not to.

regards,
Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 04-14-2006, 11:38 AM   #89
jonreading
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

It's all about having your cake and eating it too. Sometimes our choices place hardships on our lifestyle and sometimes we don't like those hardships.

Chris made a mention earlier about if Emory Aikikai refuses certain types of students; that answer is yes. When a student begin training, I discuss the necessary involvement and expectations of training. If during that discussion, I feel that training may create a dangerous environment for that student, I recommend a course of action to reduce that danger; I am not speaking about the inherent danger of the art itself in this scenario, but the physical demands expected to participate. I have recommended for overweight students to obtain support to diet and/or exercise, I have spoken to elderly (especially women suffering from osteoporosis) about the dangers of bone and muscle problems. In some cases, I have turned potential students away for these reasons and others.

I don't comprehend how an instructor or dojo would be so apathetic to the needs of their students that they would simply invite every Tom, Dick and Sally onto the mat without first evaluating the saftey of that invitation. I would personally feel terrible if an elderly student broke a bone on my mat, or an overweight student had a heart attack. Likewise, I would feel terrible if I participated in creating an environment that faciliated a religious sanctity of a student to be broken. I care enough about those students to tell them "no," and create an alternative solution to get them into a safe training environment.

Compassion is not always saying "Yes." Love and compassion is sometimes saying "No," because you are in a better position to understand the potential danger of a request. My concern on this thread exists not because I care about the religious practices of a student, but because I see an apathic attitude from leadership roles regarding the health and environment of their dojo and students.
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Old 04-14-2006, 12:46 PM   #90
Lorien Lowe
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote:
If during that discussion, I feel that training may create a dangerous environment for that student, I recommend a course of action to reduce that danger; I am not speaking about the inherent danger of the art itself in this scenario, but the physical demands expected to participate. I have recommended for overweight students to obtain support to diet and/or exercise, I have spoken to elderly (especially women suffering from osteoporosis) about the dangers of bone and muscle problems.
Maybe you can say, 'this is the activity we do here, talk to your doctor and decide if this will be too dangerous for you.' For one, you may be denying a person the chance to improve their condition through aikido; for two, you can't always tell who's going to have a heart attack based on their fat. People with family histories of premature death due to heart attack have a high risk even if they appear fit.
Quote:
Likewise, I would feel terrible if I participated in creating an environment that faciliated a religious sanctity of a student to be broken. I care enough about those students to tell them "no," and create an alternative solution to get them into a safe training environment.
We are not talking about children here. Tell them, 'this is what we do here; talk with your religious leader and decide if this activity will be safe for you.'

It's one thing to resist altering your dojo atmosphere for one student; it's quite another to take the choice away from them entirely.

-LK
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Old 04-18-2006, 10:59 AM   #91
jonreading
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Inherently, Lorien touched on some very common solutions to new student situations, which are great solutions that address the needs of the students with the realizations of training - Pre-screening is a responsible approach to physical activity. For those that play organized sports, health screenings are common requirements before athletes are eligible to play with a team. While screening does not chatch every problem, it significantly reduces the risks of injury for those participants. I simply use a larger "pre-screening" process.

The second part of Lorien's comments touches upon this undercurrent of apathetic behavior for new students. The question, "who are we to deny students the ability to train?" is a perfect example. I'll be the first to say, "The instructor, that's who." As the instructor of the the dojo and the highest authority to manage the affairs of the dojo, I reserve the right to allow or deny any activity within the dojo. My principles of management are based on those of my instructor and protection of the safety and prosperity of the dojo, and they trump any student or behavior in the dojo that threatens those principles.

Training is not a constitutional right, and it's inappropriate to amend man's inalienable right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness with "and to train aikido." If I feel a student does not belong on the mat, I work with that student to find an alternative solution to address that belief; sometimes alternative solutions means private tutoring, sometimes another dojo, sometimes another martial art, and sometimes nothing.

Again, it all comes back to the instructor and head of the dojo. The head of the dojo is ALWAYS responsible for the students and behavior that goes on inside the dojo. If a student is injured by another student, that accident is ultimately the instructor's fault. If a student's actions during a seminar or class are disrespectful of aikido, that disrespect is ultimately the instructor's fault. In the army, this is the "chain of command." Pushing responsibility to another individual is just anothother apathetic gesture. You can push that responsibility off to...the doctor... the student ...whoever... but in the end you are doing nothing but absolving yourself of responsibility.
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Old 04-18-2006, 12:59 PM   #92
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

and Jon you nailed a big problem with our U.S. society today, acceptance of responsibility!

I was a "drill instructor" for Officer Candidates a few years back. My job was to essentially assess the ability of a person to become a Army Officer. As you can imagine in our burecracy, it is difficult sometime to put people out. There are a multitude of things you must consider. But the Army has very strict code of values. Once someone demonstrate that they cannot adhere or subscribe to those values, they do not belong.

You have to be very careful however, as judge of these people it is very easy sometimes to project your person feeling and judgements (predujices). People religious, ethnic, gender can all be biases that are things we should not factor in.

However, regardless of those factors, if they themselves cannot subscribe to the core values of the group, then it is very clear that they do not belong...regardless of any other reasons of their backgrounds.

Sometimes it is easy to say "get out, you don't belong". Other times it is not so easy.
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Old 04-18-2006, 03:07 PM   #93
giriasis
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Considering no Muslims have publicly or privately come forward on this, my best guess that this issue really is a non-issue for them; therefore, I really think people are making a mountain out of a molehill out of this one.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:06 AM   #94
GaiaM
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Very interesting discussion, everyone. I really think it is an important topic, not only in aikido and in this scenario but in the world overall today.

Just one quick comment. Wouldn't it be "discriminating on the basis of religion" to make allowances based on this person's religion that wouldn't normally be accepted in the dojo? For example, if everyone in the dojo is expected to train with whomever is next to them, or the person who is left over after others have chosen, and you allowed the devout muslim to switch with someone so they could always train with men, it would be changing the way the dojo operates based on someone's religion.

I guess my point is that discrimination works both ways. My understanding is that "we will not discriminate on the basis of religion" means that you won't turn someone away just because they SAY they're muslim. It does not mean you are required to make accomodations based on their actions or beliefs (which they choose to do - religion is absolutely a choice), in fact, technically you shouldn't if you stand by this principle.

Personally, I think it is up the individual dojo what is appropriate for their dojo and neither is a right or wrong choice. There is no OBLIGATION to make adaptations for anyone.
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Old 04-19-2006, 09:43 AM   #95
giriasis
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

I guess it could only be religious discrimination against the dojo if the dojo practices aikido as a religion. In that case, the sensei would have an obligation to inform that student that we practice aikido in a religious manner. The basis of the allowance is not on the fact that they say that they are Muslims because many Muslims do not subscribe to such an orthodox practice. But it is because they practice a more orthodox form of Islam. A good comparison would be Orthodox Jews and certain sects of fundamentalist Christians. We have a couple of other Muslim men in our dojo who train with women, and one of these men is one of our highest ranking members and is a senior instructor. In our case, we have in our dojo we have one man how has submitted to this practice, and it has not been problem with him not training with a woman on the mat. A simple explanation is all that is needed because it's not "just because she's a woman" but "because of his particular religious beliefs." (Remember, the reverse is true for a woman who submits to this same practice.)

Also, there is an obligation for a non-profit organization to not discriminate based on religion, race, gender and nationality in order for the non-profit to maintain their non-profit status. But depending on the law and interpretation of the law, it may or may not be legal. Legally, the non-profit needs to apply the rules of dojo across the board. Remember, a couple of years ago some parents were suing a Judo Club because they didn't want their children bowing at competitions. The court ruled that bowing is part of the practice judo as it is a Japanese Martial Art and as such bowing is one of those elements that make up the practice of Judo. So the couple lost their case. (However, I think a very good attorney and a sympathetic judge could turn the judgment around.)

In this situation it could be the same thing, it would not be discriminatory if you have a non-discriminatory reason for your practice, especially if there are other alternatives available.

However, in our dojo we could be suspect to discrimination laws and first amendment laws. First, we train in a City of Fort Lauderdale building and that could be interpreted as "state action." Second, we could be pulled into court under the commerce clause as we often hold seminars where people travel across state lines and international boundaries. Third, members are told that can choose not to train with certain people if they are having a problem with a particular person. (If we allow this reason which is usually a personality conflict, then we will could be held accountable if it didn't allow someone to choose not to train with someone for religious reasons.)

But, just because something might be legally right does not mean something is morally right. Would it be more compassionate to allow the person to train assuming that your dojo is large enough that it wouldn't affect the training of the other students in the dojo? Wouldn't it be more in the spirit of harmony to attempt to include the person the best you can so they, too, can enjoy the practice of Aikido? Given the current strain of our country's relationship with the Islamic community, wouldn't it be better to demonstrate compassion than to turn them away saying that "everyone MUST train with everyone." If that was the case then, you also don't have the option to stop training with an abusive partner/ or someone who is being unduly harsh in their training with you. Because if you allow this distinction then you might legally be up the proverbial creek without the proverbial paddle.


But in the end, my sensei's decision really doesn't concern the legalities of the matter, but just the compassionate nature of aikido. He wants to make it available to as many people as he can, and as one of the leaders of the USAF I think he sets a good example.

(P.S. Yamada Sensei did something similar years ago and now there is Aikido in Morocco.)

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 04-19-2006, 01:12 PM   #96
Amelia Smith
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

I have a couple of minor points to quibble with here. Religion is a choice in the modern, "Western" world, but historically and across cultures I don't think most people experience religion as a matter of choice. Religion is a matter of identity, like family, tribe, nationality, and native language. Simply because one can change religions doesn't mean it is purely a matter of choice. It's more like changing families than changing fashions -- not something to be done lightly.

Anne Marie -- I believe that aikido was introduced to Morocco via Tamura Sensei, before Yamada Sensei's involvement, but I can't find the reference at the moment.
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Old 04-19-2006, 01:29 PM   #97
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

to comment on Anne Marie's post:

I think you are correct. I can only draw from my experiences in the U.S. Army, but I find them to apply.

The Army cannot discriminate against anyone based on their religious beliefs. We even make certain reasonable accomodations for religion. I identify with and follow buddhist philosophy and have "Buddhist" on my dog tags. I am also a vegetarian..and in the Infantry believe it or not!

As you can imagine I have a few things that I must figure out how to workout with my missions and training such as meals, and philosophy/practices. What I cannot do is not take responsbility for my own beliefs and project the issue on the "system" and adopt a victim mentality.

You can wear religious items in uniform as long as they do not show or present a distraction. i.e braclets, malas etc. We have guidelines about all this.

When your beliefs or practices start interfering with the organization, then there is an issue.

So, while the army must accept all religions and make reasonable accomodations there is a line.

When I was in my Infantry Basic course about 10 years ago, my "battle buddy" was a Saudi Officer. We were in the field for about 4 weeks during Ramadan. I was very impressed by his ability to hold to his practices. He didn't eat or drink during the day at all, back then, you'd get pork with about every meal and he'd do all his prayers while we were moving on operations! He never complained, never did not do his job, or use his religion as an excuse. So, it was never an issue!
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Old 04-19-2006, 01:58 PM   #98
giriasis
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Amelia Smith wrote:
I have a couple of minor points to quibble with here. Religion is a choice in the modern, "Western" world, but historically and across cultures I don't think most people experience religion as a matter of choice. Religion is a matter of identity, like family, tribe, nationality, and native language. Simply because one can change religions doesn't mean it is purely a matter of choice. It's more like changing families than changing fashions -- not something to be done lightly.

Anne Marie -- I believe that aikido was introduced to Morocco via Tamura Sensei, before Yamada Sensei's involvement, but I can't find the reference at the moment.
Yes, the "choice" issue was revealed recently in Pakistan where the young man who converted to Christianty was threatened with the death penalty.

Amelia, you may be right about Tamura. But, my point is more along the lines of the intent to make aikido available and to continue to spread aikido to people we normally would assume it would not be available to, unless someone made it accessible to them in the first place.

Kevin, thank you for your example, I, too, admire someone who is able to follow their convictions under such harsh conditions. Yes, the accomodation needs to be reasonable and not cause an undue burden on those who are doing the accomodating. This is why I think in a very small school where's there a female instructor and a few female students such a request to not train with the women would most likely be an undue burden on the dojo. But in a dojo of our size (80 adults with about 10 active women) it should not be a problem.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 04-19-2006, 02:05 PM   #99
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Yes, the "choice" issue was revealed recently in Pakistan where the young man who converted to Christianty was threatened with the death penalty.
Actually, I think that was in Afghanistan, which in some ways is even more peculiar, since Bush just freed that country for DEMOCROCY. But it is still a choice...just a choice that has rather severe consequences. All choices have consequences (though hopefully being executed as a christian isn't one of them).

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 04-19-2006, 03:42 PM   #100
akiy
 
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Hi folks,

Once again:

I just wanted to step in and ask that the subject matter in this thread be focused on the matter of aikido students at a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) aikido dojo who have a religious prohibition against touching women.

If you feel the need to move this subject to a broader context outside of aikido, please take it to the Open Discussions forum.

Thanks,

-- Jun

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