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Old 08-04-2009, 10:46 AM   #176
Marc Abrams
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
Can't you be more inventive then that?
If you look at the beginning of this thread, it seemed like the Sensei could have been also sued just for religion discrimnation.
One could argue you present a legal reason for seperating the practice of both sexes - to prevent such lawsuits.

So you will not accept religious women of such religions into your classes?
Because the religions they worship reduce their status, how does that make sense?

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

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

Amir
P.S.
To me, the OCD case sounded like much more dirupting then a religious person not training with the other sex. Perhaps because my experiance has shown it is easy to integrate such people without much of a disruption.
Let us not forget, many here have often recommended people to refuse to train with someone wit whom they can not manage (feel he is abusive / does not let them train). Such behavior is acceptable in most cases.
Amir:

Do you know me? You must know me better than I know myself, because you describe me as wanting to force "liberal values" on somebody else. The religious woman is entitled to her beliefs and opinions. I can entirely respect where she is coming from and understand her point of view. ONCE AGAIN, I do not have to accept them as my own and to change the training atmosphere to accommodate that person's unique requirements for training. If that religious woman finds a training environment that best suites her needs and requirements, than I am happy for her. I am not forcing anything onto anybody. I am allowing people to make the their choices on what they believe is right. I can respect that as long as that choice does not directly lead, support, or condone violence (except when preservation of life makes such violent actions necessary).

You speak of creating some dialogue while at the same time condoning behaviors that make the dialogue meaningless. I have had many dialogues with many people from different cultures, religions.... and at times, we have simply agreed to disagree on certain things yet actually gained further respect towards each other for the sincerity of who each person is, while having a greater caring from creating a more peaceful and sustainable world to live in.

I am a licensed psychologist who has substantial experience working with people diagnosed with OCD. I have also substantial experience working with people from a wide variety of religious beliefs, cultures, etc.. I stand behind what I wrote previously. I believe that the level of disruption is comparable and not acceptable in my school.

When people refuse to train with somebody in a dojo, that is a situation that needs to be directly addressed and resolved so that everybody is willing to work with everybody else (in my opinion). My experience is that when this is not addressed it festers to a more destructive level that typically results in one or more people leaving a school.

Marc Abrams

ps- my own personal experience is that "liberal" people tend to be FAR MORE accepting of differences amongst people than the very religious. If your experience is different than mine, than you are more fortunate than I.
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Old 08-04-2009, 11:48 AM   #177
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Wow, this thread is getting pretty heated!

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

Would anyone here be so quick to accommodate me then?
Just wanted to say that this really got my attention. I can honestly say that I am pretty ignorant to other religions outside of mine, but this... this I got. I'm sure a lot of us have experienced this in some shape or form.

I think the point is that a person has beliefs. Some of those are a lot stronger then others. I have a choice to either alter or stand firm on my beliefs. If I go somewhere and they aren't willing or simply can't accomodate me, then I have the choice to move on. If on the other hand, they are willing to work with me, I don't see the problem in giving it a go.

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Old 08-04-2009, 11:53 AM   #178
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
Can't you be more inventive then that?
No, I'm not very smart or creative. Apology

That example may be simplistic to you but it is a very real and VERY common problem in North America.

Quote:
you believe it is better
to force "liberal values" on all comers? Against the very spirit behind liberalisem and equality to all?
Training in Aikido is a choice.

How do you feel about entertaining students at your school who ask not to train with anyone who is Jewish (Lets say you have a mix of people there)

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

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Old 08-04-2009, 12:08 PM   #179
Janet Rosen
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Ellis' mom's story resonated for me - I was a (born) Jewish woman who got full financial aid to attend a Jesuit university to go to nursing school. There was a theology requirement, which I accepted because I had chosen to go there. As it happened, they offered a number of religious studies classes that we could take (I remember taking "Ingmar Bergman and the Silence of God" and having interesting post-movie classroom conversations with Saudi students on some of the themes!).

Anyhow, on the topic at hand:
When I ask, in the dojo, for permission to train without kneeling or having my thumbs grabbed because of medical/physical limitations, this is in no way a training that embodies rejection of other people, or in any way makes them "other" or demeans them.

Having said that, if there was a dojo cho who didn't want to deal with my physical issues, that's his right. I might not like it, but it's his right.

In my own value system, the only reason to refuse to train with a person is feeling they are a danger. Age, gender, religion, skin color, disability - all part of normal life.

Last edited by Janet Rosen : 08-04-2009 at 12:11 PM. Reason: clarity

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Old 08-04-2009, 12:25 PM   #180
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

This is a great thread. I like some of the things I have heard.

At the time I am writing this thread, I have now read several posts from the religious lobby and the women's rights lobby. However, I still believe the dojo is not a place of politics. The decision to allow or refuse any student for any reason lies with sensei and the dojo board. I support the right to refuse any student for any reason as long as the decision is made in the best interest of the dojo. But to make a decision on behalf of the dojo that is influenced by politics?

Dojo are benevolent monarchies. Make decisions in the best interest of your dojo and take responsibility for those decisions. Understand the weight of your decision and move on without regret.

I think we are dabbling with the unspoken comment that "religions that segregate sexes are sexist," The attacks on the stupidity of religious observations are somewhat disappointing to read. I don't think that is the point of this thread either.

Amdur sensei mentioned a dojo that took some heat for an only men environment - which was a thread on Aikiweb. Yet when I searched the forums about only an women environment it did not portray the same message. We need to work within our dojo to make sure everyone is treated fairly, but we need a consistent message of fairness.

Amdur sensei also mentions that students must be trainable, which I believe to be me key to this conversation. Preferences which prevent a student from learning aikido are just as debilitating as physical and mental disabilities. If we would give leniency to a student to qualify as "trainable," we should work to make sure we commit that same leniency across the board and we remain consistent. Students who are committed to train will find a way to balance their personal life and aikido; we should be there to help them achieve that balance and if they can't we direct them somewhere where they can find something else.
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:11 PM   #181
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I think we are dabbling with the unspoken comment that "religions that segregate sexes are sexist,"
Oh I think some of us are very explicit in the fact that we believe that to be true. It's sort of the definition, to me: institutionalized separation or "otherness" is what qualifies as an "ism."

Last edited by Janet Rosen : 08-04-2009 at 01:12 PM. Reason: clarity of prose

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Old 08-04-2009, 01:53 PM   #182
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Students who are committed to train will find a way to balance their personal life and aikido; we should be there to help them achieve that balance and if they can't we direct them somewhere where they can find something else.
Well said Jon!

Janet -

I think your comment that religions which regulate the interaction bewteeen men and women are inherently sexist is unfair and inaccurate (not to mention deeply offensive).

We seperate sexes within our society: locker rooms, rest rooms, women-only gyms, and same-sex schools are all examples of this. Does that mean we are a sexist society? (I think we are but not for those reasons.)

There is nothing inherently contradictory about the concept of separate but equal. At the same time, I realize this is a controversial topic because there are so many examples - historical and modern-day, here and abroad - in which separation is used to institutionalize inequality. It doesn't have to be that way and we certainly do not need to project all that baggage onto an individual who would prefer to train with same sex partners - whatever their set of reasons..
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:29 PM   #183
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

OK Rabih - would you get specific? What is wrong with practicing with a same-sex partner. I do not know of any religious proscription that states, "Thou shalt not practice pseudo-combatives with a member of the opposite sex." I'm curious - would the proscription apply to kenjutsu, where you do not touch the other person?
If your reply is, "My religion proscribes physical contact with a person of the other sex." Why? If you reply, "It's immodest," what does that mean?
Does it mean that your religion expects men to become sexually aroused if they touch a woman?
Is it that you will be touching someone owned by someone else (her father, her husband, her brothers)?
In other words, beyond a catch phrase which implicitly says, "You don't have a right to ask me that, because it's my religion, and if you question that, you are prejudiced," please explain what are the negative consequences of touching a woman in practice.
And while we are discussing this, please further cite a society in which "separate but equal" is the rule, in which women are really treated as equals, in terms of employment opportunities, educational opportunities, freedom to move about unmolested in public, and having an equal say in choosing a mate. If one were to reply that women are protected by the separation rules - so that they are not equally educated, have equal employment opportunities, equal say and freedom in choosing a mate, that is, by definition, sexist. Not an attack - just a definition.
And fwiw - I very much favor sames-sex schools, when they really foster education and an egalitarian society. Children - Boys, in particular, but girls as well seem to learn far better when in same-sex classrooms. However, we are talking about adults.
I will underscore - if there is a same-sex martial arts academy, I have no problems whatsoever with it's existence, whether I like it or not. I do have a problem with the religious or ideologically bound individual expecting that others conform to their rules, when they enter another society.
Ellis Amdur

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Old 08-04-2009, 03:05 PM   #184
Marc Abrams
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
OK Rabih - would you get specific? What is wrong with practicing with a same-sex partner. I do not know of any religious proscription that states, "Thou shalt not practice pseudo-combatives with a member of the opposite sex." I'm curious - would the proscription apply to kenjutsu, where you do not touch the other person?
If your reply is, "My religion proscribes physical contact with a person of the other sex." Why? If you reply, "It's immodest," what does that mean?
Does it mean that your religion expects men to become sexually aroused if they touch a woman?
Is it that you will be touching someone owned by someone else (her father, her husband, her brothers)?
In other words, beyond a catch phrase which implicitly says, "You don't have a right to ask me that, because it's my religion, and if you question that, you are prejudiced," please explain what are the negative consequences of touching a woman in practice.
And while we are discussing this, please further cite a society in which "separate but equal" is the rule, in which women are really treated as equals, in terms of employment opportunities, educational opportunities, freedom to move about unmolested in public, and having an equal say in choosing a mate. If one were to reply that women are protected by the separation rules - so that they are not equally educated, have equal employment opportunities, equal say and freedom in choosing a mate, that is, by definition, sexist. Not an attack - just a definition.
And fwiw - I very much favor sames-sex schools, when they really foster education and an egalitarian society. Children - Boys, in particular, but girls as well seem to learn far better when in same-sex classrooms. However, we are talking about adults.
I will underscore - if there is a same-sex martial arts academy, I have no problems whatsoever with it's existence, whether I like it or not. I do have a problem with the religious or ideologically bound individual expecting that others conform to their rules, when they enter another society.
Ellis Amdur
Ellis:

There you go asking people to rationally explain their religious beliefs. You have some nerve ! Why is it that most religious institutions ask us to suspend critical/logical thinking? I frankly support the Dali Lama's comments about religion and science. He said that both religion and science are about enlightenment and if the religious belief conflicts with science that you might want to consider changing your religious beliefs!

Rabih:

History does show us that religion has been used in an oppressive manner against women, other religions, etc.... Let us write off history for a moment. The issue seems to be that "modern"/"liberal" societies simply ask that people accept and allow for different cultural norms to be respected within a larger society. That means that if your religious beliefs, cultural norms, etc.... dictate that you separate the sexes and you follow your beliefs, then you should be allowed to do so as long as it can be amply demonstrated that human rights are protected for all people. In religious societies, cultures, countries, etc., this level of acceptance for differences simply does not exist (or at best, given lip service).

In a "modern"/"liberal" society, you can establish a school that allows for only same-gender training. You have a right to establish it and I have a right not to agree with it. If it is my school and I choose to elect a training atmosphere that is open to all, I am not discriminating against your religion or beliefs, I am not insulting your religion or beliefs. Wouldn't be interesting if I asked for the same freedoms that you can choose here to be available say in a Hasidic Community or Sudan, or is some evangelical Christian community. I have been taught that I should be willing to offer the same rights to others that I demand for myself. Were you taught that as well?

Marc Abrams
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:50 PM   #185
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
OK Rabih - would you get specific? What is wrong with practicing with a same-sex partner. I do not know of any religious proscription that states, "Thou shalt not practice pseudo-combatives with a member of the opposite sex."
Thanks for the laugh, Ellis! Despite spending my academic career studying religion, I'd have to agree with your findings. It ain't there! At least not in that format...

I practice with men and women alike in my Aikido training sessions so it would be difficult for me to defend a belief that I don't share. I'm not here to debate the pros or cons of that or any other religious practice. That said, I know enough to say that the issue is not about trying to control women or disrespect them in any way. It is certainly not about trespassing on someone else's "property" (this is a European idea and the historical basis for women adopting the husband's surname in marriage).

If it were my dojo, I wouldn't have any problem accomodating a Jewish woman who observes negiah as long as she understands that she may be sitting out part or all of some classes depending on the size and composition of attendance on any given night. That's no skin off my back.

At the same time, I'd have a zero tolerance policy if anyone in the dojo exhibited any form of disrepect to another person for any reason. That includes her being disrespectful to other students and other students being disresepctful to her.

Some of the most polite and genuinely warm women I know won't shake my hand. I don't take it personally. Everything else about our interaction affirms the respect they hold for me. I try to return that respect by accepting their custom as foreign as it may be.

...rab
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:56 PM   #186
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Ruth McWilliam wrote: View Post
Faith in what? That a bunch of outdated restrictions are relevant in modern society? (and I include the lifetime of O Sensei as modern, because he had no such restrictions)
Says who? Who are you to say that? What you find outdated restrictions is their beliefs. What are you beliefs are liberantism to them. Who's right? You, of course. Bah...

Quote:
Ruth McWilliam wrote: View Post
Your friend in the wheelchair isn't there by choice. Those who chose to adopt religious restrictions DO have a choice.
And you cannot respect their choice, right? That has a name, and it's not beautiful.

Quote:
Ruth McWilliam wrote: View Post
Unless of course you live in a country where you get flogged for choosing...
Or you live in the Free World (TM). Hahahaha... or in The Country of Liberties (C). Don't go that way...
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:00 PM   #187
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Grant Wagar wrote: View Post
If I had a chance to train with someone like Mary, Janet , Ruth or other females from this forum and I skipped the chance on purpose I would be ashamed of myself as an Aikido student. Did I miss something by not practicing with them? Very much so.
Intolerance. To say the least.
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:05 PM   #188
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
The wheelchair is not negotiable because the guy in it, doesn't have a choice.
Religion is not negotiable, if the religious person says so.
The dojo rules are not negotiable, if the teacher says so.

I don't see a problem here. Religious people don't have some sort of right to be taught aikido at their own terms. Aikido teachers don't have the duty to accommodate everyone.
Me too. I don't see a problem. Just that you keep puting religion on the same sack as anything else. Religion is not negotiable, whether the religious guy says so or not. That bold letters are the point. That's why it's a "religion" and not a "preference".

Are you the kind that won't go out with me because I don't drink alcohol and by drinking orange juice I'm hurting your sense of fun and thus mining our friendship and corrupting the group? Very well it may be the case...
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:10 PM   #189
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Not training with every person available in your dojo does cause harm...it calls attention to you and makes you different.
That's why I'll be happy not to train in your dojo. Or with you.

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
You are not blending with what is.
I would say it's you who are not blending with other people's beliefs system. Who are you to tell them what is? What kind of new age hip is that?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Women bring a different energy to the mat...mixed with men's energy it becomes Aikido.
Yes. I say christians bring a different energy to the mat. Mixed with jewish's and muslims' energy it becomes Aikido. Or something like that, if that's the way you preffer to put it. But no. You're right, the other 50% of world's population is wrong. Is that the real teaching of the Founder? If it's so, let me out of the sect.
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:11 PM   #190
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
I have been taught that I should be willing to offer the same rights to others that I demand for myself. Were you taught that as well? Marc Abrams
Hi Marc,

I'm not sure if that was a serious question or not. For the record: Yes, I was taught (and embrace) that not only as an ideal of American society but also in the form of the Golden Rule - a foundational principle found in practically every major religious tradition.

I'm afraid I may be missing your point.

...rab
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:21 PM   #191
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Oh I think some of us are very explicit in the fact that we believe that to be true. It's sort of the definition, to me: institutionalized separation or "otherness" is what qualifies as an "ism."
As in "laicism". Are you conscious that you're segregating because of religion? An orthodox Jew or a Muslim cannot train with you. Now, how you call that?

Last edited by Flintstone : 08-04-2009 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:35 PM   #192
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Red face Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

que tal Alejandro, there are at least a few (that I know personally) orthodox jews and moslem aikido practicioners who practice Aikido without imposing such demands on their dojo. Are you implying that they are not true religious people?
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:47 PM   #193
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

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Anonymous User wrote: View Post
que tal Alejandro, there are at least a few (that I know personally) orthodox jews and moslem aikido practicioners who practice Aikido without imposing such demands on their dojo. Are you implying that they are not true religious people?
Hola Anonymouse. Actually I know many muslims who train together men and women. I understand they are not true followers of the book. Me? I train with anybody, man or woman, catholic, ortodox, protestant, jew, muslim, atheist, agnostic, bahai, budhist, hinduist or any other form of religion you can consider or even invent. But I understand them who choose to be fidel to the book. And try to accomodate them. Of course any teacher can chose who to train (if he owns the dojo and law permits him), but that doesn't prevent the fact that such a behaviour has a name. Of couse you can tell me you won't allow me to train with you because I'm a vegetarian. I will accept and leave. That won't prevent me calling you names and thinking low of you. Most probably you will be thinking low on me too. That's the way we'll be in permanent conflict. That's it about beliefs systems. Isn't that what O'Sensei was talking all about? Avoiding conflict?
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:18 PM   #194
Marc Abrams
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Rabih Shanshiry wrote: View Post
Hi Marc,

I'm not sure if that was a serious question or not. For the record: Yes, I was taught (and embrace) that not only as an ideal of American society but also in the form of the Golden Rule - a foundational principle found in practically every major religious tradition.

I'm afraid I may be missing your point.

...rab
Rabih:

It was a rhetorical question. Of course I believed that you were taught. A funny (or not so funny) thing happens when the basic precepts of major religions get translated into practice. I frankly find it very disheartening. Religion can be wonderful vehicle for establishing and maintaining a strong moral identity. When the practice ends up going against common sense morals, then people get hurt for all of the wrong reasons. Embracing differences as something positive seems to be one of the hardest lessons to instill in people, because it is a lot easier to hate than it is to accept that which is different from us.

Marc Abrams
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:22 PM   #195
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
When the practice ends up going against common sense morals, then people get hurt for all of the wrong reasons.
What is "common sense"? You surely mean "your common sense as instilled by your set of beliefs, different from other cultures' common sense".
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:33 PM   #196
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:-D well sometimes they overlap.

all I'm saying is if you're good enough an Aikido sensei to decide on religious law matters with authority and fairness you're sorely needed in your religious congregation.

I'd refer someone like that to their pastor/rabbi/imam/priest they can surely work something out.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:57 PM   #197
Janet Rosen
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
As in "laicism". Are you conscious that you're segregating because of religion? An orthodox Jew or a Muslim cannot train with you. Now, how you call that?
I'm very happy to train with anybody. Nowhere have I ever said I would not. Please do not ascribe words or thoughts to me that I've never and would not express.

I am not aware of any group that segregates on the basis of gender, color, religion or whatever that does not implicitly as part of that segregation make a value judgement about one being better or having more rights than "the other." This is NOTnecessarily about religion but about ANYthing that posits an "other" and mandates segregation (South African apartheid and 1970s style radical feminist music festivals come to mind as two examples having nothing to do with religion).

In the case of women, whether it is England denying women suffrage because they are "too delicate" in their sensibilities to vote wisely, the USA in the mid 20th Century protecting women from "having to do a man's work" (never mind that poor women scrubbed floors and did laundry and ironing the old fashioned way and did manual farm labor, etc for centuries), or religious leaders insisting women must cover their hair or faces and not be touched because men are such beasts they will fall on them if tempted (and what does that say about the religious leaders' attitudes towards men???) , there is no "otherness" without some power dynamic and somebody being treated inequitably.

Again, by definition setting up an institutional bias that separates people into categories is an "ism."

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:10 PM   #198
Flintstone
Dojo: Wherever I happen to be
Location: Zaragoza
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 587
Spain
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
I'm very happy to train with anybody. Nowhere have I ever said I would not. Please do not ascribe words or thoughts to me that I've never and would not express.

I am not aware of any group that segregates on the basis of gender, color, religion or whatever that does not implicitly as part of that segregation make a value judgement about one being better or having more rights than "the other." This is NOTnecessarily about religion but about ANYthing that posits an "other" and mandates segregation (South African apartheid and 1970s style radical feminist music festivals come to mind as two examples having nothing to do with religion).

In the case of women, whether it is England denying women suffrage because they are "too delicate" in their sensibilities to vote wisely, the USA in the mid 20th Century protecting women from "having to do a man's work" (never mind that poor women scrubbed floors and did laundry and ironing the old fashioned way and did manual farm labor, etc for centuries), or religious leaders insisting women must cover their hair or faces and not be touched because men are such beasts they will fall on them if tempted (and what does that say about the religious leaders' attitudes towards men???) , there is no "otherness" without some power dynamic and somebody being treated inequitably.

Again, by definition setting up an institutional bias that separates people into categories is an "ism."
As is "laicism". Again.
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:12 PM   #199
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
What is "common sense"? You surely mean "your common sense as instilled by your set of beliefs, different from other cultures' common sense".
Alejandro:

You seemed to have forgotten a word in my quote. That word was morals. Read again "Common Sense Morals." Let me help you out on a basic common sense moral: "Do onto others as you would have others do onto you." A more spiritual/religious version of that would be "Everything and everyone was created by the hands of GOD, so treat them accordingly." I would venture to say that this simple precept is rather universal in nature.

Now, if you read the sentence before the quote that you chose, you would see that I clearly recognize the genuine value that can be garnered from religious belief and practice. When certain "religious" people and the institutions that they create and represent take certain basic morals from their religion and distort them to the point that girls have acid thrown on their face for daring to get an education (AT AN ALL-GIRLS SCHOOL NO LESS); where you can be assured that your car will be stoned if you drive through certain neighborhoods on a Saturday; where you can be killed in the name of GOD for being a Jew, Black, Muslim, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu, ..... I THEN HAVE A PROBLEM! Maybe, just maybe, my "common sense as instilled by your set of beliefs, different from other cultures' common sense", as quaint as it might be, tells me that something is seriously wrong.

In my dojo, as in my family, "do onto others as you would have others do onto to you" applies. That means that EVERYBODY in my dojo MUST train with EVERYBODY else. The dojo environment is a wonderful venue to learn to blend with others and accept differences while working together. If a person is not willing to do that, then he/she needs to find another place to train.

I am very fortunate to have gone to an international university and traveled a good deal. Practicing that common sense moral has enabled me to establish and maintain friendships throughout the world with people from many different cultures, religions, countries, gender, sexual preference..... I seem to have no problems accepting differences as long as they do not infringe upon the basic, universal human rights that we all are entitled to. When that line is crossed, those people can not remain as friends of mine. So far, it has served me well and has allowed me to bridge supposed barriers and distances. That tends to lead me to conclude that it is universal in nature and represents the highest ideal of religion/spirituality. I truly wish that I could function at that level all of the time, but alas, I am human. At least I try and reach that height and seek the same from those in my family and those who seek to train at my school.

Marc Abrams
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:38 PM   #200
Flintstone
Dojo: Wherever I happen to be
Location: Zaragoza
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 587
Spain
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

Marc, my only point in this whole discussion is that religion is not to be argue about, but to embrace it or not at all. You can't call yourself a muslim if you are a drinker. Not negotiable. And that's all I'm trying to say.

Paraphrasing you, I am very fortunate to have worked in a company that allowed me to travel a good deal and also to live in those places in long stances. Talking years here. I'm talking places like Turkmenistan and Indonesia. In the former, if you're not a practizing muslim you're entitled to jail. Chuchs are burned down, Chistians are burnt alive, etc. Indonesia, on the contrary, has 4 or 5 official religions and tolerance is heavy (save for the mandatory exceptions). I maintain those friendships with people from different cultures, countries and all of that. No problems with them. But when you talk about religion, it's an accept or shutup thing. Because that's the nature of religion / faith. Not negotiable.

It's your right to believe that everybody must train with all the other EVERYBODY. If that supposes a barrier for me, I simply will not join. Not me, you understand, an hypotetical me. That won't stop me from calling you (again, not you Marc) intolerant, segregacionist, etc. simply because you're preventing me from training based on religious beliefs. You're not accepting my religion in your dojo, and that's all my point. And I believe that was not the point O'Sensei wanted to make clear (if there was a point he wanted to make clear).

Such a dojo and/or sensei is clearly laicist as in Janet's "Again, by definition setting up an institutional bias that separates people into categories is an 'ism.' "

Best.
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