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Old 06-08-2002, 09:08 AM   #1
"Sara M"
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Aikido Romance?

Hey, just a thought... do you think it distrupts training if there is relationships between people in the dojo, or do you think it boosts the right atmosphere considering aikido is based on spreading love, harmony...etc, just curious... any views?
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Old 06-08-2002, 10:55 AM   #2
erikmenzel
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Well,

just as with other things in life (example: work) a relationship can be both ok and bad as well.

If the relationship does not interfer with training and things going on in the dojo it should be no problem. On the other hand if the relationship interfers with ordenairy things in training and the dojo then it is not such a good thing.

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
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Old 06-08-2002, 11:07 AM   #3
daedalus
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This subject recently came up with my Tai Chi teacher. His advice was "You treat your students like your family. Not lovers."

We didn't get around to student-student relationships, but as I see it, the relationship should be kept out of the dojo during training. If it turns sour, they should be able to rise above it, at least for the duration of a class or their practice time together.

Brian
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Old 06-08-2002, 12:37 PM   #4
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sara M
Hey, just a thought... do you think it distrupts training if there is relationships between people in the dojo, or do you think it boosts the right atmosphere considering aikido is based on spreading love, harmony...etc, just curious... any views?
I tend to look outside the art for answers to these sorts of questions. For some reason changing the context seems to remove a lot of baggage we sometimes carry.

In college would anyone care if two students got together? Would anyone care if the teacher started sleeping with students? If one and not the other then why? I think the answer is pretty obvious.
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Old 06-08-2002, 12:46 PM   #5
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Originally posted by Erik

In college would anyone care if two students got together?
I think the analogy isn't bad, but like all analogies, I think it isn't perfect.

The students may or may not have classes together. Even if they do have classes together, they might not the next term, etc.

Universities are almost always much larger than aikido dojo. It's easier to put up with a really bad break up when you don't see your ex as often.

Oddly, in my area, we have lots of universities, but it might be 90 miles to the nearest aikido dojo.

Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 06-08-2002, 01:08 PM   #6
Bruce Baker
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Nature and Aikido practice

There is no telling what nature will do to turn your world upside down?

The question is, are you prepared to accept the downside if everything should go to "hell in a handbasket."

I have seen couples who try to practice together, where one loves Aikido and the other wants to try, or where both love Aikido and they practice at different Dojo's, but with two in the same Dojo ... Maybe one couple in five actually work out. Not good odds, but that is life.

I don't mean to sound like the love advice line, but there ain't no fight'n attaction if it is real. On the other hand, I give you the same advice I give my children when they go out with their friends ... If you get into trouble, call me when they let you out of jail and I will be there to pick you up.

What does that mean?

Use good sense, accept your responsiblity, and know that your family and friends will be there is it doesn't work.

If you always use good sense, then it will be the right thing to do no matter what happens.

If it does work out ... well ... that would be exceptionally great.

Best advice is to leave all outside relationships outside of practice, or at least train as little as possible with your spouse or ...

That way there will be no competition from training.
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Old 06-08-2002, 01:21 PM   #7
guest1234
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Well, Sara, I'd say when O Sensei said Aikido is Love, he didn't have the Kama Sutra in mind... that said, I don't think it really adds anything to the dojo or the experience for two folks (student-student or teacher-student) to be dating, but if they are mature (sometimes a big IF) there is nothing detrimental in it.

They should be realistic about what they will feel and do if it doesn't work out--- often, someone in the pair leaves the dojo. Not that that is what SHOULD happen, but it is a sad reality that usually one of the two didn't want to see it end at the same time the other did, and feelings are hurt too much to see each other once the romance is gone. If this is the only dojo around, think about what that may mean.

I see nothing wrong in my fellow students dating each other, or my instructor(s) dating each other or a student (adult goes without saying). The only ones who've asked me out from any of my dojos were ones who were unsuitable for other reasons anyway... not sure what I'd do if any of those to whom I've been attracted had asked, probably try it.

Last edited by guest1234 : 06-08-2002 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 06-08-2002, 01:46 PM   #8
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
or my instructor(s) dating each other or a student (adult goes without saying).
Colleen, I used to feel this way. Right now I'm much less sure of how I feel. I recently watched something that left me stupefied in regards to an instructors behavior and it was clear that his behavior had created an environment which made it ok for students to engage in the same behavior. I'm no paragon of virtue but I do think that when you open the door to teacher student dating you possibly open the door for a variety of other problems to creep in.

On the other hand, I know of many relationships which have begun on the mat. Many of them seemingly very solid. I've had 3 separate occasions where I could have played in that realm and it's always awkward and uncomfortable to me. If others can live with it then more power to them. The problem is when the power and the relationship are not equal and it won't be equal between a sensei and student.

A quick story. A friend of mine brings his girlfriend to a class. The instructor whose reputation is well-defined hurts the student. The student assumes it's because the instructor was interested in his girlfriend. Maybe true, maybe not, but the past behavior leaves it a viable question and it's an action that wouldn't surprise me. If you have to worry about bringing a girlfriend to the dojo there is a problem worthy of note and leaving that door open leaves you with those kind of questions.

Greg, I agree with your points. Thanks for making them.
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Old 06-08-2002, 02:21 PM   #9
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Originally posted by Erik
Greg, I agree with your points. Thanks for making them.
Thank you for the feedback.

I have a little first-hand experience in the area.

I taught lab sessions in college. She who is now my wife; 13 years day after tomorrow (June 10th); was one of my students.

We waited till she was out of my class. We thought it would be particularly unfair to the other students if we broke up. Vibes are often so important in a class.

We went out on our first date January 27th, 1986 and we've been together ever since.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 06-08-2002, 03:24 PM   #10
guest1234
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What if she had been an Aikido student instead?

The difference I see between Aikido and school is (a) grades in school can affect scholarships/grad school/etc, grades in Aikido don't count for much of anything. (b) even up through college, most students are young and immature... easier to get hurt, make dumb choices, act irresponsibly, or be swayed by a childish crush on a teacher... not what I'd expect in an adult in an Aikido class (or one in college for that matter, but most college students are still too close to childhood).

I've said it before in other posts, but anyone who imbues their sensei with so much power and control that they consider there to be an unequal power situation needs to reasses whether they need counselling as well as Aikido. My CO has power over me, when I was a practicing Catholic my priest had control over me... my sensei certainly does not.

As for the injury with the visiting girlfriend... we have an instructor where I train that we laugh always gets extra macho, with enthusiastic throws and wild atemi whenever there is anyone visiting, especially female. It's not that there is a conscious effort to beat-up other males to steal their women as it is showing off. He has a girlfriend, it's just his personality.

Lots of instructors have wives who also train, I have to believe not all of them were always about the same level... especially those that came to other countries to teach already highly ranked.

If two students are OK to date, what happens when one progress to instructor and the other does not-- should they break up? If it is OK that they stay together, then is it because those students are more mature and have more emotional control than the single sensei does? I say, be adult in your decisions, and trust those around you to be responsible and adult in theirs, and worry about your Aikido instead.

Erik, you are right in that once one person does something others feel OK about doing it themselves... but it can happen whether it is the sensei, or just another student. The sensei's bad behavior didn't put bad behavior into the hearts of the others, it was there already and might have come out regardless. And a sensei's good behavior isn't necessarily copied by his students either.
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Old 06-08-2002, 03:31 PM   #11
"Sara M"
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Just like to say thank you for the replys...
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Old 06-08-2002, 04:46 PM   #12
lt-rentaroo
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Let me begin by congratulating Greg and his wife on their 13 year anniversary. Julie and I will celebrate our 1 year anniversary tomorrow

Julie and I met while training in Aikido, five years ago. I'm pretty certain that Julie was not attracted to me because of my incredible Aikido skill and the respect I commanded during class She was a Karate student at the time and part of their promotional requirements involved learning a certain number of Aikido techniques, so she began taking Aikido. I was an assistant instructor at the time. We tried to keep our relationship quiet, basically because we weren't sure how our Sensei would view the relationship. Well, after about 5 months everyone knew and thought it was great

Five years later, we continue to train together. She has a wicked Shihonage, which happens to be the first technique she ever performed on me.

Here's my advice. If the relationship goes sour, it will affect everyone in the dojo. It's always disheartening when someone leaves the dojo because of a soured relationship.

LOUIS A. SHARPE, JR.
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Old 06-08-2002, 09:24 PM   #13
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
What if she had been an Aikido student instead?
Colleen:
I have not and will never date a student or employee of mine. Period, end of story.

I've been accused of being a hard a$$, but that's just who I am. Some of my personal rules are inflexible; I make them when I can be rational so that I can live by them when I'm running on emotion.

Louis:

Thanks for the kind words. Congrats on your upcoming anniversary also. I'm looking forward to you attending SOS and training with us.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 06-08-2002, 09:32 PM   #14
guest1234
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Greg, then I guess it was good your wife was a temporary student (chem) and not a life-long one (Aikido)...

Louis, glad to hear you did not have the same rule...

Congratulations to both happy couples, who show that both attitudes work...
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Old 06-08-2002, 10:53 PM   #15
Jakusotsu
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I introduced my girlfriend into martial arts. Originally foil fencing and then kendo.

It wasn't my intention to get her into kendo, but she watched me doing a class and decided she loved it. She's blended into it all seamlessly, and nothing has suffered for it.

I've been trying to get her to start Aikido on the grounds that its good for the soul, but she just isn't buying it yet. She says it's not intense enough, but that's because she's never been on the mat.

Were I an instructor, I don't think I'd find it appropriate to date my students willy-nilly. I suppose I'd make an exception if there was someone I was absolutely in love with, but I don't see that coming up.

Eric Kroier
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Old 06-09-2002, 10:21 AM   #16
Brian H
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Spill over

Now, I am happily married to a woman with ZERO interest in Aikido, and she would frown mightily on my starting up a "Aiki-romance." However, it seems to me that if two people have a mature and healthy relationship off the mat, that they came remain so on the mat. I know a number of couples who happily practise together.

However, some people tend to unheathy relationships. If an student or instructor who had a reputation as a "swordsman" (or woman) used the dojo as a place to prowl for conquests then no good would become of it. (I have heard plenty of stories about what meat markets gyms can be - I'll stick with Aikido)

PS My wife braggs to her friends about visiting the dojo and seeing me called out for the most "robust" ukemi of the night (a fine dojo tradition)
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Old 06-09-2002, 12:04 PM   #17
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
I've said it before in other posts, but anyone who imbues their sensei with so much power and control that they consider there to be an unequal power situation needs to reasses whether they need counselling as well as Aikido. My CO has power over me, when I was a practicing Catholic my priest had control over me... my sensei certainly does not.
Tell me how a priest could have power but a sensei not? The two are remarkably similar in authority structure. Ask yourself why people stay in dojos when they are routinely injured or other questionable behavior takes place? Sensei's have incredible power. When I was promoted to brown belt (a little ole 2nd kyu) I effectively became the senior student. Things changed and people listened to my BS. Maybe they went home and laughed at me, I hope they did, but things changed. People invest individuals in authority with power. No way around it.

Quote:
As for the injury with the visiting girlfriend... we have an instructor where I train that we laugh always gets extra macho, with enthusiastic throws and wild atemi whenever there is anyone visiting, especially female. It's not that there is a conscious effort to beat-up other males to steal their women as it is showing off. He has a girlfriend, it's just his personality.
I admitted the guy may have been wrong. However, the situation you are describing is not the individual in question. It would not surprise me if people rationalize it that way.

Quote:
I say, be adult in your decisions, and trust those around you to be responsible and adult in theirs, and worry about your Aikido instead.
Thirty years ago it was more or less ok to drink and drive. Obviously not everyone jumped in a car drunk and drove away but a lot did. The situation changed not because we let adults make rational decisions, they don't, it changed because a group of women got pissed off over seeing their children killed. Today we have strong laws on drinking and driving and people as a whole are much more attuned to not letting drunks drive a car.

I've hopped in a car drunk. I would never do it today, I don't even drink, but I did it when I was young. The decision was not rational and adult. The vast majority of decisions we make are not rational but emotional. Probably the only place we make consistently rational decisions is in an area of expertise.

Very clearly we could not trust adults to make responsible decisions in regards to drinking and driving. It's no different in Aikido or any other activity. If it were we'd have no laws on the books and we could just trust people all the way.

Quote:
Erik, you are right in that once one person does something others feel OK about doing it themselves... but it can happen whether it is the sensei, or just another student. The sensei's bad behavior didn't put bad behavior into the hearts of the others, it was there already and might have come out regardless. And a sensei's good behavior isn't necessarily copied by his students either.
I don't think you can reform or change people. I doubt the laws about drinking and driving have changed anyone. What they have done is given us tools to clean up our roads and they have raised our consciousness in a way that makes our roads safer. We just won't tolerate the behavior the way we did before and we've got a stick to enforce it. In a dojo the sensei sets those standards. If he/she doesn't then what we wind up with is the situation we had 30 years ago where it was ok to drink and drive and people who today wouldn't think of drinking and driving are doing precisely that.

By the way, what I saw wasn't relationship orientated so my apologies for hijacking the thread. I needed to vent a bit.
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Old 06-09-2002, 03:37 PM   #18
"Sara M"
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Erik, I very much like this view on the way in which decisions are made... in this are you also implying that a youth of say... 14/15/16 can make just as mature a judgement as someone over the age of 18, on whether or not to have a relationship with someone who is 25, if that youth has the experiance and "expertise" to deal with the situation and act in an according manner. - i am sorry if I have got the wrong impression from your post...
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Old 06-09-2002, 06:37 PM   #19
George S. Ledyard
 
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Dojo Romances

I have been in a number of dojos over the years and it has been my experience that it isn't when the relationship is "on" that you have a problem. In fact quite the opposite. When two people are in a relationship and can share their training you are quite a bit more likely to see them in class frequently and they are apt to participate in the life of the dojo more than those with significant others who don't train.

But the big risk is if the relationship doesn't work out. I have seen a number of romances and several marriages go by the wayside within the dojos where I have trained. In every instance it meant that the dojo lost a student.

So I am always of two minds about couples and students who have relationships. It usually is at least nice while it lasts...

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-09-2002, 07:19 PM   #20
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Well, let me side track onto Erik's scenic route for awhile:

I think one thing that has made a difference today in terms of drunk driving is a higher drinking age (although I admit it is not needed in Europe, but Europe has a different culture than the US ) and some lower intoxication levels. The former helps limit the number of folks who combine alcohol and driving, especially those new to driving, and a bit young (with the feelings of invincibility and occasionally clouded judgement that accompanies youth). But there are still a lot of folks who drive drunk, and a lot of repeat offenders. Bad actors will be bad actors. The fact that I do not drink, and am vocal about not approving of those who drink and drive, has not really changed anyones drinking and driving habits.

Similarly, my opinion on dating in the dojo should not (and does not) change anyone's attraction to their dojo mate. As long as they are adult about things (and I've seen adult relationships end on positive notes) they could even get through a break-up and both stay in the dojo... it just doesn't happen very often, so I say take that into account when deciding.

The difference between the power a priest has and a sensei (to me): the priest, as God's representative, can bind and loose sin. Sensei cannot. Aikido is not a religion. Senseis are not priests, nor are they psychiatrists. Would those that give their senseis that kind of power also give it to their dance instructor, or their music instructor? I never, not even in my wide-eyed formative first few weeks, gave any of the senseis I've had any sort of power over me. I respect them. I appreciate their teaching me Aikido. Those that have what I consider good qualities I appreciate and hope to emulate-- they are at best a good example. But any sort of control over me, no way... I am an adult, responsible for my own actions and I allow others to be responsible for theirs.

And Sara, I don't know about Erik, but no, no, no. No 14/15/16 year old is mature and responsible enough to decide if they should be dating a 25 year old. And no 25 year old should be dating a high school student. Period. A 25 year old is not interested in the mind or personality of a 14 year old, I promise you. All references to dating in my posts (at least) refer to ADULTS (and I stretch that my including 18-21 year olds, who often are just beginning to mature).
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Old 06-09-2002, 08:55 PM   #21
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
And Sara, I don't know about Erik, but no, no, no. No 14/15/16 year old is mature and responsible enough to decide if they should be dating a 25 year old. And no 25 year old should be dating a high school student. Period. A 25 year old is not interested in the mind or personality of a 14 year old, I promise you. All references to dating in my posts (at least) refer to ADULTS (and I stretch that my including 18-21 year olds, who often are just beginning to mature).
Sara, I agree with Colleen on this one.

Colleen, the behavior changed, and it has changed, because the mindset changed. The laws came into being because people were not acting as adults and the rest of the people would no longer tolerate it. One thing led to another and that's what it took. It hasn't fixed everyone but it's helped. Behavior doesn't change when you stick your head in the sand and if anything it will probably get worse.

From 1980 to 2000, alcohol-related fatalities have decreased by one third. The percent of fatal crashes that were alcohol-related declined for most ethnic groups between 1990 and 1994. From the recent study, all ethnic groups are experiencing the benefits of this reduction indicating that the laws and programs put in place are helping all ethnic groups.

http://www.madd.org/stats/0,1056,1608,00.html

http://www.madd.org/stats/0,1056,1789,00.html
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Old 06-09-2002, 10:34 PM   #22
Chocolateuke
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Freaky! ???

Quote:
Originally posted by ca
Well, Sara, I'd say when O Sensei said Aikido is Love, he didn't have the Kama Sutra in mind...
Why is it now days ( I know im young) but when people talk love they talk sex. Ca I know that qoute is out of context but whatever happend to romance? I mean they have a whole class on sex at school then preach about the basic stages of relationships ( i found it amsuing becasue i never knew love could be in nice orginized flyier ) But what do I have to say Ive never been in a relationship so Im just the blind man trying to yap some crap nonwithstanding.

For the recored yes I have liked a girl at our dojo. She's nice and stuff, but 2 reasons I stoped. 1. SHe has a boyfriend. 2. the only time i see her is at the dojo. Sooooo, I knew I shouldn't chase. luckly she still traines today!

1 more thing Didnt we have a really big controversy on this subject a year ago :eek?? welll cya

Dallas Adolphsen
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Old 06-10-2002, 05:45 AM   #23
"Sara M"
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Colleen, I agree it is very unlikely that a 14/15/16 yr old would be mature enough to have a relationship with a 25 yr old
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Old 06-10-2002, 06:10 AM   #24
shihonage
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sara M
Colleen, I agree it is very unlikely that a 14/15/16 yr old would be mature enough to have a relationship with a 25 yr old
Don't disappoint my 14-year-old sister, she plans to marry Orlando Bloom ...
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Old 06-10-2002, 06:17 AM   #25
"Sara M"
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Well I didn't say it wasn't possible just very unlikely...
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