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Old 08-21-2002, 08:34 PM   #1
Janet5
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Falling in love with Sensei

Hello, I have been practicing Aikido for 3 months now and I am falling in love with my Sensei. I would love everyone's opinion as what should happen (or not) with this very delicate situation. Has anyone gone through this before? It is very nerve racking...

Thank you

Last edited by Janet5 : 08-21-2002 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 08-21-2002, 09:52 PM   #2
Greg Jennings
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Take a lot of cold showers? Find a distraction to take your mind and romantic thoughts elsewhere?

Sometimes it works. Many times it doesn't. Especially if he's otherwise committed.

When it fails, it fails spectacularly and causes a lot of discomfort for not just the parties involved but the whole dojo family.

Just my opinion.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 08-21-2002, 10:17 PM   #3
Arianah
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Hoo, tough subject. I think that it is common to feel strongly for someone that is an authority figure that you respect, since it's popped up here more than once. Sometimes these feelings of deep respect and maybe a little bit of awe are sometimes confused for other emotions, since they are new ones. Though I've never had any desire to date my sensei, when I first started I felt differently about him than any other person I had known before. He was a bit larger than life. I think it was because the sensei/deshi relationship is unlike any other (at least any other that I've experienced.) He was a bit god-like in my eyes because of the authority he held. But since I've gotten to know him more personally, and we've got more of a friendly relationship, I see his human side. He isn't just "the incredible, immortal Sensei" to me anymore, though I still respect him profusely, and still have the sensei/deshi relationship. Hmm ... I don't know if I'm getting across what I'm trying to say. My point is that perhaps you are feeling a new type of relationship and new emotions toward your sensei, and applying the emotions you already know to try to explain them.

How well do you really know your sensei? Do you know him personally, or simply how he is in class? The reason I ask is that people put forth certain personas in different situations. Your sensei, when in "instructor mode" (which he may be in even if you are speaking with him off-mat, since you are one of his students) may be a completely different person than outside of class. These are things to consider. Do you love your sensei, or the idea of your sensei? The role is a powerful one in the mind of students. There is a power structure in place which is impressive to students, who constantly see the instructor excelling in something that they are trying desperately to grasp. I'm not trying to dismiss what you're feeling. I just want you to examine your emotions and make sure that they are what you really think they are. A lot of people have been taken advantage of and hurt by this power structure in the past. Not that I'm saying that you're sensei would do that. I just want you to be aware that these things can happen because I don't want anything to happen to you.

If you really look at your emotions and still feel that they are genuine, I don't think I have much in the way of good advice. I would advise not to act on any of it, even though this must be extremely confusing and distressing. I don't want you to quit, or have to dodge this instructor's classes because of this. Since I haven't been in the situation, I can't say what you should do. I'll leave that up to others here. I've said my piece (as incoherent as it was), everyone else is free to jump in and save Janet from me.

Sigh. Sorry, it's late and my mind isn't quite as coordinated as I would like.

Off to bed.

Sarah

Last edited by Arianah : 08-23-2002 at 08:24 AM.

Out of clutter, find simplicity.
From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.
-Albert Einstein
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Old 08-21-2002, 10:46 PM   #4
Janet5
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Thank you for the response. I do know him a little off the mat. I do not see him on a pedestal...when we are training, I give him the respect he deserves as Sensei at that time. When we joke around after class, I see him as a friend. I thought that I didn't want to act on these feelings because at that point he could probably no longer be my teacher. I don't want to lose him as an instructor so I felt as though I should keep smiling and hide what is really going on. But that causes the "what if's" I don't know...grrr.
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Old 08-22-2002, 12:19 AM   #5
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Don't go there, if you can help it. I went there, and it cost me alot - sometimes you find things out about people later and they are not who you think they are, character-wise, even if you think you are friends. Like maybe you find out you are one of several people who have had similar experiences - people you haven't met because they are no longer at the dojo.

If you've fallen really hard, it may be too late, whether things progress to a relationship or not.

How long have you been practicing there?

Sorry to dump a bucket of water on you, but consider this a public service announcement.
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Old 08-22-2002, 01:04 AM   #6
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Greg Jennings wrote:
Take a lot of cold showers? Find a distraction to take your mind and romantic thoughts elsewhere?

Sometimes it works. Many times it doesn't. Especially if he's otherwise committed.

When it fails, it fails spectacularly and causes a lot of discomfort for not just the parties involved but the whole dojo family.

Just my opinion.

Best Regards,
That pretty much covers it, in my experience. I would add, that when a breakup occurs what usually happens is that someone gets the dojo and someone ends up quitting (in this case I assume that the instructor would probably get the dojo).

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-22-2002, 02:08 AM   #7
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Oh, ye, I've been there.

My Sensei is a good looking, early 30s, non-married man and I felt we had "a click" from the moment I've started practicing.

The Sensei wasn't indifferent to me either, everything was there - the small signaling and the hidden messages (after class, of course).

It was the first time I was introduced to Aikido and I instantly LOVED the Dojo and the other Aikidokas -

They were like family : going to movies together and sitting after class in coffee shops.

I became a part of this family in a very short time.

Easy to say - I had a big dilemma.

I didn't want to loose it all, which would have definitely happen whether the relationship would have broke down on the account of one of us.

But the "what if" question kept echoing in my head...

Finally, I made up my mind to just continue as I am and see where things lead (fate usually takes us to the place we should be anyway).

It took some time, but things eventually cooled down between us.

I still like him very much and we keep teasing one another and act very warmly with each other, but no romantic feelings anymore.

It came to a point we both talked about what could have happened and the similar decision we both made.

I don't regret it - NOW it's easy for me to see that he wasn't meant for me.

A question for you - do you think your Sensei feels the same (I won't say love) affection towards you ?

Don't hurry to overrule what you feel as some people suggested in this thread - sometimes two people that share the same passion (this time it's Aikido) have a lot more in common.

Good luck and my 0.2$ advice - don't act fast, let time and a lot of thought guide you.
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Old 08-22-2002, 03:28 AM   #8
mike lee
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truth or consequences

Who can say what's right or wrong?

But if things ever become confusing, remember the purpose of going to the dojo.
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Old 08-22-2002, 03:38 AM   #9
Genex
 
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Smile

Well i'd say that you should give it time, dont get too exited about your fealings just relax and let them take their course.

you could simply have a crush on your sensei, the best way to find out is if you bide your time, when the dojo 'Family' go out go out with them, dont miss it just because he's there you need to be confortable and relaxed and your true feelings will show. If say in a few more months time you talk alot and get on really well and the fealings are stronger then ever then i'd be tempted to go against what ppl have said here and say go for it, ask him out! if you deny your heart even the heartbreaks then why are we here? even if he is your teacher that shouldnt stop you NOTHING should stand in the way of the heart it is what drives us to carry on and learn (of course all the motor functions are controlled by the brain etc...but you know what i mean)

basicaly

Wait

Relax

BE YOURSELF (seriously stressed)

and see how you feel a few months from now

hope it works out.

like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick. - The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy on the Pan-galactic Gargleblaster!
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Old 08-22-2002, 08:19 AM   #10
Janet5
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Thanks everyone for the support, I have had to keep this in and family/friends have been absolutely no help! I have been practicing there for 3 months. It is possible that he has feelings for me as well, but again would he say anything? I doubt it as he knows the risks involved as well.

I will heed everyone's advice that makes sense to me right now which is to be patient. It's weird because when I am at the dojo and he is teaching I am very well focused, it's when I am not there that I get the tight stomach and longing thoughts. I will try to stay distracted so that I can at least breathe again (sorry for sounding so dramatic, this has been one very weird experience) I think that what makes it difficult is knowing that it is very possible for a wonderful relationship to come out of this. So I guess now it is a question of how do you deal with someone you love that you can't have, and I am sure that is a much more common problem even outside of the dojo. But I do hear what you are saying Genex, if this could be something great, should I really not take the risk. I think I need a new hobby...

Last edited by Janet5 : 08-22-2002 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 08-22-2002, 11:26 AM   #11
Edward
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My 2 cents: You're free as a student to feel whatever you want towards your Sensei. But I wouldn't respect any instructor who dates his students. If he does, he's not worthy of this position. I wouldn't allow my sister or daughter to practice at his dojo. I know this sounds harsh, but if someone pretends he's a "master" of MA, he better walk the walk, and this starts with self-control.
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Old 08-22-2002, 11:54 AM   #12
Nacho_mx
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Since when martial arts instructors are not allowed to date? Or fall in love? They´re not monks or Jedi you know.
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Old 08-22-2002, 12:38 PM   #13
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Nacho_mx - nobody said instructors aren't allowed to date, but dating the students, especially if it is a habit rather than a one-time occurrence (fell in love and got married), is not exactly admirable - because when the relationship fails, it is the student much more than the instructor that can get hurt.

In addition to the heartbreak that both individuals may experience, the student faces the choice to leave the dojo, or else continue to take orders from an ex (that's right, take orders - in most dojos you are dealing with a military-like heirarchy).

That's a vulnerable position to be in, not to mention miserable. Especially if the instructor takes up with another student.

Get the picture?
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Old 08-22-2002, 01:25 PM   #14
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Don't get involved with anyone who you see as being in a position of power in any major aspect of your life.

Don't get involved with someone who you see as being in a subordinate position in any major aspect of your life.

That should cover the both of you.

Any particular case could be an exception, but I wouldn't bet on it.
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Old 08-22-2002, 01:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
I wouldn't allow my sister or daughter to practice at his dojo.
Whoa, since when should a brother decide what his sister can and can't do?
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Old 08-22-2002, 01:45 PM   #16
opherdonchin
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A lot of people here seem to be ignorning the fairly large percentage of sensais who are quite happilly married to former students.

In my head there is a sort of 'one strike' (or MAYBE 'two strike') rule. It's a bad idea, generally, to date inside the dojo (sensei or no sensei). However, it's a worse idea to pass up on twu luv. So, you get one chance (or at least I do). That's why the advice to take your time and really find out what your feeling seems like great advice to me. The advantage of your situation is that you know he isn't going anywhere and, in the meantime, neither are you.

Good luck



Opher

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 08-22-2002, 01:50 PM   #17
rachmass
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It is not at all uncommon to have very strong feelings for your teacher, in particular if he or she is a handsome and unattached. It is important however, not to get into any kind of relationship when you are not on equal footing, and as a person with three months training, you certainly would not be on equal footing with your teacher. Step back from this and your feelings for a moment to really reflect on the nature of your feelings for him. Is it perhaps infatuation? This is pretty typical.

Some organizations have policies against relationships among teachers and students, primarily due to the imbalance of power, and the possible abuse of power by the teacher. A teacher must hold him/herself to a very high moral standard of not engaging in relationships casually within the dojo. Certainly instances happen where teachers and students fall in love, but it should not be casual and must be given very deep thought and consideration to the possible ramifications of a relationship.

I hope I am not sounding too trite, or moralizing; it is just that I have witnessed relationships happen in the past (it hasn't happened to me directly) that have caused terrible turmoil and disruption within the dojo environment.

Best wishes to you on this! Give some time and see how you feel.
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Old 08-22-2002, 05:08 PM   #18
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
My 2 cents: You're free as a student to feel whatever you want towards your Sensei. But I wouldn't respect any instructor who dates his students. If he does, he's not worthy of this position. I wouldn't allow my sister or daughter to practice at his dojo. I know this sounds harsh, but if someone pretends he's a "master" of MA, he better walk the walk, and this starts with self-control.
OTOH, I know of at least one world-famous well respected student of M. Ueshiba who married one of his students, and they seem to do OK. One of the dojo that I train at is run by a husband-wife team - she was originally one of his students, and they do just fine. All in all, it can be a difficult situation, but they're all consenting adults, so I see no reason to catigate them catigorically.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-22-2002, 06:15 PM   #19
Deb Fisher
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I think there's a huge difference between dating students habitually and dating a student...

But that's off topic, really. Now that you've declared your true feelings using your name on a popular aikido discussion forum, what else is there to do but wait and hope you didn't place either yourself or your sensei into a major pickle?

I hope that:

a) Janet is not your real name

b) You are the only one in your dojo who reads this discussion

c) Your sensei loves you back, or failing that...

d) There is another good dojo in your area

I can't imagine letting The Crush Bomb drop really publicly and facing the consequences in a really specific social setting like a dojo... I am wincing and crossing my fingers for you.

Best of luck,

Deb

Deb Fisher
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Old 08-22-2002, 10:48 PM   #20
Edward
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Quote:
() wrote:
Whoa, since when should a brother decide what his sister can and can't do?
If she's a minor, for instance

Anyway, I am a mediterranean, you know.
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Old 08-22-2002, 11:09 PM   #21
Edward
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Quote:
Christopher Li (Chris Li) wrote:
OTOH, I know of at least one world-famous well respected student of M. Ueshiba who married one of his students, and they seem to do OK. One of the dojo that I train at is run by a husband-wife team - she was originally one of his students, and they do just fine. All in all, it can be a difficult situation, but they're all consenting adults, so I see no reason to catigate them catigorically.

Best,

Chris
Well, just because you picked 2 successful cases doesn't mean that this practice is alright. I am sure there are other similar cases with happy endings, but more often than not, it ends up badly, and some teachers actually abuse their positions. Anyhow, it is not acceptable in any culture that I know of, whether eastern or western, for teachers to date their students, and this applies to aikido.
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Old 08-22-2002, 11:28 PM   #22
opherdonchin
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I think we could come up with much more than 2 succesful cases. I think it happens fairly often. Also, the succesful cases, in some ways, outweigh the failures. Two people finding each other vs. some difficulty in the dojo? For me, the cost benefit analysis says that some times, you have to take the risk.

Of course, that's not to condone in any way the serial predators, and it doesn't matter whether they are sensei or sempai.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 08-22-2002, 11:30 PM   #23
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
Well, just because you picked 2 successful cases doesn't mean that this practice is alright. I am sure there are other similar cases with happy endings, but more often than not, it ends up badly, and some teachers actually abuse their positions.
Of course there are unhappy endings, as there are in every type of relationship. Abuse would always be wrong, but abuse is not uncommon in normal male-female relationships either, and those don't seem (I assume) to be taboo to you...
Quote:
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
Anyhow, it is not acceptable in any culture that I know of, whether eastern or western, for teachers to date their students, and this applies to aikido.
Well it depends on the setting, really. I'd say that it's pretty common, for example, for aerobics instructors to date students, and that for the majority of people this kind of behavior would not be unacceptable. I think that it's important to note that we're talking about a voluntary activity. It's one thing to be dating students, for example, who are required to pass your class in order to receive a degree. It's quite another, IMO, to date a student in an entirely elective and non-essential activity. That's not to say that I would encourage it (because of the obvious complications that arise), but I don't think that it's necessarily unethical either.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-23-2002, 12:01 AM   #24
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aerobics instructors are a dime a dozen. good aikido sensei are harder to find.
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Old 08-23-2002, 12:05 AM   #25
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
() wrote:
aerobics instructors are a dime a dozen. good aikido sensei are harder to find.
That's true, but it doesn't change the fact that both are optional, voluntary activities.

Best,

Chris

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