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Old 07-26-2002, 04:50 PM   #176
memyselfandi
Location: East Coast
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No, there is no purification ritual for acidental touching as there is nothing wrong with it (no cooties or anything ). It's with the purposeful touching where the problems come in . So in otherwords no; I could not just go out and do the deed with the intention of repenting or "purifying" when I'm done.
That's not to say that we can't repent for our sins, we just can't go out and do something we know is wrong with the intention of repenting for it later.

Disclamer: Just because I say it, don't mean it's true I'm not actually qualified to preach Judaic law. I'm just explaining it how I best understand it.

Last edited by memyselfandi : 07-26-2002 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 07-26-2002, 04:56 PM   #177
Deb Fisher
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Just to continue this little sidebar Kat and I have going on...

I don't find the restriction offensive per se. I do think that anyone who has placed restrictions on their personal habits should be responsible for those restrictions and not sacrifice the experience of the larger group because of them.

Listen, this is just a pet issue of mine because I have a funny diet and I do try to make sure I'm the only one who is put out by it. That's why I feel like this is not a gender/religion issue as much as it's about personal responsibility.

Deb Fisher
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Old 07-26-2002, 05:26 PM   #178
Marc Kupper
Dojo: Aikido of Diablo Valley / ASU
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Quote:
Ari Fuchs (memyselfandi) wrote:
... It's with the purposeful touching where the problems come in . So in otherwords no; I could not just go out and do the deed with the intention of repenting or "purifying" when I'm done.
Ari, if you can't go into a situation knowing there may be contact with a woman then it looks like you should sit out line drills where there are one or more women in the line.

Your aikido will not progress as quickly and in the long run you may be better off finding a dojo that does not have women.

Shalom and good luck,

Marc

ps: I'm interested in how the aikido practicing rabbi dealt with this.
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Old 07-26-2002, 05:41 PM   #179
memyselfandi
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Quote:
Marc Kupper wrote:
Ari, if you can't go into a situation knowing there may be contact with a woman then it looks like you should sit out line drills where there are one or more women in the line.
Oh dear this is embarassing; I'm very ashamed to say that I had not thought of that . I would still have to apologize to any women I might offend by not training with them, but I wouldn't be excluding anyone from practice. If the Rabbi does ends up saying that I can't participate, then I will ask the sensei what he thinks of this. Thank you very much

Last edited by memyselfandi : 07-26-2002 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 07-26-2002, 06:14 PM   #180
memyselfandi
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Well it's almost Shabbos here, so I'll be leaving you all now. If all goes well, I'll have the Rabbi's response for you sometime tomorow night.

Until then,

Ari Fuchs
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Old 07-26-2002, 06:42 PM   #181
Kat.C
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Quote:
Deb Fisher wrote:
Just to continue this little sidebar Kat and I have going on...

I don't find the restriction offensive per se. I do think that anyone who has placed restrictions on their personal habits should be responsible for those restrictions and not sacrifice the experience of the larger group because of them.

Listen, this is just a pet issue of mine because I have a funny diet and I do try to make sure I'm the only one who is put out by it. That's why I feel like this is not a gender/religion issue as much as it's about personal responsibility.
Well I can understand where you're coming from I have friends who have certain restrictions too, one has M.S, one cannot drive at night due to an operation on her eyes, and 3 have relatively strict diets to adhere to. I do not mind in the least accomodating them, I am happy to, probably you would put people out a whole lot less than you think.

But I agree with what you said, and I wasn't implying that people have to accept him at their dojo and be inconvenienced by his needs, nor would it be my place to say so. I thought it silly that people chose to take offense at something so inoffensive; he just doesn't wish to touch women in a sexual manner before he is married. The idea that he should just throw the rules of his religion out the window while in a dojo is silly too, that is just not the way faith works. But all Ari was asking, I believe, was if it would be offensive to people, and how to limit the offense caused,he had already said that the sensei would accept him with his training restrictions, so finding a dojo where this could work wasn't a problem.

All in all I believe that dealing with different people with different needs helps to prevent intolerence.

And don't you think it would be less interesting if there weren't such varied customs and cultures?

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 07-26-2002, 07:23 PM   #182
Speireag
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Vermont
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Re: What I Practice For

Quote:
Paul Schweer wrote:
"Who trains at your dojo?" I was asked.

I answered, "Have you trained before?"

"Not anymore." Not since converting.

No touching, you see, between the boys and girls.

"Don't see how to get around that," I said.

Didn't understand. Half didn't believe it.

"You talk with your Rabbi?"

"Maybe I will."

And that was the end of that. I thought.

But the questions continued.

I didn't have answers.

Didn't have the heart

to say, "Give it up."

The Rabbi said training is fine -- no bowing

right? -- okay, that's fine. Long as the boys

don't touch the girls.

What in the world did he think training was?

What in the world could I tell somebody

so heart sick from missing a love abandoned?

And why should I say anything, after all?

Not my decision who trains and who doesn't.

Delegate it up the chain of command.

That's why Sensei gets the big bucks.

And Sensei said welcome. Train as you can.

Just like the rest of us, I guess.

I wonder, now, why she wanted to train.

Wonder at my attitude and hers...

at her simple sincere desire.

To train.

That's all. Just train.

Best that she could.

She knew it was a stretch.

She admitted that to me.

She didn't expect to progress in the art.

She just wanted to train.

And she did.

And loved every short improbable instant

of motion and balance and happy accident

of bumping, now and then, into one of the boys.

And then she didn't train anymore.

So what did she get out of training?

Say goodbye, maybe? One last walk

holding hands? I don't know.

But I'm glad we gave her a chance to do

whatever it was she was trying to do.

Glad we gave her a chance to play.

Grateful our art allowed for something

that seems so contrary

to the art itself. It gave

her a chance -- gave me a chance

to practice what I practice for.

Best to you and yours,

Paul Schweer
Magnificent. Normally I edit out as much as possible when I reply, but I couldn't remove anything here without being violent to the whole.

Domo arigato gozaimashita!

-Speireag.

Speireag Alden
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Old 07-26-2002, 08:57 PM   #183
virginia_kyu
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Quote:
Ari Fuchs (memyselfandi) wrote:
hmm...law suit, now we're getting into the spirit of Aikido
I was not attempting to suggest that you actually try a law suit. I was just trying to make a point about the selective application of discrimination.

-- Michael Neal
-- http://www.theaikidolink.dnsdyn.net/
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Old 07-26-2002, 09:50 PM   #184
guest1234
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I agree with Deb, the responsible person does not ask for Unreasonable accomodation. And Kat, again, you don't get to pretend that there are TWO other women there, just you and one other woman. So unless she's going to sit out alot so you get to train with the guys, you will be training with her all the time. Or are you saying it is OK for a male with those prohibitions to join a dojo, because it wouldn't affect you, but a woman with those same issues couldn't.

I've been in situations where, since I was the only other female, I missed out in order to pair up with someone. It is not fun. The same could be said for guys, there have actually been a few classes (not many, but a few) where the sensei and all but one student was female. It adds in a constant confusion point in partnering up. And I don't buy the 'it will be easy for me to avoid except for in randori' (although I think it is not actually randori, but just training in a line, and that is common at all levels), because I've seen LOTS of beginners end up paired with another brand new beginner, because they are NOT very skilled at getting a partner.

I don't recall who said the religion issue applies to all MA, not just Aikido, but that is not correct. Since the issue is over touching a female, choose an art where you can partner, but not touch (Iaido, Kendo both come readily to mind...in fact, with all the extra layers/mask and shinai between you, Kendo should be great), or arts that are singular--no partner--Kyudo, Tai Chi. That to me would seem like the choice of someone who wanted to stay true to his religious convictions and to the spirit of including all in his practice vs purposely excluding some, and yet still do a MA. He could have the heritage of MA, and approach it without worry of touching a female or offending others.

Or find an all male dojo. Or ask to be accomodated, but don't expect everyone to be happy about your excluding them. If they allow you to train, then they are accomodating you. They do not need to like your viewpoint, and they are entitled to feel like they are being deprived of the training experience they had before your arrival, as you will impact on who they get as partners. But Aikido folks are pretty giving, and will probably accomodate you, even without the lawsuit.

And on that point, Michael, you want to choose which religious prohibitions against certain partners are OK and which are not...talk about grounds for a lawsuit.
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Old 07-26-2002, 10:03 PM   #185
guest1234
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Oops, my APPOLIGIES to Kat, I just saw that you got the point of my another girl analogy...this thread is growing so quickly, I cannot keep up as I type...must go put on glasses so I can type faster. Anyway, yeah, sometimes the 'field expedient' solution when you have one person who won't mix with certain others really impacts those they do mix with, and those they don't.

As I've proven I can't keep up now more than once I think I will just stop trying...especially since somewhere in here there must have been a reference that the sensei in question already said he could train, but I don't recall that, that really the only one consulted so far (besides us) was Dad... that they'd gone to class (that was my hint Ari was a teen, adults don't usually take their Dads with them), not that he'd already signed up.
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Old 07-27-2002, 03:15 AM   #186
mike lee
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Cool much ado about nothing

I trained at a university club dojo and there was a male Moslem there. He regularly practiced with a small group of blue and green belts in one section of the gym. It was a really big place -- about 90 students.

I generally trained with black belts on another side of the mat. I often practice with women for a number of reasons. One reason is that women need to train with men on occasion because they need to get used to size and strength differences. I'm big and strong and I think they gain confidence from the experience.

I also enjoy practicing with women because I like the feeling I get from the experience. I like their ki and I like the way they blend.

I noticed this feeling from practicing with my master. It seemed to me that his ki was more smooth and steady, like that of a woman's, and yet he had a very strong will, like a man.

Anyway, after class the Moslem student and his friends often liked to stay around and practice other martial arts, such as karate and judo. One day he asked if I could help him after class with his aikido because he had a test coming up. I gradually got to know him better and we became friends. We sometimes even walked home together after practice.

One night as we were walking home, I mentioned to him that he shouldn't be afraid to come over and practice with some of the black belts during the training sessions. I mentioned one girl that I thought would be especially good for him to practice with. Then he told me that his religion forbid him to touch any woman except his wife.

I was amazed. I had never heard of such a thing.

But the point here is that I had been training with this man for over one year in the same dojo, and I didn't even notice that he never practiced with a woman.

Last edited by mike lee : 07-27-2002 at 06:38 AM.
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Old 07-27-2002, 05:23 PM   #187
Richard Harnack
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One last reply.

At our dojo, I ask everyone totrain with everyone else, regardless of gender, race, size, etc. It would be noticeable if someone was not training with a particular group of people.

In such a situation the person who chose not to train with a particular group would have to let me know why. I would most likely inform them that their training would suffer if they did not train with everyone.

If they explained that it was for religious reasons, ala Ari, I would still ask them to train with everyone. Their religion and their commitment to it is their own.

If an individual has difficulty working with others for any reason, I give my input and allow them to exercise their choice. However, if Ari were in class and a female student came to him to train, I would expect him to either put up with it or inform the woman of his religious scruples.

Beyond this I would also assume that everyone would behave as polite adults.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 07-27-2002, 11:51 PM   #188
Joshua Livingston
 
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Quote:
Steven Miranda (Steven) wrote:
Dear Ari Fuchs,

I expected you'd get these types of replies too. However, everyone is entitled to their beliefs just as you are. I personally don't see anything offensive about it and have seen a lot worst in Aikido dojos in my view. I visited one dojo that actually had a womans only class taught by a woman but when the men wanted their own class, the women cried fowl. I made the mistake of not calling the dojo before arriving and showed up on ladies night. EGADS! If looks can kill ... Like, how dare I enter the dojo on THEIR night. YIKES!

Then again, I can see Rachel's point too. I've seen the behavior where men did not want to train with women simply because they are women and nothing else. But then again, I would have to say that for someone who is looking at opening their own dojo, lashing out at someone because of their religous beliefs doesn't help your cause of potential new students that might be lurking in these halls.

I had one little girl in my dojo say she didn't like training with the boys because in her view, all boys were stupid. I'll note at this time it was my youngest daugther. I immediately put her with a boy and only allowed her to train with boys. Her attitude has changed and when it's time to take a partner, she usually grabs a boy. (I think she likes the power it gives her when she man-handles them).

Bottom line is this is between you and your dojo/sensei. If they don't have a problem with it, then to heck with what anyone here thinks.

For the record, you're welcome in my dojo anytime.

Regards ...


I agree fully with this post. It really doesn't matter what the Aikido community as a whole thinks. As you can see, there is not one solid mindset among us. If everyone in the Aikido world thought the same way then it would certainly matter. However, that is not the case.

So in this instance what really matters is what you think, what your sensei thinks, and what the other dojo members think.

If I were you, (and I'm not, so you should use your own mind to decide what is right) I would suggest to your sensei to allow you to remove yourself from parts of the class that would force you to violate your religious beliefs. If you took part in line drills only when the guys were up and skipped the females when performing your own techniques, that would result in a blatant display that (even among those who do understand your reasons) would cause specific examples of offense to occur on regular occasions. One cannot help but feel offended when singled out at specific moments.

However, if you took yourself out (sitting Seiza at the corner of the mat) of that whole training sequence as people often do when they are limited by injuries (though I realize religion is quite different, it is in this case a limitation on the mat) it would be less targeted and much easier for others to get use to it without feeling offended. Yes, you would be missing out on an entire training sequence, but that is the price one must pay when working under limitations. You should strive to make your classmates feel as comfortable as you can.

If the Sensei agrees to you practicing under these conditions or any other conditions that you may come up with, I would also suggest a way to make sure that your dojo members are also comfortable with it. Suggest to the Sensei to have a discussion with the other dojo members (while you are not present) or hold a secret ballot where each member decides if they would be comfortable with the practice of your religious beliefs on the mat. If everyone agrees that they have no problem with it, then you have nothing to worry about. However, this scenario is pretty unlikely so I would decide with the Sensei what the minimum amount of disfavored votes should be and if that number occurs I would either find another Dojo or hobby. Also, keep in mind that the female ratio of students is going to be really important. It would be folly to consider success if only 5 of 50 students voted negative, but all votes came from females and there are only 9 females at the dojo. You really don't want to practice Aikido in a situation where most of your partners feel uncomfortable, because as mentioned earlier from others, the unity of the Dojo is a very major part of training. You could also make a note to have friendly talks with the females after class on regular occasions. It becomes a lot easier for people to accept foreign and even offensive customs when they know what kind of person you are and are on friendly bases.

Sorry for the length of the post, but I really hope this helps and I hope that you can find some way to practice Aikido as it is truly a very wonderful path.



Joshua
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Old 07-28-2002, 02:27 AM   #189
BrokenKnees
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Quote:
Colleen Annes (ca) wrote:
Oh, I got dizzy on my soap box I forgot to say what I wanted to, each time I've posted on this: personally, I think an emphasis on touching the opposite sex=BAD, touching the same sex=GOOD, can cause a host of problems in developing personalities, especially when mixed with normal hormonal influence. I think the Catholic Church is reaping the result of centuries of that right now, and that is why I think a counselor or physician is a good referal to make, along with an implied acceptance of this belief if the student is allowed to join.
Personally, Colleen, I think you know a great deal about Aikido. However, I have to take umbrage with what you say about the Catholic church. Sorry everyone, for making this a religious issue, but as a God-fearing Catholic, I can't let this slip without registering my protest. I won't however say more...except that Colleen, you should've known better.

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Old 07-28-2002, 02:31 AM   #190
Joshua Livingston
 
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Wow, I actually made my reply after only reading the first 3 pages as I didn't notice it actually had 8!

After reading all of them (OY!) I see that some of my suggestions were later stated, but I don't think anyone used my specific combination or some of the smaller suggestions I made. Anyway I hope they help.

Seeing as how it has been two nights since your last post, I hope you haven't left us hanging in relation to what the Rabbi said...

Joshua

Joshua Livingston
Aikido of Ashland (USAF)
Gold Coast Jujutsu
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Old 07-28-2002, 06:26 AM   #191
Rev_Sully
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Sabbath is over.

Waiting on you Ari. (Take your time buddy...just kidding!)

Hope you had a nice and restful Sabbath.

Most people are agreable to Ari, that is nice. I felt that somewhere along this thread it helped me to form an opinion about this kind of subject: personal religion vs. aikido.

Case in point: I used to frequent the Message Board for the NPR news talk show "The Connection". Full of robust debate over political, theological, environmental, issues, etc. One time, the subject of the Confederate Flag as a racist symbol came up. I didn't really have an opinion on it but joined the conversation because the thread was very good. But I ended up forming and opinion because of fellow posters of both sides producing good (and sometimes bad) arguments.

Although I searched for facts and formed an argument, I ultimately decided that yes, indeed the Confederate Flag can (and dare I say should) be considered a racist symbol and I would support it's removal from the State flags that carry it.

What do Racist flags and Aikido have in common?

The Internet! And Message Boards! And my opinion. The dialog and conversations of these nature help me to form my opinion. Same as here and same as on this thread. Look at the Jefferson quote in my signature, it sums up everything for me.

I look forward to Rabbi's dictum in this matter because I almost have reached opinion on this matter. I wait on Rabbi to further enlighten me on this. Rabbi after all is the expert on Judaism and I am only a bookish amateur theologian. I think Rabbi's dictum is, not only Ari's guidance, but the last piece in this theological puzzle I've helped create by insisting that Kamiza must be as seriously taken into consideration along with practicing with women.

Cheers!

Last edited by Rev_Sully : 07-28-2002 at 06:34 AM.

"He who knows best knows how little he knows." -Thomas Jefferson
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Old 07-28-2002, 09:07 AM   #192
Dana
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Ai symbol Judaism can be interpreted in more than one way

My only interaction with Orthodox Jewish aikidokas is in seminars taking place in Jerusalem. I notice religious Jews (male and female) there and they practice with men and women, even a guy who comes in complete Orthodox Jewish outfit (outside the mat of course).

On the other hand I know (not related to my aikido experience) religious Jewish men who abstain touching women, therefore I suppose it is not something coming from Judaism but a way of interpreting it.
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Old 07-28-2002, 11:28 AM   #193
memyselfandi
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Oh sorry about the lateness; I went to see that new Austin Powers movie and got back to late to post (sooo tired...).
Well, I spoke with the Rabbi and got a general idea of what's going on. Apparently I was mistaken; he did take Judo (Bronze medal in National Championships sometime late 60s early 70s (would have been at least silver but he was pushed back to bronze because the final match was on a saturday)) and his sensei did also teach Aikido (though not until the student was at least a shodan in Judo) but the Rabbi never actually took any Aikido. He's gonna speak with his old sensei (sounds like Wantanabe?) and find out if there are any other religious problems. He (the Rabbi) said that in the beginning touching is not necessary so it is definitely not allowed. He does seem to think that it will be necessary later due to differences in the way women train so there he would allow it (though he admitted that most other Rabbaim would disagree). As to the Kamiza; He said that normal bowing for respect is not an issue, but we are not allowed to bow in any form of fealty or adulation to a graven image (or person for that matter). So in other words, bowing to Kamiza is out.
Well that's all for now folks, I hope I answered enough to keep you satisfied for now

Last edited by memyselfandi : 07-28-2002 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 07-28-2002, 02:25 PM   #194
paw
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ttt for all those awaiting the response....

Oh and Ari,

Welcome. Good training to you.

Well, one more thing....
Quote:
Well, I spoke with the Rabbi and got a general idea of what's going on. Apparently I was mistaken; he did take Judo (Bronze medal in National Championships sometime late 60s early 70s
That's potent!

Warm Regards,

Paul
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Old 07-28-2002, 02:48 PM   #195
memyselfandi
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Indeed
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Old 07-28-2002, 06:21 PM   #196
Erik
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Quote:
Ari Fuchs (memyselfandi) wrote:
I'm sorry I do not know what one would do in such a situation as I am not homosexual and I have never had the opportunity to ask.
Ari, my point is pretty subtle. If the attempt is to prevent sex, well, you've got to be smart enough to know just what will interest those whom you are protecting from themselves. I think the Catholic church has more than adequately proven just how difficult this is.
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Old 07-28-2002, 06:51 PM   #197
Joshua Livingston
 
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Quote:
Erik Haselhofer (Erik) wrote:
Ari, my point is pretty subtle. If the attempt is to prevent sex, well, you've got to be smart enough to know just what will interest those whom you are protecting from themselves. I think the Catholic church has more than adequately proven just how difficult this is.
Actually I could be wrong, but I believe the point of the practice is to protect "himself" from touching others in a sexual way. So, unless he is himself a homosexual, he has nothing to worry about in that regard.

If some guy secretly gets off on touching other guys then it is that person's business to do what they must to follow their own belief systems.

If the guy "openly" shows that he is touching other guys on the mat in a sexual context, then the person should immediately be brought to the attention of the Sensei as it has no place on the mat and can/is indeed a form of sexual harassment.

Joshua Livingston
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Gold Coast Jujutsu
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Old 07-28-2002, 08:08 PM   #198
Erik
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Quote:
Joshua Workman wrote:
Actually I could be wrong, but I believe the point of the practice is to protect "himself" from touching others in a sexual way. So, unless he is himself a homosexual, he has nothing to worry about in that regard.
I hear what you are saying but I'd tend to think it's someone else who is/was attempting to stop Ari's touching. I'm just guessing here but I'm pretty sure that Ari would be all for touching. We should not go here. It will massively digress the conversation.
Quote:
If the guy "openly" shows that he is touching other guys on the mat in a sexual context, then the person should immediately be brought to the attention of the Sensei as it has no place on the mat and can/is indeed a form of sexual harassment.
Excellent point, and I agree completely. Is it not also sexual harassment when it's between a man and a woman? Another place we should not go for fear of thread digression.
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Old 07-28-2002, 09:08 PM   #199
Joshua Livingston
 
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Quote:
Erik Haselhofer (Erik) wrote:
I hear what you are saying but I'd tend to think it's someone else who is/was attempting to stop Ari's touching. I'm just guessing here but I'm pretty sure that Ari would be all for touching. We should not go here. It will massively digress the conversation.
Ok....
Quote:
Erik Haselhofer (Erik) wrote:
Excellent point, and I agree completely. Is it not also sexual harassment when it's between a man and a woman? Another place we should not go for fear of thread digression.
Of course it is and I did not mention it because most people are aware of that type of problem and in a well maintained dojo it is obvious that the one must watch out for man/woman situations of sexual harassment. I pointed out the man/man sitaution because often times people don't think about that.

The only reason I brought up the example of a blatant display of sexual conduct was because I mentioned that he would not have a problem if the male secretly held these thoughts, and I wanted to make sure that I covered the opposite side as well.

Joshua Livingston
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Old 07-28-2002, 10:50 PM   #200
Erik
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Quote:
Joshua Workman wrote:
I pointed out the man/man sitaution because often times people don't think about that.
To be truthful, it wasn't even in my thinking on this one.

I brought up the female side because we, as a group, could never agree on just what that was exactly. Some think it's ok for teachers to date students, other's not. Anyways, this is thread drift, so I'll leave it alone.
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