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Old 08-23-2002, 12:42 AM   #26
Edward
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Aerobics is a recreational activity, aikido is a serious matter (at least it is supposed to be so). On the other hand, I have the feeling that people who go to aerobics classes are actually looking for sex, to say it bluntly.
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Old 08-23-2002, 12:48 AM   #27
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
Aerobics is a recreational activity, aikido is a serious matter (at least it is supposed to be so). On the other hand, I have the feeling that people who go to aerobics classes are actually looking for sex, to say it bluntly.
Well that's a matter of outlook. I've known some very serious competitive aerobics folks. Still, serious or not, it's still a completely optional, voluntary activity, and we're still talking about the private lives of two consenting adults.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-23-2002, 12:48 AM   #28
opherdonchin
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Aren't we being a little bit unfair to aerobics? Any aerobics aficiandos out there want to stand up for it?

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 08-23-2002, 01:44 AM   #29
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Our resident 7th Dan Shihan is married to his student..
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Old 08-23-2002, 01:58 AM   #30
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Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
Aren't we being a little bit unfair to aerobics? Any aerobics aficiandos out there want to stand up for it?
Why? Is the sensual character of aerobics a secret, or is it not what they advertise for selling their videotapes and class memberships?
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Old 08-23-2002, 02:39 AM   #31
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My sensei is also married to a student. I don't think it would be possible for me to respect him or her more.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 08-23-2002, 05:23 AM   #32
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Cool sex appeal

Aeorobics videos are hot! Aikido videos ... well, I'm already sleeping.

One more; two more ...
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Old 08-23-2002, 05:32 AM   #33
rachmass
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There are plenty of examples of sensei who have fallen in love and married students (both men and women teachers) and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. My comment was that it can be construed as an abuse of power to have a relationship with a student, and that it is quite common to have strong feelings or infatuation with your teacher. Give it time, don't act hastily, and definately remember there will be an inbalance of power in the relationship (at least within the dojo).

I have seen relationships go both ways; where the relationship doesn't work out, and the student leaves unhappily (sometimes with other members of the dojo who were disturbed that a relationship happened to begin with, or who took sides); and sometimes where true love really blossomed.

My $.02 is to back off and wait it out. If it is really love, then it can wait. Don't do anything rash (like I sure hope this isn't your real name-or your teacher doesn't read Aikiweb forums), give it time, explore what you are really feeling.

All the best!
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Old 08-23-2002, 09:17 AM   #34
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What about the case of a sensei who has several unsuccessful relationships with students,losing alot of students and developing something of a reputation as a womanizer in the process, then settles down with yet another student in (what appears to be so far) a sincere and solid relationship.

It' nice if people change but you can't undo what was already done, which was kinda ugly in this case.
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Old 08-23-2002, 09:50 AM   #35
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Quote:
Christopher Li (Chris Li) wrote:
That's true, but it doesn't change the fact that both are optional, voluntary activities.
That's true and the similarities are actually many but Aikido does differ in that it's often presented as a way to, well, something. Aerobics is a way to fitness, Aikido, supposedly, is something more. If so, the standard should be higher.

Whether it's so, is another question entirely, but I do think most people come to the dojo for reasons other than fitness.

To my own way of thinking, and I lean towards Edward's thinking on this one, falling in love, getting married and living happily ever after is one thing. Finding all of your dates in the dojo is something entirely different.
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Old 08-23-2002, 11:48 AM   #36
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Quote:
Christopher Li (Chris Li) wrote:
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...

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
All of your examples are "voluntary, elective and non-essential". Any class where a teacher possesses the power to grant a student's goal (be it a degree in school or a degree of white belt) contains an unbalanced relationship. It is for that reason I think many people are hesitant to endorse it in the dojo. Such a relationship is considered unethical in all the other elective and non-essential situations you described. Why would aikido teacher/student relationships be different? I haven't heard a cogent counterargument yet.

REK

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Old 08-23-2002, 12:19 PM   #37
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This is very helpful..thank you to everyone!

The more I read, the more perspectives I get to come to a conclusion...
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Old 08-23-2002, 08:51 PM   #38
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Quote:
Erik Haselhofer (Erik) wrote:
That's true and the similarities are actually many but Aikido does differ in that it's often presented as a way to, well, something. Aerobics is a way to fitness, Aikido, supposedly, is something more. If so, the standard should be higher.

Whether it's so, is another question entirely, but I do think most people come to the dojo for reasons other than fitness.

To my own way of thinking, and I lean towards Edward's thinking on this one, falling in love, getting married and living happily ever after is one thing. Finding all of your dates in the dojo is something entirely different.
I don't disagree. My point was that there is a difference between something that is perhaps unadvisable and something that is unethical.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-24-2002, 12:19 AM   #39
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do you think aiki energy, especially for beginners newly experiencing it, has anything to do with this crush-on-the-sensei phenomena? I suspect it does.

I mean, does this happen as often in Tae Kwon Do? In ballroom dancing? Tai Chi? Yoga?

We have some newspaper evidence of it happening in yoga, but the Yoga Federation or whatever they call themselves strictly forbids student-teacher relationships.

Yoga works with body energy also,except they have Prana (breath) and Chakras and whatnot.

This is not a joke, I'm serious.
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Old 08-24-2002, 06:30 AM   #40
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IMHO, Ki has nothing to do with it; it happens in any student-teacher relationship; particularly female student, male teacher. (That's not sexist, believe me; it's just the difference in attitudes: when it comes to infatuation, romance-driven girls tend to fall in love; hormone-driven boys tend to fall in lust.) I've been on the recieving end of this situation twice; it's not a pleasant one for the teacher. You have to try to concentrate on teaching, but sooner or later, you'll have to deal with the situation.

Now, my case is different from yours, Janet, in that I only had to deal with teenage girls who at that particular time in their lives, tended to get their hearts broken about once a week. You, on the other hand, are ( I assume from your posts) a mature, intelligent woman who knows what she wants, desires...Yikes, I have no idea how I'd handle it.

My thoughts on it from the instructor's side are these: while it's flattering to be looked at in such a way (even taking into account that, by looking at me, they're showing uncommonly terrible taste in men ), a teacher cannot get involved with a student without both people losing credibility and risking serious repercussion. That's not always easy - a student with a crush can be a nightmare to deal with in class; concepts such as 'discretion' and 'subtlety' tend to go right out the window. Also, for fully mature students - say 25 and up, there may be a strong return of desire; a potentially fatal distraction for a teacher. Difficulties arise from outside as well: other students who see what's going on can blame one, the other or both; can see preferential treatment whether it exists or not. Same goes for the teacher's superiors. A student-teacher crush or affair is, to put it bluntly, one heck of a minefield for both parties.

BUT...

All that being said, my own opinion on this situation is that it is not a high-school, military or federal class, it is a martial arts dojo; a social class populated by normal human beings. Both you and your sensei are rational adults, capable of dealing with the situation and making up your own minds without the impediments of doctrine or policy. Also, yours is, as you say, no simple crush, but love; that's a powerful and special thing. In the final count, however it works out, there's not a single damned person who has any right to tell you what you can and can't do, think or feel. My own advice would be worthless, but I would say choose caution; wait and watch and learn until you know without a shadow of a doubt what your feelings are. Then, do the hardest thing you possibly could; tell him. Talk to him about it; let him know how you feel; I think you owe that to both of you.

Hope it works out!

Dave

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Old 08-24-2002, 10:45 AM   #41
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Question Turning it around

So, it sounds to me like we've pretty much discussed this side of the issue to death, but David's post got me thinking about the flip side of the coin. It must happen with some regularly that teachers get crushes on their students. I've got to say that this seems like a harder place to be. As the student, you've got much more limited responsibility. You want to make sure you aren't unduly disrupting the class, and there may be a lot of wisdom in waiting, but, ultimately, it is the sensei's job to deal with the feelings that come up in his students one way or another. On the other hand, a sensei who is finding him or herself strongly attracted to a student has a lot more responsibility (it seems to me) not to disrupt or derail the students training. It seems like it would be a confusing place to find yourself.

Of course, everyone who said that such feelings don't belong in the dojo will say that again. Probably, they will think that that's true even more pointedly in this case. However, what I'm most interested in is teachers who have had experiences with this(or students who watched it happen to their teachers), how they've dealth with it, how succesful that was, and, most especially, what they learned.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 08-24-2002, 03:57 PM   #42
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Unregistered wrote:

"do you think aiki energy, especially for beginners newly experiencing it, has anything to do with this crush-on-the-sensei phenomena? I suspect it does. "

I don't think it has anything to do with Ki, it has to do with the fact that aikido is a sexy thing to do. Seriously, first of all there's all the role-play, uke and nage, defined power relationships, which makes it all faintly redolent of S&M play. Add to that the physical intimacy, the way in which uke and nage communicate (which is, at its best similar to the kind of communication that takes place with great sex). It makes you feel good, it flushes your face, it gets your heart thumping. Everybody's touching everybody, and seriously concentrating on how they're making eachother feel (on some level) while indulging in role-play that defines Top and Bottom...

Sure makes your sensei start to look like your daddy, if you know what I mean (wink wink)...

That was just a joke, and I'm not saying that aikidoists are a bunch of pervs or for that matter even have sex in mind when training. All I'm saying is that power and intimacy are strong sexy signifiers (not to mention kiai-ing men in skirts!), and that it's no surprise that sexy, crushy feelings happen in an environment that is full of sexy, crushy cues.

Of course I would never admit that I could ever find aikido sexy to anyone in my dojo because no one would ever train seriously again. But I can't be the only one who's noticed...
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Old 08-24-2002, 04:56 PM   #43
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Janet,

I hope things work out for you, and I'm fairly certain, in the long run they will. Which is not to say that they will necessarily work out for you and your sensei. And I think perhaps not is more likely.

I am guessing you are young, for two reasons: you feel like you are falling in love with someone you really don't know and don't have a relationship with so far other than student-teacher; you seem to hold him in a position of relative power, which I don't consider appropriate for an adult female. But that is me, too, and I could be wrong.

If you are indeed young, STAY AWAY FROM ANY ROMANTIC INVOLVEMENT. PERIOD. NO EXCEPTIONS. Young ladies with adoration in their eyes are very tempting, and even good men might fail, and bad men will take advantage.

If you are not so young, then you should be able to decide for yourself if the risks outweigh the potential, but I'd take a self assesment first: to seek the opinion of family, friends, and fellow Aikidoists on whom you should date is, purely from my point of view mind you, not giving yourself the credit you should.I mean this in a nice way, I really do, but it's kind of like "if you have to ask, you can't afford it"...I do wish happiness ahead.

Last edited by guest1234 : 08-24-2002 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 08-24-2002, 05:27 PM   #44
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Rats. I just cannot get used to this reply feature in the middle. Missed a bunch of posts. Aerobics is serious for some, eye candy for others. I think Aikido senseis have no more power over me than an aerobics teacher would (if I would ever take aerobics- HA) which is why I'd consider either 'potential' for dating. But that is me. People with boundry problems and children should not date instructors, or the other way around. I don't care when any of my instructors have dated students (I say, "good for them") since none of them have picked children or people who hand over power inappropriately. I'm happy for them, as I am for students who date other students, and it holds out hope that I might even find someone who would share my love of Aikido someday...

Yes, I've seen folks leave a dojo over broken relationships/broken hearts, and it is sad, but I also have seen folks leave for many other reasons as well. Perhaps they continue on in a new dojo. Or not. But aren't they better for the time in the dojo while they were there, and we are better for the time they spent?

I had my heart broken by a FAIP once (that's for the AF group), we'd dated for the three months we were both TDY to San Antonio. When we broke up, he tried to show me the positives of the time we'd spent: "Hey, I stopped smoking" he said. Through the sniffles I said "but you don't smoke...and we met at the club, and you weren't smoking". He said "yeah, I'd just run out, and was going to get more when I met you, and you were complaining about the smoke...it was so stressful once we were dating that you'd smell it on me, or find a cigarette in my car, that I quit"

Probably even the most miserable dojo dating nightmare has something equally good that came of it, as most dating nightmares always do. And some turn into wonderful relationships, so I'm solidly on the 'as long as they are adults, good for them' side.
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Old 08-24-2002, 07:44 PM   #45
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Dating students can get sticky for the instructor. First, is the issue of the possibility of the relationship failing. What happens from there out? It can be ugly sometimes. Second, there are issues of power and age to consider. I believe one senrior student of Saito sensei was stripped of his rank for having sex with an underage student. People are people and adults can be adults. However, when you go into a relationship like this with all its potential pitfalls, make sure you do so with open eyes and an upfront agreement with both parties as to what will happen if things fall apart.
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Old 08-25-2002, 08:31 AM   #46
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() wrote:
Of course I would never admit that I could ever find aikido sexy to anyone in my dojo because no one would ever train seriously again. But I can't be the only one who's noticed...
No, you definitely are not the only one. All you wrote is right on.

Aikido is a sexy, sexy thing.
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Old 08-25-2002, 10:32 AM   #47
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In response to:

"People with boundry problems and children should not date instructors, or the other way around. I don't care when any of my instructors have dated students (I say, "good for them") since none of them have picked children or people who hand over power inappropriately."

Of course, senseis NEVER have boundary issues, and there have never been cases where the sensei used their power inappropriately, and if there's a boundary violation, the student is not only at fault but is not a true adult to boot. Yeah, right.

And of course, real adults NEVER have their boundaries violated, and if they do, it's because there's something wrong with them.

Some people take aikido precisely to work on their boundary issues, or to learn to deal with interpersonal conflict. Some take aikido because they have been in physically or emotionally abusive situations and wish to learn to defend themselves. That's the student part. And I agree, these types of students should probably not date their instructors.

Some students eventually become instructors. Becoming an instructor does not magically remove emotional baggage. Hopefully you've worked it out by then, but maybe not, right?

There is a chapter or two in Ellis Amdur's book "Dueling with O'Sensei" that I think addresses these issues with great clarity.
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Old 08-25-2002, 11:02 AM   #48
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I have the feeling those who find aikido sexy are the ones belonging to these dojo where you would easily confuse aikido and tango. I can assure you that when you are faced with the constant possibility of breaking your bones, the last thing you would think about is sex.
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Old 08-25-2002, 11:25 AM   #49
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On the contrary Edward: there is a large body of psychological study that shows a big association and corolation between sex and violence. You have to consider that there are many reasons why one would date a fellow Aikidoka. Common interests, the ability to handle stressful situations with aplumb, a certain grace of movement that we're known for, and of course like every relationship two people who have practiced aikido together will very likely grow together. I'm not condoning anything here folks, just playing devil's advocate.
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Old 08-25-2002, 11:42 AM   #50
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Quote:
() wrote:
In response to:

"People with boundry problems and children should not date instructors, or the other way around. I don't care when any of my instructors have dated students (I say, "good for them") since none of them have picked children or people who hand over power inappropriately."

Of course, senseis NEVER have boundary issues, and there have never been cases where the sensei used their power inappropriately, and if there's a boundary violation, the student is not only at fault but is not a true adult to boot. Yeah, right.

And of course, real adults NEVER have their boundaries violated, and if they do, it's because there's something wrong with them.

Some people take aikido precisely to work on their boundary issues, or to learn to deal with interpersonal conflict. Some take aikido because they have been in physically or emotionally abusive situations and wish to learn to defend themselves. That's the student part. And I agree, these types of students should probably not date their instructors.

Some students eventually become instructors. Becoming an instructor does not magically remove emotional baggage. Hopefully you've worked it out by then, but maybe not, right?

There is a chapter or two in Ellis Amdur's book "Dueling with O'Sensei" that I think addresses these issues with great clarity.
First, I said "in the cases when any of my instructors have dated..." I did not say this would never happen between someone who is underaged (student only situation) or had boundry issues (atudent or teacher). Your generalization does not apply.

That said, Aikido is NOT therapy. People who have psychological problems certainly can gain a lot from Aikido, but any adult-aged indiviudual who hands over THAT much control to an Aikido instructor that any relationship between them is not that of equal adults but power-over to powerless, then they should be in therapy as well, and their therapist would no doubt be counselling them against ANY relationship with ANYONE the individual would call powerful.

I was in an abusive marriage; as I left it, I was counselled 'no dating', then dating with a good set of guidelines. I have no doubt that without the help of a wonderful therapist I would have drifted into another bad relationship: and yes, it would have been MY fault. To me, to say "I was a victim, and so everyone has to protect me from myself in the relationships I try to enter into" is like saying "I was in a car wreck, and so everyone should look out for me on the road" rather than saying "OK, my driving skills got me into an accident, what can I do to improve them so it doesn't happen again" and until I'm confident of my ability to drive safely on the highway, I stick to the parking lot or deserted country roads.
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