My Dojo Is Becoming Infected

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Shinobi Teikiatsu, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. Shinobi Teikiatsu

    Shinobi Teikiatsu Green Belt

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    By the Christian virus.
    Now, I am a Christian, albeit a non practicing one, and I've never had anything against the fact that my Sensei is ALSO a minister who runs his own church (which most of the people at my dojo attend.) That was, however, until he made the announcement that we would now be assigned patches that had the kanji for "Army of the Cross" or an eagle with a cross infront of it.

    Now, I've never been one to complain about him making analogies to the bible during training, or anything of the like, and as said I AM a Christian and I'm sorry if this post offends anyone, but I am NOT looking for a church. I feel that these patches my sensei is commanding us to wear force me to scream that I believe in this, which I don't believe is right, because we have several people in training who are NOT Christian, who are liberals that are already alienated enough by Sensei's beliefs, but forcing them to wear a patch saying they believe in a God they may or may not believe in is, I believe, wrong.

    I'll agree, Christian values can be good, and that in theory, a martial art should drive you to become a better person, but this should be the martial art itself, the discipline you get as you rise through your ranks, not by being told stories out of an old book.

    I don't know how to really say this without offending anybody, so I'm sorry if I did, but I just want to know everyone's thoughts on this. Am I taking a patch too seriously? I understand that it's just a cloth, but I feel like it's the beginning of so much more, like eventually he'll say "You MUST attend the church if you plan to continue training." Please, I want to hear everyone's feedback, this is something that has been bothering me to the poitn where I've even considered leaving my dojo.
     
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  2. IcemanSK

    IcemanSK El Conquistador nim!

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    It seems that idea of this patch has caused a issue of conscious for you. I encourage you to talk with you instructor about your concerns. That fact that, for you, the issue is such that you're thinking of leaving your dojo over it, means it's certainly worth that conversation with your sensei.
    He may understand your objection & not require it of you. But you'll never know unless you ask.

    All my best.
     
  3. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Shinobi, I'm with you. And I think a lot of us on MT will be. People's beliefs are their own business. But there is, I think, something fundamentally wrong with trying to turn an ongoing school, which people have joined to gain expertise in some craft, skill or body of knowledge, into a ministry in midstream. Sure, if you want to train with like-minded people, there's nothing wrong with indicating that your school is intended to encourage a Christian/wiccan/Gnostic/freethinker/whatever sense of community. But to in effect compel people who are in your school to become vocal advocates of what they might just as soon keep private—or be dropped from the school—is, I think very unprofessional. If people don't want to advertise their beliefs, are they to be dismissed from training that they undertook with you in good faith because of your skill as a MAist and instructor? To me, it sounds like your school director is saying to you, it's not enough for you to be fellow believers; you must be, even in a small way, evangelists too, or you're not welcome here.

    I suppose he has the right to do that. But your reservations are I think completely justified, and I can't imagine anyone is going to give you a hard time because of them.
     
  4. TigerCraneGuy

    TigerCraneGuy Orange Belt

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    Hey Shinobi,

    How are you?

    I'm a Christian and a martial artist too. (Been both for about twenty years or so)

    I can understand your dilemma and if possible, I'd like to help you out here. Before I can, however, just so I have a little context, could you please define what you mean when you state that you're a non-practicing Christian?

    Best regards,
    TCG
     
  5. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    A couple of things...

    First, you know that your instructor is a minister; he's going to carry his faith and religious practices into most of his life, if he's at all honest as a minister. That's just a given.

    Second, if he's open about it, it's your choice if you want to stay in that atmosphere. I get the impression that you're not particularly comfortable with this turn of events. It's one thing if he snuck it in and advertised it one way, then started pushing religion. It's different if he's been open the whole time. Either way, you need to discuss it with him.

    Which leads to the third point: a discussion. You need to arrange a time to talk to him about this, and where he's going with it. Are the patches "really required" or "de facto required" because everyone's going to expect you to wear it if it's awarded. (Think of the flap over US flag lapel pins in Congress not too long ago to see the difference I'm making; the flag pin isn't required on paper -- but President Obama sure took some heat for not wearing one, didn't he?) I'd suggest you want to do this outside the dojo and outside a church. Meet him over a cup of coffee, for example, where you can talk. It's his school; he's got the right to shape the direction and training. But, it's your schoo, too. You have a right to know where he's going, and to decide whether you agree with the direction or not. If you don't -- and he doesn't want to change it -- then it's time for you to look elsewhere.
     
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  6. redantstyle

    redantstyle Blue Belt

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    training should not be a platform for espousing your personal religious convictions. but, it happens all the time as most schools have some type of 'etiquette' or 'code of conduct, which stems from the instructor's personal belief system. and often, that is quite acceptable to the students, as that is part of the reason they are there. they want some cosomological modeling. part of the lure of the arts is that they have an attendant philosophy.

    but making people display badges is going a bit too far, imo.

    what you said here is pretty much the bottom line,



    regards.
     
  7. searcher

    searcher Senior Master

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    I am a 100% hardcore fundementalist Christain, but I don't think he should be forcing anything off on his class.

    Our faith dictates that you should not force your faith off on others. People have to come on their own.

    Voice your opposition and be prepared to leave.
     
  8. stickarts

    stickarts Senior Master

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    I agree with the othes about discussion with your instructor. After that, only you can decide if you feel comfortable enough in this environment to keep training and / or if you feel you go along with what's happening and you feel in alignment with it.
     
  9. Guardian

    Guardian Black Belt

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    All good advice, talk with him and let him know of your feelings. If he insist that you wear the patch(s), then you have a choice to make.
     
  10. Shinobi Teikiatsu

    Shinobi Teikiatsu Green Belt

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    Non-practicing Christian. I USED to be a evangelist like him, even attended his church, then I started to hear his views on things, started to view the world through my own eyes and decided that the church just isn't where I want to be. The people there are hypocritical, trying to present themselves as perfect or as "best they can" around each other, then lying and cheating to everyone around them. I believe in God, but I don't go to congregations.
     
  11. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    I teach mathematics for a living. I don't go into class and speak about my religious, political, etc., beliefs. The main reason is that I don't want any student to feel as you now do and hence possibly have their learning (or even their belief that they can approach me in my office) affected. There's a lot to be said for keeping things separate.
     
  12. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    it is a business, if you dont like the service you are getting, fire the guy and move on.

    if he loses enough business, he will figure out that he needs to zip it
     
  13. Gordon Nore

    Gordon Nore Senior Master

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    Shinobe,

    I agree that you should talk to your Sensei. Requiring members to wear some sort of religious insignia is isolating. It sends a negative message to believers of other faiths and non-believers. It may well be off-putting even to many of your Christian members -- whether they are practicing or not.

    As a Christian minister, your Sensei can lead by example. I would say the patch is over the line. It's his dojo, and he may choose to enforce the rule.

    If you can't come to an agreement, you have the choice to vote with your feet.
     
  14. terryl965

    terryl965 <center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR

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    Shinobi all I can add is this, you know he is a Christian Minister and how he believes so is the training worth the little bit of aggrevation to you. If so sit down and talk about if not let him know your intention about leaving and go on from there. Best of luck to you.
     
  15. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Master of Arts

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    Shinobe,

    I'm Catholic, and well, unless it's a Catholic Church ran martial arts class I don't see why anyone expect you to wear any religious patch. Same goes for any religious organization. If it's ran by them, well it's their game. If not....

    In fact, I don't wear ANY patch on my formal Gi. Nope. And my teacher does not mind at all.

    So yes, have a talk about it before you do something drastic.

    Deaf
     
  16. Shinobi Teikiatsu

    Shinobi Teikiatsu Green Belt

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    Thank you for all your great comments guys. The patch itself isn't the thing I'm against, but it's what it represents. If he starts with the patch he may eventually get to the point where we're IDENTIFIED as army of the cross, and unless you are initiated and go to his services, you can't train. That's my biggest fear.
     
  17. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    I've always been surprised how often martial arts are offered in a church, incidentally! It's nice of them to make these facilities available.
     
  18. Shinobi Teikiatsu

    Shinobi Teikiatsu Green Belt

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    This martial art isn't offered in a church, the church came AFTER the art, and now they're being blended into some mutant freak creature.
     
  19. jarrod

    jarrod Senior Master

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    this has given me an idea...i might look up the local chapter of the church of satan & see if they are interested in starting an mma program. i mean as long as we're melding MA with religion & all. what to call it though?

    off topic, sorry. anyway, i agree with what virtually everyone else here has already advised.

    jf
     
  20. Brian King

    Brian King Master of Arts

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    Shinobi Teikiatsu wrote:



    I can help you there. If you take a phrase or sentence and change one word for another it can often help you decide if you are being offensive or not.
    Take the opening of your thread for instance.
    “My Dojo is Becoming Infected By the Christian virus.” Now if you were to substitute Christian virus by say Jewish virus do you think it would be considered offensive? How about By the black virus or the dreaded BJJ or TKD or Muslim virus?



    You couched your post in terms that would solicit a certain and expected response from some and would almost guarantee the lack of thoughtful participation from others and you got the results you were looking for congratulations.

    Others had said and I agree with the thought that you should talk with your instructor about your feelings. Before you do I would strongly suggest you sit somewhere quiet and figure out what exactly those feelings and fears are and why they are affecting you to the degree that they are. I would also suggest you get your feelings on your relationship with your instructor into the open so that you better understand them before you try to talk to him.

    Out of the abundance of your words your heart speaks sir and what I am hearing is you do not like your instructor (putting it mildly) and maybe even despise him. You do not like his church or his ministries. You said that most of your Dojo mates go to his church then you said that the people of the church are hypocritical lying cheats, telling me that you do not respect or like your Dojo mates very much. You describe the Bible “an old book” showing a lack of interest or respect for something that the others in you Dojo seem to care about.

    You posted FOUR times in this thread and had NOT ONE thing positive to say about your school. I wonder why you would want to stay patch or no patch. If you are seeking justification for leaving you got it. If you are seeking evidence to point out the flaws of a man you got that too I suppose. If you are trying to blacken a program, congratulations you are well on the way.

    I will take you at your word that you are really asking for honest feedback. A school owner has the absolute right to take the school in any direction that they wish. The students and the perspective students have the right to say no thanks and go across the street to the Dojo on the other corner. I do think that your taking your concerns to him would be the honorable thing to do. I think that if you are able having an honest forthright discussion with him would be greatly beneficial to the both of you, but to be honest judging by the words and tone you set in this thread I think that would be difficult to do.

    Good luck in your training at whatever school you end up in.
    Regards
    Brian King123
     

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