Is it unethical to form a romantic relationship with a martial arts student

Steve

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Where this would become unethical is if said instructor started teaching them as minors, then started dating them once they hit adulthood. In that situation, there would be a power imbalance and that instructor would be foolish to pursue the relationship.
How is that different? In every functional way, the situation is the same. Though by making it more extreme, you highlight the ethical issues.
 

ardimo77

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You truly do not want to poop and eat in the same place and you are opening yourself up to a myriad of problems. Sure, some will tell you that you can keep the relationship confidential or outside the limits of the studio. I would say they are kidding themselves. At some point, even the morale of your school may suffer. There are plenty of people on this earth. No matter how attractive, I would not recommend dating a student/client, etc..
 

Oily Dragon

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As for the power dynamic imbalance, if both are adults, there isn't one
This is where consent (and age of) comes into play, and why contracts matter (or don't depending on their legality in your home state). Not talking about 50 shades of Grey...before anyone goes there...

If the newly adult student stays in the school, and starts romping with sensei, that's still going to be an issue. It all comes down to special attention, bias etc. If I'm a different paying student, I'm not going to be happy for sensei, it's going to be at best a distraction.

If the student leaves the school, and later on starts dating/marrying the instructor of their ex-school...I don't see any issue, other than maybe running afoul of existing students who may have also dated the ex-student.

And if so, the ethical dilemma is still follow your heart, or train this student who is jealous you are hooking up with their ex. That's high school drama stuff that I would drop in a second, for true love.
 

Gyakuto

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I think dating a student is, at worst, morally dodgy ground and fraught with all sorts of potential issues because of the very unequal power-dynamic of the teacher/student contract.

When I was a new University lecturer and being inducted, the departments administrator told me, If you have a romantic relationship with a student, you must tell me so they can removed from your courses to avoid any issues of favouritism etc. She went on to explain that as people over the age of consent, there were no regulations forbidding such a liaison. I was both surprised and uncomfortable at the thought. Something within told me such a relationship would not be right. How would I, as a parent for example, feel if this scenario played out with my offspring? I think there are parallels in the dojo teacher/student situation.

Incidentally, in all my years as a lecturer, such a situation never arose奸uckily, Im ugly打
 

Gyakuto

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No, it is not unethical to date a student because of a perceived unequal power-dynamic. There is often a power inequality in all relationships, greater financial independence, less body strength, shorter or taller than the other, being more or less intelligent than the target of ones affection. Indeed, this contrast may often be the basis of the initial attraction between people and one could argue they are always present in some respect. Thus, if we avoided relationships on the basis of a perceived power-dynamic imbalance, we would all be single and the worlds population would dwindle ().

I would suggest that as long as one is not using the Jedi Mind Trick to procure romantic relationships, ones intentions are honourable and wholesome and you are willing to take the risk of losing income should the relationship collapse (what a truly awful thing to even take into consideration), then go ahead.

See what I did with my last two, contiguous posts? The Jedi Mind Trick would never work on me!
 

Hanshi

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My school was the place where a few romantic bonds did occur. They were between students/former students that lead to marriages. But where I drew the line is that NO such liaisons were to be tolerated between any teaching level black belt and a student of any rank. Such an occurrence would require both parties to resign. I soon found out that a sensei wore more than one hat. We were a very "family-like" dojo and I was apparently viewed as teacher, student councilor, therapist and father figure. I did have to deal with a couple of sensitive "mistakes" and also a sounding board-comforting authority and my office was also a confessional. I loved my students and helped them accordingly.
 

Oily Dragon

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suggest that as long as one is not using the Jedi Mind Trick
I'm getting a strong Terry Silver vibe from this thought. I just watched two seasons of him mindbending Daniel Laruso, his wife, and schools of underage kids. Dark; could have been a lot darker.

This season of Cobra Kai really touched on this "power balance dynamic" thing in a good way that narrowly avoided the romantic stuff, but definitely got the "evil sensei is in your head" thing right on the money.
 

Gyakuto

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I'm getting a strong Terry Silver vibe from this thought. I just watched two seasons of him mindbending Daniel Laruso, his wife, and schools of underage kids. Dark; could have been a lot darker.

This season of Cobra Kai really touched on this "power balance dynamic" thing in a good way that narrowly avoided the romantic stuff, but definitely got the "evil sensei is in your head" thing right on the money.
That sounds a bit sophisticated for a Cobra Kai storyline!
 
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Anarax

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I think the biggest thing is if there was a relationship in advance. Not necessarily a romantic relationship, but if both of you are friends before the student starts, then your relationship is not that of a normal instructor/student, and I see no ethical issues. Also, if the (romantic) relationship forms after you are no longer instructor/student (either one person left, or the ranks/position have evened out), that's questionable, but would lean towards ethical IMO as well. Also, if the student (or instructor) quits before or when it becomes romantic, that would be ethical as well.

If you met as an instructor, and that is the only relationship the two people have before forming a romantic one, and it continues after the dating starts, then yes it would be unethical. I won't make the blanket statement that it's immoral, but in terms of ethics, ie: the rules, unwritten or otherwise, about how the person in a professional capacity should behave, then yes.
I agree with this perspective. It's something I've never had to deal with myself, but I've seen it happen at previous schools. Favoritism in the dojo seems to be an insidious element when it comes to these instructor/student relationships as well. Accelerated promotions, inconsistent standards, premature delegation of dojo/teaching responsibilities, etc. I also agree that it's risky and is definitely questionable to say the least.
 

Gyakuto

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I agree with this perspective. It's something I've never had to deal with myself, but I've seen it happen at previous schools. Favoritism in the dojo seems to be an insidious element when it comes to these instructor/student relationships as well. Accelerated promotions, inconsistent standards, premature delegation of dojo/teaching responsibilities, etc. I also agree that it's risky and is definitely questionable to say the least.
Favouritism (or otherwise) is why dojo teachers should not grade/promote their own students!
 

Oily Dragon

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That sounds a bit sophisticated for a Cobra Kai storyline!
I thought it was interesting how Silver's rank/lineage are totally legit, but he's still a manipulating fraudulent slimeball criminal. No spoilers but yes it's Hollywood, he won't get away with it thanks to those meddling kids...

The martial arts world definitely has no shortage of those. And I wonder sometimes which are actually, worse the faked black belts, or the black belt fakes.
 

Gyakuto

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I thought it was interesting how Silver's rank/lineage are totally legit, but he's still a manipulating fraudulent slimeball criminal. No spoilers but yes it's Hollywood, he won't get away with it thanks to those meddling kids...

The martial arts world definitely has no shortage of those. And I wonder sometimes which are actually, worse the faked black belts, or the black belt fakes.
I have no idea what youre talking about
 

Oily Dragon

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I have no idea what youre talking about
Oh! It's actually a great show, but the current big bad for 2 seasons has been Terry Silver from Karate Kid III. The quintessential rich evil sensei (with annoying ponytail) who manipulates his minor students into becoming thugs, while trying to build a massive, corrupt MA franchise all over California and then the world.

And only Daniel Laruso and Johnny from Karate Kid 1 and their dorky little band of karate students can stop him.

The show picks apart a lot of long standing karate and even Tang Soo Do tropes and lots of inside jokes. It's got a lot of teen drama, but also some great acting on the adult side.
 
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