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conrad665
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Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Posts: 158

Styles: Shotokan Karate, Ashihara Karate, Judo, Iaido

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:04 am    Post subject: Choosing a student Reply with quote

Hi, I am thinking over something these days. I wonder if an instructor has the right to accept or reject people who they will teach. I mean, of course if a person is not suited to the dojo (extreme cases), they can be dismissed. But what if they did not do such a thing but their point of view differs from the instructor? Can an instructor choose who they want or do not want to teach?

There is someone I know who has spent years in martial arts and is an instructor in his own dojo. This guy has started our classes, and told things that may be considered 'inappropriate' but any newbie would say, such as 'I would love to learn how to use these techniques on the street' or 'Once I tore someone's jacket with my grip'. Well, these are not the things a mature martial artist should care about, but how many of the practitioners are real philosophers anyway. Then my instructors kind of isolated/dismissed this guy, doing things like removing him from our online communication channels and telling him not to come because training sessions will be private, etc. But they didn't talk to him in person, as far as I know.

This guy has no bad intentions, I think. He is very enthusiastic and diligent, but the attitude of my instructors really confuses me. Maybe it is because he is an experienced martial artist but still bothers himself with street fights and how he can beat someone. I mean, the majority of the newbies start martial artists for the very same reason, only then their attitude changes. I think my instructors judge him a bit too harshly. I think everyone deserves a chance, especially one who really wants to learn martial arts. What do you think?
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mushybees
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Joined: 16 Nov 2014
Posts: 196
Location: UK
Styles: Wado ryu

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen people progress within the dojo who have demonstrated real character flaws. Arrogance, a propensity to show off, a disregard for other people's boundaries being just a few.

I've never seen a change in their character. I've seen them obscure their nature but it's always still been there and has always ended in acrimony.

Some people shouldn't train in the martial arts and people shouldn't feel obligated to teach someone they don't like or aren't comfortable teaching.

With regards to the situation in question I wouldn't presume to know what your instructors know or what motivates their decision making. The culture of a dojo can very easily be derailed and it's the prerogative of the chief instructor to protect what they've created.
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conrad665
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Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Posts: 158

Styles: Shotokan Karate, Ashihara Karate, Judo, Iaido

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mushybees wrote:
I've seen people progress within the dojo who have demonstrated real character flaws. Arrogance, a propensity to show off, a disregard for other people's boundaries being just a few.

I've never seen a change in their character. I've seen them obscure their nature but it's always still been there and has always ended in acrimony.

Some people shouldn't train in the martial arts and people shouldn't feel obligated to teach someone they don't like or aren't comfortable teaching.

With regards to the situation in question I wouldn't presume to know what your instructors know or what motivates their decision making. The culture of a dojo can very easily be derailed and it's the prerogative of the chief instructor to protect what they've created.


mushybees, thank you very much for your reply. I really don't know much about being an instructor and running a dojo, so I am surprised to hear that instructors do not have to accept people they don't like. I always thought the other way, I mean I always thought a dojo should be open to anyone interested in the art.

It is sensible not to share knowledge with someone that does not deserve it, but I feel like the instructors should choose to at least try to make a difference. If such people cause problems in the dojo and it seems there is no improvement, the instructors must be able to handle the situation accordingly, maybe explaining them how they are not suited to the dojo.

What could be said in such a situation? Would you care about the feelings of that person, or just say that they are unfit for the dojo and dismiss them? Or would you warn them before in some way?
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mushybees
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Joined: 16 Nov 2014
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Location: UK
Styles: Wado ryu

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To clarify, I don't personally run a dojo. I'm just a student and answering from a student's perpective.
When a disruptive influence joins a dojo discord can spread like wildfire. I've seen it happen and it puts instructors in a very difficult situation.

Desiring to help people overcome their character flaws is commendable but some people's problems run too deep and are sometimes potentially dangerous.
I would prefer an instructor acts in the interests of his/her student body and their wellbeing rather than trying to save every lost soul.

Also I know of incidences where a student has shown worrying behaviour and the instructor has dealt with it very discreetly. You may not necessarily know what has been said or why.
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JR 137
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Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2331
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don’t think a dojo should be looked at any differently that any other small business. My father owns an auto repair shop. He invested his own money into it. He’s never had more than two employees under him.

He should be able to pick and choose who he does business with. If he wants to, be should be able to put up a sign saying “whites only” “men only” or anything else like that. Why? It’s his business and his investment. If he chooses to turn people down, it’ll catch up with him. Financially and socially. He’ll suffer the consequences. He’s not getting government funding. If a lending institution doesn’t agree with his policies, they don’t have to give him a dime.

For the record, my father doesn’t have any racist nor sexist policies. Nor is he a racist. It’s just an extreme example.

A dojo owner should be able to turn down anyone they choose. For whatever reason they choose. If the owner gets out of line with this, people will leave and/or stop coming. Simple as that. We don’t really need a whole philosophical debate as to the nature of why or why not, do we?

And if a dojo owner is smart, they’ll get rid of the problem causers. Philosophical opinions aside, it’s simply not good for business. Why keep people around who are going to drive out others?
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sensei8
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14265
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a dojo owner, I reserve the right to refuse service to anyone!! HOWEVER,

"Under federal anti-discrimination laws, businesses can refuse service to any person for any reason, unless the business is discriminating against a protected class. At the national level, protected classes include: Race or color. National origin or citizenship status."

My business...my dojo...my rules, AND I owe NO ONE any explanation for my decision whatsoever!!



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conrad665
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Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Posts: 158

Styles: Shotokan Karate, Ashihara Karate, Judo, Iaido

PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for all your replies. They helped clarify the issue in my head and the possible point of view of my instructors better. I prefer not to think a dojo as a business right now, maybe I can understand how things should be run when I have my own dojo one day. Problem solvers should immediately be dismissed, but besides that, turning down people does not seem like something I can do easily.
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DWx
KF Sensei
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Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6118
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this depends on jurisdiction. In the UK I can refuse to teach someone but only if it isn't discrimination. So I can refuse to teach someone who disrupts the class intentionally but I can't refuse to teach someone because of their race or ethnicity or because they have a disability (unless that disability means that it would be unsafe for them to participate).
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