#metooaikido posts a question each week on our Facebook page to elicit discussion about various aspects of inequities in the aikido community and how best to address them. We have received excellent responses to these questions with many thought-provoking ideas and personal experiences. If you would like to read or participate in these discussions, click on the dates to see them on our Facebook page.
Have you had a conflict or some kind of difficulty at your dojo that you addressed and that had a good outcome? What happened and how was it resolved?
During the pandemic when we couldn’t train there have been a lot of public conversations about aikido, including on this #MeTooAikido page. Now that we are training again, how has this affected your perception of aikido culture? Have you changed how you deal with difficult interactions on the mat or troubling things you see in the structure of your dojo?
Have you ever felt conflicted between your loyalty to your teacher or senior and a sense that your boundaries were not being respected? If you didn’t address the issue, what prevented you from doing so?
How has #MeTooAikido impacted you? Have you made any changes?
Despite recent concerns, do you continue to draw strength and healing from the traditions of Aikido?
Some women who see the barriers that exist for them in Aikido think there isn’t any possibility for change. How do we communicate with them so they don't become enablers of the status quo?
How do we get men to fully understand and care about the barriers that women experience in aikido.? What will it take for men to want to participate in the change?
Is there any Aikido organization that could be considered a role model in creating a safe and inclusive place to train?
Have you seen someone in a precarious situation who clearly didn't know how to handle it? What did you do and what was the result?
Have you been in a situation when some comment required that you take a "side"? i.e. homophobic comments that required that you either laugh with the group, stay silent, or call it out? Do you respond differently in the dojo? And have you taken or failed to take a side and regretted it?
Only about 16% of Aikido students are women. Do you think sexual harassment and abuse play a role in this?
How have social gatherings in Aikido affected your experience of training? Has drinking or pressure to drink factored into this?
Are we "preaching to the choir?" How do we "call people in" instead of "calling them out"?
We all grow. Have you done anything in the past in Aikido you regret or wouldn't do now?
How far into your training were you when you first felt comfortable saying no to training with someone who you felt unsafe with?
How have injuries been responded to where you’ve trained? Accident reports? Reprimands?
Have you ever raised a safety concern with a teacher or senior and been told that you were being disrespectful for speaking up?
Have you seen DARVO* used against victims of sexual abuse and harassment in Aikido?
*DARVO refers to a reaction perpetrators of wrong doing, particularly sexual offenders, may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior. DARVO stands for "Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender." The perpetrator or offender may Deny the behavior, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim role and turns the true victim -- or the whistle blower -- into an alleged offender.
How do we obtain consent to physically interact with each other on the mat? Where, when and how do we know the boundaries of that consent?
Is it harder to approach a senior student about something they did that made you uncomfortable than to approach a junior student?
Can you talk openly with instructors and students about controversial subjects that have come out in our community recently?
Some senseis are revered but also act in a deeply flawed way. How do you think we should reconcile this?
Have you ever heard anything in an aikido "locker room" that felt inappropriate?
Have you ever bragged about or heard others brag about training with an injury? Is there cultural pressure to do so or is it a form of self-harm?
Do you feel both honored and a little afraid when your teacher approaches you to give corrections, or to use you for ukemi?
What etiquette did you learn when you started aikido that facilitated dojo culture and learning but didn't serve you well later? Did you ever try to breach that etiquette?
Have you ever said no to training with someone who made you feel unsafe on the mat? How could you do this if you felt you couldn't just say no?
If someone came to you and told you they were assaulted by someone in your dojo, what would you do? Have you been put in a position like this?
Have you ever done anything in aikido you look back on and realize wasn't appropriate? What made you realize it?
Do you feel it is appropriate for an instructor to touch a student to give "correction" without their explicit consent?
What is one thing you realized you normalized in aikido that you shouldn’t have and that you are working on personally?
Have you found any resources that were helpful in understanding how to prevent or change the aspects of Aikido culture which may contribute to abuse?
What is an issue you feel strongly about that you think the Aikido community has failed to address?
What do you think contributes to the abuse in Aikido?
What was a situation that you realize now was inappropriate in the dojo, at a seminar, with an instructor, or another dojo member? What would you have done differently?
Why #metooaikido when there’s already #metoo? How does addressing these issues affect the aikido community?
Digging deep, do you feel that you have people who would support you in your dojo if something happened to you? Would they do it publicly?
Have you ever turned a blind eye to a situation you knew wasn’t okay? How do you feel about it now?
Do you think this #metooaikido story is an isolated incident or are there more stories that have never been told?