Friday, April 18, 2008

Homosexuality in the Martial Arts

A few months ago I posted the following on my myspace blog in an attempt to generate a discourse and to see where some of my fellow martial artists stand on this issue:

"I overheard this in a conversation recently, a judo guy was saying how he was very uncomfortable with going to train at his college's judo club after an openly gay man joined. he said he was afarid the gay guy is in it for the wrong reason (the club is apparently 90% male).

As fellow martial artists, what are your thoughts on this? How would you feel if a fellow MA student or Instructor was revealed to be homosexual?"

I was surprised, shocked...sometimes disappointed but very pleased with the repsonses (especially the number of them). A generalized answer I tended to recieve was "I would have a problem with it, especially when practicing (insert name of grappling art here)". To the rather juvenile "That would freak me out!." My response is...That's your problem not theirs. So you need to get over it. Automatically assuming that a gay person is there to pick up on a member of the same sex is the same as assuming men only go to schools that also train women so they might get to feel some boobie during sparring or randori. May happen from time to time but that tends to be exception rather than the norm.

Here are some quotes of reponses I have recieved. I have not edited them for content or grammer...or spelling. Quotes are in Italics and my less-than-humble-opinion is in red.

"Personally I'd rather train with an openly gay man than closet cases. (Don't worry I'm not naming any names) Well as long as he does not come to sparring class wearing a dress" Unless you have to wear one of those Hakima things.

"while i have not (to my knowledge) grappled with a gay man (Bet you have) i don't think it would be a problem for me. as long as he wants to train and does not have other motives what's the big deal? hell i grapple with girls and i am able to control mself perfectly fine, why would a gay guy be any different? also i am rather sure that as much as we would all like to belive otherwise most of us are not greek gods who inspire lust and prolly are in no way attractive to your average gay man." Speak for yourself...I'd be more offended if they didn't. I'm one sexy bitch.

This is one of my personal favorites. "I've heard this debate time and time again. My opinion has always been, "Grow up and get the fuck over it". Chances are more than pretty good that you have already trained with a gay person...and you ain't caught the gay yet. I've had gay students, assisstants and instructors. At no time was I afraid the scary gay person."

"Personally, I don't care if he's gay... as long as I don't SEE it
physically in class. If it makes any of the men uncomfortable, I
would make an effort to pair him with a female partner.
If he is "flaming" and that causes disruptions in the class, that's a
different story. I have to question what I would do.
As we all know.. there are many more gays and pedofiles out there
than we are aware of... most are careful to hide their desires..
THOSE are the ones I'm afraid of."
This guy is just an idiot. Gay does not equal pedophile. I wonder why this guy is affraid of closeted gays but he refused to respond to my queries?

We don't have problems teaching gays (if we have one ) in our Karate & Aikido class, but for Judo and BJJ its off-limit for the 3rd sex. It's not that we discriminate them, (Actually thats exactly what you're doing) it's just that the game has too much body contact and students tends to isolate themselves with the 3rd sex and we don't want isolations in our class. So to avoid problems like these it's better that we set some few rules...not offense..." I'm waiting for a translation for that last part. And an answer to the question I replied with "So do you allow males and females to train together in your grappling classes?"

"I also know that when you
teach BBJ, and other close quater self defense systems, and a student
finds out another is gay, and it gets around, you start to loose
(Not necesarily) So, it goes back to the don't ask, don't tell.
Now for those who do not llike that I am sorry, but to me if a
teacher decideds not to teach gays, that is their choice."
Just like it is my choice to avoid their school, not spend money with their sponsers etc.

Pretty broad responses. I actually had to deal with this issue when I owned a school. One of my studentswas openly gay (he did't flaunt it but he's somewhat effeminate...3 guesses why he wanted self dense training). Another of my students came to me insisting that I throw out student A, citing everything from student's safety to religion. Students A had never caused me any problems and was possibly one of the most promising students I had. Student B was being disruptive, rude and abrasive to everyone...including me. After several warnings and discussions with him... had no choice but to remove Student B from my school.

I realize my veiw may differ from others and on the whole I respect others views but I can never seem to get behind the persecution of a group of people based on something that really isn't anyones business.

(ducking and covering)

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