Thread: Rules on Fraternization
06-07-2004, 13:35 #1McGrendelGuest
Rules on Fraternization
Here's a question for those of you that have your own schools. What (if any) rules do you have concerning fraternization between instructors and students, instructors and other instructors, and students with other students and why do you have them in place?
Now by fraternization I am not talking about dating or anything deeper than friendship. ( Personally I would not consider an instructor slipping a student their number during class or two students making out in the corner a good thing for any school.) My question pertains to a close group dynamic and support of your fellow students and instructors both within and out of the school.
Fraternization = To associate with others in a brotherly or congenial way. (Sometimes against orders when dealing with military terms and whatnot)
Here is a little history on why I would like to know everyone's opinion on this. My martial arts background started on the southern east coast with several different schools. Some were good, some were bad, but in either case no one batted an eye if students hung out together outside of class and it was not uncommon and actually in some cases encouraged to have instructors occasionally join in. Dating of students was forbidden but beyond that individuals could form friendships as they wished. After we moved to the West Coast and I joined a more traditional Chinese school I was introduced to a very different policy that was strictly enforced. Fraternization of any sort outside of the school or school functions was strictly forbidden for instructors as well as students and on site interactions were encouraged to remain limited and "not too personal". The policy was put in place primarily to follow tradition and to encourage all students to concentrate on their studies instead of goofing about and to discourage any "clicks" and favoritism. I acclimated to this policy out of respect for my school and my instructors but this was a bit of a shocker for me coming from a more laid back atmosphere and I have to admit that while my training did go by faster for each lesson and I was probably more focused (If you have read my other posts you will have noticed I tend to be a smartass. I am serious when I need to be but I like making everything I can as entertaining as possible while still getting the job done) I did miss the friendships that I used to form regularly at my older schools. (I.E. I could go out with the guys after sparring to wind down and B.S. or I could buy my instructor a beer and hear some of his war stories or hard lessons in teaching.) I also admit that a large part of my difficulty with acclimating had to do with my Southern upbringing in a small town where hospitality and friendliness was a requirement. I would like to hear your opinions if anyone would care to comment and share any stories pertaining to the subject.
06-07-2004, 15:40 #2
Originally Posted by McGrendel
No problems with "fraternization" that I have seen.
We are a close knit bunch of people that enjoy training together, enjoy meeting new people and enjoy each others company both on an off the mat.
I know I would not survive in a traditional type setting, I am way too much of a smart a** for that type of schoolLisa Deneka
06-07-2004, 16:14 #3
Fraternisation of any sort outside of the school or school functions was strictly forbidden for instructors as well as students and on site interactions were encouraged to remain limited and "not too personal". The policy was put in place primarily to follow tradition and to encourage all students to concentrate on their studies instead of goofing about and to discourage any "clicks" and favouritism.
Our students all train together and we socialise together and some of them meet up with each other to train or just to do lunch, our classes as a result are friendly and welcoming with new people pulled into the group straight away. Some of the students have arrived as a direct result of their friends already training.....so do you think I am going to turn round to them and say...well I don't care if you've known each other for 20 years....no fratinising.......pulease!
We are all off out for a meal this week........there will be no talk of martial arts...and lots of laughter.....we have a bond that is based on people working hard and playing hard....together
Mandeighwhat is strength without a double share of wisdom? - Milton
You will be amazed what comes from your heart when you make a little effort with your head. - Brahma Kumaris
06-07-2004, 17:52 #4
O.k. I don't own my own school, but I had to write this. Is it just me, or does this seem completely unnatural to anyone else? The people I study with are what I consider some of my best friends, the common bonds we have go a little bit deeper than most friendships. We train together, have barbeques, go out for dinner, etc..And why not? After all these people know you in ways that maybe even your significant other doesn't know you,right?
They have seen you at your absolute best, and your absolute worst, they have stuck out the injuries, the late night practices getting ready for a demo or competition, they have tested for rank with you, hurt with you and sometimes even bled with you. Asking someone not to be friends after going through all of that and more together is just wrong!
My 2 cents.
06-07-2004, 21:41 #5
Originally Posted by Paul BMich
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
06-07-2004, 22:19 #6
Yes, I understand what you mean, but I think the decision is ultimately up to you, not to anybody else, and believe me, I know how dangerous miscommunication can be with other people who don't quite understand the concept, but again I don't think that it's the Teacher's/Organizations place to say who/when/where. Maybe in their native country that's how it's done but there needs to be some room for assimilation. I don't know why this particular post got to me, so please forgive me if I seem riled, I'm really not,just taken aback I guess.It just seems a little too controlling for my taste.
06-07-2004, 22:24 #7
There is a balance, although I agree that the "traditional Chinese school" went way overboard.
I went to one school with my then-wife; we were told that we should avoid training with each other on the floor. Their rationale was that we'd either be too soft or too hard on one another; our relationship would interfere with us being good training partners for each other. Which is true enough as far as it goes-- events in our personal lives might bleed over onto the floor, which would cheapen the training for both of us.
But that is far and away different than being absolutely forbidden to train at the same school. Yes, if you're in a close personal relationship, you shouldn't let it interfere with the quality of your training. But beyond that, I can't see why it should be forbidden.
As for instructors... AFAIK, some instructors like to be thought of as "one of the boys" and others prefer to remain much more aloof. That's all a personal preference, though. It will affect student-student relationships, as the ones who prefer aloofness will encourage their student-instructors to maintain a professional distance. I guess I set the standard at "Professionalism"-- we're paying our instructors for a service, which makes them professionals. They should act accordingly.Tony Young
"First they came for the Communists, and I didnít speak up, because I wasnít a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didnít speak up, because I wasnít a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didnít speak up, because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me."
by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945
06-07-2004, 22:25 #8
Don't get me wrong, I completely agree with you that making a rule one way or the other goes beyond this. It's an individual decision. I guess I'm guilty of thread hijacking. Although I stayed on the topic, I didn't address the original question of whether there should be a rule, just discussed the feelings of different parties that may be affected by the situation. This thread got to me also because I know how difficult it can be to assimilate the two ends and I saw an opportunity to vent. As far as there being a rule, no I don't think it's anyone's place to make a rule about it.
Last edited by tkdcanada; 06-07-2004 at 22:28.Mich
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
06-07-2004, 22:42 #9
I have to admit I have never heard of these type of "rules" before, I can completely understand the need for "professionalism" coming from an Instructor/Assistant Instructor position ,as one would be a role model,so to speak, but as far as student/student relationships go,I find that they are actually motivational in nature,more so than anything else, I admit I'm left scratching my head over the rational behind this train of thought. Anyway, no offense taken, and I hope none given.
06-07-2004, 22:51 #10
Any time we step onto the mat with our fellow students/training partners we share a mutual responsibility for our lives/safety. It is natural for these bonds to extend outside of the dojo.
The nature and extent of these relationships will be shaped by the quality of our character, and our understanding of real budo.Sean P. Tracy
06-08-2004, 12:56 #11McGrendelGuest
I was not expecting to cause such a ruckus but I should have from such a dedicated group. I guess that's part of the reason I have taken to this forum so much because I miss these conversations at my school. As for the reasoning behind the policy I should provide more of an explanation (and some pluses I have noticed since nobody else seems to have anything like this in place). Several of you have already touched on some of the primary reasons. Professionalism, dedication to study, and avoiding clicks which are difficult for others to join in, are all partly behind the reasoning. I can honestly say on the plus side for this policy I have never seen a wider group of individuals coming from different backgrounds and social casts training so successfully under one roof. Mutual respect is one of the highest requirements of the school and having this policy in place has removed a lot of social complications. From the traditional perspective part of the reasoning comes from the initial trials for admission to the shoalin temples. Prospective students who made the journey to certain temples for admission were forbidden to speak for a year to allow them the focus to listen and learn. The policy on fraternization is partially a toned down reference of respect to this commitment. Let me also point out that while the policy is strictly enforced with instructors it is only requested of students. I doubt if I was to go have a few beers with some of my fellow students and I was seen by an instructor that I would ever hear about it and there would be no discipline involved for any of us. The choice is primarily left up to the student for outside of the school although we are asked to respect the school's policy. ( I have quite a bit of respect for my sifu and all the instructors so I chose to comply.) I can also say that we do not have a lot of time stealers at the school. When you go to class and prepare yourself you can jump right in and get to work. You will never be caught up in a conversation with someone who would rather sit around and talk about the weather that train which is what you are there to do. I have had this happen on two occassions in two years where a new student was just being friendly but I had places to be and I was actually saved by an instructor both times (and very smoothly I might add, sifu is big on people skills in his instructors) before I had to be short with the individual and excuse myself. I have also never had an instructor late to my lessons. You are greeted, they ask about your health and mental state, ask you if you are injured in any way that might affect training, and then you are down to business. After the lesson they ask you if you have any questions. They may chat with you for a moment about upcoming events then the lesson ends promptly and they are on to their next task. There are pros and cons that I have seen from this but I am suprised that no one else seems to have a simliar policy at their school so far.
No offense taken by the way and tangents are perfectly fine. I am enjoying everyone's input.
06-08-2004, 21:42 #12
I don't have my own school, but the last school I attended it was like a family. At the begning of class everyone joke and talked but when we bowed in it was all business. At the end of class some of us would go out and eat. Anyone was welcome. We had discussions a lot like those here at budoseek. Outside of class a lot of us stayed in contact. A bunch of us helped a fellow student move, he didn't have to ask we volunteered. I've run into people I've not seen in months or years and it is like I saw them yesterday.
My instructors showed that they where human outside of class but it was understood that during class they were teaching. And were shown the proper respect.
I'm an adult and can pick my own friends."By some terrible legerdemain he suddenly dislocates a shoulder, unhinges a joint, burst a tendon, or snaps a bone - without any apparent effort.He is much more than an athlete:he is an anatomist."
"Jiujutsu" by Lafcadio Hearn
06-22-2004, 01:12 #13
Thought Id quickly reply...
As far as favoritism and clicks, I say treat others as you would have them treat you. When I got to my school I recognized the clicks or bonds that were present after a few months. And, after those few months if other students see that you treat everyone the same with mutal respect, moving in to the clicks should NOT be a thought or an issue. Those at my school saw that I was respectful and fortunately, I found they were as well and there was mutual acceptance.
When it comes down to Fraternizing from an instructor point of view(even though Im not), they have to keep in mind they are offering a service which is sometimes based on a similiar principle of doing business - 'customer is always right'. Sorry, if you are charging a fee for your instruction I feel the customer has the say in whether or not they choose to fraternize or not. Correct me if Im wrong, but in some situations Chinese culture and teachings were a benefit along with room and board for hard or regular labor. If I was to travel to China or Japan for X amount of time and a kind citizen offered me room, board, and MA instruction for labor then I would expect strict standards of practice. Not sure if that makes sense, just my way of thinking on the issue.
Last edited by JujitsuFreak; 06-22-2004 at 01:15.Gravity, more than a good idea, it's the law!
Lead, Follow, or Get the Hell out of the Way!
06-26-2004, 20:20 #14
Well i'm part of a small club with teachers who are only a few years older than the members or younger in some cases, so being friendly is only natural.
But i do find that occassionally cliques do develop, and people seem to get high-horsey if they are correcting people.
And, after those few months if other students see that you treat everyone the same with mutal respect, moving in to the clicks should NOT be a thought or an issue.
06-26-2004, 21:05 #15
Yes, I do think it is unecessary also, but having seen/experianced this type of "clique" phenomenon before, it is usually from the people who have studied together the longest, and are wary to newcomers due to the high turnover rate at most commercial schools, so it's kind of a "feeling out" period, in which they are waiting to see if your going to stick around, and be a dedicated student,or leave in a couple weeks/months, so please do not take it personally,it's just one of those "Human Nature" things. Is it unfair? Yes, but not unwarrented.I'm sure that once they see what a dedicated student you are, you won't feel the "cold shoulder" as much. I myself try to refrain from acting this way,but every once in a while I see it happen, and try to remind myself and others that we are all here for the same reason..to learn. Happy Training!!
Paul Bladen--Midwest Hapkido Group--Hanminjok Hapkido
06-27-2004, 16:52 #16The NephilimGuest
I agree with all that has been said about the "you can not have a relationship outside the school" thing. It seems silly. You see these guys every other day and you can not speak to them, go drinking ETC Rather train elsewhere if that was the case.
The reason I started to do MA was for self protection and meet people. In all MA, you get close to the people you are with. A common bond appears. This is long lasting, more often for life. But why stop students from having a life away from the school with other students?
06-27-2004, 19:29 #17
An instructor can control what happens durring class.
If an instructor starts trying to control any aspect of your personal life outside of class you really should consider running away as fast as you can...
Some prefer a strict class, some prefer a relaxed class. But that is the extent of where ther preferance carries any weight...