[h1]A Blight on the World of BJJ and Martial Arts[/h1]
It used to be that any relationship beyond that of student/teacher was forbidden in martial arts academies, schools, dojos. This traditional posture was to not only teach restraint, but place a check on the power instructors and masters had on their students. Such relationships can be easily forged when starry eyed students are overwhelmed by the presence and ability of their instructors.
As instructors learn to teach they find that not only their words, but their presence has power with those around them, especially those they instruct. Younger and immature students can become fixated on their instructors and see them as more than man/woman. And that is great responsibility for the instructor, to manage that relationship to attain the best for their student without regard for their self-interest.
Recently we posted an article on Choosing the “right” Jiu Jitsu academy. What to look for, questions to ask, etc.. One note though – go with your gut. Predators are just that. They look for ways to make you trust them and get access, so be careful as you would with a pre-school, private school or sports coach. And as always it starts with parents and talking to your kids about appropriate relationships and their age. The article below is an unfortunate and sometimes rare occurrence.
As reported by the Ottawa Sun and Ottawa Citizen:
A 27-year-old jiu-jitsu instructor was arrested Tuesday night and is facing sex-assault charges after a police probe into an inappropriate sexual relationship with a female student under 16 years of age, Ottawa police said.
In a news release, police said Udiyan Vigneswaren had been charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching, and had appeared in court on Wednesday afternoon.
Vigneswaren teaches two classes a week at Therien Jiu-Jitsu & Kickboxing. The classes he teaches are Tuesday nights and Saturday afternoons, and are for children 13 and older.Vigneswaren became an instructor at the school a little more than three years ago.
The article continues to read “how great the guy is..” , but the school leaders did the right thing, they contacted the police and child services.
[h1]So What Can Change?[/h1]
It’s not about changing the environment as much as it is about educating parents, students and schools. When we all know what is acceptable / appropriate and what is not, then change begins to happen.
The challenge is for schools to report these incidents is tough, students loose confidence, culture is affected, attendance drops and they could even close. A stigma is attached that may be hard to shake.