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I teach Aikido at a small dojo in Winnipeg, Canada. Been doing so for many years now. This blog is just a collection of ruminations on teaching, descriptions of the events of daily practice, and the occasional funny story.
Attendance has been ebbing these days rather than flowing. The upside of this is that I can give much more concentrated attention to the few who show up, which I think they appreciate. The downside is that it kinda' takes the wind out of my sails to have been running a dojo for so long and still find myself clawing and scraping for students.
Speaking of which, I have had some very odd would-be students at my dojo. One fellow, for example, showed up, watched a class and then began to query me enthusiastically about training. After I had answered his many questions, he then says, "Oh, actually, I should tell you that I've had torn retinas and can't bump my head or jar my body. If I do, they might tear again and then I'd be blind." I remember staring at him and thinking, "Well what in the world are you doing here?!" I mean, really, does a fingerless person take up typing? Does a blind person take up photography? Needless to say, the fellow never joined the dojo.
This keeps happening, though. I've had people with bad backs observe class and then explain that they'd like to train but they can't twist their torso, or bend their back, and falling is absolutely out of the question. I wonder if these same folk think deaf people should tune pianos?
There are also those people who ask, "What if I can only train once a week or maybe only a couple of times a month? Is that okay?" I always tell them "Sure, if you don't mind seeing people who start years after you, but who train three or four times a week, outrank you within a year or so. Oh, and the fee is still $60.00 a month no matter how little you train." Remarks like these usually dissuade the half-hearted and the too-busy prospective students, which suits me fine since it frees me from having a dojo full of perennial newbies.
Do I sound a little cranky? Meh, maybe I need more time in the sunshine...