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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.
I have had the opportunity - many times - over the years to field inquiries about practice at my dojo. Generally, they are the same sorts of inquiries: How much? How often can I practice? Do I need a gi in order to start training? And so on. Usually, the inquiries are brief, to the point, and involve only one or two exchanges.
Frequently, a potential student will make initial inquiries, establish a time at which they intend to come to the dojo, and then not show up. Okay. Happens a lot. No big deal. But then there is a new e-mail from the absent, wanna-be aikidoka; one that apologizes for not coming and expresses a deep desire to want to show up for practice soon. Time passes and this would-be student still doesn't appear. In his place, however, another e-mail appears. It contains more apologies and new proclamations of intent to train. Nonetheless, he remains absent.
I've often tried to make sense of such people. Probably, I shouldn't bother. It just seems so odd to me, though, to go through such a lot of apologizing and promising for nothing. Usually, people come to watch a class, realize they don't want to do it, lie to my face about how they thought what they'd seen was "neat" or "impressive," even ask how to join, and I never see them again. I don't much care for the polite lying, but I do prefer this approach to the protracted one I've described above.
Anyway, can I encourage anyone who is reading this and considering joining a dojo to not make overtures toward a dojo until you are certain you can and will follow through (should the dojo be what you're looking for)? On behalf of all dojo instructors, I thank you for doing so. Oh, and if you should find the dojo not to your liking, please don't lie and say it is. Its usually the poorest liars who do this, so its easy to tell. Thanks.