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Peter Boylan
04-30-2015, 09:10 AM
I was thinking about what goes into a good dojo, what kind of atmosphere and training. I decided that a good dojo isn't quite comfortable. I wrote my thoughts out in this blog.

http://budobum.blogspot.com/2015/04/a-good-dojo-isnt-comfortable-place.html

What do you think is required for a good dojo?

nikyu62
04-30-2015, 11:08 AM
Well written article with excellent points.

Shadowfax
04-30-2015, 02:14 PM
Excellent article. I really enjoyed this one. My teachers often say that the dojo is a laboratory. A safe place to explore topics that are often difficult and uncomfortable or to face up to things about ourselves that we would rather not know or admit. I know I have been far out of my own comfort zone many times and have come out better for it. :)

Susan Dalton
04-30-2015, 05:09 PM
I really enjoyed this article, Peter. Isn't that what budo is all about, working on becoming a better human being?

Rupert Atkinson
04-30-2015, 06:04 PM
Good article. I have 'started' so many things in my time and that beginning phase is often the most difficult. The #1 problem for beginners in anything is managing to survive the initial period. What keeps me going is the incredible learning curve when learning new things - I love it. But many find it to be too much and go through life starting and quitting many things too soon. It is a fascinating process - both the positive and the negative. Staying power is very important: Temperance. Good article. Makes you think.

Mark Uttech
05-03-2015, 04:32 AM
Onegaishimasu, when a person looks for a dojo comfort does matter. My two cents.
In gassho,
Mark

lbb
05-04-2015, 08:07 AM
I liked the essay, but I think it could have been two or three different (but related) essays, perhaps to better effect.

Janet Rosen
05-04-2015, 09:47 AM
Onegaishimasu, when a person looks for a dojo comfort does matter. My two cents.
In gassho,
Mark

Comfort or trust, in this context?
One needs to have a basic comfort/trust level in the instructor/students/dojo culture in order to accept having one's buttons pushed to and then past the baseline comfortable-with-self level needed in order to improve.

jonreading
05-04-2015, 10:28 AM
I've been resisting the urge to post, but I think the topic is interesting.

First, I would argue that many people who train aikido do so because the dojo is comfortable. We are looking for a place where we can dress up and pretend to do things to each other within a micro-environment of fantasy. While we don't want to admit that point, I think Nick Lowery said it best, "90% of the people who train pay for the 10% who are serious in their training."

Second, not everyone wants to change. I've posted before about students who possess an expectation that differs from their actions. I think you have a big assumption that people who train are using the dojo to catalyze change.

Dennis Hooker Sensei used to joke, "if you don't get injured a couple times a year, you're not training [hard enough]." He referred to the simple fact that if you are pushing yourself, you will occasionally push too hard. This is not a critique about whether (and how) we push ourselves in our training, only a distinction in who is on the mat. I also don't think sensei's comment was limited to physical injuries.

Martial arts are not for everyone and aikido attracts a lot of people who would otherwise not participate in a martial arts system. I think you could easily differentiate a martial art from a martial education process. The problem is having the conversation with someone that what they are doing is not what they should be doing... Or worse, what they are doing is not what they perceive they are doing...

kewms
05-04-2015, 01:13 PM
Second, not everyone wants to change. I've posted before about students who possess an expectation that differs from their actions. I think you have a big assumption that people who train are using the dojo to catalyze change.

I think pretty much everyone will say, "Yes, of course I want to be a better person." (Or whatever.) But actually changing is difficult. Most people will fight tooth and nail to avoid it, without even realizing that they're doing so.

And so the dojo needs to be comfortable enough that they don't just quit, but uncomfortable enough to nudge personal development along.

Katherine

Cliff Judge
05-04-2015, 04:21 PM
Well a dojo should always be clean and well-lit. Some HVAC may be in order depending on where your dojo is - here in DC I am for heat but I tihnk people should sweat during the summertime.

And a couch and other places to sit are conducive to community-building after class - preferably with beverages.

Peter Boylan
05-11-2015, 01:47 PM
I've been resisting the urge to post, but I think the topic is interesting.

First, I would argue that many people who train aikido do so because the dojo is comfortable. We are looking for a place where we can dress up and pretend to do things to each other within a micro-environment of fantasy. While we don't want to admit that point, I think Nick Lowery said it best, "90% of the people who train pay for the 10% who are serious in their training."

Second, not everyone wants to change. I've posted before about students who possess an expectation that differs from their actions. I think you have a big assumption that people who train are using the dojo to catalyze change.

Dennis Hooker Sensei used to joke, "if you don't get injured a couple times a year, you're not training [hard enough]." He referred to the simple fact that if you are pushing yourself, you will occasionally push too hard. This is not a critique about whether (and how) we push ourselves in our training, only a distinction in who is on the mat. I also don't think sensei's comment was limited to physical injuries.

Martial arts are not for everyone and aikido attracts a lot of people who would otherwise not participate in a martial arts system. I think you could easily differentiate a martial art from a martial education process. The problem is having the conversation with someone that what they are doing is not what they should be doing... Or worse, what they are doing is not what they perceive they are doing...

Jon,

I would agree that people do aikido because the dojo is a comfortable place. Comfortable enough for them to risk trying something very different and very uncomfortable.

A good dojo will provide the support and keep nudging people towards change, even if they are unconsciously resisting it. That's why the dojo has to be uncomfortable. The dojo has to be comfortable enough for people to feel secure about trying things, but uncomfortable enough to keep them working at change.

As for aikido being popular with people who wouldn't otherwise try a martial art, I agree. A friend of mine calls aikido a budo entry drug. I know lots of people in hardcore koryu styles that started their budo journey with aikido.