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Grant
05-02-2017, 04:44 PM
Hello Aiki Hive,

I'm looking to do some targeted marketing and I'm trying to find out what the demographics are of people who start up Aikido. Does anyone know where I could get that information? Have any of you done an informal survey at your dojo?

Your input would be greatly appreciated.

robin_jet_alt
05-02-2017, 05:10 PM
I think you will find that the demographics of the dojo broadly reflect the demographics in the area in which the dojo is located.

Grant
05-03-2017, 10:13 AM
From an informal survey at one of the local dojos, the number of professionals, ie: teachers, health care workers, psychologists and the like is very high. Is there a trend? Has anybody else done this kind of a survey?

lbb
05-04-2017, 07:06 AM
I'm with Robin, it's going to reflect the local community. The real question is, what are you marketing and to whom? If you're looking for new students, you might do better to describe your local community and have people suggest ways that those demographics might be marketed to.

Hilary
05-04-2017, 10:35 AM
So rather than answer the question asked, we will sit here and predict what we think the answer will be. How helpful, how knowledgeable, and is exactly the attitude often espoused here.

We are small - physicist, engineer, psychologist, retired technician, retired sales manager, proofreader, a few multi-career types. These days, mostly 50+, male (sad to say our females had kids or died), 2 Asian Americans, the rest of us are lily white.

Grant
05-04-2017, 01:03 PM
Thank you Hilary,
This is the type of answer I am looking for. I am trying to do more targeted marketing. If I can understand more about who is attracted to practicing Aikido. I believe my marketing would be more effective.

Mary Eastland
05-04-2017, 01:42 PM
All together we are about 30 people. Mostly white, an even mix of male and female. 2 teenagers. Several of us over 50 years old, a few between 30 and 40. The oldest living member of our dojo is 72 and still practices twice a week. We are in a sparsely populated area. Our town has 6000 people and 2 aikido dojos.

We draw from an area that encompasses about a 75 mile radius.

giriasis
05-04-2017, 03:42 PM
In my current dojo is located on the Space Coast of Florida at Sand Drift Aikikai, which is small, we're almost all white about 15-20 people, four females, age range from 30s-50, but higher ranks are older. We are lawyers, engineers, entrepreneurs, other support type jobs suiting the local industries of engineering (aero-space/aeronautics/engineering/health fields). This is a very politically conservative area. Most here are seriously into the martial aspect of training and learning a martial art for self-defense purposes.

In my prior dojo in South Florida, at Florida Aikikai, the demographic there reflects the region - South Florida. I'd say it's at least a third to a quarter are from the Caribbean, Latin American countries - including Cuba, Argentina, Panama, Venezuela, Mexico. Then the rest is white, with some black (but that also includes Afro-Latino). We've had/have Japanese/Latin back grounds from Peru and Brazil. We also have folks of Japanese/Chinese heritage. We have all religions represented - Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheists, non-affiliated anything, etc. The political views represented are predominantly liberal to progressive, but a strong minority contingent of conservatives exists. We have people training for aikido as martial art/self-defense as much as an art/self-development. Jobs range from business owners (retail and restaurant), attorneys, doctors (dentists, chiropractors), teachers, homemakers, bus driver, students (high school/college). Out of about 100 adults there are about 15 women in the dojo and of those 15, 10 are dan ranks from 1st dan through 6th dan. They have at least 25 dan ranks. Age ranges vary from early twenties to folks in their 70s, but most people in late 30s - 50s. There is a large kids program here, too, and as a result there are a few teens that train. These teens started in the kids program and have advanced into the adults program (there's no kiddie black belts, they just graduate into the adult's program at 5th kyu). Despite all this diversity, we all get along due to our focus on aikido.

I hope that helps.

Grant
05-04-2017, 04:00 PM
Thank you very much for your feedback. This is very helpful. Can we assume that most students, aside from the children and teens, are post secondary graduates?

giriasis
05-05-2017, 12:11 AM
Thank you very much for your feedback. This is very helpful. Can we assume that most students, aside from the children and teens, are post secondary graduates?

Yes, either college or grad school.

robin_jet_alt
05-05-2017, 03:32 AM
So rather than answer the question asked, we will sit here and predict what we think the answer will be. How helpful, how knowledgeable, and is exactly the attitude often espoused here.

We are small - physicist, engineer, psychologist, retired technician, retired sales manager, proofreader, a few multi-career types. These days, mostly 50+, male (sad to say our females had kids or died), 2 Asian Americans, the rest of us are lily white.

Alright. I'll play then. Here are the demographics of the various dojos I've trained at on a regular basis, discounting children...

About 30% university students, 30% academics, 30% white collar workers, and 10% blue collar workers. About 2/3 male. About 90% white.

100% university students. About 3/4 male. About 80% Asian. The other 20% was mostly white.

About 80% blue collar workers and 20% white collar workers. About 3/4 men. 95% Asian.

30% retirees, 40% white collar workers, 20% blue collar workers, 10% university students. 75% Asian, 25% white.

40% white collar, 40% blue collar, 10% students, 10% retirees. 70% white, 30% Asian. About 2/3 men.

Good luck finding a common thread without information about where those dojos are located.

Grant
05-07-2017, 06:12 PM
Good luck finding a common thread without information about where those dojos are located.

Thanks Robin. Can you tell me where those dojos are. One of them seems to be a university club.

robin_jet_alt
05-07-2017, 07:39 PM
Thanks Robin. Can you tell me where those dojos are. One of them seems to be a university club.

In order, they are:
University of Tasmania Aikido Club (Tasmania, Australia)
Nagoya University of Foreign Studies Aikido Club (Nagoya, Japan)
Shirakawa Aikido Dojo (Shirakawa, Fukushima, Japan)
Meiseikai (Tokyo, Japan)
Aikido Yuishinkai Tasmania (Tasmania, Australia)

Even discounting the university clubs as outliers, you can see that the demographics of the club reflect the surrounding region (i.e. more blue collar workers in a rural area, a better mix of ethnicities in Tokyo, than in rural Japan, etc.)

Grant
05-10-2017, 12:03 AM
Thank you for your help Robin

Grant
05-18-2017, 05:10 PM
Has anyone out there done any research on the demographics of Aikido practitioners or know where that sort of information may be available?

Peter Goldsbury
05-18-2017, 07:21 PM
Has anyone out there done any research on the demographics of Aikido practitioners or know where that sort of information may be available?

Hello,

Yours is a wide-ranging question, but I wonder what assumptions you are already making. For example, I am probably one of the few AikiWeb members who is not of US nationality, but who lives in Japan as a permanent resident. If you wanted to market products, such as training suits, hakama, or weapons you would need to compete with the Japanese brands freely available here. The demographics of Hiroshima are probably not so different from that of other large provincial cities with a population of around one million. There are a vast number of dojos & groups with affiliations to various individuals and organizations. The Aikikai has an office in Tokyo and people there speak English.

Best wishes,

Currawong
05-18-2017, 07:36 PM
I agree that local demographics will play the most important role. When I started Aikido it was at a university club where the teacher would have bi-annual beginners' courses. He would talk a lot about Zen and the spiritual aspects, which appealed to many people of that disposition.

Lenny Sly had an interesting comment in one of his interviews about how Aikido tended to appeal to intelligent people, such as doctors and lawyers. It wasn't something I hadn't thought about before. I think also depends on your own focus as a teacher, what aspects you want to emphasize in your training and to what degree, and that will influence the kinds of students you will attract.

Ecosamurai
05-19-2017, 04:47 AM
I think you will find that the demographics of the dojo broadly reflect the demographics in the area in which the dojo is located.

Hope not, I've got four male and one female student. I'm married to the female student :D

robin_jet_alt
05-19-2017, 07:14 AM
Hope not, I've got four male and one female student. I'm married to the female student :D

Good point. I'm gutted that I won't be able to join you at your seminar this year. I hope you have a good time with the guys from our dojo that will be there. I know they are looking forward to it.

lbb
05-19-2017, 08:27 AM
Hope not, I've got four male and one female student. I'm married to the female student :D

This makes a good point: the original question was about "demographics", but it may be that OP was more interested in certain demographics than others?

Where I train, the demographics in adult classes skews slightly female. Overwhelmingly white, as is the area/region. Ages range from 12 to 60+ but most are 30-50. Occupations include farmers, full-time students, construction trades, various professions, a few retail.

Grant
05-19-2017, 11:27 PM
Hello,

Yours is a wide-ranging question, but I wonder what assumptions you are already making.

Thank you for your feedback Goldsbury Sensei. Perhaps I can shed some light into what I am looking for with my question. I just opened a dojo last September. My children's program is very successful, but I would like to increase my adult membership. I live in one of the fastest growing cities in Canada and have opened up the first Aikido club here. The city has a fair amount of diversity for it's size and their isn't really one industry that dominates the economy.

I would like to narrow down what my target market really is. This may be a misconception, but I have the impression that higher educated white collar workers and professionals make up the majority of practitioners in large communities with a diverse economic base.

Has anybody ever studied this or come up with their own conclusions? What segment of the population is more likely to start practicing Aikido as an adult? What are their interests? Does anyone have any successful marketing strategies they would like to share?

I appreciate the input.

Cass
05-20-2017, 05:07 AM
Some estimates of our dojo. Excluding kids classes.

15 or so 50+ years old, 20 at 30-50, 15 at 20-30, 5 15-20

45 males to around 10 women

Predominantly european, with 1 asian practitioner and 1 american.

A lot of the group are business owners, company executives, self-employed, professionals, a few types of therapists (mostly physical, masseurs, PT and the like), creatives (designers, artists, photographers). Many of the younger crowd are studying, often doing first or second degrees, masters etc. (common up until around 30) Blue collar workers are the minority, we have maybe 5 tops. Around 5 more own/run their own dojos as well as attending ours.

Peter Goldsbury
05-20-2017, 07:22 PM
Thank you for your feedback Goldsbury Sensei. Perhaps I can shed some light into what I am looking for with my question. I just opened a dojo last September. My children's program is very successful, but I would like to increase my adult membership. I live in one of the fastest growing cities in Canada and have opened up the first Aikido club here. The city has a fair amount of diversity for it's size and their isn't really one industry that dominates the economy.

I would like to narrow down what my target market really is. This may be a misconception, but I have the impression that higher educated white collar workers and professionals make up the majority of practitioners in large communities with a diverse economic base.

Has anybody ever studied this or come up with their own conclusions? What segment of the population is more likely to start practicing Aikido as an adult? What are their interests? Does anyone have any successful marketing strategies they would like to share?

I appreciate the input.

Hello, Mr Babin

Thank you for your helplful clarifications.

I think your dojo is probably following a trajectory that has been followed ever since the aikido organizations were restarted after World War II.

Consider Canada, for example. When I trained in Cambridge, Mass., in the 1970s, there were always regular visitors from Canada. They came from three main dojos: Toronto, Montreal, and I think the third one was either St John, Newfoundland, or Halifax, Nova Scotia. The man who ran the dojo was named Michael Langford and he often came to train in the Cambridge dojo. Canada was a kind of off-shoot of previously established dojos in the US, but was always trying to maintain a separate existence. The US itself followed a similar trajectory, but much earlier, almost as earlier as Japan, when Koichi Tohei came to Hawaii and Y Yamada to New York. They replicated the general strategy followed by Kisshomaru Ueshiba in Japan, but on a far smaller scale. Kisshomaru targeted specific types of organizations: universities, government organizations, large companies, and a general dojo organization in each of Japan’s 41 prefectures, with a headquarters dojo and smaller branch dojos run by senior students of the local chief instructor. I do not think that the earlier instructors like Tohei and Yamada had the resources to target specific types of organization.

In Japan, this general structure has remained in place and evidence of this is seen every year in May, when the All-Japan Aikido Demonstration takes place in Tokyo at the Nippon Budokan. There are similar demonstrations for students and high school students and a group from my own dojo is planning among other items a demonstration of the 31 kumi-jo kata.

It is interesting that I am chief instructor of two different dojos, which are of quite a different character. The older one I inherited and I run it with a close friend of over 30 years’ standing. I am the fairly well-known figurehead, but I am supported by a vast support group of parents, many of whom train with their own children. This support group is almost entirely Japanese, all higher educated white-collar workers who can send their kids to the better schools in the city.

Since I inherited the leadership of the dojo, the one innovation I made was to teach weapons, right from the very beginning. So, the little kids have their own miniature jo and quickly learn jo suburi and kata. When they get a little older, they also learn to use a bokken and a wooden tanto, and also a real knife. It is always very interesting to see how they following a different learning pattern from their parents. Usually, older and younger siblings train together and the essential play element gradually changes to something more serious as they get older. I have always been a firm believer that aikido should be taught with weapons right from the very beginning and this is how I myself have been taught. Having a weapon in your hand, or the possibility of being seriously attacked with one, sharpens the mind wonderfully.

The second dojo I started from scratch, with two German friends and colleagues, who had previously trained in Europe. Since we were colleagues we opened a dojo together, which was close to the university. We were able to use a junior high school, with a purpose-built dojo, but the dojo membership was not restricted to those connected with the university. We built up the dojo from scratch and after we had been running for six years, we were recognized by the Aikikai here in Japan. We remained members of the local prefecture Aikikai organization, but problems arose and I was given the power to hold my own dan and kyuu examinations, with the ranks awarded by the Aikikai, even for kyuu grades. The second dojo will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary. In the second dojo we also teach weapons from the very beginning, but the lineage is different. The lineage is the Nishio lineage, but my own originated with Saito Morihiro, via the late K Chiba. The focus of the membership of the second dojo is more mainly on individuals and less on families who train together. So, I have a makiwara in my front garden and a small group (families) from the first dojo will arrive soon for some suburi training at the tire.

Best wishes,

MattMiddleton
05-24-2017, 12:21 PM
They came from three main dojos: Toronto, Montreal, and I think the third one was either St John, Newfoundland, or Halifax, Nova Scotia. The man who ran the dojo was named Michael Langford and he often came to train in the Cambridge dojo.

I don't have first-hand knowledge of practice in Cambridge, but I do know that Michael Langford was one of the early instructors at Memorial University Aikido, in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

PeterR
05-24-2017, 03:03 PM
I don't have first-hand knowledge of practice in Cambridge, but I do know that Michael Langford was one of the early instructors at Memorial University Aikido, in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

I did not even know they did Aikido at Newfie U. back in the day. I fenced.

Peter Goldsbury
05-24-2017, 06:56 PM
Hello again, Mr Babin,

Since I had never heard of Squamish until I read your opening post, my curiosity was aroused and I did some research via Wikipedia.

I learned that Squamish is twinned with a township in Japan. The township is Shimizu-cho and is part of Shizuoka Prefecture, in which Mount Fujii is located. As I indicated in my earlier post, the Aikikai maintains an extensive database of dojos here and I checked on their Japanese-language website. There are 50 dojos in Shizuoka Prefecture affiliated to the Aikikai, and three of these are located in Shimizu-cho.

I have some knowledge of Shizuoka Prefecture, since it is a major JR station on the Shinkansen bullet train and the late K Chiba used to live in a small local township there, before he moved to the US. I used to visit him and stay in his house. Occasionally, we moved the furniture in his Japanese-style house and trained together on the tatami mats, just Chiba Sensei and myself. (I borrowed a set of his keikogi.) I do not know whether you ever met him, but I can assure that training with him, one-to-one, was an extraordinary and very precious experience.

It occurred to me that establishing a twinned relationship between Squamish and Shimizu-cho suggests that some language communication took place possible in English and that you yourself might consider establishing communication with a local dojo or local dojos there. (This is one value of the Aikikai’s database and it is a pity that it does not appear in English on the English website.)

Actually, I suspect that the situation of the two communities is not so different. Fujii-san is probably THE major symbol of Japan and the Izu Peninsula has a very long history. The location is highly rural, but professionals in many local communities are within easy commuting distance of Tokyo via shikansen (on average, there is a 16-car train every ten minutes during the weekday rush hours). So I suspect that there are some similarities here with Vancouver. Anyway, I would not be surprised if there was a similar mix of traditional farming communities and white-collar professionals.

I have found the great value of cross-cultural contacts in aikido from running my two dojos here. I have a teaching connection with the Netherlands and some Dutch groups have visited my dojos at least twice. Their visits have transformed local attitudes among my Japanese students here, especially the younger ones who attend high school.

Of course, Japan is still a long way away from Canada, but it is still quite a lot closer to Vancouver and BC than it is to Europe. It takes me at least 17-20 hours to reach Amsterdam from my house here in Hiroshima and at my age I can feel it.

Best wishes,

MattMiddleton
05-25-2017, 07:00 AM
I did not even know they did Aikido at Newfie U. back in the day. I fenced.

I've only been practicing there since late 2010, but I gather that the club has been around for 40ish years (exact founding date seems to have been lost to the mists of time). There are two other dojos in town, and I gather that there's been Aikido in one form or another in Newfoundland since the 60s. One of the original students of Graham Burt sensei, who seems to have first brought Aikido here, has been working on a photo archive: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45235062@N08/

PeterR
05-25-2017, 08:18 AM
I've only been practicing there since late 2010, but I gather that the club has been around for 40ish years (exact founding date seems to have been lost to the mists of time). There are two other dojos in town, and I gather that there's been Aikido in one form or another in Newfoundland since the 60s. One of the original students of Graham Burt sensei, who seems to have first brought Aikido here, has been working on a photo archive: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45235062@N08/

I was there from 78 to 83 but before the budo bug caught me. MUN isn't huge but that doesn't mean I couldn't have missed it.

MattMiddleton
05-25-2017, 10:57 AM
We used to have a combat room, where martial arts clubs and the wrestling team practiced. Sadly, it was turned in to a lecture hall in 2011, and we've all been off-campus since then.

If you're ever out this way again, be sure to come out for a practice! :D

Grant
05-25-2017, 11:22 AM
Hello again, Mr Babin,

It occurred to me that establishing a twinned relationship between Squamish and Shimizu-cho suggests that some language communication took place possible in English and that you yourself might consider establishing communication with a local dojo or local dojos there. (This is one value of the Aikikai’s database and it is a pity that it does not appear in English on the English website.)

Best wishes,

Goldsbury Sensei, thank you again for your insights. Chiba Sensei was a fantastic technician and inspiring teacher. You were very fortunate to get some private time with him. I had the opportunity to attend a few of his seminars years ago. The idea of making connections with a dojo in Shizuoka is a great one. I have actually spent some time there when I visited Izu with Kanazawa Shihan for a gashuku. It's a beautiful part of the country.

Making connections there might not be so difficult. My wife is Japanese and I lived there for several years. We still travel there every year for Spring Break. You've managed to plant some seeds. The prospects are exiting.

Thank you.

Grant
05-25-2017, 11:35 AM
Some estimates of our dojo. Excluding kids classes.

15 or so 50+ years old, 20 at 30-50, 15 at 20-30, 5 15-20

45 males to around 10 women

Predominantly european, with 1 asian practitioner and 1 american.

A lot of the group are business owners, company executives, self-employed, professionals, a few types of therapists (mostly physical, masseurs, PT and the like), creatives (designers, artists, photographers). Many of the younger crowd are studying, often doing first or second degrees, masters etc. (common up until around 30) Blue collar workers are the minority, we have maybe 5 tops. Around 5 more own/run their own dojos as well as attending ours.

Mrs. Heatly,
Thank you very much for these figures. This is the kind of information I've been looking for.

PeterR
05-25-2017, 12:36 PM
It's funny but every group I've started has been different and it is really hard to predict. I think it is heavily influenced by the local.

Right now its about half Chinese and half Polish with a smattering of others which looks like the neighborhood. This is East end London after all. What really surprises me, based on how I teach and past groups, is the majority are women.

At this point I would never presume to target a market - I am sure I would guess wrong.