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01-23-2003, 12:15 PM
Hello again, friends!
I'm sort of the unofficial/semiofficial recruiter for our dojo; it turned out to be a much harder task than I'd first thought. :)
Still, we've had some success, albeit none from my own inputs; we've had 5 new students come - and stay - in the past 3 months.
Anyway, I was talking about this with my sensei after class last night, and I thought it'd be a good idea to throw it out to the group - at what point should we be concerned about getting too big?
See; I've got some projects in the works that will bring the dojo a bit more into the public eye - updating the website; putting a 1-1/2" by 3" ad in the yellow pages, pennysaver, paper, etc. as well as a few demonstrations I'm researching. There is a good potential for quite a few new students in the next little while - by that I mean year or so.
At the moment, not including the 3 students we just signed, we have 7 members. Of those, besides our sensei and sempai, we have two 3rd Kyus that can teach beginners, so a total of 4 potential instructors.
As an experienced teacher, I'm aware of the dangers of too great a student/teacher ratio, so: Given these numbers, in your experience, how many students can we collect before we should start looking at backing off and concentrating on those we have?
Thanx, friends :)
David R. Organ

01-23-2003, 04:14 PM
How big is your training area? Are your locker rooms/changing rooms/bathrooms adequate? How many training sessions per day? How many instructors available? I think this are important questions regarding how many students you actually can support.

01-23-2003, 06:27 PM
In most dojos, after a certain size point, you only have about 25% of your students show up in any given night. Obviously that number varies but a decent instructor should be able to handle 20 students without any trouble. This means at least 80 to 100 students.

Of course, if you only meet once a week, only have 5 people, a small mat, or your instructor is very famous, those numbers will vary.

You know what, upon further reflection I think that number is too high.

01-24-2003, 01:02 PM
Thanx; I see the difficulty with this type of question; there's a lot of variables to consider. :)

My main concern is balancing out the training for newer students and beginners, and not missing the training for senior students. After a certain class size, that balancing would become too difficult; the newcomers and 1st years would require too much time from instructors (we have 4 total) to provide 1-on-1 and 1-on-2 instruction that the more advanced students and seniors would lack in their own training.

My gut instinct tells me the best number for us is about 20 total by the end of this year, increasing by 5-7 annually to maintain teaching viability, unless we want to abandon a low teacher-student ratio and go to line instruction.

Hmmm - it's a poser; we'll see what develops. :)



01-24-2003, 09:13 PM
Going by my previous dojo, there were two senseis on hand to teach at any point in time. It made sense since they used each other as uke for each lesson. Then when the lesson starts, they go around and guiding each one of us as necessary.

The great thing about having two senseis at once is that, beginners and seniors can be separated on the mat at any point in time.

Sometimes, new beginners just pop in class out of the blue, and the seniors class doesn't get hampered with this.

Now I know, a lot of us consider aikido as being wholesome and not divided into beginner techniques and senior techniques. And that practising with beginners and all that is just a natural course of things in learning aikido. I'm not against that, but seniors need a lot of coaching as well, and not having enough practice time because the beginners don't even know how to stand, much less move is a serious hindrance to a time sensitive class.

This is especially true for a university dojo such as the one i've mentioned. Even so, the classroom never went any bigger then 20 students at one time. It was great! Any bigger and I think it would have been a disorganised mess.