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Steven Taradai
01-13-2005, 01:16 PM
Hello everyone,

Being a student at CUNY, i am very curious about aikido clubs at other universities around the world; how do they operate, their policies, and contacts with local dojos.

The reason for my curiosity is that being the student at such big university system as CUNY with almost 400,000 students, there is not even a single aikido club neither at Baruch College nor other colleges within CUNY. I found that disturbing and thinking of establishing one, but to make that happen, i would appreciate if you folks have any comments or share about your experiences training on-campus, and your aikido club URL.

thanks and good luck with your aikido training^^

TheWonderKid
01-14-2005, 06:18 AM
Hi, I don't post here often and I've only been practicing Aikido since Septemer but it is on a University campus

http://www.mun.ca/aikido/

I find the club is really great, we meet 3 times a week (4 last semester but the guy doing the saturday class moved away)

Now our campus isn't anywhere close to the ize of yours, we only have roughly 18,000 so if we can get one off the ground, I'd imagine you could get one off the ground in a much larger school.

I've rambled too long. The info you wanted is there anyways

Shipley
01-14-2005, 07:41 AM
Our web site is at http://people.ouc.bc.ca/pshipley/aikido . We don't have any problems at all with students, and our school is a fraction of your size (only around 5000 students). I think you'll find that there will be plenty of interest. Since your overhead will be practically nonexistent (most schools will give you free mat/gym time if you are a student club) the students can pretty easily afford the dues that you'll charge for broken weapons, etc.

Feel free to send me an email if I can help answer any specific questions,

Paul
P.S. 400,000 students? holy cow...

jonreading
01-14-2005, 10:44 AM
Steven,

I started a club at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee (US), and now work with a club at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia (US). Here are the major considerations I have for university club dojo:
1. Attendance. Usually, universities restrict access to campus activities, including martial arts, to students, and other select groups (alumni, spouse, etc.). This can stiffle your dojo size and cause problems for seminars and training.
2. Experience. Most of your students will be from the university, many of them academic students that will only be there for a limited time. It is often difficult to build a strong sempai base because of this problem.
3. Resources. You will be sharing space with other clubs and individuals within the university. Sometimes finding a space to train, or getting a room to host a seminar is difficult.
4. Finances. Your students will most likely be cash-poor because they are in school. In some cases, you can obtain a grant from the school, but expect to be cash-poor.

There are all sorts of other problems that are slightly different than a regular dojo, but I find these four to be the biggest hurdles. I would suggest working with your recreation and athletics department contact for intramural sports to establish the club. Then bend over backwards to help the contact - they can make your club successful or break it into small pieces...

Shipley
01-14-2005, 09:44 PM
All four of those are excellent points, that you'd've thunk I would have thought to put down. Especially numbers 2 (although with a graduate school that tends to get better), and 5b, make your contact in the gym facility *very* happy.

Good luck,

Paul

Steven Taradai
01-15-2005, 10:33 AM
thanks Paul, Jon, and Owen

Your comments were very helpful; i'm going to address your suggestions to the student body and advisors.

sincerely,

steven

Jason Haines
01-16-2005, 08:42 AM
There is hope to expand membership.
First and foremost, look into the meaning and defintions
of 'Yokoku no shi' and samurai (Mitsugi Saotome Shihan's, "Principles of Aikido" has great reflection in this).

Second, ask how can Aikido influence the nature of those that will serve their country, their society, their community?
Third, seek out those people who's nature is to serve for the greater good of others, and improve themselves.

My recommendation. Invite and train with members of ROTC units. Especially Navy & Marine Corps ROTC, as the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program has accelerated rapidly these last few years (and yes, much aikido, aiki ju jitsu, judo are used amongst many other excellent techniques). Aikido will help them to not only advance (and greatly smoothen) in technique, but to develop philosophically and morally as leaders. Network around for guest instructors for seminars (www.asu.org). "If you build it (dojo) they will come"... but find those who are hungry for what aikido has to offer.

Students of criminal law/justice, medicine and many other stressful servantship professions are excellent audiences... aikido will help them to relax and handle conflict/stresses of the many things that may attack them in life.

Make goals for each member to bring one new person each month.

Website, occasional campus demos, campus news articles help too.

http://www.NavyAikido.com will link you to US Naval Academy's Navy Aikido Club, and to San Diego Navy-Marine Aikido Club. Some voices of experience there...

Good luck on your adventure. The tiniest of seeds can become the greatest of oaks. There is no rapid way. But in
a school of 40,000 (CUNY) I'm sure it could have a hint of miracle grow.

R/ Jay
navymarineaikido@hotmail.com

TheWonderKid
01-20-2005, 06:23 AM
On the note of getting others involved, our club uses the Combat Room in the University with other groups including: Judo, BBJ, Intergrated Defense Systems (a combination of Fillipino and Jeet Kune Do), the wrestling team and a couple others I don't remember. The Combat Room is outfitted with a couple crach mats and tatamis (hope I spelled that right) in a prety decent size area.

The university also sponsers the various clubs and between all that, we have gotten our fees down to about $55 for students and $80 for non-students. Our first testing is free and those after are about $10 But then again, our club is non-profit so if you're just looking to practice and not make money, you can keep membership fees down as well.

Ecosamurai
01-20-2005, 09:09 AM
Steven,

I started a club at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee (US), and now work with a club at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia (US). Here are the major considerations I have for university club dojo:
1. Attendance. Usually, universities restrict access to campus activities, including martial arts, to students, and other select groups (alumni, spouse, etc.). This can stiffle your dojo size and cause problems for seminars and training.
2. Experience. Most of your students will be from the university, many of them academic students that will only be there for a limited time. It is often difficult to build a strong sempai base because of this problem.
3. Resources. You will be sharing space with other clubs and individuals within the university. Sometimes finding a space to train, or getting a room to host a seminar is difficult.
4. Finances. Your students will most likely be cash-poor because they are in school. In some cases, you can obtain a grant from the school, but expect to be cash-poor.
SNIP

I agree with pretty much everything said here, in the last 7 years I've run Aikido Clubs in three different universities, I've also been the instructor at the last two of them, everything said above I agree with totally. The only thing I'd add is that because of the high turnover rate of students training at a club (i.e. they get to a decent rank and then finish their degree and leave) it is a good idea to have some support from a local non university dojo. One where the senior people aren't going to keep leaving, in my current situation I'm a bit stuck as there aren' t any outside of the university I'm at which I can draw upon, which means I'm going to try to start one this september. Its good to be able to recruit enthusiastic students at a university who can help build an external dojo with people from the local town/city training there, the two dojo then trade off each other, the external one offering long term stability and support, and the university one offering a large body of potentially enthusiastic students (and often training facilities though this depends on the situation at the university you're at).

Hope this is useful.

Mike Haft

http://www.abdn.ac.uk/~src188/

TheWonderKid
01-21-2005, 05:58 AM
You could also look to the professors in the university. Right now we've got 2 profs (A Shodan and a Nidan) and a couple researchers (one of with is our Sensei). We've also got a lawyer, teachers, and a few others who work in the city.

Basically, advertise and promote outside the university as well as within, and don't limit the university to just the students.

I've personally found Aikido is a good way to blow off steam, and during exam weeks that's a very valuable thing.

Gary Carlton
01-21-2005, 02:06 PM
Many well spoken ideas already offered here. For us (small university of 10,000 students and classes three times a week attended by usually 20+ students), it has worked well to establish a relationship with both the associated students governing body and recreational services. This has allowed not only exposure and financial assistance but also much help in obtaining training space. We are looking to advertise outside the university but not quite yet. We are actively establishing relationships with professional dojos near to us. This will allow us a conduit for seminars (here and there) as well as exposing students to different styles/affiliations so that when they leave the university they can continue their training.

Best of luck with your endeavor