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Old 05-10-2005, 07:55 AM   #12
ian's Avatar
Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
Location: Northern Ireland
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,654
Re: Starting Up a Dojo

- Try to get an affiliation with a nearby club (even if they are a slightly different style). They can help with insurance and may also assist in sending students to help get the beginners started. It also helps for your continued development and helps introduce your students into the wider world of aikido (rather than considering just what you teach as aikido).
- Ensure it is financially viable (student insurance, venue insurance, instructor insurance, hall fees).
- Try to get some uke's and students who have previously done aikido to start with you since you may find you get an enormous class of beginners, and most training is really absorbed on a one to one basis.
- start VERY VERY slowly with some simple practical techniques; most of your new students will know NOTHING. Move at the pace of your students and try not to force their progression into a pre-conceived plan.
- one option is to run 10 week introductory course for a set fee. Many people will stick out the course to get their money's worth, and it will enable you to give a true impression of aikido (since it often takes a few weeks for people to understand).
- don't do it just for the status of running your own club! It's not worth it and you may not get as much training yourself as you expected (although it is a fantastic learning experience).
- try to get a social aspect; this is often what keeps people coming.
- maintain a friendly atmosphere but tolerate no violence or bullying what-so-ever (even if this means throwing someone out in the first session as an example).
- don't just teach blindly; focus on the student's needs; set the level to the middle of the club.
- Grade the first group early to distinguish people from absolute beginners and to encourage them (and it gives them some authority to help the absolute beginners, giving you more time)

It is very much like getting a big concrete ball rolling. You have to keep pushing and pushing for the first two years until it gains some momentum. Don't give up on the club for the first two years until you are absolutely certain that there is no way to continue.

Ian (from my experience in setting up a dojo about 3 years ago)

Last edited by ian : 05-10-2005 at 07:59 AM.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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