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Old 05-10-2005, 08:14 AM   #14
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
Location: East Haven, CT
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,402
Re: Starting Up a Dojo

In my opinion, a club is a small group that rents space, and a dojo is a community. Some people refer to their small club as a "circle".

I think the main problem is that most people who want to start a new club or dojo only have experience with being in class with a shihan teaching. When they branch off on their own at sandan or lower, they try to copy their teacher - and that is just not level-appropriate. These new shodan, nidan, and sandan instructors typically start out very condescending and looknig to be put on a pedastol due to their new position of power backed up by their relative "expert power" they have compared to their juniors. They typically have put their teacher on a pedastol and even if they are not eg-maniacs, they tend to have the expectation that they are supposed to be on their own pedastol in their new dojo.

Here's my advice.
1) Ability: Actually bother to train long enough to learn how to really relax your body such that you can go to any seminar around you and work out easily with any yondan there before you branch off to focus on your teaching career.
2) Attitude: Actively practice giving EVERY junior person in your dojo the same level of respect that you give your teacher. The primary power you should be exercising is "charismatic power" with "expert power" as a secondary source of authority.
3) Maturity: When you do start your own dojo, understand that it is your job to refuse to let anyone put you on a pedastol, your new students, and yourself. If anyone does put you on a pedastol, it is your job to knock yourself off of that pedastol.
4) Lead by conviction. Make sure that students understand that they need to be helpful, serious, friendly, and quiet - all appropriate to their level, and nothing short of that will be tolerated, and never make allowences for people who are physically talented but lacking in thier ability to be respectful to their peers especially their juniors. Community is the key.

Now once you have that down pat, branch off from your main dojo with a few friends as Shaun suggested and grow.


Last edited by rob_liberti : 05-10-2005 at 08:16 AM.
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