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Old 11-04-2005, 02:56 PM   #1
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 381
Succession Planning

I thought I might start another contentious little thread for the fun of it and see what develops. Recently, I mean the last few years, I have come to the conclusion that when I leave my home dojo permanently to move to another location (I do this about every five years), I should completely destroy the dojo that I built and leave the students to start up their own dojo or dojos from scratch. I take my mats, my weapons, my tokomon, my scrolls, my photos, my furniture, etc. and whatever I don't want, I either distribute to the students or give it away to charity or send it to the landfill or destroy it. I make the students have a clean start.

I came to this process in order to forestall any inifighting between the students for power and ownership of the dojo and to make them put their blood, sweat, and tears (and money) into building their own dojo. That way, the new dojo would be "theirs" and not something that was handed to them. It would make them learn quickly what it takes to build and keep a dojo. Many of the students, even though they have taken part in the administration and maintenance of the dojo, never seem to get a good feel for how much it takes, emotionally, physically, and financially to keep a dojo running. It seems they can't really get a good appreciation for what it takes until they have built and kept a dojo running for a while. Also, those that do take over the dojo and do a good job of it seem to get a big head. They think "Sensei left the dojo to me. I must be really good at Aikido." Or others seem to think that they have to follow rigorously in my footsteps and not do their own thing to make the dojo their own. These successors never seem to blossom into their own but try to be a poor copy of the person who created the dojo and put their stamp on it. These are the folks that I feel the most sorry for because they are always trying to fill shoes that don't fit. I would rather see them build their own dojo and put their own stamp on that new dojo. At least, that is my experience.

So, I put it to you folks out there. Do you think handing over a dojo to a senior student is a good idea or do you think that destroying a dojo you built is a waste? Would you rather see someone take over a dojo you created or would you rather have them create their own dojo?

Oh, one more thing. I have found that when I destroy the dojo I built and make the others start their own, Two or three spring up to fill the space that is created so the martial art as a whole benefits by the propogation of new dojos. And these dojos all have different flavours and attract different types of people so the diversity of the art is expanded to the betterment of service to the community.

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