Mary Kuhner wrote:
... the beginners start feeling that they are slowing the advanced students down,
Yeah, what's up with that? Aren't we supposed to practice with people at all levels? I have been wondering about how to impress beginners (and some others) in the dojo with the fact that it's OK to slow the advanced students down a bit. It helps the advanced students, too, and it helps the art (to survive, because we need new people, all the time). Of course, it helps if the advanced students have a good attitude about working with beginners.
I think that a 1 in 10 retention rate from first class to first grading/test is pretty typical. A lot of people who try aikido probably decide they just don't like it. Others can't make the time... and others are turned off by one thing or another at the particular dojo/class they go to, some of which we can do something about, some of which we can't.
The only thing that I see making a meaningful difference is if the senior students are friendly and helpful, which is less of an issue in intro classes. We've never had an intro class at this dojo, but I'm trying to start one, as an experiment, so I'd be interested in what people have to say. Also, I wonder if intro classes help with the general retention rate at all.