Re: Beginners Retention Rates
I certainly agree with David that only people who are capable of commiting to something will become long-term students in aikido. On the other hand, there is no hope that a person will become a long-term aikido student unless he or she actually comes to a few classes and begins to practice. My intent in my posting was primarily to reflect on a particular strategy used to achieve the latter short-term goal, a strategy that struck me as counter-intuitive but proved successful in one instance.
How does one get people at an aikido demo to return and try out a few classes (i.e. to take the first steps as potential long-term students in aikido)? I would not have guessed that a "weed out" lecture would be helpful, one that focuses on how difficult aikido is and how few students stick with it. However, I was clearly wrong. Perhaps such a lecture brings out a stubborn streak in those who hear it. Perhaps it even serves as a filter passing those who have the aforementioned capability for commitment--time will tell.
As to the question of whether it is easier to hit someone or do nikyo, I am unpersuaded by David's argument. Rare is the nikyo that does not present multiple atemi (striking) opportunities along the way. On the other hand, I readily grant David's point that both striking arts and aikido become substantially more difficult to use under combat conditions.