Re: Beginners Retention Rates
Mr. Ledyard wrote:
Anyway, I know of schools which have fabulous beginner's programs; I know schools which have excellent training for the hard core folks; I don't know very many who can do both successfully.
Can I assume that your concern is the future of The Art, and where the next shihans will come from? That there will be a continuous supply of dedicated students/senseis? And are you thinking that at some point we will have "elite schools" and "hobby schools", or perhaps that such a situation exists today?
As far as I understand, the whole world of associations is very muddled and full of internal strife. Granted, my understanding is very shallow on this point. My question is, who would be the arbiter of qualification? The "licensing" authority? What would the potential student look for as a sign of quality (given that beginners usually have very little knowledge about aikido itself)? Lineage is one thing, but for instance, I have 5 different instructors during the week (if I go every day), and only one is with the sensei. Am I getting my money's worth? I would say an unqualified "YES", but others may think of this as a very diluted version.
I do understand that to stay in aikido, you have to get something out of it, yes, it should meet your expectations (adjusted or realistic expectations, if you will), or it should give you something you never expected. But to a beginner looking for a dojo - in the phone book, on the Internet, whatever - really, really mundane things matter. In that phase, you are looking more at a consumer-relationship than anything else.