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Old 07-17-2006, 10:14 AM   #15
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 608
Re: I opened a dojo.

I was in a similar situation but with a difference . When I started my dojo, I was a nidan and had been in Aikido for 9 years. I had always enjoyed being a student and didn't want to necessarily be a teacher.
Prior to starting my own dojo, I had been practicing for years in a dojo that was affiliated with Hiroshi Kato Shihan. He had tested me for first kyu, shodan and nidan over that time period so he knew me pretty well. Locally though, some bad stuff happened in our dojo and due to that and a few other things that were going on, I decided I had to leave the dojo I was practicing in. I absolutely didn't want to change styles and I loved the style of our shihan. He has a very realistic and robust style of Aikido. I am a very physical person and I liked the freedom to move and do different things that his style gave me. It would have been like going to prison to step back and have to limit myself to something less than that by joining someone elses dojo so I decided to try and start my own place.
After doing a lot of research and getting all my ducks in order, I found a place, I found a way to get paid to teach Aikido and I talked them into buying the mats.
I knew that if I officially resigned the dojo I was in, that I ran the risk of being banned forever from the dojo (that was the personality style of my local sensei) and I really liked learning from him. What he was teaching me was great and I learned new things from him every day. Because of that, I was tempted to just be a guy at the Y teaching Aikido. I was tempted to teach at the Y and not test the people there and never tell the guys at my other dojo that I was over at the Y teaching. That way, I could have attended my local sensei's dojo once a week only (thus limiting my exposure to the bad stuff )and still gotten the learning I was enjoying, and had the best of both worlds. That way, I could have stayed with my shihan as well.
But when I thought of the students, I realized that I wouldn't be able to do that to them. It was just a weak moment I am confessing to. I knew better than that, and I really couldn't bring myself to do that so I bit the bullet and officially resigned the dojo. I was in fact promptly banned from the dojo. No reason was ever given to me. I was just sent a note saying I had made my choice and I was no longer welcome there.
I contacted my Shihan and told him what happened. He investigated and got back with me and said he would support me in my new venture. He has been coming to my new dojo ever since. Since then, I have been having the time of my life. My fear of losing the teaching of my local teacher was unfounded. I have continued to learn and grow in Aikido and with the support of my shihan, I hope and believe I am progressing.
Today, I have over 70 students. I have tried to do what George Ledyard says and improve myself. I teach 50 hours a month. I train for myself once a week in a class one of my assistants teaches. I started learning Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido and Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu to try to gain more of a depth in martial arts in general. I also attend four seminars a year. Two with my shihan and two with outside teachers. I still consider myself to only be qualified to teach beginners but I am doing my best to teach in the best way possible and to give them access to the best Aikido certificates I can provide (Aikikai).
That's my story. Things have worked out so far.
Best wishes,

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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