Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Re: The Limiting Factor in a Student's Training
Lots of thoughts on this, but got too busy today to really respond much.
Need for two dojos?
I think the market bears what the market bears, and caveat emptor applies. Certainly in the internet age access to inforrmation has/should improve the knowledge that people have to assess quality etc. That said, I am still amazed at how little informed people are on the subject. I am also intrigued at the profiles/characteristics of people that are attracted to particular dojos.
In Arlington, VA/Washington DC....on any given night, I may be at my main Aikido dojo, (ASU), I may be at the BJJ dojo two blocks up, like tonight, or I may take the train up to the Takoma Dojo 30 minutes away..or down the road at the local Judo dojo.
The point is, that each of these dojos has a slightly different feel, crowd, emphasis, quality etc than the others. This does not include the..what AT LEAST 5 or 6 Aikido dojos that are within 15 or 20 minutes of me that I have never been too!
All of them have decent teachers that are well qualified.
Certainly it would save money to pool our resources together, but why? Why does the market bear 6 or 7 AIkido dojos all within the same metropolitan area?
I certainly don't have all the answers...but location, location, location...is a part of it. Personalities, feel, and what not as well.
We see the same in BJJ, which is a more quantifiable and measureable practice. We know who the best guys are in the area. Why doesn't everyone train with them? Location is one. Cost is not, as they all cost about the same. I have asked various students....it seems to be, after location and hours open...the over all "Feel" or "Zen" of the dojo. They simply like it and click with it.
I think that counts for alot.
Another interesting point is to look at other markets. Why do fast food joints open up next to each other? Coffee shops? etc.
In DC, heck some of the best BJJers are coming out of our area now...which is interesting. Is it one coach? nope, there are several.
Look at silicon valley. Why is it that all those excellent guys came out of the same area?
Anyway, I find it intriguing, even though it may be a slightly different perspective than you are looking at...but I think it is an important phenomenon to consider.
For me personally, in DC area, I would not consider opening a school at all as there are so many good people to study with, and simply by being a "student" I garner a great deal of flexibility to train and capture knowledge.
However, in Germany, I had to take on the role of "Sensei" as if I wanted to train, I had to create the environment.
I wasn't the best teacher, and if another one came along, well, I would have yielded to him as that is how I see things and my goal is not to run a school, but to learn as much as I can.
So, I am also intrigued as you are on why one would open up a school in a small town if there was someone better than you, especially since it isn't like running a martial arts dojo is a very profitable endeavor!
AND why would students not figure this out, leave you and go study with the other guy?
Well, I think I covered that above, in the whole feel/personality/comfort thing.
I want to run a dojo one day, as I feel that I have something of value to offer in what I do. Here in DC...not a chance, as there are way too many folks for me to learn from, and my career don't allow for it.
However, in the future, in a smaller town, and I have the time...yea sure...even if there is another dojo doing what I am doing....why?
SImply because I would think that what I have to offer is unique enough, and good enough, that there is some value in shaping my own training environment to help people realize there own training objectives and path.
How will I know...well they show up to class and pay the dues.
Good questions and thought George! Thanks!