Re: Student Intake Questionnaire
This is lengthy, please provide respectful feedback. I disagree with formalised questionnaires like the one posted here.
This is why:
Some months ago I visited a dojo in NYC; I was training with a very informal, poorly structured Sensei. I looked for a well organized dojo with good techinical acumen, and an environment where every man in the place would not try to objectify me by sleeping with me.
The dojo I visited in manhattan had a lengthy, intrusive questionnaire; very similar to the one posted here. There is nothing wrong with getting some information on a current student, for emergency contact purposes, etc. It is good to establish a collaborative dojo environment as well, by encouraging authentic communication and commitment. Also, to have a bi-latereal discussion, so that both parties can get an idea of each's expectations and abilities.
1. One pays a market rate fee to train; a fee that is not inexpensive. So if I pay for a service, I have the right to some relative privacy and not to be questioned/interrogated about my ability meet attendance requirements. The dojo environment and one's personal comittment determine how frequently one attends class. Also, as we know - this is not fuedal japan. There are times when one has life obligations to attend to AND one should not have to justify it or explain it to anyone, unless one chooses to.
2. The dojo I visited acted like they were doing me a favor, by ALLOWING me to visit and observe the required two classes. I did have the pleasure of being there to listen to a high ranking Shihan lecture them about their lack of serious training, lateness and weak technique. He then spent the remaining two hours of the seminar taking them through the basics of kokyuho (actually can be complicated to execute effectively), atemi and other basic techniques. He chided them about Aikido being an effective "Martial Art", that it works and they should train with some sincerity, discipline. He also lectured them about being unnecessarily harsh with the Uke. He then shook his head, as he watched them practicing. Because right after his lecture, they went on to do the very things he lectured them against. These are the people who gave me a hard time about joining their dojo.
I also had the occasion to listen to this dojo talk about their need for students, because they were failing financially. Any wonder why?
My point is that dojos should spend more time on a quality training environment with solid teaching, ethics and integrity. And less time with these egocentric dojo questionnaires.
Thank you for reading my two cents.