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Old 10-10-2010, 10:23 AM   #24
Walter Martindale
Location: Cambridge, ON
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 762
Re: New dojo/new student

Andrew Bedford wrote: View Post
Does anyone think inviting one or two of the surrounding Aikido clubs, to come is a good idea?
For instance there is an Aikikai affiliated dojo, two miles away. A ki society dojo in the centre of town.
I would love to try and build bridges with other Aikido organisations/dojo`s/federations, in the sussex area, do people think here it is possible?

Andy B
Which of the two nearby dojo is closest to your style/affiliation?

It may pay to go visit them, introduce yourself and ask if you could borrow a few relatively advanced students for a demo, but you could also start everyone off "cold turkey" and go from there.

I've done that several times with rowing programs (starting everyone off from scratch, that is, not raiding other clubs) - introduce yourself, introduce some of the etiquette and where it comes from, (why do we bow, when we bow), introduce some of the concepts of protecting people with whom you train so that you can train with them tomorrow, some basic movements (e.g., sankaku irimi with a bit of a demo of why you do it without actually throwing the person).
Tenkai, and where it fits in shifting off line, tenkan and where it fits in moving off line and moving the body, and so on. I think that's more important than simply showing a set of movements that don't have any apparent purpose behind them.

Naturally some introduction to ukemi.

Some introduction to a basic attack-technique that they can accomplish without knowing a lot of good ukemi.

Ask if anyone in the class has a background including a few years in judo - you could probably trust their ukemi for "here's what it looks like at a slightly more advanced level"

If you are familiar with the Japanese etiquette and terminology, it may also pay to put together a printed beginner's guide to the etiquette, some language (if your dojo uses the Japanese terminology - I know some don't - but if you're sandan one would guess that you're fairly up on it).

Let them know that it's a martial art, that you expect them to do their best to be on time (I know that in Ireland people are expected to be held up in traffic no matter how early they leave for things, so it may be inevitable, but lateness should be poorly tolerated), that you expect them to keep their training clothes clean, and that if they decide to stay they're expected to buy proper training gi after a fixed number of practices, and so on, and so on...

You probably don't need this bit but remember your first sessions and how confused you were... Patience... One of my past sensei loves teaching beginners because it helps him learn more about Aikido. Helping others learn a new sport/martial art/activity forces us to learn the sport/martial art/activity better than we thought we knew it before.

I find that when coaching beginning rowers (and the occasional beginning Aikido person) it pays to remember to treat them with the basic common courtesy with which you'd expect to be treated if you were going to them for a new lesson in whatever happens to be their field of expertise - for which you're paying. I look at the ownership thing the reverse way to a lot of coaches - they're not my rowers, they let me coach them, and show that by coming back and paying money to the club so that I they can learn from me.

Oops - gotta go - or I'll be late to the dojo myself.

Last edited by Walter Martindale : 10-10-2010 at 10:24 AM. Reason: clarify
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