Re: Open Letter to My Students
I don't think the amount of training an individual does is that important to the maintaining of the art. The focus of that person during training is much more important. I prefer those that come out once a week and give it all they got over those that come 3 times a week (every class in my dojo) but train with the intent out a sleepy slug.
Commitment, priorities. Big words. I usually train 2 or 3 times a week (2 hour classes). The dojo is only open 3 days a week, so schedule conflicts have a huge impact on my training. I have a full time job and 3 young kids, plus my wife is also a member of the dojo. Me and my wife can't both make it to each class. The babysitter costs alone would do us in. So we take turns and do what we can. This week I can't train at all as I must stay home alone with my 2 year old (wife working out of town). On the other hand, each of my children have sat by the mat as babies as their parents trained. Could I do more, probably. But not without decreasing the input into my family, something I am unwilling to do. However, I try not to let anyone outdo me on intensity and focus on the mat. That I can do every time I manage to make it out. It takes nothing away from my other commitments.
And to those working on the "Happy Dojos" and George puts it. This will do you in in the medium term I think. Those that would put in the work gradually drift away for lack of intensity and challenge, leaving only the slugs. The most successful dojo I know personally tends more towards the higher intensity of things. An aikido dojo that still attracts the young hard cases that have always been the lifeblood of the martial arts. When I visit there I am not always physically fit enough to keep up with the most intense students. It's a nice change of pace really.