Re: Three dojo management questions...
WRT question 3. We have a rather good kids program. The kids have fun, learn some, and a few stick around over the years. What we have is a special class one day a week for the more advanced kids. It's by invitation only and I'm the one who teaches it. FWIW I also teach in the kids classes so I know the kids, who's doing well, who might need a challenge, etc. The goal is to transition the kids from "kid" aikido to a more robust training. One major problem is that if the kids have been there long enough to get good that usually also means they're likely training with mostly kids younger than them. So by putting them together they're no longer working with others they can easily over power. And I will often have a few adults in the class as well to give them more of a challenge.
The focus of the class is on proper ukemi, proper attacks, and learning to do things more decisively. It is a tough transition for some, but the extra challenge usually brings out their best. Keep in mind that it sometimes overwhelms the kid, so make sure they're ready for the challenge.
Over time I encourage them to attend certain general practice classes to get them more experience. And eventually some find their way in to training as a young adult.
Just remember that between 13 and 18 are those magical years when any number of things will likely get them out of the dojo. You will lose quite a few. Some will stay. Just focus on challenging them to get better. Since so few will make it to that point you'll find it is more important to tailor the classes to whomever it is you expect to attend. To their needs, their interests, etc.
Last edited by Keith Larman : 01-25-2012 at 07:21 PM.