My dojo is becoming very extremely top heavy, a lot. This brings up three questions for me.
1. How to get new students in the door. Age old problem, I know. Economy, I know. What works for your school?
2. How to effectively transition adult students from playing with the shiny new aikido toy to practicing aikido for the long haul. Especially when it becomes very obvious to the newbs that they are sorely outranked by everybody else in the school. We have one underbelt student below second kyu. If a new person walks in, they are the only person on the mat not in a hakama. That's gotta be intimidating.
3. How to transition kids from the very full and successful kids class into the adult class, in which they are no longer the big kid on the mat, and after which we do not play samurai tag. I personally find training with the kids who have moved into the adult class frustrating. How can I make their transition smoother and more productive?
Can I get some success stories and some perspective?
I was suffering from the 'top heavy' syndrome, last year. I had about 8 dan grades and 4/5 kyu grades. No new members for over a year, not even any new curious people coming to look/see. Then due to University starts, travelling and moving, I lost 5 of the higher grades. This somehow had an interesting effect, without any advertising/effort on my part. Within the space of 3/4 months I have picked up 4 new starters, and they all seem to be sticking as well (early days though).
Not sure if this of any help to you, as I can't for the life of me figure out if there is a definite connection, but it does seem to be a common theme that too many high grades in a club, can be off putting to newbies.
Good luck with attracting new students, it is the never ending challenge for all clubs, isn't it?