I'm putting together a draft of some materials for my dojo to give to new students, to try and answer questions students might have on several topics. Some of these, I have to admit, are questions that they don't always ask but that we wish they would (such as "how can I help out around the dojo?"). The rest are ones that we get a lot, but that are worth addressing in a straightforward fashion (what's the deal with rank, when/how do we test, etc.).
I've got a good list of high-level topics to start with, I think. These are:
- About our dojo/our senseis/our organization
- Training (why it's important to train regularly, on-mat eqiquette -- I'm not sure where to fit off-mat etiquette -- and general health and safety)
- Being a dojo member (responsibilities, how members sustain the dojo)
- Rank and testing
Where I'm stuck right now is on the proverbial first page -- the welcome. I want to say something along the lines of "congratulations, you've started your aikido journey", and some stuff about the journey ahead, but I'm not coming up with anything. Given that the details of training concerns will be addressed elsewhere, what would you say (by way of welcome) to someone who's just had their first experience on the mat?
I would outline exactly what the 'approach' was and what the essence of what you wanted to teach was. Sometimes a teacher doesnt do this and it is confusing for the student; is it self defense, is it a mediation, is it about one thing or another , or all of them.