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Old 12-02-2003, 10:45 PM   #18
Michael Young
Michael Young's Avatar
Dojo: Alamo City Aikido
Location: San Antonio, TX
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 133
Mike - you are not starting from absolute scratch so count your blessings.
Amen to that! We are very fortunate to have a good core group to start with, and hopefully it can only go up from here.
I only have one bit of advice which has been told to me by a number of successful dojo-chos. Of course you pay attention and take care of your newbies but your primary concern are your regular students. If your training is good your dojo will grow and opprotunities for expansion will present themselves.
This is the attiude of our head instructor, and I wholeheartedly support it. We are very fortunate to have him and his training is top-notch. I'm just looking or the "opprotunites for expansion" since I think its part of my responsibility to do so...and the feedback I'm getting from this forum posting is one of those opportunities I think, keep the comments rolling!
I don't have much to add other than to endorse the beginners course strategy.
I personally never liked beginners courses - hate them now. I'ld much rather balance the needs of beginners and advanced in one class.
AHA...we have had this same debate on many occasions and I have heard many good reasons given on both sides of it. I agree with Michael Fooks, when he talked about the "out of place" and "intimidation factor" that many newbies experience. I think this is one of the big reasons we loose a lot of people in Aikido at the outset(of course that's another topic that has been addressed in other threads.) I also see the problem of devoting entire classes to only beginners that may not stick it out. We have been talking about doing some kind of beginner introduction program, as suggested, with a set fee and set dates. I like the solution of just tagging it along with the regular class, like Fooks suggested, giving new people a sense of having something special and comfortable for them, while at the same time still teaching to the whole "constituency". Its good to know people have had success doing this (I intend to get everybody at the dojo to see this forum thread so I'll have some fuel for my suggestions, at least we can see that it has had success elsewhere, and we don't have to make decisions in a vacuum)

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