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Old 06-03-2004, 12:15 PM   #1
Paul Barrett
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 3
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Freaky! Questions on Starting a New Dojo

I tried to post this on another forum but I don't think it made it due to operator error - mine . Anyway, I apologize if you've alrady seen this but I'm still looking for answers.

I'm having a civil, yet important disagreement with the Chief Instructor at my dojo. I've been pushing for a regular advance or applied aikido class and the dojo Cho is resisting. I've even offered to teach the class however she feels it will split the dojo between the applied aikidoka and the more traditional students. However, This posting is not about that discussion. It's becoming more and more obvious that it's time to move on, either to another dojo with a new organization or to start my own school.

As I've said, the Cho and I we have a fundamental difference of agreement or perhaps philosophy, but we are on good terms. She is encouraging me to form my own school and has offered to help with recognition by our Hombu through our parent organization etc. I'm not sure I want to take this step for a couple of reasons.

First, the path of least resistance may be to simply go to another established dojo in town, there are several. I've trained elsewhere in the same organization of at least one of them. That one in particular trains well but in my experience they tend to be a bit insular. They strongly encourage you to train only at their affiliated dojos and do not necessarily encourage attendance at seminars outside of their organization. As you can probably tell, I tend to chafe under authority ;=)

My other option is to start my own school. The problem there is two fold: finances and time.

I have a full time professional career so I don't need to make any profits off of a dojo. However, I don't want to loose my shirt either. I estimate it'll cost me $4,000.00 in mats. I'll probably need Swain or Zebra grappling mats because most of the space around here is on concrete pads. A lease, utilities, and costs will probably push that to $10,000.00 for six months of operation. Aye Carumba!

I could share the space and know of a Tae Kwon Do instructor that may be interested, but it's still a big cash outlay, particularly since I'll be the only one using the mats.

I'm also investigating the possibility of establishing a program at a local Community college, or perhaps renting space from a Yoga studio or gym. In the case of the former, they may supply mats. For the two latter, I'm still out the cost of the mats.

As for time, my job takes me out of town a lot. I can probably schedule a couple classes on the weekdays, but my wife is already an aiki-widow and is not thrilled about me having commitments every weekend. I'm not as worried about that aspect because I know a few other Yudansha that may come over quickly and could take a class or two if I'm out of town.

Soooo… I'd like any thoughts people have on what is truly involved in setting up a new dojo and any practical advice you may have. Of course the pros and cons of going to and established dojo are also welcome.

Thanks
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