Thread: Aikido Frauds
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Old 12-20-2004, 12:54 PM   #10
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
Location: Oceanside, California
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,236
Re: Aikido Frauds

Educating the walk-in student is difficult at best. Many, if not most, walk in to a dojo after seeing a movie or a Discovery Channel program and have an interest in learning the art they just witnessed. They have no idea where the art came from, how it developed, what it represents, or how difficult it is to achieve any level of competence. Most also seem to have the belief that a "black belt" represents mastery of the art and that is the endpoint of study.

I think it's important to educate potential students when they arrive to a certain point. In our dojo, Sensei receives many telephone calls from potential "Never Trained Before" students. His standard litany is to invite them to the dojo to watch a few classes and talk with him. If they do so, they at least have some idea of what they are getting into.

A friend of mine was teaching karate several years ago and a guy came in and asked how long and how much it would cost to get a black belt. The school up the street told him that they would guarantee him his black belt in one year for $2000. My friend told him that he would award him a black belt that day for $100, and then went on to say that no one would recognize it, he wouldn't be able to teach, he'd get his butt kicked in tournaments, and he wouldn't know anything, but he would have a black belt. He told the student that it wouldn't be any worse off martially, and would save a year and $1900. After a few minutes of discussion, the prospective student decided to actually study with him and earn his rankings. From what I was told, the guy studied a year or so and then dropped out due to lack of interest.

I don't know that you will ever eliminate the frauds, but you can influence those you come in contact with by giving a few minutes of education and straight talk.

"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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