Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Re: How One Can Run a Successful Independent Dojo
For the record here, like all our videos on our YouTube Channel, the posts on our Facebook page, and now in our podcast on SounndCloud, the information I produce or publish is geared toward meeting the needs of those currently in a sensei/deshi relationship with me. They are not meant for mass consumption - not as a primary concern. As such, there is a limit to how much they can function for those not currently in said relationship. Outside of that relationship, there is a lot of context missing and with that a lot of meaning is also likely to be lost and/or subject to misunderstanding. For that I apologize. I am not sure I can or will ever look to fix all misunderstandings for those not training with me. I only suggest that if you find anything useful, its yours, and its you that made it so.
I share our works here and in other places to help refine my message, as happened with the first post in this thread, and also because I do believe in what I state and do. Because of that, I share it freely with those that might be facing a particular obstacle I too faced. I think, "Maybe they will find it helpful." Often, people bother to ask if they can copy or borrow something, and a inner part of me always finds such a request odd. While I appreciate the courtesy and a courteous person, inside, I always think, "Why should I care what you do with it. It's yours."
In fact, that is how this piece came about. Explaining that might assist others gain more context for what is being stated. For additional context for those not in a sensei/deshi relationship with me but that would like to understand more accurately, I would recommend visiting all our media outlets. There is tons of information there by now and none of it comes with a fee - all free. Some might find this helpful because I seem to be off of most people's spectrums, such that in the end both parties at the poles hate me equally for supporting the other side. :-)
In this case, here is what happened:
Summarizing, a person that had noticed us on our social media outlets saw us facing a problem similar to his. We seemed to have solved it from his point of view, and from my own, but not in a typical way and not in a way most think it should or can be solved. He politely and with good intention asked if I would share with him how we went about and go about solving said problem. That problem is the two goals listed in the writing:
- How do I increase my dojo membership?
- How do I increase my quality of transmission so as to keep the Art of Aikido thriving into the future?
Summarizing my own quick response, I hold that the ensuring of the latter brings about the former. I then explained to him that I would like to use his question as a catalyst for doing what I always try to do: Leave a roadmap of sorts for my deshi. He agreed to receive my answer in this format. These are what are being posted here and on Facebook and will be published in total on our website when completed.
I'm all for discussion on points derived from the piece by the reader but the goal of leaving a roadmap for my deshi and the goal of meeting the request set before me are likely going to make this piece less universally applicable in the end. As such, and for example, and back to Demetrio's post, I am not out to make a universally applied statement on MMA/BJJ. I am not against these arts or see them as outright inferior to Aikido. I do not think in terms of arts, a context which can be gained by looking at all our published materials. I have regularly practiced ne-waza (as I call refer to BJJ and Japanese Ju-jitsu and "ground-fighting" and "Aikido's/Osensei's ground-fighting," etc.) since the late 80's and it has been a daily part of Senshin Center Dojo since 1999. The paragraph that was cited by Demetrio, rather, was aimed at current trends in Aikido marketing, such as demonstrated by Aikido Journal, a publication I love, Roy Dean, a martial artist I admire, and made infamous (my opinion) by Rokas's AikidoSiauliai YouTube Channel.
To be sure, these are not the generators of this view, and nor are they they only one's holding it. I listed them here above only so the reader can easily know that to which I am referring. While I do believe that Aikido should be martial, I do not hold that an adoption or a combination or even an integration of MMA/BJJ into an Aikido paradigm is a way of meeting the two goals listed above: How to increase dojo membership while increasing that quality of transmission of the art into the future. I do not think that kind of mixing brings in members or makes Aikido more martial and thus better transmitted into the future. That said, I am also not of the position that Aikido as is commonly practiced is martial, and nor am I of the position that a non-martial Aikido meets the two goals listed above either: How to increase dojo membership while increasing that quality of transmission of the art into the future. A non-martial Aikido does not bring in new members to any kind of high or sufficient degree, and nor does it produce a high quality transmission of the art into the future. For me, as I solved for the two goals, I had come up with something different, something I want my students to know, something the person making the original request wanted to know. Hence, the writings shared here. That is what is being addressed, and to that degree only, in the submissions. I will have to address any auxiliary discussions only in the thread.
Apologies in advance.