Jun Akiyama (akiy) wrote:
Congratulations, Jorge! Please keep us apprised of how things with your new dojo is going. I wish you luck, success, and happiness with your new group!
That is very nice of you. I have always believed that there are thousands and thousands of people that would do Aikido if they knew what it was and could see it. What I did was to park myself by the front desk with a TV VCR and I played aikido tapes and handed out literature for 50 hours over a 7 day period. People would come up and watch and I would engage them in conversation and give them something to read. The amazing thing is that they keep signing up every day even though I stopped three days ago. The YMCA staff had a meeting this morning and said they were reevaluating the way to market new programs based on what I did. What I found interesting were the types of aikido activity that generated the most people. Small children and young people were attracted to the big throws and breakfalls but most of the adults that signed up came up to watch videos I played of normal people practicing. They would comment that they thought they could do that. I talked to them about what they were looking for and explained how aikido could help them. Of course, I know that once they get on the mat, the art itself will teach them all the other things this is about.
Again, much thanks. I wish there was someone better than me to help these folks but I will do what I can until then. I have been contacted by friends who have offered to come and help take ukemi for me as I show techniques and for the first three classes. Black belts from three other schools and associations have come to help me. I even had a yudansha in Ninjitsu offer to take ukemi for me. He helped me through all three classes on the first day and was very respectful of our art.
This has been a great joy and I have received the help of many kind and wonderful people. Thanks for the help of Aikiweb as well. I have gotten calls from people that have seen my announcement here.
Best to you always,