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Old 03-26-2006, 04:33 PM   #11
Dan Rubin
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 371
Re: Beginners Retention Rates

David Valadez wrote:
[T]his is precisely what folks have to figure out if they are truly interested in having folks stay and stay in the right way and for the right reasons.
Different teachers/dojos have different ideas of what is "the right way" and "the right reasons." Are you saying that each dojo should decide on their own definitions of those terms? That's an interesting idea. Defining the type of student a dojo is seeking provides the dojo with a target audience to concentrate on, with training to match it.

However, like any business, smaller dojos can afford to target a small niche audience, while it is harder for larger dojos do so and survive.

The current issue of the Journal of Asian Martial Arts contains a 14-page article on this very topic, titled "The ‘Risk Society' and Martial Arts Training in New Zealand." The article examines why students enter and remain in the martial arts in general, not any particular art or any particular dojo. The author argues that there are four reasons why students enter the martial arts: a fear of assault, a fear of poor health/physical fitness, a fear of social isolation or a fear of spiritual isolation. Of those students who stay, the ones who entered for the social community tended to stay for that same reason; the others stayed for a variety of reasons. (Needless to say, it's unfair to the author to summarize such a long article in two sentences.)

The article is interesting, but after reading it I felt that I had gained understanding but no useful ideas about student retention. Perhaps others in this forum can discuss the article further.

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