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Old 09-27-2003, 09:45 AM   #26
ajbarron
Dojo: Calgary Aikikai
Location: Calgary, Alberta Canada
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 76
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Yesterday I emailed all the Aikido Dojos in Canada in reference to drop outs. So far everyone who has replied can only give me anecdotal information. I have also contacted a number of Universities and hope to undertake a study this winter to get some solid/scientific statistics on this phenomena.

When I do, I will pass on this information to forum readers.

In reading the comments submitted so far, it only illustrated to me the great number of reasons that people drop out.

One quote from a Canadian Dojo , that did stick in my mind was,

"They really don't drop out, but rather they never really drop in."

If any of you academic types out there have any background in surveying, statistics or research please drop me a line. It's been a long time since university.
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Old 09-27-2003, 04:02 PM   #27
adwelly
 
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Dojo: Guernsey Aikido Club
Location: Guernsey
Join Date: May 2003
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I'm curious about this as our dojo is running a short introductory course sponsored by the local college of further education. First night was last week, we had fourteen new students. I wonder how many will last.

I've been practicing for two years now. Of the five or so people that started around the same time as me there's one left, drop outs nearly always happening _after_ a grading. I guess someone gets a new belt and thinks 'now I can leave with some self respect'.

As for me, I've noticed that however bored, or stressed, or even ill, I feel when I enter the dojo I rarely feel anything but content when I leave. It's enough to keep me coming back.
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Old 09-27-2003, 04:47 PM   #28
Suzanne Cooper
Dojo: Retsushinkan Dojo/Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 52
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Funny you say that! It's that feeling of well-being that's got me hooked on aikido.

No matter how sore or worn-out or mentally exhausted, I seem to be better after class than I was when I went in.

I got guts, yes I do. I do aikido--do YOU?
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Old 10-05-2003, 10:36 AM   #29
indomaresa
Dojo: Aiki Kenkyukai
Location: Indonesia
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 176
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I totally agree with bruce, jerk seniors are what causes people to drop out. This thread completely takes words right out of my mouth.

Over the years, I've only been concentrating on two dojos, the one at my university, and the one near my home. This fact is to show that I'm not some super-understanding and ultra-broad-horizoned aikido master. But I think the subject of how to cope and handle various people / situations in a dojo is a long overdue discussion.

I've recently experienced a disturbance at my dojo because of a person who has a "personality" is terrorizing the juniors. What's making it a difficult problem is the fact that he has run rampant for over a year and sensei the other seniors are either; 1.unaware of this problem because the said character always acts saintly in their presence, or 2.passive

As a matter of fact, the only reason I found out about this problem is because I had a falling out with "him", due of his growing disrespect. The problem escalates when many juniors found out that they have a "friend from above" and creates a support group to kick the character from the dojo. After blowing their steams over several discussions, they finally decided to do an "uke embargo" instead - Meaning that they all will avoid practicing with him.

The character DEFINITELY noticed this and starts telling people that I'm inciting the juniors to hate him. ( my evil side really wish that I didn't try to moderate the discussions, my aikido side gave him nikkyo )

To cut a long story short, here's what happens later; Our sensei found out about this matter because "he" reported a conversation and complaint about him that takes place on the internet. The problem ends with a meeting of all the dojo ranks, brown and above. He was made to apologize by the sensei, we accepted it, everybody's ok. NOT!

This episode created an irreparable damage to the dojo dynamics, causing distrust and possible future problems. The apology is long overdue, the juniors aren't satisfied, the character creates a facade, several juniors have already left the dojo, I'm sad. The damage is done.

The problem shouldn't even be allowed to escalate, all seniors should report to the sensei before such things happen. In order to avoid the impression of "backtalking", the report should be done by a senior with witnesses. A trial is not necessary because the sensei will decide. If a junior decides to report, he/she should do it to the senior, to be passed on. But most of all, the seniors themselves must avoid taking sides. ( Very difficult - trust me ).

That's all from me, hope it helps some other troubled aikidoka.

The road is long...
The path is steep...
So hire a guide to show you the shortcuts
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Old 05-31-2006, 01:39 PM   #30
tenguzero
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1
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Re: Dropout rates and reasons

I've found myself on the brink lately. On the one hand, it's like Aikido has, to a degree, become a part of my life -- I've been going a little over a year, and in that time have invested in numerous training weapons, books, videos, and several pairs of gi. I bought the Aikido 3d software. I've expounded in great length on the positives of Aikido -- both to my family and friends. I have friends I can practice with. Aikido was a major catalyst in my going back to the gym, stretching, and keeping more fit.

And yet I haven't gone in a month.

The last time I went was to attend a weekend seminar by Stephen Toyoda Sensei at the very end of April. I had a great time and enjoyed it thoroughly. Right up to that point I had been going two, often three times a week. And then right after the seminar, I did go to one class. And then nothing for the rest of the month. Now, in my defense I had some slight monetary issues that would have left me too short in the bank account for my liking (if I had paid for the month) but that's not really an excuse, because I know my sensei would have let me hold off payment if I needed to. Then I found, as the month continued on, that I added to the money excuse by justifying to myself that I was taking a "break", which could be understood, since I'd been going for a year straight up to that point and I've got some definite joint pains I didn't have before (every dojo has a few strong guys that mean well, but have rough technique which, when combined with their strength, makes for some really tough applications and throws for uke to take.)

So now the month is ending, and I'm faced with the inevitable choice again. Part of me wants to start attending once more (and we also happen to have kyu tests coming up in a week or two), but part of me has come to enjoy the additional free time, the gas I save not having to drive almost half an hour each way to and from class, and less joint pain. The fact that we're getting into Summer doesn't make it any easier, as I don't exactly relish the thought of once again attending class in a stuffy dojo in 85+ degree weather. On top of that, I've gotten more into going to the gym lately, and that combined with Aikido makes for some late nights getting home -- and I HATE eating dinner at 10pm when I still have to get up for work at 7 the next morning. I suppose I could just go with my dojo's $100 per 10 classes option just for the summer (since the heat usually cuts down on many students attendance -- mine included) and save some money going once a week or so to keep from getting rusty.

Decisions decisions. Kind of odd that I've been practicing Aikido for over a year, and I'm only just now, when I'm on the fence about continuing training, signing up here.
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Old 05-31-2006, 02:02 PM   #31
Lyle Bogin
Dojo: Shin Budo Kai
Location: Manhattan
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 588
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Re: Dropout rates and reasons

Well, if people didn't quit there'd never be enough mat space .

Most people stop training because they feel confined or bored, I think. In NYC there are so many martial artsy people, you can spend a couple years at each school and train for a lifetime.
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Old 05-31-2006, 02:27 PM   #32
fullerfury
Dojo: North County Aikikai
Location: San Marcos, CA
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 72
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Re: Dropout rates and reasons

A dojo represents a living embodiment of the art of Aikido. If the dojo is not growing, it is dying. Growth of course can be defined in differing ways. One might justly argue that a dojos growth is not measured by the number of new faces per month or quarter or year, but by the quality of the aikido practiced by it's members, and the improvements made over a period of time. I do however feel that a percentage of new student retention is imporant for the health of the dojo. I also have found it a struggle to find the right balance for this!

I find it disturbing to read so many accounts of students quitting due to another's behaviour on the mat. I have learned to follow a zero tolerance policy when it comes to seniors abusing juniors. If I see this kind of behaviour I now put a stop to it immediately. No one should feel threatened or unsafe when practicing at the dojo.

I also feel that those who are going to quit are going to quit, plain and simple. There are certainly things that can and should be provided at a dojo to help cultivate an environment where new students want to come and stay to practice. But in the end, most people just don't have the fortitude or interest to stay the course over the long haul. Aikido is a life time journey.
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Old 05-31-2006, 02:46 PM   #33
Jim ashby
Dojo: Phoenix Coventry
Location: Coventry, England
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 303
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Re: Dropout rates and reasons

Hey guys, I started this thread over five years ago! Someone has waaaaaaay too much time on their hands!!!
Have fun with it anyway.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 05-31-2006, 10:53 PM   #34
DonMagee
Location: Indiana
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,311
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Re: Dropout rates and reasons

I just took an extended break from aikido tonight. After talking with the instructor we both agreed that my heart just isn't in aikido right now. I can't consistently train because I'm extremely focused on my upcoming competitions in bjj/judo/mma. I really feel that I was performing a disservice by only showing up when I could 'find the time' between my judo and bjj/mma training. I don't think it was a matter of lacking the fortitude for the long training, or lack of commitment. I really feel that people can just change. Aikido changed me. It lit a spark inside me that allowed me to examine my path in life and redirect it where I wanted it to go. Its unfortunate that the way was not deeper into aikido, but into arts I had apprehension or even fear of training. Aikido gave me the confidence to get back into the martial arts after my long break. It gave me a path to find what I did and did not like about martial arts training. Studying aikido lead me to see judo as a serious martial art, and though that led me to where I am now. I guess I clung to it because I loved the people and I loved the comradery. I realized recently that my heart wasn't really in aikido, it was in hanging out with those guys.

I guess in the end my beliefs have grown and changed and no longer match that of my teachers. I seek a different kind of teaching that aikido is not setup to provide. Thats not to say I do not find them great martial artists, I believe they are wonderful martial artists and if I ever meet someone looking for aikido instruction, I will point them that way.

I've been told I'm young or impatient, and that in time aikido can provide the kind of training and challenge I seek. I've been told I'm a martial art jumper. Maybe they are right. Maybe someday I will see that I've been moving in the wrong direction and go back to aikido. Hopefully if that happens they will let me come back. Maybe the next big martial art will come out and I will jump on that train. All I know was that for the first time in my life I was in a competition where I had a man standing across from me ready to do his best to bend a limb off or choke me silly, and I wasn't scared, nervous, worried, anxious, I was just there. I was in that moment like walking meditation. And after it was over, I realized that is what I had been searching for. It was that contest that defined what I wanted martial arts to be. I never got that in TKD point sparing, or aikido kata, or krav maga drilling. I never got it in judo randori. It came in a NAGA no-gi submission grappling match. I've decided I need to focus in on my physical conditioning and bjj/mma training and take as many competitions and mma matches and I possibly can while I'm still old enough to. That is why I had to take a 'break' from aikido.

Interesting enough, my aikido instructor knew before I even opened my mouth what I was there for. And he basically told me exactly what I was about to say. Talk about harmony and blending, I felt like he was leading me to the out so I did not have to speak. I had come to tell him I wasn't coming back, and he looked at me and told me it was time for me to leave until I was ready to study aikido again. I guess if anyone should be a mind reader it should be an aikido instructor.

I know I've babbled on for a long time, but I just needed a place to get this out. I feel sad because I feel like I've lost a lot of good friends. At the same time I'm torn because I feel relieved to no longer have to watch the clock when I train to make sure I get done in time to make it to aikido class, and disappointed in myself when I was late or didn't' make it to class. Now I have the time to put serious dedication into my jiujitsu and become a serious competitor. Hopefully my absense will be replaced with someone more dedicated to their art.

So I guess I am an aikido dropout. And the above is my reasons.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 06-01-2006, 12:30 AM   #35
Guilty Spark
 
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Location: Flordia
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Posts: 300
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Re: Dropout rates and reasons

Quote:
I guess I clung to it because I loved the people and I loved the camaraderie. I realized recently that my heart wasn't really in aikido, it was in hanging out with those guys.
Same here. I have so much fun in class and a big reason for it is the atmosphere. The more I read about aikido and explore it spiritually the more I believe it isn't simply physical. While you'll be concentrating on a different martial art I bet with a little creativeness you can still apply the 'aikido way' to whatever your doing, including making the atmosphere fun and bringing the camaraderie there.

I wouldn't say you're a drop out. I'd say Aikido brought YOU to where you need to be.
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Old 06-01-2006, 10:21 AM   #36
DonMagee
Location: Indiana
Join Date: May 2006
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Re: Dropout rates and reasons

Quote:
Grant Wagar wrote:
Same here. I have so much fun in class and a big reason for it is the atmosphere. The more I read about aikido and explore it spiritually the more I believe it isn't simply physical. While you'll be concentrating on a different martial art I bet with a little creativeness you can still apply the 'aikido way' to whatever your doing, including making the atmosphere fun and bringing the camaraderie there.

I wouldn't say you're a drop out. I'd say Aikido brought YOU to where you need to be.
I belive you are right. Thank you for putting that into perspective.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 06-01-2006, 10:45 AM   #37
Brian Vickery
Dojo: Aiki-Buken Aikido
Location: Gilbert, Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 208
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Re: Dropout rates and reasons

Quote:
James Ashby wrote:
Hey guys, I started this thread over five years ago! Someone has waaaaaaay too much time on their hands!!!
Have fun with it anyway.
Wow James! ...the last 5 years have just flown by!

Ok, in my dojo, since I posted my initial response about only 1% of the new students making it all the way to shodan, only 2 students have made it to shodan in the last 5 years! All the mudansha who were training at that time have left the dojo, except for me & my teaching partner. We have 1 student ready to test shodan, and two others who are almost there. I can't even count the number of students that have come & gone over the past 5 years! So, that 1% to 2% number is still holding true!

I wonder how many of the people that initially responded to this thread are still practicing aikido today?!?!

Regards!

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 06-01-2006, 11:21 AM   #38
Brian Vickery
Dojo: Aiki-Buken Aikido
Location: Gilbert, Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2000
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Blush! Re: Dropout rates and reasons

Quote:
Brian Vickery wrote:
..All the mudansha who were training at that time have left the dojo, except for me & my teaching partner...
Oops! I meant to say YUDANSHA (Black Belt Folks), not mudansha! ...we still have quite a few of them training with us today!

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 06-01-2006, 12:30 PM   #39
Hanna B
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Join Date: Dec 2001
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Re: Dropout rates and reasons

In 2001, it was written on the forums

Quote:
James Ashby wrote:
I am lucky in that I train in one of the vey very few permanent Dojo's in the U.K with full-time instruction and yet we still get people dropping out, even when they have got to second or even first Kyu.
Drop out is a normal thing IMO. People do lots of things for a while - stamp collection, sailing, skiing, jogging, pottery - and then stop. Some of them come back later, others do not. Nothing strange about that.

Another old comment was

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
I also think ukemis at the start are a major reason for people leaving - people either think they are stupid looking or dangerous. Females will hate me for saying this, but it mostly seems to be women that don't like doing ukemis.
I think this has been discussed more than once, but the way front rolls are taught and used in aikido they need some structure in the front arm. Part of this structure can be replaced by muscle strength, and upper body strenght is the most obvious difference between the sexes besides the genitals. I would like to see statistics on how many beginners have injured their shoulders by slamming it into the mat during their first months of training. My personal belief is women are overrepresented here. I.e., a good set of pedagogics when teaching front rolls are always necessary but even more so with women - that is what I believe.
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Old 06-07-2006, 03:55 AM   #40
aikispike
Dojo: Yoshinkan
Location: Toronto
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 98
Canada
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Re: Dropout rates and reasons

I am planning to do a study for my dojo on why people drop out... if anyone has done this and has advice or questions they used I would love to share ideas.

My idea is that the reasons for pure beginners quitting has to do with ackwardness of the first few classes and the ukemi - more back breakfalls than forward rolling type breakfalls.

I can't imagine that there is any top reason why more experienced students quit - probably as many reasons for that as there are for starting in the first place.

Spike

--
Michael Kimeda
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Old 06-07-2006, 05:14 AM   #41
Dazzler
Dojo: Bristol North Aikido Dojo
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 659
England
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Re: Dropout rates and reasons

Hi

My view on beginners dropping out is that the reality of aikido practice does not meet their expectations.

simple as that.

I try to find out why new students have come to practice, we discuss where aikido can meet their needs and how. Often practice is misunderstood but instead of questioning why we are doing the things we do the newbies often slip away.

aikido is portrayed as a martial art...those with no concept of this can assume it is all about fighting.

Clearly a lot of the things practiced are not immediately visible as useful in a fight particularly to those that know nothing of such things so its easy to dismiss aikido as a waste of time.

By taking time out to discuss these things the students can be made aware of how aikido is addressing their needs even though it may not be immediately obvious.

The truth is that Aikido is hard work, you can spend years doing it and still feel that you have only just scratched the surface.

Once new people start to realise the level of committment required to bring aikido into their lives its not surprising that many quit or take up an alternative that appears to give a greater martial return on the time invested.

Its a shame but its also just part of the weeding out process.

Regards

D
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