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Old 01-31-2012, 11:51 PM   #26
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,318
Re: Three dojo management questions...

Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
Maybe this is why it is not so great for a dojo to be topheavy? Even if new folk come in, they may not learn as effectively, not seeing any peers having similar success and similar struggles. The gap between what they see and what they can do is too big. There is nobody to identify with, no immediately accessible, intermediate role models. And so they don't stick. And I'm thinking this applies to a whole bunch of other dojo social issues, too. Women and training, GLBT training....
There's something to this, I think... Our dojo was lacking in women when I arrived. Not too long after, a very enthusiastic and talented female beginner joined us. Since then we've had both growth in the beginner program generally, and significant growth in the numbers of women. Role models matter, even when neither the model nor the person observing them realizes it.

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Old 02-01-2012, 11:30 AM   #27
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
Location: Stamford Connecticut
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 386
Re: Three dojo management questions...

A great thread, I've been stopping by and reading around in it over the past several days and just now clicked on the new page where Katherine quoted Krystal. It reminded me of an experience I had years ago. I had been teaching at a local Y in my home town since returning from Japan, but had visited other dojos and seminars and camps.... but still I felt I was much slower than the other yudansha who had moved into the area and wanted to improve in order to keep up a bit more when practicing with them....

A neighbor had showed a karate kata at an outdoor practice we had by the Mianus River in Cos Cob where one of my students was renting the downstairs of a house. To make a long story short, I ended up thinking that might be good for my balance and to make my legs stronger, and to be able to move faster, etc. and went to the dojo his friends from Hampshire College were training at in NYC at Columbia (Teachers' College, actually)

My comment is about a new person deciding whether to join a dojo. First of all there was a very enthusiastic woman, Miriam from Israel, who was very friendly. This is important. The other thing was that there were white belts, brown belts and black belts. Miriam, by the way, just assumed I probably would want to join, although she admitted Connecticut was a bit further (by train) than the others had to travel to get there.

But the other point was something I used as advice from then on whenever anyone asked: Watch the black belts when you visit a dojo, and see if it's something you would like to emulate one day, or at least work at progressing towards....

Watch the white belts to see if it's something you would enjoy training at now.

I hope this little testimonial might give just one more example of what might cause a visitor to join

For those who already know me, yes my neighbor and I eventually got married and still are...
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:22 PM   #28
Lyle Laizure
Lyle Laizure's Avatar
Dojo: Hinode Dojo LLC
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 563
Re: Three dojo management questions...

I don't mean you shouldn't advertise by any means. Just seems that things become far too commercial sometimes.

Lyle Laizure
Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:31 AM   #29
Dojo: Bristol North Aikido Dojo
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 659
Re: Three dojo management questions...

Diana Frese wrote: View Post
Watch the black belts when you visit a dojo, and see if it's something you would like to emulate one day, or at least work at progressing towards....

Watch the white belts to see if it's something you would enjoy training at now.

Very nice. I'll borrow that as an improvement on what I already use.

Diana Frese wrote: View Post

For those who already know me, yes my neighbor and I eventually got married and still are...
Even nicer.


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Old 03-19-2012, 10:04 AM   #30
Tom Verhoeven
Dojo: Aikido Auvergne Kumano dojo
Location: Auvergne
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 295
Re: Three dojo management questions...

Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I think that there's a tendency to think that kids have to be playing or they won't stay interested, but a lot of times that's not true. You get them to go along with it by creating an environment in which such behavior is assumed. For example, there are a lot of regimented ballet or violin programs for children that are quite successful.


I agree, when my partner started teaching children's class it was all very playfull, with all kinds of games that were related to Aikido or learned them a basic move of Aikido. But quite soon she realized that this was not the way to go. And classes became more formal. I observed/participated in a few classes for children in Japan. These were ordinary formal Aikido lessons. The main difference being the curriculum of techniques that was available to the children. These kids were very dedicated and serious about their training. If you as an adult would not do the technique proper, they would not go down! The playful part started only after class.

Good luck !
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