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Old 01-07-2014, 07:59 PM   #1
"Need opinions"
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Freaky! Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

I have been attending this school for a few years and it seems training has hit rock bottom and has dwindle the school attendance to nearly non existence. The are two instructors who teach on the weekend. One, old age just has him. He cannot perform techniques because he suffers from joint problems in every joint in his body but still tries to teach. No one really want to tell him to " retire "from teaching. The other intructor does not teach anything more than katate dori ikkyo and kaitenage. This has even caused another higher rank shinan in our organization instructor to publicly bad mouth our school quality which angered me and the chief instructor.
Whenever we get new prospective students who come to watch i never see them again. One even decided to leave after the instructor had us warming up for almost 40mins before actually practice time.(This is what he normally does). At one point i starting teaching and they havent ask me to teach since. The aikido i was first introduced to was being effective, technical and having fun while practicing not pretty dancing or talking about religion or how the earth revolves around the sun.
Could it be that they just really dont care since its a non profit dojo or are they just turning a blind eye as to maybe some more changes need to be made.Ive already brought up the need for "safer" training and not teaching dangerous things giving students false hope. I say more changes because the instructor is now teaching us a different style of aikido by watching it on youtube and teaching it to us even though we are under a different organization. He has no experience in this style. Maybe its time to pass the torch to the new generation? What are your thoughs on this?
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Old 01-09-2014, 09:21 AM   #2
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
Location: Oceanside, California
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Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

Sounds like an issue to discuss with the Chief Instructor of the dojo.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:52 AM   #3
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
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Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
What are your thoughs on this?
What outcome are you looking for?
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:46 PM   #4
philipsmith
Dojo: Ren Shin Kan
Location: Birmingham
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Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

It is often difficult for instructors to "pass on the torch" as they have so much emotional investment in the dojo which in many cases they opened.
O Sensei's example is also a probllem in that people often quote his supposedly daily practice until his death at 80+ so they think this is what they should/can do.

My understanding is that actually in his latter years OSensei taught very little - and then only in very short bursts. i don't have an answer but I have often seen this sort of degeneration in dojos and organisations with young (ish) aikidoka ddoing ineffective "old man Aikido" which usually leads to their demise.

You and your senior instructors need to sit and have a serious dscussion about the future of your dojo.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:34 PM   #5
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

Run, without looking back.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:07 PM   #6
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Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
What outcome are you looking for?
To help get the dojo back up in attendance( to replace those who move away for school, new jobs or other reasons) and get back the quality of training in the martial art of Aikido in the dojo.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:37 PM   #7
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Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Run, without looking back.
That thought did cross my mind recently.....
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:47 PM   #8
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Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

Quote:
Philip Smith wrote: View Post
It is often difficult for instructors to "pass on the torch" as they have so much emotional investment in the dojo which in many cases they opened.
O Sensei's example is also a probllem in that people often quote his supposedly daily practice until his death at 80+ so they think this is what they should/can do.

My understanding is that actually in his latter years OSensei taught very little - and then only in very short bursts. i don't have an answer but I have often seen this sort of degeneration in dojos and organisations with young (ish) aikidoka ddoing ineffective "old man Aikido" which usually leads to their demise.

You and your senior instructors need to sit and have a serious dscussion about the future of your dojo.
Its a sad situation when that happens and its happening where i am. Believe me. I know of another dojo where i previously before moving where training not onwership was handed off to senior students and yudansa and that dojo is flourishing
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Old 08-19-2015, 07:45 AM   #9
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Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

UPDATE: The instructors have been politely permanently removed from instructing for lack of skill and leadership. A new instructor including myself have now taken over and the dojo attendance is growing again.
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Old 08-19-2015, 09:24 AM   #10
Krystal Locke
Location: Phoenix, Oregon
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Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
UPDATE: The instructors have been politely permanently removed from instructing for lack of skill and leadership. A new instructor including myself have now taken over and the dojo attendance is growing again.
Great. Now, don't ever get old.
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Old 08-21-2015, 11:30 AM   #11
Conrad Gus
 
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Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

I'm glad that this situation has found a resolution.

OP, could you and the other senior members of the dojo please take care of these senior instructors? When this happens, they are in the position where the art they been practising for a long time is kind of pulled out from under them. They are no longer being asked to teach, and they probably feel too embarrassed or angry to show up as students to classes being taught by others.

I strongly suggest that someone reaches out to these guys and sets up some private "old man" training time with them, where they can keep practising whatever they want. Go take ukemi for them for 30 minutes and then go out for coffee. These guys typically have a lot more going on then the whippersnappers realize in a regular class situation. We owe these senior teachers a lot, even if they aren't top-ranking shihan when they get to be that age.
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Old 08-25-2015, 09:07 AM   #12
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Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

Well, it is unlikely now. His knee is blown. The other one has been teaching for so long that he hasn't trained so you know what happens when you don't train anymore. Your skills diminish. It was due mostly to leadership issues and the survivability of the dojo in the community. The dojo is over has been there for about 50 years. They just didn't take responsibility and say "Hey, maybe I need to hand this responsibility off because I am not able to handle it anymore and its not working out as I thought it would."
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Old 08-26-2015, 01:44 PM   #13
lbb
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Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

Mmm, well. Remember that we live in the world we create, and that we all grow old. Think of how you'd like to be treated down the road yourself -- just a suggestion.
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Old 08-26-2015, 05:39 PM   #14
kewms
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Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

Is aikido only an art for young people?

How do you define "quality" of the art being taught?

What is the demographic profile of your community, and where do you expect new students to come from?

If you think it is impossible to practice or teach aikido effectively with bad knees, might I suggest that your concept of the art is a bit limited?

If you think it is impossible to improve while teaching, might I suggest that your understanding of the art of teaching is limited, too?

Katherine

Last edited by kewms : 08-26-2015 at 05:43 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 09:08 AM   #15
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Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

[quote=Katherine Derbyshire;344826]Is aikido only an art for young people?

No, Its for any age. There has been 60+ Instructors who I was actually impressed with and learned a lot from.

How do you define "quality" of the art being taught?

Keeping students interested, bringing new things to the table, most importantly evolving without ever forgetting the basics. If you teach dancing and it fails them they will blame you. Don't portray it as a martial art if you don't teach it that way.

What is the demographic profile of your community, and where do you expect new students to come from?

A good mix of demographics. People come from the the surrounding city.

If you think it is impossible to practice or teach aikido effectively with bad knees, might I suggest that your concept of the art is a bit limited?

Knees joints are nothing to play with when injured. I know this as having partially tore a mcl and lcl ligament a couple years ago. It will put you out 2 month minimum. I was still young so I got lucky. I healed fast.

If you think it is impossible to improve while teaching, might I suggest that your understanding of the art of teaching is limited, too?

Teaching is a totally separate skill. You either have it or you don't or you can take time to learn how to do it. Having a 20th Dan does not mean you are effective at teaching. The 2 instructors only taught once a week for the past 7 years. ( 2 classes per week) That was there" training time", when they taught. If you are teaching ONE technique for the past 7 years once a week, spending 60 mins out of a 90 min class doing warm ups with only 30 mins left to practice the same ONE technique for 7 years, would you stay? To them Aikido was a one technique ballet dance. I was the last student left. Honestly, I did thought of leaving. During that time some new students started and never returned after the first month. If I left and hadn't push for a immediate change the school would have been closed after 50+ years. I was fortunate when I first started aikido from day 1 back east. The chief instructor and his sempai didn't bullshit me or taught me dance-kido. Its was because of this I immediately joined. There were serious and safe about training. The current dojo where I eventually made my way to became a joke dance studio by the 2nd year. When people see this they will run for the hills and that is what happened. The leadership failed and had to be removed. I have been practicing for 13+ years ( still a newbie) and had exposure (not ranking) to other styles of Aikido. (Iwama, nishio, tenshin ex.) I try to attend at least 2 seminars a year (regardless of style) locally so I don't get stuck in the "aikido box". There is always something new to learn. What you have been doing there always might be a better way of doing it. Take in everything and discard the nonsense bullsh*** without forgetting the basics because that is the foundation. I make sure to tell my students there is NO MAGIC or no "no touch throws" in aikido but there is hard work and a little pain to make it become a part of you.
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Old Yesterday, 09:31 AM   #16
"""Need opinions"""
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Thumbs up Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Mmm, well. Remember that we live in the world we create, and that we all grow old. Think of how you'd like to be treated down the road yourself -- just a suggestion.
Yes, your right but it has nothing really to do with age. They were removed for how they treated me and mis-handled the dojo badly. Karma always come for you. Now, I have the responsibility and partial oversight because I didn't back down. Especially when your a U.S Marine, you don't back down or run from challenges in life. Its called leadership. When the day comes I cant do its anymore I will hand the responsibility over.
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Old Yesterday, 11:16 AM   #17
G Sinclair
 
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Re: Instructors first impressions turning away prospective students

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Keeping students interested, bringing new things to the table, most importantly evolving without ever forgetting the basics. If you teach dancing and it fails them they will blame you. Don't portray it as a martial art if you don't teach it that way.

What is the demographic profile of your community, and where do you expect new students to come from?

If I left and hadn't push for a immediate change the school would have been closed after 50+ years. I was fortunate when I first started aikido from day 1 back east. The chief instructor and his sempai didn't bullshit me or taught me dance-kido. Its was because of this I immediately joined. There were serious and safe about training. The current dojo where I eventually made my way to became a joke dance studio by the 2nd year. When people see this they will run for the hills and that is what happened. The leadership failed and had to be removed. I have been practicing for 13+ years ( still a newbie) and had exposure (not ranking) to other styles of Aikido. (Iwama, nishio, tenshin ex.) I try to attend at least 2 seminars a year (regardless of style) locally so I don't get stuck in the "aikido box". There is always something new to learn. What you have been doing there always might be a better way of doing it. Take in everything and discard the nonsense bullsh*** without forgetting the basics because that is the foundation. I make sure to tell my students there is NO MAGIC or no "no touch throws" in aikido but there is hard work and a little pain to make it become a part of you.
Respect. I like your approach to Aikido and the dojo. Congrats on keeping them open. Hope to meet you at a Tenshin seminar someday.

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