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Old 01-29-2014, 12:30 AM   #1
RHKarst
Dojo: Joplin MO
Location: Joplin, MO
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How can we get a dojo in town?

Living in the Joplin Area we have had our problems as of late. (Like the Tornado in 2011) But most of our businesses have come back and most of the people simply moved to a surrounding town, still in the area.

We have about 100,000 to 200,000 people in our metropolitan area (depending on how far out you call our area, but many people drive 40 to 50 miles each week to shop here.) Yet even with all those people, we don't have a good Aikido Dojo. We have a hard style, combined with Ju-jitsu that is taken by many of the local police, but a soft, true, Aikido . . . ???

For a while we kinda did . . . and we don't need to go into what happened here, but there is a market here for a quality Aikido Dojo. I took Aikido in CA for a couple of years, and then here in Joplin for about 10 years. We kept the classes full, even though there was a fair turnover. Lots of people here like the idea of a soft art.

Dojo locator shows 9 various martial arts schools in Joplin, and 15 within a 25 mile radius. But I can't find one Aikido class closer than Springfield or Tulsa (60 plus miles).

As much as I love Aikido, that is a bit far for me to drive after work and then back home at night, and stay awake! :-) Especially for this 58 year old. Does anyone have any ideas about how to attract a quality Sensei to a great town?
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:39 AM   #2
robin_jet_alt
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

So, you've been doing Aikido for 12 years? That's easy. Start your own dojo.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:44 AM   #3
RHKarst
Dojo: Joplin MO
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

So, you've been doing Aikido for 12 years? That's easy. Start your own dojo.

Thanks, but I am not sure my last sensei, of 10 years, taught me all I should know to do that. :-) I never worried about belts, so I never tested beyond purple. I did a lot of teaching the lower ranks, until he had a bit of a melt-down. I have looked into starting a club, but haven't found a reasonable venue for a non-profit club without a black belt.
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:23 AM   #4
robin_jet_alt
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

What on earth does a purple belt mean? I've done a lot of styles of aikido, but never seen one with a purple belt.
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:53 AM   #5
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Hi Randy,
Have you thought about training 1 or 2 times a month with one of the dojos that is a bit away. Maybe one of them would be open to you teaching within their style. Many churches, granges and community centers have space for rent cheap to a start up.

If you really want a place to train you can make it happen. Good luck.

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Old 01-29-2014, 09:41 AM   #6
Brian Gillaspie
 
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

If you are willing to teach I would check into the community centers or a YMCA if you have one in Joplin. I held classes for a while at a YMCA here in Topeka, Kansas. The YMCA here just hired me as an employee and paid me an hourly rate so I never had to worry about rent or any kind of monthly fees.

Another option is to find a non-aikido dojo and see if they will let you start some classes. Speaking from experience you will find several of them may not be interested. I taught several years at a karate dojo and again I didn't have to worry about how I would pay rent every month.

Some may disagree with me but I would not be to concerned about your rank. I had to start teaching when I was 2nd kyu because my instructor moved out of the state and I was the most senior student and he turned the dojo over to me. I think the important thing to remember if you start teaching is to be humble and realize you are not an almighty and all knowing sensei. Don't be afraid to tell people you are still working on things or that you may need to check with more experienced instructors to get answers to certain questions. You may lose potential students if they see your belt is not black but you will find some who don't care and want to learn whatever you can teach them.

Robin - I can't speak for Randy but my dojo uses colored belts. We are an independent dojo but originally (before I started training) we were part of Seidokan so I think that is where our colored belts originated. To make it even more confusing we have two purple belt ranks, 4th kyu and 3rd kyu. I've never cared enough about the colors to ask why but I'm assuming somebody had their reasons for it at some time.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:44 AM   #7
teburden
 
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Quote:
Randy Karst wrote: View Post
So, you've been doing Aikido for 12 years? That's easy. Start your own dojo.

Thanks, but I am not sure my last sensei, of 10 years, taught me all I should know to do that. :-) I never worried about belts, so I never tested beyond purple. I did a lot of teaching the lower ranks, until he had a bit of a melt-down. I have looked into starting a club, but haven't found a reasonable venue for a non-profit club without a black belt.
Randy, I might be able to help you out. I'm just north of you. Drop me an email, we'll see what we can get worked out.

Tom
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:28 AM   #8
PeterR
 
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Quote:
Tom Burden wrote: View Post
Randy, I might be able to help you out. I'm just north of you. Drop me an email, we'll see what we can get worked out.

Tom
Looks like things may be working out so only a few words of encouragement.

What most dojo need is consistency not rank. With 12 years of experience that is more than I had when I first started a dojo for pretty much the same reason you seem to want to. I did not have much in the way of rank either.

Of course what you call true aikido might not be what I call true aikido but I wanted to practice more a specific way and did not get that close to where I was. The trick is to teach what you know and continue to learn more.

Three things will make it work.
Arrange to have regular visits by a higher graded instructor - let's say once a month.
Visit the dojo which is taught by a higher graded instructor - again let's say once a month
Encourage your students to do the same.

Good luck.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:23 PM   #9
Belt_Up
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
What on earth does a purple belt mean? I've done a lot of styles of aikido, but never seen one with a purple belt.
Blue with a hint of brown, the worst of both worlds.
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:29 PM   #10
robin_jet_alt
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Quote:
Geoff Byers wrote: View Post
Blue with a hint of brown, the worst of both worlds.
Thanks, that helps. So that would be 2-kyu, then?
I've trained in a few styles with coloured belts, but I've never come across a purple belt before. Anyway, I'd say at 2-kyu you could teach a few classes as long as you had semi-regular visits from another instructor.
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:35 PM   #11
allowedcloud
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Am I the only person who thinks making an adult wear a purple belt is kind if silly? :-)
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:20 PM   #12
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Sillier than practising in skirt-pants?

To the OP: I agree with the other encouraging voices - go for it. I hope you get something arranged!
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:33 PM   #13
Brian Gillaspie
 
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

I don't think a purple is any more silly than a white belt or black belt or a even just wearing a gi. Although my purple belt was more lavender so I had to really improve my aikido to feel more manly :-)

I personally like how the systema guys do it. No uniforms and no belts. Just show up and train.
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Old 01-29-2014, 08:41 PM   #14
Hilary
Dojo: Torrey Pines Aiki Kai
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Quote:
Joshua Landin wrote: View Post
Am I the only person who thinks making an adult wear a purple belt is kind if silly? :-)
Only if id doesn't go with the rest of the outfit.
Preposting edit: even thought "id" was a typo I think I'll leave that right there.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:54 PM   #15
RHKarst
Dojo: Joplin MO
Location: Joplin, MO
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Thank you all. I appreciate the encouragement. One of my problems is going to be finding time to set everything up. I already run my own business . . . a couple in fact, and I am aware of what a start up takes in both time and money. I am willing to do what I can with limited time. That is why I would love some help. I have never had a problem with anyone making money for the services they offer. That is how I can afford classes! I would just like to have a class I can go to.

If anyone is interested in looking over this area, I could probably find a spare bedroom, and maybe the time to give the local tour. :-)

By the way . . . the purple belt hardly shows under the Hakama. :-) Of course my big question now is since it has been a couple of years . . . will any of that stuff still fit? :-) I think it shrinks in the closet. :-)
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Old 01-30-2014, 05:49 AM   #16
Malicat
Dojo: Suenaka-Ha Aikido of Bloomington
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Quote:
Joshua Landin wrote: View Post
Am I the only person who thinks making an adult wear a purple belt is kind if silly? :-)
What? Purple is the most awesome color ever! I was very sad when I had to turn in my purple belt to start wearing a brown one.

Oh, and Robin, our style uses purple for yonkyu and sankyu, brown for nikyu and ikkyu, and blue for gokyu, and that's our first promotion. The women wear hakama at yonkyu as well, and the men don't wear them until shodan. And pretty much everyone in the organization gets excited about going to another school or a seminar and putting on their white belts!

--Ashley
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:58 AM   #17
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Quote:
Randy Karst wrote: View Post
Thank you all. I appreciate the encouragement. One of my problems is going to be finding time to set everything up. I already run my own business . . . a couple in fact, and I am aware of what a start up takes in both time and money. I am willing to do what I can with limited time. That is why I would love some help. I have never had a problem with anyone making money for the services they offer. That is how I can afford classes! I would just like to have a class I can go to.
Hmm. Well, they say that if you like to go out to bars, that's not a great reason (or preparation) for owning a bar, and that if you like to go out to restaurants (or cook at home) that's not a great reason or preparation for owning a restaurant. I apologize for being Debbie Downer, but this may also be true with trying to start a dojo because you want a class to go to. You could create an awesome dojo...but not get what YOU want. Maybe you should be a little bit selfish, know what I mean? Focus on what you want for yourself. Maybe there's a way to pull together the resources for that, without getting completely immersed in starting a dojo.

At the same time, I think we all need to do our part to "create the dojo". In a large, thriving dojo, a new member's part may be small; in a small dojo, it's got to be larger. For you, it'll be a large task no matter what you do. In your position, if you're right in your assessment that your local area can support a dojo, I think maybe I'd try to put something together on a shoestring and see how it worked. Find a practice space that you can use or rent part-time for not much money, find other individuals who will agree to be part of the training and share the cost for a few months, establish your practice, and then see where you're at after a few months. Is this something you can sustain? Are you ready to reach out and take on new students? Is your space adequate, and can you afford it on an ongoing basis? Maybe most importantly, are the people in your startup group the right ones to "create the dojo"? Do they feel that sense of responsibility and ownership? Without that, I don't think it can happen.
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Old 01-31-2014, 01:00 AM   #18
RHKarst
Dojo: Joplin MO
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Mary, you are quite right. I love the art, but not enough to make it a business. I would be willing to help anyone that wanted to make it a business. I don't believe I have the correct training in the art to make it my business. The restaurant analogy is good. I may have cooked for 10 years, but does always cooking Mac and Cheese make me ready to start a restaurant? :-)

Now a Club. . . I might be able to help with that, but it would need a place. Anyone have any "in's" here in this area where a club could practice? I first tried with the local Gyms, but they never seemed to have a night available on the mat floors. I believe we need somewhere with mats, and somewhere where we can get access at least once a month. Even a local college would be good. Any ideas? Or does anyone want to come here and teach? Start a class? Here's hoping and asking for help. :-)

Just one more point for anyone on the edge . . . have you ever seen any other town post requesting a dojo? :-)
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:28 AM   #19
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Quote:
Randy Karst wrote: View Post
Now a Club. . . I might be able to help with that, but it would need a place. Anyone have any "in's" here in this area where a club could practice? I first tried with the local Gyms, but they never seemed to have a night available on the mat floors. I believe we need somewhere with mats, and somewhere where we can get access at least once a month. Even a local college would be good. Any ideas? Or does anyone want to come here and teach? Start a class? Here's hoping and asking for help. :-)
a club would be a good start. first, you need a place of sort. tries American Legion Hall, VFW post, local school gyms, church facility, and so on. you just need some place with heating and cooling and clean with bathroom facilities and a bit of storage for the mats. just need some mats that you can put down and take up. put up poster at local restaurant and coffee shops and bars.

and no. MO depressed me.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 01-31-2014, 01:16 PM   #20
lbb
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Quote:
Randy Karst wrote: View Post
Mary, you are quite right. I love the art, but not enough to make it a business. I would be willing to help anyone that wanted to make it a business. I don't believe I have the correct training in the art to make it my business. The restaurant analogy is good. I may have cooked for 10 years, but does always cooking Mac and Cheese make me ready to start a restaurant? :-)
Yes, but also, I wasn't thinking so much about lack of skills, as of being a consumer vs. being a producer. I've never owned a restaurant OR a bar, but I'm reliably informed that if you enjoy a nice relaxing dinner out or night at the bar, actually owning a bar or restaurant is probably the #1 way to guarantee you'll never enjoy such an evening again

Quote:
Randy Karst wrote: View Post
Now a Club. . . I might be able to help with that, but it would need a place. Anyone have any "in's" here in this area where a club could practice? I first tried with the local Gyms, but they never seemed to have a night available on the mat floors. I believe we need somewhere with mats, and somewhere where we can get access at least once a month. Even a local college would be good. Any ideas?
I'd inquire at:
  • Schools of all kinds (colleges, primary schools, high schools)
  • Community centers
  • Dance studios
  • Performing arts rehearsal spaces
  • Other martial arts schools
  • YMCA or similar organizations with recreational space
Mind you, there's a good chance you won't be able to get very convenient times, at least at first. When I was studying shindo muso ryu in Boston, we used a judo club and a dance studio, and our practice time was from 6-9 PM on Sundays. In New York, we used a couple of different performing arts rehearsal spaces on Saturday and Sunday mornings. If you get a larger group of people, that's when you can angle for better times.
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:04 PM   #21
Mark Mueller
Location: Louisville Kentucky
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Quote:
Ashley Hemsath wrote: View Post
What? Purple is the most awesome color ever! I was very sad when I had to turn in my purple belt to start wearing a brown one.

Oh, and Robin, our style uses purple for yonkyu and sankyu, brown for nikyu and ikkyu, and blue for gokyu, and that's our first promotion. The women wear hakama at yonkyu as well, and the men don't wear them until shodan. And pretty much everyone in the organization gets excited about going to another school or a seminar and putting on their white belts!

--Ashley
Now if I could find a fuschia belt with a cream colored hakama I would be all set for Easter.
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Old 02-01-2014, 12:10 AM   #22
RHKarst
Dojo: Joplin MO
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Keep the ideas coming people, and Thank you. As for Mark . . . somewhere I saw someone is selling tie-dyed gi's! Sounds like that is just what you are looking for! :-)

I may have to draft a letter to send to several of the places around here and see who is interested. Thanks again, and keep the ideas coming, please. :-)
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:46 PM   #23
RHKarst
Dojo: Joplin MO
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Re: How can we get a dojo in town?

Any other ideas? Please.
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