Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 10-05-2004, 03:31 PM   #1
darin
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 375
Offline
dojo setup

Anyone got advice on setting up and running an aikido dojo? How do you get your students? Is it best to charge by the class or month? What is your target customer? What is the best way to advertise? Which location is best?
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2004, 04:21 PM   #2
Jordan Steele
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 126
Offline
Re: dojo setup

Running a dojo is like running any business. To answer your questions though...a location that is visible to the general public, because a dojo wants exposure if it is going to be at all sucessful. The target customer is anyone and everyone except criminals, people of bad character, violent and aggresive people, and to some extent people that want to learn Aikido so they can use it, but not always. Charging by the month is best, but have a per class rate as well. In regards to how you get your students, it takes hard work, consistency, and persistance. A really good location will help but ads in the paper, special rates, incentives, public demonstrations, networking with area businesses etc. Get yourself out there and don't stop after you have a few students. Rent out the training space to pilates, yoga, or other martial arts teachers and get some crossover plus extra income. On paper running a dojo is very basic because you're offereing one service in exchange for a fixed amount of money, but finding loyal students and new students is very difficult.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2004, 04:33 PM   #3
senseimike
 
senseimike's Avatar
Dojo: Rising Star Aikido
Location: South Bend, Nebraska
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 81
United_States
Offline
Re: dojo setup

I've been operating a dojo for around 10 years now. One thing to keep in mind, and this will help to prevent discouragement and disappointment, is don't expect to get rich teaching aikido. In 10 years I've never been paid a salary. I teach so that I stay active in the aikido community and in our organization. So long as the monthly dues keep the doors open and the lights and heat on I'm happy. Feel free to private message me with any questions Darin.

Mike Taylor
Godan
Chief Instructor, Rising Star Aikido
South Bend, Nebraska, USA
www.risingstaraikido.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2004, 05:52 PM   #4
kironin
 
kironin's Avatar
Dojo: Houston Ki Aikido
Location: Houston,TX
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,035
United_States
Offline
Re: dojo setup

to follow up on what Mike said. if you end up breaking even, you are pretty damn lucky.

all your questions are affected by what you plan to do ?
full time ?
part-time ?
form a club meeting a 2-3 times a week ?


Also check out this thread...
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5753

there have been several others too including on the question of setting up a dojo in commercial space and on your property.

do a little digging on this site and you won't have to wait for replies.

  Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2004, 07:09 PM   #5
maikerus
Dojo: Roppongi Yoshinkan Aikido / Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
Location: Tokyo
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 571
Japan
Offline
Re: dojo setup

Hi Darin,

I would say the most important question to ask yourself is "Why do you want to open a dojo". This will lead into everything else, including what students you target, how much you charge, how you teach and how often you train.

I, with another instructor, opened our dojo 3 years ago solely because we found ourselves unable to train at the hombu dojo any more due to work and family commitments. We *needed* a place to train and students to train with and that kind of dictated our whole style of how much, to who, where and how often and what time.

One thing that we have been doing successfully is running a beginners course for 2 months, twice a week for a total 16 classes with an optional test at the end of it. We start the course every three months and sometimes merge it with the regular class but mostly not. We usually keep one or two students out of every course.

Oh...and we get lots of hits and inquiries from our website. That's probably an important part of advertising. We also advertise in a local foreigner (I live in Japan) community newsletter/paper/magazine.

With a couple of thoughts,

--Michael (www.roppongi-yoshinkan.com)

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2004, 09:45 AM   #6
Dazzler
Dojo: Bristol North Aikido Dojo
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 659
England
Offline
Re: dojo setup

ok...location is well covered in previous posts so other than saying its essential I'll leave it to that.

No-one has mentioned a plan.

What has worked for us is a very structured development process whereby we have regular classes at each kyu level to take students from beginner to dan grade in about 3 years.

This may not fit with everyones ideal but if you are going to survive you have to play the numbers game. Lots of gradings keeps the beginners focussed and gives them an additional driver for making that extra attempt to make training.

We have a policy that no-one trains without paying the membership fees up front. Having paid most think that they'll stick it out for a while to get their moneys worth. Covers any insurance issues too!

Again - I appreciate this is not ideal...in an ideal world you could just open a dojo and the world would thank you for it.

Sadly there are financial pressures so some compromise is called for.

Finally - look for alternative sources of revenue.

We have an uchi deschi programme. The deschis pay rent.

We have agreements with other groups who rent the premises.

We have agreements with property owners to get reduced rent in return for work done on surrounding property/land.

Oh - one other thing...listen to your students? what makes them come? what makes them leave? A suggestion box can unveil lots of issues which can lose good students if not addressed.

Sadly just practicing fantastic aikido is unlikely to be enough...as said in previous posts - you need to think like a businessman and have a continuous marketing strategy.

Better to be a McDojo than a failed dojo!

Last edited by Dazzler : 10-06-2004 at 09:48 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2004, 05:27 AM   #7
darin
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 375
Offline
Re: dojo setup

Thanks guys. I used to have my own school before but it never really picked up due to a bad location. The new dojo is in a better location and cheaper but it isn't really a dojo.

I too believe that a dojo should be run like a business and the instructors should make some money for their time spent teaching. I like the idea of a structured development process, beginner courses and a suggestion box. One thing I noticed is that we tend to pick up students during spring and autumn then lose them over summer and winter.

How about running special classes like self defence courses for housewives, school groups and the disabled etc? It may be possible to get some contracts with local schools or sporting and government associations. I know one school in Perth that teaches aikido to dancers.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2004, 06:44 AM   #8
Dazzler
Dojo: Bristol North Aikido Dojo
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 659
England
Offline
Re: dojo setup

Hi

Yep...all this diversity sounds good.

We've tried to forge links with as many areas of local community as possible. All helps especially if you have a chance of any grants and such like.

We've run summer schools for disadvantaged kids, courses for asian women and we even have the local chinese community doing lion dancing.

We don't always charge either - the lion dancers just did a demo to round off a course with a visiting instructor but it was a nice touch.

One thing the local Tae Kwon Do guys have done is run free courses for local railway employees (who frequently get hassled by joe public)...this got them some great publicity and presumably more students. I'd have thought local hospitals might also like some free tuition too.

Maybe a couple of weeks freebies to whet the appetite then slip them into normal aiki lessons?

just some thoughts..

Good luck!

D
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2004, 07:11 AM   #9
Jonathan Punt
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 19
Wales
Offline
Re: dojo setup

One tip I read regarding placing adverts in papers is to ask for it to be placed in the main Buy/Sell section, not the sports/activity section, this way there is more chance of people seeing it.

J
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2004, 09:55 AM   #10
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 522
Offline
Re: dojo setup

We offer a course through the local university's "Experimental College" program, seven sessions for beginners. This means the university does publicity for us, which is a *huge* help. Most of the newcomers don't stay, but a few do. I think that without this program we would not attract enough beginners to survive--there are many dojo in Seattle and competition is quite fierce. (I met one of our Experimental College students at the supermarket yesterday, and found out that she didn't quit after all, but switched to a school nearer her home. It's good to hear she's still doing aikido, even if not with us.)

You will want to think about whether to offer kids' classes, which can be a good source of revenue but are a lot of work. I know one dojo which keeps afloat largely on the grounds of its very strong and well-attended teen program, but that seems to be even more work. In both cases, you need to quickly find enough students that the classes are a reasonable size; teens especially seem to be gregarious, and you need to reach a critical number of them quickly. This would probably mean a publicity blitz at the start.

Good luck with it!

Mary Kaye
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
We need dojo help Aiki-lost Anonymous 13 05-13-2006 10:17 AM
Beginners Retention Rates akiy Teaching 45 04-06-2006 12:13 AM
Regarding James Smith Bedard Announcements & Feedback 183 02-17-2006 10:15 PM
Questions on Starting a New Dojo Paul Barrett Teaching 12 08-01-2004 06:46 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:10 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2017 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2017 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate