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Old 04-17-2019, 05:46 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 28
How long to get the feel of a new dojo

I'm moving to a new city and I am lucky enough to have a number of different dojos to pick from. I'd like to try all of them before deciding. I've been training for a few years now. How long would you give each dojo to get a feel if the dojo is right for you?
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Old 04-18-2019, 05:30 AM   #2
Walter Martindale
Location: Edmonton, AB
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 796
Re: How long to get the feel of a new dojo

What I would do is email their contact, explain that I’m new in town, and that I have practiced aikido in the past and ask if I can watch a session to get a feel for the dojo before committing to a members. It’s worked for me in the past when changing cities.

If they won’t allow it, that means I don’t have to waste my time visiting them. If they say it’s fine, I watch a session and ask if I can join in the next practice as a guest. From there, I get a sense of how they operate and make any decisions based on their aikido and my sense of how they go about their business.

Last edited by Walter Martindale : 04-18-2019 at 05:37 AM.
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Old 04-18-2019, 01:09 PM   #3
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,269
Re: How long to get the feel of a new dojo

It would vary, but I guess it would depend on what I would be looking for.
Define your goals and that will probably help. Perhaps you've already done that. All in all, it's a case by case scenario, as far as I can tell.

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Old 04-19-2019, 09:09 AM   #4
Larry Feldman
Dojo: Atlanta School of Aikido
Location: Atlanta, GA
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 385
Re: How long to get the feel of a new dojo

Take as long as you need, it's your decision - not theirs.

Walter's suggestion is 'proper etiquette', it is still hard to determine all things from 1 visit.

Is the style what you want out of Aikido?
How do the treat beginners?Do you like training with the 'general population'? Do you think you can learn from that teacher?
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Old 04-28-2019, 11:25 AM   #5
Garth Jones
Dojo: Allegheny Aikido
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 166
Re: How long to get the feel of a new dojo

All good suggestions. Walter's point about a dojo not allowing you to watch a class is spot on. If they seem unwelcoming to visitors, or actively discourage people from checking out other dojos in the area, or even have an oddly high mat fee for visitors, it's a big red flag.

Take your time, explore your options, and you'll find the right place.
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Old 07-04-2019, 11:31 AM   #6
ninjaqutie's Avatar
Dojo: Searching for a new home
Location: Delaware (<3 still in Oregon!)
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,005
Re: How long to get the feel of a new dojo

I find that verbally first impressions are accurate. Most places give you one free trial, but you could always just pay a drop in fee, which should be less than $20.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 07-09-2019, 06:28 AM   #7
Dojo: Shoheijuku Aikido, Fukuoka
Location: Fukuoka
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 150
Re: How long to get the feel of a new dojo

I reckon as long as it takes to feel "I want to come back and train more with these people." or "I don't feel good coming here."

Naturally having something useful to say is like natural responses during training: It takes much practice.
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