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Old 01-21-2004, 06:03 PM   #26
Dojo: Aiki Kenkyukai
Location: Indonesia
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 176
hei, zulki

I forgot you're in USA. Gong xi fat choy!!

how's your aikido?

I've slammed your brother with a koshinage, just like you wanted.

The road is long...
The path is steep...
So hire a guide to show you the shortcuts
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Old 01-21-2004, 06:46 PM   #27
Thalib's Avatar
Dojo: 合気研究会
Location: Jakarta Selatan
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 504
Hey Zulki...

When are you coming back to train with us again?

Are you continuing training in US?

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
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Old 01-21-2004, 10:12 PM   #28
Marc Kupper
Dojo: Aikido of Diablo Valley / ASU
Location: Walnut Creek, California
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 88
Zulkifli Adijaya (Zulk) wrote:
How about setting orientation periods (5 to 8 meetings of 1 hour each should do it) for the new beginners? I mean instead of dividing the dojo into advance and beginner classes, assign a number of capable sempais to guide the new student on the importance of ukemi, stretching and most importantly proper manner in dojo.
This is exactly what we do at our dojo. The beginners' package is four Friday evening classes plus six regular classes. People seem to really like it as they start out with other newbies and when they go to the regular classes there are often familiar faces as the newbies will be there plus the regular dojo members who often help out during the Friday evening sessions. From talking to people who have come from other dojo it seems ours is beginner friendly and people appreciate the emphasis on fundamentals.

I'm not sure if this really helps with short and long retention rates compared to other dojo though. I've been involved with many organizations over the years and it seems people coming and going is the norm. I try to do the best I can for them while they are here and wish them the best if they tell me they are leaving or if I notice that someone has not shown up in a while. At times I have gone into periods of wondering why people leave, surveying them if possible, etc. but then I realize those times I've quit something I often don't have a clear, rational, reason in mind. Whatever that something was has slipped down the priority list.
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Old 01-21-2004, 11:30 PM   #29
Location: USA
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 4
Hi Maresa sempai, Hi Kamal sempai

Happy Chinese New Year to you guys too.

I am still continue training myself in aikido here with two other people.

I got a friend of mine who studied under Pak Cho as a partner, he is a brown belt (3rd kyu). So I partnered up alot with him.

We practice weekly here in US, the only problem is we don't have mats or tatami...we used the squash courtroom...so everybody learned ukemi the hard way...

Gee...after a while, three of us managed to perform pretty good ukemi here.

I really hope to be able to join you guys again in Medit Dojo, man...I miss being able to practice aikido with you guys.

My aikido ^_^ ? I don't really know...we practiced alot during winter break (almost every morning)since the Hapkido dojo was not being used so we made the best of it...dang they have pretty good tatami down there.

Hmm...you gave him koshinage didn't ya...could you give him Sensei Christian Tissier type of Irimi nage (ura) on which you can kinda see the uke's legs fully up in the air? Maresa sempai give him that and Kamal sempai give him another one of that...

Hehehe, he need to appreciate for being able to practice aikido regularly...

BTW can I also put Aiki Inyo Kai as my dojo too? And Sensei Hakim as my main teacher ?The emblem design is very nice although it is kinda spoiled by that big guy's huge picture...hehehe

Keep the good work sempais.

Forever an aikidoka



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Old 01-21-2004, 11:50 PM   #30
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,319
I'm going to say it - keeping beginners is not something you should be that concerned about. Keeping your regulars is.

Having a good core of regulars will increase your retention rate of beginners which will always show up.

Most people that step into the dojo are searching for something which even they can't define. Some people understand only after a few lessons that the Aikido practiced in your group is not for them, some take longer. You will always loose people - its the nature of the beast.

With that in mind I tailor my class to my regulars which roughly translates into tailoring it for my own views.

I try to integrate beginners as quickly as possible into the class. That means I might pull them aside for a little extra help but generally they do what everyone else does. In fact when beginners do enter the class - its a great opprotunity for everyone to review basics just a little more but just a little.

Those that like the training - like the challenge. I feel no need to spread the word of Aikido. Sure I encourage beginners but Budo is about self training. I would rather make the threshold a little more difficult in the beginning rather than put the time and effort into someone who will probably leave anyway.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-24-2004, 06:28 AM   #31
Dojo: Aiki Kenkyukai
Location: Indonesia
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 176
Zulk, you're welcome to use aiki inyo kai's name and emblem.

But do you think it's okay with your current teacher/organization? If it is, by all means do so.

Sounds like your aikido dojo is pretty new and not as established as the hapkido. Good luck with your training though.


sometimes beginners stays long enough to become regulars

The road is long...
The path is steep...
So hire a guide to show you the shortcuts
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Old 01-24-2004, 04:19 PM   #32
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 117
Andrew Mendes (Amendes) wrote:
I always though Heart and Mind was Kokoro

I think maybe the termonology sheets I studied are incorrect and I will question Zanshin to "remaining mind."
Actually, unless I'm mistaken about the characters being used, 'kokoro' and 'shin' are the same character (different readings). And anyway, this kind of Japanese terminology can, IMHO, sometimes get somewhat vague/obscure.
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Old 01-27-2004, 08:07 PM   #33
Ian Williams
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 136
Take a step back and think.

When was the last time you had to enter a "clique" and become part of an integrated group of people who knew each other well? It's difficult, and it's intimidating.

If you're not made to immediately feel welcome, then it can reinforce the stereotype of a snotty group of self interersted people not willing to open their group up to newcomers.

When I briefly practiced aikido in my earlier days, I was an obvious new face in the dojo, but I would have been lucky if 2 or 3 people introduced themselves.

The sensai himself was friendly, which was nice, but I vividly remember him trying to teach me a technique. He asked me to hold onto him in a certain way, which I obviously got wrong in my hopeless newbiness and he slapped my hand away in what seemed like "arrogant rebuke". This may be fine when you're dealing with someone who *SHOULD* know better, but I was new, and I didn't have the whole aikido attitude happening, and to me it was extremely offensive. It crushed what little spirit I had at that stage.

As for the person above who said you don't need to keep beginners, just regulars - that sounds like a person I would not like to practice with.

A few thoughts from someone in the position of having to try and integrate with a dojo soon, and feeling rather "nervous"

Tsutsumi Ryu Jujitsu
Adelaide, South Australia

Te audire no possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure
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Old 01-27-2004, 10:28 PM   #34
Jeanne Shepard
Jeanne Shepard's Avatar
Dojo: Puget Sound Aikikai
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 351
Great post, Ian,

Its easy to forget what its like to be a beginner AND a newbie.

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Old 01-28-2004, 05:58 PM   #35
Paula Lydon
Dojo: Aikido Shugenkai
Location: Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 427
~~I think it comes down to why someone is training. There have been many good points brought up here, but few dojo unfortunatly can cover them all. My dojo has a definate 'in group' where I have never really felt welcome, especially in my beginning years, so if the social connection was quite important to me I'd have left long ago. I'm there for the level of training and hang with myself or the few friends I have made and that's fine...now.

~~A dojo organization needs to try to meet as many of those pivital points as necessary, but will never meet them all. Perhaps the social chemistry is great but the chief instructor is only so-so; maybe lots of classes offered but training is always hard and so turns off most women, etc.

1) Good instructor(s)

2) Solid curiccumlum

3) Consistancy in the program

4) Genuine welcome/interest, not something to simply 'get them in the door'

5) A true sense of community, not just for some but for all

I believe a dojo needs as many of these points possible not only for beginners but to keep the regulars, as Peter pointed out. If too many points are lacking, no matter what kept them going for many years, the regulars will fall by the wayside as well. If enough points are present than the dojo will retain more beginners...and that's where long term regulars come from.

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Old 01-29-2004, 03:13 PM   #36
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 495
Energy. If the dojo has no energy, I think people will be turned off. The instructors must want to instruct and not hear their own voices. I was recently in a class where the students were actually yawning! The instructors body language seemed to indicate that he did not want to be here.

Instructors as well as the regulars have an obligation to inspire. This is done by simply training with energy and enthusiasm.
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Old 01-29-2004, 04:09 PM   #37
John Boswell
John Boswell's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland, Texas
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 597
I had no idea!!

When I first started this thread, I figured it would drop off after a few days... lasting a week tops. I had no idea how significant this topic was to so many people.

To me, it is VERY important to keep the new people coming around. It was mentioned earlier to keep the regulars and if the new people drop out... eh. Like they never had a chance of sticking around at all? That's not a good mind-set in my opinion.

When I first started Aikido about 2 years ago, I knew just looking at the belts that everyone else (aside from me) had been there for a long time and that I was the new kid... not gonna fit right in, right away. But I persisted and made myself go to class. I came in during off class time to work on things like ukemi and such just to accelerate my learning ability on a task that I knew was bigger than my vision could take in. (BIG Undertatement!) Time went by and soon we all became good friends and look forward to the next class where we get to toss Lan Powers around like a rag doll! (HURRAY! )

uh... where was I?

Oh ya! So anyhow, glad to see such good feedback on this. Many viewpoints are being shared here and that is always a good thing to see for those of us wanting to learn all aspects of Aikido and is also beneficial for those who already teach in a dojo.

Keep the comments rolling in! I enjoy coming back and keeping up with a unique and varied thread such as this!

Domo arigato

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Old 01-29-2004, 09:53 PM   #38
Dojo: Aiki Kenkyukai
Location: Indonesia
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 176
I, personally, has the goal to retain 100% of all newbies.

Failing that, 20% retainment rate is not bad...

The road is long...
The path is steep...
So hire a guide to show you the shortcuts
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Old 01-30-2004, 08:12 AM   #39
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
Location: Gateshead
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 916
United Kingdom
I would like to keep all beginners as well but it is just not possible. Because we are a university club, many students join up with the attitude of "its just a uni sports and rec club, Ill come when I feel like it and just mess around for a laugh". So a lot of them dont come back, but to be honest I couldnt care less, they havent got the right attitude to train in aikido, a martial art, a budo.

I would much rather focus on the few beginners who actually come regularly and stick it out through the tough times and have a good attitude, than worry about having everyone who ever walks through that door come permanently. But thats just me.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 02-03-2004, 07:27 PM   #40
stuartjvnorton's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Shudokan
Location: Melbourne
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 225
I think things like beginners courses are great for retaining beginners.

It's a gentle introduction into the whole thing without flooding them with info from day 1, and it can train specific things like basic ukemi & also do a few simple things to give a bit of wow factor & feel like they have achieved something.

The ones who stay have some of the basics and more importantly have others who are in the same boat as them, so they don't feel alone or isolated. They already know some people a little bit, so the dojo's not so daunting.

As they get brought into general circulation, they all help each other mix in with everyone else, & this can be helped a lot by seniors offering to "play" with them for a few minutes after class. Then they're actually people with names & not just these superhuman ogres who breathe fire & snap people in half. ;-)

In no time at all, they feel at home in the dojo & that they can ask people for help, so then they are now "regulars' to help the next bunch of beginners.

Female role models are also useful from what I've seen. Or maybe the break in the testosterone changes the attitude a little.

My first dojo is a bit of a boys club. Great atmosphere, but maybe a little daunting for women: no strong female role models there & lots of boys pounding each other a lot :-). My current dojo has several female role models, & has about 3x the percentage of females of all ages training.


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