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Old 07-13-2006, 01:49 PM   #1
gdandscompserv
 
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I opened a dojo.

Not because I feel qualified to, but because I needed a place to train.
Has anybody else done this?
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Old 07-13-2006, 02:41 PM   #2
justin
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Re: I opened a dojo.

not myself but i do wish you all the very best sure it will work out well.
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Old 07-14-2006, 04:57 AM   #3
eyrie
 
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Re: I opened a dojo.

A word of advice... don't call it a dojo. Call it anything but... call it a get-together experimentation session... a workout... playtime... anything but. That way there is no expectation of you as someone who might be in a teaching capacity or the expectation that you have something or nothing to teach. Welcome all and any who wish to workout with you... and learn from each other.

All the best!

Ignatius
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Old 07-14-2006, 06:49 AM   #4
justin
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Re: I opened a dojo.

just a thought, just because he doesnt feel qualified doesnt mean he isnt.
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Old 07-14-2006, 08:15 AM   #5
Mark Uttech
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Re: I opened a dojo.

Lots of others have opened dojo for the very same reason. That is not bad. It is a test of self determination to develop a practice. It also helps to have some sort of business sense, because opening and managing a dojo is like starting and managing a small business. Beginning with a ten year committment will help you weather many a storm ( and there may be many). Good luck.
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Old 07-14-2006, 09:23 AM   #6
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: I opened a dojo.

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote:
Not because I feel qualified to, but because I needed a place to train.
Has anybody else done this?
You are in the comapny of many folks in this. The one thing I would point out is that, once you take on the role of opening a dojo you have incurred a serious responsibility to train yourself and keep on training. People will come to you and give you money, and even more importantly, their time. You have an obligation as a teacher to deliver the very best training you can.

In some cases there are no alternatives and you open a dojo simply because there are no other dojos around. You still need to keep on growing all the time so that your own limitations do not become the limitations of your students.

In other cases, there are actually other choices of places to train. In that case, delivering sub standard training is really a form of fraud. You are enticing students to come and train with you when they would be getting better training elsewhere. You have to really ask yourself if you are really able to deliver the goods.

As I say, if there is no other alternative, by all means open your dojo. But once you have done this, taking a casual attitude about your own training isn't an option any more. You have an obligation to get out and train with the best, hit the camps, the seminars, host higher level folks and keep on growing. I have no problem with someone serious opening a dojo. I have a big problem with folks who open a dojo and then deliver poor to mediocre training to people who aren't experienced enough to know what to look for. So be really honest with yourself about whether folks really benefit from you opening a dojo and then understand what a huge obligation you take on when you do this.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Aikido Eastside
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Old 07-14-2006, 08:05 PM   #7
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: I opened a dojo.

thanks all.
George, believe me i don't take it lightly.
i have always preferred being a student over being a teacher.
it's just that i left my sensei in Okinawa.
i really have no choice if i want to train on a regular basis.
the nearest Aikido dojo is 80 miles away.
and i really do love to train. in fact, in 2 weeks my wife is dragging me along on a business trip. i don't mind because we're going to Portland and while my wife is at work I'll be "playing" at a couple of dojos in Portland. i rarely miss a chance to train.

so far i haven't had to worry about "taking" too many peoples money as i have only 3 regular students, 2 of which are my children whom i have somewhat conscripted into service. the 3rd is a fairly advanced student whom i learn from as well as teach. i am only an unaffiliated shodan, therefore i do not offer "ranking."

hey eyrie, maybe i'll call it Playtime Dojo.

actually i have adopted the name of Barstow Aikikai for now.
soon i want to become a non-profit organization. i have another name in mind when i do that.
my main focus right now is offering basic Aikido instruction to foster children and their families through the Greater Hope Foundation For Children. they are the ones kind enough to donate the space for my dojo.

Last edited by gdandscompserv : 07-14-2006 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 07-14-2006, 11:18 PM   #8
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: I opened a dojo.

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote:
thanks all.
George, believe me i don't take it lightly.
i have always preferred being a student over being a teacher.
it's just that i left my sensei in Okinawa.
i really have no choice if i want to train on a regular basis.
the nearest Aikido dojo is 80 miles away.
and i really do love to train. in fact, in 2 weeks my wife is dragging me along on a business trip. i don't mind because we're going to Portland and while my wife is at work I'll be "playing" at a couple of dojos in Portland. i rarely miss a chance to train.

so far i haven't had to worry about "taking" too many peoples money as i have only 3 regular students, 2 of which are my children whom i have somewhat conscripted into service. the 3rd is a fairly advanced student whom i learn from as well as teach. i am only an unaffiliated shodan, therefore i do not offer "ranking."

hey eyrie, maybe i'll call it Playtime Dojo.

actually i have adopted the name of Barstow Aikikai for now.
soon i want to become a non-profit organization. i have another name in mind when i do that.
my main focus right now is offering basic Aikido instruction to foster children and their families through the Greater Hope Foundation For Children. they are the ones kind enough to donate the space for my dojo.
Well, good luck. If you get up to the Seattle area, drop in.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 07-14-2006, 11:38 PM   #9
eyrie
 
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Re: I opened a dojo.

Hi Ricky,

Sorry I misunderstood.... I thought you said you only needed a place to train, not teach. Ah well....

30 years ago, our Chief Instructor (5/6th dan now but retired) started a dojo because he needed a place to train... he was only a 2nd kyu at the time... everyone's got to start somewhere. Don't feel that you're not qualified... in any way. And don't let anyone tell you differently either.

Quote:
hey eyrie, maybe i'll call it Playtime Dojo.
Ack! Uh... NO.... most definitely NOT... you might be mistaken for a child care provider....

Ignatius
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Old 07-15-2006, 06:12 AM   #10
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: I opened a dojo.

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
Ack! Uh... NO.... most definitely NOT... you might be mistaken for a child care provider....
yeah, that would be scary.
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Old 07-16-2006, 11:09 PM   #11
PeterR
 
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Re: I opened a dojo.

I started my first dojo when I was Shodan - my second one also but I graded a month after that.

In the first case there were half decent Aikikai types in the area that I trained with and continued to train with - just that there were things I was interested in vis a vis my style that weren't being covered.

In the second case (I moved back to Japan) there were also good Aikido dojos in the area but my Shihan insisted I open a dojo rather than train with someone else (I travel to Honbu once a week).

So a few comments.
Better to feel unqualified than to figure you are the best that's ever been - keeps you on your toes.

Teach what you know - that tends to be the most useful stuff for a young dojo.

Grab family and friends just to get some numbers up and the dojo moving but start thinking where you want to dojo to go. In my second dojo none of the people I dragged in at first are still with me but the numbers are greater and my personal training is better. This ballencing act is the toughest to pull off.

Don't isolate yourself. Talk to your teacher in Okinawa about what is the best way.

Good luck.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-17-2006, 12:11 AM   #12
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Re: I opened a dojo.

Oh yeah - and my mantra is I teach to train.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-17-2006, 05:48 AM   #13
shadowedge
 
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Re: I opened a dojo.

question regarding this...

I came across sensei(s) who travel a lot... some rent space in a gym to teach, others teach out in public (like in a park)

they have all the nesecarry credentials, and skills to teach... but does a set up like this qualify as a "dojo" ?
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Old 07-17-2006, 08:16 AM   #14
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: I opened a dojo.

I like your advise Peter.
I focus my classes on the USAF kyu test requirements. That way my students can eventually test for rank.
I would feel much more comfortable doing it if I had weekly access to my sensei as I did in Okinawa. But those times are gone and now I do what I can to train and perhaps some of it will be beneficial to those poor souls whom I have conscripted into service as uke's.
I do have one very good student who helps me keep the dojo alive.
2 of my 3 son's train with me as well which is good, I think. They seem to like it. As long as I have somebody to train with I ham happy.
Is that selfish?
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Old 07-17-2006, 10:14 AM   #15
Jorge Garcia
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Re: I opened a dojo.

I was in a similar situation but with a difference . When I started my dojo, I was a nidan and had been in Aikido for 9 years. I had always enjoyed being a student and didn't want to necessarily be a teacher.
Prior to starting my own dojo, I had been practicing for years in a dojo that was affiliated with Hiroshi Kato Shihan. He had tested me for first kyu, shodan and nidan over that time period so he knew me pretty well. Locally though, some bad stuff happened in our dojo and due to that and a few other things that were going on, I decided I had to leave the dojo I was practicing in. I absolutely didn't want to change styles and I loved the style of our shihan. He has a very realistic and robust style of Aikido. I am a very physical person and I liked the freedom to move and do different things that his style gave me. It would have been like going to prison to step back and have to limit myself to something less than that by joining someone elses dojo so I decided to try and start my own place.
After doing a lot of research and getting all my ducks in order, I found a place, I found a way to get paid to teach Aikido and I talked them into buying the mats.
I knew that if I officially resigned the dojo I was in, that I ran the risk of being banned forever from the dojo (that was the personality style of my local sensei) and I really liked learning from him. What he was teaching me was great and I learned new things from him every day. Because of that, I was tempted to just be a guy at the Y teaching Aikido. I was tempted to teach at the Y and not test the people there and never tell the guys at my other dojo that I was over at the Y teaching. That way, I could have attended my local sensei's dojo once a week only (thus limiting my exposure to the bad stuff )and still gotten the learning I was enjoying, and had the best of both worlds. That way, I could have stayed with my shihan as well.
But when I thought of the students, I realized that I wouldn't be able to do that to them. It was just a weak moment I am confessing to. I knew better than that, and I really couldn't bring myself to do that so I bit the bullet and officially resigned the dojo. I was in fact promptly banned from the dojo. No reason was ever given to me. I was just sent a note saying I had made my choice and I was no longer welcome there.
I contacted my Shihan and told him what happened. He investigated and got back with me and said he would support me in my new venture. He has been coming to my new dojo ever since. Since then, I have been having the time of my life. My fear of losing the teaching of my local teacher was unfounded. I have continued to learn and grow in Aikido and with the support of my shihan, I hope and believe I am progressing.
Today, I have over 70 students. I have tried to do what George Ledyard says and improve myself. I teach 50 hours a month. I train for myself once a week in a class one of my assistants teaches. I started learning Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido and Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu to try to gain more of a depth in martial arts in general. I also attend four seminars a year. Two with my shihan and two with outside teachers. I still consider myself to only be qualified to teach beginners but I am doing my best to teach in the best way possible and to give them access to the best Aikido certificates I can provide (Aikikai).
That's my story. Things have worked out so far.
Best wishes,

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 07-17-2006, 01:31 PM   #16
sullivanw
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Re: I opened a dojo.

Way to go! Better to do something than not, I would say, especially since you're serious about doing it well. Hope to see you at Portland Aikikai!

-Will
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Old 07-17-2006, 06:46 PM   #17
PeterR
 
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Re: I opened a dojo.

Quote:
Rene Vencer, Jr wrote:
question regarding this...

I came across sensei(s) who travel a lot... some rent space in a gym to teach, others teach out in public (like in a park)

they have all the nesecarry credentials, and skills to teach... but does a set up like this qualify as a "dojo" ?
Semantics that's all - but dojo basically means a "place for studying the way" and that sort of implies a location rather than a group of people. I'm lucky to have access to dedicated facilities for rent and surprise surprise most shihan in Japan do it exactly the same way - few work out of their own facilities. I personally would call a group that meets occaisionally in the park a "study group" but call it what you will it really makes no real difference.

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote:
I like your advise Peter.
I focus my classes on the USAF kyu test requirements. That way my students can eventually test for rank.
I would feel much more comfortable doing it if I had weekly access to my sensei as I did in Okinawa. But those times are gone and now I do what I can to train and perhaps some of it will be beneficial to those poor souls whom I have conscripted into service as uke's.
I do have one very good student who helps me keep the dojo alive.
2 of my 3 son's train with me as well which is good, I think. They seem to like it. As long as I have somebody to train with I ham happy.
Is that selfish?
Thanks.

In Canada I did not have weekly access to my sensei (in fact none) but he knew what I was doing. I liked Jorge's story - a great example of how support appears when you keep people informed.

I understand poor souls - dragged my wife and kid to Aikido. They dutifully came until I had enough (their definition) and then took a powder.

Groups start small and get bigger - its the nature of the beast. Developing a good core is far more important than pulling in numbers since that core will determine the quality of your group.

There was an ex-olympic Judo guy and now 6th Dan Aikido in the Shodokan Honbu dojo who answered my fit of nervousness about opening up my first dojo - "If you are good people will come". Again - develop that core.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-17-2006, 07:07 PM   #18
PeterR
 
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Re: I opened a dojo.

And no you are not selfish. With luck your Aikido will benefit, your student's Aikido will benefit and everyone will enjoy a beer together.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-17-2006, 08:38 PM   #19
dps
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Re: I opened a dojo.

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
And no you are not selfish. With luck your Aikido will benefit, your student's Aikido will benefit and everyone will enjoy a beer together.
...and Ricky is buying.
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Old 07-17-2006, 08:59 PM   #20
jason jordan
 
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Re: I opened a dojo.

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
Oh yeah - and my mantra is I teach to train.
Hey Peter, man that mantra is D' Bomb, hope you don't mind if I use it, as I am opening my second Dojo, the first I co-opened in the Virgin Islands "St.Thomas "
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Old 07-17-2006, 09:58 PM   #21
PeterR
 
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Re: I opened a dojo.

Please do.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-18-2006, 05:49 AM   #22
Beholder
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Re: I opened a dojo.

Quote:
William Sullivan wrote:
Hope to see you at Portland Aikikai!
-Will
I passed through Portland last month and trained one class at the Portland Aikikai (and I do believe I trained with Will ). It's a lovely dojo with friendly people and strong aikido so you'd be doing yourself a favour if you visit.

--Dave
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