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Old 09-07-2009, 09:18 AM   #51
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: New Steven Segal TV Series - Lawman

Question #1:

I am not sure you can answer this globally.

It is not like "Aikido" is one big organization that is syndicated.

There will be some organizations and clubs that will definitely benefit from the publicity of Aikido in the Popular media. Others, it won't make much difference.

Alot of long term success it has to do with Location, Location, Location. Especially here in the Northern Va area as you know!

Sure, you may get alot of newbs in the door to try it out and watch a class or maybe try it out for a while. It may tilt the guy that just has never gotten motivated to come in....but long term, how many folks do you think will stay in the dojo based on a TV show?

I still think anything that brings positive awareness to the art is good. Positive meaning folks come in cause they like what they see...not meaning that YOU the already Aikidoka see. Remember, it ain't you that needs to be attracted and marketed to.

#2

Well my aikido dojo and my BJJ dojo, neither of us do much to market and recruit really. We just train and get word of mouth, and walk-ins. That seems to keep us in business.

The Aikido dojo, probably our best feature is our location in Arlington. We are right across from the metro station, and we are on a main street. So we get alot of walk-ins and folks always need the Metro to get to class. I bet that determines alot about who chooses our dojo over others. Location.

I also think our Website probably helps some too. That is, folks looking for Aikido doing the research can find our basic info and then come by.

The main marketing tool I think is once you get them in the door, they like what they see on the mat. I think this is the most important thing.

in the Insurance business I learned "10, 3, 1". For every 10 people that get exposed to our advertising or check out the dojo, 3 will actually train, and 1 will stick with it. I think that is about right.

What I think we could do better is to try and keep the 3 folks we get on the mat training and maybe turn that 1 into a 2. That would DOUBLE our long term membership by decreasing our drop out rate. I think this is where effort may make a signifcant improvement. Keeping the folks that you already have!

I have no numbers, but as with most martial arts the 1 year drop our rate is very high, especially with Budo.

Alot of the talk on Aikiweb comes from the frustration of reduced standards of training and how to balance good hard, long term training with keeping students interested.

It depends on what you want to do with your dojo. Lots of different strategies.

Most dojos I think, aren't really about making money, but making ends meet and keeping the doors open so we have a place to train. If we can do that, then I think all is good! We do that and so it seems to work.

Dojos also change over time with personalities and shifts in membership levels.

Sometimes you have all white belts and a couple black. Sometimes you have lots of black belts and a few white belts.

Question #3.

Well I am personally working on social media, web 2.0 stuff for "the next generation". I have a blog, but frankly I haven't kept it up lately. I find Facebook very, very useful in keeping in touch with my friends and fellow budoka around the world that I know. I wouldn't call in marketing, but communication, which helps alot.

I think the Social Media and Internet as a whole has done alot to improve and draw folks together. ALOT!

It can help with Seminar marketing and knowledge sharing and increasing good will etc.

However, I think that is more useful on long term folks and as a peer based thing vice attracting new students.

Social Media marketing is a little different than advertising of the past. It is really about getting to know people and building trust and goodwill. Any growth or "profit" that comes out of it is based on second third order effects and not necessarily direct as in attracting new students to the dojo.

AIkido is a tough sale, but we want it that way. Folks have to really want it in order to get on the path. Sure you could bring folks in the door pretty easily by making it entertaining, fun, or selling the hype, but don't you think that would probably be short lived once folks figured it out?

I think the best we can hope for is an increase awareness that might cause folks to check out websites, learn a little more about the art and what we do, and that is good. If a million folks watch the show and 1 percent of them actually ponder Aikido for a few minutes and a few of them who never knew anything about it actually find the path and get on it...then I think we can call it a success!

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Old 09-07-2009, 11:28 AM   #52
Linda Eskin
 
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Re: New Steven Segal TV Series - Lawman

I'm going to go, optimistically, with "any publicity is good publicity."

The most common question, by far, I hear when I mention Aikido is "What is that?" It's hard for people to become interested in something they've never heard of. This could be an opportunity for dojo everywhere to do bits on "what is this Aikido stuff, really?" with their local wandering news reporters, do demos at schools, etc.

I hope there's a theme, in the show, of ending conflict with minimal harm, instead of being as badass as possible (which seems to be the basis for a lot of popular culture. Maybe, could we hope, (like Kung Fu) that the show might offer some refuge,support, and agreement to those who bristle at the "violence is awesome" BS we see everywhere else.

If the show's gonna be on, we should take advantage of it in every way possible. :-)

Linda Eskin - Facebook | My AikiBlog

"Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 09-07-2009, 11:34 AM   #53
Linda Eskin
 
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Re: New Steven Segal TV Series - Lawman

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Sure, you may get alot of newbs in the door to try it out and watch a class or maybe try it out for a while. It may tilt the guy that just has never gotten motivated to come in....but long term, how many folks do you think will stay in the dojo based on a TV show?
I'm going to be optimistic about this, too.

When David Carradine died there was a tremendous outpouring of sadness and gratitude, with many folks (here, on Twitter, and at the dojo) saying the show had been what first got them interested in martial arts.

Even for people of the temperament to become dedicated students, exposure is necessary. If one has never heard of Aikido, how could one become interested in pursuing it? I had at least heard of Aikido, but what got me into the dojo was a horse trainer (Mark Rashid), and his book "Horsemanship Through Life." Learning of Aikido from a TV show seems no less valid a path than from a book, or from friends.

Linda Eskin - Facebook | My AikiBlog

"Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 09-07-2009, 11:59 AM   #54
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: New Steven Segal TV Series - Lawman

I agree Linda!

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Old 09-07-2009, 05:45 PM   #55
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Re: New Steven Segal TV Series - Lawman

Quote:
John Lesko wrote: View Post
All this talk about a surge in interest in aikido resultant from Steven Seagal's new TV show, "Lawman," and/or the fantasy of a future reality show pairing up a Jefferson County deputy sheriff w/ a bounty hunter ...

Hmmm ... Begs the questions:

1) "Do we need a TV show or movie actor to spur interest in aikido?"

2) "What (if anything) do dojo members do to advertise or recruit new students?"

3) "Have others experimented w/ new media (facebook, twitter, etc) to attract the next generation aikidoka?"

... Of course word of mouth advertising and a personal invite to visit one's home dojo is best. Just interested in hearing other opinions.
I think Aikido had it's big Spur when Seagal first came out. Now it's all about UFC and MMA. Society is fad driven.

If someone were to go into MMA using only Aikido and was kicking arse (sorry I like that word") people would want to do that.

Most society wants is what can cause pain on someone else in a more cooler fashion....

We could develope a Crocheting art that allows you to take down and submitt anyone you want and you would then have hundreds if not thousands of testorone driven muscle heads learn "Crochet Do" or some garbage like that.
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:33 PM   #56
Linda Eskin
 
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Re: New Steven Segal TV Series - Lawman

Quote:
John Lesko wrote: View Post
...
3) "Have others experimented w/ new media (facebook, twitter, etc) to attract the next generation aikidoka?".
The dojo where I train uses social media fairly extensively. Many of us are on Facebook, and are fans of the Aikido of San Diego Facebook page. Sensei also posts videos from the dojo on YouTube. And of course there is the dojo Web site. These were the initial ways I found out about the dojo. I also listened to all of the "Aikido - The Way of Harmony" podcasts, to get a better sense for what Aikido was (after having initially become interested via the book/horse trainer I mentioned above.

Quote:
John Lesko wrote: View Post
...
... Of course word of mouth advertising and a personal invite to visit one's home dojo is best. Just interested in hearing other opinions.
What's the reason for saying a personal invite is best? I don't buy it.

It turns out that I do work with 3 people who have practiced Aikido, but none ever mentioned it (at least not to me). I didn't hear about playing guitar from a friend, or riding horses. No one invited me to come out and do photography with them, or learn to cook. These are all things I saw in popular media, or out in the world, that seemed to suit me, and so I have pursued them, in each case for decades.

I do hear stories (here) about people who brought their friends to the dojo, but the friends quit soon after, or quit when the friend who brought them quit. They were just there because of their friend.

I also don't buy it about badassery selling Aikido. Think of who our TV heros have been in our favorite shows: The Lone Ranger, Kung Fu, Star Trek... All on the side of right and justice. Thoughtful, defending the weak, not causing any more harm than necessary. If we're lucky this could follow that model, and could bring intelligent, compassionate people (who are sick of all the badassery out there) into the dojo.

Linda Eskin - Facebook | My AikiBlog

"Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:53 PM   #57
Michael Hackett
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Re: New Steven Segal TV Series - Lawman

Linda,

Don't buy any lottery tickets then as you won't be that lucky. This show will just be another similar to "The Women of Broward County" or some such. A few minutes of actual police work and lots of personal drama and "inside story" garbage. If you see any aikido at all, it will likely be ikkyo, nikkyo and sankyo as variations of those are taught in almost all police academies with a different name. This just won't be worth watching unless you hail from that area or know someone involved. Empty carbs for the brain.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 09-07-2009, 10:51 PM   #58
Linda Eskin
 
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Re: New Steven Segal TV Series - Lawman

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
Linda,
Don't buy any lottery tickets then as you won't be that lucky. This show will just be another similar to "The Women of Broward County" or some such. A few minutes of actual police work and lots of personal drama and "inside story" garbage...
You may be right, and far be it from me to defend almost anything on television, especially "reality" shows. But if the "inside story" includes anything about his Aikido, or training Dept. officers in non-lethal and hand-to-hand techniques, there may be a few snippets of value here and there.

The A&E page announcing the show says "He is an expert martial artist, with a 7th-degree black belt in aikido. Along with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris, he's considered one of the film industry's greatest action stars." That's not a lot, but it's more than I've heard about Aikido in popular media than in... oh, ever.

The Guardian (UK) said: "It all began 20 years ago," the voiceover thunders, "when Seagal, a world-renowned seventh degree aikido expert, was shooting a movie in Jefferson Parish. The sheriff asked him to teach his men some self-defence and weapons skills. The training was so successful," the narrator growls, "that Seagal was deputised."

The show may be crap, or maybe not, but the little bit of buzz going on around it is still a net positive, and could provide an introduction to the art for some.

Last edited by Linda Eskin : 09-07-2009 at 10:53 PM. Reason: Fixing punctuation.

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"Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:12 AM   #59
Michael Hackett
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Re: New Steven Segal TV Series - Lawman

I think you may be right about the buzz Linda. It may well generate some interest in Aikido with a mass audience, much like his earlier movies did. You may see a little in the training arena, but for the most part, this will probably be so much equine-recycled hay. Hah! Now I'm an art critic too. And I haven't even seen the show. So much for my credibility.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:50 AM   #60
dalen7
 
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Re: New Steven Segal TV Series - Lawman

Well the view of him slamming the dudes head into the car pretty much shows its not 'real' drama as he states. [Police brutality as he is already handcuffed, etc. So this is staged.]

He is seen sprinting for a few seconds, and it appears he wouldnt last that much longer. Not picking on Segal, Im sure he could whip me around like a rag doll if I went close to him.

However the fact remains that conditioning in the type of atmosphere he is trying to portray is of utmost, and anyone who has been in a ring for a few minutes knows how much commitment it takes just to have the stamina for this kind of stuff.

Sure it will generate interest, but Im not sure how many will be committed, as ones goals have to be pretty defined with Aikido or you can get disillusioned with what you think it can actually do according to the circumstances your faced with. [i.e. for many it may hold up better if they play a bouncer role vs. using it solely as some cop chasing people down. [I think thats why they use tasers now, most cops just dont have the stamina to do the chasing... nor the time. Although some instances are just plain silly to use a taser and Aikido would be useful.]

Dont know, this opens up a whole can of worms... Its a show, so take it for what it is... sit back with some popcorn and get motivated by a motivator and then make your training your own.

Peace

dAlen

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Old 09-08-2009, 10:50 AM   #61
Nick P.
 
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Re: New Steven Segal TV Series - Lawman

Quote:
Trish Greene wrote: View Post
This might be a disrespectful statement but over the years Seagal has started to look more and more like Elvis

(Sorry! With all due respect to his talents and skills...)
Ahem...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af-Id_fuXFA

...but i agree with your respectful comment, overall.

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Old 09-08-2009, 11:47 AM   #62
David Orange
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Re: New Steven Segal TV Series - Lawman

Quote:
Dalen Johnson wrote: View Post
Well the view of him slamming the dudes head into the car pretty much shows its not 'real' drama as he states. [Police brutality as he is already handcuffed, etc. So this is staged.]
It just looks like a number of lawsuits waiting to happen. And shoving the guy's head into the car is hardly what I'd want to represent either aikido or the police. Not a very good start, so far.

David

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Old 09-08-2009, 11:59 AM   #63
Mark Peckett
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Re: New Steven Segal TV Series - Lawman

Isn't the aikido guy's name "Seagal"?

Or does this mean George Segal the actor is doing a police reality series?

Or is it Jonathan Livingston Seagull?

Or Barbara Seagull (Hershey)?
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:27 PM   #64
Anjisan
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Ki Symbol Re: New Steven Segal TV Series - Lawman

Quote:
John Lesko wrote: View Post
All this talk about a surge in interest in aikido resultant from Steven Seagal's new TV show, "Lawman," and/or the fantasy of a future reality show pairing up a Jefferson County deputy sheriff w/ a bounty hunter ...

Hmmm ... Begs the questions:

1) "Do we need a TV show or movie actor to spur interest in aikido?"

2) "What (if anything) do dojo members do to advertise or recruit new students?"

3) "Have others experimented w/ new media (facebook, twitter, etc) to attract the next generation aikidoka?"

... Of course word of mouth advertising and a personal invite to visit one's home dojo is best. Just interested in hearing other opinions.
I believe that this situation is a little bit different--also my post is NOT totally in response to the above post, just primarily the first paragraph. First, Seagal sensei seems to be a bit more than just a television or movie actor. When he came on the scene back in the 80's (Merv Griffin Show and then Above the Law) he was already a 6th Dan in Aikido. Unlike say, David Carridean or Adrian Paul who found the martial arts AFTER being in show business.

Second, I would surmise that his movies have probably driven in far more students than all the camps, seminars, DVDs, books, etc combined from other Shihan that tend to speak to the choir anyway. At least I have not witnessed any recuting booths with lines to sign people up who watched seminars from the sidelines.

Third, I, along with several others, that I personally know got into Aikido because of Seagal sensei. Am I a Kool Aid drinker or blind follower, NO. Furhter, they nor I certainly don't feel that we are some socially inept, educationally challenged individuals--which often seems implied one has to be to have any substuntial respect for the man. I don't watch Bounty Hunter shows or other televison drec and I do have a fair amount of education. When that is implied, it can convey a smugness that does not do the ideals of Aikido justice. This seems to creep in anytime Seagal sensei is brought up.

However, I do feel that he does good AIkido, has done a lot to expose an--up until when he arrived on the scene--obsure art, he most definately has character flaws as do other Shihan which would undoublty show through if the spot light was blazing on them like it does him, and he has demonstrated that AIkido can actually be effective for self-defence.

I had originally come from a kickboxing background and I had heard it said in martial art circles that Aikido lacked self-defence legitimacy, that it was largely good for wrist grabs and self-rightous dogma. I believe that Seagal sensei helped to change some of that as far a perception goes.

Fourth, I feel that all avenues should be explored as far as exposure to grow Aikido. For most of us who don't have Seagal sensei's platform, the grassroots approach can't hurt as well as organizations such a AIKI Extentions. As far as Facebook, Twitter,etc they are certainly avenues that could help as well.

Finally, I guess at the end of the day we should be careful to throw the baby out with the bathwater--he deserves some credit and respect for expanding exposure of Aikido as an ambassador wanted or unwanted. This television show could be a positive for our art or quicly forgotten not unlike some of his movies
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