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Old 10-22-2010, 11:42 AM   #1
Aikidonewbie
Dojo: Plano Aikido
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Aikido drop out rate?

What would be the aikido drop out rate after say 6 months or one year? I was talking to a blackbelt the other night and he told me at this particular dojo, only 1 out of 7 will stay more than a year.
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:26 PM   #2
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

Onegaishimasu, one out of seven are pretty good odds, but hardly likely. I think it was George Ledyard sensei that pointed it out that less than 1% take martial arts seriously.

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:50 PM   #3
Ryan Seznee
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

1:7 is pretty high. The dropout rate (at least in the dojos in the area that I have talked to) have a pretty high dropout people in their first 3 years. I have seen that when people get a black belt they are usually in it for years to come, but their attendance tends to get more sparatic.

I also have a theory that the easier of a time people have in their first month of training, the faster they drop out.
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Old 10-22-2010, 02:05 PM   #4
guest1234567
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

I'm now 3 years in the dojo and with me a group of aprox 30, luckily never are coming all of them, because it would be dangerous for training, there are guys who are with our teacher since he began maybe 10 years. The dropout rate is very low,
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:12 PM   #5
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

is there a GED program for aikido? would like to sign-up for one.

1 out of 10 walked through the door stay more than 3 months
1 out of 10 3-month stay more than a year
1 out of 10 year-er stay still 1st kyu
1 out of 10 1st kyu makes shodan
1 out of 10 shodan makes to sandan (there is a drop-out point after shodan)

so, if you make it to sandan, then there were 100,000 folks never made it.
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:42 PM   #6
David Maidment
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

When I started there were about ten or fifteen others who were also beginners. Only two of us are left now that I can think of.

"Never escalate a battle unless forced to do so by your enemy" - Zordon
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:46 PM   #7
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

I think half of the reason is that people don't find what they are looking for when they only stay a few month, but the other half is that the teacher does not motive people. If you go to a dojo tired from working all day you want to forget your problems and while you are learning a martial art you would like also amuse yourself.
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:53 PM   #8
Basia Halliop
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

I'm not sure there's really anything all that wrong with that... it's not like a high school diploma with a start and a finish where we need to push everyone through and make sure everyone 'gets to the end'. People do all sorts of different activities in their lives for all kinds of lengths of time. There are so many things I've done in my life that I didn't keep doing all my life, including some I did for a very short time and some I did for longer times, but that's part of experiencing life and doing different things. Is everyone who learns a bit of something but stops before they die or become masters at it, 'dropping out'?

If people really wanted to continue longer but something stopped them, then that's a different matter, if that thing can be changed.

Last edited by Basia Halliop : 10-22-2010 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:01 PM   #9
Dave Plaza
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

I'm about 8 months in now, and out of the constant flow of people that I have seen pass through the club over this period only one other looks like they are going to stick at it... You can just tell when somebody is going to be a stayer. I think I always secretly evaluate newcomers to myself in the sense of if they are going to stick it or not.

Quote:
Ryan Szesny wrote: View Post
I also have a theory that the easier of a time people have in their first month of training, the faster they drop out.
I believe in this theory too. It was actually a lesson where some over zealous person wanged some moves on me that left me in no doubt about the true power of Aikido, and got me truly hooked.

I believe that most newbies join with a certain level of skepticism, and If their inner doubts aren't answered then they leave. I can attest that a little bit of pain (and I say pain instead of force because at the beginning thats what most newbies understand) goes a long way to answering those doubts.

Last edited by Dave Plaza : 10-22-2010 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:51 PM   #10
Hellis
Dojo: Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

Quote:
Daniel Davis wrote: View Post
What would be the aikido drop out rate after say 6 months or one year? I was talking to a blackbelt the other night and he told me at this particular dojo, only 1 out of 7 will stay more than a year.
That seems a fair estimate to me. I have never understood in Aikido how good students just say " Good night " after practice and then you never see them again...It is rare from my experience that a student will say that they will not be back, whatever the reason..

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/
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Old 10-22-2010, 05:01 PM   #11
Dave Plaza
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
That seems a fair estimate to me. I have never understood in Aikido how good students just say " Good night " after practice and then you never see them again...It is rare from my experience that a student will say that they will not be back, whatever the reason..http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/
Yes, I've never thought about that before, but thinking about it now it's so true. In my short time I've seen so many students buy their gi (not sure of the spelling) and pay fees up front for future lessons and then just vanish.
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Old 10-22-2010, 05:04 PM   #12
guest1234567
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
That seems a fair estimate to me. I have never understood in Aikido how good students just say " Good night " after practice and then you never see them again...It is rare from my experience that a student will say that they will not be back, whatever the reason..

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/
I don't understand it either, but there are all kind of persons in this world, in our dojo only one left because of his knees and one 18 years old when he had his black belt, this is understandable
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Old 10-22-2010, 06:15 PM   #13
Lyle Bogin
Dojo: Shin Budo Kai
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

I used to think that the martial arts were not for everyone. Now I think they are for practically no one.

"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 10-22-2010, 06:39 PM   #14
Janet Rosen
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

Quote:
Dave Plaza wrote: View Post
I've seen so many students buy their gi (not sure of the spelling) and pay fees up front for future lessons and then just vanish.
So common by us it is a joke we need to forbid anybody from buying their gi for at least 3 months!

OSensei may have said something along the lines of "aikido is for everybody" but I think that's aspirational and the reality is it's not for most people, and that's ok. All you can do is put it out there.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 10-23-2010, 05:20 AM   #15
danj
Dojo: Brisbane Aikido Republic
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

I ran my local university's aikido club for 10 or so years. One day I went through the records of promotions and calculated the retention figures. Here they are. For us its 1 in 454 that gets to Shodan (which is a little over 3 yrs at its quickest in our school)

80% of walkins get on the mat,
50% come back,
63% do the first do grading, (7th Kyu)
75% goto yellow belt, (5th Kyu)
95% to orange (4th Kyu),
65% to green (3rd Kyu) first big drop out, good renention to there and
60% do 1st Kyu (next big drop out),
50% do shodan,
80% stay after doing shodan - higher than this the stats are less clear because of the small sample size.

we worked hard to get the retention to the first grading up by implementing a beginners course and some senior student classes for the 3rd Kyu retention.

Using these kind of figure you can predict the size of a dojo based on the number of walkins a month, though retentionrates vary from dojo to dojo based on city size, culture and a bunch of other stuff. A spreadsheet calculator is here if you are into that kind of stuff

dan

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Old 10-23-2010, 05:56 AM   #16
Hellis
Dojo: Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido
Location: Bracknell
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

Whilst the drop out rate is a problem for all dojos, how about the drop in rate...I used to get so many people phone me, ask loads of questions, plus directions, take up your time then never show. I would say that only one in ten actually visit the dojo...Now, I don't use the phone, I have a blog just for the dojo http://aikido-bracknell.blogspot.com/ with an email address. all the info they want is on the blog, if they want anymore? then they need to visit the dojo...There are a lot of ``wanabees`` and time wasters out there...
Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:03 AM   #17
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

Quote:
Carina Reinhardt wrote: View Post
I think half of the reason is that people don't find what they are looking for when they only stay a few month, but the other half is that the teacher does not motive people. If you go to a dojo tired from working all day you want to forget your problems and while you are learning a martial art you would like also amuse yourself.
...which is why most people will always prefer to go to a bar or sit down and watch TV after work, rather than put forth some kind of effort. I don't think it's the teacher's fault for not motivating people -- no matter how inspirational a teacher is, you can't change the fact that training isn't always fun and amusing and that the purpose of the dojo is not to help you forget your problems.
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:18 AM   #18
guest1234567
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
...which is why most people will always prefer to go to a bar or sit down and watch TV after work, rather than put forth some kind of effort. I don't think it's the teacher's fault for not motivating people -- no matter how inspirational a teacher is, you can't change the fact that training isn't always fun and amusing and that the purpose of the dojo is not to help you forget your problems.
Ok Mary, I was just answering a comment from a nidan who trained in my dojo, telling him that for my it is incredible the drop out rate you are talking about here, meanwhile our teacher is thinking in put one hour more, because sometimes we just don't fit in, we must train in goups of 3 or 4...
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:08 PM   #19
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

In my previous dojo, my sensei would not sell you a gi until you had been there a month. Most parents seemed fine with that because they weren't sure if their kid would want to stay and the adults were patient enough to wait.

~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 10-24-2010, 07:57 PM   #20
Amassus
 
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

I think we average about 1 in 10 people staying for at least three months at our club, 1 in 100 obtain shodan and beyond.

What our club is struggling with is the drop out rate AFTER shodan. This is a big problem. I was looking at a photo of my shodan grading and only my instructor and his wife remain from 7 yudansha that were lined up that day. Even the guy that graded at the same time as me has disappeared.

My 2c

Dean.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:35 AM   #21
Hellis
Dojo: Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

In 1955 Kenshiro Abbe Sensei introduced Aikido to Britain, by 1959 there were five dan grades for Aikido in the whole of the UK, four of those five are still involved in Aikido today, myself with Ken Williams Sensei who I believe is now 79 yrs and H Foster Sensei who is 82 yrs and Derek Eastman Sensei who are all still teaching.
Amazingly no dropouts from the original five.

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:50 AM   #22
Ryan Seznee
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

Quote:
Dave Plaza wrote: View Post

I believe in this theory too. It was actually a lesson where some over zealous person wanged some moves on me that left me in no doubt about the true power of Aikido, and got me truly hooked.

I believe that most newbies join with a certain level of skepticism, and If their inner doubts aren't answered then they leave. I can attest that a little bit of pain (and I say pain instead of force because at the beginning thats what most newbies understand) goes a long way to answering those doubts.
I am of the opinion that the faster you get a beginner involved in training that pushes and test their abilities and knowledge the harder they will have to work, the better they will get, and the more interested they will be in Aikido. This is based on personal opinions from when I started and observations I made along the way. I, personally, find it frustrating to have people quit on you when they start to be able to take decent ukemi.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:10 AM   #23
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
is there a GED program for aikido? would like to sign-up for one.

1 out of 10 walked through the door stay more than 3 months
1 out of 10 3-month stay more than a year
1 out of 10 year-er stay still 1st kyu
1 out of 10 1st kyu makes shodan
1 out of 10 shodan makes to sandan (there is a drop-out point after shodan)

so, if you make it to sandan, then there were 100,000 folks never made it.
While not exactly a scientific sample, this is basically my experience. Most folks are "gone" within weeks. They may dues for quite a while but they really aren't training. There is a serious loss of students at about 1st kyu. People realize that if they stay they will change and they don't really want to change. So they drop out before their Shodan tests. Then there is a large disappearance after Shodan because the "goal oriented" folks have attained that goal of getting a black belt. They realize that there's nothing but road ahead and to keep going take more effort not less and they are off to the next challenge.

After that it's just life... Someone gets married. He or she gets promoted or changes jobs to something more demanding. They go back to school for a graduate degree. They have kids. All of these things can be practice killers. Most folks have trouble getting themselves to class under normal circumstances, even when they are single and don't have demanding careers. Add a relationship or a job which gets in the way and you have to be serious about training or you don't. The number one reason I lose adult students is a spouse who isn't on board...

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:33 AM   #24
Lee Salzman
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
While not exactly a scientific sample, this is basically my experience. Most folks are "gone" within weeks. They may dues for quite a while but they really aren't training. There is a serious loss of students at about 1st kyu. People realize that if they stay they will change and they don't really want to change. So they drop out before their Shodan tests. Then there is a large disappearance after Shodan because the "goal oriented" folks have attained that goal of getting a black belt. They realize that there's nothing but road ahead and to keep going take more effort not less and they are off to the next challenge.
Are they failing the art, or is the art or its practitioners failing them? Aikido has a rather far-ranging, transcendental mission statement that, as you go up, it seems to be very difficult if not impossible to find teachers living up to that mission statement, let alone able to teach it to others. Maybe some people are practical enough to spot that from the get-go, maybe it takes other people a while, but I would just suggest that the problem does not always have to lie in the people dropping out, and the question could merit flipping: what's being done that causes these students to leave? I don't mean to say the problem is one dimensional, but as one of the statistics, that was my view of it.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:40 AM   #25
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aikido drop out rate?

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
In 1955 Kenshiro Abbe Sensei introduced Aikido to Britain, by 1959 there were five dan grades for Aikido in the whole of the UK, four of those five are still involved in Aikido today, myself with Ken Williams Sensei who I believe is now 79 yrs and H Foster Sensei who is 82 yrs and Derek Eastman Sensei who are all still teaching.
Amazingly no dropouts from the original five.

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/
Hi Henry,
The pioneers trained differently... I was one of Saotome Sensei's original students at the Washington DC dojo when he opened back in 1975. Actually I started when it had been open under six months so it was 1976 for me.

Sensei stated right from day one that he was training future professionals. It didn't occur to me that I wouldn't be teaching some day or that I wouldn't always be in it. We didn't have quite the retention in the art that you experienced but it was way higher than the average today... We trained 6 or 7 days a week, a couple classes a night. Of the original five instructors, one is still at the DC dojo and the other is Raso Hultgren Sensei who runs the dojo in Missoula, MT. Of the original eight students who all took shodan together, there are two of us left, myself, and Charlie Page Sensei who is co-Chief Instructor at the ASU dojo in Baltimore along with Chuck Weber Sensei, who had come to DC a bit after my group started. Also, in that first year we had folks pass through for shorter stays, including Linda Holiday Sensei, now a Chief Instructor in Santa Cruz, and Dave Hurley, who teaches at Two Cranes Aikido here in Seattle.

Anyway, my point is that the folks who were in that first and second generation really felt like they were doing something special. When I started there were very few people ahead of me and we knew all their names. The senior Non-Japanese Americans in Aikido were 4th Dans when I started. Klickstein, Doran, Witt, Nadeau, Dobson, Heiny... So we were it as far as knowing that we were going to be the next generation of teachers. I always knew that it was up to us to pass on the amazing stuff we were given by Saotome Sensei. There simply weren't others (in any significant numbers) to do it. In those days if you asked one of us what we did, we told them Aikido. Not our job, but our training. That's how we thought about what we were doing... Our jobs were just to support the training.

It's different now. Maybe because the Hippie days are over and alternative today means having a Naturopath... any way, the young people today actually seem to feel that they should have real incomes and money for their kids educations and retirement... what a concept! Can't fault them but it's different than most of us... Joseph Campbell was telling us to "follow our bliss" and many of us did just that. It's far harder to find folks now who will train anything like how we trained. I have talked to other teachers and they seem to agree. A serious student at my dojo trains three times a week. Hardly any of my students and none of my seniors train every day. Maybe this is because I am out in the suburbs and this is where folks come to have careers and families... it might be different in the city.

Anyway, it's different now for the young student. There are several generations of practitioners ahead of them. None feels any special responsibility to be a crucial part of the transmission... there seems to be lots of other folks doing that. I really think that is what is missing for folks now that wasn't true in your day or even mine... we knew there was no one else. It motivated us and made us feel "special". No one we knew was doing anything like what we were doing... It's a time gone by now and the young Aikido students will never have the same experience.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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