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Old 03-12-2014, 06:41 PM   #26
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
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Re: What would you say to a new student?

Quote:
Steven Miranda wrote: View Post
I typically say "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
I'd love to see you do this to a newbie in his/her first bokken class
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:53 PM   #27
Steven
 
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Dojo: Aikido Yoshinkan Sacramento - Seikeikan Dojo
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Re: What would you say to a new student?



Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I'd love to see you do this to a newbie in his/her first bokken class
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:36 AM   #28
Janet Rosen
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Re: What would you say to a new student?

LOL!

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:15 PM   #29
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
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Re: What would you say to a new student?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I'd love to see you do this to a newbie in his/her first bokken class
it would be more interesting if the other person said "I am of the clan MacLeod. There can be only one!"

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 03-14-2014, 06:13 PM   #30
Cady Goldfield
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Re: What would you say to a new student?

Both comments would require the newbie to be of a certain age to actually "get" the movie/TV references.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:58 PM   #31
ravenest
Dojo: Way of Falling Water
Location: NSW
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Re: What would you say to a new student?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I'm putting together a draft of some materials for my dojo to give to new students, to try and answer questions students might have on several topics. Some of these, I have to admit, are questions that they don't always ask but that we wish they would (such as "how can I help out around the dojo?"). The rest are ones that we get a lot, but that are worth addressing in a straightforward fashion (what's the deal with rank, when/how do we test, etc.).

I've got a good list of high-level topics to start with, I think. These are:
  • Welcome
  • About our dojo/our senseis/our organization
  • Training (why it's important to train regularly, on-mat eqiquette -- I'm not sure where to fit off-mat etiquette -- and general health and safety)
  • Being a dojo member (responsibilities, how members sustain the dojo)
  • Rank and testing

Where I'm stuck right now is on the proverbial first page -- the welcome. I want to say something along the lines of "congratulations, you've started your aikido journey", and some stuff about the journey ahead, but I'm not coming up with anything. Given that the details of training concerns will be addressed elsewhere, what would you say (by way of welcome) to someone who's just had their first experience on the mat?
I would outline exactly what the 'approach' was and what the essence of what you wanted to teach was. Sometimes a teacher doesnt do this and it is confusing for the student; is it self defense, is it a mediation, is it about one thing or another , or all of them.
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Old 03-17-2014, 03:25 AM   #32
Eva Antonia
Dojo: CERIA
Location: Brussels
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Re: What would you say to a new student?

Hello,

when I came in as a newbie, the dojocho invited me to participate, told me the training hours, what to pay and where to buy a gi. That was all, and at the time sufficient.

Things about plateaus, the sense of working slowly or injuries came later. I wouldn't have understood them at the time I started, I'd probably have thought that they are stuff not at all related to me. It took me at least four years to understand the value of doing a technique slowly, and two or three to reach my first plateau, which was a very frustrating experience - and at that time, I was enormously relieved to hear from everyone that they had already the one or other plateau experience, too.

All the best,

Eva
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:38 AM   #33
ramenboy
Dojo: midwest aikido center
Location: chicago
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Re: What would you say to a new student?

Quote:
Eva Röben wrote: View Post
Hello,

when I came in as a newbie, the dojocho invited me to participate, told me the training hours, what to pay and where to buy a gi. That was all, and at the time sufficient.

Things about plateaus, the sense of working slowly or injuries came later. I wouldn't have understood them at the time I started, I'd probably have thought that they are stuff not at all related to me. It took me at least four years to understand the value of doing a technique slowly, and two or three to reach my first plateau, which was a very frustrating experience - and at that time, I was enormously relieved to hear from everyone that they had already the one or other plateau experience, too.

All the best,

Eva
^this... that's about all a new student can take in in the beginning... they'll be overwhelmed with how to put the gi on, which lapel goes over which, how to tie a belt, etc.

ill usually ask where they found out about the dojo, about aikido, if they've done other martial arts before. then, like steven, i'll launch into my Princess bride quotes, and by then, the first hour is over

practice hard
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Old 03-17-2014, 12:57 PM   #34
lbb
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Re: What would you say to a new student?

Jerome, thanks, that's very helpful -- of course how to put on a gi is obvious, and of course I completely overlooked it! What I'm really looking for is a takeaway for after the first class, not really before -- a "now you've actually tried it, here are some answers to things you may be wondering about". In your experience, what are the most common questions that come up after that first hour on the mat?
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Old 03-19-2014, 02:29 PM   #35
ramenboy
Dojo: midwest aikido center
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Re: What would you say to a new student?

hey mar,

do you have a ‘beginner’ program? at the end of each of the hour class in our course, there’d be a topic that we would address; introduction to who’s pics are at the shomen (o-sensei, nidai doshu, doshu, etc), importance of uke and nage, sempai/kohai relationship, importance of cleaning, sweeping after class, etc.

upon completion for the course, there’s the ‘welcome to the dojo’ speech: don’t be in a hurry. look at your dojo mates around you. you’ll be moving up together, which is a great opportunity to keep pushing each other up. helping each other move to the next level together. blah blah blah.

practice hard
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:53 AM   #36
lbb
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Re: What would you say to a new student?

Hi Jerome,

We don't have a beginner program, and I think it would help if we did. My old karate dojo was like that: ;if you want to start, you start at the beginning of the month, with the rest of that month's crop of newbies. The month's beginner classes have a curriculum -- after two weeks, you can join the Saturday morning basics class as well. It worked out well, I think.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:51 PM   #37
TonyBlomert
 
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Re: What would you say to a new student?

We did a similar "new student" packet and also included a hard copy of our affiliated organization's handbook. Over the years my experience was that these documents where either ignored altogether or read once and discarded. I say this because we consistently had students ask questions that these documents addressed after they had been training at the dojo for several years. I would refer these questions first back to the packet and usually received a response "I never got that or I never read it" from the student. (We also used a new student check list so we knew that everyone got the packet along with their first dogi) I'm not saying that you shouldn't hand out a well thought out package, just that in addition to covering things in writing once that it all needs to be repeated verbally frequently. In class by the instructors, by the senior students in passing etc. If your dojo doesn't already have a web page covering some of the FAQ you should add one. Also at my present dojo, we stay in touch with the students using a Facebook group. It seems like no matter how often you hammer away on topics i.e. examination requirements, tasks needing to be done, uniform care etc. someone will always be asking the question anyway. OK there's my 2 cents, best wishes.

Tony Blomert
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:39 PM   #38
JoelLM
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Re: What would you say to a new student?

Hello Mary.

I'm not sure if this has been suggested yet but perhaps addressing what Aikido is not, I've come to understand that there seems to be a lot of misconception held by the general public regarding Aikido and Martial arts in general. Aikido will not turn you into a deadly fighting machine, Aikido is not sport driven, and so on, I'm sure there are more experienced individuals who know the "is nots" of aikido.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:45 PM   #39
kewms
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Re: What would you say to a new student?

I second the suggestion up above to have a content-rich web page. That puts all the information out there and allows students to find what they need, when they need it. I'd ideally keep the new student hand-out materials to no more than one sheet of paper (both sides if needed). Anyone motivated to read more than that will be also be motivated to look at the web page. Anyone who isn't will just file the paper away somewhere, where they won't think of it months later when they actually want the information.

Must have new student information:
(This goes on the one page hand out.)

* Welcome and intro to the dojo. One paragraph maximum.

* Dues cost and payment information. Cancellation policy? Weapons and uniforms? Family discounts?

* Class times, including any restrictions on who can attend class. If there are restrictions, how long does it typically take to "graduate" to the more advanced classes? Expected/recommended number of classes per week to make progress?

* Instructor/senior student information. Who are the people to ask with questions? (Mention rank signifiers like hakama here.) Which classes do they teach? Maybe a paragraph on the chief instructor, no more than a couple of sentences on anyone else.

And that's IT. Put everything else on the web.

Additional handouts that are useful to have around the dojo. Don't give to new students, just show them where to find when needed.

* Rank requirements. We have a couple of laminated sheets with the time and technique requirements for each test. Having extra copies that students can take is good, too.

* Seminar schedule. Post a calendar, noting any deviations from the normal class schedule.

* General information brochure. Primarily for visitors, but new students can also give them to curious friends.

* Dojo rules and training expectations. Okay, maybe give this one to new students, but only if you can keep it to a single-sided page or less. Otherwise it's off-putting.

Katherine
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