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Old 11-11-2002, 09:04 AM   #1
ian
 
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Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
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student numbers

I've noticed over the years that most (but not all) aikido dojos tend to have lower numbers of students than other martial arts. Is this because Aikido is more orientated towards adults? is it because advertising is less? Is it because there is no competition? (and is therefore less sport and fitness orientated). Is it because it only attracts a certain type of person? Is it because its objectives are not clearly defined? What do you think?

Ian
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Old 11-11-2002, 09:22 AM   #2
mike lee
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never say die

I think that if active efforts are not made on a regular basis (at least semi-annually), the number of students will gradually decline through natural attrition. Since a lot of aikido dojos are run on a non-profit basis, after the first few years of operation, leaders often become slack on the recruitment end of things, but they don't really do much about it.

If you're at a university, time recruitment drives at the beginning of the semester, when students are looking for something new to do. Set up a table with information at the student union during registration week. Some large action photos or videos may help. Find places to post information throughout the semester.

Conducting public demonstrations, and even allowing kyu-level students to show off their new-learned skills can help. Such demonstrations might be timed with the visit of a high-ranking teacher.

Focus on becoming more highly visable. Have club T-shirts, hats, jackets, patches, pins, etc. Create a Web site.

Also, associating with other legitimate dojos of other martial arts can help. More and more people are interested in a certain amount of cross-training. Martial arts tournaments often have a part of their program dedicated to demonstrations, and they may be interested in seeing some aikido.

One may even consider developing a "martial arts association" in your area in an effort to pool advertising and other resources.

Discussing such possibilities with a high-ranking aikido instructor or a shihan may also help to provide more insight.

Last edited by mike lee : 11-11-2002 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 11-11-2002, 09:42 AM   #3
Veers
 
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My guess is that the main reason is that it's not "cool" (to a younger audience) to just pin someone.

Another is that there really is little advertising (we have about 4 dojos in down, and they're not in the phone book and they have discrete signs/locations).

Also, I think the non competetive (as far as sparring nad ranking etc go) tend to be a turn off for people looking for somewhere to prove sometihng.

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 11-11-2002, 09:47 AM   #4
Judd
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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I can't say I agree with the "not cool" part. The first time I saw our head instructor throw another teacher was the coolest thing I've every seen !
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Old 11-11-2002, 10:33 AM   #5
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I agree the numbers often are smaller than other arts. But how many is the norm? we have between 4 and 10 students on an average night. Personally, my ideal is 10-12.

How many stduents do you normally have in your dojo?
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Old 11-11-2002, 10:39 AM   #6
akiy
 
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Quote:
Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
How many stduents do you normally have in your dojo?
It depends, of course, on the class. Some of the noon classes may only draw about six to a dozen people. The evening classes draw more people with an average, off the top of my head, of about twenty to thirty people and upwards of about fifty people at times. Our beginners class (which starts up ever three months and just started up again anew in October) has about twenty new students...

-- Jun

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Old 11-11-2002, 12:20 PM   #7
Judd
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I've never been in a class with more than 6 or so people, and I like it that way. The fewer the students, the larger the piece of the instructor's attention each student gets.
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Old 11-11-2002, 12:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Judd Mercer (Judd) wrote:
I've never been in a class with more than 6 or so people, and I like it that way.
I noticed you train at Seattle Ki Society. Do the classes with Kashiwaya sensei draw more than six people?
Quote:
The fewer the students, the larger the piece of the instructor's attention each student gets.
The best "attention" that I personally get from people is through training with them. Our main instructor will often train with whomever he uses as the "demonstration" uke for that technique. Also, some of the students at our dojo have more than 20 years of experience in the art; it's quite "instructional" just training with them...

-- Jun

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Old 11-11-2002, 02:31 PM   #9
Amin Basri
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Hi,

Just to let u know ,I am in a mixed beginner class.On an average night there are about 20 to 25 children and 4 adults

Regards,

AB
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Old 11-11-2002, 03:14 PM   #10
Veers
 
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Hey, I think pins and throws are cool, I just meant that many people consider kicking teeth out and handing out black eyes to be cooler.

Also, I didn't mean to imply that pins are all aikido is about, just that when you tell someone aikido is "a defensive art" or "a soft system," that's usually a turn off because it's "boring" or something.

(edit: that's what I get for typing too fast)

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 11-12-2002, 03:16 AM   #11
Genex
 
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Talking

this ones got good timing. last week we had a new starter to our dojo, a young boy who goes to the local school he's 14-15 i think, i think he's a bit of a natural to be honest he's got good extention. anyhoo he was saying that he wanted to try aikido because ALL of his mates were doing karate and that seems to be the kewl thing to do because you get to beat ppl up but he wanted to be different and generaly he didnt like the look of karate, of course when we showed him how painfull aikido can be without using any strength he simply grinned and said, "kewl" so i thihnk he's hooked. he's bringing some friends this week to try it out.

i think alot of kids see karate as the thing to do because its more widely known and the image it portrays is one of kung fu kick your ass stylee... which everyone who knows, actualy knows its kung fu thats like that karate is just about beating each other sensless.

pete

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Old 11-12-2002, 04:01 AM   #12
Creature_of_the_id
 
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Aikido is very subtle and not understood by the vast majority.

I think advertising it is very difficult because in order to describe it you usually have to have alot of words... either that or words that are possibly mis-leading.

You say Karate and people know what you are talking about... you can advertise Karate just by putting up a poster with that word on it and the times of classes and people will come.

You put a poster up saying "aikido" with a date and time and few people come along because they dont know the first thing about it.

They come along and watch, they still don't know the first thing about it.

Aikido can only be experienced, and even then it takes time to actually 'get it', and alot of people don't like that, they dont like that they don't understand it.

Its one of those arts where its depth is almost at the surface, it looks like it doesn't work.. but it does. It does work.. but you can't see why yet..

Karate has a depth that is hidden and so isn't so daunting (sp?)

I'm going to start a thread which invites people to describe aikido in 3 words.

imagine a poster, with Aikido at the top.. the date and time of the session and other relvant contact info. You have room for 3 descriptive words around the eye catching image...

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Old 11-12-2002, 04:12 AM   #13
happysod
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
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Think I have to agree with Mike Lee - the only thing that seems to work is regular advertising.

About two years ago, we started advertising beginners courses (5 week sessions) with set start-finish dates and the dojo size trebled.

It also served a dual function in that as they paid in advance, more stayed on for the full course so had time to actually come to a considered decision on aikido rather than getting frustrated/bored after their first session.

As for 3 words to advertise (creature_of_the id) ... dunno, we're Ki style so we go for the ex-hippies, may not work for your style.
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Old 11-12-2002, 04:13 AM   #14
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Talking

hehehe... Ex-hippies are welcome (3 words)

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Old 11-12-2002, 05:07 AM   #15
mike lee
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the graphic details

Quote:
I think advertising it is very difficult because in order to describe it you usually have to have alot of words...
A good action picture may be worth a thousand words.

Personally, I love those O'Ratti illustrations. As long as his illustrations are not used for profit, he allows them to be used in efforts to promote aikido. A pretty nice guy right?

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Old 11-12-2002, 05:17 AM   #16
Ta Kung
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Mike, I've never seen these O'Ratti illustrations. Where can I find them?

Thanx!

/Patrik
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Old 11-12-2002, 05:25 AM   #17
mike lee
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Cool go there or be square

http://www.aikidofaq.com/bilder/drawings/
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Old 11-12-2002, 08:35 AM   #18
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Re: the graphic details

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
Personally, I love those O'Ratti illustrations. As long as his illustrations are not used for profit, he allows them to be used in efforts to promote aikido.
Where did you hear this? Last I heard from him, he said that the pictures in "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere" was solely the property of its publisher and he had no rights nor say in how they could be distributed.

As for student numbers, our dojo also has "satellite" dojo in the two nearby universities which draw a lot of "transfer students." Many stay here after graduation and keep training with us.

-- Jun

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Old 11-12-2002, 09:22 AM   #19
mike lee
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Oscar Ratti

I saw a statement on this site that led me to believe that the illustrations could be used for non-profit purposes, but maybe it's wrong or maybe I'm wrong.

http://www.southwesternaikikai.com/gifs.htm

The statement said: "These animations are based on the drawings of Oscar Ratti from the book Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere by Adele Westbrook and Oscar Ratti. Permission for reuse is granted only for not-for-profit uses that promote and popularize the art of Aikido."

The other illustrations I found were on the aikidofaq Website, not from "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere," as far as I know.

It would be ideal if Ratti had a Website that indicated which, if any, illustrations could be used by non-profit aikido groups.

Last edited by mike lee : 11-12-2002 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 11-12-2002, 09:29 AM   #20
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Re: Oscar Ratti

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
The statement said: "These animations are based on the drawings of Oscar Ratti from the book Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere by Adele Westbrook and Oscar Ratti. Permission for reuse is granted only for not-for-profit uses that promote and popularize the art of Aikido."
Most likely, the above "permission" came from the people who made the animations and not from Oscar Ratti and/or the publishers of his book from which they were taken.
Quote:
I guess the best way is if Oscar Ratti could be contacted directly with regard to the use of his illustrations. But I would have no idea how to go about that.
What I wrote above that the pictures in "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere" was solely the property of its publisher and that he had no rights nor say in how they could be distributed was from communication with him in regards to using his images on the Internet.

(I think I'm going to break off these posts in this thread regarding images from Oscar Ratti into a different thread in a bit...)

-- Jun

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Old 11-12-2002, 09:43 AM   #21
Judd
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akiy-

I've yet to take one of Kashiwaya sensei's classes (he teaches the higher level ones) but I am going to the seminar this at our school, where he'll be teaching. I've read a lot about him, so I'm looking forward to seeing him.
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Old 11-12-2002, 09:45 AM   #22
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Quote:
Judd Mercer (Judd) wrote:
I've yet to take one of Kashiwaya sensei's classes (he teaches the higher level ones) but I am going to the seminar this at our school, where he'll be teaching. I've read a lot about him, so I'm looking forward to seeing him.
I'm sure you'll have a good time. If you're interested, you can read the interview I did with him a while back here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/interviews/kashiwaya1200.html

-- Jun

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