While discussing attendance and how to increase the class size, a different approach was being looked at. Male students were coming in but no new females.

A question came up on how to increase the female membership and/or class participation. Encourage more female practice time on the mat-what an assignment! No insult intended, but have you tried telling a female “what she needs to do,” lately?

All jokes aside, that conversation, as I see it, started off incorrectly. To get into these “participation needs” requires one to take first things first. A more logical approach was to ask several questions first.

What are you looking for when entering a dojo? Why come in, in the first place?

What is lacking in your makeup that you need to study a martial art?

Having gained the skills, how do you intend to use them?

How badly do you want it and what are you willing to pay for it including Blood, Sweat, Tears and Money?

Are you aware that you must sacrifice (spend) quite a bit of time in this endeavor? It’s only in the movies that you gain skills quickly.

How long do you intend to stay in it?

The most important question was the first one and the second most important question: How much research did you put into looking at/for this particular martial art, this dojo, this teacher?

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2 thoughts on “Teaching”

  1. Sensei, you have asked some very good questions. I have questioned my own choice to study Aikido – at 68 years old (hardly an early start).
    I keep coming back to the need for developing a ‘mental linked with physical’ discipline in my life. I have ADD (or if you wish ADHD). Staying on focus is an issue for me. I have found that having to focus on technique is a big help for me. Physical exercise has always been a good way to counter the effects of ADD, the practices I attend link the 2 very effectively.
    On the other hand, that raises other problems. One of the issues those of us with ADD have to deal with is a switch from highly distractible to hyper-focus. Hence the switch that occurs where I start to put too much effort or intensity into my practice instead of a sense of calm (progressive relaxation) as I approach learning a given technique. Which brings me back to the discipline of Aikido – mental and physical.
    So I would have to say the reason for me to tackle a martial art so late in life is developing the discipline of “relaxed focus” – finding that mid-point between hyper-focus and hyper-distractibility.
    I am currently under Psychiatric care for the ADD (Psychiatrists, in most cases, are the only ones who can prescribe the drugs used to help ADD). My Doctor believes the Aikido and the Kokyudo I am studying will both help greatly. From what I have seen so far, I have to agree.
    So I will continue as long as my body holds up to the practice. I would like to continue long enough to rise to Ni-Dan (or higher) in order to be able to teach Aikido – perhaps as part of a treatment program for kids with ADD to help them learn to handle the condition, if at all possible, without drugs.
    While being on “Speed” helps me I would really rather not have to take it. If I could help young people to work their way off the drugs and still deal effectively with their ADD I would consider that a real contribution to society.

  2. If a group is predominately male… It makes an impression on a potential female client. I would imagine many would feel like an outsider in a “boys club”. Only the most adventurous and confident would enter.
    A female only class might build a bridge.

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