Friday, May 2, 2008

Capping Off My Dojo Membership

Well, it's official. My dojo is now reaching capacity. I have one last new student coming in for trial lessons next week and if she signs up, I'll stop accepting new students. I'll have a total of 16 students enrolled in my dojo. My official cap-off is 15, but two of my students are moving away in the near future.

Some people wonder why I would cap off membership when I'm still receiving inquiries from people interested in my class. I have my reasons.

I run my dojo for pleasure, not for profit. That's not to say that I don't make any money, I do turn a small profit, but it's not enough to live off of. My goal in running my dojo is to give to others what martial arts has given to me. If I make profit a primary motivator, it will inhibit my ability to achieve this.

I'm much more able to help my students get the most of their martial arts training by having less students on which to focus. The more people I bring into my class, the more my attention is split as an instructor. And while I am now getting my first green belts, and they are able to help me to some degree, I don't have a consistent assistant instructor. So if I let classes get to big, I won't be able to give my best to all my students. Some will inevitably get lost in the crowd.

Another thing I like about keeping my class small is the friendly atmosphere it creates. One of my students recently commented that the thing he likes best about my class is the feeling of family when he walks into the dojo, like Norm when he walks into to cheers, as well as the mutual support and encouragement the students provide. Everyone who stays with my dojo more than a few months shares in this dojo camaraderie.

For the record, I'm not saying that camaraderie doesn't exist in larger clubs, it's just different. They aren't typically places where everyone necessarily "knows your name." Or if they are, it takes more time and active efforts to create. And the larger clubs that do manage to do it have my utmost respect.


Silverstar said...

If only all dojos had the same attitude that you have of running a dojo not with the goal of profit but instead of giving a quality education in martial arts. Good on you for keeping your integrity.:)

Lori O'Connell said...

Thanks! It's funny how I'm getting so much interest all at once. I've already turned away 4 potential students.