hoshin wrote:i am curious Shana, can you explain more on this...
In fact, running a dojo as a business can cause the very problems that are being discussed here because they put more focus on financing, competition, etc
i dont see how taking responsiblity for the workings of the dojo and the behavoir of students (which as i said can be viewed like a business practice) can have a down side.
putting a focus on financing is only one method amoung many that falls under marketing and accounts recievable practices.
competition would be going back to what Mike said about who you are and what you do.
so i am interested in your view here.
I'd be happy to explain, Steve.
I believe taking responsiblity for the dojo and the behaviour of the students is an important part of the dojo, whether it's run as a business or not. My concern is that some people lose thier focus when they open a business. This is not saying dojo as business is bad. It's saying that if you are going to open a dojo as a business, you need to be very clear of your focus and your own boundaries from the very beginning. This is true of any business venture; you need to know what you goals are and where you are/aren't willing to be flexible with your goals/ideals/etc..
Some people open dojos as a strictly moneymaking or competition ventures, and for what it's worth, that is fine. But some people open a dojo because they love thier martial art or martial arts in general and feel they have something unique or important to offer thier students. Now, because they have opened it as a business, they feel they have to give thier students thier money's worth by teaching the latest fad or change thier own personal focus to meet the students needs. This is where I feel problems begin, as they've lost thier focus and the drive that supports the fundamental business. They are no longer guiding thier business; they are only reacting.
On one hand, being responsive to your students is a GREAT thing. It helps drive satisfaction and allows both teacher and student to stretch and grow. On the other hand, the sensei needs to have a very clear idea of what is her/his focus and the boundaries of that focus.
For example, A sensei decides he really wants to focus on self-defense aspects of martial arts. Some very talented students come in and express an interest in competition, so he makes some small adjustments to his dojo training and applies for the appropriate certifications to allow his dojo members to compete and represent the group (this is a guess on my part, as I really don't know what is involved in competing as a group). At the end of 2 years he realizes that he is training to the end goal of competition and self defense is really only a small part of his focus.
Now, I strongly believe that a sensei should be responsive to student needs, but I also think there is a balance between the students needs and that of the sensei. The sensei should have a clear and strong idea of what they want to get out of teaching and what they are trying to impart to thier students. If they want to focus on the joy/art of the technique, self-defense, phyiscal fitness, etc., then their teaching should support that goal. Otherwise, they've lost the focus that made them special or different (thier marketing niche,if you will).
Just because you are trying to run a dojo as a business should not mean you are all things to all people. Again, going back to Steve's point, you have a focus, and the student is either a good match or they are not.
I guess my point in the above quote was that running a dojo as a business can cause problems if you don't have a clear idea of your goals/focus.
Does that help clarify any?