Building Bridges - How Does the Next Generation Grow?

There's quite an interesting transition starting to happen as our teachers grow older and/or pass away (in the case of my first Aikido teacher) and how that translates to those of us with dojos under 10 years old.


Many dojos under 10 years old are struggling. Struggling to grow beyond the handful of kids (if they have a kids program) and adults. Struggling to make rent on their dojo space, or already considering downsizing or utilizing public space. I think this is a mistake. I think the goal here should be for quality Aikido instructors to find each other and work together to identify each other's unique challenges, surpass them, and celebrate the joy of a strong and growing community.

Seminars represent an amazing opportunity when executed correctly - it is an exchange between attendees and instructor(s) beyond the set of techniques taught. Students willingly and excitedly give their hard earned money and time (which is even more valuable than any dollar) to spend a day or two (or more!) focusing on their journey of Aikido. Instructors, even those like me who do not accept payment (my hope and expectation is that every dollar a dojo makes at a seminar I teach, goes back to supporting that local dojo community - helping it grow), but especially those who do expect payment - are given an incredibly challenging task. In the span of 1-2 days, they must establish and maintain an environment that attendees:

1. Feel safe in

2. Feel motivated and engaged for an extended period without fatiguing too quickly

3. Can experiment and workshop with new ideas and concepts to take back to their regular training

4. Are pushed to their respective limits without over-working kohai, or under-working sempai