Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

August 16th , 2015

From Sempai Dennis Flynn

Ni-Dan Shihan Cocoa YMCA Dojo

What is your level of commitment?

Now that I am the Shihan of a dojo, I often think about how I can increase the commitment level of my students. I have some that consistently meet my expectations of two or more classes a week; I have some that come close; and, I have some that fall short.

I have some students, who have a high commitment level, but because their parents don't bring them to class as often as they should, fall behind in their training and don't meet the requirements for promotion; due to no fault of their own.

This is a challenge we all face. We all want to sustain a strong student base and help grow our organization. We can only make that happen if we maintain a strong level of commitment within our own dojo and; beyond as the opportunity presents itself.

The dictionary defines the word commitment as follows: dedication, devotion, loyalty, responsibility, obligation, duty, faithfulness. All of these words can be used to describe those of us who are committed students of Shorin-ryu Karate.

For this week’s “Technique of the Week”, I'd like to share with you some of the techniques I use to help increase the commitment level of the students in my dojo. I believe it has helped me retain and attract students. I am not as successful as I'd like to be, or as I could be. It is always a work in progress:

1. Effectively Communicate: Have an attractive, relevant, user friendly website (feel free to check out the Cocoa YMCA site for some ideas).

· Keep a student list with contact information updated. I have all the e-mail address of all my students/parents. I e-mail them with updates, testing information, event schedules, etc.

· Keep your bulletin boards, class schedules, event information, and such updated with current information.

· Make sure the parents of your child students get all the information you are sharing with your students. Parent involvement is the key. Students may not always update their parents.

2. Have Great Classes:

· Karate is hard work, Karate requires mental toughness, Karate is physically demanding: we can accomplish all of these necessary things: and still have an enjoyable class, an engaging class, a motivating class: a class where everyone feels welcomed and a part of what we are trying to accomplish as a group. Have a lot of positive energy in the class whenever possible. Especially if you have a lot of children in your classes, as is the case with my dojo.

3. Encourage Participation:

· Remember: we are teachers, and the dojo is our classroom. Student participation is vital to keeping their attention, keeping them interested, keeping them coming back. Ask questions: How many moves are in that kata? Who is the composer? Who is on the Shindin wall? What is your favorite kata? Your favorite move? Have the students demonstrate their kata: both in groups and individually. Recognition is important too!

These are some of the techniques I use to attract and retain students in my dojo. Hopefully, by reading this, you might be able to get some ideas for your dojo.

Domo Arigato,

Sempai Dennis


Shihan Cocoa YMCA Dojo