The fact of the matter is that beginning students are a lot of trouble for the Head Instructor and the rest of the staff, generally
more trouble than they are worth. The entire dojo is humming along nicely, with the members busily at work perfecting the techniques
of their art, and then you come in. This means that everybody has to slow down to keep from hurting you and waste a lot of valuable
time teaching you things that they already do by instinct. Your problem is going to be convincing the Instructor that disrupting his
entire operation for your benefit is going to be worthwhile. He doesn't really want to. But if you approach him in the proper manner,
and if he thinks you have potential, and if he is in a good mood, he may allow you to join the dojo. When he does this, he will feel,
quite honestly, that he is doing you a great personal favor. If you are the right kind of student you will agree and you will feel
indebted to him for the rest of your life.
Although many Instructor have a standard policy of putting off students, requiring that
you "Come back next month" just to make sure that you are serious, most will make up their mind within the first few seconds of the
initial meeting. No matter what the art, their mental image of the proper student tends to be very similar; very strong and very polite.
Therefore, you should take pains to ensure that your first impression on him is favorable, as you will rarely get a second chance.
Another problem area is finances. One of the first questions most potential students ask is, "How much does it cost?" In a traditional
dojo, this would be you last question, for they feel that money in not something that is discussed in polite company. The Instructor
is undoubtedly humiliated enough over the fact his financial condition requires that tuition be charged to help cover expenses. For
you to bring up the subject merely makes him feel worse. In a formal dojo, tuition is put in an envelope and discreetly left in the
Instructor's office, preferably when he is not present to be embarrassed by it.
About the class schedule: The Instructor will
automatically assume that if there should be any conflict between your work schedule and the dojo schedule, that you will simply get
a new job, so this is another question that need never arise in conversation. If you have any questions about what you will be doing
in class, forget them! You will be doing whatever he tells you to do. What you want to do has absolutely no bearing on the program.
How long is the course? If you are uninformed enough to ask this, you may be treated to the sight of a grown man beating his head
against the wall. The "Course" lasts the rest of your life, which is never long enough to complete it!
The Traditional Dojo
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