This article is for Bujinkan dōjō teacher. It is based on my experience.
Do you know that your Dōjō might be dying without you being aware of it?
I began teaching in 1987, and I was not good at it. I learned how to do it correctly, the hard way. And I’m still learning to teach better thirty years later.
I made all mistakes possible and did my best to correct them. After doing it for many years, and after visiting many different dōjō, I found a pattern that I’d like to share with you in this post.
There are three level types of dōjō, I called them : Level #1, Level #2, and Level #3 dōjō. This is a type of Sanshin.
Level #1 dōjō: this is a dream dōjō. At level #1, the group is committed, and everyone wants to learn. This is often, a new group headed by a young Shidōshi. The students are mainly beginners, but some higher ranks coming from other dōjō, join in, and give the young group some kind of maturity. The teacher is often seen as charismatic, at least by the practitioners of his dōjō. Egos are low, sharing is high. The group is more important than the individual.
Level #2 dōjō: this is logical evolution of the level #1. The magic of the first years is now gone, the training has turned into a routine. The teacher is now surrounded by a few Shidōshi. They are the “instructors”. They went at least once to Japan. They share the teaching, and think their students are as motivated as they were, when they began.
Egos are average, sharing is average. The group is split in high and low ranks. Strong “clanification”. Clans are more important than the group, or the individual. Unity is Omote.
Level #3 dōjō: the dōjō is now sick and dying. The high ranks got higher. The “ancient students” left. A new breed has come. The high ranks are turning “grandmasters”, and treat the beginners, as if they had been already training for a few years. Classes are mainly about the “flow”, waza are not taught, or taught badly, by the young unqualified black belts. New students are clueless, because they were never taught the basics. The instructors are so much in the illusion of their rank that they don’t train, they only teach their misconceptions to the newcomers.
Egos are high, sharing is low. The individual is more important than the group. The end is near.
So, figure out if you are #1, #2, or #3, and react if necessary.
If you correct your path now, it’s never too late.
If you want to stay at level #1, then watch your step!