Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Creating a Milton Keynes dedicated dojo

To all my students.

As many of you may know, I began Shinkendo UK in 2008 with the express purpose of promoting and regulating Shinkendo and Aikibujutsu within the UK.  Since its formation the organisation has hosted Toshishiro Obata Kaiso twice and Nidai Soke Yukishiro Obata once.  Our local dojo has taught classes non-stop, uninterrupted for some 7 years without break.  Annual seminars and gradings have been run and organised - and overall everything has been run pretty smoothly.

In all this time a dream of mine has always been to one day open a full time dojo - a true UK honbu.  This dojo would be available to students 24/7 and provide an authentic feeling and a degree of thrill factor to students who train in it.  Take for example the superb looking dojo owned by Sensei War Lewis:

I must admit that every time I look at War’s dojo I feel envious.  

Learning Japanese Martial Arts is rewarding, but it is also my feeling that the environment in which you learn is equally important.  Over the years I have trained in halls that are filthy, where fire alarms have gone off non-stop and where the temperature has been sub-zero.  Where the mats are not owned by us, have on occasion been covered in blood and have been ripped up and ruined by others.  The upshot is that I have begun to feel that renting or using space owned by others begins to hinder the overall experience of learning, and thus reduces the student’s enjoyment and experience.  Who of you wouldn’t like to train in the dojo pictured above?

I have begun to research what is needed to create a venue of our very own, to call our home.  The costs are not terribly prohibitive and overall I feel that the proposition could be turned into a reality by Q1 2016.  However, as you may recall - the organisation runs non-profit for the purposes of promoting and regulating Shinkendo and Aikibujutsu only.  To this degree we would, as an organisation, have to fund raise in order to meet our initial outlay - and that is where you come in.

Currently we are taking steps to upgrade our website, which is long overdue.  It is expected that this will go live shortly.  Once done we will be launching a “kickstarter” type programme, which I hope and pray you will all be positive towards.  My plea is that you share this link with all your friends, family, enemies, pets and anyone who will listen - with the express plea of assisting us in raising the required startup fee.  This campaign has not yet been launched but nevertheless a preview can be seen below:

Please don't share this link yet until the campaign has officially been launched.

So why am I doing this?  Picture the benefits and ease of access to a dojo that is 24/7.  Greater frequency in when you train allows a wider breadth of chance/ability to train.  Next is the ease at organising weekend seminars, sessions with other teachers (e.g. I'd like to invite Sensei Joe Thambu over), ability to have private lessons and tameshigiri events.  Its all easy and cost effective when the venue belongs to you.  Another benefit is the thrill factor and the enjoyment factor students get from being able to train in such a dedicated environment.

So what are the draw backs?  Well, the likelihood is that our mat space would reduce.  Our existing hall is big and any venue I get would be smaller than what we currently have.  Also, the fees would need to go up to represent the new cost of the venue and to reflect the scheduled availability of training.  This would require your buy in.  If we raised the current fees in advance of our launch this would certainly help speed the process and reduce the startup outlay we need to raise in the initial.  This again would require your buy in and support.

Overall, the project itself will require a lot of work but I am confident and motivated to do it.  Its been a long term ambition of mine and seeing others make it a reality has given me the push to do it also.  The benefits out way the draw backs to me - and the increased availability should hopefully feel very positive to you, plus the improved training environment.  The purpose of this blog post is to keep you appraised of whats going on behind closed doors, to put you on notice of our intentions and to begin to secure your buy in.  To this degree I strongly encourage all of you (past, present or future students) to please provide feedback on this proposition at the earliest convenience.

1 comment: