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Thread: Advertising

  1. #1
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    Question Advertising

    Every year our club ponders how to attract new members at the beginning of the academic year, and the first idea touted is invariably posters and flyers. However, I don't know anyone who began Shorinji Kempo by seeing a poster - of the people whose initial motivations I know, most began because a friend introduced them (and I think the next biggest factor is websites).

    So, did anyone begin Shorinji Kempo because they saw a poster / flyer / demonstration / etc.? Do these things justify the effort put into them? What are the best advertising methods for recruiting (and keeping...) new kenshi?
    John Ryan
    Shorinji Kempo
    Imperial Dojo

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    Default Re: Demos

    Demos are a good way, I think. Last year glasgow had a Demo with the Dan grades showing their stuff, there was some Dantai Embu that I ballsed up but no one noticed, the instructors did a bit of Randori, and a female Dan grade and a big lump of a Kyu grade did a "real life, Chump challenges woman and she kicks his !!!" sort of scenario.

    The best bit, though, was at the end when we got everyone who was at the demo up and for the last 30 minutes just showed them Kempo and let them try for themselves. I think giving them a little taster is good, cos if they're definitely not going to enjoy Kempo then they won't turn up to a class, and if they will enjoy it then they'll at least go to a few classes to try it out.

    For the first few weeks after Fresher's week, as well, there'll be people who come along to classes to try it out randomly. I think you have to be extra-welcoming, then. There's a lot of other MAs in glasgow uni, and there is an element of competition in recruitment, so it's important not to intimidate them. It's like hunting Gazelles, actually: lull them into a sense of false security...

    Whenever I'm forced to teach a newcomer (rare, as thankfully there are 2 Kyu grades with more experience) I try not to say they're rubbish, just say "that was good, now try correcting this." Sometimes they get better, sometimes not, but as long as they put effort in I don't care.

    If the newcomer feels like they would enjoy being in the Dojo and could make good progress, then they'll come back. It's not technically advertising, but word-of-mouth from newcomers who enjoy SK might get more people in than by excessive advertising.

    Oh, and answering the first bit, yeah, I started SK initially after seeing a good Demo and cos the atmosphere in the Dojo was really welcoming. But then I left. but I came back for the same reasons!
    JC McCrae

  3. #3
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    When I started at a university Branch in the early 1980's, flyers were an equally important way of getting new students with word-of-mouth introductions of friends. Over several years, we learned that the most successful flyers were the ones with tear-off tabs with contact information.

    Flyers aren't as successful anymore. The free bulletin boards that used to be common on campus and around town seem to be disappearing. I also wonder if fewer people take the time to look at the few bulletin boards that are left. We still keep a flyer up at the local martial arts supply store and occasionally put up flyers around campus and at local Japanese restaurants and Asian food stores. All of our flyers still have tear-offs. We get a few calls a year from flyers.

    Most of our new contacts come from our web site. We also have a free yellow pages listing (free because I got a second line in my home and listed it as a business phone) that generates a few calls a month.

    Demos have never been very successful for us. People may be very impressed with the presentation but it seems they seldom follow through by attending class. We have not tried the kind of participatory demo Jame describes in a very long time - the current format of our demos at the University's Japanese Cultural Festival doesn't allow the time for it. Perhaps we need to look for a different venue to try that approach again.

    I agree that spending a lot of time with newcomers is important for retention. But first you have to get them in the door, which seems to be the hard part for us lately.
    Gary Dolce
    Ann Arbor Branch
    WSKO
    Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
    http://www.shorinjikempo.com

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    Default Re: Getting new members

    YEah, we're having trouble sometimes too. people seem to be all rared up for 1st term, and we have classes sometimes going to the back of the hall. Then by christmas it's all dropped away.

    My sensei thinks it's part of the general decline in health of the population today, and I'm inclined to agree: the first fast-food generation, of which I'm a borderline member, is coming through Uni now and at the start of term you have to whip their tubby asses into shape before you can start training them.

    Also, people are less interested in martial arts as a whole these days, or if they are they're interested in the big, famous ones at the moment (i.e. Kung Fu, Muay Thai etc.). In Glasgow loads of people do Muay Thai; there's a padwork session on Tuesdays, and then thursday there's a sparring session that hardly anyone goes to: they use it sort of like a boxercise class.

    Cos we're a small martial art, relatively unknown ("Oh, you do martial arts?" "Yeah, something called Shorinji Kempo." "..." "It's a bit like Aikido." "OH!" - every week, at least), we're always going to have to have trouble recruiting. Until I implement my 9th-dan by sixty plan to have Scotland the centre of the SK world. Then we'll be set.
    JC McCrae

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    from what ive read during last few post regarding this issue is that in general, demos tend to really attract other MArtists from the other stalls

    a female Dan grade and a big lump of a Kyu grade did a "real life, Chump challenges woman and she kicks his !!!" sort of scenario.
    that sounds quite cool, i would assume that gets a crowd in. however, i can only relate from past experience from UCL, and the only issue with demos besides the point i mentioned above, is that these demos are set at a certain time and place... maybe its was just me, but i always missed those demos because i could never make them; either because i only found out the time and place afterwards, or had lectures (i think they were lectures... since there was always some guy at the front droning on about laplace transforms and i could feel someone pulling my eyelids down as i lost consciousness :P)

    not that im presenting an arguement to demos, but does anyone have a solution to someone such as myself in that situation?
    Felix Lee

    -"Your Prawn techniqiue is no match against my Shrimp style haha!!"
    -"but chopstick pressure point fighting beats them all..."

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    Stop going to lectures.
    JC McCrae

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    Can I ask something (slightly related) of all the London Kenshi?

    When people come to glasgow uni, hardly anyone has ever heard of shorinji kempo. What's the situation in London? I realise Kempo's still small in the UK, but there are more branches there than anywhere else. When people come to you, are they any more clued in as to what Kempo is?
    JC McCrae

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    i cant even if i wanted to jame..

    im now working... <sob> i miss being a student....
    Felix Lee

    -"Your Prawn techniqiue is no match against my Shrimp style haha!!"
    -"but chopstick pressure point fighting beats them all..."

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    But Grasshopper, we are *all* students...

    Don't miss it, it's rubbish. You live off Pasta all the time, you never have any money, you're up to your arsehole in debt, the clubs you go to trick you by giving you free entry and then try to get 3 off you for a beer, the student unions are all dirty, everyone's got political opinions and want to tell you about them, their Faculty's always better than yours and your lecturers just wish you would go away.

    And Medics are the worst students of all, stupid smarmy rich cliquey in-crowd gossip-monkeys who have stupid little in-jokes about how stupid nurses and patients are and have huge dramas whenever they lose their stethoscope (put it AROUND YOUR !!!!ING NECK, idiot!) or kill someone (you think they'd be used to it by now). And they NEVER shut up about the patient they've seen today, and the signs and symptoms they found on him. If patients were that interesting they'd be showing them on TV and in cinemas. But they aren't. They're just normal people, but sicker.

    And here I am working my sack off, studying every day in termtime to memorise as much medicine as I can and along comes some rugby-playing hairy-backed lager-machine or some blonde ditzy Bacardi-Breezer-fuelled hag who just looks at a textbook and all the information teleports into their long-term memory (the location of which in the brain, by the way, I don't know). Then they tell me how they're going to fail 'cos they "don't know it".

    I hate medics.

    Except Medic Kenshi, they're cool.
    JC McCrae

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jailess
    Can I ask something (slightly related) of all the London Kenshi?
    Yes!

    Quote Originally Posted by jailess
    When people come to glasgow uni, hardly anyone has ever heard of shorinji kempo. What's the situation in London? I realise Kempo's still small in the UK, but there are more branches there than anywhere else. When people come to you, are they any more clued in as to what Kempo is?
    I've told many people what mysterious art it is that I do, and nobody has ever heard of it. The best response is a befuddled "Kempo, eh?", followed by "so, is that like karate?" or usually a "ha, well, I'd better watch what I say, haha"... I smile kindly and explain, although the explanation gets shorter by a sentence every time, and has indeed now become negative (where I omit the initial answer entirely to avoid the tiresome inquisition).

    I thought that a way to solve this was to put up lots of posters and things around college! True - nobody comes along because of posters (or maybe they do and lie about it)... but then again I wanted people at least to have heard of Shorinji Kempo, like we've all heard of Karate and Kung Fu, etc. Alas, short of a large and tedious survey with clipboards and plastic macs, I don't know if it worked. A little angel in my head hopes it did.

    Btw, good medical student rant... Now heal thyself, physician!
    John Ryan
    Shorinji Kempo
    Imperial Dojo

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jailess
    But Grasshopper, we are *all* students...

    Don't miss it, it's rubbish. You live off Pasta all the time
    nope never did that.... i was poor, but i hardly lived off pasta... i tended to be more conservative with my cash. actually most of it was spend training...

    Quote Originally Posted by jailess
    you're up to your arsehole in debt
    yeah... thats true...

    Quote Originally Posted by jailess
    the clubs you go to trick you by giving you free entry and then try to get 3 off you for a beer, the student unions are all dirty
    never did that... i tended to know the organisers and got in free and drinks free plus i never went to the unions... i spent more time at non-student clubs for the same amount of cash

    Quote Originally Posted by jailess
    everyone's got political opinions and want to tell you about them, their Faculty's always better than yours and your lecturers just wish you would go away.
    never got involved with the politics... i studied engineering, no one cared about the politics... we all knew our faculty was rubbish but at least it was ours... no one else dared to walk into the construction site


    Quote Originally Posted by jailess
    And Medics are the worst students of all, stupid smarmy rich cliquey in-crowd gossip-monkeys who have stupid little in-jokes about how stupid nurses and patients are and have huge dramas whenever they lose their stethoscope (put it AROUND YOUR !!!!ING NECK, idiot!) or kill someone (you think they'd be used to it by now). And they NEVER shut up about the patient they've seen today, and the signs and symptoms they found on him. If patients were that interesting they'd be showing them on TV and in cinemas. But they aren't. They're just normal people, but sicker.

    And here I am working my sack off, studying every day in termtime to memorise as much medicine as I can and along comes some rugby-playing hairy-backed lager-machine or some blonde ditzy Bacardi-Breezer-fuelled hag who just looks at a textbook and all the information teleports into their long-term memory (the location of which in the brain, by the way, I don't know). Then they tell me how they're going to fail 'cos they "don't know it".

    I hate medics.

    Except Medic Kenshi, they're cool.
    i cant relate to that... i avoided medics like the plague hahaha
    Felix Lee

    -"Your Prawn techniqiue is no match against my Shrimp style haha!!"
    -"but chopstick pressure point fighting beats them all..."

  12. #12
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    Wink Cheers jaime

    For adding yet more lustre to our reputation. You make me so proud...

    No actually, most of what you said I'd probably agree with. Regarding the fact that increasing numbers of young people (ye gods, listen to me, I'm only 36 for ****s sake) are voluntary paraplegics, that's part of the problem certainly. More acutely though we live in a society where people by and large want - indeed demand - instant gratification. Shorinjikempo is (to me anyway) an immediately enjoyable activity, but the real payoffs come when you're prepared to invest at least a number of months, and probably some years, of effort. The ideal that developing any genuine skill takes (for most people) a long time is rapidly becoming anathema in our culture.

    Even some people I know who've done Shorinjikempo for quite a long time to me essentially seem to be missing the point - 'Why would I do that when I could take him to the ground and choke him out?' If what you're bothered about is winning fights, maybe, but again this is to look at Shorinjikempo primarily in terms of what it produces (i.e fighting ability), not the the innate value of the thing itself.

    NB I'm NOT saying the self defence side of our art is immaterial - that mei uchi might actually save your life - just that if you never ever have to fight once in your life it would seem to me that your time training has not been wasted, whereas if all you're training for is the possibility of physical confrontation the implication would seem to be that your time could have been better spent.

    As to how we overcome this cultural resistance, I think re. demos Jaime is right - getting people to participate, and then to talk to existing club members is probably at least as important as the technical content of the demo. One approach to lack of name recognition is to use posters and advertising material which plays on the 'mystery' a bit - we have tried flyers with the words 'what is Shorinjikempo?' and (hopefully) intriguingly cropped photos of techniques. Isn't goiong to work on its own of course, but can be used as pointers to a website etc.

    Tony Leith

  13. #13
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    Just a quickie but Craig's List does generate a lot of interest for us.
    Raul Rodriguez
    Shorinji Kempo New York City Branch

    http://www.ShorinjiKempoNYC.org

  14. #14
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    Best method: personal recommendation. Tell your friends.
    Best Morale booster: Club Demo, with participation at all levels.
    Best Awareness raiser: Little poster in Newsagent window next to "Sexy Suzie", "French Lessons" and "Personal Massage".
    Best Team Spirit Builder: Club T-Shirts (so I'm told).


    Of course, subject to guidance from higher sources, you can make some great pics these days...
    David Noble
    Shorinji Kempo (1983 - 1988)
    I'll think of a proper sig when I get a minute...

    For now, I'm just waiting for the smack of the Bo against a hard wooden floor....

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony leith
    You make me so proud...
    I should probably have added a disclaimer that my vehement hatred of Medics has nothing to do with Glasgow University ShorinjiKempo Club, and indeed that the majority of medics are kind peaceful loving souls who only want to see you better. It's just all the ones I run into are soulless incrowd scum (calm down Jame, easy big guy...).

    One thing to play on that my Sensei suggested above is the "What is ShorinjiKempo?" signs, that's a great idea! Also, emphasising the noncompetitiveness of SK's good, too.

    Last year we had some guy who just told everyone, "We're not like Muay Thai." Yeah, really detailed, moron. What he should have done is emphasised the fact that we aren't a Ring system, there's no competition in SK (apart from Embu). That's partly what attracted me to SK, and partly why I left TaeKwonDo when I was 16. There's lots of people out there who want to learn effective self-defense, but don't like competing (I'm one of them). I think SK would suit these people.

    Aikido, too, but we won't tell them that.
    JC McCrae

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