View Full Version : Location of dojo/how to attract other arts

19th February 2004, 12:01

I am considering moving locations of my dojo to a place that has much better visibility and is closer (within 1 mile) to a university and a community college. The rent is more, but my current space is invisible and we have not been able to attract peoples attention, even to the point of phone calls or visits. I would like to know how important you all think location is on a sucessful dojo.

Another question I have is how to attract other arts into the dojo to share space. I teach aikido, and would be happy to have judo, jujitsu, tai chi or other like arts use the space and the mats, but don't really know how to go about approaching others who might not have a space. Would love suggestions please.

Thank you in advance for your suggestions and your comments about locations.

Rachel Massey, www.raisinriveraikikai.com (http://)

Jamie Stokes
22nd February 2004, 23:27
Hi Rachael,
although I don't run a dojo, I am running a business, and "cross Sell" services, so the concepts are alike.

Location, location, location.
Do you want a lot of foot traffic, or easy off street parking, who are the local residents likely to be (most of your students are likely to be from the local area, within a radius of, say, 25 kilometres (what ever that is in miles, sorry). be in a strip mall, or rent a space above a shop, or rent gym space from an school, fitness centre etc.
[sorry, just reread your post. you sound like you have already sorted out your target market. as for location, foot traffic and easy parking]
Like services/ complimentary arts. Easy. Just ring up, ask, or walk in. explain your proposition. Conversly, someone may be looking for someone else to share their space, share the rent etc.

Personality. hopefully you and your new parteners (for lack of a better term) get on well. like minds can resolve problems better.

Hmmm. have something written down, partocuarly for things like insurance, accident cover etc. you won't be able to cover all situations, but can do most of them. And if you do have a claim, or need to fend off a lawyer, at least you can show method of due care. (Documnetation always has more weight in a court of law than verbal say so. sorry, but its true)

thats just my take, if I think of more, I will.

for the record, I do aikido as well.

warmest regards,

PS, how about throwing the same thread onto Aikiweb.com, if you haven't done so. Lottsa voices of experience there.

23rd February 2004, 02:16
Thanks folks, very good suggestions! Appreciate them.


Mr. Buster
14th March 2004, 00:34
Must be an easy way to check the demographics of the location as well. It's public info and should just take time.

14th March 2004, 10:34
Thank you. Yes I did check demographics, and the area where we relocated (just moved yesterday) has a lot of young people, plus it is close to a high school, university and community college. Hopefully this will bring us much success. Unfortunately I was stubborn about the measurements of my mats, and insisted they were a size they were not, and the mat space ended up being smaller than I wanted (only 16 feet wide). :eek:

Anyway, hopefully this will still work out. Please wish us luck as a dojo!

Wounded Ronin
16th March 2004, 05:29
Good luck!

16th March 2004, 16:43
First off, good luck. I think if you could find a kobudo sensei to join with, I think would help with students. In my class we have been having more and more people coming in asking if we teach weapons. It seems to me more people are more in to weapons now a days. I think weapons and empty hand techques go hand in hand. (No pun intended). And with that it might build up your class as well.
But I wouldn't go in with a chinese art. To many diffraces I belive. But that is my my take.
Sorry about the bad spelling. :D :D :D

17th March 2004, 00:43
Thanks, yes, I've noticed that too, about the weapons classes. I don't like doing weapons, and will only teach very basic suburi and such (because I am really rusty too!). I did approach a kendo group in town, and they have a space already which they like a lot.


17th March 2004, 02:36
I didn't like weapons at first, but I love them as much as I do Shotokan. The weapons I like the are the sai. Easy to carry and legal in CA.

21st March 2004, 21:59
Visibity is important,and great if you have it, but can be partly be addressed by good advertising and promotional strategies. However, I am wondering about your stated intention to move to specifically attract college students. In my experience college or university students are not necessarily a reliable source of students unless you are actually on campus, and even then... They are highly mobile, only around for relatively short periods of the year, and often, have a short interest span and little money. That is, I would suggest they are a 'cream on top market' and may not be the best core market to be targeting and planning around. This might different in a regional centre and the college mainly serves local people. I am in a big city next to a university - students usually only stick around for a few months - then exams hit and they are gone. On the edge of the professional or business part of town, but accessible to suburbs may be more productive.

Also, in terms of sharing floor space - you might want to find arts that are very different to aikido - not direct competitors. Also, you do not need to limit yourself to other martial arts. Yoga/pilates teachers, mind-body healers eg shiatsu massage practitioners, people running meditation workshops, retreats etc often need meeting rooms, workshop spaces which have a sense of openness and atmosphere. Depending on how your dojo is set up - your space might be attractive to these groups as well.