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Thread: class size?

  1. #1
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    Default class size?

    Hi guys, first post. I am interested in Iaido. I did try a class last week. And am going back for more. However thee were only 3 other students there. The sensei said this was a usual class size. Is this true? I'm used to a full Kenpo class myself. It just kinda struck me as odd. I don't want to say who is was in fear of haveing bad things said. I guess all I'm asking is what is a usual class size for Iaido?

    Steve Iema
    Steve Iema

  2. #2
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    Default Quality, not quantity

    3 is good -- you'll make it 4; don't mistake quality for quantity!!

    For the longest time we had 5 students at the Kenshinkan dojo -- which was almost too many for the small racquetball court that was being used. Even when there was a max of 8 students only about 4-5 showed up ... once in a while everybody showed at the same time and we had to volley the teaching, three groups of three students; while one group exercised kata, the other two groups waited.

    In Japan we often had 20 people, but our teacher was famous. I just came back from a visit to Tsurumi and the number had dwindled (that night) to about 10.

    Regards,
    Guy
    Guy H. Power
    Kenshinkan Dojo

  3. #3
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    Different dojo have different attendance levels. I found my current sensei by searching on the internet. The messages I found from him, on Iaido-L, were about him wondering about low attendance; he had had a long stretch where he was practicing alone, with no students. When there were other students, he had 3-4, and maybe 1 in 10 new students would stick with it (or less).

    Few years later, we're in the 20-25 total students range, with maybe between 10-15 per class. Can't fit much more than that, or we'll have to move. I preferred it when we were less popular, we had more space to work in So few students doesn't mean it's bad. You get more attention from sensei, too.

    --
    Sebastien Leclair

  4. #4
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    All depends on the time of year, usually between 1-15 students. Don't knock a small class, that's perfect, you get sensei,(almost), to yourself.
    Ken Morgan
    "If you don't think that your country should come before yourself, you can better serve your country by livin' someplace else."
    - Stompin' Tom Connors

    Dileas Gu Brath - Faithful Forever
    http://guelphfirst.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
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    Default small is good

    We have about 12 people total in our school. Generally these days we have about 8 in class at a time, and that's about perfect. Larger classes can work, but for most sword arts (I would exclude Kendo from this statement) smaller classes are not a warning sign. It's expensive and difficult and that will always limit the number of people you bring in. Doesn't help that we only train at 7am either, but it helps to auto-regulate who shows up in the first place.

    Note: Please don't read into my above posts that I'm excluding Kendo from other JSA, it's just been my experience that Kendo dojos tend to be larger than Iai or Kenjutsu dojos. Nothing else was implied.
    Christian Moses
    **Certified Slimy, Moronic, Deranged and Demented Soul by Saigo-ha Daito Ryu!**
    Student of:
    Shinto Ryu Iai-Battojutsu
    Tuesday Night Bad Budo Club (TM)

  6. #6
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    Default

    There's usually 8 people or so in my TSKSR class, same goes for Iaido which ends just before we begin.
    Joost van Schijndel

  7. #7
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    Default

    Might also have something to do with the summer. For some reason, attendance usually dips in the summer for us. Lots of people taking their vacations with family and stuff I guess. I like it. More time with sensei for me Class sizes drop by 3 or 4 per class on average I'd guess. Lasts a few weeks then goes away. We get a similar drop around the holidays.

    I agree with the others. Small attendance is not a warning sign. In fact, you will benefit greatly from having more of your instructors attention. Sword arts and Iaido in particular are very detail oriented, and it will help that your instructor will be able to spend more time correcting your specific mistakes.
    Charles Mahan

    Iaido - Breaking down bad habits,
    and building new ones.

  8. #8
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    I've been teaching Iai-do for around 20 years. Now have my biggest class ever (yippee) of 10 (5 regulars)
    Philip Smith

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    Steve, run, don't walk, to that iai-do class!

    The personal attention you will get in a small class is infinitely better than when you have a lot of students. This is critical when you are first learning iai-do.

    Our class has a grand total of 7 students, as it did when Maeda-Sensei started it a year ago. And although we've only just finished the MJER Seitei Gata, I feel we're all much better iaidoka than if we'd been in a larger class situation.

    Just be sure to set aside a lot of time for practice at home (or wherever you can swing your iaito without harming your pets & scaring the neighbors).

    Ken
    Ken Goldstein
    --------------------------------
    Judo Kodansha/MJER Iaido Kodansha/Jodo Oku-iri
    Fencing Master/NRA Instructor

    "A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it'll annoy enough people to be worth the effort."

  10. #10
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    Default

    Originally posted by Ken-Hawaii

    Our class has a grand total of 7 students, as it did when Maeda-Sensei started it a year ago. And although we've only just finished the MJER Seitei Gata, I feel we're all much better iaidoka than if we'd been in a larger class situation.
    without harming your pets & scaring the neighbors).

    Ken
    MJER Seitei Gata? Do you mean the ZNKR Seitei kata? Or do you mean the MJER Seiza kata?
    Charles Mahan

    Iaido - Breaking down bad habits,
    and building new ones.

  11. #11
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    I didn't mean to mix apples & tangerines, Charles, sorry.

    We've certainly covered the MJER Seiza kata, & the rest of what I was told was the ZKNR Seitei Gata. Is that incorrect?

    Ken
    Ken Goldstein
    --------------------------------
    Judo Kodansha/MJER Iaido Kodansha/Jodo Oku-iri
    Fencing Master/NRA Instructor

    "A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it'll annoy enough people to be worth the effort."

  12. #12
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    Default

    Ok. Just checking.
    Charles Mahan

    Iaido - Breaking down bad habits,
    and building new ones.

  13. #13
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    Default Thanks

    Thanks to everyone for the responses! Makes a lot of sense. I noticed that there isn't much of a warm up before class. Is this also usual? Again I'm used to a more American style art. I would probably warm up before class.
    Again thanks guys.
    Steve Iema

  14. #14
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    Default warm ups

    We don't do the same kind of warm ups that would be common in Judo or Aikido dojos. Our warm-ups consist of 200 cuts with suburito or shinken and then 30-80 fumichigae or other miserably painful leg exercises. Then we do kihon for about 15 minutes. If you want to stretch (and if you want to do this for more than a few years, you better) you just have to get there early enough to do your own thing. I don't know how common this is however.
    Christian Moses
    **Certified Slimy, Moronic, Deranged and Demented Soul by Saigo-ha Daito Ryu!**
    Student of:
    Shinto Ryu Iai-Battojutsu
    Tuesday Night Bad Budo Club (TM)

  15. #15
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    At our dojo, actual class time is almost 100% waza. Students are expected to arrive a bit early to do those warmups deemed necessary. Sensei is fond of saying that we should use the first few waza AS a warmup if we were unable to warmup before class.

    Most do some pre-class warmup, some do a half hour or more of waza, suburi, general stretching, nukitsuke exercises, etc.
    Charles Mahan

    Iaido - Breaking down bad habits,
    and building new ones.

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