The annual ritual of reflection is vital to regaining perspective on the dojo, to know where we’ve been, to see where we are going. It is an opportunity to explore the nature of the changes we’ve experienced, to remember the highs and lows, the struggles and the wins; and to create an honest, open space to set intentions for the coming year.
We realized that one of the big challenges of 2015 (and 2014) was trying to grow too quickly; to focus on what could be, not what is. In seeking the future, we lost site of the present. And, obviously, it is our actions in the present that decide our future.
Our goal for 2016 is to do less, better. Here are our five intentions for the dojo for the year ahead:
Create Excellent Martial Artists
When Sensei Jordan opened the dojo in 2011, he had one goal: offer the best possible martial arts experience, in every class, to every student. As a natural progression of learning and growing, there were times in the last year where we were side-tracked from that focus.
This year, we will continue to document our expertly-curated, progressive, systematic curriculum and to train all of our students to technical excellence. Our students are the dojo. We’ll have new systems, protocols, and teacher training in place to renew our goal.
Sensei Jordan will also continue to seek and train with master instructors, pursue rigorous academic research and create new material, and explore surfing, painting, mindfulness, and other outside interests with experts. As always, these experiences will enrich our curriculum, leading to new seminars, blogs, and videos in 2016.
Cultivate an Intentional Community
Martial artists form an uncommon bond, a deeply-rooted appreciation that mixes friendship, challenge, accountability, and protection.
The nature of our training and the values of our dojo are special. In the truest sense: not easy to find, challenging. The dojo is a crucible. Through trial, through challenge, we are forced to confront our limitations. This manner of growth threatens the ego.
Few of us learned the tools to manage these internal challenges or to communicate our needs and fears clearly, and safely, with the people around us; or to be present and hear their needs and fears with compassion.
Drama and uncomfortable situations are common in a tightly-knit community that lacks the tools to engage honestly with one another to manage conflict and work toward shared values. In 2016, we will offer a series of free Intentional Community Workshops to work towards emotional empowerment and compassionate communication.
Communicate Clearly and Schedule Programs Consistently
Jason came on as an operating owner in 2015, we expanded our class schedule, and brought in additional instructors. We switched over to Zen Planner, our third payment system (and we continue to learn the lesson that the unique nature of our dojo means one-size-fits-all software will never fit us). There was a steep learning curve in managing our scheduling and communication responsibilities, and far too many times we messed up.
Professionalism is a core value of this business and renewing our respect for your time and your continued support is important to us.
We’re cancelling the open dojo program and replacing it with an all-levels Kickboxing Ryoku class and a beginner level Modern Bushido class. Outside of holidays, classes will only be cancelled as a last resort during an emergency (we’re still a small business).
We’ll continue to streamline our communications and launch an anonymous feedback form to be sure we’re aware of student needs.
Realize the Boutique Dojo Experience
We recognize that our students have dozens of options for personal development, fitness, community, and sport and we are proud that our student enrollment is frequently measured in years. Sensei Jordan is grateful for the opportunity to introduce so many passionate, dedicated students to the culture, history, and daily practice of karate.
In 2016, we will take this to the next level, adding depth to our programs through further merging Sensei Jordan’s backgrounds as a visual artist and storyteller with martial arts and community building. Look forward to training manuals, in-depth articles, art, and videos which connect our dojo practice to the larger cultural context and history of not just martial arts, but warrior mythology.
We’ll build on the internal website we launched in 2015, adding all of the resources you need to support your training goals.
To refer to Fighting Chance Seattle as a kickboxing gym or karate school sets an artificial limit. We teach empowerment, martial arts are simply our methodology. It’s a subtle distinction, but it’s important.
Expand Within Outrageously Fit
The wall is down. The front and back classrooms are one. With one partition removed we doubled our floor. The small classroom at Outrageously Fit was everything the dojo needed to grow in 2011 and 2012; but Sensei Jordan knew early on that the ideal class size was around twenty students. Throughout the spring we will grow into that vision.
We’re still working out the details, but look forward to a new floor, a new interior design (matching the website colors), new signage and artwork, a video lesson plan system, and a smoother class flow and overall experience.
Come summer time we’ll be building out the space, creating the dojo we’re ready to become.