Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The secret of a great turn-out?

An anonymous poster asked "What's the secret of a great turn-out?" in response to a picture of a packed mat.

I'd say that there are several elements, primarily:
  1. A great class
  2. A core group of regulars
  3. A good time slot
  4. A convenient location
  5. Patience
At least these are the factors that have conspired for my class.  It's always been a good class -- hands-on instruction in an excellent martial art -- but it's got better as I've developed as an instructor and a core group of regulars has coalesced.  This year I have been greatly aided by having Anthony assist with the large classes as well as all the colored belts.  Since Jiu-jitsu is predominantly a paired activity I can't teach a hall full of beginners single-handedly: students teach each other and I demonstrate and guide.  Learning this martial art teaches you how to teach one-on-one ... from day one.

The core group of regulars also means that a newcomer observing the class for the first time sees a group practicing with real skill, learning and having fun.  That's appealing.

One of the factors that seems to have contributed to the growth of the class was a switch from Monday to Wednesday nights: mid-week nights seem to draw a bigger group than Friday or Monday evenings in my experience.

We're situated across the road from a major railway station, making the class easy to get to and increasing the catchment area.

Also, it's taken quite a few years for the club to achieve "critical mass".  In the early days sometimes I'd get just one student (or even none), but I was encouraged to persist by my own instructors through leaner times.

* * *

The big classes are great because there's a buzz and energy that you get from a packed mat.

At the same time it's been nice to have some smaller classes from time-to-time, where we have room to do stand-up randori, practice sutemis, and in which I get to spend more one-on-one time with everyone.

Finally, I don't measure success purely in quantity, but in the quality of experience and the learning that takes place.  There's such a thing as too big as well as too small a class.


Congratulations to everyone who trained hard in the latter half of the year. Presentation day was on Sunday 19 December, and everyone who graded was successful.

Well done:
  • Lejoe: Orange belt (1 bar) in both jiu-jitsu and judo
  • Damian: Orange belt (1 bar) jiu-jitsu and yellow (2 bars) judo
  • Ashley: Yellow belt (2 bars) judo
  • Tegan: Purple belt (1 bar) jiu-jitsu
  • Ed:  Purple belt (1 bar) jiu-jitsu
Congratulations also to everyone else who successfully graded from the Honbu, Monash Clayton, and Cockatoo.