Choosing A Dojo
Choosing A JuJitsu Dojo
Choosing A Dojo
A journey into the sometimes devastating and powerful art of ju jitsu will be that of a thousand mile one. It is going to be filled with amazing techniques that are very simple and many that are very complex. An old saying tells that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
The start of your ju jitsu journey or first step will point the direction for your training. Getting started in your ju jitsu training can seem very difficult at first. As a beginner, you may not know what to look for or what questions to ask.
First of all getting started in ju jitsu means choosing a dojo (school), buying your first Gi (uniform), and showing up for your first class.
There are many styles and types of ju jitsu in Canada. In Alberta there are very few styles of Japanese Ju Jitsu. Goshinkan-Ryu Ju Jitsu is one of the oldest styles of Japanese Ju Jitsu in the province. The reasons for Goshinkan's success are found in the consistency of the curriculum being taught by Sensei who strive to pass on all of the techniques following the guide lines of the founder.
A major consideration for being successful in your ju jitsu training is qualified and competent Sensei. Being a good Sensei (teacher) is more than just a high rank or recognized affiliation, although these things are also important. The Sensei must be able to instruct. It is common practice in ju jitsu that the beginning student will learn a great deal from assistant instructors, as they are advanced in their training. All Goshinkan Sensei follow a rigorous licensing process; they must take courses in each component of the curriculum, then pass a written test at 80%, then teach the subject while being monitored by a high ranking licensed instructor. The advanced student will train more directly with the Head or Chief instructor. The head instructor may or may not directly teach beginners, it is considered a great honor when they do teach beginners.
All of our Sensei must complete a criminal record check prior to being allowed to teach anyone.
Your Goals and the Dojo's
It is important to know what your motivation is for studying ju jitsu and what the motivation of the dojo is for teaching it. What are the specifics you want to learn from ju jitsu, self-defense or the art of ju jitsu? Self-defense and the art are not the same thing. Most ju jitsu dojo's teach varying amounts of self-defense and may or may not be focused on the traditional art. At Goshinkan-Ryu Dojo's your first two belt levels are almost completely self-defense with some Japanese tradition. The last four belts are filled with ju jitsu tradition and the complexity of the art.
The focus of each ju jitsu dojo may vary according to the style and the instructor. The right dojo is the one that best matches your reasons and ethics. It is important for the new student to know their reasons when they are looking for a dojo from which to learn ju jitsu.
Training in ju jitsu comes with a financial commitment and responsibility. It is important to know up front what financial agreement and contract you will face as a new student. Some dojo's have monthly rate plans or yearly with unlimited class attendance.
Class size can be an important factor in finding the right dojo. Being that ju jitsu is a more complex than most martial arts, more personal instruction is important, which you will only find in a smaller class.
Cleanliness of the Dojo
The clutter and/or cleanliness of a ju jitsu dojo indicates the Sensei's desire to make a comfortable training place for students. Cleanliness has many health benefits, a dojo that is too cluttered, or not clean, reflects a cluttered and unkempt mind. The advanced student will take active responsibility for the dojo's cleaning and upkeep.
Style of Ju Jitsu
Every style of ju jitsu has strengths and weakness, rarely are styles the same. Prior to leaving a dojo and moving to a new dojo, ensure you are aware that with style changes, the student will need to restart as a white belt. If the dojo you are moving to tells you they will accept your rank, something is likely amiss. Ask questions about what aspects the style covers and review their curriculum manual.