In 2006, I began the process of opening Aikido Arts of Shin-Budo Kai. I had three main goals. The first goal was that I develop and implement a business model that creates and sustains a successful business. The second goal was that I recognized that if I were to make serious gains in my budo, I would need to live it through becoming a professional teacher. My third goal, was an experiment that I could be teach more effectively and efficiently than the learning model that I experienced by developing and focusing on a principle-based teaching methodology (as opposed to a waza/technique based methodology). Aikido Arts of Shin-Budo Kai officially opened in January of 2007. Within four months, revenues met and then exceeded expenses. This pattern exists today as a result of a very carefully constructed business model that is regularly reviewed and modified as needed. As to my abilities as a martial artist, I will leave that to others to opine on… I have my own opinions…. The most crucial goal had to do with developing a teaching model that yielded consistent results based upon my stated parameters of efficiency and effectiveness in the learning process.
I can state enthusiastically that a principle-based teaching paradigm is not only the teaching model that O’Sensei employed, but can be approximated by us today. My focus has been from day one, to focus in on the nature and type of movement that creates a connected body with Ki, aiki,and internal power. I have been trying to develop these abilities in my own body as I immediately translate that into the teaching methodology, which translates into how the end-product, the techniques are performed. I have told my students many times over that I pitied them for having to be told that what we did previously was not good enough and this is now how we are going to begin to rework our movements…. This process, along with my direct admonition that each student is responsible for being his/her own best teacher, places a tremendous amount of personal responsibility on each student to be cognizant of how and why things are working or not working. The continual process of deconstructing and reconstructing what and how we do things, makes us acutely aware of our own learning process. The end product has been a joy for me to watch. Students give meaningful feedback to each other during the practice. Their comments and questions demonstrate a consistent mindfulness to the nature of their practice. The personal commitment that everyone makes contributes to a dojo environment that in enriching to all. I am so proud of their ability to execute techniques based upon a continually growing ability to utilize the basics of internal power and aiki. A remarkable off-shoot of this type of focus is that each student is learning how to effectively teach what they are learning.
My long-range goals have had to be compressed sooner than I would have liked. The result of changes in my family will necessitate some major changes in my life. The most immediate change will be that my wife and I will be relocating to Northern California this summer. With great pride, Brad Gould and Bruce May will continue to run Aikido Arts of Shin-Budo Kai in Bedford Hills, New York. I will be “commuting” to New York every couple of months and will continue to assist in the continued growth in this remarkable dojo. I am very confident that these two accomplished black belts will continue to make this a place of training excellence. Dan Harden will continue to conduct seminars there and they will have the unwavering support of all of the Shin-Budo Kai community. Northern California will also be the site of the second dojo of Aikido Arts of Shin-Budo Kai. My hope is to open this school up by the end of this year. This dojo will offer three distinct areas of studies: 1) Shin-Budo Kai Aikido; 2) the bujustsu/karate of Kenji Ushiro Sensei; 3) the interal power/aiki training of Dan Harden. Obviously, the “fun” of developing a business model/plan is just beginning…..
Marc Abrams Sensei