Since the start of the school year in 2014, we have had added a new student a month and I've been able to successfully integrate them into the "pipeline" with the other students. However, this past month I had a family with three students join and another family with three kids is about to join us. I'm excited to see my dream materialize right before my eyes.
My problem now is keeping my intermediate students engaged and moving forward while the new guys learn the very basics: ukemi, happo no kuzushi, tai sabaki, gripping, and the introductory throws.
I thought about having two classes, one for beginners and the other for intermediates, but the thing about the club that appeals to our students is the wonderful family atmosphere we have. My students have embraced the judo culture of mutual welfare and benefit. I recognize that this is the most appealing aspect of the club. Parents see it and feel good about it and the kids all want to be a part of it. So splitting it in two seems counterproductive.
The white belts benefit from having higher ranks to work with and it's safer to have them work with the guys with colored belts. I avoid having white belts work with other white belts as much as possible.
I have a senior ikkyu and nikyu in the club, my most advanced students. They are my "senpai" and I delegate out some duties to them. I occasionally split the class in two and have them train parts of the lesson to the beginners or intermediates as needed. So far, that has worked well. One of them is getting his USJA coaching certification at a clinic next week. However, I want to make sure that these guys are also moving forward in their judo knowledge, not just reviewing basics every week.
For now, I've come up with a strategy of teaching a throw in a basic form, have everyone practice it together, and then showing advanced applications of the throw or combinations and having the advanced guys practice it on each other. While they do that, the beginners can still use the time to practice the basic version. That seems to work OK. It keeps everyone active and included.
The day will probably come in the next several years that we will have 80 or 100 students. It will be inevitable that the dynamics of the club will change in that evolution. For now, learning how to manage that is a happy challenge. What advice do you veteran instructors have for managing a growing dojo and keeping instruction balanced between beginners and intermediates.
Last edited by GregW on Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:27 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)