how to achieve buy-in from a skeptical sensei

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by 333kenshin, Apr 30, 2020.

  1. 333kenshin

    333kenshin New Member

    Hi folks,
    Hope you're all safe and healthy. Need some advice.

    I train and teach at the same karate dojo under the same sensei I started with 30+ years as a kid. I REALLY want the studio to survive.

    The studio has been chugging along, in the black but not exactly robust (the recession and MMA means we'll never see the 90s heyday). So COVID is an existential threat, and our best shot at survival is to leverage every silver lining possible. Luckily I believe there are some: people are more aware of the need for exercise than ever before, and the type who used to visit big gyms like 24 hour fitness are now open to more stimulating and engaging activities.

    I've brainstormed a handful of ideas to try to increase student numbers once quarantine lifts. Not saying all my ideas are sound, but that we have to try something, preferably several things, and fast, to see what works before the next quarantine hits come winter.

    But all this is contingent on getting buy in from my sensei. Thing is, he's a 60+ yo immigrant who for 30+ years has singlehandedly run his own business without almost any change. The concept of "business agility" doesn't exist. Free trial classes, automated online payments, partnerships with things like classpass, etc he digs in his heels at any suggestion.

    So how do I get his buy in to try these things in an effort to get numbers up to survive the new normal? Please help me help my sensei!
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    Sounds like you are a longtime faithful student who wants what's best for the school. It also sounds like your instructor has been doing this for a long time and calling the shots for a long time. The best advice I can give is to set up some time to talk to your instructor one-on-one and present your ideas and see what he thinks. More than likely, if you want to implement some new ideas, then you will have to offer to take charge of them and do the work/spend the time implementing. Good luck
    Monkey_Magic likes this.
  3. 333kenshin

    333kenshin New Member

    Thanks @Thomas, your assessment is pretty spot on.

    I moved back to town a year ago and have been teaching about 7 hours a week and have helped out with organizing events (eg a recent demo and our last holiday party) and, since COVID setup online classes, so I have a track record of execution, not just ideas. But still he's incredibly resistant (eg he resisted online classes for a long time even though it cost nothing and students were requesting it). It's like watching someone who's scared to do what it takes to survive a fight, except it's not a kid sparring for the first time, it's your sensei dealing with an unprecedented business threat.

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