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Open House

posted Sep 3, 2011, 4:18 PM by Eric Banks

“Beware that you do not lose the substance by grasping at the shadow”

- Aesop



This past Saturday, we held our first open house to celebrate our new dojo, and if I do say so myself, it was a great success!  Thank you once again, students and parents, for all your hard work, support and contributions in helping us pull off this event.   I am pleased and proud of each and every student and thankful for their great attitudes and strong work ethic.


While we were going through our final demo prep Saturday morning before the doors opened, I said something to my students that shocked them a bit.  I said that our goals in this open house and demo were to educate others about our art, and to celebrate our new dojo.  Nothing shocking there, but what was a little surprising was the fact that I also said our goal was not to get people to sign up…  Now, when they heard that, they glared at me with curious and suspicious eyes, so I quickly explained that by simply showing and sharing our art, by educating people as to what traditional karate is (and what it is not), we will spark more genuine interest than if we made a big plea for people to sign up that day. 


Which would work better?  Showing people what we do, how we do it, why we do it, while emitting the deep soulful ‘feeling’, the underlying essence of the art, or using flashy marketing gimmicks and giving them a free shiny new uniform with as many patches as they can carry if they signed on the dotted line by Noon?   Patches; how could we go wrong there?   Most everybody loves patches, right? 


Deep down, everyone knows that if you want to convince others that what you do, that what you are a part of is good, right, real and beneficial, you have to _show_ them in a way that sparks them, and you must show them from the heart.  Flashy tricks work sometimes, but truth is, everyone eventually sees through the patches to the real stuff (or lack thereof) underneath, so why not give them the substance from the start.  Of course, as with so many things I discuss here, this applies to more than just traditional karate…


So, did we educate and spark interest?  Yes we did.  Did anyone express a desire to join our group?  Yes they did.   Mission accomplished.  Hmm…looks like focusing on substance really does pays off.