2016 was a tough year for me professionally: my family business saw some pretty big changes that took my focus away from the dojo. Now that things are more stable, I can increase my focus on growing the Todai Clan. I am very excited about what we have coming up in 2017. And as always, I am infinitely thankful to have all of you as members of our clan.

May 2017 Japan Trip

We are finalizing our first Japan Trip of 2017, scheduled for May. Dates will be finalized soon and there will be a separate blog post on the exact dates, details, deadlines, and of course cost of the trip (projected to be around $2000 for airfare and hotel). If you thinking about joining, make sure to get your passport now.

I am creating an online guide for our trip to Japan.

New Tameshigiri Class

I am very excited to announce a new sword cutting class! Taught by Rich Polakoff, the focus will be specifically on proper sword handling and live cutting. Rich will be selling practice mats (tatami) for students to utilize once they are ready to cut using real swords. I will also provide some real blades (shiken) for students to utilize before they decide to invest in their own.

This has been a long-term dream of mine, and I am thrilled that we can finally offer it! Classes will be on Saturdays after our regular class at 1:30pm starting January 14th, 2017. To accommodate set up time, Saturday Class will be moved up 30 min to start at 11:00am.

New Bujinkan Class

One of my goals here at Todai is to create a little Hombu dojo for ourselves – well, at least the feeling of the Hombu dojo. After lots of pestering, we have another small step towards that goal – Pablo is deciding to teach a class.

Taking Pablo’s class is a wonderful opportunity to see a new perspective on our art, and it’s a great learning experience for him as well. The class will be on Wednesdays at 6:00pm starting January 4th, 2017

I’ll also be talking to a few other students about potentially offering classes as well so more will be available in the future.

New Seminars + Events

We’ll be having a few new faces come visit our dojo, as well as a few familiar faces. I will be coordinating with our founder, Shihan Matthew Woodard, to see when he can come visit us. We also have a very talented Shidoshi from New Orleans the last week in February that will be teaching a seminar on Koto Ryu. We will work on having Joel Everett come back down, as well as Steve Olsen if he is in town. I also plan on contacting a few past Guest Instructors to see who might be available to visit us again. My goal is to have something every month – or at least every other month, and to expose you all to as many varied perspective on our art and self defense in general.

I will also be adding some events to the roster, such as Todai Clan shooting days where we can all go to the range, another airsoft game at one of the various fields, another SWAT for a day at Covered 6, and more.

New Pricing

I asked for input from many of you that would be affected by pricing changes, and I don’t make such changes lightly. My goal has always been to make our training as accessible as possible, while also rewarding dedication to training. At the same time, I must always keep in mind the financial stability of the dojo so that I can assure the longevity of our little community. I do this because I love it, not to get rich.

The biggest change will be the raising of our 4 Classes/Month pricing, from the base per class cost of $25/class to $30/class. This will result in an increase of $20 per month for your memberships, to total $120.

However, in order to encourage you to train more and move up in membership, I have lowered the other monthly membership price and added additional benefits:

  • Twice a Week (8 Classes/Month)
    • Reduced price from $180 to $160 (now $20 per class)
    • Access to Pablo’s Class and the Tameshigiri Class
    • Now includes 10% off Seminars
    • Now includes 50% Discount on Kyu Menkyo
  • Unlimited Classes (Up to 20 per Month)
    • Reduced price from $225 to $200 (as low as $10 per class)
    • Access to Pablo’s Class and the Tameshigiri Class
    • Now includes 20% off Seminars
    • Kyu Menkyo Included
    • Dan Menkyo 50% Off
  • 20% Off Discount is still offered for:
    • Military
    • Law Enforcement
    • First/Emergency Responders (New)
    • College Students

I want to also mention that I investigated different pricing from other schools in our area, and found that we are very competitive – especially considering that most schools require the purchase of (overpriced) equipment, “belt testing” fees, and shorter classes. While I truly believe what we do is superior to most schools, and that we offer something unique, I don’t want any of you to feel that we are gouging you with unrealistic prices.

You can see the new pricing on our Membership Page along with our full schedule.

When do the Changes take Affect?

The new pricing will begin February 1st, 2017 for current members. During the next month, we can arrange to make changes to your membership. In the meantime, current members can take both Pablo’s Class and Rich Polakoff’s Tameshigiri Class for Free. It won’t cost you a class off your membership. You can try it out, and see if you want to add it to your regular training. Depending on how much we grow in January, we will eventually eliminate the membership restriction for taking those classes.

Conclusion

I am really looking forward to 2017 with all of you, and the new faces to come. As always, I appreciate your feedback and suggestions: Todai is our community, and I am looking forward to us helping it grow.

If you’d like to help out, the best way is to bring someone you know to the dojo to introduce what we do to someone new and help get the word out.

Again, I am thankful to have you with us, and I look forward to serving you another year!

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu.

So what are you most excited about in 2017? Leave a comment below!

 

Shidoshi Hamilton

Scott Hamilton is an 8th degree black belt in the Bujinkan, and travels regularly to Japan to train. In addition to being the owner and head instructor of Todai Dojo, Scott is also the CEO of a national manufacturing company. He has also received training in other martial arts, and in-depth modern weapons training.

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