Friday, January 15, 2010

BKAA Seminars - please feedback

I have asked around for feedback from the BKAA Sensei and thought I'd share some of the comments and thoughts. If you could comment to this blog then I would appreciated the feedback.

My goal is to make the BKAA Seminars accessible to more of the BKAA Membership. And of course ensure that the day or days are attractive to you in their content.

Some of the comments and ideas that have been given are:
  • Alternate Venues
    • Reduce accommodation costs
  • Length of each session
    • Concentration span
  • Move session to Friday evening from Sunday
    • Weapons session
    • Advanced class
  • Social Event
  • One day event
  • Less Seminars per year
Some of the comments that I have extracted are below:

Generally, when people have done the full weekend, they start to run out of steam around lunchtime on the Sunday, and they still have to travel back as well. I think the Sunday should be  a few hours at most. Also, if a one day event becomes the best way forward, we still need to be careful that it is not too long. Anything over 4hrs becomes a chore for people.

Two factors dictating members' decisions to leave on the Sunday
  • Exhaustion
  • Time (travel, recovery or commitments on the following morning). 
It would be nice to have something different thrown in; may attract more people for the Sunday.

With the possibility of moving to Friday evening session.
There seems to be a lot more energy and enthusiasm on a Friday night (psychologically speaking). 

Bath is one of the more expensive places to stay. 
Worthwhile checking out B&Bs in the area, to get an idea of costs

Bath dojo is great in terms of the quality of mat, and size is great.
Bath is an outstanding venue, but barring a particular gathering or event there is a real diaspora following the training sessions. Ramsgate/Broadstairs the general nothiningness of the area meant that BKAA members were more likely to club together to do something. When something specific is organised members tend to feel more of an obligation to be there.

Less seminars (say not more than one a year) - if you only get one bite of the cake in a year, you tend to make a greater effort to be there. The more seminars, the more one takes them for granted.

Realistically in light of the amount of actual teaching/training that takes place, the seminars are as much about the social aspects of the BKAA as the learning (if not more so). 

I realise that all have to travel significant distances to attend the seminars and am looking into options that are available. I will look into local accommodation, mat availability and centrality of location.

I will keep you all posted through this, although please add your comments


Duncan said...

I liked the Friday sessions we used to have at Broadstairs. I enjoyed it because it was a different format to Saturday. The area was cheaper to stay in than Bath. In some ways Broadstairs seemed less formal and more sociable. Bath is a great venue however!!! I don't mind a more vigorous training session though, and Friday eve and Saturday suits (only because Sat night is usually influenced by alcohol)...and Sunday is, therefore, more 'difficult'

Malvern-Aikido said...

The problem with Broadstairs is the distance away from anywhere else. For those of us who live in the midlands area, you have to practically rule out all day Friday as well - just to get there! Bath is good but probably too expensive for people who need to stay. There may be alternatives such as Swindon (their largest area would probably be just about big enough but of course depends on numbers). We have a venue at Malvern we can hire. The floor space is bigger than Bath and we probably have enough mats to equal the Bath mat but they would not be such good quality. I would also like to see a more regular gathering of dan grades to develop skills and discuss issues relative to aikido that could be fed back to our individual clubs.

Gareth Hicks said...

My thoughts- I think the venue and facilities at Bath are excellent. The problem is that Bath is a long distance to travel on a Saturday morning from Colchester. It takes 3-4 hours to get past the M25/M4 roadworks and then there is the Bath Saturday morning traffic jam to get through Bath. After a long Saturday session the 3 hour trip back can be daunting and it dosen't allow for the senior belts from other areas to socialise.

The alternative is to stay over on the Friday night. However, the cost then starts to add up, particularly if you want to do the Sunday session so are staying over on the Saturday night as well. I am happy, and can afford, to do that but think it is perhaps too much for some from this area, and Kent and some on limited budgets.

Perhaps a venue more central would be easier to get to and would encourage a greater attendance as the travelling time could be reduced significantly and cost of having to stay over could be avoided.

The idea of an Advanced Class only on the Sunday is good, but I think that might discourage the black belts attending on a Saturday, and their only attending the Sunday class, though at least they would attend! What about having something along the lines of what we do in Colchester.

There could be an "all grades" class on the Saturday from 10.00-3.00. From 3.00-5.00 the lower grades could be taught by say James or Phillipe and some of the other senior black belts. Dave Currie could take a black belt only class. After an hour those taking the "all grades" class could switch with those in the advanced class so everyone gets tuition from Dave Currie

Dave Connell said...

I think having Sunday as more advanced class is a good idea, I’m not sure if more people would attend though also I’m not sure if it should be just for Dan grades?.

Longer practice on Sunday’s would have some benefits to those who travel a long way to get to the seminar, the down side to that is we would leave later and get home later.

Bath is a good place to have the seminar, but for us it is a long journey also the cost of the weekend for some at Selby is prohibitive, not the cost of the seminar, the accommodation travel etc.

A closer venue to Yorkshire would be better for us I’m not sure how many more from Selby would attend though,

Reading or Oxford would be good from a change of scenery perspective but are not really any different for us from a mileage/journey time.

I do think it is worth continuing with both days what had you in mind for making Saturday extended and what kind of a social event?

Jim ODwyer said...

Swindon Dojo would be an ideal venue for a seminar. It's centrally located, the Dojo is plenty big enough and the cost of hiring the venue and overnight accommodation is going to be (much) cheaper than Bath.

Having said that Malvern Dojo is apparently ideal too.

Maybe it would be a good idea to vary the seminar location so that more people get an opportunity to attend at least one of the seminars each year?

But, I'm not so keen to get back to Broadstairs - unless it can be guaranteed that we won't have to compete with the noise of an aerobics class adjacent to the mat!

We could also organise more short seminars (3 hour sessions) where a few clubs can get together - like the session at Swindon on 23/01/10.

Jim O'Dwyer

Finsbury dojo said...

Accommodation is too difficult to organise in Bath and since there is only a morning practice, there is not much point in staying over night