In November of 2014, we decided to put up a Yelp profile. At the time (as is much the case today), Yelp was often the first stop of due diligence for the average American Gen X/Millennial consumer. Having developed a tight core group from humble beginnings in 2012, we felt the timing was right to open up for some visibility and growth. We also thought it might help “legitimize” our presence on social media.
Our program remains pretty small nonetheless and honestly, we kind of like it that way. Of course it helps to have enough members to cover our monthly expenses, and therein lies the rub of commercial vs. community-based, because less people = more personable training while more people = can pay dojo bills this month without going out-of-pocket. This is not to say we shun commercialism, not at all. But we consider ourselves to be more community-based. We have a distinct culture about us, nobody draws a salary for teaching, and we’re here to pass on longstanding traditions as opposed to providing a service for a fee. As we often tell people who visit us for the first time, we are evaluating whether they are a good fit for us as much as they’re evaluating if we are a good fit for them.
As Wayne Muromoto expressed on his Classic Budoka blog ( https://classicbudoka.wordpress.com/…/6-mcdojos-mcdonalds-…/ ):
“It’s not that making money is wrong. Even in the most traditional of dojo, money and capital are needed for a variety of things, such as paying rent, electricity bills, organizational fees and so on. I learned that the very hard way, by not having enough money from student fees to pay all the rent. One has to learn to budget and plan, unless you’re independently wealthy. It’s very rare to find any budo group that shuns money of any kind. The economics simply would be impossible for it to survive in this day and age, where there are no daimyo lords to sponsor your training.” – W. Muromoto / The Classic Budoka Blog
So, our Yelp page. We have one review, from an out-of-town gentleman who trained with us once, while on vacation, in 2014. It almost looks like a fake review, because we only have one review and it’s a 5-star and it’s five years old. But he definitely trained with us.
It doesn’t look like Yelp is going away any time soon and we still have overhead to maintain, so if any of you reading this have visited us and are so inclined, feel free to drop a review to keep us current, “legitimate,” and on our toes.