View Full Version : Demonstrations?
Recently I've been wondering about martial arts demonstrations. Specifically, what one normally shows off in order to get the general public interested in martial arts. Have any of my fellow budoseekers ever held a demonstration in a mall or in a public park? Can anyone tell any stories? Any bad experiences? Were you able to attract new students? What did you do? What did you plan to do?
My dads friend knows a sempi and he is the one who got me in to MA. He wanted to bring more students to his classes though he had many already. first of all i wouldnt suggest a demonstration in a mall or a park, maybe if you found a way it could work. I would do what he did and he still dose it. over at 2 or 3 local colleges their are classes that students from 8th grade to any age can take. He offers corses there durring the summer for 3 months and if the students like it then he tells them to come to his dojo. It works out very well. i was his student for a long time and i would always take the summer corses as his DEMONSTRATION DUMMY and i would see the kids from the summer corses in his regular classes! worked well! Thats all I can suggest for that, Hope i was some help.
I tend to avoid this sort of thing.
First public perception has expectations of backflips, ninja weapons and being able to karate chop a Buick in half. After all Jet Li can do it.
Second, most are hokey and stagged. They seem to be the medicine shows of people who have little of value to offer.
A far better alternative, at least that I have found, is to have alternate location practice sessions.
Grab a few of your more senior students and do some "Karate in the park" in the spring for a month or so. A dozen karateka in a city park every weekend like clockwork will draw propsective students as well as ordinary onlookers.
I remember when we took our Kendo classes to the local city park one summer. We had a blast training outdoors and the spectators did make us a 'bit' more competetive but the upside was we were able to promote our art in a more correct, and infinitely more dignified way.
A local Shorin Ryu teacher decided to conduct some Shugyo sessions on the beach starting at sunrise. That certainly got the attention of the early am beach joggers and they got to see some real martial arts that morning.
I've had a few demos that I've done but nothing has ever eventuated out of enquiries from people interested at the time. Hardly worth the effort to stage them, but if you're going to do it make sure you have the okay from the relevant authorities. People get excited in all the wrong ways from these things.
Demonstrations are also great for the students ;)
I've done a few demo's, one at a school fair, alone for an open day (while i was in japan they dragged me out of training and into a hall full of prospective parents and students and asked me to just introduce myself, say a few things and hey, since your in your dougi why not show them some Shorinji?), welcoming ceremony for foreign students. Trained long and hard before most of them and was a good experience to have to focus while people go 'ooo ahhhh' as you fly through the air and try to crash into the ground painlessly. Bleeding is an optional extra :(
Tripitaka of AA
Nice image Leon, but perhaps you ought to explain that you were the Gaijin exchange student in a Japanese High School at the time... it adds colour!
Demos are entertainment for a summer's day. The preparation and organisation for the day and the eventual performance have a bigger role in training the current class than in attracting any new members. Passersby might have their interest raised, they might love what they see... but for reasons unknown, they rarely get "the bug" to join up. An exception would be the demo performed during "Freshers Week" at the Uni, where the audience are actively seeking something to study.
Rehearsal, teamwork, correcting each other, and working to perfect the routine... it is all good training. Performance under the slightly elevated tension of public display can be a (tiny) reminder of the difficulties that stress (and the occasional bit of blind panic) can bring.
I think the bit about "Medicine Shows" holds water for those arts that use Breaks to give demonstration of their abilities. Smashing stuff and doing things faster/higher/stronger/wider than the average human being can be a very impressive display, but in the end, the demo is relying on gimmicks and "tricks" that will likely form no part of the training itself. A bit like a good bit of TV advertising, it gives a flavour, without getting all that close to a realistic representation of what's involved.
Yeah, thats right David. I guess its partially my fault for going to school on a saturday :P
I think its always good to have a good mixture, not just the extremely skilled top of class people but new people giving examples of simpler techniques.
One of my previous schools (I had to move for work) used to do the class-at-a-college thing. It worked out well. That's how we got all our new students, it was actually a continuing-ed course that they ran three times a year, and those who dug it, stuck with it at the regular dojo. Like I said, this works out well, as long as there are people signing up for the cont-ed classes.
Just last week my current school did a public demo at a town fair (check us out: www.kksj.net (not sure if any pix are posted yet)). Like someone else said, doing it totally randomly, with no prior approval would probably be a bad idea.
Anywho, we didn't do anything flashy, basically did a "mini-class" for kid's and adult karate, with short warm-up, really truncated basics, and several kata demos. This way, it was really showing what people might be signing up for, instead of the snake oil show everyone was warning against.
We also demo'ed our Women's self-defence class and did the first public demonstration of Seishindo in the united states; kinda cool to get in on the ground floor, so to speak. ;) What's Seishindo, you ask? (http://www.kksj.net/What%20is%20Seishindo.htm)
We alternated 1/2 hour demos with strolling about in Gi's passing out fliers and chatting up the crowd, kissing babies, passing out lollypops, etc. Just walking around in a Gi can attract a lot of attention!
I'm not sure how many new students we'll get, but people sure did seem interested, and we passed out several hundred fliers (and two bags of lollypops), most for our kid's summer program thru the town Recreation department. You figure fliers get a 1-2% response rate... and if nothing else, lots of people saw us and the school's name and logo. I've heard that people need to see something 5-7 times before they act on it (in terms of advertising) so maybe they saw our flier at the Wawa, then in the paper, then 2 or 3 times at the fair, and when they see us at Kata in the park, they'll say "Hey, that's the local karate club, maybe I'll sign up...." or so the theory goes, right?
And later in the summer, Sensei plans to do "kata in the park" in town... spooky.... I guess it's true, great minds think alike! I'll let you know if we get a response.
I dunno, to answer the question directly, Yes, I've done them, and I'm not sure how useful they are, which is not to say they are useless, it's just too soon. I'd stay out of a mall, as you won't really get anyone's attention and the mall will probably charge for the time and space, adn it could be a huge waste of time (just my jaded opinion).
All the best!
Being a non profit we get support from the community so we get asked to do demos.
I usually have them do some basics, kata ( hand and weapon), self defense, throws an submissions if we have mats, hit pads, mitts, shields.
Have the kids break some boards. Ill do some bricks and if Im feeling froggy Ill do a baseball bat with my shin.
Depends on the time. Some people ask us to keep it inside a half hour.
Id say the crowd best likes to see big air throws and breaks.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.10 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.