It really does not matter where you set up your studio. When I started teaching, I was teaching in what was the back wrestling rooms at the North Sydney Youth Club. No street signage and not close to any public transport. The youth centre was all locked up and run by a backward thinking committee of self-interested cronies. Yet, I was successful and continued to thrive and grow for many years, eventually using all of the rental space including the main hall that would run 2 or more full classes at the same time.

 It was the same for me at the Balmain Youth Club. It was all closed up and had very few people there. There were no local businesses like there are today, that now thrive on our studio being there. When I first opened the studio in Balmain the space that we now use was an old dormitory and hadn’t been used for many years. I had a vision to create something special on the corner of Darling and Lynton Street. This then attracted many other businesses both in the PCYC and around the PCYC.

Your dojo or studio is the heart of your business. I see this in all of the Northstar Dojos’. A classic example of this is the Weststar Dojo that is in the back room of the Subiaco PCYC and has to be set up every time they train. Yet it is tremendously successful. The same goes for all of the dojos’ that use the NSJJ brand, they pop up then pack up, but in the process there is something quite special.

I remember when I trained in Japan at Kondo Sensei’s dojo for the 12 months intensive. When you enter the building of the dojo, there is a simple Japanese garden and a water feature that gently dripped into the small pond through a piece of bamboo. This was such a simple metaphor for life and movement within the dojo. And it reflected a living rhythm that pulsated throughout the entire building. Many years later I visited the dojo and the water feature had dried up and now just collected dust.  It was very sad. Funny, as it was easy to see that the heart and soul of the dojo had also dried up.

So, whether you teach full-time studio, pop-up studio, or the back of your home, the heart and soul of your business is having a space that is conducive to transmission of your message. It is the little things that make it so special.

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