Yesterday was our first class in our new dojo space. Good timing since it turned out to be an intermittantly stormy day - it would have been cancelled for certain if we'd still been outside.
We're renting space from a Jazzercise studio. This has a lot of pluses. First and nicest is having a decent floor again. After months of linoleum, and then grass at the park, it's lovely to be on a floor that's meant to be bounced around on. Grass has its advantages, I will admit, but day in and day out, there's a lot you can't really do outside - particularly in white gis! The floor at the new place is a textured tile with some give. It's not as nice and cushy as the foam floors, but it's miles and miles above slick-as-glass linoleum over concrete. Though we may have to start mopping it ourselves before class, as it's pretty darned filthy.
Other good things - we have a hanging bag again. Last night was the first time I've kicked or punched a bag since December. It's amazing how much a bag will tell you about your kicks, and I've missed that kind of completely personality-free feedback. Sensei may or may not see if your kick was off-center, but if the bag starts rotating, you were off. It's like the snap of your gi. If you hear it, you know your speed was good. If you don't, you didn't have good recoil. I swear that my uwagi (gi top) won't snap, but my kicks snap every time, so it's not the gi, it's my punches.
We also have a closet to call our very own, where we can leave the communal gear. Plus we're allowed to use the Jazzercise equipment, including balance balls, weights and steps. All-in-all it's a fairly sweet set-up. They are charging more than ideal, so Sensei is having to charge us more than he would like, at least until we add some more students. It's still barely half what the old place was charging, though, some I'm not about to complain. If we can pick up five or six new students, Sensei will be able to drop his prices to where he wants them.
Towards this end, he wants to hold a women's self-defense seminar in a month or two, advertising among the Jazzercise participants. I think it's a great idea, and apparently so does the Jazzercise lady. He wants me and T to be there specifically, as he feels that having women demonstrators will make it all seem more possible to women who aren't used to the idea of hitting others. Less intimidating. I hope it works. Based on my Turbokick class, I'm not sure I count as "not intimidating". I'm not exactly small, and the most common first impression word I'm getting these days is "strong". (My blog photo is a couple years out of date at this point. Subtract seventeen pounds and add a noticeable amount more muscle.) If I can, I'd like Rob to come be the mock attacker for the class. Rob is enough bigger than I am (6'4" to my 5'8"), that the size differential looks real - someone his size might attack someone my size. Sensei, for all his skill, is not a big guy - two inches shorter than me, in fact. I'm a little afraid that if we are the demonstration pair the reaction is likely to be skeptical, since in real life situations, people rarely choose victims bigger than they are unless weapons are involved.
All that is fairly peripheral, though. I don't seriously think a little skepticism is going to ruin a self-defense seminar if we run it well. Towards that end, I'm going to be rereading The Gift of Fear, which is chock-full of good information, and doing some other research. I do want us to be actually useful, not just a marketing ploy. And that means giving the women who come some real information. After all, anything physical we show them is likely to be forgotten in a few months, but solid tactical information is more likely to stick.