Whenever you go into any Japanese restaurant or any type of business in Japan for that matter you often hear the people working there shout out, "Irasshaimase!"  Irasshaimase is the customary greeting welcoming and acknowledging customers to a place of business.  You never hear "irasshaimase" when you come into a traditional Japanese martial arts dojo. A dojo doesn't have customers or patrons.  We only have students that are willing to learn.  If we create an atmosphere of business it will change not only the face of the dojo but how everything is done.

In a business, the customer is always right.  The customer gets what he pays for.  Feedback is necessary to keep the patron happy because your satsifaction is the key to success.  In business, they do all the work so as to minimize the customers efforts and to keep them happy.

In a dojo, the student is always not right.  (I am hesitant to say "wrong" because of the negative connotation).  If you approach it like a school, you get what you work for.  At the dojo, feedback only reveals what you don't know and is therefore frowned upon.  In traditional training, you satisfaction comes not from what the teacher does but more from what the student does.  At the dojo, the students do all the work to keep the dojo going.  The funny thing about the dojo is that the whole experience, atmosphere, curriculum, etc is designed with the student in mind and his development.  It just seems like its not about you but is really is.

In this day and age it is hard to maintain a separation between a business and a school.  In the eyes of todays student/customer they are the same.  Sadly, to the dojo they are completely separate and have to be.  They have to be because the dojo's biggest concern is not making money, but in developing good students.  Where would the dojo be if we allow students or potential students to dictate things like the schedule, what is being taught as well as how it's being taught.  If that were to happen, "The inmates would be running the asylum."  It is not that way because it would take too long and waste too much time, money and effort.  The best process for making students good is simply this: Listen to what the teacher says, copy what he does, don't ask questions, work hard and never give up.  This method is tried and true and has been refined over many years, decades and even centuries.

Please don't think about the dojo as a business.  It changes everything.