Becoming a member-
The Jigoku Dojo is a private, non-commercial dojo – as such we exercise discretion on who we allow to begin training with us. Our dojo is different than most Dallas schools in that the instructors at the dojo do not make their living off of teaching the martial arts. All the instructors and members of the dojo have full-time careers, and, unlike the usual money-for-instruction exchange, tuition goes toward supporting and maintaining the existence of the dojo.
We consider training in the martial arts as an important and unique part of our lives. All the instructors have either lived in, or made several trips (at considerable time and expense) to Japan in order to train. As such, we select students based on sharing our passion and dedication to training, and on who we perceive will be a good fit for the dojo and the traditions contained in it. Moreover, when the instructor takes on new student, it is a tremendous commitment in terms of time and energy, in addition to the added responsibility. The classical Japanese martial arts that are taught at the dojo extend back several hundred years, and were under the primary purview of the Japanese feudal aristocracy; therefore requirements for training with us are more rigorous than what is normally found in this country.
Steps to becoming a member-
To become a member, our dojo follows the protocols that have been set forth by the Hombu dojo in Japan which dictate that the applicant be in good physical and mental health, with no felony convictions, does not boast about their training, and will not engage in anti-social or irresponsible behavior.
1. Typically a candidate for our dojo is introduced by someone who is known by the members of the dojo and can vouch for your character.
2. Alternately, the candidate can send us an e-mail introducing themselves. Please use proper courtesy and etiquette when contacting the dojo. We suggest treating it as a job inquiry. When e-mailing us, please state your name, age, occupation, why you want to train in the classical Japanese martial arts – and why our dojo, any previous martial arts you have trained in, or are currently training in, and what you hope to gain out of the training.
The next step is to arrange an appointment to observe the training and be interviewed (called kengaku in Japanese). Please do not show up at the dojo unannounced as you may be turned away, and may result in not allowing you to become a member of the dojo. As stated above, we expect candidates for membership to treat the observation and interview as they would a job inquiry, and to act and dress accordingly. When observing a class, you yourself will also be observed. If there is anything in your behavior or attitude raises some concerns, you will not be invited back. If we find you are suitable for the dojo, and the traditions taught in it, you will be invited back to come training on a probationary basis. After that period, you may be asked to leave, or given your first rank (in the older Japanese menkyo ranking system this is sometimes called kirigami – cut paper) and will be considered a full member of the dojo.
We understand that most candidates coming to observe training may not be familiar with traditional Japanese etiquette and protocol. These are things that members learn over time, and not something potential members should concern themselves about at first. Coming to the dojo with an open mind, a pleasant attitude, a sincere interest, and demonstrating common respect and courtesy is sufficient in most cases.
Tuition and equipment-
As per our Japanese tradition, we do not publicly discuss membership fees. However, our tuition is typically less than you will find at most commercial dojo in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and goes toward supporting the existence of the dojo. Once a candidate has been accepted into training, we will give information as to where to obtain training equipment.
To re-iterate, we are not a commercial dojo. As such we are under no obligation to accept someone just because they want to join. Because of this our dojo is able to maintain an atmosphere that is friendly, relaxed, and family-like, which is quite different than most current martial arts where fellow students are often seen as being competitors.
To apply for membership, please contact us at – webmaster (at) jigokudojo.org.