…or, it’ll be hall right.
A dojo is more than just its location. So, when we learned with only about 24 hours notice that the next lesson would be the last one we’d be having at this particular venue, it wasn’t the end of the world.
Of course, at first, you feel a little aggrieved. After all, it wasn’t anything we had done. We’d always paid our rent, behaved well, done our best to keep everything clean. It turned out that the ancient heating system that was constantly breaking down needed full replacement and every single club, community group, and private party that wanted to use the lovely Langside Halls would have to find somewhere else until it was fixed.
“How long are we talking here,” I asked, still a little confused, “weeks, months, years?” I chuckled a little, to show that the last one was a bit of a joke.
“We don’t really know,” they replied, deadpan. “We’re thinking more months and years.” I was a little stunned to say the least. Now I’ve had some time to process, it makes sense that a project to renovate a building of advanced age, with historically important features and limited funding would probably not take place overnight. But still. We had better start looking for a new place permanently than wait for this to be finished.
It’s not the first time a venue has been swept out from under us. It’s the third. And one time I moved it myself. That’s four times moving venues in less than 10 years. But it doesn’t really matter. One time we went without a permanent base for many months, going between dance studios and gyms as itinerant budouka while we sought out a good location. We thought we’d found it. It turns out it was just another stop on the journey.
But the journey’s worth making. A dojo is more than just the location. It’s not even just about the instructor. Of course, it’s my vision of the Bujinkan that provides the guiding principles for what our dojo is about, but if it had just been about puffing up my own ego, I’d have got sick of it years ago. There is so much crap to put up with when running a dojo. But it’s worth it, because it’s not just about me. It’s also a bunch of students who support you and can’t wait for the next class because their love for the art helps renew your faith every single time.
And it’s thanks to this that we’ll be finding that new location and moving as many times as it takes. In the spirit of “Kizen” or “fortitude”, we’ll keep on keeping on. I extend my personal thanks to those guys who have gone out of their way to contribute to the club. You’re brilliant. We’ll be in our new home soon.