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If You Build it, Will They Come?

One of my favorite movies is Field of Dreams, a baseball fantasy movie from 1989 starring Kevin Costner. For those of you too young to know the plot of the movie, a farmer named Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, hears a voice in his corn field. "If you build it, he will come.” Ray does not know who will come, but intuitively realizes that he must build a baseball diamond on his land. The “he” turns out to be various people. First it is the ghosts of great players from the 1910’s and 20’s emerging from the crops to play ball, led by "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. Later the “he” is his father with whom Ray had a falling out with when he was younger. Finally, the field is for the thousands of people who come to watch baseball games played by the legends of the past. But, as Ray learns, this field of dreams is about much more than bringing former baseball greats out to play. It is about relationships, purpose, and dreams.

When we first started Honolulu Judo Club in 2019 in an 18 tatami area garage in McCully, I was hopeful that all we needed to do was create a website and the reputation of the senseis at HJC would automatically attract new members. My experience at Leeward judo Club was that people call from word of mouth or through the website. It was very easy to grow the membership. To my surprise we received no calls for months before and after the COVID restrictions. In our case, even when we built it they didn’t come.

Even today we get few calls through our website. Through word of mouth we are slowly growing and people are starting to find our website. Once our infrastructure is fully in place we will start marketing. For now, each person who comes is a wonderful addition to our small but growing family.

As I reflect back on the start of our club, some of the most precious times were when we had only 5-8 members working out in our little 18 tatami garage. The training was intense and the fellowship was intimate.

As we grow our dojo the goal is to keep to intimacy and fellowship.


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