Praxeum

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Jax created the topic: Praxeum

I'm writing a newsletter and ended up talking about the future Praxeum. So, let's talk about it! Here's what I envision. It is not the only way it can show up, and it won't be the only praxeum or temple going forward. :-)
1. Located somewhere in Colorado, ideally within a reasonable distance to the airport and metro area so it's easy for people to attend. There will be outposts for things like farming (or orchards, a big thing in Colorado), more isolated areas for silent retreats, and hopefully an area where we can 'mine' gemstones.
2. Living facilities will be two fold. Small cabins or yurts for a more isolated experience and then more of a dorm style for those interested in that. There will also be more permanent living facilities for those living and working there full time. I envision the ability to work off your home with labor.
3. Public retreat facilities to support the Jedi side and maintain profitability.
4. Intensive Jedi retreats of varying lengths, from weekend gatherings to month long options.
5. Enough space for quiet areas for meditation along with louder martial arts training, without interference.

My goal is for a praxeum that lasts hundreds of years. This isn't a whim, I've been working on this for a long time now. But I'm very curious to see how it actually is created. So, what would you like to see there? What inspires you?
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Sam Thift replied the topic: Praxeum

My initial investigations in the reality of Force oriented communities (which led me here) started with searching for "physical" establishments. Perhaps I was inspired by the news of the opening of the supposed "International Church of Cannibus", and thought, "well shoot, if pot smokers can make a church, surely there are already Jedi churches"...or something to that extent.

I was only moderately disappointed to find none, but see where this can be a challenge.

Obviously, I am biased towards a physical location in Colorado (for my own selfish reasons but also to the extent it seems to present a good centralized and accessible location for all, particularly with regard to any proximity to DIA), and I feel like nearly anything of this scale would attract national and international interest across the various Jedi oriented groups. My ONLY hesitation would be what sort of legal challenges might be met by LucasFilm and Disney, in that such an establishment would have to be carefully and clearly delineated from those entities to avoid misrepresentation and inevitable litigation.

While I by no means intend to hijack your thoughts, I would imagine such a place to be far more philosophical in nature, and a tad less on the regimented fictional side of things. For example, if folks want somewhere to host a themed retreat, fine, but if parents are looking for a neat lightsaber wielding summer camp for their kids, not so much.

Is that in line with the aim here?

Whatever the plans be, I would be interested in contributing towards this goal. Establishing the first physical institution for the community in your Jedi Praxeum would be a resounding accomplishment, and wholly worthy of my personal time and investments, whatever form those may take.

Following for thoughts and to see how/where I can be of assistance.
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Jax replied the topic: Praxeum

Yes, the legal issues can be challenging. That's why we wouldn't use Jedi in the title. I struggled with this for ages and realized, it's simple. It will just be called The Praxeum! It's not a Star Wars term so there's no issues with that. So basically, playing with wording will get us where we want to go. :-)

And yes, it would be like things are here at IJRS. Jedi Realism, practical applications, philosophy, and yet some fun with lightsabers too for those who want to. And yes, we actually would do kid themed events because that's how you get them into the less 'fun' things like meditation and energy work and build future Jedi. Use the fun to draw them in, and then teach them the practical, life changing skills as well. It wouldn't be the big draw though. Does that make sense? My goal is to change lives and the whole planet. So even the 'civilians' can be drawn in by fun things and learn other skills along the way. But the specific Jedi training programs will be different than the normal retreat style events.

There are other Jedi working on their own plans for training centers, and we have done some joint planning, but my focus is on what we can create in Colorado since that's my area. I'd love for you to be involved however you like.
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Sam Thift replied the topic: Praxeum

All sounds good to me...!

I do see the obvious value in keeping some of the fictional Jedi lure in some programs, like you said, to let people do the "fun" things...along with some less "fun" things.

I do like the idea of offering actual formal coursework too...almost as a community college might...where people could take Creed 101, Jedi Studies 101, etc., in a classroom format...and perhaps expounding quite a bit from there...

Live-in-work-in options, particularly centered around the martial arts "student/master" concept would be neat too. For example, Nippon Kan Aikido in downtown Denver does a 30 day live-in program where students pay tuition which covers room and board, but in addition to the focused training they get, they also cook, clean, perform maintenance, and tackle community service projects too. Just a thought there.

So the biggest challenges are obviously creating a viable legal structure (do you go 501c3 or something)? And funding property purchases or construction plans....Just curious if you've had any developments in those arenas (any lawyer types on these forums?).

Also...I'd be interested to see what other groups are working towards. The Chicago area and SoCal seem to have decent gatherings...?

Obviously, being the total "new guy", I cannot offer a ton philosophically just yet, although I feel like my own developed thoughts align well with the goal of "changing lives" and such...particularly in the sense that a wider movement that is religion neutral could help the greater society forego some of these age-old confrontations on ideological footings, and allow them to see the massive commonalities they all share without squabbling over the details as much.

Interested to help in any way, even if its just a sounding board to bounce thoughts off of...
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Jax replied the topic: Praxeum

Good to know about Nippon Kan Aikido! I wasn't aware of that. I hadn't had a chance to check out the school or anything as I'm not ready to restart any martial arts.

Legally we'll have a non-profit side and a for-profit side. I will definitely utilize lawyers for all that though. As for funding, if things go as they very well can, I will be able to fund it myself. Though I'd also want to have some sort of crowd funding option to get community involvement. things like, buy a brick for the meditation hall or something. Or, build a yurt! lol Funding tends to be the biggest constraint for all Jedi groups, but if things go as they feel like they are going that won't be an issue for this situation.

There are so many possibilities and options, I envision eventually having offices for the different jedi groups/sites to work from as well. They could offer their own specific training there which would be interesting. And we can do livestreaming with it, so people aren't limited to only in person training. As this comes together I will attend other retreats to see how other people do it. To learn from it and apply what will work for us. It will be a huge learning curve, but worth it.

Even in person classes of this material here would be rather different, with a lot more integration between subjects and hands on application as appropriate. I'm curious what everyone would like to see. Imagine this place already exists. What would you most like to see there? What would you like to learn?
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Sam Thift replied the topic: Praxeum

I would think that anything which falls under the current integrative practice outline makes sense. I.E., areas for physical training (a dojo or even a small outdoor training field), a library or "study", maybe a theater area/auditorium (nothing huge, but enough for a group of people to take in a lecture or screen a movie), perhaps stalls/rooms for some local healing arts business to rent out?, a service oriented relationship with local outfits of some form, etc.

I cannot speak much to actual curriculum or course offerings just yet (until I really dig into what is available here), but even something simple like a regular lecturing program open to the community with guest speakers and discussion topics that shift from week to week might work. Live stream them, put them on a YouTube channel, whatever, but also incorporate some open door policy to the public?
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Nick replied the topic: Praxeum

I have a comment about the location in regards to application. If a communal teaching retreat is the goal, then a remote camp in Colorado sounds like a quiet getaway; however, in regards to applicable real life training and applying knowledge and skills, I feel a city where there is opportunity to practice and apply would be a better target location for a school intended to teach all year round with live-in teachers and instructors. Teachers and instructors would be able to go with their students into real world occurrences to evaluate their application of Jedi knowledge and skills first hand instead of hearing about it from the student through email, forum, or phone.

Compare it to a karate dojo, which is constantly active. The owners and teachers make their living through the dojo. They have students all year round and are sustained by being in populated areas to market to new students. The students learn real world skills and learn how to apply them through monthly training and everyday living. In my eyes a Jedi Praxeum should be aiming to model a karate dojo, not a summer camp. Another model to aim at is that of a church where they are serving the community, teaching life lessons, and giving people a support structure. Lastly, a college fraternity is similar to a church in these ways and demographically could be a great place to start such a Praxeum.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with summer camps and Jedi retreats. They are essential for in-depth training where you need to get away from distractions. Think of Luke on Dagobah. I just don't see it as the core foundation for a Praxeum. Real life is at the core of a Jedi Path.

"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err."

--Mahatma Gandhi
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Kole Lee replied the topic: Praxeum

The specific state wouldn’t matter too much, to be honest. People are going to travel to this regardless of it’s actual location. The city concept that Nick mentioned is a genuinely good idea but very costly- plus there are much more restrictions and codes to building and building uses in cities which must be considered for this as it would be both residential and commercial, in terms of building codes. I believe that the prime location for this sort of structure would be close to a city, yes, but with plenty of land for various uses.

Something else to consider when picking a location is both passive survivability and upkeep costs. Passive survivability is oftentimes much harder to achieve in a city location than in a more ‘country’ area. Perhaps a location could be selected on both bases depending on what type of power it will use- sun? Water? Wind? Gas? On the power grid? A combination? I highly recommend the more green options, otherwise known as off the grid, as it will cost much less long term and have a rapid payback period and be more environmentally friendly, something that should always be strived for. It will of course cost more at the very beginning.

I like the idea of both dorm based and private living facilities and the ideas of joining a ‘community college’ and ‘retreat’ based experience. The retreat side would likely be a good idea of where you can truly bring in some money- it would be a good idea for the small conventions that people hold, local churches to use the facilities, etc. It’d be a more lucrative form of gaining money which can both cover the profit side and to pay for any bills and salaries, if that will be a thing. As for the educational side, I wouldn’t recommend going for profit. It would have to cost some sort of amount but wouldn’t need to be too much. The cost there also depends on the program lengths- will students be there for multiple years and learn like a college would allow or will it be short programs that last thirty days? The tuition costs should be bare minimum regardless to cover housing and materials needed.

Legally, I can offer no advice. I’ve had construction and green building classes, hell, even some financing, but I wouldn’t have any idea of how to begin the legal aspects of this past “Well, here’s some good lawyers for this part and this part..”

My ideal for this sort of setup would be something of a living-learning community. The classes that are setup on here already can easily be translated into in-person classes. The real life integration parts could also become classes. I personally would also find some instructors that could teach, as well- yoga teachers, martial arts teachers, meditative teachers.. I think a cool idea would be to research some off-grid communes and how they set up in terms of community, funding, advertising, what they teach (as many I’ve see offer classes to their communities) etc.

The actual building and setting up of this sort of location would be easy albeit costly depending on what actually goes up. The only issues would be long term commitment and sustainability, Legal issues are a whole other ground, though, which will mostly be in terms of marketing and branding, I think. I’d definitely love to be a part of this sort of thing, if it does hever happen.
(This is longer than I had hoped, ahhh!)
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Sam Thift replied the topic: Praxeum

I appreciate the ideas of keeping it convenient/accessible to urban areas, but also wanting to ensure a sort of "retreat" feel too. I think both have good qualities. You would obviously want it to be easy to get to, perhaps even along a regular avenue of approach somewhere to get basic "drive-by" recognition. Not EVERYONE who would be interested in something of this nature is necessarily going to be active in the online community, or even think to poke around on Google looking for it, ESPECIALLY if naming issues refrain from having "Jedi" part of the recognizable storefront. (PS, do we know if that is an actual issue, like is the word Jedi itself part of trademarked property?).

But I do also like the slightly detached/private ideas too, to offer a refuge of sorts, where one can enjoy the peace and quiet that meditative practices demand. It would also help with some of the selling points if visitors are able to "get away from it all" during their stay.

To all those points, Denver is still uniquely situated to allow such conditions. There are numerous outlying areas without going all the way into the mountains which could offer some of the peace and quiet of a retreat, while still being easy to find and accessible to urban areas and DIA (which is far enough from everywhere anyway but somewhat closer once they work out all the kinks of the train-to-the-plane).

The one larger hurdle would be the legal standing with relation to property use. If it were a nonprofit or even registered as a "religious" institution, then property taxes and the like are FAR easier to swallow. If the owning entity is a for-profit business, taxes and the like tend to nearly quadruple or more, and there are a lot more legal requirements to be met when using the property. If it is owned as a "private" property, in the residential sense, there could be legal challenges brought by the municipality when they find any "unusual activity" occurring on the property. By no means am I a legal or real estate type, but I have worked close to and personally experienced enough such things to understand these basic generalizations at least.

JAX: Have you actually come up with enough of an idea/footing to start looking at specific areas/property types? For example, are you thinking of a rural area with a small collection of out buildings to house various activities and needs, or a more institutional setting like one would find on a college campus, or a simple office/industrial space layout where it is all "build to suit", a walled compound with a courtyard, or a full blown Temple like that on Coruscant? Are you considering a purchase of an existing facility, a commercial lease, or buying vacant land to build on? Have you considered starting small, say in a short term rental/leased space somewhere, just to see how it takes and let the developments of the Praxeum there help dictate what the final version actually looks/feels like?

I imagine there are plenty of the yoga teacher, massage therapist, natural healing, and martial arts types who would enjoy regular access to hold classes, seminars, training, and provide services there, and may even be willing to "rent" space from you for that exclusive access. If nothing else, they may be willing to partner with you to a certain extent to achieve like-minded goals.

Jut more thoughts...we visited some of the Star Wars related stuff at Disney World...it would be easy to tap into that market if you had a full blown business plan and the legal/trademark things all figured out...but you would have to be ready to deliver, BIG TIME. If marketing to a huge crowd is not the idea, and keeping some of the Star Wars universe separate from Jedi Realism is more important, something a little more grassroots/kickstarter may work just as well.
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Baru replied the topic: Praxeum

This is wonderful.

Just wondering, does it have to be in Colorado?
I might be coming into land in Oregon.

We are the Force.
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