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To start Club 1  

Types of club


Let's talk about how to start a riichi mahjong club!

Before anything else, what is a club? Do I need to register somewhere? How do I find players? You might come up with many of questions that are difficult to answer.


So in this series, we will be talking about how to start a club. For this first one, let’s take a look at the clubs currently existing in the United States.


Currently, there are about 30 riichi clubs in the United States. Most of them are casual clubs and are operated by a few organizers. The majority of these organizers are volunteers. Without them, it is hard to manage members and host events or meetups.  


Of course, club members are also necessary for a club to function. As you know, riichi mahjong needs four players to play, and therefore can be used to socialize.  


However, there are few strict rules on how clubs should operate. The one main rule is that there should be no gambling within the club. Some clubs host casual games of mahjong, some clubs function more as just a meetup for friends, and a few clubs are more competitive.

When establishing a mahjong club, you first have to figure out what type of club it would be. We will be talking about the two basic types of clubs.


Type A: Casual club

We believe most of the clubs in the United States are casual clubs. That being said, each of these clubs have their own goals and dynamics. Some clubs are based on anime fans, others are based on board games, etc. Therefore, these clubs may not be entirely focused on mahjong.


Because of this, a deep understanding of mahjong is not required. A minimum level of experience is acceptable.


The organizers for this type of club would need good communication and event hosting skills. They would also need to be able to find new players, run teaching sessions, and foster social groups. Sometimes, organizers would have to look for any problems in the club and find ways to solve these issues.


Type B: Competitive club

If you want to run a more competition club, you would need all of the skills required for running a casual club and more. Organizers definitely need solid mahjong knowledge to run competition mahjong events, such as leagues, tournaments. They would also need to look into different formats, rules, regulations, and manners to see what is best for the club. For instance, if the purpose of the club is to prepare for tournaments, the organizers should use tournament rules and regulations to help club members practice.  


Strong leadership is required as well. In more competitive environment, the organizers need to be able to handle any problems effectively and fairly.


Organizers would also need to provide information to help improve the club members’ skills and manners. This is especially important for preparing members for competition matches where they may have to play against players with whom they are not familiar. Sometimes, players who are uninformed would play in whatever way they see fit. But if these types of players play in competition matches, they may end up causing problems. Therefore, different types of teaching skills are needed to help educate club members about more the more competitive aspects of riichi mahjong.  


However, those are just our ideas from seeing the clubs currently running in the United States. If you start a club, you can create it in your own way. There are no rules to creating clubs, and one type of club is not better or worse than another. You can start your club however you like and shift to another type in the future if you see fit. Mostly, it depends on what kind of atmosphere your club members want. Ultimately, the members are the most important part of the club.

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