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dan guthrie
04-05-2006, 10:15 PM
My girlfriend says she saw some people on morning teevee using wooden and maybe steel "Samurai" swords as a way to get in shape.
Has anyone else heard of or seen this? and, if so, should there be a bounty on these people?

"Miyamoto Musashi's ten-cut workout."
"Tamishigiri means 'cut abs' in Japanese."
"Lose weight the Zen way."
"A thousand years of martial excellence reduced to a pathetic attempt to cash in on Kill Bill movies."
"Bored, vain, vacuous morons feel cool and repellent at the same time."

Mike Collins
04-05-2006, 10:35 PM
Chan(m?)barra

Psufencer
04-05-2006, 10:54 PM
You're right. That does sound perfectly repellent. As someone who's been "playing with swords" all his life...the last thing I want is for it to become cool!!! :crazy:

SmilingNage
04-05-2006, 11:08 PM
"Swingin with the Swordsys"
Richard Simmons new martial workout???????

giriasis
04-05-2006, 11:20 PM
I saw it from clip on the web. I couldn't find it again, but I believe it was on the Today Show. It's called Forza. It was founded by an Italian woman with a background in karate. I didn't catch how long she's trained or which tradition she has her experience in. It was a bit funny watching Katie Couric do their version of shomenuchi, yokomenuchi and tsuki, though.

It wasn't anymore boring or vacant than any other workout like kickboxing, TaeBo, etc. They have their worth as fitness tools and this was clearly designed for fitness reason. It's not pitched to be teaching a "traditional" martial art and it really fits in with the fusion trend among the fitness community. Right now Turbo Kick and Turbo Jam are hugh hits and that has various elements of different martial arts.

Don't knock it until you try it.

ESimmons
04-05-2006, 11:27 PM
The book is called Forza The Samurai Sword Workout: Kick Butt and Get Buff with High-Intensity Sword Fighting Moves (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1569754780/qid=1144297516/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-2767155-0175052?s=books&v=glance&n=283155). It's the brainchild of Italian Ilaria Montagnani. Her background is in Shorinjiru Karate and Aikijujitsu.

I caught the tail end of the same show. She was demonstrating some basic techniques to a news lady. She looks fit and her technique seems to be solid.

Dennis Hooker
04-06-2006, 08:39 AM
You're right. That does sound perfectly repellent. As someone who's been "playing with swords" all his life...the last thing I want is for it to become cool!!! :crazy:


But Aaron think of the money to be made!! Fast cars, swimming pools, a whole gaggle of little blue-eyed, blond haired Clark'ets tagging along to talk about the color of technique and the simply groovy abs they get from swinging that stick thing.


By the way I heard a rumor that Chuck Clark Sensei has been kidnapped and replaced by a younger thinner version more attuned to the Sergeant Clark USMC . If this is true you tell them dastardly villains we want the Popa Smurf version back.

Chuck Clark
04-06-2006, 09:57 AM
Dennis, the fellow you're responding to here isn't the same Aaron Clark you know. Same name and most likely a fine fellow. My Aaron is living north of Seattle now working at the University of Washington and training with Relnick Sensei as well as teaching Jiyushinkai Aikibudo. I miss him.

Erick Mead
04-06-2006, 10:22 AM
But Aaron think of the money to be made!! Fast cars, swimming pools, a whole gaggle of little blue-eyed, blond haired Clark'ets tagging along to talk about the color of technique and the simply groovy abs they get from swinging that stick thing.

Will that mean we get to "pimp" our bokken?

Oh, goody! -- Dibs on the orange flame-job! -- And the DeadHead on the tsuka kashira!

:yuck:

Cordially,
Erick Mead

maynard
04-06-2006, 10:53 AM
There's a link to a video of a news story in the article linked to below.

http://www3.whdh.com/features/articles/healthcast/BO16892/

Looks cheesy, but if it gets people to exercise and be healthier, they'll be better off.

John

Derek Gaudet
04-06-2006, 03:36 PM
The same end could be met by using a stick, or metal pipe. There is no reason to use a traditional training implement of kenjutsu in this way other then to put the idea in someones head "I'm learning sword". If they want to do this join a koryu, or take up Iai, kenjutsu or kendo. Sorry, just not a fan of this...

cguzik
04-06-2006, 04:09 PM
www.powerstrike.com

Erick Mead
04-06-2006, 04:52 PM
www.powerstrike.comHere is what it says: "Powerstrike Forza is Samurai Sword Training for the group fitness environment. Based on Kendo and Aikido sword training, this workout will inspire students at any level. The certification includes the day of training and practice, class format and four training videos to help you and your students' progress in the Powerstrike Format."
...
" Incorporating an ancient art form into a present day fitness format, Powerstrike Forza allows exercise enthusiasts of all levels to experience the strength and mysticism of working with swords. Powerstrike Inc. has created a custom weighted fitness sword designed to be used by health and fitness facilities around the world, making Powerstrike Forza accessible to everyone."

All's fair for fun and profit I suppose, but I take issue with anyone representing such a thing as "aikido" sword. I know Morihiro Saito Shihan (MHRIP) would have been appalled.

Mysticism ?!?!?!?!? Ye gods and little ducks!

Her name is Ilaria Montagnani. She claims no rank in aikido (thank God for small favors.) None of the "Master instructors" or trainers claims any aikido training, much less rank.

In the interview noted she says:
"Instructor Ilaria Montagnani says, "To be able to control a weapon, to cut and guide it and especially stop the movement, you have to contract the muscle and develop control of your muscle." But Ilaria says that's not the only benefit. She says, "At the same time it's very meditative because you do the same movement over and over again."
So is runnning -- or typing for that matter.

Who taught this woman (if anyone)? Is she affiliated anywhere?

Cordially,
Erick Mead

Michael O'Brien
04-06-2006, 05:35 PM
How about one of her other classes that actually claims self defense benefits?

Powerstrike On Guard

Ever wonder how martial art fighting sequences are choreographed? This latest workout by Ilaria Montagnani will teach you the behind the scenes strikes and routines. Then take them to the next level.

React - Defend - Attack.

This class based on self-defense drills will teach you to kick butt for real.

Derek Gaudet
04-06-2006, 05:36 PM
Powerstrike Forza is Italian for "strength and power." Also known as Samurai Sword Training, the one hour class is a supercharged workout that blends elements of two Japanese sword fighting techniques - Kendo and Aikijujitsu. Ilaria Montagnani combined her ten years of martial arts experience to develop this imaginative format in 1995.

Anyone else notice that they do indeed represent it as Japanese sword training in this description. It's a marketing technique. Hopefully no one thinks they're learning Japanese sword arts from here. We all know that Aikido comes from Kenjutsu, and so does Aikijujutsu, but I didn't really see the Aikijujutsu part of this on the site... I still think they should replace the bokken with a metal pipe, but that's just me... :rolleyes:

Psufencer
04-06-2006, 06:28 PM
You can only imagine people all over the world, in front of their TV's, poking holes in their walls and ceilings trying to do this workout.

:D

rtist
04-06-2006, 07:48 PM
This powerstrike thing is a very scary idea indeed.

Don_Modesto
04-06-2006, 07:51 PM
...perfectly repellent, etc.

Could be healthy. We sclerotic conservatives might just be jealous, no?

(If not of the techniques, then of the freedom and independence of one actually climbing out of the crab bucket as, say, Ueshiba Morihei did--and none too fond of HIS changes to DR was Takeda.)

Books have been useful, and no less a glam star in the Western canon than Socrates hated 'em.

Music for enjoyment has been decried as a corruption of its intrinsic spiritual intent (Baba Ram Dass).

Pick a development and there'll be covies of critics chomping at it.

So Billy Blanks made a fortune...God bless him and good luck to this woman, too.

Why do martial arts have to be locked into their current purpose?

(Yes, I've read Dave Lowry, nevertheless, change is immutable. It is coming.)

Judging from many outraged posts I've read online ("Aiki Golf?!"), martial arts should first teach someone to defend themselves.

Conveniently, no one has operationalized self-defense--what do we mean when we say it? Ability to fight on the ground? Ability to punch? The meager prudence of staying away from areas where people drink a lot of alcohol?

(See especially Soulend's post #6---http://www.budoseek.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=158521&posted=1#post158521---for an excellent comment on this.)

Empirical evidence suggests that the best self-defense is avoidance, of which confidence plays no small part. So if TaeBo or Forzan or Knitting-Needle-jutsu impart confidence, might they not be doing as good a job in teaching self-defense as other more traditional pursuits?

giriasis
04-06-2006, 09:33 PM
And need I add that a core to self-defense is being physically fit? I know many women who work out to fitness videos and what they do is nothing to laugh at. I think this is promoted as fitness first and well if they learn to hit someone with a stick in the process, then why not? And I know that many of these women realize that if they practice a martial art inspired fitness routine that they are not thinking they are becoming a martial arts expert. They're just having fun doing something martial arts inspired.

The craze right now in the fitness industry is FUSION WORKOUTS. They combine pilates and yoga (Yogalates); yoga and karate (Body Forging and Budokan); kickboxing and aerobics (Tae Bo, Janis Saffel and Guillermo Gomez); kickboxing, capeoria, ballet and aerobics (Turbo Jam); aerobics, traditional calesthentics and someone yelling at you (bootcamp and Navy SEAL workouts); ballet and pilates (The Barre Method); aerobics and latin dance (Zumba) etc. Forza is just the newest of the bunch with Japanese sword and aerobics combined. Don't worry, it will not be the end of traditional martial arts.

Also, if this workout gets someone off their duff and start becoming physically active, then why not? It's not like she's claiming to be a Soke 10th Generation Grandmaster of Forza-Jujitsu Ryu and professing this to be a traditional koryu martial art. It's a fusion between aerobics and sword training put in a framework to develop physical fitness.

Erick Mead
04-06-2006, 11:10 PM
Conveniently, no one has operationalized self-defense--what do we mean when we say it?
...
Empirical evidence suggests that the best self-defense is avoidance, of which confidence plays no small part. So if TaeBo or Forzan or Knitting-Needle-jutsu impart confidence, might they not be doing as good a job in teaching self-defense as other more traditional pursuits?

Absolutely true -- which helpfully points out why aikido and other koryu arts are NOT, REPEAT NOT, self-defense. Martial arts are about entering into conflict, not starting it unnecessarily, but not avoiding it either. The child of Mars approaches life and death with the same attitude.

Playing at anything is fun, too, but cap guns and cops and robbers games are not small arms training either. People are disserved to confuse them in this way

Cordially,
Erick Mead

justinc
04-06-2006, 11:49 PM
I'm very much of the same opinion as Anne Marie. Fitness first, and if some people happen to be motivated by the fact that they think they're learning something a little different or mystical, well that's OK with me. I'm an ex gym-junkie so I know how boring workouts 6 days a week can get over many years. This sort of thing is a great motivator because there is always something a little different and you can dream a little more about what you might be doing, compared to pressing the next set of weights. And, who knows, this may well inspire a few more people to come learn about true martial arts.

Don_Modesto
04-06-2006, 11:50 PM
Absolutely true -- which helpfully points out why aikido and other koryu arts are NOT, REPEAT NOT, self-defense.

Not only about it, anyway.

Martial arts are about entering into conflict, not starting it unnecessarily, but not avoiding it either. The child of Mars approaches life and death with the same attitude.

Don't understand this, especially "not avoiding it"?!

Playing at anything is fun, too, but cap guns and cops and robbers games are not small arms training either.

On the jacket sleeve of Dave Grossman's book Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill, he relates how one pre-teen walked into a classroom and shot a bunch of peers in the head and abdoment with hit rates better than veteran cops never having held a gun in his hand before. His training?

Video games.

People are disserved to confuse them in this way

Most people are confused when they begin their martial arts training to start with.

Erick Mead
04-07-2006, 12:21 AM
Most people are confused when they begin their martial arts training to start with. Amen. Alleluia. Amen

Dennis Hooker
04-07-2006, 07:55 AM
Hay, HAy, HAY!!! I been swinging a sword for 40 years myself. I even on occasion cut with one of them things. How come I ainít all buffed out like them folks? I must have had the wrong teachers!! I want my money back.

Oh wait Iím old, but I remember now. I do it for different reasons. If one of these folks ever comes into the dojo I am going to have to break them of so many bad habits it may be easer to just send them to baseball camp. They are on their way to swinging a mean Louisville Slugger.

Lyle Bogin
04-07-2006, 02:56 PM
I wish I had the marketing connections she has...

Anyway, this will become assimilated in the "Crunch" line of workouts I'm sure....like yoga pedicures, and stripercize, and cooking while you work out.

James Kelly
04-07-2006, 06:29 PM
Anyway, this will become assimilated in the "Crunch" line of workouts I'm sure....like yoga pedicures, and stripercize, and cooking while you work out.
Hey. Don't knock stripercizing. It has a lot of hidden benefits.

dan guthrie
04-07-2006, 08:07 PM
I always figured that these people probably have four or five legitimate martial arts dojos within limousine range. Why bastardize a legitimate art form when the realdamn deal is actually closer and could use the money and attention?
I would love to have a kendo/kenjutsu dojo closer than 90 miles.

George S. Ledyard
04-07-2006, 08:25 PM
I always figured that these people probably have four or five legitimate martial arts dojos within limousine range. Why bastardize a legitimate art form when the realdamn deal is actually closer and could use the money and attention?
I would love to have a kendo/kenjutsu dojo closer than 90 miles.
Billy Blanks was the man smart enough to realize that there was a whole group of folks out there in America who would do the martial arts ifthe "martial" was removed.

The whole point of "bastardizing" the real art form is that the vast majority of people would have no interest whatever in doing the real thing. We have quite a few kendo clubs here in the Seattle area and I don't believe even one supports anything like a professional instructor. If you are interested in making money, do not open a kendo school.

These guys are definitely about making money. They have the program, the instructor certifications, the varying levels of certification, the requirements for re-certification, etc. Since what they do doesn't hurt anyone and it would be a positive thing for someon to do (like Billy Blanks Tae Bo) from the standpoint of exercise....what the hell. I guarentee you that the people enrolled in this program wouldn't have lasted ten minutes in a real kendo class. Those shinais hurt when you get hit...

Chris Li
04-07-2006, 08:53 PM
I always figured that these people probably have four or five legitimate martial arts dojos within limousine range. Why bastardize a legitimate art form when the realdamn deal is actually closer and could use the money and attention?

You mean...like Morihei Ueshiba did? :)

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
04-07-2006, 09:00 PM
These guys are definitely about making money. They have the program, the instructor certifications, the varying levels of certification, the requirements for re-certification, etc.

Most Japanese arts - including things like calligraphy and flower arranging have similar certification requirements with the accompanying steep fees. Japanese martial arts (even traditional ones) are, of course, no stranger to them either. And people don't blink when the NY Aikikai charges $150 a month - much more than most "Tae Bo" type programs...

Best,

Chris

justinc
04-07-2006, 11:14 PM
That's the difference in volume pricing. Filling a gym room with 40 people a day bouncing swing swords to music is much easier than doing the same with real martial arts.

Mostly it boils down to the yuppie-types: "I wanna get fit, not fight"

xuzen
04-07-2006, 11:42 PM
Better off taking Kendo... gives you all the work-out you will ever need. Bah! Stupid fad.

dan guthrie
04-08-2006, 12:20 AM
Hay, HAy, HAY!!! I been swinging a sword for 40 years myself. I even on occasion cut with one of them things. How come I ain't all buffed out like them folks? I must have had the wrong teachers!! I want my money back.

Oh wait I'm old, but I remember now. I do it for different reasons. If one of these folks ever comes into the dojo I am going to have to break them of so many bad habits it may be easer to just send them to baseball camp. They are on their way to swinging a mean Louisville Slugger.

IF this fad brings a few sincere people into their local dojos then it will all be worth it. I agree with your comment about breaking bad habits.
I have enough already and I got them all in my own dojo when sensei wasn't looking.

There is a good comparison to wiffle baseball or T ball and this fad, IMHO.

Christopher Li: I don't think the comparison of this fad to Osensei and Daito Ryu is a good one. He was a serious practitioner in several arts and created another. These people are only serious about aerobics and cashing in.
It'd be a better comparison if Osensei had acted more like Richard Simmons or Jack La Lane (i.e. a showman) and created something more like jazzercise.
If people get a good work out from this, fine. I imagine, however, that someone who's been training in kendo or aikido for a few years is going to do some poaching and I wish him/her all the luck in the world. If I ever get the chance I'll do it.

P>S> What about the strain on the lower back??? I saw nothing about that. Waving a bokken is deceptively hard on that area.

Chris Li
04-08-2006, 02:28 AM
Christopher Li: I don't think the comparison of this fad to Osensei and Daito Ryu is a good one. He was a serious practitioner in several arts and created another. These people are only serious about aerobics and cashing in.

Well, the only art that he really practiced seriously was Daito-ryu, and I've met more than a few Daito-ryu folks who felt that he was in the "cashing in" category as well. It all depends where you happen to be standing.

Anyway, nothing wrong with aerobics, or cashing in either, in my book.

Best,

Chris

Amelia Smith
04-08-2006, 07:20 AM
P>S> What about the strain on the lower back??? I saw nothing about that. Waving a bokken is deceptively hard on that area.

Straying off-topic...

I used to get a really stiff lower back from weapons class, but lately I've been working on adjusting my posture so that there's less strain on that area. Basically, I've been tucking my pelvis a bit, taking more weight and energy in the lower stomach muscles. It seems to help. Does anyone else here have any strategies to help with lower back strain in bokken work?

--Amelia

Don_Modesto
04-08-2006, 10:06 AM
Christopher Li: I don't think the comparison of this fad to Osensei and Daito Ryu is a good one. He was a serious practitioner in several arts and created another. These people are only serious about aerobics and cashing in.

Sorry. I find this presumptuous. Presumptuos of the woman being a dilettante. Why do we assume that the woman isn't serious? The woman who did the infamou aiki-golf demo at the Expo had very nice aikido, thank you very much. This one may as well.

Well, the only art that he really practiced seriously was Daito-ryu, and I've met more than a few Daito-ryu folks who felt that he was in the "cashing in" category as well. It all depends where you happen to be standing.

Anyway, nothing wrong with aerobics, or cashing in either, in my book.

Chris, I do love your posts. Thanks for many years of reading pleasure.

Don_Modesto
04-08-2006, 10:08 AM
Better off taking Kendo... gives you all the work-out you will ever need. Bah! Stupid fad.

Can't help but recall that the sales of books goes up when those books are made into real movies.

Maybe people doing sword-light will get interested in the roots (speaking as an aikidoist who got interested in DR...)

"Bah!" ?!

Why would you quote someone here famous for changing his mind? ;)

SmilingNage
04-08-2006, 11:24 AM
I understand the context by which you mention NYA's fees, but I do take a certain degree of offense by the use of NYA as being an example of being over priced or priced with the idea of ripping people off with hidden fees.
NYA does have to support to 8th dan salaries, taxes, utilities and the alike associated with living and owning a building in the largest city in the world. Not to mention, NYC is an expensive place to live. In the past but not anymore, Yamada sensei would allow students from other dojos pay a reduced rate to be a member at NYA. He used to subtract the cost of your dues from NYA dues and that is what you owed him.

Not that I privy to the particulars of NYA's expenses, but I thought that should be said.
Bill

Chris Li
04-08-2006, 11:51 AM
I understand the context by which you mention NYA's fees, but I do take a certain degree of offense by the use of NYA as being an example of being over priced or priced with the idea of ripping people off with hidden fees.

I never said that they were overpriced (and I never mentioned any hidden fees) - my point was that everybody, even Aikido folks, have got to make a living, and that Aikido folks sell their services just like the aerobics folks (dojo fees, seminar fees, books and videos). Nothing wrong with that, anyway, in my book.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
04-08-2006, 11:56 AM
Chris, I do love your posts. Thanks for many years of reading pleasure.

We aim to please :) ! Thanks for the kind thought.

Best,

Chris

SmilingNage
04-08-2006, 12:08 PM
Most Japanese arts - including things like calligraphy and flower arranging have similar certification requirements with the accompanying steep fees. Japanese martial arts (even traditional ones) are, of course, no stranger to them either. And people don't blink when the NY Aikikai charges $150 a month - much more than most "Tae Bo" type programs...

Best,

Chris


Like I said , I know how it was meant to be read. Your post was about steep fees, and the price of NYA was compared to the tae bo fad. I felt obliged to make sure NYA wasn't lumped into fads or the way over priced for gross profit bin. This way there are no misunderstandings.

tedehara
04-08-2006, 12:34 PM
Sorry. I find this presumptuous. Presumptuos of the woman being a dilettante. Why do we assume that the woman isn't serious? The woman who did the infamou aiki-golf demo at the Expo had very nice aikido, thank you very much. This one may as well...
From Forza About the Author (pg.140)
"A gifted teacher with innovative ideas, Ilaria Montagnani is an unstoppable force in fitness. Since 1987 when Ilaria touched down in New York City from her native Italy, she has carved out a new niche in the fitness world. Recently selected a Nike Fitness Athlete and named by New York Magazine as one of the leading fitness "gurus" in the city, Ilaria has transformed the practice of martial arts and become one of the most well-respected and sought after professionals in the fitness industry. With a black belt in Shorinjiru Karate and over twelve years of training in kickboxing and Samurai sword fighting. Ilaria intertwines high intensity training with the Zen of martial arts..."

In another part of the book (pg. 5), she mentions she "devoted a lot of time to learning Aikijujitsu and Iaido, traditional Japanese swordfighting disciplines..."

Don_Modesto
04-08-2006, 12:51 PM
In another part of the book (pg. 5), she mentions she "devoted a lot of time to learning Aikijujitsu and Iaido, traditional Japanese swordfighting disciplines..."

Do you suppose that that's more or less than Osensei put in to learning NAGINATA?

:)

tedehara
04-08-2006, 02:45 PM
Do you suppose that that's more or less than Osensei put in to learning NAGINATA?

:)
I've always wondered about that.

She does mention she's also (pg. 4) "trained in many sports and fitness disciplines, including swimming, rowing, running, weight lifting, diving and ballet." She sounds like a very busy lady! You know, the ballet alone will kill you.
:straightf Seriously

But perhaps this does speak to the heart (kokoro) of the the matter. People will do these activities not to achieve a high level of performance, but to gain an overall increase in health and fitness. You can practice sword work to achieve more hits in kendo competition. You can do kata to preserve tradition. You can develop mind-body-spirit through kata. It is this last reason she gives for developing Forza.

She writes (pg. 6) that "Drawing on samurai tradition, I teach a series of authentic sword sequences and movements including all the basic cuts and strikes." The katas depicted do look like old style sword sequences. I don't consider myself an expert to judge either way and she didn't give historical references. These are solo sequences using a bokken.

Coming to a fitness center near you? According to the book, she's been teaching instructors and people in various countries like Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Russia, Italy, Spain, Germany, Brazil and Japan. That's right: Japan.

Chris Li
04-08-2006, 04:10 PM
Like I said , I know how it was meant to be read. Your post was about steep fees, and the price of NYA was compared to the tae bo fad. I felt obliged to make sure NYA wasn't lumped into fads or the way over priced for gross profit bin. This way there are no misunderstandings.

Interestingly, one of the reasons Yoshimitsu Yamada gave to US immigration when applying for his visa was that he wouldn't be able to make enough money to support himself and his family in Japan.

Forza The Samurai Sword Workout: $9.72 on Amazon

Ultimate Aikido (Yoshimitsu Yamada): $11.67 on Amazon

Now, I'm not saying that Yamada, the NYA, or any other Aikido folks are "way over priced for gross profit", but they are in it for a profit, just like everybody else, and the fees are quite steep. Now, since the major figures in Aikido are far from non-profit monks, aren't we looking at a double standard here when we criticize the fitness gurus?

After all, Morihei Ueshiba, who taught both sword and jo for money, had very little formal training in the sword and none at all in the jo - and none in the bo either, despite awarding an "aiki-bo" certification to Hikitsuchi Michio. Also, who can the forget the weapons training certifications being offered by Morihiro Saito a number of years ago - said certifications to be based upon evaluations of mailed in video tapes, or those "Ki stones" marketed by Koichi Tohei?

As for fads, Omoto-kyo, which Morihei Ueshiba based both his personal and Aikido spiritual world views on, could most certainly be classed in the "fad" category of 20th century cult religions. And, as I said, there are Daito-ryu folks who view Aikido as just that - a fad art created by Morihei Ueshiba. Whether something is a "fad" or an "innovation" often depends on where you happen to be standing.

For me, if someone can create an exercise program that help people get a little bit more fit and make some money in the process then I say more power to them!

Best,

Chris

George S. Ledyard
04-08-2006, 05:04 PM
Now, I'm not saying that Yamada, the NYA, or any other Aikido folks are "way over priced for gross profit", but they are in it for a profit, just like everybody else, and the fees are quite steep. Now, since the major figures in Aikido are far from non-profit monks, aren't we looking at a double standard here when we criticize the fitness gurus?

Just as an aside, according to the martial arts trade journals I get, the average dues for martial arts training in the US is about $120 / month. That's a national figure... so if you are talking about a dojo in NYC, one of the most expensive cities in the US, $150 / month puts them only slightly over average. I'm willing to bet that the $150 entitles you to attend far more classes than does that $120 that many folks are paying for their training.

Most of the standard commercial schools try to get people training twice a week. If they train more than that they are participating in some sort of special program that they pay more for. The basic dues amount covers that twice a week. If someone is training more than that, it starts to cause overcrowding in the classes. Getting more space costs alot more money; so the standard commercial approach is to get folks doing their twice a week so they can maximize the number of members that can train in the space. One of my students did some Kung Fu style before he did Aikido and the guy who ran the dojo actually told him not to train so much... pretty funny.

Anyway, it has been my experience that either Aikido people expect to pay less each month than those who do almost any other activity do, or, if they pay the same amount, they expect to get alot more for their money.

Chris Li
04-08-2006, 05:50 PM
Just as an aside, according to the martial arts trade journals I get, the average dues for martial arts training in the US is about $120 / month. That's a national figure... so if you are talking about a dojo in NYC, one of the most expensive cities in the US, $150 / month puts them only slightly over average. I'm willing to bet that the $150 entitles you to attend far more classes than does that $120 that many folks are paying for their training.

As I said, I don't think that it's overpriced - but it certainly isn't cheap, and it certainly runs more than most of thevarious aerobics type programs. FWIW, training at Aikikai hombu runs around USD $85/month for as many classes as you like (and Tokyo isn't cheap either).

My point was primarily that Aikido is no cheaper (and probably more expensive) than the various aerobics and fitness programs that get criticized because they're "in it for the money", and that there's something of a double standard going on here.

Best,

Chris

Kent Enfield
04-08-2006, 08:28 PM
We have quite a few kendo clubs here in the Seattle area and I don't believe even one supports anything like a professional instructor. If you are interested in making money, do not open a kendo school.Don't neglect the (kendo-)cultural aspects to this. In kendo, even in Japan, pretty much the only people who get paid to teach kendo, even part time, are school/university instructors and police instructors. Having your own, dedicated practice space and being able to make a living from it just aren't part of the general kendo conciousness.

As a counterpoint, many, if not most, kumdo (kendo done by Koreans--pretty much the only thing that changes is the language) dojang in the US are for profit ventures. I've not heard of one kendo dojo (affiliated with the AUSKF, the organization for kendo in the US) where the head instructor receives any money from the dojo, let alone teaches kendo as their sole occupation.

Oh, and to keep this related to the original post, we had a huge increase in beginners for about 6 months after "Last Samurai" and to some extent "Kill Bill" came out, but that's pretty much over and didn't seem to result in anymore "keepers" than the regular numbers.

deepsoup
04-08-2006, 10:07 PM
NYA does have to support to 8th dan salaries, taxes, utilities and the alike associated with living and owning a building in the largest city in the world.
NYA maintain a dojo in Mexico? No wonder the fees are a bit above average.

Michael O'Brien
04-10-2006, 05:16 PM
Just to chime in on the "in it for the money" aspect. Our dojo has been running here in Nashville since 1982 and is run completely as a non-profit organization. All dues collected from members, all seminars, etc go into covering operating expenses only. All instructors volunteer their time to teach the classes, and considering that we run between 12-15 different classes a week with there being at least 1 class every day (Mon-Sun) this is a considerable sacrifice to be made.

So before we go asserting that everyone running a dojo, selling a t-shirt, or hosting a seminar is looking to get rich we might want to re-think that since I'm sure that ours is not the only non-profit dojo out there.

Don_Modesto
04-10-2006, 05:26 PM
So before we go asserting that everyone running a dojo, selling a t-shirt, or hosting a seminar is looking to get rich we might want to re-think that since I'm sure that ours is not the only non-profit dojo out there.

What's wrong with trying to get rich?

Which of the Shihan are paupers?

Which run on a non-profit basis?

Michael O'Brien
04-10-2006, 05:49 PM
What's wrong with trying to get rich?

Which of the Shihan are paupers?

Which run on a non-profit basis?

I never said there was anything wrong with it; Someone else was making the point that Aikido dojos are being run like fitness centers for the purpose of making a profit.

My point is every Gold's Gym, blah blah fitness center, etc that is teaching the latest and greatest fad exercise routine is out to make a profit first and foremost.

Not all Aikido dojos are. Many dojos primary concern is the teaching of the art first and foremost and if we have enough money left over in December for a Christmas party, that's great. If not, then it is either potluck or we don't have one.

Chris Li
04-10-2006, 06:12 PM
So before we go asserting that everyone running a dojo, selling a t-shirt, or hosting a seminar is looking to get rich we might want to re-think that since I'm sure that ours is not the only non-profit dojo out there.

I don't think that anyone asserted that. However, it is undeniable that Sokaku Takeda, Morhihei Ueshiba, and many other instructors past and present made or make their living from selling their professional services. Given that fact, my point was that it is somewhat hypocritical to denigrate fitness instructors for doing the same thing.

Best,

Chris

Don_Modesto
04-10-2006, 11:12 PM
My point is every Gold's Gym, blah blah fitness center, etc that is teaching the latest and greatest fad exercise routine is out to make a profit first and foremost.

Not all Aikido dojos are. Maybe they should be.

Not all aikido dojo are still in business.

Gotta deal with the harsh realities first.

Atemi is 90% of aikido.

Ya can't pay da rent, ya gotta practice in da park, rain or shine, dog poo and red ants.

ian
04-11-2006, 06:13 AM
...Anyway, it has been my experience that either Aikido people expect to pay less each month than those who do almost any other activity do, or, if they pay the same amount, they expect to get alot more for their money.

True, but I think there is a reason for that. Most aikidoka consider it an aspect of their life. In many martial arts the idea is 'to get to black belt' or as cheap baby-sitting. Thus members can have a direct cost-benefit analysis. I personally believe aikido should be as cheap as possible (preferably free).

Karate has lost out so much by going down the profit orientated route. When your instructors are motivated primarily by profit they try to teach as early as possible and to as wider group as possible. The motivation should be to pass on aikido as sincerely as they can - thus ponteitally restricting those they target the training towards and constantly assessing themselves for their ability to adequately transfer this knowledge.

I can understand full time instructors earning a profit (to live) from aikido, but part time instructors I would think should teach as a way of paying back the experience of aikido that they have been gifted with. Ueshiba must have felt similar (thus the disupte with Takeda over dojo fees).

For profit martial arts instruction often comes over as a 'pyrimid scheme' where you have to 'big-up' your own instructor and 'diss' other instructors to ensure profits and competitveness.

Anyway, I must get back to my Forze training or I won't be 'buff' enough to 'kick arse'...

SmilingNage
04-11-2006, 10:12 AM
If the burbs that have sprung up about NYC are counted, then NYC would be the largest. As it is, many these communities are seperated by state lines. Many towns and communities of Conn, and NJ are nothing more than over flow of citizens of NYC. So NYC would be larger given these factors.

For the Record, 7 days a week at Aikikai hombu is 115 usd, not including the registration fee.

Don_Modesto
04-11-2006, 01:33 PM
I personally believe aikido should be as cheap as possible (preferably free).

Me, too. And highways, hospitals, 5-star hotels, movies, cars...

:)

Chuck Clark
04-11-2006, 01:41 PM
Me, three... and education, healthcare, home heating... I don't mind paying for the hotels, cars, etc.

By the way, I echo Don's sentiment about Chris Li's posts and include Don's as well. They always make me think and expand my view. Sorta what this is all about...

Dennis Hooker
04-11-2006, 02:17 PM
Me four and I like them two because they ain't exactly Curmudgeons yet but give them a few years, their working on it. Chris has got the makings of a world class grumpy old bastard. I may have to teach him a little about the disagreeable and stubborn parts but not much. And you Clark, you are just to damn mellow, likeable and easygoing. I know your give and getter works real good but you put on this folksy facade then then like old Emeril says BAMMM and folks don't know what got'um!!

I do wish this gal in question didn't insinuate this was Japanese sword training. Hell I would not have a problem if it represented European Broad sword.

Michael O'Brien
04-11-2006, 06:04 PM
Maybe they should be.

Not all aikido dojo are still in business.

Gotta deal with the harsh realities first.

Atemi is 90% of aikido.

Ya can't pay da rent, ya gotta practice in da park, rain or shine, dog poo and red ants.

Paying the rent and other expenses is break even, not profit. If a lot of the non-profit dojos actually tried to make a profit to pay instructors, etc instead of just covering expenses as a non-profit then there would be a lot less of them in business still.

I'm reasonably sure that my dojo would not have survived the last 20+ years if it had to make a profit that supported instructor salaries etc to stay open.

The other thing to consider is that it is harder to question the motives of an instructor that is teching 4-7 days/week for free while also working a full-time job. That is an instructor that is doing for the love of teaching and sharing their knowledge of the art and not someone who wants to get another mat fee out of you.

Chuck Clark
04-11-2006, 06:46 PM
And you Clark, you are just to damn mellow, likeable and easygoing. I know your give and getter works real good but you put on this folksy facade then then like old Emeril says BAMMM and folks don't know what got'um!!

:) I call it the "Velvet Hammer", Dennis. I've got to go to the dojo just now... Regards to you and yours.

Don_Modesto
04-11-2006, 10:20 PM
The other thing to consider is that it is harder to question the motives of an instructor that is teching 4-7 days/week for free while also working a full-time job. That is an instructor that is doing for the love of teaching and sharing their knowledge of the art and not someone who wants to get another mat fee out of you.Let's see...

Yamada?
No. Chiba?
No. Saotome?
No. Ikeda?
No.

Hark and forsooth (gadzooks!)--A pattern emerges:

The best of the best make money doing aikido!

(Mr. O'Brien, I just checked your profile and noticed who your teachers are--old buddies of mine from Sarasota days. Please extend them warm greetings from myself.)

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Messrs. Clark and Hooker,

I'm flattered by your kind sentiments, gentlemen. Thank you.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Mark Uttech
04-11-2006, 10:39 PM
These are all signs of the times; I was at Border's bookstore today and saw a book on getting fit with Japanese samurai sword technique. So desu ka. We can take heart in something as simple as the bell sound that begins and ends our classes: it is part of the path.

Mike Collins
04-11-2006, 10:49 PM
Breaking even with a dojo would constitute a helluva win in my estimation. If someone has had a dojo long enough to generate a living, especially a good living, well good on 'em. For every one that survives, there are probably a dozen that fail (for better or for worse).

As to Forza or Chambarra, what the hell? As long as they aren't claiming you can go out and fight and win a duel, only that you can have a mystical experience, see green smoke, and gain enlightenment, while getting totally buff, who's getting hurt more than they would be if the went to aerobics classes or EST training? Free market rulez.

Always been fads, they comes and they goes. So?

Thereare a lot of Koryu folks who think Aikidoka are doing similar activity. And many are. I might be. I haven't become "enlightened" yet, and my levitation is spotty at best.

Amelia Smith
04-12-2006, 07:59 AM
I practice at a very small, local dojo which is located on the sensei's property, next to his house. This means that for the past 22 or so years, he has not only not been making a profit from aikido, he has been subsidising it by building the dojo, paying its property taxes, etc. I don't think that this situation is unique, and in a way it's admirable but sometimes I wonder if it would be better if we were a bit more focused on making money. I mean, volunteerism is all well and good, but it often leads to having one or two people who are unduly stressed by keeping the organization running. I sometimes think that if we, as a dojo, needed to make more money, we would have more incentive to go out and spread the word, to encourage new members to stay (by being friendlier, more accessible, more helpful to beginners). I really think that might strengthen the art, here. The idea that aikido is only for the select few seems contrary to OSensei's assertion that aikido is for the whole world... even if he didn't accept all students.

In the modern world, you need to use the marketplace to spread any art or practice beyond your own back yard. This "swordercize" seems a bit gimmicky, but so what? As many of you have said in earlier posts, it sounds like a basically good thing -- people will exercise, get more fit, and possibly have fun. Sure, they might develop some bad form in their sword-swinging, but everyone has a few physical habits to get over when they start a new art.

So go ahead. Make money if you can, and reinvest it/youself so we can all keep on practicing.

Michael O'Brien
04-13-2006, 05:37 PM
Let's see...

Yamada?
No. Chiba?
No. Saotome?
No. Ikeda?
No.

Hark and forsooth (gadzooks!)--A pattern emerges:

The best of the best make money doing aikido!

(Mr. O'Brien, I just checked your profile and noticed who your teachers are--old buddies of mine from Sarasota days. Please extend them warm greetings from myself.)

*smiles*
I'm all about those who can make a living teaching doing it; I'm just glad that there are those who are dedicated enough and willing to do it without it being necessary. Like I said, I have yet to train at a full-time for profit dojo so I would not have had the honor of training yet where it not for those willing to donate their time and knowledge.

I'll be sure and pass along your warm greetings next week when I return to the mat. I'm on a mini-vacation starting as soon as I get off work tonight. :)