PDA

View Full Version : Is Aikido Only For the Wealthy


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Lambdadragon
04-18-2007, 07:24 AM
I recently overheard a statement which disturbed me, "Aikido is only for those who can afford it." I can remember years ago after finishing law school, with a huge student loan and a small entry level pay, still making certain I had the funds in my tight budget to practice Aikido. Yet, upon reflection, it seems sad but true that Aikido is only for those who can pay for the dojo membership and uniform fees (and if one wishes to rise to dan, then also the steep camp fees). I say sad, because I have always considered Aikido a universal activity for "all" persons. I had heard of one sensei in Brazil, who used Aikido to reach street kids. Is that more an exception?

DonMagee
04-18-2007, 07:58 AM
My aikido club is a $10 mat fee. Nothing else. Ranking has a certificate fee that my instructor pays to his instructor to do the certificates.

There is a possibility to train 3 times a week there, that would make it about $120 a month. Currently I pay $85 a month for bjj, judo, MMA, and boxing at a single location. Before that my judo classes were $110 every 3 months. This makes aikido more expensive then those arts, however it is still cheaper then all of the ATA TKD schools and other family oriented places in town.

RoyK
04-18-2007, 08:09 AM
At my dojo, in every money related announcement (fees, seminars, equipment etc), there's a message at the bottom added by the head instructor "Those with monetary difficulties, please talk to me and we'll work something out".

Gernot Hassenpflug
04-18-2007, 08:27 AM
There are a great many kind and generous souls who teach as a hobby, and demand little more than mutual respect, often putting in far far more than they get out financially. On the other hand, when it comes to large organizations, they don't function without finances, so of course when a person grows to the point where they can become a contributing member, then there is money to be paid, with no more covering by kinder friends. It is implicitly assumed that at some point an aikidoka will have reached a social development where he can contribute and help out those who are still not quite there yet, or starting out. It's also true that many people simply cannot grade because of financial hurdles, that alone can explain the number of dan grades in the rest of the world compared to Japan.
It is not really worthwhile discussing whether people who pay more get access to better aikido, that depends on many more factors. But I would say a person who can accumulate enough money to then go and train internationally, is likely going to be sharp enough to pick up more than the average Joe who only commutes to the local dojo.

Jerry Miller
04-18-2007, 08:44 AM
It is not a charity.

Larry Feldman
04-18-2007, 08:58 AM
My experience has been as Roy suggested.

I continue to work with people who have financial difficulty paying dues or a seminar fee.

statisticool
04-18-2007, 09:01 AM
Where I live the aikido is by far the cheapest.

Eric Webber
04-18-2007, 09:09 AM
I think that aikido is "a universal activity for all persons" (with the caveat that the person has to want to follow aikido's martial and/or philosophical approach to interactions with others - otherwise it is not the appropriate path to follow for that individual), but agree that this does not mean it must be offered as a charity. I do not know of a dojo that sets its fees in order to keep poor people out; most dojo sets fees to keep the doors open and possibly support the teacher so he/she can afford to focus on teaching aikido rather than holding another additional job. Not being able to afford all the extras - the seminars, fancy dogi, new hakama, etc. - does not keep one from being an aikidoka.

Dewey
04-18-2007, 09:17 AM
That can be said of almost any martial art, including MMA schools. Fees are usually set by three considerations:
1) What the instructor believes is a just fee to charge in exchange for their instruction (this is purely subjective, of course).
2) Business overhead in regards to how much rent and utilities are, sports insurance premiums, equipment cost, etc. In large metropolitan areas, the rent is outrageous.
3) Rather unpleasantly, local competition also sets the fees. The law of supply & demand.

I think what separates a Sensei from merely an instructor is that a Sensei takes a personal interest in their students and will always take into consideration any financial difficulties that might occur. I myself had a series of unexpected expenses last month (not to mention paying my taxes last week!) that left me very short. My Sensei was generous enough to let me continue studying for the month of April without demanding "his money." Instead, he did casually hint that the dojo does need a couple new window blinds and that he saw some at the local dollar store down the street that would be ideal...fair enough in my opinion!

Chuck Clark
04-18-2007, 09:17 AM
Training within Jiyushinkai costs a lot... you have to give of your self, you have to share your heart, and commit to share with your partner, and everyone does their best to bear the responsibilities of helping to pay the expenses and take care of each other. Any one that is willing to do this and wants to take part in this practice together is accepted at the level that they can take part. No one is turned away for financial reasons.

mrfeldmeyer
04-18-2007, 09:18 AM
Where I am currently living there are two dojos.

An ASU dojo that is part of a university club. I believe there dues are in the neighborhood of $35 a semester and $20 for a summer. They offer practice 3 times a week, so if you do the math the cost is relatively 75 cents per practice.

The other dojo is $20 a month and practices twice a week regularly with some open mat times as senior students are able to be there. Which calculates out to $2.50 per practice or cheaper.

Of course you have your dues to the hombu dojos and what not, but I think that both of these prices make Aikido available for almost anyone financially.

Mark Uttech
04-18-2007, 09:18 AM
If you charge next to nothing, people tend to think what you have is worth next to nothing. Aikido comes very close to a college education.

In gassho,

Mark

Timothy WK
04-18-2007, 09:33 AM
How much does the average Aikido class run nowadays? $80-100/month? Comparatively, that's about the same as anything else.

Membership to a fitness gym is going to run you $100-150/month (maybe a little less). A Yoga studio certainly costs as much as Aikido. Private instruction for, say, a musical instrument is going to run $15-25/hour, so 4 lessons a month is about the same. Educational classes is going to cost $100 or more per credit hour, spread out over time is about the same.

Beard of Chuck Norris
04-18-2007, 09:55 AM
All "hobbies" regardless of them being martial arts will cost some money. You will need the correct apparel and equiment for one thing, as well as getting to the place you do it.

peace and love

Jo

BTW He might have meant kendo instead ;) shish it's expensive!!

ikkitosennomusha
04-18-2007, 10:35 AM
Mark made a realistic statement. I have often thought that earning a shodan is about like earning your first college degree. In my experience, I have seen monthly dues range anywhere from $45 to $80 a month. You figure the average time to reach shodan is 4 to 5 years. That is a huge investment. As mentioned, you cannot get beyond a certain point unless you committ to attending seminars. I have seen that hold people back. However, it is implemented for a good reason. Although it may not be economical for some, it truely is designed to open the student up to a higher level of training. Each and every time I attended a seminar, I broke through my current plateau!

SeiserL
04-18-2007, 10:45 AM
Some may think that investing in yourself is selfish. Others may thinking that investing in yourself is the journey of and to wealth. IMHO, Aikido is an investment in wealth and health, not just as individuals but as a model of communicating and interrelating.

OTOH, there is a reality base for having a place to train.

I have never seen or heard of anyone turned away because they could not afford it. I have heard that used as an excuse by some.

Its a lot cheaper that most people pay per month for drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, spectator entertainment, junk food, depression, anxiety, and other fear based afflictions and addictions.

crbateman
04-18-2007, 11:25 AM
Teaching Aikido is a tough way to earn a living, and I don't know too many who derive their primary income in this pursuit. Most teachers I have encountered do take a student's financial situation into account, and still want to help them out if they are sincere and can benefit from the training. This is different than the student who doesn't give back of himself, or is obviously trying to take advantage of the instructor's generosity. It's a fact that dojo rent must be paid, and lights must be paid, and insurance must be paid, and so on, but it also is a fact that these bills must still be paid whether the needy student is there or not. In short, the instructor must decide, but I find that the attitude of most is that helping somebody out a little when they are down on their luck is a good thing, and there's always room on the mat for one more. My hat's off to those who do it that way.

mwible
04-18-2007, 11:32 AM
my dojo is only $50 a month, which is pretty cheap i think. but maybe thats just my school...

James Davis
04-18-2007, 12:40 PM
I only pay $40.00 a month, but then I'm the one who's teaching.:)

I've paid a lot to practice in the past, and would gladly pay more if it had to be done to keep the dojo open. We're doing okay at the moment, but then we have three schools sharing a roof.

I've had to give up quite a few things through the years that I've trained. I don't see my old friends so much, but my dojo friends are pretty cool.:cool:

Edward
04-18-2007, 12:43 PM
What an expensive Martial Art! You have to pay mat fees? Keikogi? and on top of that you have to pay for your own belt? No wonder it's only for the rich :D

George S. Ledyard
04-18-2007, 01:14 PM
I have to say, these discussions always get to me. Aikido folks sitting around competing with each other to see whose training is cheapest. Aikido training is so under priced compared to the market it's not funny. The average dues for martial arts training in this country is around $120 to $140 per month.

I am a professional instructor. I have a dojo in an urban area which costs me just under $2000 per month. By the time you add the advertising, telephone, and other basic expenses I'm up to around $3000 per month just keeping the doors open.

The of course, there is my training. Since I am trying to deliver the finest training I possibly can, I am constantly training. My estimate for 2007 for training expenses is about $4500. I have been spending thousands on my training every year for more than twenty years. In fact one could say that I spent my kids college money getting to where I am in this art.

The dues at my dojo is around $100 per month. I teach six or seven days a week. I pay the instructor of my kids program 25% of everything the program generates. When I ran the numbers for 2006, I made all of 18 thousand from the dojo if one just counted the dues. In other words, just like college, the tuition you are paying doesn't come close to covering the true expense. So I have to teach Defensive Tactics outside, do police and security training, sell videos, travel all over doing Aikido seminars in order to not qualify for the earned income credit come tax time.

Hombu dojo has had a training program for professional instructors for decades now. They are supported in their training. This is how they turn out Shihan level teachers. Over here we have to do this ourselves.

So when Aikido people sit around and congratulate themselves on how cheap Aikido is, people should understand what they are saying. Everyone wants good instruction... people want their teachers to be as high level as possible. Why should a teacher be expected to "provide" that for you at his or her own expense?

The fact that Aikido dues are so cheap makes it very hard for people to put the time into their art which would allow them to develop into top level teachers. Most Aikido teachers are amateurs. Because there is no real money in it they limit the amount of training they do (unless they have great jobs to support their training). If they work, they spend the bulk of their free time on their art, taking time away from their families, relationships, friends etc. They use their own money to keep afloat. They are essentially donating their time and money. They do it because they love it but it sure isn't a matter of anyone being "entitled" to the benefits of their efforts.

How many of you folks out there who exult in the $30 - $40 / month dues you pay are donating 6 or 8 hours per week to charity? How many do charity work every weekend? What job do you work at? What if I said that I think that everyone should be entitled to whatever labor or service you provide at a third of what the going rate is for that effort?

People need to understand that in order to develop the finest instruction possible, for us to compete in quality with the Japanese who train professional teachers, we need a support base for our teachers. The bottom line support for a developing teacher is the dojo. It will take thirty years before one is good enough to start traveling and teaching seminars. So his or her support comes from the dojo. When people devalue that experience by saying that a teacher should be providing his expertise as a service because Aikido is a spiritual art, I say what?

If people want the poor to be able to train, then set up a scholarship fund in your dojo, subsidized by all the folks who have real jobs. If you think Aikido programs for the poor are so great, get donations and set up a program. Buy the mats and get a space, solicit donations from local businesses and THEN maybe ask the teacher if he'd donate some time. This after YOU have done some work and put in some time. What makes any of you out there think you are "entitled" to be taught Aikido? Why should people who have spent decades getting to where they are, fall all over themselves so that you can train without making any extra effort?

I can tell you that it was never that way back in O-Sensei's day. He paid a lot of money to be taught by Takeda Sensei and the old 30's deshi paid a lot to train with O-Sensei. The reason that O-Sensei was able to devote himself so completely to his training was that his family was rich. The gentleman never held a real job for any length of time in his life. He had a whole network of people who supported him. They built dojos and provided the financial support for anything needed. We don't have that here. No business man has offered to build me a dojo. No one donates money so that I can train. It all comes from the dojo and my other teaching efforts.

We need to stop thinking of training as some sort of entitlement program and value it the way other activities in our culture seem to be valued. When you undervalue Aikido training you are undervaluing your teachers.

mriehle
04-18-2007, 01:32 PM
Thank you, Ledyard Sensei.

You have no idea how timely this is for me.

DonMagee
04-18-2007, 01:35 PM
I have to say, these discussions always get to me. Aikido folks sitting around competing with each other to see whose training is cheapest. Aikido training is so under priced compared to the market it's not funny. The average dues for martial arts training in this country is around $120 to $140 per month.

I am a professional instructor. I have a dojo in an urban area which costs me just under $2000 per month. By the time you add the advertising, telephone, and other basic expenses I'm up to around $3000 per month just keeping the doors open.

The of course, there is my training. Since I am trying to deliver the finest training I possibly can, I am constantly training. My estimate for 2007 for training expenses is about $4500. I have been spending thousands on my training every year for more than twenty years. In fact one could say that I spent my kids college money getting to where I am in this art.

The dues at my dojo is around $100 per month. I teach six or seven days a week. I pay the instructor of my kids program 25% of everything the program generates. When I ran the numbers for 2006, I made all of 18 thousand from the dojo if one just counted the dues. In other words, just like college, the tuition you are paying doesn't come close to covering the true expense. So I have to teach Defensive Tactics outside, do police and security training, sell videos, travel all over doing Aikido seminars in order to not qualify for the earned income credit come tax time.

Hombu dojo has had a training program for professional instructors for decades now. They are supported in their training. This is how they turn out Shihan level teachers. Over here we have to do this ourselves.

So when Aikido people sit around and congratulate themselves on how cheap Aikido is, people should understand what they are saying. Everyone wants good instruction... people want their teachers to be as high level as possible. Why should a teacher be expected to "provide" that for you at his or her own expense?

The fact that Aikido dues are so cheap makes it very hard for people to put the time into their art which would allow them to develop into top level teachers. Most Aikido teachers are amateurs. Because there is no real money in it they limit the amount of training they do (unless they have great jobs to support their training). If they work, they spend the bulk of their free time on their art, taking time away from their families, relationships, friends etc. They use their own money to keep afloat. They are essentially donating their time and money. They do it because they love it but it sure isn't a matter of anyone being "entitled" to the benefits of their efforts.

How many of you folks out there who exult in the $30 - $40 / month dues you pay are donating 6 or 8 hours per week to charity? How many do charity work every weekend? What job do you work at? What if I said that I think that everyone should be entitled to whatever labor or service you provide at a third of what the going rate is for that effort?

People need to understand that in order to develop the finest instruction possible, for us to compete in quality with the Japanese who train professional teachers, we need a support base for our teachers. The bottom line support for a developing teacher is the dojo. It will take thirty years before one is good enough to start traveling and teaching seminars. So his or her support comes from the dojo. When people devalue that experience by saying that a teacher should be providing his expertise as a service because Aikido is a spiritual art, I say what?

If people want the poor to be able to train, then set up a scholarship fund in your dojo, subsidized by all the folks who have real jobs. If you think Aikido programs for the poor are so great, get donations and set up a program. Buy the mats and get a space, solicit donations from local businesses and THEN maybe ask the teacher if he'd donate some time. This after YOU have done some work and put in some time. What makes any of you out there think you are "entitled" to be taught Aikido? Why should people who have spent decades getting to where they are, fall all over themselves so that you can train without making any extra effort?

I can tell you that it was never that way back in O-Sensei's day. He paid a lot of money to be taught by Takeda Sensei and the old 30's deshi paid a lot to train with O-Sensei. The reason that O-Sensei was able to devote himself so completely to his training was that his family was rich. The gentleman never held a real job for any length of time in his life. He had a whole network of people who supported him. They built dojos and provided the financial support for anything needed. We don't have that here. No business man has offered to build me a dojo. No one donates money so that I can train. It all comes from the dojo and my other teaching efforts.

We need to stop thinking of training as some sort of entitlement program and value it the way other activities in our culture seem to be valued. When you undervalue Aikido training you are undervaluing your teachers.

I hear what you are saying, and I agree you should want to support your school. However I do not think cheap prices produce cheap teachers. Every judo club I've ever attended was way cheaper then everything else. I paid 110 for every 3 months with an option to pay 360 for the year. This was top level judo instruction from a 5th degree with a great competition record. Currently my judo instruction is free from a 1st degree with an awesome competition record. For non-bjj students he charges 30.00 a month. Even though he is only a 1st degree he is one of the best judo instructor's I've worked under. Plus he is well hooked up in the local judo community with friends who are big names in the chicago scene. There is also great judo at the YMCA which is also very cheap and gives you a lot more then just judo.

The difference is neither of these guys are trying to make a living at martial arts. They just love it and want to teach it. My aikido instructor built a dojo on his property so he wouldn't have to rent, that is why he only charges mat fee's.

There is nothing wrong with trying to run a buisness with a store front and all that. Its just that you don't need to do that to be a great teacher. You can share space with a karate school like my bjj coach does, teach out of a YMCA, teach out of your garage, etc.

The last thing to keep in mind is that although I haven't seen it in aikido, Commercialism of the martial arts has been very unkind to TKD, karate, kempo, kungfu, etc.

I do not place monetary value on my training. I put value on my time and effort that I am willing to give to help my teachers setup websites, solve technical problems, help fill in with new students, and help out for free with anything I have time to do. Even if I paid $1.00 I would not value my education any less. However, I work at a community college, I know all about the perception of skill with the cost of classes. It is sad that a lot of people have the perception that if it is cheap, it must suck.

Dewey
04-18-2007, 01:44 PM
Very well and justly stated, Ledyard Sensei!

My Sensei (Richard Harnack Sensei) is a full-time instructor, giving away several hours for each of the 6 days of his week in instruction...he is truly selfless and completely dedicated to the Art. Check out the schedule page: http://www.aikiway.org...he teaches those classes himself!

What he asks in regards to monthly dues is a mere fraction of what he gives in time, effort, expertise...not to mention his own money. Whenever he casually hints that someone needs to donate such-and-such for the dojo...his more serious & loyal students do so. He hinted to me yesterday to buy some new window shades...which I will do this evening.

gdandscompserv
04-18-2007, 01:53 PM
I teach foster children free. Everyone else pays a $5 mat fee. I don't have a "dues" structure because I do not offer rank at my dojo. I have never had a problem paying for good aikido instruction.

crbateman
04-18-2007, 02:26 PM
I realize I'm tossing generalities here, so please consider that before you flame me, but I think the quality of one's training derives more from what they put into it aside from the money they spend. Paying a lot does not guarantee success, as many of the "haves" don't really notice the monetary investment, anyway. It has more to do with the makeup of the learner, as in his dedication, work ethic, focus, and other factors. A wealthy person is also likely to look for more immediate gratification, as he is probably accustomed, eventually, to being able to solve problems by throwing money at them, whereas one not so well-off is likely to be more used to working and waiting for what he wants.

I also think that a teacher who conveys the impression to his students that he's in it for the money can expect less enthusiasm from his students, regardless of his actual competency. People are sensitive to, and affected by, the motivations of those around them.

The key is that the money one is spending is not a very good motivator. I don't recall ever finding myself on the mat, telling myself "You'd better learn all of this, dummy. You paid a lot for this class." Instead, I'm motivated by the belief that I can learn something from everybody, and why shouldn't I strive to do so?

That said, it also is certainly not a good idea to simply train where it is cheapest. The only time this would make sense would be if the only alternative is not training at all, and how often is that really going to be the case? Best to train where you find the best feel, with the most competent instructor you are comfortable with.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-18-2007, 03:35 PM
Poll: "How much do you pay per month?"
http://aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=286

The average on this poll is something like $50-60. That meshes pretty closely with my personal experience.

mriehle
04-18-2007, 04:49 PM
I also think that a teacher who conveys the impression to his students that he's in it for the money

Here I think you've hit on one of the problems with discussions of this sort. Many people have been conditioned to think of someone who wants to make a profession of something as being "in it for the money". Then the the "sellout" accusations start and it all gets ugly.

One of the points George Ledyard made is that some people want to make a profession of something so they can dedicate the time to it they believe it deserves. Or at least that's the impression I was left with.

(At this point I feel compelled to make clear that I am not accusing Mr. Bateman of taking the position that professional teachers are sellouts.)

Some of this is because of the seeming ubiquity of "McDojos". Some of it is the news we hear fairly constantly of leaders of various industries sacrificing quality and fair business practices in the name of profit.

But maybe we've become too cynical. For one thing, I wonder if these black belt mills we all worry about are as common as all that.

Maybe we should take the time to talk to our teachers and actually ask them about why they want to teach.

You know, one argument I hear against professional teachers is that practitioners of the art should be willing to make sacrifices for the art. I just wonder how we came to believe that this idea only applies to teachers. Teachers who've probably already made considerable sacrifices for their art.

I, for one, don't expect to get rich, but I'd like my dojo to support itself.

Cady Goldfield
04-18-2007, 05:00 PM
Ayup, that's a generalized statement there, Clark. :)
Any discipline can run from low-end to high-, depending on where it is and who is running it. Some people teach because they love it and it's a hobby, and they don't do it for profit. They may charge just enough dues to cover the heat and rent, etc. I've read remarks from many dojo owners (including my own teacher) who shell out of their own pockets to keep their dojo going, and clean the toilets too.

I'd say the less you pay in dues, the greater your obligation to sweat. Your teacher is putting his/her time, knowledge and care in your development out there, and thus you owe - bigtime.

I lucked out with my situation. It costs me around 9 gallons of gas (a half a tank) each time I train at the dojo, so whatever the going rate of fuel is, that's what it "costs" me per class (oops- forgot about highway tolls, too!). Actually, right now that's pretty steep, because I'm making a very low income and gas is high. So, I can only afford to train at the dojo once a week, and I can't afford to waste my time (by being lax and giving less than 100% effort) or my teacher's time and effort, which he offers without charge. (Not that I'm the world's greatest student ;) -- we all have bad days, weeks, months -- but I work within my realistic limitations.)

But, the real value comes from what I take home and work on/sweat with until the next class. What I gain, in my opinion, is of far greater value than what I might be shelling out in dues in any other dojo.

Mark Uttech
04-18-2007, 05:50 PM
Sweat is not really the point. At all. That is what all the gyms are for. Aikido is not ' a workout'.

In gassho

Mark

Cady Goldfield
04-18-2007, 05:55 PM
Mark, by "sweat" I mean complete focus, dedication, commitment and effort. It's a colloquialism. Learning takes effort. The actual act of perspiration may or may not happen in the process. ;)

Mark Uttech
04-18-2007, 07:09 PM
Sorry, 'sweat' seems like a jock term.

In gassho, Mark

Cady Goldfield
04-18-2007, 07:38 PM
Hey, no sweat! :D
And if it makes you feel better, the proper English expressions (courtesy of the Victorian period) are:
- horses "sweat"
- gentlemen "perspire"
- ladies "glow."

crbateman
04-18-2007, 08:10 PM
Many people have been conditioned to think of someone who wants to make a profession of something as being "in it for the money"...
...I, for one, don't expect to get rich, but I'd like my dojo to support itself.Of course you should. If you look at my first crack at this thread, you'll see that I feel the same. I have nothing but respect for the "professional teacher". But there are those who go further than that, and make people feel that they wouldn't be there except for the money. We've all encountered that, I think. That projection is the one from which it's difficult to operate. I think that most students need to feel that their teacher is about dedication to the art... to living it... to teaching it to me... It implies belief, a reaching out, not just a desire to turn a profit.

Nobody will begrudge someone who really makes himself a positive influence on everybody he trains, and manages to make a successful living in the process. But people like this are uncommon. The financial rewards are just not inherent in this type of endeavor. Like George Sensei has observed, even somebody who works hard at it, has a reputation as sterling as his is, and travels and does seminars year round, still needs to supplement his income to function. That is the nature of the beast.

gdandscompserv
04-18-2007, 08:20 PM
I, for one, don't expect to get rich, but I'd like my dojo to support itself.
There's always hope.

Lambdadragon
04-18-2007, 08:23 PM
As always, I am continually thankful for how members voice their views in such intelligent and respectful ways, even when they vary in their points of view. The discussion has raised more questions, however I would like to clarify a few points first.

I very much am happy to hear that many dojos help those that have difficulties meeting the financial requirements. I also agree with Mr. Miller's statement that Aikido, in and of itself, is not a charity. However, many of the postings relate acts that I would consider charitable...and I already alluded to the dojo in Brazil that teaches aikido to poor street kids. So aikido does open the opporunity to charity.

I am very happy to pay my monthly dues. I can afford them and I even pay a month in advance. I doubt my sensei is living off of the dojo's profits, but I wouldn't fault him if he did. I would never automatically consider someone who did make a living at teaching aikido to be exploitive or selfish, besides it's none of my business. Members of our dojo span the economic gamut, and all are welcome. Our dojo was built by the students, and there is an eagerness to pitch in to help keep the place going.

My additional questions are, wasn't O'Sensei a monk? ....and a missionary? ...or was he only starting a family business to make a living? Also, doesn't aikido have something to do with the inner path? ....the spiritual way? ,,,Further, was O'Sensei's spirtiual monastic work limited to only those who could pay for it?

I'm certain this borders on religiousity (which I really am not). It just seems that anything dealing with the spirit, shouldn't have a price tag on it.

I mean no disrespect...these are questions I've had for several years now, and only just now had the nerve to post them.

kironin
04-18-2007, 11:57 PM
I'm certain this borders on religiousity (which I really am not). It just seems that anything dealing with the spirit, shouldn't have a price tag on it.


So a church, synagogue, or mosque goer refuses to make regular donations because he thinks the spirit shouldn't have a price tag on it? Never mind the concept of tithing, or that it may help the church, etc. support local community activities like feeding the homeless, or allowing the spiritlual leader visit the sick in the hospital or those alone in their homes instead of taking on a day job.

Aikido school is not a church, but if it feeds your spirit and you view it as something to do with the spirit or put another way enriches you life then why not view the money you pay as supporting something you value rather than buying a commodity?
Why wouldn't you want to help insure it continues to be available?

Why rather than thinking that something has a price tag on it that instead you are choosing to support a group whose mission you believe in ?

Those that view it as something they are supporting pay monthly even when they are not able to practice because they want to support the activity and insure it is still there when they are able to attend.

Those that see it as something with a price tag don't contribute when they take a break from training.

I have had both kinds of students.

I guess as a teacher I am trying to wrap my mind around what the point exactly you are trying to make with this discussion.

Who are these wealthy ?
Most students i have met would not be classified as wealthy unless someone that has a bit of cash beyond what they need to eat and house themselves and their family is considered wealthy.

One of my Iaido students is the CEO of a company, now he is wealthy.

We charge $70 a month in an area where karate programs charge around $120 a month. The karate programs have many more students (mostly kids) and the school owners do it for a living. Some I know are quite dedicated to teaching but quite understandably view it as a business because they have bills to pay. Some make quite a good living though it might have taken years at a daytime job to make it so. The reality of the aikido program is that there are a lot of operating costs including the need for a dedicated space with a quality mat that limits the other kind of activities that can happen on that mat.

For all the time I have put in teaching in the last decade or the costs I have incurred, I have been paid nothing. I learned that model from my teachers and I am not sure that is such a good model. I am beginning to think it's a bit insane given how society operates. Because I get no compensation it also limits the time and energy I can devote to the aikido program as opposed to those activities that will help pay my mortgage, gas, and food.

I also know an aikido teacher in town who is very dedicated to teaching and because he has been able to arrange programs that do pay him, he has been able to put the time and energy necessary to build a growing organization. He is able to help a lot more people learn and train than someone who does it around a job.

I don't see aikido teachers getting rich off aikido. I don't see anything wrong about those are able to successfully arrange to spend the majority of their time on their passion while also being able to feed their families.

I think the following shows being of service to others in business as in things to do with the spirit are not a whole lot different,
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/70

I get a little tired of the expectation of an aikido teacher to follow the Franciscan monk model.

Edward
04-19-2007, 12:10 AM
But there are those who go further than that, and make people feel that they wouldn't be there except for the money. We've all encountered that, I think. That projection is the one from which it's difficult to operate. I think that most students need to feel that their teacher is about dedication to the art... to living it... to teaching it to me... It implies belief, a reaching out, not just a desire to turn a profit.
.

Clark,

You can't blame them. They have been screwed so many times that they have finally learned their lesson. If you expect the teachers to be like monks, don't forget that monks are supported by the largest and richest political organization in the world, the church. Who is supporting your teacher, and does his organization give him money for his and the dojo's fees?

In my opinion, we either can afford it, and then we train, if we don't afford it, then we don't train. Simple. I've never heard about anyone who died from aikido deprivation.

kironin
04-19-2007, 12:26 AM
I say sad, because I have always considered Aikido a universal activity for "all" persons. I had heard of one sensei in Brazil, who used Aikido to reach street kids. Is that more an exception?

Many teachers have started various programs for troubled kids in the US as well. These programs required funding from somewhere.

Also classes for individuals incarcerated either in jail or juvenile facilities. Such sessions intended to provide participants the opportunity to examine their own understanding of power and strength and reconsider the efficacy of anger and tension. etc.

Volunteer programs require some teachers time.

Unless they are unusually very successful with granting agencies, a teacher can't afford these activities unless they have a good sized paying student body. You could have a teacher hold free classes in his garage but how many students can be reached with that model ?

Aikido for all persons doesn't necessarily equate with free classes. Until we are living in the Star Trek world where the money economy has been abolished and we can all follow our bliss without regard to economics (of course we will all be fabulously talented super humans and learn on holodecks, right?), it doesn't make any sense if you want aikido be more available to everyone.

crbateman
04-19-2007, 01:23 AM
Clark,

You can't blame them. They have been screwed so many times that they have finally learned their lesson. If you expect the teachers to be like monks, don't forget that monks are supported by the largest and richest political organization in the world, the church. Who is supporting your teacher, and does his organization give him money for his and the dojo's fees?

In my opinion, we either can afford it, and then we train, if we don't afford it, then we don't train. Simple. I've never heard about anyone who died from aikido deprivation.I understand. However, allowing someone of modest means to train at a reduced cost is not "being screwed", and should not evoke such cynicism. And though you are correct that nobody has died from "Aikido deprivation", many have benefitted in countless ways from being afforded the opportunity to train despite their financial limitations. Helping others is win-win. I never said that teachers should live in refrigerator boxes and eat bugs; only that profit should not be their primary motivation, as it might make them appear disingenuous, and will certainly lead many of them to a disappointing outcome.

Lambdadragon
04-19-2007, 01:31 AM
I guess as a teacher I am trying to wrap my mind around what the point exactly you are trying to make with this discussion.

I get a little tired of the expectation of an aikido teacher to follow the Franciscan monk model.

If you're tired of people expecting poverty from aikido instructors, then it must have been a retread issue in the past. However, it never came out of my statements.

My teachers never seem to tire from helping their students work through unanswered questions.

Here let me make it clear, charge as much as you like. Make a profit or don't. Doesn't matter to me.

I received an answer to my first question. Many replied that their dojos help those with financial issues, yet they have enough paying students for their dojo to do well. :) I'm a happy camper.

In regards to my follow-up questions, no one who responded knew if O'Sensei taught or was willing to teach aikido for free to anyone. No one responded about his missionary work in China. Only defensive statements from persons stating they have the right to make a profit (not what I was asking).

There seems to be a broad spectrum from those who share their Aikido with anyone to those who will only practice with those who pay, and everywhere in between.

I think I stand somewhere in the middle, BUT I don't believe their is a right place on the spectrum. Stand where you want.

My adopted son intends to one day build a dojo near his home in Shanghai. He will charge. However, having at one time been a poor orphan, there will be plenty of students practicing at his dojo that couldn't afford it. Even though he is now president of an international company, he has not forgotten his roots. He wouldn't have had the opportunity of learning aikido if I hadn't adopted him.

Again, thanks to all for your input.

Lambdadragon
04-19-2007, 03:30 AM
So a church, synagogue, or mosque goer refuses to make regular donations because he thinks the spirit shouldn't have a price tag on it?

I've never attended a church that forced a person to leave because they had no money. You've helped me understand that Aikido and the church are apples and oranges. Aikido is more a business. Because of the allusion to spirituality and that its founder was a monk, I was exploring the possibility that it was more of a church. I was wrong to make such an assumption.

Gernot Hassenpflug
04-19-2007, 04:55 AM
What an expensive Martial Art! You have to pay mat fees? Keikogi? and on top of that you have to pay for your own belt? No wonder it's only for the rich :DPshaw, guys, when I was a stripling we had to fight for our belts, every now and again some beltless wonder would sneak up behind one of us and rip it off, and take our place. We learned to grow eyes ni the back of our heads. Those were hard times. Gis...we had to weave our own, and that was lucky, since the previous dojo had made us grow our own cotton for the first three years, learning how to wield farm implements and build up our ki. And we were grateful for this. We had the 10% rule - all our earnings when to the dojo, and there was a 10% chance we might get some back to buy food, else we'd be out hunting again after class. Those were the days...

Charles Hill
04-19-2007, 05:45 AM
Hi David,

Morihei Ueshiba came from a wealthy family and thus had no concept of money which caused difficulty for his family. Pre-war, he had many political connections and what we might call government contracts to teach both the military and the wealthy. The Hell Dojo he ran was primarily designed to produce teachers to teach in his place at various places around the country. These teachers were "uchi deshi" who were expected to support the dojo in some material manner. As far as I know, they all came from wealthy families.

Post war, Ueshiba lived on the farm that he had bought using the money he got from teaching. Before Aikido became popular, Kisshomaru Ueshiba worked full time at a company and that paid for the "uchi deshi" whom it seems did not pay.

My understanding is that the "work" that was done in China was more for supporting Japan's presence in that countrythan any kind of mission. It would be interesting to hear the opinion of the people in Shanghai on M Ueshiba's visits to China.

Charles Hill

SeiserL
04-19-2007, 07:54 AM
I love either/or propositions.
Either they are in it for the money or they are not.
Let us not forget the huge spectrum in between, the balance and harmony of duality, the possibility of both.
IMHO, you can love what you do professional and still make a living at it to support for family.

mriehle
04-19-2007, 01:52 PM
Of course you should. If you look at my first crack at this thread, you'll see that I feel the same. I have nothing but respect for the "professional teacher".

Yeah, I wasn't hacking on you, or really anyone else here.

But there are those who go further than that, and make people feel that they wouldn't be there except for the money. We've all encountered that, I think.

Yes. I think so.

That projection is the one from which it's difficult to operate. I think that most students need to feel that their teacher is about dedication to the art... to living it... to teaching it to me... It implies belief, a reaching out, not just a desire to turn a profit.

Good point.

Nobody will begrudge someone who really makes himself a positive influence on everybody he trains, and manages to make a successful living in the process.

I know two teachers like this. But, yes, they are uncommon.

But I have to take exception to the word "nobody" in your statement above. I've run into a number of people who will not train with someone who teaches professionally. They firmly believe that to be a professional teacher implies that you have sold out your art and are no longer a valid practitioner.

It's surprisingly common, I've found.

And trying to reason with people who've acquired this belief is pointless.

tarik
04-19-2007, 02:10 PM
I'm certain this borders on religiousity (which I really am not). It just seems that anything dealing with the spirit, shouldn't have a price tag on it.

I don't believe anything dealing with spirit comes without a price tag and frankly that most people involved in practices that deal with the spirit are not willing to pay that price.

And it has nothing to do with money.

I have friends who live in near poverty with their parents because they have no significant income due to their choices. They complain about not being able to buy a new car or a house or do many things because of their sacrifices (job choices), but they have enough money to pursue their passions in 'fandom' around the world. We all pay the price we are willing to pay for the things we really want.


I mean no disrespect...these are questions I've had for several years now, and only just now had the nerve to post them.

No worries.

Regards,

kironin
04-19-2007, 03:00 PM
Stanely Pranin in his long history lecture goes in to some detail how family financed much of what Ueshiba Sensei did before the war. I think he had a weathy uncle that owned a factory or business.

I recall an interview where they talked about that in 50's and 60's there was a money plate in the hombu dojo where people were supposed to leave donations for Ueshiba's family and he would get angry if it was empty when visiting from Iwama. Can't remember where I read that some time ago. He didn't ever directly worry about finances, I suspect his son had to worry about that and what students were paying or what other contributions were recieved.

mriehle
04-19-2007, 03:10 PM
He didn't ever directly worry about finances, I suspect his son had to worry about that and what students were paying or what other contributions were recieved.

Now this is something that I think is worth considering.

At least for me, when I start to worry about dojo finances my teaching suffers. Significantly. So having someone else (my wife) manage that aspect of running the dojo is very important. This may just be a matter of not trying to do too many things at once, but I know that some other teachers have had a similar experience.

crbateman
04-19-2007, 03:37 PM
But I have to take exception to the word "nobody" in your statement above. I've run into a number of people who will not train with someone who teaches professionally. They firmly believe that to be a professional teacher implies that you have sold out your art and are no longer a valid practitioner."Nobody" is perhaps a stretch, as there is usually somebody who will dispute any point. But only a nearsighted fool will chastise a good person who does good for anyone, any way they can, simply because they make their living in the process. The attitude you speak of is probably present more in people whose experience has been more of the "one-way street" variety.

That's why, for instance, I can't fathom the people who flame Stan Pranin, who has probably done more than any man alive to promote the benefits and preserve and disseminate the delicate history of Aikido, just because he tries to sell a few videos and books on his own website to support himself. His devotion is absolute, and such criticism is ridiculous. But still it happens. One simply can't please everybody...

DarkShodan
04-20-2007, 08:23 AM
Grrrrrr! Arrrrrrg! I really hate posts like this! :grr:

To put it simply, Aikido is for everyone. Unfortunately sometimes that means anyone with an opinion, a computer, and an internet connection. :yuck:

kironin
04-20-2007, 09:12 AM
<rei>
I see your Sensei has made the ultimate sacrifice for his students!

going from Hawaii to Nebraska.
:D

George S. Ledyard
04-20-2007, 09:15 AM
The idea that you shouldn't have to pay for something spiritual... where does that come from? In the oldest forms of archaic religion it was the case that the student paid something to the teacher. There had to be an exchange to cement the relationship. It wasn't always money, but there was payment. this goes back before any of the modern religions were even founded.

This idea that money is somehow bad or that as a professional I am somehow more "commercial" is BS. I have put it all on the line. I gave up a good career to do what I do and make a fraction of what i could have made. I am 55 years old, at this point in my life, I can't turn around and go back and change my mind. It's a done deal. There's no way at this age I can change careers and start over.

I have a beautiful dojo that the students have invested in heavily over the years but I am the one on that lease, not them. Any student can walk away at any instant and I am the one still paying the rent.

I HAVE to deliver the goods. The guy who teaches at the local community center and has a job to support himself can be great or he or she can be mediocre, there's not much at stake. He can walk away without too much at risk. It's all at risk for me. If I can't deliver top notch training, if I can't inspire my students, I lose everything; I end up working at Starbucks.

I teach around the country. The income I make is crucial to my financial survival. That means I have to deliver! When I finish a seminar on Sunday night I need to have the folks who attended already wondering when I'll be back. People don't train with me because i am the head of anything... I can't pull into town and show the same old techniques I do at every seminar and then stand around and watch the clock while people train (like some Shihan I've seen). I have to give value for the time and effort people have put into attending the seminar. If i don't get invited back to almost every place that invites me I don't survive.

When you find a professional Aikido teacher you are looking at someone who has to be good at what they do. I am not saying that folks who aren't professional can't be as good or as inspiring. But they don't have to be. There are hundreds and hundreds of folks out there who have set themselves up as teachers of this art. How many of them could survive if they had to rely on that for their living? A small fraction.

I think folks should have a lot more respect for the professional Aikido teacher. He or she has put a lot more on the line than the folks who have a nice solid backup profession and for whom failure has little consequence. It sure as hell is the very worst martial art to have chosen to teach if it was about the money.

Larry Feldman
04-20-2007, 09:24 AM
Right as usual, George.

Without any discussion of how many hours of training it takes to achieve the proficiency you have.

Those hours of practice applied to any other endeaver would no doubt make you an 'expert' who is paid accordingly.

Even though some Shihan with larger organizations no doubt survive because they can go on the seminar circut, some only make it by contributions from senior members, not just dues.

kironin
04-20-2007, 09:32 AM
I love either/or propositions.
Either they are in it for the money or they are not.
Let us not forget the huge spectrum in between, the balance and harmony of duality, the possibility of both.
IMHO, you can love what you do professional and still make a living at it to support for family.

As usual Lynn is spot on.

and as someone, I think Tarik, pointed out, it's usually the NON monetary costs that students are not willing to pay to develop in aikido.

If I have a student that has demonstrated in attitude and practice that he is willing to make those non-monetary sacrifices run into financial problems, I would definitely work to fairly accomodate him.

Craig

Chuck Clark
04-20-2007, 09:36 AM
Great post George. Thanks for speaking for all of us who do fill our rice bowl each day by teaching. The profit margin we get is seeing people learn and how it affects their lives, not to mention the letters, etc. we get from students from long ago who feel like what they learned in the dojo is partly responsible for their success, etc.

Thanks again, I couldn't have put it any better.

Keith R Lee
04-20-2007, 09:41 AM
I'd agree that there is nothing wrong with a Aikido teacher earning money. The whole free-spiritual-mumbo-jumbo that gets tacked onto Aikido is indeed BS. Aikido teachers that sacrifice the rest of their lives to devote themselves to teaching Aikido should at least be able to support themselves comfortably. I'm not saying they need to be rolling on dubs but they should at least be able to have a decent lifestyle.

George S. Ledyard
04-20-2007, 09:41 AM
If I have a student that has demonstrated in attitude and practice that he is willing to make those non-monetary sacrifices run into financial problems, I would definitely work to fairly accomodate him.

Craig
Of course... If a student who has demonstrated a commitment to training runs into trouble, I never worry about the money issue. I've let people who lost their jobs train for free until they got back on their feet. There's no point I can see in losing a good student along with the income if someone cannot pay. I find that those folks usually fall all over themselves to do things for the dojo.

What goes around comes around as well. I had a student who for many years didn't pay dues because he was always seriously broke. Now he is a Systema instructor and I am training with him. Guess what? he won't let me pay for anything.

crbateman
04-20-2007, 11:05 AM
I had a student who for many years didn't pay dues because he was always seriously broke. Now he is a Systema instructor and I am training with him. Guess what? he won't let me pay for anything.EXACTLY! Your willingness to invest of yourself in this fellow has helped him endlessly, and now the benefit returns to you. Very compassionate, and a good example...

mriehle
04-20-2007, 11:50 AM
George:

I almost feel I should forward post #63 on to someone I know who is particularly big on the martial-arts-instructors-shouldn't-be-paid idea. And I would, if I thought it would do any good.

But it won't.

So I'll content myself with knowing that I'm not the only one who feels like being a professional teacher is an honorable aspiration.

DarkShodan
04-20-2007, 01:15 PM
I see your Sensei has made the ultimate sacrifice for his students!

going from Hawaii to Nebraska.
:D

This is off subject as usual, but Oh well. Yes, he has made the ultimate sacrifice, and we are very thankful. He keeps threatening to retire and move back to Hawaii. :eek: He made another great sacrifice by taking me on as a student. The man has no limits to his kindness and generosity. :D

Janet Rosen
04-20-2007, 03:15 PM
I don't have much to add to this except I have to add my name to the chorus appreciating both George's position and his able articulation of it.

SeiserL
04-20-2007, 04:15 PM
The idea that you shouldn't have to pay for something spiritual... where does that come from?
IMHO, rules are always made by the people who think they will benefit from them. In this case, people who think they are entitled to get something for nothing and then are surprise that because they put nothing out got nothing in return.

I will continue to show up, pay my monthly dues, pay registration at the seminar, pay my way there and back, and be grateful to get thrown repeatedly to the ground. If that is "wealthy", then I am truly a rich rich man.

tony cameron
04-20-2007, 06:05 PM
"Where there is a will, there is a Way."

..that's what i say:) True words of wisdom! I believe that if a person really wants to practice Aikido, then they will find the means to do it. And then, once you are addicted, there's no way to stop: eating, sleeping, breathing, walking, dreaming, living the way of harmony:) Every breath, every step, every action and reaction Aikido. Healthiest addiction i've ever had. I am not rich btw, but i have made concessions. I don't own a car, i bike. Eat out less, go to the movies less often (Netflix people!), buy less brand new cloths and more dogis! I scrounge up that $65 every month out of necessity, not because i think it's kind of neat. Sure i hang out with my old friends less, but thats because i hang out at the dojo more! Financial priorities must be set in the correct order.

:triangle: :circle: :square:

Best wishes to all,

Tony

Charles Hill
04-21-2007, 02:01 AM
Hi,

I personally don't have much of an opinion on the subject, BUT both Rinjiro Shirata and Morihiro Saito clearly said that to be a professional Aikido teacher is wrong and wanted their students to not teach professionally.

Charles Hill

George S. Ledyard
04-21-2007, 02:07 AM
Hi,

I personally don't have much of an opinion on the subject, BUT both Rinjiro Shirata and Morihiro Saito clearly said that to be a professional Aikido teacher is wrong and wanted their students to not teach professionally.

Charles Hill
I don't know that Shirata Sensei ever taught very widely but Saito Sensei sure did. Did he teach all those seminars for free all over the world?

Peter Goldsbury
04-21-2007, 03:34 AM
On the other hand, Hiroshi Tada clearly thinks that he is a professional teacher and that this was what he was called to be. I do not know whether he is independently wealthy, or is/was supported by his family, in the way that Morihei Ueshiba certainly was.

However, there is a distinction to be made here and it might be more subtle to Japanese shihans, who regard themselves as inheritors of samurai tradition, than to non-Japanese. The distinction is between being a professional aikido teacher and running an aikido business.

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation in Europe with an 8th dan shihan who had been a direct student of the Founder. He criticized the present Aikikai Hombu, on the grounds that it is run as a business. He clearly had the above distinction in mind, since he is a professional aikido teacher, but does not think he is running a business in the sense that he thinks the Hombu is. Nor, I suspect, does Tada Shihan.

Well, of course the Hombu is run as a business: it has to be, but it is a zaidan houjin (a legal foundation for tax purposes) and was so in O Sensei's time (as the Zaidan Houjin Kobukai), and so the aim is not to make a profit in order to pay shareholders. Accordngly there are clear fee scales, audited accounts, and the treasurer has to make regular reports on the state of the foundation to the government authorities.

It is curious that Tada Shihan is one of the few Japanese Shihans who does not have a source of income other than aikido. There are a few more, but also a large number of aikido shihans who teach aikido as a side activity, in addition to having some other source of income. Rinjiro Shirata, Morihiro Saito and, for a time, even Kisshomaru Ueshiba, were all in this second category.

In the same way that aikido shihans like Hiroshi Tada regard themselves as inheritors of samurai tradition, they are also inheritors of a fundemental problem connected with this tradition. Which is that the ideology of samurai as the embodiment of bushido was created at a time when they had lost their functions as warriors and were basically bureaucrats, practising their martial traditions inherited from the battlefield and gradually becoming impoverished, while the merchants in places like Osaka, much lower down on the social scale and of a class thought to be incapable of practising bushido, were raking in the money and lending some of it to the samurai. Lower-ranked samurai like Tasogare Seibei, who would be more likely than wealthy daimyo to be the counterpart of local aikido instructors, embody this problem forcefully.

So an aikido teacher is in a similar dilemma to a bishop or an abbot. His/hers is thought to be a spiritual calling, since we all know thgat aikido is supposed ot be fundamentally spiritual. However, if he/she makes too much money, there is always the chance of being attacked for being a money-maker.

Shrines and temples have also had this problem and they do not have the moral baggage of the New Testament. So, during the new year you go to a shrine like Izumo Taisha and buy an omikuji (a fortune slip). These are sold at various prices and so, presumably, the more you pay for the fortune slip, the clearer the vision possesed by the kami who is the bringer of the fortune.

Japan's New Religions like Omoto and its successors tend to be relatively wealthy and do not appear to appeal to the impoverished: the operating principle being the practicality of the spirituality practised. In other words, you get what you are prepared to pay for.

So, a dojo like the Hombu will charge fees and people who want to practise aikido know very well, without a shadow of doubt, that they have to pay the fees.

Chuck.Gordon
04-21-2007, 04:18 AM
George L. is spot on. Historically, budo training was only for the privileged. Throughout most of history, the peasants and farmers had far too much on their hands to worry about doing budo. Folk wrestling and things like stick fighting were taught in relatively unorganized fashion and mostly picked up on-the-job, as it were. They were too busy getting crops in, paying taxes and avoiding the chopping block to go to a dojo and spend hours and hours of valuable time practicing budo (and it wasn't too different in the West, for all that).

Only in recent decades has martial training become accesible to the public at large. It was for centuries, the domain of the warrior class, and if a peasant found himself drafted or levied into an army, some NCO-equivalent gave him a spear and said "Point goes that way, butt goes that way, don't stick your buddy, don't get out of step, don't break ranks. Now, go forth and kill a kami for mommy."

Look at the lists of students the old guys kept: admirals, politicians, wealthy merchants ... a very, very few ryuha admitted commoners until Meiji, and then when some of the samurai started teaching 'publicly' to support themselves after the reform had abolished their class and livelihood, they sought out and taught those who could afford it - merchant, politicians, senior military leaders who had the disposable income and spare time to devote to their studies.

Today, the idea that budo is for the masses has become popularized, but very few of the Old Guys really wanted to fill their dojo with the great Unwashed.

Today, we have a huge middle class, and we have the time and money to pursue things like ________ (insert the name of your favorite martial art or sport). And somehow, it's become the expectation that we should just let ANYONE in the door who walks up. That any Joe Schmoe should have the _right_ to train in any dojo or dojang he wishes. More of my thoughts on THAT can be found here (http://www.aikiweb.com/training/gordon1.html), should anyone be interested.

If you're going to run a professional, commercial dojo, you MUST charge enough to pay rent, keep the lights on, and provide for your own continuing education. As a student in such a dojo, you're paying for what you get.

Me, I've chosen to go the other way. I teach in my home or in public facilities, and don't charge at all, unless you count showing up, giving of yourself and paying attention (waves at the other Chuck). My students pay a great deal for their training, but it's not cash, it's heart and mind and dedication.

I limit my classes to a small handful of folks, and prefer the older paradigms for transmitting the art that I love.

You can run a professional commercial operation, as George does, and maintain your integrity, provide quality instruction and produce quality students. However, many 'professional' budo teachers wind up short-sheeting themselves, so to speak, because they find themselves with more financial burden than they can (or are willing) to bear and start paying more attention to the numbers than to the quality. And others still will short-sheet their families in order to support a dojo that perhaps shouldn't be a profession as much as it should have been kept a hobby.

Going that direction means you're setting up a business, and you must be prepared to treat it as a business, and ensure you have a good plan, good resources and a solid grasp of how to handle the finances, marketing, recruiting and maintenance of your enterprise.

There are a good double handful of aikido teachers out there making it work, but far more, alas, simply aren't up to the challenge.

Is budo/aikido only for the rich? Not today, but as with any pursuit worth pursuing, there WILL be a price, fiscal or personal. It all comes down to what your training is worth to YOU.

DonMagee
04-21-2007, 04:02 PM
T

When you find a professional Aikido teacher you are looking at someone who has to be good at what they do.

I have to disagree. All you have to be is a good con man. Brainwash a few people, and you can have the look of a great teacher. Bullshido.com has proven that.

Mark Uttech
04-21-2007, 04:09 PM
It proves nothing Don. When you see good aikido, you automatically know what bad aikido is.

In gassho'

Mark

Avery Jenkins
04-21-2007, 06:57 PM
I have to disagree. All you have to be is a good con man. Brainwash a few people, and you can have the look of a great teacher. Bullshido.com has proven that.

You pinned my own BS meter with that one, Don. OK, if you believe there are bullshido aikido sensei out there, at least have the courage to name names.

By casting aspersions on the unnamed, you by inference cast aspersions on all.

And with regards to the topic of this thread: I charge a pretty penny for my expertise, I have no problem with an aikido sensei doing the same.

Avery

Lyle Bogin
04-21-2007, 07:02 PM
If anything, we never pay our teachers enough.

DonMagee
04-22-2007, 11:15 AM
You pinned my own BS meter with that one, Don. OK, if you believe there are bullshido aikido sensei out there, at least have the courage to name names.

By casting aspersions on the unnamed, you by inference cast aspersions on all.

And with regards to the topic of this thread: I charge a pretty penny for my expertise, I have no problem with an aikido sensei doing the same.

Avery

I did not say there was bullshido aikido teachers out there, however I believe there is one in my town. In downtown mishawaka, IN there is a guy who claims to be Shin Budo Kai. When I google Shin Budo Kai, I see this website http://www.shinbudokai.org/. This website does not show an indiana affiliate. Now this school is never open and says it teaches by appointment only. It is a fairly expensive part of town as far as rent goes, their flyer states they teach at least a dozen martial arts all mastered by the same man. It's prices are 50.00 a month higher then even the ata schools in the area. He claims tons of quotes from very famous people including some Ueshiba's about how awesome he is. He claims he can teach you how to defeat any MMA fighter, and even further, he claims that for an extra 200.00 a month, he can make you a black belt in ANY style in one year. He also says for an extra 100.00 on top of that each month, he can make you a certified teacher in ANY martial art in one year. Then you can as his flyer says "Open your own school and charge whatever you want!"

Now I have tried to contact this guy two times to try a class and see if he really is some kind of god. However, both times I did not receive a call back. As of last week however I noticed a new promotion on his building. Kids train free when a partent signs up, it also had something else in there that I was not able to read as I drove past to head to the college.

I would like to point out I have met most of the martial art teachers in my area. I know some very good martial artists who have made careers out of the martial arts. However, I have not yet met one person in the area who says this guy is legit. When I mention him most laugh or say it's not respectful to give their opinion of what he is doing. So I suspect this guy is bullshido and I know for a fact he has mcdojo practices. I have trained good aikido and I know good aikido when I see it. However, because aikido tends to be isolated into groups and there is no platform to test and see who really has good aikido, it would be very possible for a person with no skill at all to fake it and make tons of money.

So what if he can't get students who have seen good aikido, he can get and brainwash people with no training, then use them to influence new people to believe something is wrong with them for not believing this stuff works. Next thing you know, your getting 'knocked' out 20 feet away from your sensei and doing backflips on command.

Again, I do not yet have personal experience to call the guy I mentioned bullshido. But I have enough to suspect he probably is bullshido. This is my opinion. I'm trying to get in to take his class and see how he really is. If I find out otherwise, I'll apologize.

kironin
04-22-2007, 04:03 PM
In downtown mishawaka, IN there is a guy who claims to be Shin Budo Kai. When I google Shin Budo Kai, I see this website http://www.shinbudokai.org/. This website does not show an indiana affiliate.

Don,

I don't think the website has all the Shin Budo Kai groups listed since I know of some that don't appear. It's possible that it's a small unofficial group. There are some senior people that post
on aikiweb that should be able to tell you quickly whether there is an Indiana group and who they are.

It does sound like some bullshido marketing at least.

Basia Halliop
04-22-2007, 06:36 PM
I would suspect, that like most things, how much or if you get paid neither guarantees you're good not guarantees you're bad. Someone could be poor or so-so at Aikido but great at marketing and business, and make a decent amount of money (lots of students, lots of belts, some aerobic excercise, some babysitting kid classes, etc - probably even without being a con, if they were good enough at packaging and selling their product), they could be excellent at Aikido and teaching and skilled at knowing how to make the most of that skill and the respect gained by it to make a living, they could be excellent but not make any money off of it (say they prefer small numbers of students that don't pay much or prefer to keep fees low or just don't wish to run it that way or any number of other reasons), etc.... Personally I suspect it might make sense not to read too much into it either way.

senshincenter
04-22-2007, 09:03 PM
I would say, generally, martial arts training, in the States at least, is a middle class (on up) kind of thing. So there is something to martial arts in general being for the more wealthy than for the less wealthy.

However, at our dojo, if someone can't contribute dues to the dojo, they are still encouraged to train. In other words, one never has to have funds to train - this is something we always say. Besides, lack of funds is never the hard part about staying on with one's commitment. So we don't make a big deal out of that. We are more into stressing daily training over anything else.

Additionally, we will offer folks a gi to borrow if they cannot afford one or we'll even all pitch in to purchase one for them. If someone does want to purchase a gi, or any equipment for that matter, we look not to make a profit on such things, such that we simply pass along the wholesale discount to our members. We do all of this to make training more accessible for the materially-minded - since, as I said above, this is the least of folks' troubles when it comes to commitment.

As you can see, we are not set to get rich by Aikido, or even to make a living at it - this though our dojo continues to grow and grow, and we train seven days a week with multiple hours per day for training. (i.e. We are not a small club.) I'm not saying this is the only way to be, or that this is the best way to be, but for me there is a strong connection between sharing our art, working for the community, and self-sacrifice. As it turns out, because we live in a material culture, self-sacrifice very often means a willingness for poverty. I'm not saying one has to be poor to teach Aikido, but for me, it is important that one need not be rich (or well off, or make money, etc.) to teach Aikido. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying one shouldn't make money or that one cannot make money via teaching Aikido. I'm saying, for me, I cannot pursue what I am interested in if teaching in any way requires me to make money.

If a student comes to me and says, or better yet shows, that they are ready to train, but that they have no funds to contribute to the dojo's welfare, I, in my practice, could never turn them away. Moreover, I couldn't draw a line because two such students came my way, or ten, or twenty, or all of them. In other words, it is not in my practice to say, "I cannot afford to teach you," to anyone, no matter how many. Sacrifice is key to my understanding of the art, and one of the things I sacrifice in the face of my own teaching practice is my material welfare. I try to look elsewhere for that, as I try and let the sense of self-sacrifice grow in our members - which in turns allows ample support to come to the dojo's welfare if and/or whenever needed.

That said, how about these seminar prices? Aren't those getting a little high? Some of them are costing what a full month's membership responsibility might be - especially if you have two seminars a month to attend.

dmv

jennifer paige smith
04-23-2007, 10:41 AM
I teach foster children free. Everyone else pays a $5 mat fee. I don't have a "dues" structure because I do not offer rank at my dojo. I have never had a problem paying for good aikido instruction.

Thank you to Rick for his hard work and his well founded faith in generosity!

My teachers say "you have to give it away to keep it." to me this means the techniques and the opportunity. So while I have a dojo where I charge fees, I am also aggressively involved in outreach programs. Kind of Robin Hood syle. The money from the dojo goes back into the dojo or into a program for the outer community .By doing this my school regenerates the circle of learning in all directions.I consider the art the greatest gift I have recieved since the gift of my life from my parents. In appropriate appreciation I also give it away to those who have not been 'gifted' yet. The students in these programs 'pay their dues' in many ways. My hope is they become good help along the way.

jennifer paige smith
04-23-2007, 10:53 AM
Now this is something that I think is worth considering.

At least for me, when I start to worry about dojo finances my teaching suffers. Significantly. So having someone else (my wife) manage that aspect of running the dojo is very important. This may just be a matter of not trying to do too many things at once, but I know that some other teachers have had a similar experience.

Indeed.:)
Not all artists/teachers are great business people and we benefit from the help of others.

jennifer paige smith
04-23-2007, 11:08 AM
This is a discussion that reaches far beyond the door of the dojo. If you are at the dojo you have been exposed. You have benefited from a product of privelige. One element of wealth is exposure. Exposure is privelige. This aikido conversation is a privelige. If you have never been exposed to aikido, like if you live in a very poor neighborhood (how many schools out there are canvasing poor neighborhoods for students?) you don't even have the opportunity to engage in a dojo price discussion. You don't even know the art exists. You probably haven't read the books, you probably don't have a friend who took a class in college, and many other things that get lost in the wash. I realize this is a generalization, so please forgive that for the sake of discussion at the moment.
The art is a privelige. The point is I offer the art wherever I can for the sake of the art and in the principle of gratitude. "You have to give it away to keep it." Maybe this means providing classes outside of our dojo for some underpriveliged group. Maybe this means evaluating the privelige we have currently. For everyone this could be different. I believe it is worth considering. I believe we are good and generous people on a whole (martial artists)and I believe us to be creative in breaking down barriers socially and personally.
Gambatte!

Fred Little
04-23-2007, 11:29 AM
That said, how about these seminar prices? Aren't those getting a little high? Some of them are costing what a full month's membership responsibility might be - especially if you have two seminars a month to attend.

dmv

David,

Price and value are two different things.

My recent experience, across multiple organizations, is that Shihan seminar are too overcrowded to offer good value, and I would happily pay twice the fee if the the organizers were willing to place meaningful restrictions on the number of attendees.

FL

jonreading
04-23-2007, 12:30 PM
You get what you pay for...

There is a trend towards viewing aikido as a free commodity. What some aikido? Hit up the local dojo and they have hand-outs three days a week. The secure dojo environment is giving way to a revolving door for aiki-junkies who scoff at dojo charity.

Like anything, good aikido instruction and a nice dojo are the fruits of money and effort. When students contribute money and effort to making the dojo a better place, their charity allows the dojo to assist those students who have less than others.

We pay dues in charity to help those who support our training. The greater the charity we contribute, the greater the opportunity to expand our training.

Larry Feldman
04-23-2007, 03:46 PM
As to your Shin Budo Kai affiliation, Marc Abrams or Lyle post here regularly, and should be able to confirm any affiliation.

As of a year ago there was in fact no one affiliated in Indiana, but people do move.

If you wish, you can send me a message and I will be happy to provide you with a few phone numbers of SBK people.

Marc Abrams
04-23-2007, 04:19 PM
JUST FOR THE RECORD

There is no affiliate dojo of Shin-Budo Kai in Indiana. I would greatly appreciate it if someone could provide me with that person's contact information so that we can set our legal bulldog loose to stop this person from making these allegations.

Marc Abrams

senshincenter
04-23-2007, 04:51 PM
David,

Price and value are two different things.

My recent experience, across multiple organizations, is that Shihan seminar are too overcrowded to offer good value, and I would happily pay twice the fee if the the organizers were willing to place meaningful restrictions on the number of attendees.

FL

Good points. But...

Are these over-crowded seminars worth the price then? Or, do we consider them "half-off," since we'd pay twice as much for half the folks training - for example.

Here's where I'm coming from, I've known dojo, and I've trained at dojo, where $25 gi were marked up between $50 and $100, where dues were already over $100/mo., where weapons training, ki training, or Iaido training cost "exta," and where members were HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to attend any and every seminar the dojo was hosting. Often, this could mean two seminars a month - with each seminar going from $60-$100 plus the chipping in for food and gifts and/or any other accommodations any seminar-giver might "require."

Under this sort of system, training for any given month might come up to be over $300 per month! At this point, for me, the price and value distinction seems beyond relevance. One should very well ask, "Is Aikido only for the wealthy?" This is how I was reading the original post.

While we may understand the cost of running a dojo, and while we may stand up for a fair wage for professional Aikido teachers, at some point, the cost of training does seem to raise questions over the validity of Aikido's spiritual leanings. It's the ol' "cannot serve two masters" - too much materiality always takes away from one's spirituality. At some point, we have to question what we are valuing - what is truly being valued.

Another way of looking at this: How high would we pay to train with Osensei? $100 for a one hour private? $200? $500? Is there a point when the price asked starts to make you think this old man is more attached to money than to anything else - where you start to doubt the validity of his spirituality because there appears to be no distance at all from the material world in his day-to-day practice of teaching?

As I said, semianrs I've been exposed to run about $60-$100, if some shihan started asking for twice that much to train less folks, I think, at this point in my life, I'd have to feel like I've moved a bit beyond that - like I couldn't justify training in a spiritual tradition under someone that NEEDED so much money. I think at such a point, we are talking about something entirely different from what George was discussing.

dmv

DonMagee
04-23-2007, 09:09 PM
JUST FOR THE RECORD
There is no affiliate dojo of Shin-Budo Kai in Indiana. I would greatly appreciate it if someone could provide me with that person's contact information so that we can set our legal bulldog loose to stop this person from making these allegations.

Marc Abrams

The place I mentioned is called "The Dojo - Indiana Shin Budo Kai"
815 N Main St, Mishawaka, IN
(574) 257-0050

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=indiana+shin+budo+kai&layer=&ie=UTF8&om=1&z=8&ll=42.817566,-85.935059&spn=3.84793,6.855469&iwloc=A

I attempted once again to contact them today to ask for lineage but the number was "Down for testing"

However, I drive by the place one a week. I can verify it is very much in business. I will attempt to get a new flyer from there as soon as I am able. Perhaps his contact info has changed.

Jess McDonald
04-23-2007, 11:45 PM
money is insignificant to the power of the dark side of the force

jennifer paige smith
04-29-2007, 11:27 AM
money is insignificant to the power of the dark side of the force

money is insignificant to any side of the force.

senshincenter
04-29-2007, 11:39 AM
And yet the force alone cannot build a death star or huge temples on planets in the center of the universe. and sometimes there's nothing like a good blaster - and you got to buy those too. and sometimes the smugglers you hire want to get paid. seems money counts even a long time ago in a galaxy far away from this one. go figure.

jennifer paige smith
04-29-2007, 11:45 AM
The idea that you shouldn't have to pay for something spiritual... where does that come from? In the oldest forms of archaic religion it was the case that the student paid something to the teacher. There had to be an exchange to cement the relationship. It wasn't always money, but there was payment. this goes back before any of the modern religions were even founded.

This idea that money is somehow bad or that as a professional I am somehow more "commercial" is BS. I have put it all on the line. I gave up a good career to do what I do and make a fraction of what i could have made. I am 55 years old, at this point in my life, I can't turn around and go back and change my mind. It's a done deal. There's no way at this age I can change careers and start over.

I have a beautiful dojo that the students have invested in heavily over the years but I am the one on that lease, not them. Any student can walk away at any instant and I am the one still paying the rent.

I HAVE to deliver the goods. The guy who teaches at the local community center and has a job to support himself can be great or he or she can be mediocre, there's not much at stake. He can walk away without too much at risk. It's all at risk for me. If I can't deliver top notch training, if I can't inspire my students, I lose everything; I end up working at Starbucks.

I teach around the country. The income I make is crucial to my financial survival. That means I have to deliver! When I finish a seminar on Sunday night I need to have the folks who attended already wondering when I'll be back. People don't train with me because i am the head of anything... I can't pull into town and show the same old techniques I do at every seminar and then stand around and watch the clock while people train (like some Shihan I've seen). I have to give value for the time and effort people have put into attending the seminar. If i don't get invited back to almost every place that invites me I don't survive.

When you find a professional Aikido teacher you are looking at someone who has to be good at what they do. I am not saying that folks who aren't professional can't be as good or as inspiring. But they don't have to be. There are hundreds and hundreds of folks out there who have set themselves up as teachers of this art. How many of them could survive if they had to rely on that for their living? A small fraction.

I think folks should have a lot more respect for the professional Aikido teacher. He or she has put a lot more on the line than the folks who have a nice solid backup profession and for whom failure has little consequence. It sure as hell is the very worst martial art to have chosen to teach if it was about the money.
Yay, George (sensei:) ),

Like you, I put it ALL on the line to have an operating functioning dojo that serves the public in many ways. Last year I almost lost my car and my living situation because of the duel demands of the dojos' financial obligations and my personal financial needs. So when I almost lost it all, no one (well maybe one person) called me a hero. So I'm not too interested in the phrase sell-out. I sold out of my laundry soap, I sold out of my gasoline bill to make it to the dojo. etc...(and this isn't just financial irresponsibility, this is about the real costs to teach).

And,like you , I also make my living professionaly teaching Aikido. And like you I also have to keep my chops up to maintain my professionalism or someone else will do it. Maybe someone with less service ethic, less civic responsibility and less gratitude for the opportunity. Or maybe someone who has honed their skills more than I have. Either way, the competition of the professional and financial markets call upon me to hone and refine my skills to a level that is beyond the auspices of casual or everyday practice. I've got to live it 24/7 and I'm under deep scrutiny as I do.
True, responsible professionalism is a beautiful gift to our society and the model our society has to offer to us to be our best.
Rate people not on wether they sell something, but on the quality of what they are selling. If you don't want to buy it, don't.

As for spirituality being what we might be buying or selling:
If it were that easy to be spiritual, to simply buy or sell it, what would we be doing here in the first place?

George S. Ledyard
04-29-2007, 02:28 PM
As for spirituality being what we might be buying or selling:
If it were that easy to be spiritual, to simply buy or sell it, what would we be doing here in the first place?

REAL spirituality isn't a very good product, it requires too much investment on the part of the "consumer". Commercial martial arts, the folks who make serious money, are selling illusion... the illusion of invincibility, the illusion of training in some "ultimate" style, the illusion of competence that really isn't there...

There isn't one Aikido teacher I know who makes from his Aikido anywhere near what he could have made doing something else. I am including the folks who have managed to be highly successful at it, too. It is a commitment and a sacrifice on that level, period. On the other hand, the pure joy of doing something that one really believes in for ones living as opposed to spending ones life doing some occupation that one simply tolerates in order to pay the bills, well, in the words of that credit card commercial... "PRICELESS". In that sense we are very rich indeed.

jennifer paige smith
04-30-2007, 12:54 PM
REAL spirituality isn't a very good product, it requires too much investment on the part of the "consumer". Commercial martial arts, the folks who make serious money, are selling illusion... the illusion of invincibility, the illusion of training in some "ultimate" style, the illusion of competence that really isn't there...

There isn't one Aikido teacher I know who makes from his Aikido anywhere near what he could have made doing something else. I am including the folks who have managed to be highly successful at it, too. It is a commitment and a sacrifice on that level, period. On the other hand, the pure joy of doing something that one really believes in for ones living as opposed to spending ones life doing some occupation that one simply tolerates in order to pay the bills, well, in the words of that credit card commercial... "PRICELESS". In that sense we are very rich indeed.

My dad found spirituality in a $2.00 hammer, so go figure.

For my part, it was free. Not that I don't work. I just don't work for spirtuality. I work for works sake, I train for trainings sake, I teach for teachings sake, and I write for writings sake. Somewhere along the line I got 'rich' too. And as my teachers say, 'you got to give it away to keep it'. By that I take it to mean don't be stingy, don't be greedy, don't be protective; be generous and generate. The art, your spirit, and your trade must be shared. And, $ is how we sustain our right livelihoods; a noble endeavour on all accounts.

Khalid Williams
04-30-2007, 03:10 PM
I have to say I was totally amazed by the title of this thread. I train in Morocco, which is a developing country, so I guess it's not the same as most of you guys, but Aikido here is definitely not an upper-class thing. Our dojo is in the ancient city, so there's no heating or any of those kinds of comforts, but there's mats, and there's traning partners... what more do you need? We pay around $8 a month fees (which is still a lot for some of the really poor people who train), and a set of weapons is $15.

Virtually everyone who trains lives in the old city too, and they are pretty poor, VERY poor by western standards, but many of them train in two dojos, or train two different arts and so are in the dojo basically every day. Reading this thread and seeing that people in the US are paying literally hundreds of dollars a month in fees is absolutely shocking to me. I know the economies of the countries are different... but they're not THAT different. Don't the Sensei over there have jobs? Are they making a living teaching Aikido? Or are you all training in super dojos with huge overheads?

It doesn't really seem to be in the spirit of the art to me.

giriasis
05-01-2007, 12:50 PM
David,

Price and value are two different things.

My recent experience, across multiple organizations, is that Shihan seminar are too overcrowded to offer good value, and I would happily pay twice the fee if the the organizers were willing to place meaningful restrictions on the number of attendees.

FL

My experience, at least in the USAF, is that the Shihan are invited to demonstrate at smaller seminars whereby you can receive the meaniful attention you desire. The difference is between over 250-300 attendees to 60-100. If you make an effort to attend on the lesser attended days like a Friday night or Sunday morning classes you will get noticed more as well.

I just travelled to Chicago this past weekend where Yamada, Sugano and Bernath Sensei taught. All three made a diligent effort to watch everyone training and make corrections where necessary. It is definently worth the effort to travel to the smaller seminars.

In my opinion, my $95 per month is not enough to cover what I learn from my sensei. And it is lower than the typical rate for comparable martial arts schools in our area (i.e. classes at least 2-3 times a day 7 days a week). I think $45-$65 is the running rate for dojos that only offer classes two to three times a week.

tarik
05-01-2007, 04:01 PM
Khalid

I know the economies of the countries are different... but they're not THAT different.

I have lived in the Middle East, so I'm aware of the discrepancies. Things really are that different.

If I were not cautious I could easily spent $10-15 just for a light lunch meal here. More for dinner, and that's without eating at an expensive restaurant. Mat fees when visiting dojo for a single day are often in the range of $5-$15 and not considered a lot of money.

Tarik

heathererandolph
05-03-2007, 04:34 PM
Even in a free class their are costs that someone is paying. There is rent, the cost of mats, electricity, not to mention marketing, the cost of training, or even teachers not being able to work as many hours in a "real job." I don't think Aikido instruction should be under valued.

Bronson
05-04-2007, 06:49 AM
My employer charges the customers a $60-75$/hour shop rate for the skilled labor in our shop. I believe the most experienced technician we have working on the floor has around 10-15 years of experience.

By comparison my sensei has over 30 years of aikido experience and charges $40/month.

According to the 2005 numbers at the www.michigan.gov (http://www.milmi.org/admin/uploadedPublications/789_wage_g25.htm)website a recreation/fitness teacher in Michigan in the post-secondary setting makes on average $47,370/year ($22.77/hour) while nationally they make an average of $48,960/year ($23.54/hour).

I found that a little interesting... of course I've been up for almost 24 hours :drool:

Bronson

jennifer paige smith
05-04-2007, 11:18 AM
Even in a free class their are costs that someone is paying. There is rent, the cost of mats, electricity, not to mention marketing, the cost of training, or even teachers not being able to work as many hours in a "real job." I don't think Aikido instruction should be under valued.
YES>
In cultures where ancient traditions still exist ( for example some traditional buddhism) teachers and aesetics (sp.?) are acknowledged and provided for by rituals of society. Dana,or generosity, is taught to children and they are guided to feed monks who come to their doors and the general population provides food and goods for the monostaries where they reside. We do not live in such a society. Elders are not cared for or respected, particularly ( in a society of youth worship) and there is not adequate health care. This is an element of our society. The country and culture really weigh in to the discussion.

I wonder How are people are insuring that their teachers will be cared for after the prime of their generosity has expired? How are people supporting the furtherance of our traditions so as to remove the burden from such a select few who we hold so responsible? How are we helping to perpetuate a dignified art?

thanks

Tony Wagstaffe
05-05-2007, 12:33 PM
If one is running a professional dojo as seems is encountered a lot in the U.S.A. I suppose it would be quite expensive! In relation to most dojo's in the U.K. where most dojo's are run on an amatuer basis.
In the U.K. most sensei normally have another occupation and teach in their spare time. Dojo fees reflect hire charges and mat upkeep fees, unless the hire centre provides matting within the cost of hire.
The more students there are the cheaper it gets.... possibly working out at about 2:50 - 3:50 per training session on average. I've heard up to 6:00 in some dojo's! That may reflect that they have small numbers or the sensei is getting some recompense on the side as it is usually the sensei that more often than not subsidises the dojo and wants to keep practising and is ill prepared to finance it totally!!
Tony

jennifer paige smith
05-05-2007, 03:56 PM
If one is running a professional dojo as seems is encountered a lot in the U.S.A. I suppose it would be quite expensive! In relation to most dojo's in the U.K. where most dojo's are run on an amatuer basis.
In the U.K. most sensei normally have another occupation and teach in their spare time. Dojo fees reflect hire charges and mat upkeep fees, unless the hire centre provides matting within the cost of hire.
The more students there are the cheaper it gets.... possibly working out at about 2:50 - 3:50 per training session on average. I've heard up to 6:00 in some dojo's! That may reflect that they have small numbers or the sensei is getting some recompense on the side as it is usually the sensei that more often than not subsidises the dojo and wants to keep practising and is ill prepared to finance it totally!!
Tony

Seems fair enough to me:) .

Matthew White
05-09-2007, 10:28 PM
to address the initial question, Is Aikido only for the Wealthy... a lot of that depends on what you term wealthy.
Income in Oklahoma is pretty low. Thankfully, my dojo is dirt cheap, else I couldn't afford it.
I watch these house hunter shows on HGTV and they show houses smaller than mine in CA for 5-8 times the price. I gag. But people doing my job out in CA are making a butt-load more than I do.

Likewise, I know some people around here who consider themselves "average" who could easily afford $300/month on a "hobby". It depends on which side of the tracks you're looking from.

$50 here might be $100 there and $20 at the other place. It all depends.

Gernot Hassenpflug
05-09-2007, 11:05 PM
Martial arts used to be solely for the wealthy: the teachers needed patrons, and got them. The money still didn't mean the rich got the secrets though, since as a commodity martial arts are pretty securely held. Nowadays not so martial arts and their sporting cousins are available to most people with some money and time to spare, for little sacrifice and investment. I would go so far as to say for a lot of people martial arts are a cheap way to do something to "get fit", since you can find non-commercialized arts fairly easily. Might also depend on the coolness factor of course :-)

For people really interested in the martial side of the arts, as with any art, the pursuit is neither easy nor cheap.

I agree with Heather.