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Unregistered
09-13-2002, 10:37 AM
Some people consider cheap, as in inexpensive, aikido to be good since it brings in people who might otherwise not have the money for it.

But, do you think aikido, overall, has a feeling of it being TOO cheap?

If you take a look in other fields, people with comparable experience like 40 years receive a much larger compensation. Noted professors giving a one hour lecture receives how many tens of thousands of dollars? I'm sure people have also seen taiji seminars running hundreds of dollars for a weekend.

Why does aikido have this cheap feeling to it? Why does it seem like the aikido cmuunity has this general feeling that it's wrong for aikido teachers to charge enough to make a living off or even a profit from teaching the art?

MaylandL
09-13-2002, 10:49 AM
I can't speak for other instructors only for those whom I train under. Teaching and practicing aikido for them is not a business venture but its done becasue they are passionate about doing an activity which they truly enjoy and wish to share with others. The level of their renumeration is in no way related to their expertise. For them all they need is to cover some of their out of pocket expenses.

All the best and happy training :)

Erik
09-13-2002, 12:01 PM
But, do you think aikido, overall, has a feeling of it being TOO cheap?
Yes!
If you take a look in other fields, people with comparable experience like 40 years receive a much larger compensation. Noted professors giving a one hour lecture receives how many tens of thousands of dollars? I'm sure people have also seen taiji seminars running hundreds of dollars for a weekend.
So do pro athletes who know nothing about nothing.
Why does aikido have this cheap feeling to it? Why does it seem like the aikido cmuunity has this general feeling that it's wrong for aikido teachers to charge enough to make a living off or even a profit from teaching the art?
Because we are enlightened spiritual beings and we have transcended the need to degrade ourselves by accepting or giving money. We are really living in Star Trek time but the world has not caught up with us yet.

Also, I think this comes somewhat from Ueshiba himself. He didn't take money because it messed up his spiritual attunement or something like that. Of course, that meant his wife had to go around and collect the money/donations which to my understanding she did like a dutiful Japanese wife should.

Dry, sarcastic humor aside, Ueshiba was getting paid to my understanding. It just wasn't obvious to us outside of the culture and didn't necessarily show up in so obvious a way as monthly dues. I think a little bit of the problem here is attempting to merge different cultures without understanding both cultures.

Of course some people just want to share their art and that's also fine.

Deb Fisher
09-13-2002, 12:42 PM
As an artist, who is currently spending about $30,000 on a masters degree that by no means will guarantee ever making money as a "professional", I find that I have at least one thing in common with my sensei - who spent probably just as much (more?) in dojo dues over the years, along with the sacrifices of being uchideshi, etc etc... only to now own a dojo that pays for itself but does not earn him a living.

Yes, this myth keeps creative people stressed out and poor - it is not romantic to suffer for ones' art or to transcend the need for filthy lucre. No one is spiritually superior enough to transcend money in a capitalist economy, and just as I must buy materials (I spend at least $3 or 400.00 a month on art supplies/materials), each dojo has overhead.

At least "fine art" has a market that puts a huge markup on a few objects/paintings/whatever, and the artist gets usually 40% of the original sale of each work of art, which is something if say a painting sells for $3000.00...

It seems like a real minefield to me - how to make enough money to keep doing your art without 'selling out' (mcdojo has definite equivalent in fine art world...)

Oh, don't get me started. I could talk all day about this.

Deb

Paul Smith
09-13-2002, 02:03 PM
Money is nothing more than a means of exchanging perceived value between a buyer and seller about the thing or service sold.

It is known that O'Sensei paid handsomely for access to the "hiden" of daito-ryu, and that he could do that, in part, because of his family's wealth. The idea that Sensei are somehow otherwordly, spiritual beings who, by passionately living for their art, have transcended this nefarious world of money is, I think, a sadly misguided notion. Sad, because many who have the talent to teach full time, to give themselves completely to owning and running a dojo in order to professionally transmit the gift they received, may not do so if the idea generally holds sway that by earning a living they debase themselves, their art and their students.

I do not think passion and getting paid for it are mutually exclusive. I believe that to transmit this art we need full time, professional instructors, who in addition to devoting their lives solely and completely to teaching budo, must do so while being able to feed their families on what they do. A centralized, established and true "place of the way," a dojo, requires, in my view, just such a person, and just such a condition.

Paul

CheapCheap
09-13-2002, 02:21 PM
I do not think passion and getting paid for it are mutually exclusive. I believe that to transmit this art we need full time, professional instructors, who in addition to devoting their lives solely and completely to teaching budo, must do so while being able to feed their families on what they do.
Then why doesn't this happen?

I've heard many people whine over the cost for weekend seminars with teachers some of who were uchideshi with O-sensei. We're talking eight to ten hours of training with these people who have devoted their lives to aikido for 40+ years. When the seminar fee goes up above $100, people start whining that it's too expensive.

What is it that makes aikido so 'cheap'? Why are many of us unwilling to give compensation for these people who are our teachers? I'm not talking about giving them enough money to become rich, just enough to let them live comfortably instead of scrounging for cash?

Deb Fisher
09-13-2002, 05:30 PM
CheapCheap wrote:

"What is it that makes aikido so 'cheap'? Why are many of us unwilling to give compensation for these people who are our teachers? I'm not talking about giving them enough money to become rich, just enough to let them live comfortably instead of scrounging for cash?"

American culture is just soaking in puritanical judgements of what qualifies as work, and is therefore worth money. Work should be seen as "necessary", and for some crazy reason is often better to justify if it is boring and unfulfilling drudgery. Budo, like many arts, doesn't qualify as work *because* it involves doing what one loves or playing for a living, which is really annoying to a culture that priviledges shutting oneself up in an office all day and attending to tasks that just don't matter. Budo is also not deemed "necessary" in a culture that priviledges short term fixes, like shopping or taking medicine, over long-term approaches to health, well being, emotional growth, the life of ones soul, etc etc.

In this busybusy quick-fix culture, arts like Budo are relegated to the status of "hobby" - unnecessary luxuries, fluff that occupies people who aren't busy enough. The sensei is, in this model, arrogantly proclaiming that the culture is wrong, that one can play for a living, that there is a better answer to the nagging existential question than the word SALE! At best he is Prof. Harold Hill, gently fleecing wholesome people who suffered for their dime. At worst, he is a parasite, fattening himself without doing anything valuable in return.

Problem: who comes to your dojo (or buys your art, or whatever) if you don't temper the arrogance of your choices? The sensei in this model has no choice but to adopt the values of the rest of the culture, albeit in a different way. He proclaims himself in word and deed "beyond money". He makes choices that devalue the role of money in his life, he makes aikido cheap, and puts himself into debt, because if he didn't he would be unmasked as an arrogant, grifting bastard who for whatever reason thinks he's too good to hold down a useful job.

I'm not saying that the sensei in this example is really an arrogant bastard. I'm saying that culturally speaking, anyone who decides not to buy into our puritanical cultural ideal of what is worth money has to figure out some way to fit into a culture that seems to hate the very idea of "the useless profession". I think people who choose to live as artists, to work part time, etc, can fall into a nasty self-deprecating trap, in which the "useless" individual is constantly cheapening his/her own talent, experience, and very real contributions.

Who cheapens aikido? We all do it to ourselves by believing that work should be drudgery and is more important than aikido, a playful diversion. People who are earning money for something that is culturally considered "play" should go ahead and arrogantly claim their due. The consumers of art, music, budo, etc, should fully understand the value of what they are buying and pay accordingly.

I think it's interesting that this doesn't happen very much in yoga circles. I have never heard anyone whine about the price of a yoga class or seminar, and I personally have spent WAY more on yoga than I spend on aikido. I think it's because yoga teachers talk a *lot* about how valuable yoga is, in effect, about what you're getting for your money.

Obviously, this topic completely incenses me, I have been thinking about it all day... just my opinions though.

Deb

giriasis
09-14-2002, 04:00 PM
I think the proper question isn't what cheapens aikido rather than who cheapens aikido? People pay for it, and people demand a certain price for the supply. And the "people" is us -- each of us.

JJF
09-17-2002, 05:49 AM
Where I come from (Denmark) the problem is basically that if you want to make a living out of teaching Aikido you cut away any possibility of support from the city funds and since housing costs and tax levels are so high you would need a student body much higher than what you should be able to gather even in the largest cities.

Therefore allmost all martial arts activity in this country is based on 'non-profit' clubs with funding from official sources.

JJF
09-17-2002, 05:57 AM
Just a thought: perhaps the solution would be to have rich people adopting Aikido dojo's as 'pet projects'. After all I believe that many VIP's help O-sensei getting the right contacts and perhaps fundings as well, and I have heard rumors that both judo and kendo have been supported by rich people - some even thought to be connected to the Yakuza.

Think about it! In the US there should be a lot of potential in that idear. eg 'The Baldwin brothers Aikikai' or 'Jack Nicholson Yoshinkan' :D

Perhaps large companies could be pursuaded as well - for example 'IBM Aiki' (blue belt for yudansha's) or 'Starbucks Aiki dojo chain' where everybody have to wear brown gi's and hakamas. ;)

Sorry - got a bit carried away there.....

Deb Fisher
09-17-2002, 10:30 AM
That's funny

Hanna B
09-17-2002, 10:37 AM
Where I come from (Denmark) the problem is basically that if you want to make a living out of teaching Aikido you cut away any possibility of support from the city funds and since housing costs and tax levels are so high you would need a student body much higher than what you should be able to gather even in the largest cities.Or you need to raise your prices substantially, which is difficult when everybody else is teaching for free.

But is this necessarily a bad thing only - that the clubs are non-profit?

I heard a Japanese shihan saying at the end of the seminar, "none of you will become professional aikido teacher. But you are better than many strange teachers out there". Well, I don't suppose he referred all of us. :)

People say that after many years of training, it gets harder and harder to continue developing in your aikido. If aikido makes your bread and butter, maybe there's yet another reason not to change your pedagogics and methods as a teacher risking losing students while trying new things out... but rather to stick with the recipe that you found works.

I suggest that there are good things in keeping aikido as a hobby rather than a profession.

Just a thought.

Regards

Hanna

opherdonchin
09-17-2002, 10:39 AM
So, there is certainly a culture of martial artists who really do try to make a living out of it. We get glossy magazines from them and their ilk at our dojo all the time. It's very interesting to look at, but it's easy to see why a lot of sensei's would shy away from that culture.

There is also a lot of greed that masqueredes as self-help of various varieties. Again, something I can see a sensei wanting to stay far away from.

A lot of sensei's have a full work and home schedule that they are as committed to as they are to AiKiDo. I was actually 'brought up' in AiKiDo on the idea that the art (and the way) are properly part of a full life and should not take over your life.

Yoga is kind of funny, though, isn't it. I'm never quite sure how they manage to maintain such a aura of selfless devotion to the art at the same time the prices are so high. One thought I have had is that the particular segment that yoga originally appealed to in the united states was one that had a fair amount of disposable income and valued things in proportion to their cost. Perhaps the original AiKiDo audience was poorer and/or more frugal. Another thought is that AiKiDo is necessarily a community activity, where most advanced students of yoga do most of their yoga on their own at home. AiKiDo would get pretty expensive if I had to pay $10 per class instead of paying by the month. I honestly wouldn't be able to afford it.

Neil Mick
09-17-2002, 01:18 PM
Perhaps large companies could be pursuaded as well - for example 'IBM Aiki' (blue belt for yudansha's) or 'Starbucks Aiki dojo chain' where everybody have to wear brown gi's and hakamas. ;)

Sorry - got a bit carried away there.....
You are a scary man...Starbucks Aikikai,,,there'd be little kiosks in front of the dressing rooms.

brrr :D

Deb Fisher
09-17-2002, 01:42 PM
Re: the yoga connundrum...

I honestly think it has to do with the perceived "usefulness" of yoga. Ask anyone who does pay (as I have and I am POOR) $10 a class five or six times a week and they will tell you that their yoga solves a lot of problems in their lives, from constipation to injuries from other sports to anxiety blah blah blah...

When I was spending a quarter of my monthly income on yoga, I thought it was worth every penny, and I was reminded of that during every class, when my teachers would ennumerate the benefits of each asana.

Aikido seems to have a very different mindset. We all know it's good for us, in a lot of the same ways yoga's good for us, but for reasons I don't quite understand we don't **value** it in the same reflexive way.

Deb Fisher
09-17-2002, 01:49 PM
Maybe this has to do with yoga being very directly about immortality, staying young forever, preserving the body (I think of yoga as a very ancient egypt kind of thing)... whereas any budo is kind of about the opposite, about embracing mortality, about understanding that our bodies are breaking down right now, etc.

Maybe it's easier to pay through the nose for something that delivers the promise of long, preserved life than it is to pay for something that is kind of specifically about death.

Which makes Starbucks Aikikai (or a Virginia Slims/MacDonalds-sponsored seminar) make more sense? Or is that too much?

Erik
09-17-2002, 02:54 PM
A few random thoughts. Ok, it got long.

Anytime you ask someone if something is too expensive the answer will be? Pretty obvious isn't it. If you look at the thread on the guy in Texas he's gotten reamed by a few people for wanting around $400 up front. Too much money the audience screams. Of course, not one of them has ever been to a class of his. They've never seen the dojo. Hell, maybe he offers valet parking, a weight room, sauna and 3 private lessons a month. Maybe $65/mo is extremely cheap after you get the massage from Helga.

Another thing I've seen done is what I'd call a sign up for 4-years (or however long) and get a black belt after it. Horrors. Shudder! It's too awful to behold. Errr, isn't that what you do in college? Sign up, expect to work 4-years and at the end you get a degree? Martial arts are different from this how?

On sales. Every profession I know of requires sales. That means asking someone to sign up, handling their objections when they don't want to sign up and going forward with promotional and marketing efforts. Of course, the minute you do any of this you become a McDojo and end any remaining purity in the martial arts which frankly never really existed anyway. And, of course, in the Aikido community your ki will extend to the masses and it's purity will cause people to show up by the hundreds, or dozens, well maybe a couple of them will show up.

And don't forget the obligatory Aikido sales closing technique. "Please check out all the other dojos in the area." Never, and I mean it, NEVER ask someone to sign up when they visit. They must ask because only then will you maintain your purity of being.

Just remembered one more Aikido sales technique. When someone calls and asks how much it costs, be sure to get mad at them, mutter your price and slam the phone after talking to them. All they cared about is money anyways. They should have recognized your enlightened state from the sweet dulcet tones of your voice. A pox on them for not recognizing our aikiness.

Hey, ya know what, if someone wants to come into your dojo for 3 months and pay you $X/mo then who gives a crap as long as they don't hurt anyone. Frankly, I'll take 300 of those impure, greedy people, starting tomorrow.

Another horror. Black belt mills. This is kind of related to the above but this is one I've never gotten. If rank doesn't mean anything, and to the good Aikido Puritan it must have no meaning beyond holding up one's pants which frankly it does a very poor job of, then who gives a crap about the guy putting out black belts in 2-years?

Finally, if you read the trade mags, you'll see that they all think we charge too little. Whenever they write about some guy with a big school it seems like they are always charging something on the order of $100+ per student. I can't speak for the quality of student or teaching in any of them but some things seem like common sense to me.

1. A big school can support full-time teachers. A full-time teacher is probably better than a part-time teacher for obvious reasons.

2. They can afford better facilities.

3. They can afford to train and better themselves.

4. No money worries equals a peace of mind not always found in some instructors I've known.

Oh well, I think I'm about done for now.

Erik
09-17-2002, 02:56 PM
Which makes Starbucks Aikikai (or a Virginia Slims/MacDonalds-sponsored seminar) make more sense? Or is that too much?
Deb, this sort of thing makes a lot of sense actually. I think, but could be very wrong, that Hombu is supported by, shall we say, private entities. I think the same thing also applies to the Yoshinkai as well but I could be wrong about both of those. Taking the next step doesn't seem all that illogical to me at all.

Deb Fisher
09-17-2002, 09:07 PM
Oh Eric, I was mostly reflecting on the death-embracing nature of the greasymeat/cigarette/skim latte product. You have good thoughts. They are rooted firmly to reality. I was going off on an existential tangent.

I know from personal experience how unromantic and unenlightened poverty is. I agreed with your post.

Hanna B
09-18-2002, 12:42 AM
A full-time teacher is probably better than a part-time teacher for obvious reasons.You have not convinced me.

ian
09-18-2002, 07:31 AM
Someone who charges a lot of money will only retain students if they think it is worth it - thus they can only survive if they are very good. However this does not mean 'cheap' dojos are neceaarilly worse, though it is likely that cheap dojos will still survive with a much worse standard of tuition.

Ian

ian
09-18-2002, 07:35 AM
P.S. One reason why I retain our dojo as a free dojo, rather than charging, is that progress in aikido can be very slow, especially at advanced levels. However the continued practise is worthwhile since it is body conditioning rather than learning. Also, long term students actually give alot back to the club, free of charge.

If you've ever tried to start a club from scratch you'll know that the level of training is heavily dependent on the capabilties of the students. I think this is not as pronounced in many other activities which are fixed and not dependent on uke/nage interaction (e.g. yoga).

Ian

opherdonchin
09-18-2002, 08:50 AM
I've been around and visited different dojos. The ones I've most enjoyed visiting have been ones where there has been more of a sense of an 'aikido community' than a central sensei who was engaged in teaching. Similarly, dojos where I've felt most comfortable are ones where you get the sense that the fees (dues or mat fees) are there to keep the dojo and the community going. I don't know why this is exactly, but that would be the kind of dojo I would like to run if I ever did run one.

Deb Fisher
09-18-2002, 02:59 PM
Ian wrote:

"

------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Post #22)

P.S. One reason why I retain our dojo as a free dojo, rather than charging, is that progress in aikido can be very slow, especially at advanced levels. However the continued practise is worthwhile since it is body conditioning rather than learning. Also, long term students actually give alot back to the club, free of charge.

If you've ever tried to start a club from scratch you'll know that the level of training is heavily dependent on the capabilties of the students. I think this is not as pronounced in many other activities which are fixed and not dependent on uke/nage interaction (e.g. yoga)."

Good point - I never thought about this angle.

JJF
09-19-2002, 05:25 AM
1. A big school can support full-time teachers. A full-time teacher is probably better than a part-time teacher for obvious reasons.
I'm not so certain. I can think of at least one shihan who has been emphazising that one should have a life (both professionally and personally) besides Aikido. I believe it to be an important part of growing like an individual and something that you can hang your hat on, if training for some reason fails your for a while.

Hanna B
09-19-2002, 07:03 AM
I've been around and visited different dojos. The ones I've most enjoyed visiting have been ones where there has been more of a sense of an 'aikido community' than a central sensei who was engaged in teaching. Similarly, dojos where I've felt most comfortable are ones where you get the sense that the fees (dues or mat fees) are there to keep the dojo and the community going.Good point.

HB

Unregistered
09-19-2002, 09:48 AM
The whole question seems odd to me. Paying fees for aikido is certainly a good thing, no doubt. I've heard of a husband & wife team, both doctors, who treat people in dirt poor areas of South America. Despite the poverty, they do charge for their services, even if only a nominal fee like a basket of tomatoes, because psychologically people tend to value and respect things that they pay something for more than what they get for free. (And so are more likely to take the doctors' advice seriously.) However, there's no correlation between higher fees and more respect, and high fees for aikido would only keep a lot of good folks from practicing. It already costs an arm in a leg just in terms of time - why raise the bar even further?

And I seriously don't think full time teachers are better than part time. In fact, the opposite could be true: if a sensei depends on teaching aikido for a living, there are going to be a lot of compromises (like "cardio aikido" at one local commercial dojo). Those who don't depend on it for their living are free to maintain their integrity. The best sensei I've ever had (who's also one of the best teachers I've ever had, of any subject, from kindergarten through grad school) teaches after work in the evenings and at most must make a couple thousand dollars a year from it.

Also, psychologically, I've found that doing something for money tends to taint the fun of it. This is backed up by experiments: e.g., start paying a kid who loves to read for every book she gets through, and she'll start enjoying it less. I'd be sad to see this happen in aikido.

Deb Fisher
09-19-2002, 10:30 AM
Unregistered wrote:

"Those who don't depend on it for their living are free to maintain their integrity."

Why insist on this syllogism? Why must enough money to support a modest lifestyle necesarily involve losing one's integrity? Why is this an argument? Where is your proof that sellout is a rampant force in artistic/cultural production and that money is a universal pollutant?

The myth of sellout is rooted in a puritanical desire to suffer for money and I don't buy it. Your "experimental proof" of the tainting (sullying? dirtying? perverting?) quality of money is equally specious. I know a lot of people who do exactly what they are passionate about for a living, and see no loss of integrity, no lack of fun, no greenish tint of money pollution around their gills.

What I do see is a handful of people who have the freedom to go deeper and with more commitment into their art, and this yields an artistic product (be it music, painting, or aikido) that is more considered, fuller, more of a gift to the greater society.

This crazy notion that money taints artistic production is a relatively new construct bred by a capitalism that has no love for any kind of soul-maintenance that cannot be mass-produced and mass-consumed. Historically, cultural producers (like O' Sensei) have worked for ages within a fairly comfortable system of patronage that influences the outcome of cultural production as much as abject poverty or hobby status does. What do we gain from taking away the money?

I don't trust the culture that is trying to ram 100+ TV stations of crap down my throat when it comes to the value of cultural production. Do you? Really?

Erik
09-19-2002, 10:58 AM
I'm not so certain. I can think of at least one shihan who has been emphazising that one should have a life (both professionally and personally) besides Aikido. I believe it to be an important part of growing like an individual and something that you can hang your hat on, if training for some reason fails your for a while.
For you and Hanna, please note that I said probably. Anyways, the point is being able to invest time into your practice and art. Working a second job, 9+ hours a day, really at least 10 or so with lunch and commute, will detract from time and energy in a way that a full-time teacher/practitioner does not have to face.

Alan Drysdale
09-19-2002, 11:57 AM
I think there are some other influences, too. One is where you live. I remember in England, our organization did not affiliate with Aikikai Hombu because of the cost. There was a lot less discretionary income over there. (I'm in the USA now, and this was 20 years ago.)

Another factor is the going rate. I charge what is the going rate in the area. In fact, there is a karate school in the same facility, and we charge the same as them. So it isn't just aikido.

I did like that thought about yoga teachers explaining how each asana benefits your body. "And now we are going to do irimi nage, which improves the flexibility of the neck."

opherdonchin
09-19-2002, 12:48 PM
Hey Deb,

As someone who is making a living doing what I love, I really like your points about the specious connection between making a living and losing your focus.

I do, though, think you are overstating your point. There is no doubt that in my field (science) many people are motivated by issues of money rather than issues of love. It doesn't ruin the field, and I wouldn't even say that it was most of the people, but it is a danger than every scientist becomes aware of and comes to terms with. I think that, similarly, in martial arts that are more easily commercialized (like TaeKwonDo, for instance) teachers know that they must learn to walk a fine line. I don't think there is anything wrong with facing these sorts of dilemmas, and I think they can even be healthy for the sensei and his own understanding of his art and his way, but they are always there.

To me it often seems like there is a simple rule of thumb: the more money is involved, the more you will tend to find people around who care about the money. On the other hand, there is another issue to deal with: the more you expect people to live off of thin air, the more you attract a certain confused kind of person who believes that's really possible. Not necessarily a good thing, either.

antochi andrei
09-19-2002, 04:38 PM
vreu sa invat carate !!!!!!!!!!!

Hanna B
10-04-2002, 07:12 PM
Someone who charges a lot of money will only retain students if they think it is worth it - thus they can only survive if they are very good.Or, if they can make people think that they are very good.

You know, some products, like perfume, sell better if they cost more - because a high price is part of the 'luxury'concept which you are buying, along with the scent. When I suggested this to my teacher, he immediately replied "so you suggest I double my fees". Well, I did not say that :D

Cheap dojo and expensive dojo maybe are different niches on the market, so to speak.

Regards,

Hanna

Marnen
10-07-2002, 03:06 PM
vreu sa invat carate !!!!!!!!!!!
Er, care to translate this for the benefit of those who don't speak Romanian (if that was indeed Romanian)?

Dômo arigatô,

Marnen

shihonage
10-07-2002, 04:21 PM
vreu sa invat carate !!!!!!!!!!!
Tu este prost.

Greg Jennings
10-08-2002, 06:04 AM
We don't charge anything for three primary reasons:

1. Because we can. We pay no rent or utilities.

2. Because we don't want to create any, even the slightest barrier to people training.

3. Because we don't want the hassle or the legal baggage of accepting payment for teaching.

We're organized as a club. It's cooperative. The membership pitches in and gets done what needs to be done.

Recently, the membership, Myers Sensei and I abstaining, voted to start taking up a voluntary donation with a suggested minimum amount. It's working out pretty well.

I don't have a problem with people charging for training or even making a living off of it. It just doesn't suit our very special situation right now.

Best Regards,

h2o dog
10-24-2002, 01:18 PM
the greatest gift that you will ever give is of one self

Unregistered
11-08-2002, 05:19 AM
Related question rather than a direct reply, I've known a few full-time aikido teachers who supplement their dojo subscriptions with private lessons which have a (relatively) higher price. I’ve also met tai-chi instructors who do “target” courses for companies etc. which again have a more commercial rate (yes, back to starbucks – executive stress, a wonderful selling media).

Have any of you had any experience with running aikido courses in this way and does such differential pricing work? This is just curiosity as I’m a born again talentless clutz, so wouldn’t dream of trying to make a living out of aikido.

One other question, a few dojo’s I have been to that have tried a more commercial approach do seem to be more lacking in the “open door and friendly” mindset I’ve found in most clubs. Is it just my own normal response to sales techniques that gave me that impression? Or could it be because the teachers, likely to be coming from a “non-profit” tradition, find themselves going against what they experienced and so are just poor at “selling” their art with dignity and enthusiasm?

Unregistered
11-20-2002, 03:49 PM
Yoga is meditation for people who can't settle down.

I think Aikido is ideally practiced along with meditation, farming and other chores. The Dojo should be the community's main schoolhouse - open all hours, and it ought to be basically self supported

Please don't call that communism, maybe it's accurate but that's a damaged word. How bout Aikism?

We Americans really don't stand a chance when reaching for "Star Trek Time" - Not because of the type of government we have, but because of the particular government we have.

It's not a long trip from money to sexual reproduction. Any interest which doesn't compete or carry influence in the sexual arena isn't worth money because money is so urgently sought by the sexually interested; ie. people who want or have families ( or want or have sexual interests... distractions from sexual interests... etcetera ) hence; Viagra wins, Aikido loses in terms of money. But ... *grin* which is really **cheaper**?

Lan Powers
11-20-2002, 06:01 PM
There is a certain expectation of "payment for services" in most martial arts...........Aikido just makes more of the ideal of being for everyone regardless. I do like the club/donating for expenses thing tho.

Lan

Unregistered
11-20-2002, 06:43 PM
I wonder, how much are people willing to pay for a weekend seminar with someone who was a live-in student for O'sensei and has been doing aikido for over forty years? Say for a weekend seminar with eight hours of training.

Unregistered
11-20-2002, 06:46 PM
Make that fifty years of training under O'sensei.

Juan
12-17-2002, 09:50 AM
I must say that most people who train in the martial arts and participate in these forums usually have this mindset:

"It seems like a real minefield to me - how to make enough money to keep doing your art without 'selling out' (mcdojo has definite equivalent in fine art world...)"

We must understand that this is not by any means "JAPAN" as it was in the days of O'Sensei's training and development of Aikido. We are a western civilization in which every penny counts. If you think back... When I was a kid growing up my dad was the only one that worked in my household and we (sister & I) never went without. I currently have two JOBS and my wife is a public school teacher and we are not wealthy by any means. Maybe some of you grew up that way too.

To have a commercial dojo does not necessarily mean you are a sell out or that you are running a "MC DOJO". I run a commercial dojo and for what it's worth I am kicking the MC DOJO's asses around my area by offering a GREAT VALUE in TEACHING an affordable class to ALL my students and not by making my prices the talk of the town. I have and continue to train students whom can not pay the dues and to my experience it is usually the student whom does not pay that does the worst in class, is usally absent or does not try as hard.

I do however feel that if a certain seminar is within my reach I pay whatever the cost to get the training, however most of the GREAT teachers usually end up teaching 200 students in a seminar and you usually don't get any attention. I would prefer to pay higher prices if "SPACE where LIMITED" to say 50 students.

n0mad
12-17-2002, 01:37 PM
I just want to say that most martial arts are too expensive for me, therefore detracting me as well as some of those who truly want to practice. A $100 a month? even more, my god! It has taken me years to find a martial that I can once again afford, and that is because it is taught in a community center which has no overhead. But some places are just too damn inflated!

Do you know how frustrating it is to group up in martial arts in which your parents pay for and then having to quit for years do to dojo fee's, affiliation fee's, etc...?!?!

One dojo I had pay $135 dojo membership, and at the same time, some $160 for so for affiliation fees, all at the same time. Now who can afford this? Rich kids who won't last a month can. Those who are just out trying different things in life and have lots of money can. Can you image if someone like myself, who has a family to provide for, wants to practice? This is something that has cost me years training, and I will never get them back.

I just hope that these costs are legitimate (supply and demand, and a little extra) and aren't just filling the fat pockets of these instructors.

Unregistered
12-17-2002, 02:09 PM
I used to teach gymnastics at the YMCA. I spent agreat deal of time into trying to make everything afordable for the members. I tried to get them discounts on Leos, always looked for discounts on hotels when we traveled and gave countless private lessons to kids for free. It seemed the more I gave, the more everyone expected. The Y gutted our program and everyone was fired. I'm now teaching at a club where the dues are two or more time as much. The equipment is better and membership is great. We don't have enough instructors to teach the kids who are willing to pay the bigger fees.

If money paid to an Aikido club seems high to you. Ask yourself if you would work for the money your instructor makes from Aikido? Chances aree your answer is no. If he is a full time instuctor, he needs to earn a living too.

John Glass

n0mad
12-17-2002, 02:58 PM
I guess Martial Arts are a luxury not everyone can afford.

Jim ashby
12-18-2002, 06:30 AM
On the seminar thing, we have a programme of seminars arranged for 2003, including Donovan Waite Sensei, Bill Smith O.B.E. Sensei, Hayden Foster Sensei and Terry Ezra Sensei. Participation in ALL of these will cost £70.00. Places are limited however due to mat space. Our Sensei runs a commercial Dojo and makes his living by teaching Aikido, those that know him would never call it a McDojo. His success has come from the quality of his teaching (and that of the club instructors)and the strength of the "club spirit" of the members.

Have fun.

Juan
12-19-2002, 12:33 PM
Jim,

You have no idea how happy it makes me to hear of other dojos that are a full time job for other instructors and that their students don't think of them as a commercial/mcdojo type dojo but rather a WELL run dojo. I only wish you guys were closer to us.

rachmass
12-19-2002, 12:58 PM
It is a rare bird of a dojo that can be run full-time with the dojo supporting the teacher. I know of several, and they are exceedingly good dojos. I think of Chiba Sensei in SanDiego (one of the founders direct students), of Yamada Sensei in New York (same as Chiba Sensei), and a handfull of other Shihan. Donovan Waite Sensei also has a full-time dojo and he's marvelous. I personally don't know of many others. It certainly seems to me that the caliber of their teaching warrants a full scale, full time dojo. Many others would like to do so, but simply don't have the breadth of knowledge and experience to do so, or the financial wherewithall to withstand the lean years. I know many teachers who have been training 30-years or more who are excellent, but have full-time jobs and teach aikido in the evenings and weekends and struggle to keep their dojos afloat. I think these are the majority. It would be terrific to see more dojos be able to be full-time, and to support their teachers, in particular those with the creditials and experience to warrant it.

Jim ashby
12-20-2002, 02:25 AM
Thanks for the feedback guys, it's really appreciated. If any of you are ever in the UK, please feel free to come and train with us. One of our Shodans will be at the Boulder seminar this year (John Burn.... the man with cat DNA...check out his ukemi)If you're going to be there he can give you details of where we are and what we do first hand.

Have fun