View Full Version : How much is Aikido worth to you?

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03-31-2003, 11:27 AM
Hello all,
I just had this cross my mind and wanted your thoughts on it. How much do you all pay for dojo fees? Is there a maximum you would pay? Just how much is the practice of Aikido worth to people? Kind of extending this thought, do your fees go to anything beyond dojo rent/utilities etc? Should a
sensei (dojo cho?) profit from teaching Aikido? Sorry for all these questions in one post, and thanks for your time.


03-31-2003, 12:07 PM
I pay $1000 New Taiwan Dollars a month (about $30us). I don't think it even begins to pay the rent here (Taiwan is small, land is limited so rent is pretty high) . This operated out of a community center by a couple of retirees.

From what I have read the Hombu HQ (for those who are assoiated with it) requires that the head instructor be at least a 4th Dan within any particular organzation. (i might be wrong). With that being said I would consider a 4th Dan in Aikido to have perhaps a B.A. or perhaps a masters degree in Martial Arts training. Should this person be able to profit from it? Sure, Aikido dojos aren't churches, they are private educational institutions which are set up to take in an income.

Perhaps another question should be put to those who are running a dojo. Are you making a profit? as in is your bottom line red or black?


03-31-2003, 12:22 PM
Ryan, with all respect, where did you get the idea that Hombu (aikikai I presume) requires a head instructor of a dojo to be fourth Dan?

That said, I know there was a thread awhile ago about how much people paid for their aikido dues. I run a small dojo, and dues don't cover the lease, but I have a Yoga and a Pilates teacher who help split the cost. Hopefully over time, the dojo will completely support itself, but I run the dojo for the love and dissemination of aikido, and it is certainly not my day job. I think this is the norm.

The shihan and upper level teachers, in my mind, SHOULD be supported by their teaching; they've put the years of effort and experience into it, and are giving us all so much knowledge.



Daniel Blanco
03-31-2003, 12:25 PM
aikido is hy workout/cardio routine,also my defense as a policeofficer.

Daniel Blanco
03-31-2003, 12:30 PM
greg if your are satisfied with your workout then thate all that matters also if your instructors are good then stay where you are and enjoy.

03-31-2003, 01:14 PM
How much is worth for you?...or how much do you pay for its instruction???

Two very different matters pal.

In my case i pay around 20 US dollars , and according to my sensei and his former teacher you cant make too much profit or have a comfortable living just by teaching MA's , their reasons to think this is that Martial Arts is something that's is fading out and there isnt too many people interested in invest its money training on it.

Guess the culture of the inmediate gratification is taking over , or at least so they think.

Best Regards

kung fu hamster
03-31-2003, 07:23 PM
Gi - $65

Bokken - $20

Tanto - $5

Being able to play cool ‘grab my wrist’ aikido party tricks on my Demon Seed nephew - Priceless


04-01-2003, 12:49 AM
Ryan, with all respect, where did you get the idea that Hombu (aikikai I presume) requires a head instructor of a dojo to be fourth Dan?



I don't think that's what he said, he was talking about the head instructor of an organisation rather than an individual dojo
From what I have read the Hombu HQ (for those who are assoiated with it) requires that the head instructor be at least a 4th Dan within any particular organzation. (i might be wrong).
In Tokyo, I was paying 6000 yen (about $60 US/ £40 GBP) a quarter, for that I could train every evening in any one of 4 dojo's, all directly associated to the Aikikai. All of the dojo's are in school's, I don't know if the association paid for their hire. I don't know if the mony is aportioned to the dojo-cho's or if it went directly to Kaicho, or elsewhere, it never really bothered me.

In the UK, I pay £3 GBP per session. The club Sensei's do not take any money, the fees just about cover the cost of renting out the community centre, depending on how many people show. We go through periods of a full house (about 15-18 on the mat, which kind of fills it at 24 tatami), to times when only 3 or 4 show. So far we've been lucky that it always seems to balance out.

Whether it be Japan or UK, the dojo's that I train in are all excellent value for money.

Having said all that, can I put a price on what Aikido is worth to me, probably not.



04-01-2003, 01:40 AM
I pay about A$80 per month (about $50 US) for 3 classes per week.

I guess that's a lot, but there are other factors besides money that draw me to the dojo.

I think the cheapest local aikido is A$120 ($70 US) per 6 months. Good guys from what I hear, but too far away from me.

Jeff Tibbetts
04-01-2003, 02:05 AM
Wow. I pay just $20.00 a month. That's with a student discount, it's $35.00 for others, I think. Anyway, I've always thought this was a hell of a deal. I think I'd be willing to pay a lot more, but I don't have a lot more; so I guess I'm lucky. I think that it would be nice for a Sensei to make a little extra pocket money (or a lot, for a Shihan or full-time instructor,) but I don't think that that's usually the case. I know we split the Dojo with a Goju-Ryu Karate club and a very small Judo club, so the cost may be a bit more manageable. We have, maybe, 20 or so dues-paying regulars give or take, but I haven't got a clue what the rent is.

04-01-2003, 02:18 AM
Actually, the $80 / month is the student rate!

To be fair, JDJ is open 6 days a week, several classes a day. It's a commercial dojo in the heart of the CBD.

My judo place use to share the dojo with goju guys. Classes were $20 a month unlimited.

The MMA place I train in is in a old garage/warehouse. Costs 8 bucks a class.

Location, location!!

E. Winters
04-01-2003, 02:32 AM
Hello, I pay 70 and 80 U.S. dollars between two dojos and if I could pay more I would.Part of the reason the dojos cost so much is that I live in California and property is very expensive here and one of the dojos that I attend is in the San Francisco bay area, which is considered one of the three most expensive areas to live in within the USA. I still feel I am not contributing enough.I feel that the instructors should be able to spend all their precious time teaching and traning. I also think that money is the minimum I should give to the dojo.I also feel a student should also help take care of the dojo by providing whatever service they are capable of providing. I have two great instructors that have given me something I could never repay them back for but I will do my best.

Train hard and have fun!

04-01-2003, 06:52 AM
we pay £10 for insurance per year - and everything else is free!

04-01-2003, 07:42 AM

Chapter 2.....

(3) The head of management or the chief of Aikido instruction of the relevant Aikido organization is 4th dan or above. The Person in Charge is a permanent resident of the country of that organization.


Just in case anyone wondered where I got that information.



04-01-2003, 09:28 AM
Okay Ryan, that is what Bryan said; I guess I took it as the wording of heading a dojo, in which case there is nothing about being a 4th Dan, not the organizational sense, like AAA, ASU or USAF (which of course, all have much higher ranks at the top).

Cheers back!


04-01-2003, 09:35 AM
I think the cost is probably like that of real estate - it depends on the location. New York and San Franscisco should probably be higher than Orlando just by virtue of economic factors. The cost should be higher for shihan level instruction. Top instructors should definately be paid, big bucks - the more the better. They have sacrificed more than most will ever know to get where they are.

As to how much instructors actually do make... that question is impertinant and considered out of line in polite society - which aikidoka always aspire to. At least in Orlando.

04-01-2003, 11:19 PM
I think the cost is probably like that of real estate - it depends on the location. New York and San Franscisco should probably be higher than Orlando just by virtue of economic factors.
Kind of assumes that folks in NY and SF make more cash than those in Orlando. I have no idea if that true or not tho.

04-04-2003, 11:25 AM
I pay £3 per session (about $4.5); children and unemployed pay £2. On top of that we pay £10 insurance and around £12 per grading.

All the money that we pay goes towards the rent, and also towards purchasing equipment. Instructors don't even get petrol money although one of them has to travel some distance to get to dojo. I suggested to reimburse him once and was told by another student that he would probably take offence.

04-04-2003, 01:24 PM
Sensei told me last night that dues would be $50 per month, which currently comes out to about $6.25 a class. A third class on Saturday is a possibility, which would lower that to about $4.20. I'm willing to pay that much...it's about what I had budgeted (if you call my inane calculations budgeting).

Not sure how much money he's making off the classes, if any.

04-04-2003, 02:23 PM
It looks like we have about 22 hours a week of class for adult regular members who pay $70/month for an unlimited number of classes. It looks like that comes out to an average of about $0.73 per hour of class available. Not bad...

-- Jun

04-05-2003, 03:51 AM
A minimum of 25 euro for 45 hours per month, thus 56 eurocents per hour. (People that can afford to pay more often do)

But we also disencourage enybody to make these calculations at our dojo. People don't pay per lesson but pay to maintain the dojo. And even besides that, participation in the dojo is what is considered the most important. We expect people to spent enough time. The dojo needs to be cleaned, the mats and equipment needs to be checked and repaired.

So we expect people keep the dojo running

norman telford
04-05-2003, 05:40 AM
i think here in the UKAU we get a good deal we pay £20(pounds sterling) a month for that you are able to train 7 days a week approx 60 hrs a month specialized courses are avilable one weekend a month at £5 each one on a sat and one on a sun various two and three day seminars (these vary in price)and a week long summer school all grading is free:D

aubrey bannah
04-06-2003, 03:52 AM
In Brisbane $70 mth, Less if you want to pay for a yr in advance. This lets you enjoy youself for 62 class's. Strangly enough over the last four yrs more students are doing this amount of training.

Joseph Huebner
04-07-2003, 11:01 PM
I pay $40.00 USD for dues to our dojo. On top of this I drive 55 miles round trip 2-4 days a week. I am going to camp this yr, my first ever Seidokan Aikido camp... There's $200.00 bucks invested. Perhaps because I'm in my third month studying aikido I am more than willing to expend alot of time and money for aikido.

Yet, in comparison, it's more than 4 bucks for a pack of smokes nowadays. Potato chips are three bucks a bag, and a 20 oz soda is a whopping $1.29. Our satellite dish bill is around $70.00 a month. Wow! By comparison, it costs less to study aikido than it does being a couch potato including gasoline and oil changes.

I can't say if our Sensei makes any money since I don't do the books. I would say that he does not. If he did, I would not object. Having the opportunity to learn from his experience, and getting to know a great group of people is a hell of a bargain for what I am paying. Would I pay more? If I had to, yes indeed.


Joseph Huebner

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-08-2003, 12:01 AM
My college (Carleton College) subsidizes our dojo. My roommate and I did the math ... it drops below a dollar a class if you pay for all three classes: beginning, intermediate, and advanced, which each meet twice per week for a total of 6 sensei-led classes per week. It's 25$ for beginning, 35$ for beginning and intermediate, and 40$ for all three. (That's for a 10-week term.) They run for about an hour each.

(There's also a 3 hour 'open mat' session each saturday, and a 'buki night' for an hour on thursday, but those are not led by the sensei.)

All in all, we're very fortunate to have college sponsorship, giving us poor college students the opportunity to train. ^_-

04-08-2003, 03:21 PM
I can't say if our Sensei makes any money...

He doesn't. Actually he sometimes pays quite a bit out of pocket in order to keep it open :(
If he did, I would not object

Agreed, I think it would be great if he could make enough to be a full time sensei.

Myself, I pay the same $40/month that Joseph pays. I attend two classes a week (my choice, more are available). I also teach two classes a week in the next city over, 1 hour round trip. I make zero from my teaching. If I counted the cost of gas, photocopies for students, time spent organizing stuff for class, and various supplies for the dojo I "spend" quite a bit on aikido. It's worth every cent and every minute (unless you ask my girlfriend, she's not really happy that I spent my entire tax refund on martial arts stuff, oh well she knew what she was getting into :D )


04-08-2003, 06:20 PM
I pay $75 every term to be in the Advanced class. So it boils down to about 15 dollars a month ( we're sponsered by the college).

When I go to denver it'll be about $30 a month.

Small price to pay in my opinion

Joseph Huebner
04-08-2003, 06:23 PM

What's a tax "refund"?

Joseph Huebner

Gregory King
04-08-2003, 11:42 PM
I train at our local Police Citizens and Youth Club, we can train twice a week for two hours at a time and although the club is very small at this stage with a maximum of five nearly regular students (but normally only two)we have the luxury of being instructed by a first dan, second dan, third dan and fourth dan, the last two being father and son, all this for a yearly fee of $30 aus. and a session cost of $2.20 aus. an absolute bargain if you ask me. In each lesson we end up with a combined experience in aikido of around one hundred years and that, is priceless.


aubrey bannah
04-09-2003, 02:54 AM
Also paying for my wife and 4 children, it comes to paying 10 per cent of my gross annual income. The local PCYC tries to charge commerical rates for training, ypu pay $6 a lesson & instructed by 1st dan. In the dojo I attend, Sensei is 6th dan, always takes the class, nealy always a 3rd dan and plenty of 2nd dans in class, with this the training is always a high standard.

04-09-2003, 04:08 AM
What's a tax "refund"?

It's something you sometimes get when you're single with no dependants and don't own anything worth more than $1500 :D


Greg Jennings
04-09-2003, 06:42 AM
Just as a point of reference, when we eliminated our tuition, it made absolutely no difference in the number or quality of students in the dojo.

To me, the important part was having a situation where we didn't have to worry about making rent.

The gig we have now won't last forever (no gig does), but when we do go somewhere else, we'll probably just divide the cost of operation between the members.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
04-09-2003, 09:49 AM
It's something you sometimes get when you're single with no dependants and don't own anything worth more than $1500
It's also one of the pros of having married a really good accountant.


colin slider
04-09-2003, 10:05 AM
here in sunny singapore we pay S$ 24 annual fees plus S$ 80 per 3 months, so total over a year is S$ 344 (about US$196)that covers 1 session a week lasting 1 1/2 hours - 52 sessions for US$ 196 or US$3.80 per session

grading fees an additional S$40-S$50 (US$ 25-30) twice annually

for an extra S$300 per year (US$170) we can train 7 days a week, not everbody does that though but for those who do the typical schedule would be 4 sessions per week.

so for total of US$ 196 basic fees + US$ 60 grading fees + US$ 170 multidojo fees = US$ 426 we typically get 4 x 52 = 208 sessions at 1 1/2 hours each - works out to total of 312 hours at US$ 1.37 per hour.

and if all that's a bit much on the maths the simple answer is

US$ 426 a year, up to 7 days a week training

would it be surprising if i liked maths when i was at school ?