John Riggs wrote:
I would not necessarily agree with that statement. I have seen far too many full time instructors be so wrapped up in making a buck that they don't train. Also, my instructor (Hiroshi Kato) is a prime example on the other end. He reached 8th dan while being a soto deshi-he held a full time job until he retired and trained at night. You don't achieve that by taking a cavalier attitude towards your training. Even though a soto deshi may not be on the mat 24-7 that does not mean their training stops nor their desire to move ahead. I know many who integrate aikido principles into their jobs in various ways and still eat, breathe and sleep the art.
Good points, John. My statement was a gross generalization made with the full knowledge that there will be exceptions on both sides of it. Being a salary job sensei myself, I'm primarily speaking from my own experience dealing with my sensei (whose sole source of income is from the martial arts) and other Aikido teachers I have met here in Asia. There does seem to be a correlation in ability with the amount of time spent in practice. My sensei, while reliant upon the dojo and organization of his welfare, is not overly interested in amassing a lot of wealth. His ability is much greater than my own. My own training is fraught with distractions; nonetheless I still pretty much eat, breathe and sleep Aikido much to the chagrin of my wife.
My students pay a considerable amount less than his (almost 50%). This is primarily due to the limited amount of class time scheduled (I only teach 3 classes a week on the military base). Other "professional" Aikido instructors that I have run across also display a great deal more ability than the many salary sensei that I know. I personally do know of several exceptions to my own statement. Generalizations are always flawed and never truly universal. So, take it for what its worth.
The upshot of my whole post was to just give an idea as to why some places might have higher fees than others, even those located in the same area, not necessarily to condemn any salary sensei as not worth the time (that would be detrimental to my own student population