Re: Fees Ranting (Caution)
I've been professional for about 15 years now. I don't make much money, nor do I have a spiffy building of my own. We train in a rec center, and pay a percentage of our take. My teachers only ever asked that we train sincerely, and share what we know. I've never felt an obligation to pay anyone else's way, although I am perfectly happy to work with those who have a financial disability.
I've never charged for test fees, because I don't like mixing income with rank decisions. But that's a personal, individual choice.
I do think we all have to take a look at aikido's place in the world. There are many ways to make it sustainable, but we all have to consider economics as a realistic aspect of budo.
It took me a long time to arrive at a fee structure that was both fair and flexible, and that would give me no reason to begrudge the contributions of any individual.
So now I mostly complain about the students I don't have, rather than the ones I do.
I know my situation's different from yours, but I just thought I'd add a little input.
Like any technique, don't put more into it than is necessary for the outcome. With refinement, we should all learn to get good clean returns on minimum effort. I'm still working on it too.
All the best!
Austin, TX, USA