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Old 07-23-2006, 06:10 AM   #14
Amelia Smith
Amelia Smith's Avatar
Dojo: Martha's Vineyard Aikido Club
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 154
Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

I once practiced for a while at a small dojo with a full-time professional instructor. He wasn't a shihan, and he lived very frugally. While I was there, he quit his day job to do aikido and iaido full-time. It always seemed like a stretch to me -- there weren't enough students to support him in any kind of style at all (think, living out of the car and eating nothing but rice and beans after the dojo rent etc. was paid). However, the organization he was part of tended to encourage people to become full-time instructors, and I think he was doing it because it was his way of being the best he could be as an instructor/dojocho.

So, my knee-jerk reaction is that it wouldn't kill this Sensei to get a part-time job. My second thought, thinking back, is to wonder why he's doing this. Why does he want the lifestyle of an impoverished full-time martial artist? Sure, there's some romance and cachet to it, but let's assume he's not just lazy. Does his shihan encourage it? Is he afraid that he won't be taken as seriously if he has a day job? Does he really not have the energy for both? (Some people, myself included, can't do 60 hour weeks without falling apart, though I know a lot of people manage to somehow)

Might it be better for him to have enough outside income that he doesn't have to worry about money quite so much? Is that worth 15-20 hours/week of his time? Even 35 or 40 hours? Could he get a job with a school (teaching, teaching assistant, library, maintainance, whatever) which would allow him to take summers off to go to seminars and be a full-time teacher at least part of the year? Are there now students who could take over some of the teaching?

By the way, I think the abovementioned ideas of having a dojo meeting, forming a non-profit, etc. are all good.


Last edited by Amelia Smith : 07-23-2006 at 06:16 AM.
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