Originally posted by Carl Simard
You're right 100% on this one. In a year, I try to go at one big costly seminar with an international level teacher. However, I also attend to 3-4 seminars with more local or even somewhat unknown teachers. This spring, we even get one seminar for 10$CAN (around 6$US) with one of these less known teacher! Not too costly and it was a very interesting seminar...
And also note that these less known teachers are not necessarely worst than the big names... Sometime, you even learn more in these less flashy seminars: less people, better contact with the teacher...
A big name in aikido is not always equal to a good teacher. Some shihan are excellent aikidoka but are very poor at teaching what they know... And going to a less costly seminar with a less known teacher is certainly better than no seminar at all...
Ah! Here we get to one of my pet peeves. The issue of remuneration for the visiting teachers is one that is handled variously around the country.
I personally like the USAF appraoch which is to set down what instructors at each certification level should be paid for their instruction. Fukushidoin, Shidoin, Shihan, it's all basically mapped out.
There is a tendency for we Americans to relegate many of our own teachers to a second class status when it comes to their instructing at events. This has bugged me for a long time. I have certainly felt it myself.
Saotome Sensei had asked me to take care of some folks who were part of our organization but whose dojo was too small to host a seminar with a shihan level teacher. I was happy to and they would ask to do a seminar once or twice a year. They initially said that they weren't big enough to pay me what I usually charged but I said that was fine as Sensei had asked me to take care of them.
But as the years went on I noticed that they were still paying me a very cut rate and when I looked at the number of folks training and what they charged for the seminar it was clear that they were pulling in more than I was as the teacher. I am sure that these folks would never have asked one of the Japanes teachers to teach come for less they normally charged nor would they have continued to do so long after they needed to if they had done so.
I have made it a policy in my own dojo that anyone good enough for me to invite to teach a seminar should be paid equally, regardless. I won't ask someone to give me a break but rather will save our money longer in order to host them properly.
Since ranking is such a dicey propostion in that it doesn't necessarily indicate ability or experience accurately I simply go by my own subjective standard... is this person's Aikido on par with the Shihan? Then they should be remunerated as such.
There is nothing wrong with junior instructors, just starting to get out and conduct seminars , to charge less for their time. It is logical and is a way for them to get exposure and for the dojos that are smaller to be able to host a viting teacher without stressing their budget. We all did that coming up.
But I don't think it is right to take advantage of a teacher and under compensate him or her just becuase they aren't Japanese or just because they aren't so well known.
So the next time you get to train in a situation in which you get to pay half or less than you'd expect normally and the teacher is some fifth or sixth dan with several decades of experience just give a thought to why they are so much less exepensive. In some cases it might be a case of a bit of reverse discrimination going on.