Thread: Cheap Aikido
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Old 09-19-2002, 09:48 AM   #27
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The whole question seems odd to me. Paying fees for aikido is certainly a good thing, no doubt. I've heard of a husband & wife team, both doctors, who treat people in dirt poor areas of South America. Despite the poverty, they do charge for their services, even if only a nominal fee like a basket of tomatoes, because psychologically people tend to value and respect things that they pay something for more than what they get for free. (And so are more likely to take the doctors' advice seriously.) However, there's no correlation between higher fees and more respect, and high fees for aikido would only keep a lot of good folks from practicing. It already costs an arm in a leg just in terms of time - why raise the bar even further?

And I seriously don't think full time teachers are better than part time. In fact, the opposite could be true: if a sensei depends on teaching aikido for a living, there are going to be a lot of compromises (like "cardio aikido" at one local commercial dojo). Those who don't depend on it for their living are free to maintain their integrity. The best sensei I've ever had (who's also one of the best teachers I've ever had, of any subject, from kindergarten through grad school) teaches after work in the evenings and at most must make a couple thousand dollars a year from it.

Also, psychologically, I've found that doing something for money tends to taint the fun of it. This is backed up by experiments: e.g., start paying a kid who loves to read for every book she gets through, and she'll start enjoying it less. I'd be sad to see this happen in aikido.
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