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Old 10-16-2013, 04:21 PM   #6
Dan Richards
Dojo: Latham Eclectic
Location: NY
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 452
Re: What is a professional budo teacher?

Peter, those are some interesting points you brought up in your blog.

I do think that people's business is their business, and they can run things as they choose.

I do think, though, one angle you could explore a bit more are the many dojos that run as a sort of quasi-business/charity. Where people are often asked to do things that raise money for the "club," when in fact, the "club" is really the wallet, as well as the financial obligations, of the dojo-cho/head instructor.

I've seen dojos hold car washes, bake sales, birthday parties, etc. - all in the name of the "club." When what it was really doing was supplementing the income to the owner - that they weren't somehow able to bring in through their regular business of holding classes and workshops.

I've also seen t-shirt sales as well as other types of "volunteering" that members get suckered into, all in the name of the "club."

If someone is a "professional" budo teacher, then they need to figure out a business model that truly allows them run their business as a professional. And not rely on additional forms of charity and volunteering in order to make ends meet. Because by doing that, they're not truly professional. In fact, they're more amateurs who can't get it together, and rely instead on deception towards their members and their community, and even themselves, in order to make themselves appear to be "professional."

I know of many clubs that have existed in very inexpensive and even free spaces, that allow for the club to build up over time. I've also seen clubs go into expensive strip malls, and even buy buildings. When the dojo-cho is on the hook to high rents and mortgages, they often, by necessity, begin coming up with additional responsibilities and activities, outside the normal range of training and dojo maintenance, just to keep their "business" afloat.

And people do need to see this, and to be clued into the fact that a dojo - if it's being run as a business - is essentially "owned" by the head instructor. It's not owned by the members.

I am all for people jumping in and being part of an organization. And many clubs are well-run with very little overhead. But it's when martial arts teachers somehow feel that what they do is any more special than teaching music or art classes, and that their students need to subsidize the owner's business, that we're getting into a range of people who are not acting as professionals, and are, in fact, preying on people and taking advantage of their students and their community.

Last edited by Dan Richards : 10-16-2013 at 04:27 PM.
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