Ken Sparrow wrote:
My question is, what (if anything) do people feel they are owed in return for the dues they pay? What level of obligation beyond dues to people feel they owe their dojo?
Ken, this is an unanswerable question because it depends on the dojo and the implied expectations therein. For instance, no one walks into a 24 hour fitness center and expects to mop the floors or show up on a Saturday for a gym cleaning. You pays your money, you use the gym, and the obligation stops there. It's a very clean relationship and often, but not always, less personal. At the other extreme is the small club where everyone has a hand in keeping the school open and so it's reasonable to expect everyone, including the head instructor, to clean up the mats and the like. In this situation, excepting rank, most everyone is pretty much equal and the head instructor may not even be paid.
Most dojos tend to operate in a messy middle ground. They are owned by a head instructor, who is hopefully making some money, and subsidized by students cleaning mats, greeting students, sales, etc. The problem that I have with this methodology is that it tends to screen a dojo from financial realities, which if faced more openly, might encourage a school to operate more professionally lessening the need for the student subsidies. I don't really like a situation where a dojo is owned by the instructor but then he/she expects students to do a lot of work around the place.
By extension, I, mostly, don't like the organizational constructs used in our art where students pay fees to parent organizations while deriving no obvious benefit other than a membership card and the honor of supporting a shihan. If people want to run an organization then they need to run an organization and not do it for prestige or as a revenue source.
Anyways, I guess what I'm saying, minus the minor digressions, is that there are a million different structures in the in-between realm. What is expected, or should be expected, is an almost unanswerable question in the way you asked it.