The average dues amount for martial arts training in the US is around $100 / month (could be a bit more as this is an older number). That would cover training twice a week. Aikido dojos tend to be on the lower end of the average because there are so few professional instructors and the dues tends to cover more frequent training if the student wishes.
The going rate for a weekend seminar with a shihan level instructor is in most places, around the same as one month's dues. The guest instructor would typically be paid between $1000 and $2000 for the weekend depending on who they were plus expenses which would include airfare, food, a nice gift, some recreation during the seminar off times, and possibly hotel (once again depending).
Most instructors rely on the seminars they host to provide them with at least enough money to cover he seminars they attend. For non-professional instructors this is the usual minimum expectation. In my own case, the amount I spend on my own training exceeds what I pull in from hosting guest instructors.
There are a few folks, those with independent means, who only need their events to break even. But for folks like myself, the income from holding a seminar is an important part of the overall budget. I usually depend on the events I hold (guest instructors and those I teach myself) to cover things like my Quarterly Taxes from the state and the Feds.
I realize that often there are folks out there who perceive themselves to be financially in need. They quite naturally think that their training should be made more accessible from a financial point of view. Often it is... There are dojos around with scholarship programs, student membership rates etc. But I would point out that, especially in the case of the teachers who are trying to make a go of it as professional instructors, they are often right there beside you in the low income brackets. Even the teachers who are at the very top level and are making a decent living, if you look at what they have to do to get there (ie. travel pratically every single weekend all over the country and even the world) you will realize that compared to what they would make doing any normal job they make far less and if you compute what they make on an hourly basis it's minimum wage levels.
So I would say, don't be too quick to say that folks should be providing more financial incentive for lesser means students to train. In most cases people are darn lucky to have so many dojos available to train at period. Dojos are a labor of love, not something that making anyone rich.
Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 09-22-2004 at 11:06 AM.