Re: Poll: How important is running an aikido dojo as a business?
Well, we've all read and heard the same arguments over and over now.
Still, I have yet to come to read or hear one reason that would convince me that an alomost-for free group with a leisure-time teacher (who spends 90 % of his time at living-earning-work, with family or sleeping) is inherently immune to dilution of teaching/Aikido standards or supports a higher-quality teacher.
The best teachers I know do Aikido full-time, as did O-Sensei (besides spending just as much time on religion). And since they do not enjoy wealthy sponsors like O-Sensei did, they have to charge their students. And then, the line is indeed drawn when greed and excessive profit come into the game.
To sum it up, there are good and bad teachers and Aikido groups in both worlds. I personally prefer the atmoshere of a private school being more like a traditional dojo (compared to a gym place). That's why I always trained in such dojos, and now founded my own. And I did not get wealthy so far...