Re: Poll: How important is running an aikido dojo as a business?
Clergy also need to be paid, but they are paid through donations to the church in a way that may not be obvious to people outside of the churches. I would say that in general, professional aikido teachers are less well-paid than clergy.
As for running a dojo as a business, I think that it is important, but that it should be done with a very long-term, aikido-centered view. That is to say, the dojo is in the business of teaching and promoting aikido, and making money should always be subservient to that goal. If increasing dues shuts too many people out of the dojo, it's probably not a good idea, but if it's not too much, and allows the dojo to invest in a better practice space, new mats, etc., then it might be worth it. I think that the biggest danger in having professional instructors is that they can lose balance and perspective in their world-views, and become too wrapped up in the petty politics of aikido, and forget what the non-aikido world is like. Also, there's not a whole lot of money in it. For those who teach in addition to a regular, full-time job, exhaustion, burnout, and lack of contemplative time could be problems. In general, the issues balance out, but it's up to individual instructors to make that decision for themselves. It also doesn't necessarily reflect how business-like the dojo is.