Re: Poll: How important is running an aikido dojo as a business?
When I started teaching martial arts here in the UK, the local authority paid for the facility including the venue and equipment were generally available. This may have appeared to be good for MA but the downside was that if you wanted to provide your own facilities you were in direct competition to the subsidised clubs and it was very difficult to get a realistic fee to cover rent, tatami and all the myriad items of overhead that running an efficient organisation requires. When, as inevitably happened, the local authorities no longer supported the 'minor' recreational activities but increasingly used their funds to provide for the more mainstream activities such as football, athletics, gymnastics and, in the UK, cricket, martial arts clubs were often unable to adjust to the changed situation and many closed. Politics and economics as always were main factors, the winning of medals was and is seen as the purpose of funding, not the benefit to the average individual seeking something less tangible such as self development. There is also the problem of cronyism, especially where local government is concerned. For example, there is substantial funding for outdoor bowls, which requires extensive land and upkeep. Why? well, it may be coincidental but local councilors include a great many elderly retired individuals, the demographic who feature strongly in the membership of bowls clubs.
I am well aware that I have to compete with the myriad of other activities on offer and to provide the service that my students expect requires that they pay a realistic fee. I now pay rent to run my judojo within a small commercial facility offering aikido, judo, rehearsal space and classes for contemporary dance and sundry other activities including yoga. I am free to teach what I believe in and fortunately my students appreciate this.