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Old 05-06-2002, 07:05 PM   #1
Kevin
Dojo: Aiki Zenshin Dojo, Aikido of Fremont
Location: Fremont/Davis, CA
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Confused Prices of Seminars

Hi everyone,

This is for all the teen-aged students like myself and anyone else.

Has anyone ever notice the price of seminars. I have and I have attend a few seminars this year. Lately, the seminars are a little pricey especially for me. Please keep in mind that I don't have a job and must go to mom and dad for money and it can get expensive when you have a family trying to attend a seminar. For those teens who have work, you have to keep in mind that many have minimum wage jobs.

I don't want to be a burden on my parents. I don't want to make our parents pay for the seminars. I want to be able to lift some of the financial burden off my parent's shoulders. I want to do this because it is the right thing to do.

I don't have a job and the only income I get is a monthly allowance. It is really difficult to come up with $50 every few months for seminars.

I was wondering what everybody else thinks about this especially my peers.

Kevin
www.AikidoUniverse.com
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Old 05-07-2002, 12:21 AM   #2
Edward
Location: Bangkok
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Well, seminars cost money to organize, unfortunately. But I have been not unexpensive seminars recently. A weekend seminar with Tamura Shihan in France cost 20 Euros (18$) including 2 meals. We had 2 free of charge seminars at the Renbukan Dojo (Thai Aikikai) recently with Kobayashi Shihan and Yokota Shihan....

I will be attending a seminar soon with Sugano Shihan which will cost me 150$ including one welcome dinner but I'll have to pay the extra hotel, food and airplane tickets.

So it depends.
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Old 05-07-2002, 01:07 AM   #3
Chuck Clark
 
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Kevin,

I don't know how old you are, but if you're a mature and responsible young man, there's always ways you can earn extra money if you use some initiative and creativity.

I did it when I was growning up to make budo trips and seminars and pay my own way. My own son did it also.

Decide that you want to go, figure out how you can arrange travel, etc. and what it will cost and then get busy to earn the money you need.

Good luck and as they say in Japan, Gambatte!
(Don't give up!)

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 05-07-2002, 09:33 AM   #4
Krzysiek
Dojo: El Cerrito, CA
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Kevin,

I agree with you that Aikido seminars (and sometimes classes) are sometimes prohibitively expensive. I'm done with high school and done with college, but since my interests will not place me in a high-paying job money will most likely be an issue. (In fact I know that in the six months after college I will earn a collective $3000 while living independantly (of parents) and possibly not having a place to train. I feel your pain.)

Chances are that because the Aikido community works the way it works seminars are not likely to just get cheaper... (that's all I'm going to say about that can of worms...
)

I do think it's important to examine how much of an issue money is in Aikido. I don't think it's something to a) simply brush aside b) tell individuals that they should just be more comited (sp?). It's a lot more complicated than that.

It would probably be worth it to examine how you spend your time, ask the older students at your dojo (if you trust them) whether they know of any work which would fit with your life, and try to earn the money. If that doesn't work out with your life, you might just have to wait till you can make the money.... or are willing to discuss your situation with the organizer... or are willing to understand that your parents ARE there to support you if they can...

--Krzysiek
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Old 05-07-2002, 09:39 AM   #5
Krzysiek
Dojo: El Cerrito, CA
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I'll plug a thought here that might be inapropriate:

1) We as a 'we' (group of social groups?) don't support people who have children and need to educate them, expose them to the world, etc... etc...

2) Wages for underapreciated jobs (non-union working class, secretarial, minimum wage) are sufficient for a single healthy person to take care of themselves...

3) Being a mother/father adds at least another full time job to your life.

4) People who can't pay for things (Aikido or not) need to work harder...

Is something wrong with this picture?

--Krzysiek
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Old 05-07-2002, 11:41 AM   #6
tedehara
 
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Eek! $eminars

I just started a Seminars and Events page on my web site that covers Midwest(USA), Chicago area and National Ki Society events. One thing I've noticed is that there are a lot of seminars going on with only the bigger ones getting publicized.

There are many good teachers. Not all of them have a reputation or are from Japan. The seminars that they do draw mostly from one dojo. They're usually less expensive also.

Another way to save money and fit a seminar into your schedule is to look for an add-on class. For example, say Shihan A has a Fri.-Sun seminar that costs $200 US. This seminar is sponsored by the Big dojo. However on Thursday of the same week, Shihan A is holding a class for $25 at Little dojo, to help publicize it and raise funds.

Shihan A only gets out of Japan once-in-a-lifetime. You're working on one of the seminar days or don't have the Big dojo fee. Your only chance to see him is the Thursday class at Little dojo.

The most straight forward way to save on a seminar is to pre-register. Most large events give a savings to those who let them know that they are coming. This avoids at-the-door disappointments like finding out the seminar is already full.

Of course the cheapest way to attend a seminar is to go and just watch. Most dojos allow you to do this and don't charge anything for spectators. You may not be able to practice, but you might be able to learn more by just observing.

I've also been at seminars where the instructor was so popular, the mat was wall-to-wall people and you didn't even have room to throw! In those cases, I could have saved money and learned more by just watching.

As a consumer, the more knowledgeable you are, the more your money will purchase. This doesn't matter if you're buying a car or attending an Aikido seminar. Try and pre-register for seminars. Look at all events by contacting the local dojos.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 05-07-2002, 01:19 PM   #7
Doug Mathieu
Dojo: Aikido Bozankan
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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price of seminars

Hi

In Western Canada the average price for a weekend seminar is usually $60-$65 which is roughly equal to $40 US.

As a general rule most Dojos around here have little income and often struggle to pay rent, etc.

Having been involved with organizing a few I know that by the time airfares, hotel, meals, teaching fees, etc are paid many times the Dojo is in the hole and someone, usually the local sensei and senior students kick in money out of their pocket.

I also know through Karate friends that other martial arts seminars can be much higher sometimes a few hundred dollars.

I think our costs are on the low side even though that is no comfort to someone on a tight budget.

Hang in there and I hope it gets easier for you money wise.
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Old 05-07-2002, 02:30 PM   #8
akiy
 
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My personal observation is that seminars given by "experts" in other fields with, say, 40 years of experience in their field will mandate a much higher fee than that seen by pretty much any aikido seminar I've attended. If you take a look at the lecture fees that some professors from the academic realm charge, spending $100 for a weekend seminar with someone who studied with the founder is hardly anything compared.

In addition, I very much try to support as many seminars as I can. Of course, I want to learn from the teacher him/herself, but I also want to give support to these dojo who go through the trouble of inviting the teacher and putting on the entire seminar. If anything, it's a good way to help strengthen the aikido community, especially if it's a local seminar.

Just my thoughts,

-- Jun

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Old 05-07-2002, 09:24 PM   #9
giriasis
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Another consideration is to go for one day instead of the whole weekend. The seminars I've been to (USAF-East) provide a per day fee which is usally about 20$ less than the full weekend seminar. (For a weekend seminar You pay $35 instead of $55). Even the USAF-East Winter and Summer camps provide such an option. So you can train for one day and watch another.

Anne Marie

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 05-07-2002, 10:58 PM   #10
George S. Ledyard
 
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Cost of Training

Quote:
Originally posted by akiy
My personal observation is that seminars given by "experts" in other fields with, say, 40 years of experience in their field will mandate a much higher fee than that seen by pretty much any aikido seminar I've attended. If you take a look at the lecture fees that some professors from the academic realm charge, spending $100 for a weekend seminar with someone who studied with the founder is hardly anything compared.

In addition, I very much try to support as many seminars as I can. Of course, I want to learn from the teacher him/herself, but I also want to give support to these dojo who go through the trouble of inviting the teacher and putting on the entire seminar. If anything, it's a good way to help strengthen the aikido community, especially if it's a local seminar.

Just my thoughts,

-- Jun
Boy, if you think Aikido seminars are expensive try just about anything else. My wife has done Yoga. Yoga training is far, and I do mean far, more expensive than Aikido. Just check out your local New Age paper and see what seminars go for. My favorite was a Shamanic Drumming weekend seminar for $300.

People often seem to think that people running dojos should make things affordable for them. Aside from the seminars in which I host one of the "BIG" Japanese Senseis, I will barely break even. Some seminars in the past I had to subsidize out of my own pocket. Since I am a professional instructor I don't have the kind of income that would allow me to subsidize other people's training.

Dojos in which seminars cost $40 or $50 ofetn can not bring in enough money to host what might be said to be first tier instructors. Usually, the cost of a weekend seminar is around one month's dues. Dojos in urban areas which are more expensive have higher dues and the cost of hosting seminars is generally higher. Dojos in less expensive areas usually have smaller dues and smaller seminar fees.

In my own case I had gotten to the point at which I was about to have to stop inviting any instructors except the most famous Shihan. I was unwilling to do this because I feel that a dojo such as mine should serve as a resource to support lesser known Aikido teachers, especially the up and coming American instructors who don't have the "Japanese Instructor Mystique".

Since there was no way I could compel even my own students to attend seminars I decided that I could and would compel them to at least support the events we sponser even if they didn't train. I raised the dues by $10 for everybody. Each month I put this aside in a seminar account. We hold three major weekend seminars each year. Now I can invite any teacher I please and I know I can at least cover the expenses even if no one from outside attends. If outside folks do come, great, the dojo can bank some money. But if you are a member, you support the events whether you attend or not. It has worked really well. The students have said that since they are "paying as they go" so to speak, when the events actually happen they actually feel free.

So I can support instructors by giving them exposure, my students get the benefit of training with these talented but less well known teachers, and the teachers themselves can make a bit of money to help pay for their own training. Which brings us to another aspect of this issue... The vast majority of the instructors I know who make money teaching seminars spend more on their own training than they pull in on their teaching. This year I will have gone to Florida to train with Saotome Sensei, to Las Vegas for the Expo, to Colorado for Summer Camp and Montana to see Saotome sensei again. There will be a smattering of other local training I will do, usually not in Aikido proper. By the end of the year I will have spent far more on my own training than I will make in the seminars I teach. But if I weren't teaching any or were to be paid less for the teaching I do than is currently customary, I wouldn't be able to train as much. My training would suffer and my ability to give my students the best would suffer.

Folks often think that because something is expensive for them, that someone else is getting rich. That somehow it is the obligation for people to make that training affordable for them. It just doesn't work that way. I have missed a lot of training over the years because I didn't have enough money to cover it all. That's part of being a student, part of being a person just starting out in a career. Hopefully you get to the point that you can afford to do more. That benefits you and it benefits the Aikido community. After all it is your participation that makes it possible for a dojo to invite me to do a seminar. The money I make makes it possible for me to attend someone else's seminars. It goes round and round. The one thing I can guarentee you is that no one is getting rich doing Aikido. The people who make any money at all work really hard too do so and the majority are lucky to cover the expenses and have some money for their own training.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 05-07-2002 at 11:02 PM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 05-08-2002, 08:59 AM   #11
akiy
 
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As far as going to just a part of a seminar goes, I remember one shihan saying that it's basically a bit disrespectful to the teacher and other students; the teacher usually has some sort of continuum through the seminar which builds upon itself through the weekend which enables him/her to provide depth into what is being taught. I've been to a seminars in which this sort of "putting people on the same wavelength" kind of training was done and it was evident who was just attending "for the day" as what they were doing was nothing like what the teacher had been emphasizing for the past couple of days. It's kind of like going to see the middle 30 minutes of a movie and not knowing how it started to began...

-- Jun

PS: George, you're coming to the Summer Camp in the Rockies? I'll see you there...

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Old 05-08-2002, 11:13 AM   #12
Carl Simard
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Re: $eminars

Quote:
Originally posted by tedehara
There are many good teachers. Not all of them have a reputation or are from Japan. The seminars that they do draw mostly from one dojo. They're usually less expensive also.
You're right 100% on this one. In a year, I try to go at one big costly seminar with an international level teacher. However, I also attend to 3-4 seminars with more local or even somewhat unknown teachers. This spring, we even get one seminar for 10$CAN (around 6$US) with one of these less known teacher! Not too costly and it was a very interesting seminar...

And also note that these less known teachers are not necessarely worst than the big names... Sometime, you even learn more in these less flashy seminars: less people, better contact with the teacher...

A big name in aikido is not always equal to a good teacher. Some shihan are excellent aikidoka but are very poor at teaching what they know... And going to a less costly seminar with a less known teacher is certainly better than no seminar at all...
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Old 05-08-2002, 01:10 PM   #13
George S. Ledyard
 
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Visitors at Seminars and Part Timers

Quote:
Originally posted by akiy
As far as going to just a part of a seminar goes, I remember one shihan saying that it's basically a bit disrespectful to the teacher and other students; the teacher usually has some sort of continuum through the seminar which builds upon itself through the weekend which enables him/her to provide depth into what is being taught. I've been to a seminars in which this sort of "putting people on the same wavelength" kind of training was done and it was evident who was just attending "for the day" as what they were doing was nothing like what the teacher had been emphasizing for the past couple of days. It's kind of like going to see the middle 30 minutes of a movie and not knowing how it started to began...

-- Jun

PS: George, you're coming to the Summer Camp in the Rockies? I'll see you there...
There are certainly times when you can't hit a whole seminar. With eight kids and a dojo I know that only too well. If I can only go part time I usualyy communicate with the Teacher that I unfortunately have a conflict and that I am sorry I can't hit the whole seminar. I think they usually understand that.

I have had Teachers ask me why someone was just watching on the side. These were people from other dojos who just come to watcha seminar. I get the impression that the teachers in question felt a) that the students weren't gutsy enough to get on the mat and that they didn't really respect the just watching approach and / or b) that there was a bit of a slight in that the teacher was good enough to drop in to watch but not good enough to invest in with physical effort and financial commitment. These were people who had trained in Japan and I think it was more their thinknig that if you had the time to get there you should train unless you were injured. Anything less was a bit of a slight to the instructor. On the other hand i have not told my students to stay away if hey can't train. I know some of my students have dropped in at other dojos to observe a seminar and they didn't train. I always took the appraoch that that was better than nothing. But it really doesn't support either the teacher or the host dojo that has cmootied all its resources to hosting that teacher.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Aikido Eastside
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Old 05-08-2002, 01:41 PM   #14
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Re: $eminars

Quote:
Originally posted by Carl Simard


You're right 100% on this one. In a year, I try to go at one big costly seminar with an international level teacher. However, I also attend to 3-4 seminars with more local or even somewhat unknown teachers. This spring, we even get one seminar for 10$CAN (around 6$US) with one of these less known teacher! Not too costly and it was a very interesting seminar...

And also note that these less known teachers are not necessarely worst than the big names... Sometime, you even learn more in these less flashy seminars: less people, better contact with the teacher...

A big name in aikido is not always equal to a good teacher. Some shihan are excellent aikidoka but are very poor at teaching what they know... And going to a less costly seminar with a less known teacher is certainly better than no seminar at all...
Ah! Here we get to one of my pet peeves. The issue of remuneration for the visiting teachers is one that is handled variously around the country.

I personally like the USAF appraoch which is to set down what instructors at each certification level should be paid for their instruction. Fukushidoin, Shidoin, Shihan, it's all basically mapped out.

There is a tendency for we Americans to relegate many of our own teachers to a second class status when it comes to their instructing at events. This has bugged me for a long time. I have certainly felt it myself.

Saotome Sensei had asked me to take care of some folks who were part of our organization but whose dojo was too small to host a seminar with a shihan level teacher. I was happy to and they would ask to do a seminar once or twice a year. They initially said that they weren't big enough to pay me what I usually charged but I said that was fine as Sensei had asked me to take care of them.

But as the years went on I noticed that they were still paying me a very cut rate and when I looked at the number of folks training and what they charged for the seminar it was clear that they were pulling in more than I was as the teacher. I am sure that these folks would never have asked one of the Japanes teachers to teach come for less they normally charged nor would they have continued to do so long after they needed to if they had done so.

I have made it a policy in my own dojo that anyone good enough for me to invite to teach a seminar should be paid equally, regardless. I won't ask someone to give me a break but rather will save our money longer in order to host them properly.

Since ranking is such a dicey propostion in that it doesn't necessarily indicate ability or experience accurately I simply go by my own subjective standard... is this person's Aikido on par with the Shihan? Then they should be remunerated as such.

There is nothing wrong with junior instructors, just starting to get out and conduct seminars , to charge less for their time. It is logical and is a way for them to get exposure and for the dojos that are smaller to be able to host a viting teacher without stressing their budget. We all did that coming up.

But I don't think it is right to take advantage of a teacher and under compensate him or her just becuase they aren't Japanese or just because they aren't so well known.

So the next time you get to train in a situation in which you get to pay half or less than you'd expect normally and the teacher is some fifth or sixth dan with several decades of experience just give a thought to why they are so much less exepensive. In some cases it might be a case of a bit of reverse discrimination going on.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 05-08-2002, 02:12 PM   #15
giriasis
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In regards to going to just part of a seminar...

I can see the point of someone might miss out on what is being taught previously, and I have seen this in seminars as well. But it's not that hard to figure out what is going on and pick up on the theme. I can see it possibly being offensive if in order to do the techniques on Sunday you have to have been there Saturday. From what I have experience partial attendance is accepted, encouraged, and allowed, there really isn't a continuity issue. If partial attendance was offensive to the particular sensei, assumdely, he or she wouldn't hesistate to request that people sign up for the whole seminar. (Of course, I'm sure he or she would be diplomatic about it.)

Where partial attendances is allowed and accepted, someone who has tight finances can easily choose the one day where he can get the most for his money. It's better to be there one day than to not be there at all. It is a great option when it is permitted.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 05-08-2002, 02:51 PM   #16
Carl Simard
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Re: Re: Re: $eminars

Quote:
Originally posted by George S. Ledyard
So the next time you get to train in a situation in which you get to pay half or less than you'd expect normally and the teacher is some fifth or sixth dan with several decades of experience just give a thought to why they are so much less exepensive. In some cases it might be a case of a bit of reverse discrimination going on.
Yes, I've asked myself this question when going to low cost seminar. What usually happens is that the visiting teacher is a friend, ex teacher or partner of the receiving teacher. So it will probaly be in the city anyway just to say "Hi!". Why not give a seminar at the same time and train with the old friends ? So, it's not only a question of renumeration but also a question of friendship and people keeping in relation with each others. For example, in the case of the 10$ seminar I've talked, the teacher was the first sensei of a sensei in one of the city dojo. He was simply coming to see the dojo of his ex student and how things were going and the the two decided that it can be fun and interesting for everybody to do a seminar at the same time... And then, why not tells the other dojos in the city ?

Maybe it's me that's lucky to be in a city where the 5-6 dojos maintain a good relationship with each other. When one of them organize a small seminar, the other dojos gets invited. From time to time, some of them get together to make a bigger seminar with a more known teacher... So we get a lot of these small seminars from "the guy who has trained with me before moving to another city" at low cost because it's as much an occasion for peoples to meet old friends than for doing aikido...
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