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Old 07-06-2010, 08:39 AM   #1
Tatsukage
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Training fees

I'm not too sure where this should go, so I figured "general" was as good as any. Now, I've come across this situation many times, not just myself, but in helping friends and talking to others. I'm not sure how it is around other places, but where I am, it seems that nobody wants to cut slack. Now, I recently found one place that said they would would with me, or anyone in a tight situation, but I haven't yet been there so I cannot say for sure if they hold true to their word, although I'd hope they did. Anywho, I know that places need money to keep the lights on, water running, etc...but it seems that money has gotten in the way of the art. If you can't pay, you can't learn, and this concept seems wrong to me. Now, if one were to walk in and demand free lessons, this of course would be absurd. However, if one would offer their services in helping to maintain and keep the dojo running smoothly, and helping to teach the lower ranks and "noobs", I feel that they could come in at least once or twice a month. If I were certified I would run a free program at the youth center or some such. So, what does everyone else think? Should you HAVE to pay full dues to learn, or should the dojo be able to help you out? Not mandatory, obviously, but some leeway, nonetheless. I'm sorry if I have not worded my statements properly, so if you have any in depth questions that need to be asked before a proper response is given, feel free. Arigato Gozaimasu
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:48 AM   #2
Russ Q
Dojo: Shohei Juku Aikido Gibsons
Location: Gibsons BC
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Re: Training fees

When I started I felt that aikido should be free....:-) Since then I have come to understand that you have to pay! Whether it be by cash or by working in the dojo you need to pay for the privilege of learning from a good instructor (note I said "good instructor). Your teacher has likely put in years, even decades of training, to be able to impart his/her knowledge to you. Even if your teacher is rich you need to show your appreciation by paying their required fee and helping out. If you don't feel that, then I would suggest you haven't been at the dojo long enough or you should be looking for another teacher. Beyond keeping the lights and water on it's about showing your appreciation for your teacher's dedication.
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:31 AM   #3
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Training fees

We once had a visiting instructor ask us what we paid for our training. Someone quoted the montly dues and someone else mentioned testing and seminar fees and so on. The instructor laughed. He said, "Your monthly dues are not paying for Aikido lessons, they pay for the facility you train in, the mats you train on, the heat and electricity." "What you personaly pay for your Aikido lessons is the blood sweat and tears."

The rent has to be paid. Test fees have to be paid, association fees have to be paid. Aikido should be free?

What about the instructor that does it for a living? Should he/she teach for free. How will he/she pay the bills support their family?

Should you have to pay full dues? Why shouldn't you have to pay full dues? Should you have to pay the full amount of your rent or car payment or should they give you some leeway?

Lyle Laizure
www.hinodedojo.com
Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:27 AM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Re: Training fees

Quote:
Donovan Faulkenbury wrote: View Post
However, if one would offer their services in helping to maintain and keep the dojo running smoothly, and helping to teach the lower ranks and "noobs", I feel that they could come in at least once or twice a month
How can you learn aikido in you only train once or twice a month?

How is an instructor or dojocho to know that you are fit to help teach the "noobs" if you don't train regularly?

How can you be deemed reliable to assure the smooth running of the dojo (a series of tasks usually done by regular, paying dojo members, although, yes, believe it or not, there ARE dojos that will offer reduced fees for a solid work committment)?

Finally...unless one is talking about some kind of community service setting, why shouldn't money be involved in the teaching of the art? I have never taught painting or sewing without either money or equivalent barter, and wouldn't unless it was specifically as a volunteer for a specific nonprofit targeting some specific population of students.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:06 AM   #5
Keith Larman
Location: California
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Re: Training fees

As I told one particularly talkative customer, information is free. I have no problem answering questions, teaching, etc. However, my *time* is valuable to me. And if the time spent becomes significant it will impact my ability to support myself and my family. So the issue becomes not that I am charging for information, but I cannot afford to spend all my time answering your questions just because you want to know.

To me it boils down to this. Is it that you feel entitled to free training? Or is it that you think those who are trained have an obligation to share without monetary compensation? While you may feel entitled to training there may not anyone who feels obligated to give it to you for free.

On the issue of working things out, most dojo I've experienced are flexible and try to accommodate serious students. I've also seen some serious abuses by asshats who certainly could afford to pay at normal rates who abused relationships to get a free ride. And often they justified it by saying "information should be free".

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Old 07-06-2010, 11:23 AM   #6
Basia Halliop
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Re: Training fees

Someone's got to keep the place running: to pay the rent and utilities, etc... why would it make more sense for it to just come out of the instructor's pocket? He's already contributing hours and hours of his time; should he have to give us everything else too? OK, maybe if he's fairly well-off and wants to donate this all as a gift, but it's hardly something I would think is fair to _expect_. I think if we all want to have a dojo, we all have to work together to make it so...

And as far as cleaning and teaching and helping new people and the like, I've always understood that that was part of the deal anyway... those are just normal responsibilities of more senior students. They don't actual lower the financial costs of running a dojo.

It's a bit more like being a member of a club or of a co-op, then buying something from a business. Everyone gains, but everyone has to contribute too... and part of what's needed is money.

If the head of the dojo can afford to I suppose it's up to him if he wants to personally subsidize a promising or long-standing student going through some hard times... but that's what it would be... someone is still paying those costs, they don't just disappear.
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:31 AM   #7
Basia Halliop
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Re: Training fees

Quote:
If I were certified I would run a free program at the youth center or some such.
If you have access to a youth centre or community centre, and if in this one you don't have to pay any significant rental or anything to access the space (I guess it would mean your centre has a sufficiently solid tax base to not have to charge rent to groups wanting to use it), and if they have a large enough space and suitable mats available that they will let you borrow for free, then that's awesome and you are very lucky. Not everyone is lucky enough to have free facilities handed to them. And it's not very doable if you want people to be able to train a lot of hours, either.
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Old 07-06-2010, 01:04 PM   #8
OwlMatt
 
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Re: Training fees

I train at a non-profit dojo; none of my instructors get paid for their efforts. But even at a non-profit dojo we still pays dues for maintenance, heat, electricity, water, and training equipment. Running a dojo costs money, and so to expect to get training for free is to expect your sensei, in effect, to be paying you to train.
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Old 07-06-2010, 04:16 PM   #9
Tatsukage
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Re: Training fees

My thanks to all the comments so far. I didn't mean to sound rude or ungrateful to my sensei, and I do manage to pay my dues every month and sit out when I cannot afford it. My main reason for posting was that I thought it would be acceptable to make exceptions depending on the individuals situation. As for the "teaching free" comment, i didn't mean to sound high and mighty about it. I merely have always wanted to teach the arts, and would be happy to instruct others without charge if I could. I've helped at a couple places before, and have tried numerous times to get an aikido club together, etc...However, from the responses I've gathered that full payment is necessary if nothing else but to keep Sensei's honor in tact by not trying to cheat him or work deals that would cause friction amongst other students. Although it would never be my intention to cause any disrespect to Sensei, even if he were to say that one could train at discount or free for a short period of time, it would comprimise his integrity for making exceptions. Thank you again for words of wisdom, and I will keep them in mind for future reference.
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Old 07-06-2010, 04:40 PM   #10
Brian Gillaspie
 
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Re: Training fees

I have known a few dojos that have made exceptions and given people a discounted rate trying to be helpful. And I've met a couple of people along the way who have taken advantage of these dojos.

As mentioned in other threads, it costs a significant amount to run a dojo and on top of that I believe the Sensei deserves to be paid for his time and committment.

I've never understood why there seems to be a lot of people who think martial arts should be taught for free but I don't hear very many people saying mechanics, plumbers, electricians, doctors, etc. should peform all of their services for free.
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:54 PM   #11
Larry Feldman
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Re: Training fees

I have a standing (unpublished) policy that any dojo regulars who have lost a job ride free until they get a new job.
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:41 PM   #12
raul rodrigo
Location: Quezon City
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Re: Training fees

I've sometimes cut people slack for training fees if they've going through rough periods. I've even lent people money for their dan exam fees. But this is my own decision to make, not something that can be expected of me by others.
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:22 PM   #13
T0ny
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Re: Training fees

larry feldman is dang cool. I just decided that after reading his reply. Very American. (not that I am jobless or expect that kind of attitude from every one.) I just think his policy is good. Some times bad things happen ya know?

Last edited by T0ny : 07-06-2010 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:41 PM   #14
lbb
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Re: Training fees

Quote:
Donovan Faulkenbury wrote: View Post
My thanks to all the comments so far. I didn't mean to sound rude or ungrateful to my sensei, and I do manage to pay my dues every month and sit out when I cannot afford it. My main reason for posting was that I thought it would be acceptable to make exceptions depending on the individuals situation.
I don't think it's a matter of acceptability so much as practicality. Most dojos are very lean operations, and they have bills that have to be paid in cash -- they can't barter services with the bank or the electric company. A dojo may be able to carry a few non-paying members, but for the most part, they need you to pony up.

Quote:
Donovan Faulkenbury wrote: View Post
As for the "teaching free" comment, i didn't mean to sound high and mighty about it. I merely have always wanted to teach the arts, and would be happy to instruct others without charge if I could. I've helped at a couple places before, and have tried numerous times to get an aikido club together, etc..
But in those situations, you're not the one paying the rent, are you? Someone else is footing the bill, so you can afford to remain pure.

Quote:
Donovan Faulkenbury wrote: View Post
However, from the responses I've gathered that full payment is necessary if nothing else but to keep Sensei's honor in tact by not trying to cheat him or work deals that would cause friction amongst other students. Although it would never be my intention to cause any disrespect to Sensei, even if he were to say that one could train at discount or free for a short period of time, it would comprimise his integrity for making exceptions. .
I don't think it's about compromising integrity. I think that the reasons for paying to play are 98% practical. Beyond that, yes -- if you are receiving something of value, you should be willing to pay for it.
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:07 AM   #15
Randy Sexton
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Re: Training fees

My Sensei once made the comment,
"My Aikido is not for sale, you can only steal it, but do pay your dues so you don't have to do it in the dark!"

Doc Randy

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will"
Gandhi
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:36 AM   #16
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: Training fees

I think fees should be involved. My dojo has to pay rent for two locations (dojo and the room downstairs where we all change in). Not to mention they have to pay for heat, AC for the downstairs room (no AC in the dojo), electricity, etc. Not to mention the making up of costs from purchasing mats, weapons, etc.

I have always been told that the money is more for the location and upkeep of the dojo. Not for the actual knowledge itself. Both of the dojo's I have trained at have offered a price adjustment in times of need. My previous dojo would allow you to clean or such. My current dojo can offer students scholarships to continue training in times of hardship. Both of my sensei's have also had to have a job outside of the dojo. Let's face it, there aren't too many instructor's who can make it by with just teaching aikido.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:56 AM   #17
RED
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Re: Training fees

A trustee-lawyer once told me,(para-phrase)
"Anyone who has knowledge worth listening to charges you to listen. People who seek an audience to listen to their rants are charlatans. If they aren't charlatans you can bet their arguing with some one on the internet some where!" LOL

MM
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:15 PM   #18
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
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Re: Training fees

Our training is free in our dojo, but we pay dues to support the building, utilities and maintenance - and it is clear to us that's what our dues pay for. Our Dojo Cho has a booming business off the mat and the time he spends teaching probably costs him money and business. Our dues are considerably lower than neighboring schools and our dojo has been open for twenty years now in the same place.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:02 PM   #19
brian donohoe
 
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Re: Training fees

In the asociation that I am with and therefore in the club that I run it is stated policy that you should not restrict your training due to a lack of funds. Also in my own experience of being a student or unemployed every where I went to train had some sort of reduced fee policy for people who were a bit strapped for cash.
As well as that I will be teaching some Aikido this summer for free at this camp http://www.earthsong.ie/

Brian
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Old 07-16-2010, 01:58 PM   #20
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Training fees

3 days a week I drive 25 miles to the dojo.I arrive 30-40 minutes early. Open up the dojo and do whatever cleaning needs to be taken care of. When I arrive at sufficient seniority to do so, and if asked I will teach when and if sensei requires it of me.

I would not dream of asking to not have to pay dues or to have my dues discounted for this. My teachers sacrifice a lot in time, and their own resources, in order to run this dojo so that we have a place to learn and to train. I don't think it is too much to ask that members help pay to keep the lights on.
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Old 07-16-2010, 08:32 PM   #21
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Training fees

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
3 days a week I drive 25 miles to the dojo.I arrive 30-40 minutes early. Open up the dojo and do whatever cleaning needs to be taken care of. When I arrive at sufficient seniority to do so, and if asked I will teach when and if sensei requires it of me.

I would not dream of asking to not have to pay dues or to have my dues discounted for this. My teachers sacrifice a lot in time, and their own resources, in order to run this dojo so that we have a place to learn and to train. I don't think it is too much to ask that members help pay to keep the lights on.
Amen!

Lyle Laizure
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Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 07-16-2010, 11:47 PM   #22
kironin
 
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Re: Training fees

I enjoy teaching enthusiastic students it would be easy for me to forget about money while teaching, but those I rent from don't seem to be so easy going. They never seem to be willing to let a month slide when the funds aren't there.

Then there is also the fact that my time is valuable, the several thousand hours I spent learning the art, the time spent learning to teach it, the experience that comes from teaching something way over two thousand+ hours of classes. Then like's been mentioned the time it takes from business, mortgage company isn't sympathetic nor is the grocery store.

What I would do for a senior student that's been with me a long time is lot different than someone who I don't know that walks in the door and tries to bargain with me right from the start. I sympathize but I have had people try to haggle with me that it turned out later that they could easily afford to pay the normal dues. There is really no way to judge a new student's character. It's not exactly fair to core students who are paying their share in time and money to keep the place open.

An experienced student of the same style new to the dojo that pops in once or twice a month really isn't of much value. It's possible that might be a mat fee if it was never more than 1-2 times a month but it would definitely be a conversation and I'd probably call their previous school to get some understanding of their backstory.

"Teaching for free at a youth center" sounds to me like you have a rather idealized idea of teaching. Even at a youth center, funds have to come from somewhere, charity or otherwise.

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Old 07-18-2010, 11:29 PM   #23
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: Training fees

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
3 days a week I drive 25 miles to the dojo.....I would not dream of asking to not have to pay dues...... I don't think it is too much to ask that members help pay to keep the lights on.
Hear hear! I drive 20 miles each way to my dojo four times a week and I feel the exact same way.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 07-22-2010, 06:59 AM   #24
TreyPrice
 
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Re: Training fees

I am luck. We have a not for profit dojo. Not only that we have a rent free environment. Members bring a case of water from time to time, but that’s it. Here is the greatest irony of all: of all the instructors in my city, and of all the disciplines taught - my instructor has the most unbelievable linage of anyone I have ever talked to. Serving in the Airforce in the late 60s he approached a gentleman about learning Aikido. He called the Doshu. Within a few days he trained with a bevy of first generation students. He trained extensively in Japan and then in Hawaii.

I understand that dojos often need to rent space, and even if the instructor(s) earn a living from instructing. I belief is that training should always be of the highest quality possible.

Remember Bruce Lee taught many people in his driveway. Many people have mats in basements and garages. I began training in the yard with my Grandfather when I was a kid. Quality instruction is not tied to the facility.

I think if someone is going to charge others for training it should be worth the money. I also believe that everyone is an instructor for everyone else.

As for the "noobs" - we are all a noob to someone else - regardless of skill and years in training.

Just me $.02 -

Oh, if you would like high quality "free" training - come to Capital City Aikido in Montgomery, Alabama.

http://capitalcityaikido.org/
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