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Old 09-19-2002, 07:03 AM   #26
Hanna B
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Join Date: Dec 2001
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Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
I've been around and visited different dojos. The ones I've most enjoyed visiting have been ones where there has been more of a sense of an 'aikido community' than a central sensei who was engaged in teaching. Similarly, dojos where I've felt most comfortable are ones where you get the sense that the fees (dues or mat fees) are there to keep the dojo and the community going.
Good point.

HB
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Old 09-19-2002, 09:48 AM   #27
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The whole question seems odd to me. Paying fees for aikido is certainly a good thing, no doubt. I've heard of a husband & wife team, both doctors, who treat people in dirt poor areas of South America. Despite the poverty, they do charge for their services, even if only a nominal fee like a basket of tomatoes, because psychologically people tend to value and respect things that they pay something for more than what they get for free. (And so are more likely to take the doctors' advice seriously.) However, there's no correlation between higher fees and more respect, and high fees for aikido would only keep a lot of good folks from practicing. It already costs an arm in a leg just in terms of time - why raise the bar even further?

And I seriously don't think full time teachers are better than part time. In fact, the opposite could be true: if a sensei depends on teaching aikido for a living, there are going to be a lot of compromises (like "cardio aikido" at one local commercial dojo). Those who don't depend on it for their living are free to maintain their integrity. The best sensei I've ever had (who's also one of the best teachers I've ever had, of any subject, from kindergarten through grad school) teaches after work in the evenings and at most must make a couple thousand dollars a year from it.

Also, psychologically, I've found that doing something for money tends to taint the fun of it. This is backed up by experiments: e.g., start paying a kid who loves to read for every book she gets through, and she'll start enjoying it less. I'd be sad to see this happen in aikido.
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Old 09-19-2002, 10:30 AM   #28
Deb Fisher
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Unregistered wrote:

"Those who don't depend on it for their living are free to maintain their integrity."

Why insist on this syllogism? Why must enough money to support a modest lifestyle necesarily involve losing one's integrity? Why is this an argument? Where is your proof that sellout is a rampant force in artistic/cultural production and that money is a universal pollutant?

The myth of sellout is rooted in a puritanical desire to suffer for money and I don't buy it. Your "experimental proof" of the tainting (sullying? dirtying? perverting?) quality of money is equally specious. I know a lot of people who do exactly what they are passionate about for a living, and see no loss of integrity, no lack of fun, no greenish tint of money pollution around their gills.

What I do see is a handful of people who have the freedom to go deeper and with more commitment into their art, and this yields an artistic product (be it music, painting, or aikido) that is more considered, fuller, more of a gift to the greater society.

This crazy notion that money taints artistic production is a relatively new construct bred by a capitalism that has no love for any kind of soul-maintenance that cannot be mass-produced and mass-consumed. Historically, cultural producers (like O' Sensei) have worked for ages within a fairly comfortable system of patronage that influences the outcome of cultural production as much as abject poverty or hobby status does. What do we gain from taking away the money?

I don't trust the culture that is trying to ram 100+ TV stations of crap down my throat when it comes to the value of cultural production. Do you? Really?

Deb Fisher
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Old 09-19-2002, 10:58 AM   #29
Erik
Location: Bay Area
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Quote:
J°rgen Jakob Friis (JJF) wrote:
I'm not so certain. I can think of at least one shihan who has been emphazising that one should have a life (both professionally and personally) besides Aikido. I believe it to be an important part of growing like an individual and something that you can hang your hat on, if training for some reason fails your for a while.
For you and Hanna, please note that I said probably. Anyways, the point is being able to invest time into your practice and art. Working a second job, 9+ hours a day, really at least 10 or so with lunch and commute, will detract from time and energy in a way that a full-time teacher/practitioner does not have to face.
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Old 09-19-2002, 11:57 AM   #30
Alan Drysdale
Dojo: Enmei Dojo
Location: Florida
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I think there are some other influences, too. One is where you live. I remember in England, our organization did not affiliate with Aikikai Hombu because of the cost. There was a lot less discretionary income over there. (I'm in the USA now, and this was 20 years ago.)

Another factor is the going rate. I charge what is the going rate in the area. In fact, there is a karate school in the same facility, and we charge the same as them. So it isn't just aikido.

I did like that thought about yoga teachers explaining how each asana benefits your body. "And now we are going to do irimi nage, which improves the flexibility of the neck."
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Old 09-19-2002, 12:48 PM   #31
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
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Hey Deb,

As someone who is making a living doing what I love, I really like your points about the specious connection between making a living and losing your focus.

I do, though, think you are overstating your point. There is no doubt that in my field (science) many people are motivated by issues of money rather than issues of love. It doesn't ruin the field, and I wouldn't even say that it was most of the people, but it is a danger than every scientist becomes aware of and comes to terms with. I think that, similarly, in martial arts that are more easily commercialized (like TaeKwonDo, for instance) teachers know that they must learn to walk a fine line. I don't think there is anything wrong with facing these sorts of dilemmas, and I think they can even be healthy for the sensei and his own understanding of his art and his way, but they are always there.

To me it often seems like there is a simple rule of thumb: the more money is involved, the more you will tend to find people around who care about the money. On the other hand, there is another issue to deal with: the more you expect people to live off of thin air, the more you attract a certain confused kind of person who believes that's really possible. Not necessarily a good thing, either.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 09-19-2002, 04:38 PM   #32
"antochi andrei"
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vreu sa invat carate !!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 10-04-2002, 07:12 PM   #33
Hanna B
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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Quote:
Ian Dodkins (ian) wrote:
Someone who charges a lot of money will only retain students if they think it is worth it - thus they can only survive if they are very good.
Or, if they can make people think that they are very good.

You know, some products, like perfume, sell better if they cost more - because a high price is part of the 'luxury'concept which you are buying, along with the scent. When I suggested this to my teacher, he immediately replied "so you suggest I double my fees". Well, I did not say that

Cheap dojo and expensive dojo maybe are different niches on the market, so to speak.

Regards,

Hanna
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Old 10-07-2002, 03:06 PM   #34
Marnen
Dojo: Vassar College Aikido Club
Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
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Quote:
() wrote:
vreu sa invat carate !!!!!!!!!!!
Er, care to translate this for the benefit of those who don't speak Romanian (if that was indeed Romanian)?

D˘mo arigat˘,

Marnen
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Old 10-07-2002, 04:21 PM   #35
shihonage
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Quote:
() wrote:
vreu sa invat carate !!!!!!!!!!!
Tu este prost.
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Old 10-08-2002, 06:04 AM   #36
Greg Jennings
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We don't charge anything for three primary reasons:

1. Because we can. We pay no rent or utilities.

2. Because we don't want to create any, even the slightest barrier to people training.

3. Because we don't want the hassle or the legal baggage of accepting payment for teaching.

We're organized as a club. It's cooperative. The membership pitches in and gets done what needs to be done.

Recently, the membership, Myers Sensei and I abstaining, voted to start taking up a voluntary donation with a suggested minimum amount. It's working out pretty well.

I don't have a problem with people charging for training or even making a living off of it. It just doesn't suit our very special situation right now.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 10-24-2002, 01:18 PM   #37
"h2o dog"
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the greatest gift that you will ever give is of one self
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Old 11-08-2002, 05:19 AM   #38
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Related question rather than a direct reply, I've known a few full-time aikido teachers who supplement their dojo subscriptions with private lessons which have a (relatively) higher price. I've also met tai-chi instructors who do "target" courses for companies etc. which again have a more commercial rate (yes, back to starbucks -- executive stress, a wonderful selling media).

Have any of you had any experience with running aikido courses in this way and does such differential pricing work? This is just curiosity as I'm a born again talentless clutz, so wouldn't dream of trying to make a living out of aikido.

One other question, a few dojo's I have been to that have tried a more commercial approach do seem to be more lacking in the "open door and friendly" mindset I've found in most clubs. Is it just my own normal response to sales techniques that gave me that impression? Or could it be because the teachers, likely to be coming from a "non-profit" tradition, find themselves going against what they experienced and so are just poor at "selling" their art with dignity and enthusiasm?
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Old 11-20-2002, 03:49 PM   #39
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Yoga is meditation for people who can't settle down.

I think Aikido is ideally practiced along with meditation, farming and other chores. The Dojo should be the community's main schoolhouse - open all hours, and it ought to be basically self supported

Please don't call that communism, maybe it's accurate but that's a damaged word. How bout Aikism?

We Americans really don't stand a chance when reaching for "Star Trek Time" - Not because of the type of government we have, but because of the particular government we have.

It's not a long trip from money to sexual reproduction. Any interest which doesn't compete or carry influence in the sexual arena isn't worth money because money is so urgently sought by the sexually interested; ie. people who want or have families ( or want or have sexual interests... distractions from sexual interests... etcetera ) hence; Viagra wins, Aikido loses in terms of money. But ... *grin* which is really **cheaper**?
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Old 11-20-2002, 06:01 PM   #40
Lan Powers
Dojo: Aikido of Midland, Midland TX
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There is a certain expectation of "payment for services" in most martial arts...........Aikido just makes more of the ideal of being for everyone regardless. I do like the club/donating for expenses thing tho.

Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 11-20-2002, 06:43 PM   #41
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I wonder, how much are people willing to pay for a weekend seminar with someone who was a live-in student for O'sensei and has been doing aikido for over forty years? Say for a weekend seminar with eight hours of training.
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Old 11-20-2002, 06:46 PM   #42
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Make that fifty years of training under O'sensei.
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Old 12-17-2002, 09:50 AM   #43
Juan
 
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I must say that most people who train in the martial arts and participate in these forums usually have this mindset:

"It seems like a real minefield to me - how to make enough money to keep doing your art without 'selling out' (mcdojo has definite equivalent in fine art world...)"

We must understand that this is not by any means "JAPAN" as it was in the days of O'Sensei's training and development of Aikido. We are a western civilization in which every penny counts. If you think back... When I was a kid growing up my dad was the only one that worked in my household and we (sister & I) never went without. I currently have two JOBS and my wife is a public school teacher and we are not wealthy by any means. Maybe some of you grew up that way too.

To have a commercial dojo does not necessarily mean you are a sell out or that you are running a "MC DOJO". I run a commercial dojo and for what it's worth I am kicking the MC DOJO's asses around my area by offering a GREAT VALUE in TEACHING an affordable class to ALL my students and not by making my prices the talk of the town. I have and continue to train students whom can not pay the dues and to my experience it is usually the student whom does not pay that does the worst in class, is usally absent or does not try as hard.

I do however feel that if a certain seminar is within my reach I pay whatever the cost to get the training, however most of the GREAT teachers usually end up teaching 200 students in a seminar and you usually don't get any attention. I would prefer to pay higher prices if "SPACE where LIMITED" to say 50 students.

In sincere Aiki spirit

Juan Alberto
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Old 12-17-2002, 01:37 PM   #44
"n0mad"
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I just want to say that most martial arts are too expensive for me, therefore detracting me as well as some of those who truly want to practice. A $100 a month? even more, my god! It has taken me years to find a martial that I can once again afford, and that is because it is taught in a community center which has no overhead. But some places are just too damn inflated!

Do you know how frustrating it is to group up in martial arts in which your parents pay for and then having to quit for years do to dojo fee's, affiliation fee's, etc...?!?!

One dojo I had pay $135 dojo membership, and at the same time, some $160 for so for affiliation fees, all at the same time. Now who can afford this? Rich kids who won't last a month can. Those who are just out trying different things in life and have lots of money can. Can you image if someone like myself, who has a family to provide for, wants to practice? This is something that has cost me years training, and I will never get them back.

I just hope that these costs are legitimate (supply and demand, and a little extra) and aren't just filling the fat pockets of these instructors.
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Old 12-17-2002, 02:09 PM   #45
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I used to teach gymnastics at the YMCA. I spent agreat deal of time into trying to make everything afordable for the members. I tried to get them discounts on Leos, always looked for discounts on hotels when we traveled and gave countless private lessons to kids for free. It seemed the more I gave, the more everyone expected. The Y gutted our program and everyone was fired. I'm now teaching at a club where the dues are two or more time as much. The equipment is better and membership is great. We don't have enough instructors to teach the kids who are willing to pay the bigger fees.

If money paid to an Aikido club seems high to you. Ask yourself if you would work for the money your instructor makes from Aikido? Chances aree your answer is no. If he is a full time instuctor, he needs to earn a living too.

John Glass
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Old 12-17-2002, 02:58 PM   #46
n0mad
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I guess Martial Arts are a luxury not everyone can afford.
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Old 12-18-2002, 06:30 AM   #47
Jim ashby
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On the seminar thing, we have a programme of seminars arranged for 2003, including Donovan Waite Sensei, Bill Smith O.B.E. Sensei, Hayden Foster Sensei and Terry Ezra Sensei. Participation in ALL of these will cost ú70.00. Places are limited however due to mat space. Our Sensei runs a commercial Dojo and makes his living by teaching Aikido, those that know him would never call it a McDojo. His success has come from the quality of his teaching (and that of the club instructors)and the strength of the "club spirit" of the members.

Have fun.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 12-19-2002, 12:33 PM   #48
Juan
 
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Jim,

You have no idea how happy it makes me to hear of other dojos that are a full time job for other instructors and that their students don't think of them as a commercial/mcdojo type dojo but rather a WELL run dojo. I only wish you guys were closer to us.

In sincere Aiki spirit

Juan Alberto
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Old 12-19-2002, 12:58 PM   #49
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
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It is a rare bird of a dojo that can be run full-time with the dojo supporting the teacher. I know of several, and they are exceedingly good dojos. I think of Chiba Sensei in SanDiego (one of the founders direct students), of Yamada Sensei in New York (same as Chiba Sensei), and a handfull of other Shihan. Donovan Waite Sensei also has a full-time dojo and he's marvelous. I personally don't know of many others. It certainly seems to me that the caliber of their teaching warrants a full scale, full time dojo. Many others would like to do so, but simply don't have the breadth of knowledge and experience to do so, or the financial wherewithall to withstand the lean years. I know many teachers who have been training 30-years or more who are excellent, but have full-time jobs and teach aikido in the evenings and weekends and struggle to keep their dojos afloat. I think these are the majority. It would be terrific to see more dojos be able to be full-time, and to support their teachers, in particular those with the creditials and experience to warrant it.
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Old 12-20-2002, 02:25 AM   #50
Jim ashby
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Thanks for the feedback guys, it's really appreciated. If any of you are ever in the UK, please feel free to come and train with us. One of our Shodans will be at the Boulder seminar this year (John Burn.... the man with cat DNA...check out his ukemi)If you're going to be there he can give you details of where we are and what we do first hand.

Have fun

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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