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Old 06-22-2006, 04:01 PM   #1
"anonymous"
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Financial Obligations and Sensei

Lets just say the Sensei doesnt manage the finances too well.Behind on the rent and relying on the senior students to make up the difference for rent, dues, insurance and seminar mat fees. Sensei hasnt worked a regular job in a number of years, but has been a good teacher and friend.
One of the senior students is in a situation and can no longer help out on the financial front and is having a hard time coming to terms with it.The senior student has always contributed 110% and fears that Sensei has come to expect the financial support.
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Old 06-23-2006, 03:03 PM   #2
Jill N
Dojo: K-W Ki Aikido (Kitchener, Ont)
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

anon:
Your group needs to become a non profit group and get a treasurer to keep track. Set your mat fees to match the financial needs of the dojo. Spread out the dojo jobs among your board members and let your sensei do the teaching, and not have to worry about the dojo business. Hopefully, your sensei is able to support himself, or if not you will need to build in a salary for him (good luck with that). Most sensei's I know are volunteers. (unless they work at aikido full time and have a big dojo)

e ya later
Jill

PS btw: I'm not meaning to insinuate this is the only way to go, but it makes sense to me and works pretty well at our dojo.
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Old 06-23-2006, 03:28 PM   #3
James Davis
 
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

My sensei didn't have a dojo for about a year / year and a half. We met in the park and trained a little, and stayed in touch via telephone. Eventually, Sensei Williams touched base with an old friend that he had helped out decades ago when he was trying to get a Tae Kwon Do dojang started. Master Tyler didn't have classes going all of the time, and he insisted that we share his dojang on the nights he wasn't there. We've been there for about four years, and we've been joined by another TKD school as well.

Three schools are practicing under the same roof because of the generosity of my sensei's friend.

Start networking. Go meet people who are martial artists, regardless of style. You might find a mutually beneficial arrangement with another school. Perhaps another group is in desperate need of a dojo home, or maybe your group could move in to help another dojo pay its bills.

And finally, to echo Jill...

PS btw: I'm not meaning to insinuate this is the only way to go, but it makes sense to me and works pretty well at our dojo.

Good luck to you.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 06-23-2006, 05:36 PM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

My suggestion is (gasp!) a straighforward dojo mtg with open airing of the issues. yeah, yeah, I know a radical suggestion--sadly, most dojos really do seem dysfunctional when it comes to communication.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 06-28-2006, 12:56 PM   #5
Adam Alexander
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

Quote:
Lets just say the Sensei doesnt manage the finances too well.Behind on the rent and relying on the senior students to make up the difference for rent, dues, insurance and seminar mat fees. Sensei hasnt worked a regular job in a number of years, but has been a good teacher and friend.
One of the senior students is in a situation and can no longer help out on the financial front and is having a hard time coming to terms with it.The senior student has always contributed 110% and fears that Sensei has come to expect the financial support.
Why doesn't someone just take over management of the finances?
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Old 06-29-2006, 12:10 PM   #6
TigerJK
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

To be honest this always bothered me in the martial arts. Just like religion and politics, money and MA don't exactly mix well.

But in fact I was going to start a thread called "Should you donate extra to your organization" since my dojo is non-profit and I realized after a while my sensei actually loses money because he refuses to increase fees. He is a senior citizen (he looks 40 though!) and yet he still works. I'm concerned about him, not that he needs it in his current great health, but I'm worried about him down the line in the future.

Anyways, the two great suggestions here were already stated:
1. Become non-profit
2. Have someone else manage finanances if needs be
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Old 06-29-2006, 12:19 PM   #7
Trish Greene
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

James,

I tend to over-pay my fees just to help out with whatever the dojo needs.
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Old 06-29-2006, 12:52 PM   #8
TigerJK
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

Quote:
Trish Greene wrote:
James,

I tend to over-pay my fees just to help out with whatever the dojo needs.
I see, thanks for the tip. I think I will try to do this when I have extra cash.
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Old 06-29-2006, 01:19 PM   #9
DCP
 
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

Quote:
James Ko wrote:
I see, thanks for the tip. I think I will try to do this when I have extra cash.
I'm married with 2 kids. What is this "extra cash" thing?

Seriously, whether the group is nonprofit or not, the instructor should get some kind of compensation for his/her time, skill, and effort. Even if it's just enough to cover purchasing new dogis, weapons, and seminar fees- he/she should be compensated so appreciation is noted.

There are many nonprofits that are allowed to pay certain individuals salaries. It would take some serious research because rules often differ from state to state. I would try to get an attorney and an accountant to join the dojo for free advice (not really joking here! )

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
- Aesop
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Old 06-29-2006, 03:15 PM   #10
Michael Young
 
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

Our dojo is run as a 501c3 federal non-profit educational organization (quite a mouthful). We decided that this was the best way to go from the ground up. Our Sensei is a very dedicated individual, but he is not the only one running the dojo, instead he is like the principal or dean of a school. We strive very hard to keep the "business" and "dojo" sides seperate. We have a president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary, that handle the day-to-day business side of the organization, and a teaching staff (of which Sensei is the head) that handles the dojo side of things. There is also a board that oversees both sides of the organization. This arrangemet has worked well for us, but I don't think it is appropriate for every situation.
Sensei has a day job, so do the rest of us, and he doesn't keep track of all the business stuff (of which there is a lot) nor does he teach Aikido full time or run the dojo as his own full time business. There are other people in the dojo who do just as much (in some cases even more) work than he does to keep the doors of the school open and everything running smoothly (this is not a complaint, just the way things are). Because of this he isn't in charge of everything, and is not allowed to run financial side of things. Instead he handles the teaching side only (what we learn, who tests, who instructs, etiquette, etc) again, much like the principal of a school. This is a fair distrubution of both the authority and responsibilities of our organization. He is very cognizant of this and very appreciative of the work everyone does to allow the school to continue to operate, and on the other side, all the members are aware of the gift of Sensei's time, experience, and guaidance that he contributes.
It is a very good situation and has worked very well for everyone involved and really allowed our dojo to grow. In a way, it helps get more people deeply involved in the dojo and organization's progress...for the members, by the members...if we don't all pitch in, there wont be a place to train. It has created a very strong community.

On the other hand...if a dojo was started as a private enterprise by one person, and is their private business, then the students have no right to expect that they get to run the business side of the show. I think that this could be entirely appropriate given the following:

-the sensei is of sufficient skill and rank to be a quality instructor, in other words the "product" he/she offers is worth the "cost of admission"

-the sensei takes care of all the business issues him/herself, and does not put these responsibilities on students...its his/her business, and if he/she is making the money then the responsibility lies on him/her to take care of things OR fairly compensate those who help with these things

For the most part, I think it is very difficult to run an Aikido dojo as a for-profit business. I think it takes a very dedicated and highly experienced/ranked sensei to run a school professionally. It isn't impossible, and there is certainly no ethical problem with making your living at it (as long as the principles of the art and proper business ethics are followed).
The problem is when principles have to be compromised, or too many expectations get put on "senior" students to run a place that the teacher is making money from, or has full authority/responsibility over. This sounds like the situation that anon has posted. I agree with Janet, in that there should be an open meeting about the dojo's situation. Its all very easy to say, just have someone take over the finances...but who? and would that actually solve the problem. The impression I get is that the instructor in this case runs the dojo as a private business. So does he/she wants to give up the financial control? Perhaps things would change if the sensei was just made aware of the problem. When it comes down to brass tacks, if something doesn't change and everybody is unhappy with the financial situation, then change would be necessary in the leadership/organizational model of the dojo...but maybe just communicating the problem would solve it.

Oh yeah, starting a non-profit is not all that difficult, and state laws really don't matter that much in the case of non-profits if you incorporate as a federal 501c3 non-profit. Any federally designated 501c3 non-profit entity is allowed to pay salaries, but no one in the organization can benefit from "profits" made by the organization (a salary is not considered a profit). All that is required financailly is that the organization can show that all monies made over and above operating expenses, go back into the organization for its stated purpose and don't benefit only select members. For example universities and school districts are non-profits that pay all kinds of employees (Board members, teachers, principals, janitors, on and on) Goodwill, United Way, most Churches also all have paid employees. What does vary by state and locality is what taxes you must pay. Some places recognize a 501c3 as completely tax exempt, while others don't. You also don't need an accountant or lawyer to start a 501c3...suprisingly the IRS is very helpful in regard to this and the paperwork, though somewhat involved, is step by step and readily available.
Any idiot is capable of doing it...well at least this one was
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Old 07-22-2006, 09:42 PM   #11
"anonymous"
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

The main time I have seen money become an issue is when students start dropping off. At these times a sensei who is dependant on this income to survive can start to play all sorts of guilt/obligation games. My sensei started to try to make us all feel guilty about how he may have to go and get a part time job! It's hard to relate when the rest of us work full time.
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Old 07-23-2006, 12:16 AM   #12
Hucqie
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

Hi Anon

When the students have to contribute extra to cover rent etc. do you see it as helping a friend / teacher?, or do you see it as helping the dojo?

I think that the answer to this question will tell you whether you are dealing with a non-profit org or a private business.

In any event, I think that honesty and clear communication are the answer.

It sounds from your last post as if there is a level of resentment from the students that your sensei does not have an additional income and expects you to carry the shortfall. This cannot be good for the dojo or for your relationship with your teacher. One thing that I have learned recently (from reading on this forum) is that in order to make good decisions you need to understand all relevant parties perspectives. Therefore clear communication is essential.

I will not rehash what Michael mentioned, but I think that he was on the money (excuse the pun). My last piece of advice would be to act sooner rather than later, financial problems do not tend to improve when left unattended.

Brandon
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Old 07-23-2006, 04:58 AM   #13
dps
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

Quote:
Lets just say the Sensei doesnt manage the finances too well.Behind on the rent and relying on the senior students to make up the difference for rent, dues, insurance and seminar mat fees. Sensei hasnt worked a regular job in a number of years, but has been a good teacher and friend.
One of the senior students is in a situation and can no longer help out on the financial front and is having a hard time coming to terms with it.The senior student has always contributed 110% and fears that Sensei has come to expect the financial support.
The students are working harder at maintaining the dojo than the sensei is. The sensei hasn't had a regular job in a number of years. What is he doing with the time he is not teaching Aikido if he is not working? Is he using his good friends to support his hobby. If he is serious about teaching his Aikido then he would find a way to do it without it being a burden to his students. Mixing business, friends ( family too) and money (especially yours) is a very volatile mixture that can easily become no business, no friends and no money (yours) and maybe no family. I have been there and done that more then once.
If the students are keeping the dojo alive, maybe they need to find a new sensei for their dojo.
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Old 07-23-2006, 06:10 AM   #14
Amelia Smith
 
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

I once practiced for a while at a small dojo with a full-time professional instructor. He wasn't a shihan, and he lived very frugally. While I was there, he quit his day job to do aikido and iaido full-time. It always seemed like a stretch to me -- there weren't enough students to support him in any kind of style at all (think, living out of the car and eating nothing but rice and beans after the dojo rent etc. was paid). However, the organization he was part of tended to encourage people to become full-time instructors, and I think he was doing it because it was his way of being the best he could be as an instructor/dojocho.

So, my knee-jerk reaction is that it wouldn't kill this Sensei to get a part-time job. My second thought, thinking back, is to wonder why he's doing this. Why does he want the lifestyle of an impoverished full-time martial artist? Sure, there's some romance and cachet to it, but let's assume he's not just lazy. Does his shihan encourage it? Is he afraid that he won't be taken as seriously if he has a day job? Does he really not have the energy for both? (Some people, myself included, can't do 60 hour weeks without falling apart, though I know a lot of people manage to somehow)

Might it be better for him to have enough outside income that he doesn't have to worry about money quite so much? Is that worth 15-20 hours/week of his time? Even 35 or 40 hours? Could he get a job with a school (teaching, teaching assistant, library, maintainance, whatever) which would allow him to take summers off to go to seminars and be a full-time teacher at least part of the year? Are there now students who could take over some of the teaching?

By the way, I think the abovementioned ideas of having a dojo meeting, forming a non-profit, etc. are all good.

--Amelia

Last edited by Amelia Smith : 07-23-2006 at 06:16 AM.
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Old 07-23-2006, 06:20 AM   #15
Jorge Garcia
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
If the students are keeping the dojo alive, maybe they need to find a new sensei for their dojo.
In the light of this statement, I need some help from some of the senior members of Aikiweb,. I have heard it said that in martial arts, it is the students job to take care of the Sensei. In everything I have read so far on this thread, the students are viewing the Sensei as just another Joe who had better take care of himself. This of course may well be old world versus new world ideas working here. What are the ancient traditions on this and how has this changed in the light of modern circumstances? Sokaku Takeda would just show up, teach and charge Morihei Ueshiba and O Sensei seemed to show him every courtesy even though he didn't seem to like the imposition. It seemed he even moved himself and gave Takeda Sensei his house just to get away from him on one occasion.
What are the modern applications of this tradition or is this idea completely irrelevant in the light of modern times and the commercialization of martial arts?
On the New York Aikikai 30th anniversary tape, Harvey Konigsberg says that when he was starting, he didn't understand that he was supposed to take care of his Sensei but the in those days, his Sensei would take care of him. It seemed that this idea may only apply to a Master but can we dump the local sensei since it is so easy to go across the street to get another one?

I know that in my own relationship with Hiroshi Kato Shihan, he is a treasury of knowledge . I take care of him from the time he gets here to when he leaves. He eats anywhere he wants, I take care of his accommodations, entertainments, etc. I see to his every comfort. That is my duty as his student and in return, he shares his knowledge (sometimes) with me. He is my Sensei but not my local Sensei. It is assumed that he is coming to visit at certain times and the only way that would change is if I were to declare him not to be my sensei any more. He says, "It is the student that selects the Sensei and not the reverse." The implication I have gathered is that means that I picked him, so I assumed the responsibilities of the student when I made that choice. I can also opt out when I don't like it anymore but it is my responsibility.

Having said that, (on the flip side) in all the time I have known him (since 1998), never has he nor anyone associated with him, ever mentioned anything about money to me nor have I ever heard money mentioned or talked about at all. I have never been told to give him an honorarium, what amount to give or to give more or less. I have seen him go to small dojos and I have no idea what they gave him but I know it couldn't have been much and I know he never says anything at all. In my seminars, we have 100 or more people and he never says anything at all about money either.
Still, I have always understood that I have a responsibility because I picked him. It's not my role to judge him, it's my role to take care of him. How does this apply to the situation being mentioned here.

I was wondering if a senior member in Aikido could give us what you have been taught and some help as to how we make these applications in the modern era.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 07-23-2006, 08:38 PM   #16
johanlook
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

Regarding it being said that in martial arts it is the student's job to look after the teacher - I think that this depends on the time in history and the culture. I've practiced martial arts where that is the last thing the teacher wants. I've also practiced arts where the teacher wishes he was looked after. For the record I've never had a teacher that I would consider to be anywhere near Takeda or Ueshiba's level. But I'm sure if a teacher was as good as they and wanted to make a business out of it they wouldn't have to much trouble getting students.

If a teacher cannot find students who want to look after him then he/she needs to look after themselves. If they choose to live out of a car, eat rice and beans etc then this is their choice. If a student wants to help out then that is their choice - if not also their choice.

Trying to persuade people to do what they did in "the good old days" and/or in completely different countries and cultures may not always work - although some times it seems to.
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Old 07-24-2006, 05:21 AM   #17
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

Mr Garcia,

You have asked for comments from 'senior' members of Aikweb. Perhaps I qualify. I think a quick answer to your question is: Well, It depends. Obviously this is not satisfactory, so let me expand a little. (Warning: This will be a long post.)

Certainly, a direct comparison between Ueshiba/Takeda and presentday aikido would be relevant only for the attitude that Ueshiba displayed towards Takeda. I do not know much about Sokaku Takeda's financial circumstances, but he used to charge for each technique he taught and charged a lot. Morihei Ueshiba was financially supported by his family, but possesed almost no business acumen. So his wife ran the family finances (and this is also the norm in modern Japan). Two important points are (1) that it was a seller's market. If you wanted to be taught by the top-class guy, you paid. Period. (2) Ueshiba came from a wealthy farming family and had the means and the leisure to wander round the country looking for the top-class guys. Don't forget that Takeda also required recommendations and Yoshida recomended Ueshiba, who was not samurai class.

So this was a 'pure' master/deshi relationship and this has always been portrayed as the ideal of the sensei/student relationship in aikido. How has this happened, for the modern reality is somewhat different?

Like Harvey Konigsberg, I was an early student of a Japanese 'despatched' shihan. My shihan was K Chiba and I trained with Chiba Sensei not long after he came to reside in the UK. I know that he had a very tough time when he first came. For a start he was fearsome as an aikidoka and teacher. His English was virtually non-existent, so he was pretty unapproachable and also could not explain to anybody the finer points of sensei/stuident etiquette. In any case, he could not spell out the obligations students had towards their sensei, because this is something that is not supposed to be said: it is supposed to understood as part of 'budo culture'.

Actually, I know well that almost every professional aikido shihan who was despatched abroad: Yamada, Tamura, Kanai, Chiba, Tada, Asai all had major problems, even of survival, after they arrived in their 'adopted' countries. Why? Their students did not have a clue about how to care for a professional sensei--this awesome being from another planet--and the sensei was not able tell them because of the 'budo code'. They were supposed to behave like samurai: to live frugally and display all the traditional bushido virtues.

You mentioned that Hiroshi Kato never mentions money. Of course, he doesn't. Discussing money inappropriately is absolutely taboo in Japan. You can see this from reading Stanley Pranin's interviews with the old Kobukan students. I think it is in the Kunigoshi interview. O Sensei himself never concerned hmself with money, but there was a financial problem at some point and a wealthy student/sponsor quickly stepped in to solve the problem. O Sensei's wife was the one who dealt with it behind the scenes: a classic example of omote/ura, but also an old-style solution: an exclusive martial art, practised by those with the means and leisure to do so.

You can think of the Kobukan and the early despatched shihans like Yamada, Kanai and Chiba as a 'golden age'. When they went abroad to teach aikido, it was the time of the new beginning, after the war, but the Hombu really had no clue about how to prepare them for living abroad and teaching aikido. It did not really matter, for they would get by with youthful raw enthusiasm and fighting spirit.

Now things are different. The Aikikai Hombu is organized much more as a business operation and if you invite a Hombu shihan to give a training seminar abroad, you need to apply to the Hombu and they will tell you exactly what your financial obligations are. There is a certain nostalgia for the 'golden age' among the older Japanese shihans: a feeling that things have changed for the worse. I think this is simply nostalgia, but it is a very powerful feeling.

I think the diference is due to two fundamental changes that were made: (1) aikido was to be no longer an elitist martial art, but available for everybody and dedicated to general health and world peace; (2) aikido was to be taught and practised outside Japan and therefore subject to other cultural influences, including matters of money and finance. This second point means that we need to take account of how non-Japanese see the relationship between sensei and student in financial terms. I believe that the relationship is seen much more as a kind of contract between teacher and student, even if the terms of the contract are not spelled out in detail.

With Kato Shihan I think there are two relevant factors here: (1) Mr Kato is a traditional Japanese budoka and so I think he is likely to see the sensei/student relationship in traditional terms; (2) Though he has trained at the Hombu over the years, Mr Kato is not technically a Hombu shihan and so any arrangements made for his trips abroad are made individually, not through the Aikikai Hombu.

So, I would think that one rule of thumb is: he should not in any way be financially out of pocket because of his trips to the US. You have a duty to make sure that everything is covered from the time he leaves his house until the time he returns. Of course, you have known him for a long time, so I am sure you know this and do this. Another rule of thumb is: someone should be deputed to look after him: taking him to and from the dojo; looking after his personal needs (for each class a clean keikogi, properly washed and pressed, with a correctly folded hakama); and anticipating his needs for 'private' time, for R & R and also for discussion with students.

Should he be paid a fee of some sort, over and above the financial matters involved in the last paragraph? It is diffcult to give a hard and fast rule here. If you invite a Hombu shihan, any instruction fee is to be paid to the Hombu and not to the shihan directly: the shihan receives only 'pocket money'.Let me explain what we do in the IAF.

During an IAF Congress there is a training seminar and all the Hombu instructors of 7th dan and above instruct during the seminar. Usually, each shihan instructs for about 80 minutes. The established payment is 50,000 Japanese yen for 7th and 8th dan shihans and 100,000 yen for 9th dan shihans and Doshu. Payment is made in cash by the General Secretary to the 7th dan and 8th dan shihans, but by the Chairman to the 9th dan shihans and to Doshu. So Tada Sensei came to my room at the Congress and I presented him with a white envelope containing new 10,000 notes wrapped in white paper. I did the same with Doshu, but I went to his room. The Hombu organized all this as accepted Japanese practice. The only difference was that all the shihans have to sign a receipt for the money, since it has to appear in the IAF accounts.

I think your situation with Kato Sensei is similar to the situation I have with a group of dojos in Europe. I am technically their senior instructor and visit the group in spring and summer. In the summer school we hold the annual dan examinations. The group covers my expenses from the time I leave my house in Hiroshima until the time I return. Since my travel expenses are large and since I am not a professional aikido instructor, I do not expect, and do not receive, an instruction fee. However, this is causing problems within the organization, because no teaching fee means no 'value' is placed on my instruction. This is true whether you see the situation in terms of the traditional Japanese teacher/student relationship , or in terms of the more contractual 'western' relationship.

I think Takeda Sokaku understood the financial aspects of the traditional teacher/student very well, which is why he was hardly ever beaten and charged for each technique he taught.

Best wishes (and feel free to PM me, if you wish).

PAG

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 07-24-2006 at 05:28 AM.

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Old 07-24-2006, 07:13 AM   #18
Rocky Izumi
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

Nice to hear from you Peter. I would like to add one thing to what you wrote. I don't think that there has been as much change in etiquette from the past to now as many people feel, except perhaps, in the intensity. I suppose that in common etiquette between strangers the relationships are bound by contractual obligations but anyone doing business internationally knows that contractual relationships mean nothing out here in the wild world. It is still run by under the parametres of good "business" and "interpersonal" etiquette. This, I think, does not change between what is good business etiquette and good budo etiquette. It all seems to turn of simple common sense. I Sensei of a Dojo has a real responsibility to his/her students because they are teaching something that can change their entire life or get the killed. Just like with parents who have total responsibility for their children. Due to that responsibility of the Sensei/parent, the student/child must have a corresponding responsibility back. The student/child does not have the resources/knowledge of the Sensei/parent so they cannot recriprocate to the same level and the responsibility is spread over all the students/children. Some students/children do not participate in the responsibility to the Sensei/parent. It is not up to the Sensei/parent to intervene but up to the other students/children since it is their combined responsibilties which one or more may be shirking. Eldest son/daughter, Dai-sempai may have to intervene if the other siblings are quarelling but hopefully the Sensei/parents don't have to intervene or all the students/children must pay the penalty of taking the lessons all over again. But hopefully, the Sensei/parent doesn't point out one particular student/child to punish for the lack of learning a lesson since really, it is the fault of the Sensei/parent if the student/child never really learned the lesson.

Taking care of a visiting instructor is just that. The responsibility for the dojo/family/business never leaves the Sensei/Parent/President. The visiting instructor is just that . . . a guest. So they should be treated as a guest. No one invites someone to dinner and forces them to pay for their own dinner. Likewise, no would invite an instructor to teach a seminar, then expect them to pay for any of their expenses. At the same time, as a guest, the visiting instructor must be careful not to impose on the Sensei/Parent/President so he/she will try to be at the beck-and-call of the hosts. If the hosts want you to try a food you hate, you still have to eat it like you relish it or you will offend the hosts. The only way to get out of something like that is to plead doctor's orders. So, if you plan for the visitor to teach 20 hours a day during the seminar, the visiting instructor will have to try and comply the first time. However, they may always find excuses to not visit you ever again if you treat them that way. The same would apply for honorariums and any other way you treat the visiting instructor. The only reasons they would come back if mistreated is if they felt they had some responsibility to you or if they simply enjoyed themselves so much that they wanted to come back. That includes honorariums and such.

On the payment of fees, if someone does a favour for you and you feel you owe them something, it would be a very crass person who goes up and asks that friend how much want for their service. If it is true friend or even a good business relation, they would just say, "well, give me whatever you think it is worth or whatever you can afford." If it is someone who comes up to you and says that you, their friend, owes them so many dollars for the favour, you would probably lose them as a friend or business relationship very quickly. For sure, you would never trust them again and never ask them give you a hand ever again. So, a visiting instructor should never ask or mention money for their assistance. That would be crass. At the same time, as the receiver of the favour, you know that you owe that person something, so you give them what you think is the right amount to give. That amount is determined often by what that service would be on the open market.

The same goes for good dojo etiquette, good business etiquette, good family etiquette, or simply good social etiquette. It's rather simple, really. I think people make too much of the issue and forget to simply think and use their common sense. It is that, or this world has lost sense of what is good social etiquette in general. But, I still see people behaving properly and treating each other politely so I don't think that it is a loss of good social etiquette. It seems moreso that we may have come to be able to distance ourselves from each other so that our relationships are no longer social interactions. We don't see each other as people, as individuals, so we are able to treat them as non-persons and behave towards them in a strictly contractual basis. Perhaps this dehumanisation is also why it has become so easy for some kids to go around shooting people.

I know, I am rambling. I will quit here before I really get way off topic.

Rock
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Old 07-24-2006, 07:52 AM   #19
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 608
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

Thank you Goldsbury Sensei and Izumi for your posts. You have certainly enriched this thread. I wanted to add that when I was kyu level and in the Midwest Aikido Federation, we did receive our Shihan at our dojo once a year and we were provided with a reasonable, "standard" hourly amount to provide as an honorarium to the Shihan. It was to be in brand new crisp bills and in an envelope as you mentioned.
Since starting my own dojos, I have used what we were told then as my reference point and that seems to have worked out although I have wondered how I was supposed to know if what I came up with was satisfactory. I tried to solve my problem by just trying to go the extra mile and Sensei always seems happy and returns so I have left it at that.
Thanks again for your help.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 07-24-2006, 11:41 AM   #20
Chuck Clark
 
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Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,134
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Re: Financial Obligations and Sensei

Peter, Rocky, and Jorge,

Within Jiyushinkai, our money dealings are very similar to what you describe. It's what I learned from several of my teachers and have passed along. We don't try to imitate Japanese custom in form but rather in principle. It just seems like an appropriate way to have a continuing relationship in an ethical and equitable manner. We don't consider what we do together as business or trade. We really have nothing for sale. We try to keep all of our fees at a level that is affordable by anyone that is engaged in our practice.

With regards to my own income and outgo... I wouldn't mind having a "Hatsu san" to handle things for me, but no one has applied for the job that understands the job description. I do have several people close to me that help with their expert advice, etc. Somehow it works out. We all take care of each other as we go along in our practice together.

Thanks to all of you for your knowledge and willingness to share...

Best Regards,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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