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Old 03-02-2011, 03:32 PM   #1
"anonaiki"
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How to Leave a Dojo?

I guess this ties in a bit with the tough economic times theme. My work has been incredibly sporadic since the recession hit and I've finally accepted that Aikido is going to have to be cut from my budget. It's my third most expensive monthly bill behind my mortgage and health insurance. I love my dojo and all the folks there and absolutely intend to start up again when finances allow.

My question is - how do I respectfully resign from the dojo? I really don't want to share the information about my finances as the reason. My sensei was already kind enough to let me slide for a month last year. I don't think it's fair to try to stay on if I can't provide the financial support like everyone else does. I'm figuring that I will write a letter to my sensei, but what should I say? I would appreciate any advice.
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Old 03-02-2011, 03:43 PM   #2
Hellis
Dojo: Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
I guess this ties in a bit with the tough economic times theme. My work has been incredibly sporadic since the recession hit and I've finally accepted that Aikido is going to have to be cut from my budget. It's my third most expensive monthly bill behind my mortgage and health insurance. I love my dojo and all the folks there and absolutely intend to start up again when finances allow.

My question is - how do I respectfully resign from the dojo? I really don't want to share the information about my finances as the reason. My sensei was already kind enough to let me slide for a month last year. I don't think it's fair to try to stay on if I can't provide the financial support like everyone else does. I'm figuring that I will write a letter to my sensei, but what should I say? I would appreciate any advice.
Please speak to your teacher. Once you explain he may be able to help ? .. I have seen good students leave without explanation, they say goodnight after practice and disappear, sad..maybe they had your problem where we would have made concessions..

Henry Ellis
http://aikido-controversy.blogspot.com/
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Old 03-02-2011, 04:47 PM   #3
"Anon"
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

I agree with Henry: Talk with your teacher. If you truly love your dojo and enjoy the training and people, it likely shows and the teacher and students you leave will be affected by your departure.

By all means, see if something can be worked out. Your teacher may be interested in accepting volunteer time (maintenance, assisting in the kids' classes, etc.) from you in lieu of dues until you are financial able to return to paying the fees.

I've always been cash-poor myself, and when I was training daily in a karate school, they let me help out at the desk, work with kids, clean, do computer membership data input, you name it, in exchange for my membership dues. The only fees I paid were for rank tests. I never would have been able to afford the training otherwise.

So, ask!
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Old 03-02-2011, 04:56 PM   #4
"anonaiki"
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

Thank you for the considerate and quick replies.

Part of my problem is that I can't imagine asking. Most of the dues-paying members already help out with a ton of volunteer work. I don't think I should get any special treatment. And I'm really uncomfortable with talking about my finances.
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:04 PM   #5
sakumeikan
Dojo: Sakumeikan N.E. Aikkai .Newcastle upon Tyne.
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Thank you for the considerate and quick replies.

Part of my problem is that I can't imagine asking. Most of the dues-paying members already help out with a ton of volunteer work. I don't think I should get any special treatment. And I'm really uncomfortable with talking about my finances.
In this financial climate people are having a bad time[bankers excluded].
You might consider talking to your teacher and explaining your position.Perhaps a combination of lower fees / doing some tasks might be an option?In any case you never know when your financial situation could change[hopefully for the better].Personally I would much prefer a student to keep in the dojo even if it meant I would lose some revenue.It is not always a question of cash---
Joe.
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:08 PM   #6
Janet Rosen
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

Criminy! Number one, times are hard and anybody who doesn't know it/hasn't been touched by it is living on another planet from the rest of us, so it's not like you've got a character defect. Second, if you feel accepted as part of the dojo community, what's wrong with sharing the fact of economic hardship - nobody's going to be asking you to fill in a form with the details.
Third, if you feel accepted as part of the dojo community, why wouldn't you just talk to the instructor?
I suspect the answers to my second and third questions have to do with embarrassment or other negative feelings you have about your situation - in which case I refer you back to my first point: it likely isn't you, "it's the economy, stupid" to quote somebody :-)

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:14 PM   #7
Mark Freeman
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

These are tough times for most folk.The only way out with any real integrity is to be completely honest with your teacher, explain the truth and see what happens from there. I agree with Henry, it is diffucult for a teacher to lose a student with little or no explanation. Maybe he will have a solution or compromise that can be worked on. Good luck to you and to all who are finding the economics of life tough right now.

regards

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:18 PM   #8
"anonaiki"
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

That's pretty close to the truth, Janet. I feel very embarrassed and have a lot of negative feelings about my situation. Perhaps the stress of it has me not thinking straight. I do feel very accepted by the dojo community, but I'm also a little intimidated by my sensei. I have all the respect in the world for him, but I also can't imagine talking to him about my economic issues, even without going into specifics. It's starting to look like I've got some major hang ups I need to deal with, but I don't really know where to start.

I'm also fretting about upcoming seminars and testing fees. It gets hard when my fellow students ask why I haven't signed up for a seminar.
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:23 PM   #9
"Anon"
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

Yup, it will come down to deciding which is more important to you: your love of your art, the training and the dojo... or keeping your financial situation completely a secret, and suffering as a result. Personally, I'd go with the first option! But I've had plenty of experience of having to swallow my pride.

You'll never know unless you talk to your teacher, Maybe he would let you pay dues on a sliding scale. Wouldn't it be a shame if you resigned, and found yourself missing your training and dojo, and suffering... when all along, you could have been happily training.

Go for it. And, good luck.
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:40 PM   #10
dps
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

Instead of paying a monthly fee see if your sensei would accept a payment plan of pay as you practice. Agree upon an hourly rate and pay cash each time you practice. This way you are not increasing your debt, you can practice when you have the money saved up and you will feel better about not paying when others are.

Don't be too sure that others at your dojo are not in a similar situation.

Good Luck

dps
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:18 PM   #11
Janet Rosen
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

I admit, part of why I worry when I read a post like your's is, I work with low income folks. For all the stories one hears about "people who feel entitled" there are overwhelmingly more people who are too embarrassed, feel like they have in some way messed up, or just plain feel isolated in their happenstances.
Living in a small town in a rural area, it's abundantly clear to one and all that we are all in precarious economic straits and the only solution really is to frame it as a community issue, be willing to talk about it, to share some of the bad feelings....
I guess my point in this ramble is, please be willing to look at the issue and talk to your teacher, both because 1. he is truly on many levels just another person 2. He probably doesn't want to lose you but for your sake even more important 3. hopefully you will not have to ask for support or help from others for even more basic needs in the future, but if it comes to that, it's important for you to be able to do it with your dignity and self-respect intact.
best of luck

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:41 PM   #12
Hellis
Dojo: Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido
Location: Bracknell
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

"anonaiki"

A couple of years ago I had a lady student beginner with similar problems that you describe, she was facing eviction from her home, she had lost her job.. I insisted that she just attend class and I would sign her in, no one else would know....she reluctantly accepted this arrangement......some months later she came in with a bundle of money to settle her ``debt ``...Her luck had changed, she had been accepted for a very good job, and she had written an article that was published in a national newspaper magazine...
I am now waiting for my luck to change :-)

Henry Ellis
http://aikido-controversy.blogspot.com/
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:51 PM   #13
"anonaiki"
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

Janet - what you've written really resonates with me. I used to have a good job, but got laid off. I've cut my expenses to bare bones. I work hard, I just don't get paid very much for what I do. A lot of people in my industry are having a hard time. I realize now that I have trouble looking at this issue as a practical one rather than as an emotional one. This discussion has given me courage to talk with one of the assistant teachers at the dojo that I feel very comfortable with. Maybe after that I will be able to work up the nerve to approach my sensei.
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:10 PM   #14
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

Don't .... I would accept students at what ever they could afford according to their circumstances. Most of the dojo fees were covered by me anyway, so if a student was genuinely hard up, it was better to come and practice rather than leave. Good students are hard to come by and it was always those who couldn't afford it were generally the best.... Aikido has kept me relatively poor many a time and I have sacrificed many a holiday to keep the club going when I had it.
Be upfront with your sensei, I'm sure they will be upfront with you or at least I would have thought so....
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:24 PM   #15
danielajames
 
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

FWIW I once offered a student the fee concession,' pay only for the classes you don't come to' because keeping a committed
Student is a really important thing.

My suggestion tell senseimwhy u are stopping as a courtesy, how sensei responds is up to serendipity
best,
Dan

Daniel James, Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
ph 0413 001 844, 1593 Logan Rd, Mt.Gravatt, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:52 PM   #16
Rob Watson
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

Pride and shame never filled anyones belly. I don't tninkit does much for bolstering the spirit either.

Being able to open up and speak with your sensei about this shows great character. Maybe your sensei thinks this way and maybe they don't. The willingness and ability to place oneself in a vulnerable position is an essential part of aikido training (at least I think so).

Having been unemployed for the last eleven months, and counting, I've been able to still manage but it has not been easy. My sensei knows all about my situation as do many of my dojo mates - dojo as community and all. I also can't imagine bartering services for dues as I, and many members of the dojo, do so many things for the dojo already. If I ever could not pay I know sensei would let it slide and I know this happens for other members as well. I would feel obligated to repay the balance when able.

Should you choose to leave be sure to explain how much you value the instruction you have recieved and that the decision to withdraw have nothing to do with aikido or the dojo or the members. Just leaving out of the blue is not going to cut it. I've done that and it ha sleft a scar that will not heal.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 03-02-2011, 11:35 PM   #17
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

I would definitely talk to your teacher. Sometimes something else can be worked out. Some dojo's will allow you to do odd jobs to help as payment. Other dojo's would rather you stay and not pay then leave. Either way, they may be out of your money and if you are an integral part of the dojo, my guess is they will want you to stick around. I have seen this happen in both dojo's I have trained in. The fact of the matter is, when you train with them several times a week for hours on end, they do become close friends and family. Talk in private if you are a bit embarrassed of your situation. That is what I did with my sensei.

Just know you aren't alone with what you are going through. Right now my husband and I are spending $200 a month at the dojo for everything we are doing (I've been paying dues even though I haven't been able to train the past couple months) and we would be much better off if we didn't pay. We have been discussing a scholarship with my sensei. I would look at all of your available options in order to keep something that you enjoy in your life. If you do have to leave though, aikido will be there waiting for you when you are ready to hit the mats again.

~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 03-03-2011, 04:25 AM   #18
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

Another point for talking with your teacher:

If your dojo is as tight a community as you described, he may know of someone else who could help you get a better job or open some other opportunity for you, who would not have offered since he believed you were already in a good position.

Good luck
Amir
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Old 03-03-2011, 07:12 AM   #19
lbb
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

There's a story that I read once, of a young woman who was in a market and found a beautiful hand-crafted table. She was just setting up her household and had very little money, and could tell that this table was worth far, far more than she had, but she couldn't stop looking at it. The craftsman who had made the table asked her if she would like to buy it.

"I'd love to, but I can't afford it," she said.

"How much money do you have?" the craftsman said.

The woman told him how much she had -- all the money she owned, every cent.

"That's all your money?" said the craftsman.

"All I have until my next paycheck in three weeks," the woman said.

"Suppose I sold you this table for that money," said the craftsman. "How would you live for the next three weeks? What would you eat?"

"I just paid my rent, so I'm good for the month," the woman said. "As for eating, I have some food at home, and I could sell a few things. I'd get by."

"But you'll go hungry."

"Well, yeah. But I'd be okay."

"I'll sell you the table for that price," said the craftsman.

"But I can't! It's worth far more than that!" the woman said.

"I know," the craftsman said. "I can sell it to a rich person for fifty times that much -- and it will become just another expensive possession in a house full of them, and he won't even notice the cost. But you are willing to give all that you have for this table, to go hungry for it. I know what this table is worth to you. So I will sell it to you, and we will both be richer."

---

The message of the story is not that you should go hungry to pay your aikido fees. I wouldn't sympathize with someone who (for example) kept their expensive smartphone or cable TV but "couldn't afford" to pay aikido fees, but you say you have cut everything you can already, and I have no reason not to believe you. My point is that the value of things like aikido, or a finely crafted table, is perhaps best expressed not in absolute terms -- so and so many dollars -- but in relative terms instead. "All I have" is an immense amount, no matter how small the dollar amount may be. If you have nothing to give but your good will, your desire to train, your commitment to being a good member of the dojo and to paying back in any way you can (and that is a debt we all carry, that we don't discharge with a monthly check), then that's a lot.
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Old 03-03-2011, 07:44 AM   #20
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

I am interested in sincere students, not the "paycheck". I have been willing to work out arrangements with students having tough times financially. Speak honestly to your teacher and you might be surprised by the teacher's willingness to help you out. Many of us have been in similar spots in our lives and know what your position feels like. One of my students has yet to pay a cent, but has been a important presence in my dojo. The training has been "mind candy" for him during these difficult times and his presence has more than "made up" for any loss in revenue stream.

Good Luck!

marc abrams
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:07 AM   #21
Dazzler
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

Quite a refreshing thread this...while we cannot agree on IP, Sparring, Ki etc there seems a unanimous view that good students are more valuable than the money they may bring.

Underneath all the discussions maybe there are some common threads running through Aikido after all.
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Old 03-03-2011, 09:40 AM   #22
SeiserL
 
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

Honestly
Respectfully
Quietly

Until again,
Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-03-2011, 09:44 AM   #23
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
Underneath all the discussions maybe there are some common threads running through Aikido after all.
::hits invisible like button:: I'm a dork, but I also wanted to say I liked the play on the word thread (since this IS a thread....)

~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 03-03-2011, 10:13 AM   #24
"anonaiki"
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

I have to relay my gratitude to everyone for sharing advice. I will talk to the assistant teacher and work on approaching my sensei. I could never leave out of the blue. I want to train and I have such tremendous respect for everyone at the dojo. Even if I have to leave now, I know I will be back some day. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

I don't have cable tv or a smartphone or a car payment. I keep my house cold. I'm even trimming my food budget down to a bare minimum. I'm working on being optimistic that things will improve, but I've had some set backs lately with clients going under. Aikido has been a great outlet during stressful times and I'm constantly impressed by the support and camaraderie at the dojo. My thanks to everyone on the forum for sharing your thoughts.
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:17 AM   #25
Larry Cuvin
 
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Re: How to Leave a Dojo?

anonaiki,
You might be surprized of your sensei's response if you talk to him and explain your situation. He might allow you to continue to train and pay in kind or pay when you are able. Good Luck.

Plus Ki
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