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Old 05-17-2006, 11:14 AM   #26
Beard of Chuck Norris
 
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Re: Paying for testing?

I pay for each lesson, from £2 to £3.50 depending on length of time and location.

Our grading fees start from £12 for yellow and go up by £2 each kyu. I think this fee is totally fine. I think my 6year old nephew is charged more for his "gradings" in taekwondo.
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Old 05-17-2006, 12:04 PM   #27
Psufencer
 
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Re: Paying for testing?

I pay $60 a month to train as often as I want, plus $40 for each test. That seems fair enough to me, compared to other rates I was seeing in the area.
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Old 05-17-2006, 01:57 PM   #28
James Kelly
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Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
... and oh all those yudansha that take ukemi for the kyu grades get an honorarium as do the examiners.
Really... if I had a dime for each time I took testing ukemi, I'd be a rich man... Maybe you could set up a per-roll payment schedule. A dime a roll, $0.25 per break fall could turn into some real money. That way when people congratulate the tester on doing well and he makes the standard joke that he paid the ukes to make him look good, he'd be telling the truth.
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Old 05-17-2006, 02:16 PM   #29
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Paying for testing?

Check out Rocky's post (rant) on fees and money in the "voices of experience thread.

I had a recent discussion with my students over fees and testing when I recently had our senior instructor (BJJ) come in to town to conduct a seminar and test. They were complaining about the cost. (I charge absolutely nothing as I have no cost, and don't feel qualified to charge).

I had a very similar discussion along the lines of Rocky's comments about the true cost of martial training and the sacrifices and money our teachers put into the training, and that they are not millionaires.
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Old 05-17-2006, 02:49 PM   #30
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Paying for testing?

Sogaku Takeda used to charge for each technique.

Oh well...it all comes down to how much you want it...and what you're willing to pay.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 05-17-2006, 03:54 PM   #31
Niadh
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Re: Paying for testing?

I have to repond to Roky's rant here.
Thanks Rocky. Valid and salient points all. Has anyone else thought of what instructors do to instruct? WHile my financial commitment has not been as great as Rocky's, I too hve done some finincial bailing for the club I co-teach. I give up 4 or more hours of my time on the nights I teach (1-1/2hrs) what with driving time and all. On days I teach, because I have another source of income, I leave the house when my children are asleep, and return (after class) when they are asleep.
I do not begrudge my time, I enjoy teaching, and because I teach at a club there are no mat fees. Our testing fees go towards or home dojo, which is a small but growing organization.

I begrude non of the fees I pay, as I understand some of what goes into this. I agree with Rocky that it is very easy to forget or not see the "behind the scenes" stuff that instructors do.

I guess my final response is QYB. But to be more politically correct, think- WOuld you give up all that has been mentioned here and by Rocky and other instructors- out of complete goodness of your heart? It is easy to say yes, but be realistic...

Non Satis Scire
Niadh Feathers
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Old 05-17-2006, 05:50 PM   #32
aikidoc
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Re: Paying for testing?

In another response to Rocky's rant. He did not include all of the testing fees, club dues, travel costs, etc. involved in getting him to the point where he can teach. Students must keep in mind that the instructor paid a price as well to train-test fees, dues, seminars, travel, etc., etc. Over the years, I have taught free and only recently charged-fee just about covers the overhead (electricity, water, maintenance, supplies, but not any of the buildout expenses). I even taught at one dojo for free for over 4 years. and when I left it was ugly-I guess the owner didn't like losing the free ride and being able to go home at night. My lesson learned was that most people don't appreciate it at all when you give it to them and they bitch about it when you charge for it. My students have the opportunity to train over 40 hours a month. If they take advantage of it all, it works out they pay $1.36 and hour. Not bad and I challenge anyone to find lessons in anything that cheap. Even if they only practice 4 hours a week it's still $3.75/hour. Not all of my students take advantage of the opportunity but it is there as well as periodic seminars. I do have a small core though that goes out of their way to help-they are great people and made it possible for the dojo to exist as well as continue to provide support in any way they can (some with money, some with work/labor). In my experience they are rare people in this day and age in that they don't want something for nothing

One guy I saw on the web - teaching a grand celestial way- was charging in some areas 2-300/month and people were paying it. Hmm. I must be doing something wrong.
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Old 05-17-2006, 05:51 PM   #33
Jerry Miller
 
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Re: Paying for testing?

Bottom line is that it is a dojo and not a charity. Thanks for the rant Rock.

Jerry Miller
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:06 PM   #34
Charlie
 
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Re: Paying for testing?

…also responding to Rocky's post…

I have to ask. What value do you put on what you are being taught?

Many go to collages and universities in order to be educated in specialized fields of study. They are taught by professionals that have mostly dedicated their lives to what they are teaching and have become extremely specialized in their respective fields.

What is so different from their process and ours? Why do so many assume that the highly specialized skill sets that are taught in the martial arts are to be provided at such discounted costs?

After all, if one attends a seminar given by an academic pioneer or a financial mogul or even an ex-president [whether he has been impeached or not!?] will undoubtedly be charged a very steep fee in order to participate in the festivities, no matter if it is a plate dinner function or a week long excursion into what ever that person's respective field of expertise may be.

If you charge it and people pay it…is the capitalist way of life. If you have doubts as to the value of what is being taught to you equaling the amount of what is being charged then you have every right to exercise your right to not pay it [just as the person providing the SERVICE has the right to vocalize the value of what they provide].

What is surprising to me is the number of people that are eagerly willing to join organizations and not fully research what they are getting into. If the organizations are unwilling to provide information as to what the fees go towards as well as what is expected of the prospective student then I would be wary as well. However, I can only make an informative decision by doing some very basic research.

Hey, we could always go back to the old way of doing it and charge a fee for EVERY technique taught!

Just my thoughts...

Charlie

Charles Burmeister
Aikido Yoshinkan Yoseikai

"Calmness is trust in action"
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:18 PM   #35
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Sogaku Takeda used to charge for each technique.

Oh well...it all comes down to how much you want it...and what you're willing to pay.

Best,
Ron
Unfortunately thats a persistant myth, think there's an interview with his son on aikiweb which mentions it and also mentions how long O Sensei studied with him, can't seem to find it right now though.

Mike
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:25 PM   #36
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Jo Duncan wrote:
I pay for each lesson, from £2 to £3.50 depending on length of time and location.

Our grading fees start from £12 for yellow and go up by £2 each kyu. I think this fee is totally fine. I think my 6year old nephew is charged more for his "gradings" in taekwondo.
DOH, you really aren't too good with the finances of all this are you mate? I let you collect the fees for one session and you overcharge people and now you can't remember how much you paid for your last grading. Hehe, well at least your Aikido is better than your memory for money.

5th Kyu £10
4th Kyu £14
3rd Kyu £18
Increases by £4 each time and this hasn't changed in 20 years as far as I know.

£2-£3.50 per session depending.

Annual membership £20

And week before last when only two people came to the lesson it cost me about £11.50 for the priviledge of teaching Jo and one other student

Mike Haft
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:37 PM   #37
Chris Li
 
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Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote:
Unfortunately thats a persistant myth, think there's an interview with his son on aikiweb which mentions it and also mentions how long O Sensei studied with him, can't seem to find it right now though.

Mike
This impression may have been left since Takeda taught mostly in brief seminars. In any case, it was certainly extremely expensive to train with him.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-17-2006, 09:35 PM   #38
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
This impression may have been left since Takeda taught mostly in brief seminars. In any case, it was certainly extremely expensive to train with him.

Best,

Chris
Probably true, from all I've read anyway. By the way the interview was on aikido journal not aikiweb as I managed to confuse things earlier. I found the interview anyway, go to aikido journal look in the interviews section, its the interview with tokimune takeda part 2.

Mike
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Old 05-17-2006, 10:54 PM   #39
Rocky Izumi
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Re: Paying for testing?

Thanks folks, you make me feel warm and fuzzy all over. Rats, that was the dog and cat rubbing up to me.

Better go and shower this sweat off me and ice my knee -- an hour of suwari-waza shomenuchi ikkyo.

Really, thanks. I'm very gratified to hear of all of you putting in so much into helping others in Aikido no matter what rank you are. It makes me feel that my efforts aren't wasted if any of my students turn out like you guys. Give yourselves a hug from me. Better yet, give yourselves a good kotegaeshi or shihonage into a tobi ukemi at the dojo some time. That's more my thank you style.

Better yet, come down to Barbados for a vacation and come visit the dojo to practice. No practice fees for short term visitors and often, free beer and wings or pig tails after practice on Fridays. We're supposedly Aikikai but willing to practice with you in your style any time.

Rock
The Aiki-penitent
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Old 05-18-2006, 04:59 AM   #40
davidafindlay
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Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
and oh all those yudansha that take ukemi for the kyu grades get an honorarium as do the examiners.
Whoa! When did that start? As I remember, all I got was saving myself a trip to the chiropractor, as an over-zealous 2kyu applied hanza handachi kote hineri - I felt each one of my vertebrae click down onto the mat (floating front breakfall).

Apparently 2kyu was not sure how to demo goshin no kata, and took the message from one of the sensei to heart. The message was something along the lines of "... eh? Well, its GOSHIN!"

Ah, nothing puts a smile on the face of an ukemi-phile like sincere waza...
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Old 05-18-2006, 05:11 AM   #41
PeterR
 
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Re: Paying for testing?

They university students all get 1000 Yen in a little brown envelope and for a time so did Omonishi-san and myself. That might have had something to do with travel from Himeji. Eventually we were told that there were too many uke and we no longer take part in that little pleasure. Of course we could have been incompetent and were being let down nicely.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-18-2006, 08:52 AM   #42
davidafindlay
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Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
Of course we could have been incompetent and were being let down nicely.
Surely not.. Bouncy, springy sannensei vs a couple of OBs?

...oh and to keep it strictly on-topic to the thread at large, umm last grading was relatively cheap. Graded outside Japan, so we only are asked to pay the (inernational) association (JAA) fees. In my case that was about AUD250. My previous grade in Japan was about 5man yen (US450?). Some goes to the association, and some goes to the dojo. Arguably a lot of money in anyone's language, but I see it as supporting the organisation - and a professional dojo with professional instructors, and its something asked for relatively infrequently. So that's ok with me.

Regards,
Dave Findlay
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Old 06-11-2006, 04:13 PM   #43
Jose Garrido
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Re: Paying for testing?

In our dojo we have testing fees. But the tests are not done on mass.
They are individually scheduled and the sensei is only there for your test.
At the completion of the test the sensei will go over every single technique that you showed/demonstrated, critique it and make corrections

Jose' delCristo Garrido
Nihon Goshin Aikido
Hakko-ryu Jujutsu
Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu
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Old 06-12-2006, 06:42 AM   #44
DmG
 
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Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Michael Meister wrote:
Ok, I have to admit, that I expext those things to be part of annual fees/ club fees, which will even out the extra costs over time.
Anyway, as I said, it's neither right or wrong to have fees for grading.

My point is, I gladly spent money to get better at Aikido, but still I wouldn't pay just to hold a grade (and that's what grading fees are for me). So we probably just disagree, when to pay for what. I hope we both can live with that :-)
In our new dojo, we finally hung our dan certificates (now that we have a place for them). One of my kyu levels came in, saw the certificates, which are from Hombu Dojo, and are hand done...and really quite beautiful. He said "wow, now I see why you pay so much for a dan test. I was thinking it was a waste, but now I see that you get something for it."

Hmmm....the money for a dan test goes to the federations that we belong to. You get a very beautiful certificate, a membership book and card...and of course the rank recorded in the archives. It is not as though you test for a dan grade every week....so who begrudges a few dollars of administration costs? You pay for marriage certificates and other events of importance, so that they are recorded and officiated....so why not dan testings. I don't consider that 'paying for the rank'.

Testing in aikido is one of the most important things (IMO) that you can do...for yourself, for your instructor, for your fellow aikidoka. For yourself because you can measure where you are, and how you perform under pressure. It gives you a goal for improvement.

For your instructor because he/she can see where you are and where you need to improve (and where they may need to improve their instruction). You are a reflection of your teacher.

For your fellow aikidoka, because every single one of them work and help you every day that you are on the mat. Those that are a lesser rank than you want to see you and see someone to aspire to...and those at a higher rank than you want to see you be successful, as they are also your instructors....
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Old 06-14-2006, 12:41 PM   #45
Matthew Brosseau
Dojo: Aikido Tanren Juku Calgary
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Re: Paying for testing?

You pay for testing in Calgary too, I think it is quite reasonable, but I mean if you fail, I would think you would feel like you just wasted so and so amount of money.
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Old 06-14-2006, 03:10 PM   #46
Bronson
 
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Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Matthew Brosseau wrote:
...if you fail, I would think you would feel like you just wasted so and so amount of money.
We return testing fees if the student fails.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-15-2006, 09:15 AM   #47
Rocky Izumi
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Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Matthew Brosseau wrote:
You pay for testing in Calgary too, I think it is quite reasonable, but I mean if you fail, I would think you would feel like you just wasted so and so amount of money.
So don't fail.

Rock
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Old 06-15-2006, 05:37 PM   #48
mriehle
 
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Re: Paying for testing?

I read Rocky's rant as well. Tried to respond not realizing I weren't eligibable. I thought about applying 'cause I've been doing this here Aikido stuff since 1974, but I haven't been as regular as I maybe shouldda been.

In any case.

Over those years I've invested a lot of my money and my time in getting to where I am with Aikido. I run into people who just won't pay me for their training. I have an official policy at my dojo that if money is the only obstacle to training, I'll work something out. But I find that people who object on financial grounds typically have other issues as well. They're really just looking for an excuse to make them feel better about not training.

Paying for testing is something I'm of mixed mind on. I charge a nominal promotion fee for kyu ranks (currently $15). Originally it was intended to pay for equipment upgrades and such. As it turns out, it pays the rent on our space as often as not. So, I don't feel guilty about the fee.

But...

I regularly see schools charging hundreds of dollars for kyu rank tests, plus $100 or more for monthly tuition. At what point does it become simple greed? That would be my objection.

That being said.

As regularly as I see this, it's always the same schools. Realistically, they are in the minority. And they aren't, IME, Aikido schools.

What I see more often is the "soccer mom" mentality. The expectation is that people will commit to a month or two of training at a "reasonable" cost (reasonable?) but take the kids out as soon as they've invested more than a couple of hundred bucks and are expected to pay a promotion fee or even just get tired of driving to the dojo.

It isn't just money.

Anyone teaching has put a lot of themselves into Aikido. Our personal identity is built around Aikido. Hours on the mat. Hours spent driving (or walking, in my case) to the dojo. Hours spent preparing the space. Hours spent talking to vendors. Hours spent dealing with government bureaucrats.

Okay, I'm starting to echo Rocky's rant. I can't help it. I annoys me when people accuse me of selling out because I charge for training. And, yes, I actually have been so accused.

(stepping off soapbox now)

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Old 06-15-2006, 08:07 PM   #49
Rocky Izumi
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Re: Paying for testing?

Michael,

Just talk to Jun about access..

Rock
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Old 07-03-2006, 02:18 PM   #50
Walter Martindale
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Re: Paying for testing?

I heard large parts of Rocky's rant(s) in person, over single malt. Observed it in person, when he bought most of the materiel with which to build the Regina Aikido Dojo in 1995-ish, after the U of R renovated us off the wrestling mats. Most of the time I felt I wasn't able to contribute enough sweat equity to the dojo (and I still don't at my current dojo, what with coaching a sport for a living, practicing Aikido for personal growth, and competing in two different types of long-range paper punching). Our dojo in Calgary is growing by leaps and bounds, with more than 100 in the kid's group, usually about 20 in the evening group, and sometimes as many as 8 in the morning group (The morning group is the "advanced" practice - one hour, 3/week, I'm probably the clumsiest at Ikkyu.)
Steve and Robb seem not to accept payment for anything, and pay their own fees to practice at the facilities in which we train. They also travel to many seminars annually, with accompanying costs, and any fees that are paid for our grading go either to register the grade through the CAF or to the presiding shihan. Yudansha rankings however are somewhat more dear, although I don't always understand why, nor why the seem to increase as rapidly as they do.

All that said, Most Aikido sensei appear to be continuing to learn while they are instructing - Rock frequently said that he learns much when teaching beginners, and I try to take that to my job (I'm employed coaching rowing) when I'm working with rowers at all levels - the biggest thought being - if the person doesn't get it, it's not because they don't want to get it, it's because I haven't found the way that they will learn it. Perhaps that concept (sensei learning while instructing) is why most sensei pay their own fees to the organisation instead of charging for instruction?
Walter
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