Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Testing

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-07-2006, 04:12 AM   #51
Michael Meister
Dojo: South Hetton
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 97
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Donna Grant wrote:
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....
Basically I didn't want to post in this thread, because I already have made my point, and didn't want to repeat it. Different people have different opinions and views, that's the way of life.
Anyway, you answered to my post, so I will answer you. I can understand your point, and I do know, that people become impressed by certificates, I am not. Over time, I met black belts, who just weren't worth the trouble, and kyu grades that really impressed me. Off the mat, it's even been worse. I spent enough time at university and dabbling in politics, to realize that ranks and grades are only I very rough measurement of a persons competence.
As for the administration fee, yes at some point, that has to be paid for, I just prefer that to be included in the annual fee, at least I have to pay anyway. So the argument here is not about if, but when to pay, and therefore I minor detail.
And yes, testing is a way to measure ones perfomance. But as a matter of fact, I don't think my instructor probably didn't see much of my gradings anyway. Our gradings are only done on seminars, and usually he has been busy, grading other kyu grades.
I also agree, that people like to look up to the higher ranks, especially in the beginning. I would even go as far, as to say, if your actual grade is much lower than your ability, it might even intimidate the lesser ranks, and make them fear grading. But as a matter of fact, most of the time I have been practicing Aikido, I would have been hard pressed, to even find a couple of extra Euros to spent on a grading, so honestly, I would probably rather hold a 5th or 4th Kyu instead of 2nd for financial reasons only.
And finally, yes we are, at some point, a reflection of our teacher. But we would be poor students, if we were contented with that. I am different from my teacher, as I am different from anybody else. At some point my Aikido has to account for that, and reach beyond being just a reflection.
As for achieving black belt, yes it is something special, but not for what it cost you, but for what it took you in terms of hard work. Within our organisation shodan tests are only done on major seminars, and it is the recognition that stems from this, that is far more important to me, than a piece of paper.
The biggest change I have seen in the Aikido of new shodans was, that they stopped focussing on the next grading, and started to focus on the small details, that improved their Aikido. The really good ones reached that point at 1st.

But in the end, different people, different point of views. So Rockys point is perfectely ok, it is just not mine. There's enough room in this world for both ways.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2006, 12:55 PM   #52
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 381
Kuwait
Offline
Re: Paying for testing?

Hi Michael,

I am sorry but I guess I wasn't really responding to your point directly so I guess I should do so here.

The grading fees I charge pay for:
1. My travel, hotel, and food bills (they don't even go to cover 1/10th of the cost).
2. The time I take off from work where I am losing US$1000 per day as a consultant (they don't even go to cover 1/500th of the cost).
3. The cost of belts that I hand out for passing the grading (they do cover this cost but it takes up about 1/4 of the fees paid).
4. The cost of certificates that I hand out for passing the grading (they do cover this cost but it takes up about 1/4 of the fees paid).
5. The cost of the administrative fees for recording application for grading, the grading, and results (they do cover this cost but it takes up about 1/4 of the fees paid).
6. The cost of the administrative fees from the association/federation (they do cover this cost but it takes up about 1/2 of the fees paid).
7. The subsidization of my insurance costs for teaching Aikido (one testing fee covers 1/2000th of the cost of my liability insurance).

When you look at the costs involved, they are all used up before payment of my time or my personal expenses. For that reasons, I try and do the testings whenever and wherever I do a seminar and a large part of my travel fees, hotels, and food bills are paid. Most dojos can't afford both the air fare and hotel so I stay at the home of a student or a student's relative. In the end, I think it costs me about US$200 every time I test about 5 students. And I pay it gladly since it is my responsibility to those students. I also try and schedule the seminars during business trips to their locations and my company pays for the air fare and hotel bills. But, then, since I am the major shareholder of the private company, it still comes out of my pocket in company profits.

I tried not charging for tests once and I got people applying for tests who wasted my time and that of their partners and fellow students. The chief instructors of the dojos often didn't take the time to pre-test their students to ensure that they would pass. They left it all up to me. As an aside here, in testing the students, I am as much reviewing the performance of the dojo's chief instructor as I am the ability of the students. The testing fee is as much a deterent to people who just want to test and are not ready as for payment of expenses. At 60 minutes per test and comments/review for two pair, the test fees come out to US$40-80/hour for me. I can't watch more than two pair at a time carefully enough to see if they are able to show me what they really know. I usually only do about 6 tests at any one grading. I can't sit in seiza for more than an hour at a time.

Just thought you might want to know where those testing fees went to and what they paid for. No, they don't cover my costs at US$20 per test. I could charge more, but then the students couldn't afford to pay it. US$20 is Bbds$40, EC$54.50 and JMD$1,280. Those are substantial amounts down here in the Caribbean. They can't afford any more. I know, based on the response that I have gotten on this thread that I am not the only one who is subsidizing the cost of people taking their tests. They may charge more in other locations but, then, their costs are higher too.

You could answer then, that I should be happy that people don't want to take tests. That is not true. Tests for me are demonstrations of whether people have understood what I am trying to show them. The people who are testing should be able to show me that they have understood which principles each technique is supposed to demonstrate. It allows me to understand whether I need to explain more or whether I need to change the way I am teaching or whether I am doing okay. The tests also allow me to evaluate their chief instructor to see if they are teaching correctly and well. Just having the students do the technique so that they can take a person down is insufficient. That is not the purpose of the test, kihon waza, or of training in Aikido. Yes, I have failed people who seemed to be able to do a technique their own way but did not demonstrate an understanding of the principles which they were supposed to be demonstrating with the specific techniques. And, yes, I did explain to them afterwards why I failed them. But, for some reason, a lot of people say yes, they understand but never show that understanding the next time I do their examination.

Hope that makes some sense in why I charge testing fees and where the money goes. And, I hope it provides some understanding of only a couple reasons why I find testing important. There are other reasons but these days, I find that these two reasons are the most important to me.

Rock
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2006, 11:07 AM   #53
Michael Meister
Dojo: South Hetton
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 97
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Paying for testing?

Point taken. As I said, there's no right or wrong, just different ways. Still I personally would not be comfortable with it, an I need not be. It's differently organized within my affiliation, and that's the way that suits me personally better. Each system has its strengths and weaknesses, it up to us to find one, that suits our needs best. You have done that, and I am quite sure, that you are well aware of the strengths and the limits of the way you are doing it. In my eyes, that's what is important in the end.
Tests have their place, in Aikido as well as in life. But again, different people will focus on slightly different aspects. Again, each approach has its strengths and its weaknesses.
There's a saying in life sciences: "you can only find, what you are looking for". Just make sure, you are looking for what you want in Aikido, and accept when others are looking for something different.
So if you can live with me preferring a different way, and probably not becoming a member of your organisation, I for one can perfectly live with the fact. And if we ever meet on one or another mat, I will be happy to practice Aikido with you.
BTW: yes 20 US$ can be a lot of money, even here in Germany. Within the last 10 years 20-30 Euro were about as much, as I could spent per week, including food, clothing and saving money for Aikido seminars. Maybe that explains a bit, why I am not comfortable with grading fees.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2006, 08:30 AM   #54
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 381
Kuwait
Offline
Re: Paying for testing?

Just out of curiousity Michael, how do the costs of the certificates, belts, administration, hombu registration and tester's expenses all get paid in your system? If you have a viable option for us, we would gladly take it. As it is, our system doesn't cover my costs so I would be happy to change the system.

Our system is unique to the Caribbean due to the situation here. But it doesn't have to be this way if there is a better way. I am looking for any viable alternatives.

Rock
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2006, 08:39 AM   #55
Lyle Bogin
Dojo: Shin Budo Kai
Location: Manhattan
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 588
United_States
Offline
Re: Paying for testing?

SBK's testing fees increase as you go along...starting at around $30. The requested donation for shodan is $150. Most of the fees I see here are pretty cheap relative to more popular martial arts. My friend who practices Tae Kwon Do paid $650 for his nidan from the ITF.

If anything, most folks at our dojo pay more than the requested donation, as we are mutually supporting our relatively small organization.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2006, 05:14 AM   #56
Michael Meister
Dojo: South Hetton
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 97
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Hiroaki Izumi wrote:
Just out of curiousity Michael, how do the costs of the certificates, belts, administration, hombu registration and tester's expenses all get paid in your system? If you have a viable option for us, we would gladly take it. As it is, our system doesn't cover my costs so I would be happy to change the system.

Our system is unique to the Caribbean due to the situation here. But it doesn't have to be this way if there is a better way. I am looking for any viable alternatives.

Rock
I a not really familiar with the inside workings of the organisation. I pay my monthly fees for the club (Thats' been 54 Euro/ 3 months. I'm moving to England, it will be a bit more over there) , and a yearly fee (25-30 Euro) for the organisation. What the fees for the seminars cover, I do not know exactly, but it sure covers flight (England-Germany) and accomodation of Sensai. The cost for seminars are usually from 5-20 Euro per unit (1 1/2- 2 hours), cheaper for students and unemployed, dan-seminars are usually more expensive than general units.
As far as I know, the organisation is fairly independent, I don't think our dan-grades are registered with Hombu. I can see, how that probably makes things cheaper. D.A.N./UKAU is bound to Aikido in the tradition of Master A. Nocquet (Dynamic Aikido Nocquet).
Shodans do get the black belt presented, the kyu grades either buy their belts, borrow them from the club, or the belts get just passed down. Many of the higher dan-grades do have a grading permission, though the entries in the passport need to be verified by John Emerson Sensai, who is technical director of the organisation.
My personal impression is, that the costs (which probably are lower than yours, anyway), are more distributed over the various fees (e.g. with time you're graded less often, but still pay the same yearly fees). There might be other regulations, I am not aware of... but basically, that's how it seems to me how it is working.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2006, 06:16 AM   #57
Michael Meister
Dojo: South Hetton
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 97
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Hiroaki Izumi wrote:
Just out of curiousity Michael, how do the costs of the certificates, belts, administration, hombu registration and tester's expenses all get paid in your system? If you have a viable option for us, we would gladly take it. As it is, our system doesn't cover my costs so I would be happy to change the system.

Our system is unique to the Caribbean due to the situation here. But it doesn't have to be this way if there is a better way. I am looking for any viable alternatives.

Rock
I a not really familiar with the inside workings of the organisation. I pay my monthly fees for the club (Thats' been 54 Euro/ 3 months. I'm moving to England, it will be a bit more over there) , and a yearly fee (25-30 Euro) for the organisation. What the fees for the seminars cover, I do not know exactly, but it sure covers flight (England-Germany) and accomodation of Sensai. The cost for seminars are usually from 5-20 Euro per unit (1 1/2- 2 hours), cheaper for students and unemployed, dan-seminars are usually more expensive than general units.
As far as I know, the organisation is fairly independent, I don't think our dan-grades are registered with Hombu. I can see, how that probably makes things cheaper. D.A.N./UKAU is bound to Aikido in the tradition of Master A. Nocquet (Dynamic Aikido Nocquet).
Shodans do get the black belt presented, the kyu grades either buy their belts, borrow them from the club, or the belts get just passed down. Many of the higher dan-grades do have a grading permission, though the entries in the passport need to be verified by John Emerson Sensai, who is technical director of the organisation.
My personal impression is, that the costs (which probably are lower than yours, anyway), are more distributed over the various fees (e.g. with time you're graded less often, but still pay the same yearly fees). There might be other regulations, I am not aware of... but basically, that's how it seems to me how it is working.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2006, 07:01 AM   #58
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 381
Kuwait
Offline
Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Michael Meister wrote:
I a not really familiar with the inside workings of the organisation. I pay my monthly fees for the club (Thats' been 54 Euro/ 3 months. I'm moving to England, it will be a bit more over there) , and a yearly fee (25-30 Euro) for the organisation. What the fees for the seminars cover, I do not know exactly, but it sure covers flight (England-Germany) and accomodation of Sensai. The cost for seminars are usually from 5-20 Euro per unit (1 1/2- 2 hours), cheaper for students and unemployed, dan-seminars are usually more expensive than general units.
Thanks Michael. That is very much appreciated. It appears that your monthly fees, annual fees, and seminar fees probably cover the costs I mentioned. Up till this month, our monthly fees were Bbds$30 or Euro $12.14 (US$15). We had to raise the monthly fees to Bbds$50 or Euro $20.23 (US$25) to cover our rent which comes to Euro $161.81 (US$200). If people don't come for a full month, they don't pay their monthly fees so we often only collected about Euro $150 per month. Annual fees are still Eur $20.23 (US$25). Three day/20 hour seminars were Euro $40.45 (US$50) for normal seminars and Euro $80.90 (US$100) for ones with Kawahara Sensei. So we are paying about Euro $4.00 per hour for seminars with Kawahara Sensei and half that for normal seminars. Those seminars with Kawahara Sensei we run at a deficit since his plane fare and hotel cost us about Euro $2500-$3000 and we only gross about Euro $2000 from fees. What extra money we got from our main dojo went to support the start-up dojo in the other countries who do not contribute to the Caribbean Federation. The only fees we collect from the other dojos comes from the testing fees.

It would be difficult and costly from dojos on the other islands to collect fees and transfer money to the Caribbean Federation from their monthly and annual fees due to exchange controls so we operate on a cash only basis so it seems collecting funds from testing fees seems to be the best answer so far. The other dojos can't afford to pay seminar fees to cover instructor expenses so they just buy a plane ticket for the instructor in their own country, then get the instructor to stay at someone's home instead of at a hotel unless I can arrange for my company to subsidise my expenses in teaching a seminar.

I am still looking for some way to improve our financial procedures and fees so I would welcome any advice or suggestion. The only thing I cannot really do is to raise the fees any higher since it is already becoming burdensome for the members. A number of our students spend over a month's salary to attend Aikido Summer Camp in Canada or the US. I really can't ask them to do more than that.

Rock
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2006, 10:47 AM   #59
mriehle
 
mriehle's Avatar
Dojo: New School Aikido
Location: Stockton, CA
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 320
United_States
Offline
Re: Paying for testing?

I realized another perspective on this over the weekend. I had a student receive her shodan. Of course I charged her a fee for the shodan, but my teacher provided the certificate (the reasons for this are a bit convoluted and not relevant to my point), so he gets part of the fee.

It seemed obvious to me, until it occured to me to wonder why.

Because he signs the thing. His signature says he vouches for her having earned the shodan. What is his endorsement worth? More than mine.

She pays me for the teaching, the recommendation that she get her shodan, my endorsment, my relationship with my teacher. She pays him for that signature.

And, honestly, it's worth it.

Because by vouching for each of his students he puts his own reputation on the line each time.

  Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2006, 11:32 AM   #60
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 381
Kuwait
Offline
Re: Paying for testing?

Wow, Yeah.

I know that if my students go up to summer camp and they do not perform at the level they should, I'm the one that pays the Shihan on the mats. I'm the one that gets to take Ukemi until I can't stand and take all the really hard ones. That's why I won't pass anyone who doesn't perform way above the level that is just acceptable.

But then, I also pay if I am being too hard in the gradings when subbing for my Shihan at some testing. I have a keep a good balance and know what he wants, I guess.

So in some ways, the students pay for me to take their punishment if they screw up.

I remember the trepidation with which I would always get up when Tohei Akira Sensei would ask during some student's testing: "Who your instructor?"

Now, I would have to stand if Kawahara Yukio Sensei asked: "Who tested you for your last rank?" I think that public humiliation would be worse than any pounding I take from him.

But money is a poor substitute for honour and reputation.

Rock
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2006, 12:11 PM   #61
BC
Location: Chicago, IL
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 432
Offline
Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Hiroaki Izumi wrote:
I remember the trepidation with which I would always get up when Tohei Akira Sensei would ask during some student's testing: "Who your instructor?"
Yep, that was never a good sign!

Robert Cronin
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2006, 01:03 PM   #62
mriehle
 
mriehle's Avatar
Dojo: New School Aikido
Location: Stockton, CA
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 320
United_States
Offline
Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Hiroaki Izumi wrote:
But money is a poor substitute for honour and reputation.
Which is a perspective that people who are complaining about promotion fees should consider. Looked at it like that, I should be charging several times what I currently do.

I'm not gonna...

  Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2006, 01:05 PM   #63
mriehle
 
mriehle's Avatar
Dojo: New School Aikido
Location: Stockton, CA
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 320
United_States
Offline
Re: Paying for testing?

Oh, and if I should be charging several times what I do, what should my teacher be charging? Or his teacher, etc?

  Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2006, 03:17 PM   #64
Tony Hudspith
Dojo: Hartlepool/Peterlee
Location: Hartlepool
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 38
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Paying for testing?

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
Absolutely not, I'm going to take the traditional aikido way of harmony and wear you down with incessantly lengthy posts until you agree with me!
Oh for God's sake Michael agree with him because I hate loooooong drawn out posts that go on for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever.
Also if you don't I'll use you as uke on Thursday until you agree with Ian!!!
Ian you owe me one mate
Tony
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Aikido DVDs and Video Downloads - by George Ledyard Sensei & other great teachers from AikidoDVDS.Com



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
First paying teaching gig Tadhg Bird Teaching 6 01-13-2003 02:34 PM
Paying for my Sensei 5th Dan..? Chavo General 37 12-12-2002 08:57 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:06 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate