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Old 09-12-2002, 08:18 PM   #1
Veers
 
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Dojo: Shinkikan Aikikai Aikido of Corpus Christi
Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
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Finally talked to the sensei

Well, finally got over to the dojo to talk to the instructor about fees and such what. We talked for 45 minutes (he, myself, and my dad).

Ok, he said since he's had so many people leave after a month or so, I'd have to pay for the first quarter up front and then also the last quarter of the year up front, too...for a total of $395 up front (no payments until the first 3 months are up, then pay for the next three, then the next three, and then the last three of the year are already paid for). He said the last quarter's payment is a deposite and I can get it back if I need to quit before I get to it, but I have to notify him that I'm leaving. (which makes sense to me). The deposite did strike me as a bit unorthidox, but the price is fair, and I can go to any of the 5 classes a week (probably will make 2-3 depending on work).

He put a big emphasis on the school part of it, too. We get a book and memorize the vocabulary and such and there are two tests a year that you can take if you think you can do them.

He said that from what he'd heard me say and how I looked (physically, I guess he meant) that if I wanted a challenge (and I do) that it'd be for me.

Oh, also, he's independant from the Japanese family somthin'-or-other that owns aikido stuff...don't remember what he said and I didn't get it...somthing like the people who own the license or whatever. He's an authorzied teacher, but he does things a bit different (such as letting students train with weapons in their first week) but still teaches "pure" aikido.

Anyway, there's the scoop...your thoughts? "Go for it"? "Nooo!"? "Look around some more"?

Of course this all hinges on a job schedual...
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Old 09-12-2002, 08:51 PM   #2
batemanb
 
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Dojo: Seibukan Aikido UK
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400 bucks up front, not me. I pay 60 up front per quarter, but then I have a plethora of dojo`s to choose from. Back home in the UK, we pay by the class, the most I would be prepared to do would be to pay a month up front. His reasoning for up front payment is that so many people leave after a month, why is that? I would be tempted to have a look round some more, whilst I haven`t met or seen the person concerned, sounds a bit too off for me.

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 09-12-2002, 09:04 PM   #3
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
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My home dojo offers a special, only for folks who haven't done aikido before. This special is for three months at a reduced rate, with a gi thrown in. The reasoning is that it takes at least three months of training to know whether this is really for you or not. Now of course, if you don't want to do the special, you can pay by the month too, the special is just an incentive to try aikido a bit longer.

The commitment that this teacher is asking for sounds a bit unrealistic and a bit much. I agree with what Bryan said about "so many people leave after a month, why is that?" and that he requires more money up front. Attrition in aikido is quite high, but give people the option to do one way or another, not just you have to come up with one large sum up front.

Best wishes in your dojo search! I hope that you look at a number of different aikido dojos, and sign up with the one which you feel most comfortable (by watching the classes, the students, as well as the financial burden that it places you under).

Rachel
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Old 09-12-2002, 09:04 PM   #4
Greg Jennings
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$65.83 a month isn't extraordinarily cheap but not that over-the-top either.

Being independent but "authorized" is a little strange.

Did you ask how much he charges for testing fees? If he is independent, testing fees, association fees, etc. would go straight into his kitty. You'd get at $3 belt and a $0.10 paper certificate for it.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 09-12-2002, 09:15 PM   #5
batemanb
 
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Quote:
Greg Jennings wrote:
$65.83 a month isn't extraordinarily cheap but not that over-the-top either.
I don`t have a problem with that on a monthly basis, but I think what he is asking for up front (six months) is way on the steep side
Quote:
Greg Jennings wrote:
Did you ask how much he charges for testing fees? If he is independent, testing fees, association fees, etc. would go straight into his kitty. You'd get at $3 belt and a $0.10 paper certificate for it.
I very nearly wrote the same thing, then decided that I new nothing about him so I would give him the benefit of the doubt, but the thought still nags.

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 09-12-2002, 09:24 PM   #6
isshinryu88
Join Date: May 2002
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Re: Finally talked to the sensei

Quote:
Jonathan Lyons (Veers) wrote:
He said that from what he'd heard me say and how I looked (physically, I guess he meant) that if I wanted a challenge (and I do) that it'd be for me.
Have you watched any of his classes? I wonder about his "challenge" comment. Aikido requires a degree of fitness, but I'm not sure how much I would describe it as challenging. Unless of courese he means more along the lines of working on balance, timing, etc.

Over all, the monetary end of it doesn't sound too out of the ordinary. Is it a contract? Be careful of the wording. I belonged to a club that had some outside organization take care\of billing. Their contracts said that you could cancel them, but the fine print limited that to if you moved 50 miles away from the dojo or were completely incapacitated for 3 months.

I agree with the concerns regarding his "independence". I think you should check out another school just to be safe.

Good luck in your hunt.
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Old 09-12-2002, 09:24 PM   #7
Jessica
Join Date: Dec 2001
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It sounds like a bit much to me. However, if you like it, I'd be sure to go to a trial class before committing to that payment.

Jessica
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Old 09-12-2002, 09:24 PM   #8
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2002
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People are probably going to start calling me Makiavelli, but I wouldn't put up with that kind of thing. The only reason for extra money up front - deposits, payment in advance, "initiation fees", etc... - in any kind of dojo or health club membership situation is to try and force you to pay for something you aren't going to use. The only reason to do that is if they are trying to wring more money out of their teaching/club gig than it is actually worth on the market. If you pay for one month and quit at the end of one month, how is that a hardship for the teacher/owner? That line of reasoning is pure sophistry. It is an attempt to cover up the fact that they are trying to take advantage of you.

I understand a sensei asking for a committment, but only after he/she has established some basis for respect and committment. I'd say he's off to a bad start. To ask you to commit that much money before you have had a chance to experience the training for a while is not reasonable.

I suppose there is a chance that he is a good Aikido teacher, but has adopted some unfortunate business practices for reasons that are not a direct reflection of his character. However, at this point, that is not something you have experienced. What you have experienced is someone trying to pressure you into giving up a whole bunch of money for something he assumes you probably won't use.

I would go in there with one month's dues in cash. Tell him you don't believe in initiation fees or deposits. Pull out the cash and say you are willing to try it for one month, and at the end of the month, you will decide whether you want to continue, and you will be willing to negotiate further payment terms at that time. Volunteer no further contingencies and make no other concessions. If he says no, take your money and leave. Remember, he's the one that turned this into a money negotiation before the Aikido even started, not you. If he's willing to lose you as a student because you are assertive about protecting yourself and your resources, you don't need to learn anything he's teaching.

K.
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Old 09-12-2002, 10:33 PM   #9
Erik
Location: Bay Area
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I'm not so bothered by the money, particularly the monthly rate, which is low in my world, but this part got me:
Quote:
Oh, also, he's independant from the Japanese family somthin'-or-other that owns aikido stuff...don't remember what he said and I didn't get it...somthing like the people who own the license or whatever. He's an authorzied teacher, but he does things a bit different (such as letting students train with weapons in their first week) but still teaches "pure" aikido.
How is he independent but still an authorized teacher? My question would be who authorized him or more accurately who taught him? I normally don't get worked up about lineages but this doesn't read quite right, although it could be perfectly fine.
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Old 09-12-2002, 11:48 PM   #10
Edward
Location: Bangkok
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My simple advice that I have repeated so many times on these forums: Go find a dojo affiliated to a major organization where your rank will be recognized country or world wide, and dojo standards quite uniform. Independant dojos can offer many interesting things, one of them is very low membership fees since they do not have to pay anything to their mother organizations. If this is lacking, you have to see what outstanding techniques and abilities this teacher is offering which are better than the other dojos.
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Old 09-13-2002, 03:26 AM   #11
Jim ashby
Dojo: Phoenix Coventry
Location: Coventry, England
Join Date: Mar 2001
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Find another Dojo. If he really worries about the dropout rate, so should you.Don't take any of the "well we train really hard here, it's not for everyone that's why people drop out blah blah". Trust me, find somewhere else to train.

Have fun.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 09-13-2002, 07:04 AM   #12
Veers
 
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Dojo: Shinkikan Aikikai Aikido of Corpus Christi
Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
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Greg, he charges nothing other than the quarterly fees.

Kev, he said it's hard on the class when people up and quit because then they spend a few classes waiting and holding back to see if the people show up again. You can leave, but you just have to give him notice. As far as the taking advantage part, he stressed several times he wouldn't ask things he couldn't do (or help do) himself; therefore he makes no money off the payments (he said currently he's taking out of his own pocket to pay for the rent and bills).

As far as credibility as a teacher, he's a 4th (soon to be 5th) dan who's been teaching for 7 years. I'll consider your suggestion about the one month up front.

Erik, he's a member of the Okinawan Karate Federation, Southern U.S. Kendo & Iaido Federation.

Edrward, I don't care about rank, much. His dojo doesn't have competitions, though he maintains a belting system (blue brown black). He said he is recognized to an extent but I didn't ask about that.

Jim, he said, "So the newest movie comes out and everyone decides they'll be the next Bruce or Steven and they come in and say, 'hey, this is really work!' and decide it's not worth it." He didn't say people can't keep up, he just said if you're not willing to work at it and pull a few muscles in the first week or two, don't bother signing up at all.

Thanks for the feedback...it's not like I need to make a decision tomorrow, though, so I have time to think on it and look around some more.

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 09-13-2002, 07:09 AM   #13
JJF
 
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Never join a dojo without first having a free trial session. In my opinion demanding money before letting a potential student participate in the training once or twice is dubious. Then again I've had bad experiences with 'contracts' and 'up-front' payments before, so I might be biased....

Also you should try out a couple of different dojo's before you make your choice. It's good common sense actually. Few people would buy the very first car they see in the lot.

BTW I'm a bit concerned about the 'not affiliated but authorized' situation, but I would need a little more info. on that before I can call my judgement.

Somebody said something along the lines of: "it's better to search 10 years for the right teacher, than to practice 10 years with a wrong one". Allthough it seems a bit harsh there is a good chunk of truth in it.

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 09-13-2002, 07:23 AM   #14
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
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Hey Jonathan,

Look up the fellows credentials if you can on the web, normally through his parent organization. It's another way to be sure. A fourth dan will usually show up on the roster.

Any other aikido dojos in the area for you to check out as well? If so, please take the time to look them up too and pay them a visit.

All the best on your training!

Rachel
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Old 09-13-2002, 07:38 AM   #15
Veers
 
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Dojo: Shinkikan Aikikai Aikido of Corpus Christi
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There're two, and I had planned on visiting them, too.

Hmm, quick search reveals he's not on the SUSK&IF website, and OKF doesn't have a member/dojo database, so I'll e-mail them.

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 09-13-2002, 07:48 AM   #16
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
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Hi Jonathon, I got curious and tried to look up these organizations on the web. Couldn't find them, do you have their urls?
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Old 09-13-2002, 07:53 AM   #17
Greg Jennings
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Those orgs mean exactly zero in the aikido community anyway.

I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with being independent.

So, if he's independent, who is it that's giving him his promotion?

Best Regards,

Last edited by Greg Jennings : 09-13-2002 at 07:55 AM.

Greg Jennings
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Old 09-13-2002, 07:56 AM   #18
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
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I've never heard of them either....
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Old 09-13-2002, 07:57 AM   #19
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
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Well, I'm going to go the other way from almost everyone here. Almost every dojo I've been involved in has had a very high drop out rate and that has been perceived as both 'normal' and 'difficult' by the people involved. Almost every dojo I've been involved with, the instructor is either not living off the dojo or else is having trouble making ends meet. Certainly, I have more respect for senseis who can really make it clear to me that money is not what AiKiDo is about, but just because the sensei needs to eat and live doesn't mean he isn't a good teacher.

I do agree that watching / participating in a class would be very important before I coughed up that kind of money.

Also, if you can look up his affiliation or let us know what style he claims to be 'authorized' in, that would be helpful.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 09-13-2002, 08:05 AM   #20
Veers
 
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Thanks Opher...

Rachel...

Okinawan Karate Federation

and

Southern U.S. Kendo & Iaido Federation (see? he's no listed there)

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 09-13-2002, 08:06 AM   #21
Veers
 
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Oh, and Greg, I don't know, I didn't ask.

Oh, and Opher, he made it very clear that it's not about the money, but the commitment.

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 09-13-2002, 08:17 AM   #22
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
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Hi Jonathan,

Thank you for sending the links information on both of those organizations. Neither of them claim to be Aikido oriented organizations, so where is this fellow receiving his teaching certification and ability to grade without being tied to an actual aikido organization?

Where in Texas are you?

Rachel
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Old 09-13-2002, 08:28 AM   #23
Veers
 
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Hm, good question...he left it at that ("that" being those two orgs) and I didn't think it was that big of a deal...I mean, if he teaches it, who cares if he gets world recognition?

Anyway, I live in Corpus Christi. There are two other dojos in town...according to the dojo search on this site. None of them are in the phone book.

Also, let me scan his borchuer so you can see that, too.

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 09-13-2002, 08:40 AM   #24
Veers
 
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Dojo: Shinkikan Aikikai Aikido of Corpus Christi
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Flyer thingie

Ok, if any of you are biased against orange, lol, get over it, this one was on top, he had all the colors of the rainbow.

http://pwp.clearsource.net/mlyons/cover.jpg

http://pwp.clearsource.net/mlyons/intro.jpg

http://pwp.clearsource.net/mlyons/tech.jpg

http://pwp.clearsource.net/mlyons/whatis.jpg

http://pwp.clearsource.net/mlyons/menphy.jpg

http://pwp.clearsource.net/mlyons/osnesei.jpg
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Old 09-13-2002, 08:46 AM   #25
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
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Hey, thanks for sending all that for everyone! Where are his credentials on the flyer? Usually a teacher states what his/her rank, affiliation, lineage (okay, not in this order), as well as teaching certification is. That is something that I would like to know if I were going to train with this person.
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