Asking Sensei to be paid?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Tiny Tim, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim White Belt

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    Team,

    Long time lurker first time poster. Ok I am a black belt adult at a fairly large karate school. It really is only large in kids populous and only has 5 adults. I have been the sempai for a couple years now and I instruct probably 80% of the classes. I cover the whole school a lot while sensei goes out of town, vacations, sick, etc. I feel once I became his right hand man, he stepped aside and just lets me do the training while he mingles outside with the parents or surfs the Ipad.

    I feel I do enough that I should be paid. I almost feel taken advantage of, and either want to get paid or move on to a different school/style. I do not feel like I should do all this for free just because I am on the team. This has been gnawing away at me for sometime, but I am sure it is a common thing. I just would like to hear from some other MA practitioners what their thoughts are.

    TT
     
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  2. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    You teach 80% of the classes? Yeah, you should be getting paid. Especially if it's a commercial school.
     
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  3. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim White Belt

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    Yes sir it is a bona fide dojo that has around 70 karateka. I am the only other adult black belt so I have found myself almost expected to be teaching the kids class and most of the time, the adult class.
     
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  4. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    Based on your duties, you definitely should be paid.

    Duties I would expect of a volunteer:
    • Help with the kids stuff (i.e. tying belts, keeping them lined up)
    • Working 1-on-1 or with small groups with specific instructions from the Master (i.e. "John, go work with Ms. Jennifer, Ms. Jennifer show him how to properly do a roundhouse kick; or "white belts go with Mr. James and do Form #1")
    • Holding targets, grabbing mats, etc.
    • Leading stretching and/or warm-ups
    These are all things that I would expect to be more of a volunteer position. There's not much thinking involved, and you're mostly helping out.

    Duties I would expect to be a paid position:
    • Leading entire classes, or leading one group through the majority of a class (i.e. you lead white belts the whole time)
    • In charge of the school while the Master is away
    • Performing administrative functions, such as reception, onboarding and offboarding, or handling payments
    Any time you're the decision maker, instead of just a helper-monkey, you should be paid.
     
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  5. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    Welcome to Martial Talk, Tim.

    Let me ask you, what are you, yourself, personally getting in the way of instruction at the school?

    With so few adults it sounds like that's an opportunity for you to be receiving in depth attention. Is that the case?
     
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  6. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim White Belt

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    Great question Buka. I often reflect on this myself. I do not get much in the way of instruction. I find myself most of the time running the adult class. If I am not running it I am just practicing Kata and Sensei will occasionally pop in and give some critiques. This is what he does most of the time. Ill lead classes and he pops in a few times, gives critiques then disappears. I only truly learn new things when we host a seminar and Shihans and Kyoshis will visit.

    TT
     
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  7. JR 137

    JR 137 Grandmaster

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    I wouldn’t bother asking to be paid. I’d just leave.
     
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  8. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim White Belt

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    Yea and I don't think it is even my place to ask to be paid. The sensei should realize how much I am doing for his business and compensate me if he was any kind of good person. But that is how it has been. I get charged for new Gis, dojo swag, belt tests, etc. I don't even get that stuff for free.
     
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  9. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    My general advice would be same as jr. If you're not receiving instruction, and are instead doing his work for him for free, id just leave.

    The only exception to this would be if the place is a volunteer program (nobody pays, or the prices are so low that it only pays rent or church/ymca fees or whatever). That would include the main instructor not being paid. I get the feeling thats not the case.

    Another question: do you have to pay for classes? If you don't, my advice is still the same. If you do, i would just add to leave faster. No reason you should be paying to work.
     
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  10. Gweilo

    Gweilo Master Black Belt

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    Sometimes you can learn more from your art by teaching it, but I agree with @JR 137 , time to invest yourself and time at a better school.
     
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  11. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim White Belt

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    This is definitely a commercial for profit business. With about 70 students @$120 usd a month. And yes I pay full dues myself. I go to demonstrations and recruiting events for the dojo, I sacrifice a lot of time even outside the 4 days a week I am at the dojo. It just feels like a slimy situation and I feel that it is time to go. Although I will feel guilty about leaving especially the students. It isn't their fault, and I am sure guilt trips will be a part of me leaving. I also am worried about leaving in bad standings with the Federation in Japan. If I ever want to teach this style on my own I would need to get their permission, and I don't want to rock the boat with them. So it is really tough for me.
     
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  12. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim White Belt

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    I totally agree. Even though sensei is 2 Dan grades above me, I feel like I am more technical than he is at the kata, and better at kumite than him. Although it never comes down to just me and him showdown. He always seems to be injured or ducks that.
     
  13. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    Tim, I feel for you, brother, been through similar things early in my career.

    What options do you have near you? What's around that you can realistically go to for training? And do you even want to do that?

    What style are you teaching? And if that damn fool instructor of yours has enough faith to allow you to teach his style in his school....well, you know.
     
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  14. Gweilo

    Gweilo Master Black Belt

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    Who's better than who, is not an argument you should not be involved in, your health enjoyment and wellbeing starts and ends with you, there comes a time when we need to move on, maybe another school in the same art, or maybe a new one, the choice is yours. Know yourself.
     
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  15. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    In this case you really, really should be getting paid.
     
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  16. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim White Belt

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    I am in a big enough city where there are plenty of great alternatives. Kyokushin, Tang Soo Doo, Krav Maga, Kenpo, Judo, BJJ, etc.

    the style is an obscure mainlan Japan style that is not very popular in the USA, ill leave it at that ;)

    thanks to everyone for all the great advice. I think I know what I need to do, and that is put in my notice to leave the club. I think that is professional and mature.
     
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  17. Gweilo

    Gweilo Master Black Belt

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    Just don't jump out of the frying pan into the fire, best wishes
     
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  18. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim White Belt

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    Great advice I have been very cautious up to this point when weighing my options. I don't want to rock any boats but ultimately need to do what will make me happy and continue my growth

    TT
     
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  19. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Seriously???!!

    Screw that guy. You're paying him to do his work for him.

    I'll offer my own situation up for comparison.

    I've been teaching at my current gym for about 8 years. I don't get paid cash, since the gym really just about breaks even, but here are the differences.
    I volunteered to start teaching on my own initiative.
    I teach just 2 hours per week.
    I don't pay dues and I get to attend as many of the 25+ other classes taking place during the week as I want.
    I get extra coaching from my instructor.
    My instructor periodically gives me free gear (Gi, t-shirts, rash guard, MMA gloves) or covers my seminar fee when his instructor comes to town.

    Since I enjoy teaching anyway, this works out to be a good deal for me. There's no way I would pay full price to run someone else's school for him with no compensation.
     
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  20. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    The best thing in life a person can have is a choice. And with so much around you I hope you take the time to visit different schools and watch several classes in each. Decide what you think you would enjoy the most, where you would learn the most etc.

    I ran a fairly large school for many years. Although I did most of the teaching myself, I had a half dozen folks who also taught. Some were paid, some weren't. But the ones who were not paid - once they started teaching, not only did they never again pay tuition, they never again paid for anything, not gis, gloves, tournament fees, whatever.

    If they had the ability and earned my trust in MY dojo - which was not an easy thing to do - I can't even imagine not taking care of them.123
     
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