Asking Sensei to be paid?

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

  1. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Whether or not the owner is making much money is irrelevant. The business venture is his, so he assumes that risk. Getting his students to shoulder the actual work, without paying them, while charging them all the fees, and giving them no instruction, is flat out wrong. If the owner isn’t making much money and can not afford to pay an employee, then he needs to get off his sorry *** and do the work himself.
     
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  2. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    This is one of the on going problems with many commercial martial arts schools where an instructor literally stops teaching his higher belts and relies on them to teach his classes more and more. It is a shame but many times the instructor has nothing left to teach the advanced student!
     
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  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    While I agree in general concept, it would matter to me whether they are making significant money or not. If they are taking the risk of owning or renting and all of the other business bits, but not making money off it, then I'm not personally concerned that I'm not being paid. If they're making a little money, I'd expect to be paid little. If they're making significant money, then my efforts are contributing to that, and I'd expect to get reasonable pay.

    Basically, if they do it for love alone, I'm willing to share in that giving. I wouldn't expect to pay dues, though. That's a separate issue for me - I don't think any regular instructor should be required to pay dues.
     
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  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    And doesn't know how to run a class so they can still learn beyond what he can teach.
     
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  5. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    If the intent of the venture is to make money, that the owner makes his living or makes a significant extra income, then this arrangement is inexcusable. If the intent is to teach for the love of the practice and to only make enough money to cover actual expenses of running the school, then unpaid teachers who share in that vision, but who do not pay fees and who also continue to get meaningful instruction, is acceptable. I would add that perhaps if extra income comes in above actual expenses, those teachers deserve some portion of it, or those funds should go into an account meant to save for future improvements in the school, or to pay for activities like tournaments. I disagree with the owner just pocketing those funds, under these conditions.

    But everyone needs to know what the score is and needs to be in agreement.

    Would you ever accept a job where the business owner made his living, but refused to pay you?
     
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  6. Invisibleflash

    Invisibleflash Yellow Belt

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    Jesus....you are a saint.

    Here are the rules for inner peace.

    If you like doing the job for free...do it.

    If you don't like doing the job for free...don't do it.
     
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  7. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I think we're saying exactly the same thing.
     
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  8. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Ultimately we all need to take ownership of what we have learned, and stand on our own two feet. If we always need a teacher to follow, then we have not learned much other than how to follow someone.

    There is nothing wrong with a teacher telling the student that he has learned all the the teacher has to teach, and give him the option of continuing to stay at the school as a place to practice, or to depart. But there should be no more fees.
     
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  9. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Fair enough. What I was reading in your posts was essentially that if the business was not yet profitable (the owner is making little) then it is ok to not pay the employees. If that is not your message, then I can agree with you.
     
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  10. blackknight7891

    blackknight7891 White Belt

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    Your Sensei, may have come to think that you enjoy teaching on his behalf, and is unaware you feel a bit used and things have changed. We all occaisionally need a kick in the pants or to be woken up to something everyone else can see. Always best to have a conversation, but go into it understanding exactly what you are willing and happy to do for the school volunteer or paid. if you can't find some middle ground then as you said, plenty of other styles out their.
     
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  11. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    @Tiny Tim I'm not sure if you get email flagged for either quotes/replies, or tagging your name, but just wondering what ended up happening?
     
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  12. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim White Belt

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    Hello, thanks for asking! I left the dojo. I am visiting other styles, studios, exploring what I want to pursue next. There was a lot of hard feelings though. It was extremely awkward and not cool.

    TT
     
  13. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not surprised. People generally don't like it when they suddenly lose free labor. And on your part I'm sure there was resentment realizing that's what you were. Good luck on your journey!
     
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  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Im sorry, though not surprised, that it ended that way. I think a lot of instructors convince themselves their BB students owe them/the dojo/the art their service.
     
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  15. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    I've been in a similar situation. And yes I walked away too. That was 30 years ago and it was the best thing I ever did. I recently tried to "friend" my old teacher on Facebook because I miss those days sometimes but he wouldn't except or respond. I guess he still holds a grudge.
     
  16. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Agree, with the caveat that the environment created by the main instructor has to be open and up front when 'using' a BB to lead a significant portion of classes such as in the OP's example.
    If someone is willing to take the time and risk to open up a school under a rental contract, and take on all the associated risk and time burdens, And they have to work a regular job, this alone is a tall order. I would say this is the most common model for how small/single schools get started. After a few years of struggling along they have graduated a few high ranking students and possibly some BB's. A natural phase in most styles at this point is for them to start teaching. However if it gets to a point where a person is openly being taken advantage of, that is a big problem that is headed for a blowup.
    There are a number of reasons I can think of as to why an instructor may do this:
    1.) In a very traditional setting this is expected to a degree, however the instructor is usually there, but not leading class. Their presence if felt and always available if needed.
    2.) Objective evaluation. A good scenario would be that the main instructor is very confident in the OP's ability to run the school and was looking for confirmation. Again however, this should be done openly and well explained so that the OP did not get mixed signal's.
    3.) The main instructor is simply tired or burned out with teaching. It happens and this is where a discussion with the main instructor is paramount. In my personal experience, After we tried doing this with my original instructor was when I knew for certain it was time to make a break.
    4.) For various reasons the instructor is disillusioned or misinformed on how to handle assistant instructors or simply a dxxk.

    Ironically, we started our Dojang's in a very, very similar situation. The difference being when we split the bulk of our students went with us and the original school folded.
     
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  17. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    It is NOT unusual for a first degree black belt to receive no pay. Style is irrelevant. It is also NOT unusual for first degree back belts to be taken advantage of by instructors, again, style irrelevant.

    That being said.....I know some folks, from various, unrelated styles, who have opened dojos for various reasons.

    1. They opened one because they loved Martial Arts so much they probably should have had their heads examined. They were full on Martial Junkies and God should have mercy on all of their/our poor souls.

    2. They opened one because their organization wanted them to. It was expanding the Empire.

    3. They opened one because they needed a place to train. Maybe their old place shut down - dojos go out of business as quickly as small eateries. Maybe their former instructor became too much to bear - for a multitude of reasons we read about on forums all the time.

    I know a lot of people who began TEACHING for several reasons as well..........

    1. They began teaching because they loved Martial Arts and went to every class they could. If you looked up as class started and they weren't there - you probably thought they were dead.

    2. They began teaching because they got promoted through the ranks and all of a sudden - their Instructor wants them to teach a class. It's usually the kids or beginners. They're the most common "pass the buck" entities in all of Martial Arts. This usually coincides with the chief instructor getting out of shape, or getting into even lazier shape than he was previously.

    If this happens to you and you still pay tuition and get no instruction - you should be buying bridges. I've accumulated a couple of very nice ones over the years and will gladly sell you one on the cheap.

    2. People start teaching as a natural progression of dedication in Martial Arts, they begin as student with skills and abilities that have, and will have, profound positive effects on future generations for the remainder of all of their lives. Good examples of this are right here on this forum.

    3. I think people sometimes start to teach because - sheet happens.

    There's a lot I don't understand about life. At the head of that list is how somebody can love Martial Arts as much as they do - then allow themselves to let everything deteriorate. When you promote somebody to first degree Black Belt this should be a very big deal. And that person needs even more instruction, more understanding and more physical, balls to the wall training than they've ever had before.

    They should also be cut some slack for getting to that rank point. If necessary, adjust the schedule so YOU can teach them more. Yes, it adjusts your schedule too, which can be a pain in the backside, but hey, you made the move to open a school. What, you think this opening a school thing was going to be easy? You think you now have some minions to serve at your beck and call? (Uh oh....I'm starting to rant.)

    The flip side of this, the Yin Yang of it if you will, is this is exactly how I started teaching. By being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous, bounder of an instructor.....and it eventually turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.
     
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  18. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Hey! We have a common parallel in your last statement.
     
  19. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Makes us brothers you know.123
     
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