Charging after reaching black belt?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by ArmorOfGod, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. ArmorOfGod

    ArmorOfGod Senior Master

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    How many here attend martial arts schools that continue to charge monthly dues after one hits (1st dan) black belt level?
    How do you feel about that, either way?

    AoG
     
  2. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    It depends.
    Because we provide instruction in several different training systems when someone black belts in one and wants training in another they paid the fee for that training. If they simply want to continue training in the first art they are encouraged to help and many do. These get a discounted rate. Those who stay and continue to train but don't do any instructing do so but their rate of discount is not the same as those who help. We have a few multiple system black belts who assist, instruct, and do most anything that is needed and pay nothing and then we also have a couple who are actually Paid!

    The schools I attended also continued to charge dues for training afterall you are still learning, using the facility and equipment, cost for insurance and you are still learning from your instructors. I know many also are doing some instruction for the school. Ok aren't you still learning? Developing your instructional skills as well as honing and refining your martial skills. That is why we reduce the cost for those who help assist and instruct at our training center. They still pay something because they are still learning and most are still training in some of the other arts we instruct in.

    Danny
     
  3. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    Our black belts are not charged a tuition fee. We are adding to the school by assisting in instructing the students. That said, I would have zero problem paying a tuition fee should the studio finances require it.

    Lamont
     
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  4. SenseiBear

    SenseiBear Blue Belt

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    At one point the standard was after blackbelt you don't pay, but that changed about 10 years ago. I don't mind paying - because even though I assist my instructor, I am still learning from him as well, and even instructing the lower ranks helps me learn.

    Plus, my instructor isn't making money off the deal... mostly he teaches to share his art. The money charged is to pay for using the community center we have been training in. - I can afford the $20 a month. (and he is willing to make arrangements for people who can't)
     
  5. Big Don

    Big Don Sr. Grandmaster

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    My instructor charges everyone the same price, except he doesn't. He teaches because he loves to and when people fall into financial hard times, he often quits charging them, there are a few of the teens who clean the dojo in exchange for their classes. That being said, since your learning doesn't stop as soon as you reach Black Belt, neither does your billing, you're still being taught, you still need to pay.
     
  6. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    We've typically charged black belts, unless they find themselves as the instructors of the class, like happened to me. I stopped paying when I became the instructor... and proceeded to spend more than I ever payed each year on material and equipment...
     
  7. Guardian

    Guardian Black Belt

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    Reach Blackbelt is just the beginning, so I have to say paying for that learning is the way to go. Now for those who mentioned financial difficulties and such and not paying, that's cool in my view and honorable of those teachers in my view.

    G
     
  8. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    I paid monthly for a long time after gaining my black belt simply because the clubs finances were such we needed the money. I don't pay now as we are a bit better off but I still buy materials and kit as jks said. My instructor would help anyone that was in financial difficulties to enable them to stay training but we have a few who take advantage of his good nature. They ask for kit, Gis etc and when they get them, put them on the kids they say 'oh we'll pay at the end of the month okay', so what are we supposed to do? Take the suit off the kids bck and say you get the suit when you pay? (TBH I would but my instructor wouldn't) These are people who aren't short of money, those that are don't order kit until they've saved for it bless them. We had a grading 3 weeks before Christmas, one parent said she forgot the grading fee (modest) and the subs for the week before and would bring it in the next week. We knew she wouldn't be in before Christmas and wasn't in this week either. I have to say sometimes McDojo type contracts seem quite attractive lol! I often end up putting money in to make up what the club needs to keep going.
     
  9. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    I don't charge my assistant instructor (the only other black belt in my class) dues, but in other classes, especially classes (rather than schools) run out of other facilities, it's not always possible to not charge - when I first started teaching as an assistant, I was running a kids' class for a man who taught out of an athletic club, who wanted to allow students in who weren't members of the athletic club - so they had to pay, regardless of their rank, or the athletic club wouldn't let them in; it was the way their finances worked.

    Whether or not black belts should pay dues is another matter. Black belts who are regularly assisting with instruction should receive some form of compensation whenever possible - could be not paying dues, or extra sessions with the instructor, or something similar - but it's not always possible. Black belts who are not regularly assisting with instruction are students - and students should pay dues, I think.
     
  10. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    I don't think you should be charged once you reach black belt. My last school had that policy. We taught a few classes in exchange for not paying anything.
     
  11. Jin Gang

    Jin Gang Green Belt

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    In depends on what you think you're paying for, and what "black belt" means in your school. If black belt is the peak of achievement, and you have learned everything there is to know in your style, then I guess you wouldn't expect to pay anymore. Or if you're teaching more often than you are learning, then you probably shouldn't be paying anymore.
    In most schools nowadays, black belt isn't the end, it's just the beginning. If payment is for instruction, and you're still learning new things, then you'd expect to keep paying.
    Alternatively, it may be more accurate to see the school fees as "dues" which keep the place open. If you want to have a place to train, you've got to contribute. I think it's rare to find a good school that can afford not to charge dues from every student, most places aren't doing much better than breaking even, if that.
     
  12. searcher

    searcher Senior Master

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    I won't charge a BB if they are teaching or assisting with classes, but if they are not helping in some way, then I charge them. If you contribute, then that is your payment. Parts of this may change as I prepare to start a new class at the YMCA. We are going to run classes there on Mondays and the Y will be doing the charging, nto me.
     
  13. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    My sensei charges everyone a nominal fee. He's told me he would charge nothing if it weren't for human nature. If the classes were entirely free he's afraid people wouldn't respect their worth and they would not take their training seriously. Works for me. Sensei is one of the best teachers I've seen, and I've moved a lot around the country so I've trained in lots of dojos. I would pay whatever he asked but luckily his fee amounts to a couple of pizzas a month.
     
  14. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    I've noticed that, too... When you offer your time freely, no one wants to take advantage of it. Charge $30 for the Saturday morning session, and suddenly, everybody makes it...

    As to black belts and fees vs. contribution... One more point to remember or be aware of is the simple fact that there can't be but so many teachers, and you can't have everyone not paying because "they're contributing" or "they're black belts" or you won't be able to keep the doors open... Landlords seldom accept "they're contributing service, not paying" as justifaction for late rents...
     
  15. green meanie

    green meanie Master Black Belt

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    I stop charging my students once they reach black belt.
     
  16. LawDog

    LawDog Master Black Belt

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    After a person attains the ability of a black belt his / her training should be on a higher / advanced level. Because of this a school instructor has to spend more quality time with the schools Dan ranks.
    When you leave high school and go to college you begin paying on a very high scale.
    Everyones time is worth something so if a black belt is teaching at a school then maybe he should have to pay or should be paid, if he is not than he is a student like everyone else.
    About three quarters of my adults class are students of black belt level. If they all stopped paying then I would have closed my doors decades ago.
     
  17. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    This is a very valid point. In addition to the point you've made, about people not taking their training seriously, people tend to not take their instructor's time seriously either - it's much harder to not show up for a class you've paid for; if you haven't paid, it's much easier to decide something else comes first. Something you've paid for up front is much harder to avoid than something you pay for when you show up, or don't pay for at all.

    I agree with this as well. When you pay dues, you are not paying the instructor, per se; an instructor teaches because he enjoys teaching. You are paying for the training facility, the equipment, insurance, and yes, the instructor's time and knowledge. To continue LawDog's analogy - would you expect to attend college classes for free, or would you expect to pay the professor for his/her time and effort?

    If the instructor chooses to accept payment in work for the school, then I think that's a reasonable exchange - but it's up to the instructor. I chose to accept payment in teaching services from my assistant instructor, because he spends a lot of class time teaching instead of training - but he would have been willing to pay had I not chosen to do that, and had, in fact, been paying for dues for about a year after he became my assistant.
     
  18. Jdokan

    Jdokan Black Belt

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    I agree with Lawdog...All students should pay a fair equitable amount....What I object to is when students pay a different amount based upon their ability to pay....Dr can afford more so they get charged more...I seen situations where 5-6 guys all pay different amounts...eventually the word gets out and they get a little miffed....
     
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  19. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Why?

    If the rules are known up front, who cares what someone else is paying? If it's kept a secret, that's a different problem.
     
  20. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    I disagree. I teach for a YMCA, and half my students receive a scholarship of some amount or other, which pays for part of their dues, based on their ability to pay. I don't have a problem with it, and neither do any of my students.

    This is, I think, the key - it has to all be out in the open, to avoid problems from the beginning.
     

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