$ Charging black belt students $

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by hoshin1600, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    It's not really complicated with a small program. Students know what they are supposed to pay, and pay that amount. I can easily remember what the correct amount is for each of my few students. With a larger program, you'd need software that allows this type of approach.

    I'm also non-commercial (in that I'm not in this to make money - most of the fees go back into equipment and such), which might be why I'm okay with never raising fees for existing students. If I opened a school, I don't know that I could stick to that principle.
     
  2. Andrew Green

    Andrew Green Grandmaster

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    yes, absolutely they should be charged if they are students.

    The trouble is a lot of schools have pretty shallow curriculums and there is not much after black belt.

    But if there is, then they should be charged. Unless they are staff, then they definitely should not be.

    I also think your idea of charging them less makes no sense. Higher level students require higher level instructors. Probably smaller class sizes if there is dedicated classes for them.

    But put it in this perspective... Should PhD students pay tuition at University?
     
  3. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Most PhD students are fully funded. There is a tuition fee on the books, but the students are expected to have a teaching or research assistantship which covers the tuition and pays a small stipend in addition.
     
  4. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    No. It's off topic, but I believe that in an increasingly complex and technological world, we would be well advised to train people - every single one of them - to the extent of their desire and ability.
     
  5. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    This will probably rub some people the wrong way, but I’ve got to say it...

    A black belt or any other rank isn’t a one-time award that’s forever and universally recognized like say an Olympic medal or an Oscar. Rank takes time and work to earn, and it takes time and work to maintain. Showing up 6-12 times a year doesn’t mean you’re STILL a black belt. Even if you’re training in another system. Wearing your black belt in that way isn’t much different than walking around with a medal on.

    And wanting them to show up to inspire the lower ranks? What example are they really setting? Work hard and earn a black belt so you can take it easy, show up every now and then and wave to the crowd afterwards.

    I’ve got no problem with people leaving. I’ve got no problem with people training in other systems. I’ve got no problem with people who have a case of life getting in the way and can only make it in once or twice a month.

    I earned a black belt in 1999. I haven’t trained there since 2004 due to life getting in the way. Should I drop in, wear my old black belt and inspire his current students to be just like me? I train somewhere else now because he moved his dojo too far away to attend regularly. I’ve been meaning to make it to his dojo for a seminar for a while now, but something always comes up last minute on the day of it. When I do make it over, I won’t be wearing my old black belt.
     
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  6. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I see what you’re saying, and you make a good point. As long as the B.B. in question is performing at B.B. level, I don’t think it would be a problem. If they aren’t, it’s a different matter. Of course, if it’s a teacher from another school (particularly one who is aging) their physical performance might not reach the level for testing, but that’s another issue.
     
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  7. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Physical abilities and skills diminishing due to aging is one thing. You can’t hold that against someone. Stopping by a dojo every now and then is another thing.
     
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  8. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Senior Master

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    Yeah that's a fair point. That being said, I still hold utmost respect for anyone has has attained blackbelt, even if they don't train regularly I still admire them for that. I certainly don't admire when someone walks in and demands respect though just because they're a blackbelt, as though they're hiding behind the rank to get adulation. But I am still inspired by those I can truly still learn from, but I won't be naive about it and hold them in an idolised way.

    Much much respect mate :)
     
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  9. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    This is a really valid view and your correct to express it.
    Maybe im just getting softer as I age. I'm looking at the issue from the instructors view point. I feel if a few times a month or even a year is all someone can show up or is willing to do, then I still want to see them. My relationship or view toward students in my heart is a very close bond. I wish my students do well in life I am always glad to see them even if it's not often as I would like. They are always welcome. Time may diminish skills but it shouldn't diminish relationships. Though often it does.
     
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  10. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Senior Master

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    Ah that's really beautiful to hear... :) It's part of the reason I decided to go back to my old dojo and help out in the kid's classes, I still feel a real connection to my instructor and the dojo, even if I can't train in the style anymore, I still really want to be a part of the dojo in some way. And to be able to give back in some way by helping out really warms my heart.

    Yeah every student has different commitments, and it's their own personal capacity of commitment to training that's important I reckon. It may actually be massive for someone to be able to make it once a week or even fortnight, who knows what life or even health situation they're in, and if that's when they can train, it may be a big deal for them, and quite an obstacle they feel they've overcome in being able to train.

    If I could tip my hat I would ;)
     
  11. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I fully respect that viewpoint. I spoke on the phone to my former sensei about 2 months ago for the first time in at least 10 years (I emailed him once or twice previously, but it’s not the same). That wasn’t due to anything bad, it was just that I moved away for 8 years, then moved back to the area a few months before he closed his dojo near me to focus on his dojo near his home, which is about an hour away from me.

    We were both excited to hear each other’s voice. We were both sad that I couldn’t train with him due to the distance and schedule, but he was genuinely happy that I started training anywhere again. He said “the door is always open, come by whenever you want.” He’s got a network of people he trains and exchanges ideas with from several different styles, and he allows them to host seminars at his place. He also holds his own seminars. I was getting ready to get in the car and go to the last one in November, then had a family emergency as I was packing my bag. I’ll make the next one, barring any unforeseen events.

    One thing I won’t do when I go is pack my old belt. I’m not that rank anymore. I’ll bring my white belt and my current belt (advanced green/3rd kyu). I’ll put on the white belt until he requests otherwise. Just because I have a black belt and certificate signed by him going on 19 years ago (time flies) doesn’t make me a black belt again. Wearing that belt would be an honorary thing at best; and in reality a Halloween costume.

    Just my opinion, but it’s the way I feel. Everyone’s got to do what feels right to them.
     
  12. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I hold the utmost respect for people I know who’ve been through a system I know and respect. Just when I start questioning someone’s rank in a system I know, I remember what I went through and drop it.

    My test was 6 hours long and ended in a 25 man kumite. Knockdown rules, only we wore hand, foot, and head gear. Our school did padded sparring and bare knuckle sparring. During my shodan test, I genuinely think we were hitting harder than we would’ve if we were bare knuckle because we were wearing the gear.

    While the test was the single hardest day, earning the right to be there was much harder. Whenever I question someone’s rank, I remember what I did to earn it and tell myself to stop being stupid.
     
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  13. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    we also have to remember that ... "the most difficult thing is just showing up"
    i do not want money and contracts to be a barrier to showing up.
     
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  14. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Completely agree. But I also think everyone should pay their fair share and no one should expect something for nothing. Paying their fair share doesn’t have to be money; it could be services, teaching, cleaning, pretty much anything.

    My dojo doesn’t do contracts. We’re not a commercial dojo. It’s owned by a husband and wife who recently retired from day jobs and love to train and teach. The place is probably slightly better than break-even financially. After the costs have been covered, they might get a 1 week vacation out of it at best. We’re less than half the price of the average commercial dojos in the area. There’s been a few months that I couldn’t train at all. I had Lyme disease for a 3 month stretch. I also missed a month when my mother was in the hospital. I’d still stop in and try to pay, but my teacher refused. I told him “I’m still part of the dojo; I just want to support the club.” The 2 times he took my money under those conditions, he stamped my card for other months, basically pre-paying. Whenever he needs to do any maintenance stuff or other odd and end things, I always volunteer to help. This is in contrast to my daughters’ gymnastics school. They’re a commercial place with contracts and the like. No one’s called me by my first name, no one offered to give a few free lessons to make up for missed lessons due to illness or other stuff, etc. I pay, they go. I have no problem with it, but don’t expect me to go beyond any contractual obligations. If that place was like the dojo, I’d treat it as such.

    I don’t like contracts at all. People shouldn’t feel bound to train due to a contract; they should feel compelled to train because they want to. I empathize with dojo owners who have contracts, but that doesn’t mean I like it.
     
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  15. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with this sentiment, and I also know that someone who's keeping active (training elsewhere, perhaps) will often be able to bring a viable BB game back with them for a few visits a year. And, as an instructor, I can help them stay somewhat sharp with those few visits (it doesn't take full-time training to maintain reasonable skills, especially after a certain point).
     
  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Your long hiatus is different from the situation I'm imagining: someone who stops training full-time, but keeps coming back a few times a year. As long as their skill stays good, I'd want them to wear their BB, because they have some wisdom in the art to share with the other students.

    If they are away a long time, I'd have to evaluate on a case-by-case. With someone like you (back to training, with a current rank), I'd ask they wear that current rank.
     
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  17. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not a fan of contracts. I do like to offer up-front payment (pay by quarter/year) to give a discount, but I'd be reluctant to start someone on a full-year payment (knowing how often people quit in the first couple of months).

    And I agree with your instructor about not taking payments from folks who aren't currently training. I understand the reason many instructors do it, and if I was running a school (rather than a program, so if I had rent and utilities), I might consider it a membership fee. But for now I just consider it a training fee, so if you're not training, you don't pay (though attending to watch counts as training, usually).
     
  18. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    That's a noble sentiment. However, I think it's worth keeping in mind that not having those things can be a barrier to the dojo being there to show up at.
     
  19. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    Man, when I was saying that I want to focus on families paying us $300/mo, I meant for 3 students! I have to figure out how to get people to pay rates like that, lol - we're in a higher cost-of-living metro area than Houston and nobody charges that kind of fees here.
     
  20. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    When I was looking to re-start training almost 3 years ago, a school in my former organization quoted me $315 for 4 of us - 2 adults and 2 kids. I walked out think “that’s $10 less than my car payment, and I owned my car outright after 5 years.”

    Edit: it was for 3 of us. Their policy is they won’t charge for more than 3 people in a family. So everyone after 3 people trains for free, so long as they’re immediate family living under the same roof. I guess it’s great if someone and their spouse want to train alongside their 6 kids.123
     

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