YMCA, Community College, Recreation Center for a Beginner?

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by Hawke, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    My taiji instructor; over 50 years in taijiquan, and a student of Tung Ying Chieh, teaches as a community center.

    Heck the first few times Chen Zhenglei held seminars in my area it was at a community center

    I know of a very good (Japanese) Judo teacher that has a rather impressive lineage that teaches at a local YMCA

    The location does not matter, the teacher does.


     
  2. Stac3y

    Stac3y Master Black Belt

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    Classes in my school take place in a variety of rec centers, community centers, school gyms and cafeterias. Instruction is excellent, and cost is very low--$50 tuition, $25 required tournament, $25 belt test. A total of $100 for each student for each 10-12 week session. Not having a dedicated facility makes it easier to serve people all over the city, and keeps overhead down.
     
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  3. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Some great input on this thread. When I read the OP, I was reminded of the original Karate Kid movie. If I remember right, near the beginning Daniel complains that he wants to learn good Karate, not some crummy class at the Y (or something like that). So what happens? He ends up leaning on the back lot from the apartment building suprintendent! Clearly the quality of the teacher had nothing to do with how fancy the trappings. Ironically, this lesson was lost on most viewers. Instead they seem to come away with the idea that rec center/YMCA/community college classes suck, commercial classes are taught by psychos, and to really learn you've got to find the secret grandmastermaster living in the basement and paint his fence. Then maybe he'll show you the real stuff and give you a car.

    BTW, I'm not exactly objective on this topic. I've started teaching again after a break of many years. And guess where? That's right. Ving Tsun and Eskrima at the local Y. And if the students show real dedication they are invited to join us ...at the park. I've nothing against commercial schools, but I sure don't care to run one! So this is my solution.
     
  4. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    I have a private dojo I has built as an add-on to my home. I teach my serious students out of there, charging them $25 a month. I think my instruction is great and so do my students as some of them have studied with me for over 10 years. :)
     
  5. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    My Sanda Sifu taught in his backyard, my backyard, outside near his office or where ever we could meet.

    And just between you and me :uhoh: ... when I taught it was at the Y... and if I teach again (and I might in the fall) it will again be at the Y
     
  6. JohnASE

    JohnASE Yellow Belt

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    From what I get in this thread is that YMCA, community college, and rec center programs might have a tendency to not be as good as a professional school, but there are a lot of exceptions. I whole-heartedly agree. Don't assume such a program is inferior.

    Personally, I think these are great, convenient ways to start on a budget. If the student wants to continue, and the instructor isn't very capable, you can always find a new one. At least at that point, the student has more experience to help choose the right school.

    BTW, nice post Carol. Good info.
     
  7. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    Because someone that goes to pay for martial arts instruction should be paying for martial arts instruction. They are not paying for the priveledge to be someone's janitor. If a school want work to be done in the school, then they should have it done legally, period.

    Being a martial arts school is no excuse to be above the law.
     
  8. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Absolutely, and I understand that. However, I recall, at one of my last schools, in which one of the students was having some financial difficulties, so in exchange for a lower rate, she offered to do some minor cleaning after class. This consisted of vaccuming the carpet or wiping down the mirrors or emptying garbage, or doing some light filing. Keep in mind that these are things that many of the instructors did as well. Many a night, I'd stay for a good hour or so, long after everyone had left, doing some cleaning.

    IMO, I dont think its above the law. Many very traditional dojos have students help with the upkeep of the school. Its simply the students taking care of their school.
     
  9. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    The barter system is legal. It is not always done in a legal fashion, and it is not an excuse for circumventing other laws such as age requirements, minimum wage laws, tax liabilities, eligibility to work, etc.

    I can understand wanting to help a student that is in a tight spot, but give her the respect of doing it legally instead of exploiting her.

    Give the school the same respect as well. It would not be fair to the other students to see their school shut down because the owner couldn't be bothered with following their state labor laws.

    Sure but just because someone else's teacher did it, didn't make it right...or legal. There is a reason why labor laws in this country are strict...it is because we have been shown time and time again how lower-income workers, or children, can be exploited.

    If a school owner wants students to take care of the school, then s/he should take the steps to have it legally recognized as a non-profit organization, and not a for-profit business.
     
  10. Senjojutsu

    Senjojutsu Blue Belt

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    Many good points made already.
    One thing, about weapons, e.g., weapons based MAs or Self-Defense drills...
    Some YMCAs or community centers "may" have policies preventing that type of training, or have the prohibition of bringing weapons onsite.
     
  11. jda

    jda Yellow Belt

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    I've made it to 2nd Dan at a community college/rec center. Both instructors I've trained under have been fantastic and very knowledgeable and we black belts also train in the local park when the weather is warm. Those have been some of the best training sessions, also. I don't see any reason that a rec center/community college/YMCA should be considered a stepping stone toward more serious training. We train very hard and are very serious about our martial art. At last years AAU Taekwondo Ozark regional qualifier we sent thirteen students and came home with eleven gold medals and two silver. ALL of our instructors are dedicated and we must be fairly good to train so many champions. I think that the quality of the school depends on the instructors, not the location.
    Jim
     
  12. Hawke

    Hawke Master Black Belt

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    Hey All,

    Thanks for everyone's replies. Hopefully people may find this info helpful.

    You bring a good point about weapons. My local community college that teaches FMA is allowed to bring rattan sticks and trainer knives (no live blades). Also the Dog Brothers practice at a park with rattan and trainer knives. I can see how other places may frown on the idea of weapons on campus or in a public area.

    This reminds me of people hiding their art in dances and using sticks or scarves to hide the weapon movement.
     
  13. Hawke

    Hawke Master Black Belt

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    The comment I made about these places as stepping stones is about opening the students eyes further. They usually offer a beginner's course for people with no martial art background with a whole group of new people.

    Some people may take a free trail class for a day, week, or a month.

    These places offer an affordable way to get your feet wet for a longer period of time.

    I know a lady that got her 2nd degree BB at a community college. She started at age 15 and continues to study there in her twenties.

    My comment about instructors as being a PRO or a CON depends on the instructor, so I placed it under both. The instructor is the major factor to our martial art training.
     
  14. Hawke

    Hawke Master Black Belt

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    Hey All,

    Not sure if I worded my OP correctly.

    I was attempting to help the new people that are thinking of starting a martial art an affordable way to try it out.

    I wanted them to know some of the PROs and CONs this offered. Also was looking to see if anybody to add to the PROs and CONs and maybe other alternative places and methods to start the martial art at an affordable price.

    Clear as mud?

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Haze

    Haze Blue Belt

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    As stated before,,,,,,,,,,,only pro/con is really the instructor.

    I train/teach at a community center. Some of the most realistic training I've ever been involved in. $50/month 3 nights per week, mostly adults.

    I also have a friend that teaches at a local Y. Both instructors are part of the same association but the Y seems to be a little easier physically. Also geared more towards tournament sparring etc. Mostly kids training and lawsuit/liability concerns.

    Same advise as any school,,,,,,,,,,,,,,talk to the instructor,, watch a few classes and if interested take a few classes before making a commitment.
     
  16. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    My apologies if you thought I was suggesting anything other than doing this legal. :) I'd imagine if a student was that young, the parents would of course be talking to the inst. as well, so if the teacher simply said, "Listen, if your son/daughter, would be willing to stay for 20min after her classes, and help with the cleaning, I could cut her tuition in half, so that way, she could continue her training." IMHO, I see nothing wrong with that.

    As for students helping out afterwards....IMO, I dont think the business needs to be registered differently. The school, IMO, is not just the teachers, but everyone who trains there. People should have some pride in their training hall, and should not think twice about helping to put away equipment after a class. I've asked people many times, and have never had anyone complain about it. Its simply giving something back, which is often a part of the training, especially when you get to the higher ranks. If asking students, both kids and adults, to take 2hrs out of their Saturday afternoon, to head to the local park, to pick up trash, plant some flowers, trees, etc., is a crime, then we're in a very, very sad state of thinking.
     
  17. JohnASE

    JohnASE Yellow Belt

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    Regarding cleaning the dojo, I don't know anything about the legal side, but I see nothing wrong with it. I don't think it's a labor issue. I think it's part of the student's instruction. You teach a student how to punch and kick. You teach a student how to tie a belt and care for a gi. You teach a student how to train hard and achieve goals.

    Why can't cleaning a dojo be part of that training? You're teaching a work ethic. You're teaching the student to show respect for the dojo by keeping it clean. The instructor isn't hiring the student to clean the dojo. The instructor is teaching proper care of their training hall.

    Sounds reasonable to me, but like I said, I don't know if it's legal. Reducing fees in exchange for cleaning is probably different.
     
  18. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    It actually is, in some styles. In many Japanese styles, it's traditional to close the dojo for a few days around New Years, and many of the members help clean the dojo. And, a few karate styles, there's a particular way of scrubbing the floor at the end of the training session; it's sneaky. Not only are you cleaning the floor for the next class -- but it's a very good exercise for the arms and legs...

    At the same time, there's a problem when someone is paying for the privilege of teaching the classes -- as often happens to black belt students... Or expects that guy who happens to be a lawyer or plumber to work for the school for free reviewing the legal forms or fixing the pipes. (Note: this is entirely different if the person truly volunteers their services, or are compensated at their professional rates.) This practice will open the door to regulation (as a career training school; it already has happened to yoga schools!), as well as exposes the owner/grand master to some potential labor law liability. Same headaches can occur when someone allows a student to trade labor for lessons...
     
  19. Golden Harvest

    Golden Harvest Yellow Belt

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    I agree with you completely. A person teaching in the YMCA, Parks and Recreation Community Centers, public parks, or private garages is there because he wants to be there and share his passion with you. He is not in it for the money. Whereas, a commercial school is all about money. It is a business and not a charity. There are rental, insurance, utilities, and euipment expenses, and thus the high cost. You may get good instuction but it will not be cheap. If I am paying $140 a month, I want to learn from the owner/master and not from his juniors and not with 30 other students.

    To find good instuctors, you need to look everywhere, including places such as YMCA. As a benefit, there are not contracts.
     
  20. repz

    repz Green Belt

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    For the people debating cleaning a dojo, and the legal side. What about blackbelt instructors who pay the monthly fee, but it asked to teach as a fill in by the head ranking instructor? Isnt this common as well? With the only payment being teaching experience that awards new dans/degrees?
     

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