Black Belt Requirements - empty thy wallet

MJS

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toejam said:
I study Kempo Karate and I am currently brown belt - it's been just over 3 years to get here. We have black belt requirements over the next 7 months (x amount of kicks, crunches, pushups, etc) which I can understand.

Part of the requirements though, is that we must attend 7 seminars in this time, each one ranging from $60 - $100+. The test itself is expected to be around $800 for black belt. From then on, classes go from $86 per month to $120 per month.

Is it normal that you are *required* to attend seminars in order to get your black belt? That seems like a bit of a racket to me. Along with upping your fees by almost $40 per month to get (from my observations of black belt classes) no real difference in training.

What's most dissappointing about this situation though, is the fact that they have totally thrown this on students of my level. None of these prices or fees were ever discussed or given to us up front. I feel this is just plain misleading and not a good way to run a business...despite the fact that I have a lot of respect for a few of the instructors at this school.

toey.

I've never heard of having to attend seminars prior to getting your Black Belt. The only thing that I've ever heard of is something along the lines of a paper on a Martial Arts related subject, designing your own kata, etc. Nothing wrong with going to a seminar, as they can be great tools to enhance your knowledge and see what else is out there, but to do that many in such a short time, seems a bit much. The cost of them though is about right, depending on who the instructor is. The cost of the BB seems very high though. I don't recall how much mine was, but I know that it was not $800!

I would sit down with your instructor and discuss these concerns that you have.

Mike
 

MJS

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toejam said:
No...the $120/month will be permenant once you reach black belt.

How many classes are offered for this price and how long do they run for?

Mike
 

Brandon Fisher

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Don't pay the price increase either. Its a rip-off if I have ever seen one.
 

Fluffy

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No matter where you go it's the same. I have a friend who not only tested for her ATA 5th Dan 6 times but had to fly down from Seattle to Little Rock or Jacksonville, or LV to do so........with food, logging and the actual time in, testing fees, ect........we're talking around $2000 or so a test.
 

jks9199

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I've encouraged or even strongly encouraged students to attend particular seminars, and active participation in our association's activities (seminars, tournaments, etc) is a requirement for advancement. But that doesn't mean attending each and every seminar or clinic. And the association does charge a testing fee for black belt tests. It's not anywhere near $800, though! More like $100, and that (when I last tested) included your first/next year's dues as a full member. We only test once a year, during a particular clinic, so you do have to pay that clinic fee, as well.

Underbelts -- I don't charge for tests, and they seldom know when they're going to test!

And I've arranged with several students approaching black belt for extra instruction outside of the normal classes. But I never charged them for it...

Somehow, I suspect that in addition to paying more -- you're going to find yourself being expected to teach classes...

Seems kinda suspicious to me.
 

cfr

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I appreciate that everyone is more polite than me regarding this topic.... however.... You are training in a McDojo! Go elsewhere!

I train in two different garages, many times individual lessons, entirely free of charge. Both of these instructors have > 17 years of MA experience. I do realize that this is the exception and not the rule, but just thought I'd show the other end of the spectrum.
 

green meanie

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I've heard it said that a fair price is whatever the market will bear but...

it sounds like a bunch of b.s. if you ask me. I think you're being charged WAY too much. If it were me I would give A LOT of thought of going somewhere else to train. :asian:
 

IcemanSK

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I agree with the frog:asian: ....it seems a bit pricey (or spendy, as my wife's South Dakota relatives would say). I agree too with Fluffy (the other frog:asian: ) about testing in general having costs associated with it. I need to travel for mine, also. But the things you've mentioned seem out of line & the fact they were'nt mentioned earlier, is a red flag to me.
 
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toejam

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Kreth said:
Is your instructor driving a Ferrari?
Not a ferrari...but he drives at least one, very nice sports car. I have seen him in another luxury car. He seems nice enough...it's just this issue.

MJS said:
How many classes are offered for this price and how long do they run for?
The amount you can attend won't change.

Fluffy said:
No matter where you go it's the same. I have a friend who not only tested for her ATA 5th Dan 6 times but had to fly down from Seattle to Little Rock or Jacksonville, or LV to do so........with food, logging and the actual time in, testing fees, ect........we're talking around $2000 or so a test.
Sure. I understand there may not be high enough ranks close by when you are going for those higher ranks and you may need to fly interstate or even overseas...I even understand commensurate rates for each level as it advances...but it needs to be at the very minimum: reasonable.

jks9199 said:
...active participation in our association's activities (seminars, tournaments, etc) is a requirement for advancement.
What do your students think of this? Have you ever asked them? Not that I'm saying you haven't, but the school I'm at appears to be very interested in their bottom line...to the point that they probably don't have time to get feedback.
For all the instructors here, do you ever ask yourself: "hmmm...are my feet still on the ground?". How transparent are your prices and policies? Client's don't like financial surprises. Client's like straight answers...not, "awww...geee...we think it'll probably cost $xxx". Client's don't like thinking that you're just making up a training schedule as you go along.

green meanie said:
...it sounds like a bunch of b.s. if you ask me. I think you're being charged WAY too much. If it were me I would give A LOT of thought of going somewhere else to train. :asian:
Yeah...I've been doing this a little over 3 years...but for me it's more the journey than the belt color so I am comfortable enough in making that decision. Another guy has been there for 4 years and feels similar...but feels he has invested too much time to walk now. I completely understand. He said he will probably walk once he gets black belt though.

Isn't that sad? The research I have done on the master at this dojo makes me feel like I am just another retention statistic. For all you instructors out there...I'd clearly think twice about giving testimonials to businesses that are trying to help you improve your club. One testimonial I found made it pretty clear which way this club was heading.

The Toe.
 

Sapper6

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hey toe,

the solution is quite simple: if it is worth it to you to study under these people, then do it. if not, then seek instruction elsewhere which better suits your own financial needs.

the LARGE majority of the people that have posted in this thread are all yelling, "rip-off, BS, fraud, too expensive, whatever..." listen, worth has a different meaning to different people. what i would spend $100 for, you may not want to spend $25 on, and vice versa.

simply asking yourself if the product is worth the price will tell you what you need to know.

i once spent over $800 on an AR-15 rifle and was very pleased with my purchase. after i got home, a couple buddies came over to check out my new toy and shrugged it off as an over-priced peashooter (both of them were "shotgun" guys and had no need for a rifle). does that mean my new firearm was worthless, overpriced, BS...? of course not.

does the product and method of instruction warrant "higher than normal" prices...? do what you feel necessary, to benefit yourself. good luck in all your MA endeavors.

to thine own self be true...

:)
 

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Wow! You've really touched a nerve here. You're being fleeced, I'm sorry to say.

We do require seminar attendence for our dan ranks, but only one an year AND we encourage our students to attend someone elses' seminars. I believe in mining all systems for their best practices. There are a few we will allow them to attend via DVD, but the selection is rather limited and they need to demonstrate some proficiency which means they need a partner.

Lesee, price ... I know I had it here somewhere ... oh, yeah! We charge $20 per test from white belt to 8th dan. There may come a time when we will have to increase fees ... but not today.
 

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Sapper6 said:
hey toe,

the solution is quite simple: if it is worth it to you to study under these people, then do it. if not, then seek instruction elsewhere which better suits your own financial needs.

Precisely. If it's worth it to the original poster, then the cost shouldn't be an issue.

i once spent over $800 on an AR-15 rifle and was very pleased with my purchase. after i got home, a couple buddies came over to check out my new toy and shrugged it off as an over-priced peashooter (both of them were "shotgun" guys and had no need for a rifle). does that mean my new firearm was worthless, overpriced, BS...? of course not.

Good example, but even if you're comparing apples to apples, that example is more like comparing winesap apples to golden delicious ones. A more fair comparison would be to compare a factory stock production Bushmaster rifle (an excellent gun it is) to a custom built rifle from Fulton Armory. For some people, the extra money spent on the customizations will make them a better shooter with that particular gun. For others, they can still accurately place that bullet in the bullseye with the factory stock production gun, just maybe not with that extra hair of accuracy.


In all seriousness, though, I do agree, that if a school is that good, then the price premium can certainly be justified. However, the bottom line is, that the school must offer something to the student that makes the price premium worth paying. It's up to the original poster to decide whether or not the value is there.

All I can do otherwise, is offer my opinion on this matter, where I believe that the school is demanding too much from the financial aspect. Then again, what seems like too much $$$ for me may very well be within reason for the community in which the school is based. Thus, there is even more need to compare specific apples to specific apples.

The school has probably done its homework, and based its prices on the community. After all, schools in richer neighborhoods are going to have more leeway when it comes to hiking their prices, and that if they lose a few here and there, they know they'll make up for it with the next guy.
 

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toejam said:
I study Kempo Karate and I am currently brown belt - it's been just over 3 years to get here. We have black belt requirements over the next 7 months (x amount of kicks, crunches, pushups, etc) which I can understand.

Part of the requirements though, is that we must attend 7 seminars in this time, each one ranging from $60 - $100+. The test itself is expected to be around $800 for black belt. From then on, classes go from $86 per month to $120 per month.

Is it normal that you are *required* to attend seminars in order to get your black belt? That seems like a bit of a racket to me. Along with upping your fees by almost $40 per month to get (from my observations of black belt classes) no real difference in training.

What's most dissappointing about this situation though, is the fact that they have totally thrown this on students of my level. None of these prices or fees were ever discussed or given to us up front. I feel this is just plain misleading and not a good way to run a business...despite the fact that I have a lot of respect for a few of the instructors at this school.

toey.
OH MY GOODNESS.....

First off let me say: I think that instructors/school owners can charge and require whatever they want. SO LONG AS they tell you upfront what's exptected in these areas down the road. Now here you are, thousands of days and dollars from whitebelt to here and now they POP this on you???
BUMMMMMER!!!!

Any business owner is free to be as expensive as they care or dare, but to hoodwink students until they are fully committed is pretty darn crummy.
I'm sorry this has happened to you.
What do you plan to do??? Fork over the $2000.00 w/in the next year to reach black and then an extra $500.00 above your usual school dues?
GOSH man.........
that's pretty steep!

Your in my prayers

Your Brother
John
 

Brother John

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Sapper6 said:
hey toe,
the LARGE majority of the people that have posted in this thread are all yelling, "rip-off, BS, fraud, too expensive, whatever..." listen, worth has a different meaning to different people. what i would spend $100 for, you may not want to spend $25 on, and vice versa.
simply asking yourself if the product is worth the price will tell you what you need to know. :)

Fine points all around Sapper!!
BUT: I think one of the keys to this guys situation being a load of horse poo is that he was blind-sided by these rates. He SHOULD have known of these expenses and requirements while he was still wearing White, not once he donned a Brown.
I don't see it as much an issue of "What is it worth" as it is fair business practices....making it clear what will be charged and expected of those who intend to be faithful and loyal and stick it out for the long haul.

He (she?) can charge what they want and require that their students be able to jump over the moon.....so long as they KNOW this ahead of time, before a Substantial amount of dedication hard work and $$$.

see what I'm saying?
That's what makes it a bunch O' crud in my book.

Your Brother
John
 

MJS

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Brother John said:
Fine points all around Sapper!!
BUT: I think one of the keys to this guys situation being a load of horse poo is that he was blind-sided by these rates. He SHOULD have known of these expenses and requirements while he was still wearing White, not once he donned a Brown.
I don't see it as much an issue of "What is it worth" as it is fair business practices....making it clear what will be charged and expected of those who intend to be faithful and loyal and stick it out for the long haul.

He (she?) can charge what they want and require that their students be able to jump over the moon.....so long as they KNOW this ahead of time, before a Substantial amount of dedication hard work and $$$.

see what I'm saying?
That's what makes it a bunch O' crud in my book.

Your Brother
John

I couldn't agree more John! This is why its so important to ask questions and get all the info. up front. Personally, I think its a bit much to ask someone to start attending all these seminars with such little time. Now, it'd be different if he had advanced notice, that way they could be spread out. As for the price, I also don't think its right to increase, especially if there was some sort of contract or agreement.

Mike
 

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Sapper6 said:
hey toe,

the solution is quite simple: if it is worth it to you to study under these people, then do it. if not, then seek instruction elsewhere which better suits your own financial needs.

the LARGE majority of the people that have posted in this thread are all yelling, "rip-off, BS, fraud, too expensive, whatever..." listen, worth has a different meaning to different people. what i would spend $100 for, you may not want to spend $25 on, and vice versa.

simply asking yourself if the product is worth the price will tell you what you need to know.

i once spent over $800 on an AR-15 rifle and was very pleased with my purchase. after i got home, a couple buddies came over to check out my new toy and shrugged it off as an over-priced peashooter (both of them were "shotgun" guys and had no need for a rifle). does that mean my new firearm was worthless, overpriced, BS...? of course not.

does the product and method of instruction warrant "higher than normal" prices...? do what you feel necessary, to benefit yourself. good luck in all your MA endeavors.

to thine own self be true...

:)
Great advice. You must have read my mind. I often times will spend more money than I should on a product or service. But as long as I find value in it...
 

evenflow1121

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$800 for a shodan test is insane, I never paid anything for mine, but even people that I know that paid for theirs never paid nearly as much.
 

jks9199

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toejam said:
What do your students think of this? Have you ever asked them? Not that I'm saying you haven't, but the school I'm at appears to be very interested in their bottom line...to the point that they probably don't have time to get feedback.
For all the instructors here, do you ever ask yourself: "hmmm...are my feet still on the ground?". How transparent are your prices and policies? Client's don't like financial surprises. Client's like straight answers...not, "awww...geee...we think it'll probably cost $xxx". Client's don't like thinking that you're just making up a training schedule as you go along.

Both our association and individual schools are non-profit; if we're lucky, our club isn't in the red. But active participation means just that; going to the national tournaments, and going to clinics when you can. I don't always want my students attending some clinics; some material may be beyond them for the moment. And there's one set of clinics that I don't attend, and don't see myself attending anytime soon; my mindset isn't right for them. But, maintaining regular contact and participation with the association, especially as a black belt, is necessary so that you're on the same page as everyone else. It's quite simple; the training hall isn't a democracy. I haven't advanced for something on the order of 10 years because I've chosen not to do some of the things required to test. That's my choice. I'm still learning, I'm still participating... but it does mean that a very few things have been closed to me. Maybe next year I'll test again... Or maybe not.
 
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