is this school (Jeet Kune Do) charging too much??

J

jiggler

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hi guys...

i'm a complete noob to MA and recently i've been looking at different schools to learn self defense and to get into shape...

there is a new Jeet Kune Do school that opened up nearby so i decided to give them a call to see what they had to offer... it's a small dojo so i'm assuming that they don't have that many students yet... so this is what they said:

1. introductory workshop to see what the school had to offer... cost: $25 for three hour class. this money can be put towards the tuition if you decide to join.

2. monthly tuition: $135

3. 6 month contract minimum.

4. teaches technique only... they don't do jumping jacks or pushups (this is a good thing though, right??)

do you guys think i'm getting robbed?? the instructor i talked to seemed very nice and interested in meeting me... but do you guys think this is too much... especially for a beginner??

i'd expect this type of tuition from a school out in california or for private lessons, but not from a small school in upstate ny... err, maybe it's because it's the only JKD school in the area?? i don't know, what do y'all think??

thanks for reading :)
 

hardheadjarhead

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The six month contract...no problem, I'd say. It isn't locking you in for years. Make sure he's established and the school is flourishing...otherwise he may close and you may be out six months tuition.

The tuition? I'd say that depends on the neighborhood. Even in upstate New York you can have some places where rent is pretty obscene. An instructor has to pay the bills and eat.

If this is in a run-down or low income neighborhood, the point is moot. He'll be closed in a year for lack of students.

It's really tough to say whether this is too much given what you've posted. It may be. It may not be.



Regards,


Steve
 
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J

jiggler

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thanks for the reply steve...

well i'm not sure yet if the school is flourishing... it is in a nice part of town though... it's only been open for about 3 months... i took a drive by the other night, seemed like the class had about 8 students or so... i asked the instructor when i called if i could in fact sit in on a class, and he said he'd rather not... he didn't want to put any "pressure" on the beginners with strangers watching... he'd rather see me at the intro workshop... fair enough...

the instructor is a student of Jerry Poteet... he's listed under a group among others like Glen Danzig and Jason Scott Lee... maybe that's why his tuition is high... dunno??
 

Dronak

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Well, I'm just a beginner myself, so I don't know how much this will help. But if you know how many classes you'll have a month, how many hours of instruction you'll get, you can figure out the per hour cost from that $135/month cost. Personally I think it's a little easier to work with the hourly rate than the monthly rate since the number of hours per month could vary from place to place. As for the contract, well, I don't really like the idea of it, but likst hardheadjarhead said, 6 months isn't so bad, as long as you're sure the school will be around that long. With a brand new business, sometimes you can't be sure. The one thing that does seem a little unusual to me, in my very limited experience, is the $25 cost for the intro workshop. OK, it's 3 hours and who knows exactly what they'll do. Maybe they'll teach a few basics and thus want monetary compensation for their time and teaching. And that comes off the tuition if you sign up, but it's gone if you don't. My gut feeling is that the school should allow you to come in and just watch one class for free. I was under the impression that this was the common way to let people see how your school works, let them sit and watch a class, no participation. I could be wrong, of course. I guess the main thing is that I just don't see why they're charging you money to find out what the school has to offer. Anyway, I hope this is of some help.
 
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J

jiggler

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thanks for your input james...

i forgot to mention... the classes are twice a week, about an hour and fifteen minutes each... so i think it works out to be $17 per class... which doesn't seem so bad if ya think about it... but then again, there's a local american kenpo school that charges $55 monthly... and that's an established school already... i've yet to call them though...

i'm definitely gonna check out the intro class... the instructor seemed very eager and super nice on the phone... my only concern is that i have no MA background whatsoever, so i'm starting from scratch... i'm afraid that this may be too advanced for me, and more fitted for experienced students with basic mechanics instilled already...
 

Chronuss

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any particular reason you'd rather learn JKD than American Kenpo? do you know the name of the instructor who runs the Kenpo studio? the system you choose has to have something in it that you want to learn. also, a school not having any calisthenics and teaching only "technique" is slightly strange and $17 per class does seem a bit....steep.
 
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M

Mr_Scissors

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My JKD group figures that we can work out on our own time, so when we get together to train we don't do any calisthenics either. I don't think that's out of the ordinary for a JKD place.

Regardless, I think it sounds weird to charge for a demo lesson. I'm extremely curious about all styles so I try to take a demo lesson somewhere at least once every few months. I've gone and checked out many, many places and out of 40+ schools only 1 or 2 has asked any fee for observing. I also find it a little odd that the instructor is trying to highlight his lineage relationships to Glen Danzig and Jason Scott Lee.

Combined with the mandatory contract my "scissors-sense" is tingling. Sounds really shady. :uhoh:

And besides you can definitely learn solid skills with Kenpo, and it sounds like that's an established business with satisfied clients. At least give them a call.
 

bart

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Cost

$135 a month is not bad really if it's in an ok part of town. When I went to the Inosanto Academy in LA back in '98 the tuition was came out to around $170 for me each month if I recall correctly. You had to pay additionally for each class you attended and it got pricey. Also I had to pay $200 up front just to start attending. But that was in West LA (Westchester) and rent is really high there. If the school doesn't have that issue, then I would be wary.

As for going to the Kenpo school, depending upon how they run things you may pay $55 a month to go, but you might have other fees like testing and "intra-school" tournament fees that would increase your monthly. If you were to test twice in the first month, which by the way is not a rare situation, then there is the chance that it will even out.

JKD vs Traditional MA for beginners

On top of the cost, I would say that JKD is more accessible if you have moderate to advanced training (grounding) in another art. A lot of JKD people collect techniques but don't go into enough detail to really understand a style. Likening a style to a fruit, a lot of JKD guys mistake the peel for the apple. It's the rare one that has actually taken enough bites to realize that the apple has a core and not just that, this one's a granny smith and this one's a red delicious, etc. The best JKD people have grounding in another system. One of the tenets of JKD is "absorb what is useful". It's a great saying and it really is good stuff. But the question for the beginner is:

How can you tell what is useful if you don't have anything to relate it to?

If you're an LEO, bouncer, gifted athlete, or all around rough and tumble type, then you could walk into martial arts and already have a bit of a clue. But for most novices, they need to start someplace that will give them a good understanding of the theoretical basics of hand to hand combat and some good basic reflexes.

No calisthenics

I don't think it's bad at all to have them only teach technique and not calisthenics. A lot of FMA is taught that way. The philosophy goes something like: "If you want to get in shape, go to the gym. If you want to find Jesus, go to church. Class time is for learning eskrima." You have to ask yourself if you want to pay this guy to teach you how to do pushups, or if you would rather just take some time out of your day and do it yourself for free.

Anyway, these are just my thoughts. By the way, what part of upstate NY are you in?
 

still learning

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Hello, Maybe you may want to check what other schools in your area is charging per month (any style) . It will give you an idea of the prices people are charging.

As far as charging too much? Um" The owner needs to pay rent,bills,insurance,ads, and some other things too. You are paying him for his knowledge also. Now is it worth it? Time will tell? One year will be over $1,620.00 , got money? .....Aloha
 

Digger70chall

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That does seem like a lot of money but i'm not expert. I am paying 90 a month for my classes. I was wondering where in upstate NY you are also, i'm sitting here in saratoga springs and there is a JKD place right down the road from me who claims similar teachers...could be the same place? I never checked it out because i'm pretty happy learning TKD right now.
 

tsdclaflin

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It doesn't suprise me that they charge for the intro. One thought behind that is that it weeds out non-serious prospects. I have trained in two schools. The first school charged $25 (5 years ago) for intro which included one or two private lessons and one or two regular classes (three sessions total) and included a "free" uniform. This school had a retail location and ran it like a business.

The second school (where I go now) told me to come to class for a week and check it out. After that, we met and talked about $.

I understand both approaches, but really appreciated the second one.

When I got married, I learned that there are two "right" ways to do everything. (That is why they make "his" and "hers" towels.)
 
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J

jiggler

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wow... lotsa information guys... and i appreciate all of your input...

first of all, i'm from the Latham, NY which is basically the Capital Region
(Albany) for all of you that are curious as to where i'm from... and around
here there are quite a few MA schools to choose from... Aikido, Tae Kwon
Do, Hapkido, EPAK, JKD, Budokai, Wing Chun, Zen Do Kai, Judo... with the
most popular school being TKD by far...

the only reason why i picked JKD first was because of its proximity to me
and because it's the least "commercialized" school so to speak... i didn't
want to join a "McDojo" or a school that pumps out Black Belts with classes
of 25 people or more and that flashes trophies everywhere...
not that this is bad... it's admirable... but it's not what i'm looking for...

i wanted to join a school that's about quality not quantity and can teach
me the most... stressing on techniques rather than "rank" or belts or
winning competitions... i honestly don't care about what rank or belt i am
or will become, because i plan on doing this for a long time... and i don't
plan on competing... i just want to find the best place to start... and
instructor that can teach me the most...

my main concern about this JKD school was that i have NO martial art
background whatsover and i felt that maybe $135/month was too much for
such a novice to be paying... maybe if i were a seasoned veteran looking
for a school that could make me even better, then yes... i wouldn't ask any
questions... but if this school thinks it can build me into a great martial
artist "from the ground up" for example, teaching me the basic mechanics
of a front kick, punch, block etc... then i'll commit... but then again, can't
i learn basic, solid fundamentals from any reputable school??

from everyone's input, i will definitely be looking around at other schools...
part of me just wants to join any school just to get started out so i can
actually start learning and practicing...

again, thanks for everybody's help :)
 
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M

MissTwisties

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I wouldn't even consider joining a martial arts school that doesn't allow me to watch one class. I would never give any money to someone who doesn't want me to know if I would like the ambiance, the way they teach, etc. prior to joining them. Would just sound shady to me.
 

Digger70chall

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Hey you are right down the road from me! I didn't realize there were so many other schools in the area. I go to Master Pai's TKD in Clifton Park, he has schools all over the area but this one was the nicest in my opinion. I enjoy it a lot but by your definition it might not be right for you. Class sizes can range anywhere from 2-30 students depending on the night, with friday's being pretty crazy and family classes on thursday. They are pretty rough on me, possibly because i asked them to be. I see some people getting away with more than others do and it may be for a number of reasons which i'm unaware of. I would gladly walk you in to sit down at his school and watch a class. I often stay behind to watch the higher belts practice, they are very impressive to me at least :) Master Pai would gladly let anyone sit in and watch a class, there was no charge for the introductory class either. Just an option if you want to check it out. Good luck with whatever you decide.
 

bcbernam777

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I think it depends entirly on the quality of instruction, if the instructor has some heavy duty qualifications (ie life martial art quals) then I can fully understand the high charge.
 

masherdong

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Contract I agree with. $135 for a month. For that price, it better be in a nice part of town.
 

GAB

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Hi All,

Did you get a uniform? Do you go 3/4 times a week and how long are the lessons.

Not so bad if you are starting and get extra teaching, as you go longer the price drops and you are able to do more on your own...(what I see anyhow...)

JKD is a good Martial Art, stick with it for the time period and go as often as you can and learn the basics...As far as other arts are concerned, when you like chevys you like chevys, not a ford or dodge or nissan...

Beginners are insecure in the first place if you like the person and you get good instruction, you will get your monies worth, believe me...A lot of JKD schools also has FMA, good stuff...

Regards, Gary
 
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A

abarakapocus

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I am quite familiar with the school and the instructor and I hope I can clear up a few of your valid concerns.

The instructor is a direct student of Jerry Poteet. Jerry Poteet trained directly with Bruce Lee both in class and in Private Lessons for a number of years. The School curriculum is set up exactly the way Bruce Lee's LA Chinatown and Oakland Jeet Kune Do Schools were. The validity of these claims are very easy to research buy going to Jerry Poteet's Official web Site.

In regards to viewing classes...the doors are locked and windows are closed, not to shut people out, but for the benefit of the students. That time belongs to them and the pursuit of their goals. This rule was imposed by Bruce Lee in regards to class interruption and distraction and the same holds true in this school. The instructor will meet with all prospective students in private and explain and demonstrate to you what Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do is all about.

The workshop (Seminar) on Saturdays are open to the public. They give a good overall view of the system and touch on many self defense type aspects of Jeet Kune Do. This is a good way for the general public to walk away with knowledge of the art. Whether or not you become a student, you will have gained a true taste of what goes on in the school and the goals you will strive to reach. They cost money because they are a comprehensive seminar, not an introductory lesson.

A student's experience should not be a factor in any Martial Art because we all had to start from somewhere.

Jumping Jacks, Calisthenics, Push ups, Stretching... is done on your time. You are expected to come to class prepared and ready to train so you can get the most out of the valuable time with the instructor. It is important to remember you are in class to learn Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do. Fitness and nutrition programs are very strongly recommended and the instructor can set you up with guidelines that will help you get the maximum out of your training.

As far a the system itself, there are many people claiming to teach Jeet Kune Do. Research their lineage and curriculum. The true lineage is easy to ascertain and Bruce Lee curriculum is very specific. Distance for the source of the system and variation from the original curriculum will complicate the system. There is not rank, belts, concepts, techniques or styles.
It is impossible to "know" or practice a little Jeet Kune Do; it is a mindset and a philosophy. If an instructor claims any of these things it is simply not Jeet Kune Do

The size of the school, number of students, location, cost … should not be a factor. If they are, you are missing the reason you are pursing your goal. The effectiveness of the system in achieving your personal ambitions (whether is be self defense, a spiritual or philosophical journey, fitness or a combination) is the prize on the other side of the door. The quality of instruction is the key to unlocking it.
Bear in mind, Good things cost money...but they are well worth it.

Good Luck..do plenty of research and exhaust all of your options before you commit to anything

Cheers
-A Student of this instructor
 

Antonioncsu02

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I think this school is definitely charging too much. For all of my years in Martial Arts I've never paid more than 35 dollars per month. Martial arts is supposed to come from the heart, not the wallet.

I can very rarely see any martial arts costing that much for attendance. I would have to be attending classes from a HIGH ranking black belt.
 

BrandiJo

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i think its a bit to much money, i pay 25 a month for my classes and we have the option of going 5 nights a week for up to 2 hrs a night, and my inst have been around for years and have good back grounds, i see no reason for him to be charging that much, and him not wanting you to sit in on classes kind of worries me too, i would be a bit leary of going there.
 
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