MA lessons how much?

Happy-Papi

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I'm just curious on how much is the average payment a martial arts instructor receive per session, month, or per seminar and is it worthwhile to teach MA abroad for a foreigner.

I have been sharing weird MA since I was in high school to my school mates and friends and naturally I don't get paid. These past few years I came back to MA with the main intention to share with my son but from time to time I get asked to teach. Often times I share with BBs, MA instructors and sometimes support kids. Sometimes I do private lessons and seminars but never got paid... There were instances where I got an envelope (as a donation) and one time an old Toyota Celsior but that was it.

To be honest, my son was the only newbie to BB that I have handled. Most that I have handled are military guys, BBs and instructors. Sometimes I teach girls/ladies self defense (I just put it as self defense so they wont freak out when I give them eye gouging and knife lessons, lol). For the kids, I only give advice and support but nothing fancy. My son and some of my fellow MAist instructors who I shared MA with said that my teaching is more on actual and I seem to be cramming up always and should only pass techniques as the students progress. They said that I tend to spill out lots of techniques in one go that is often hard to digest. I even heard comments saying "please take it slow, we are not going to war tomorrow", hahaha! My wife often reminds me when I'm teaching my son when he is left scratching his head that I may be a good pawn but my teaching stinks, lol. Slowly I am also trying to adapt my teaching to the more modern way...

Maybe I'm in the wrong country to teach MA since there are lots of MA school here in Japan and lots of MAist here teach for very little or as a hobby and CQC-FMA is very little heard of unless they are some kind of military mania. I've heard and read that MA instructors abroad (even instructors with funky skills) can make a decent living from teaching. Times are tough so I'm just keeping my options open. My MA friends told me that I should try teaching abroad but... Anyway, Im 43 and I guess that I'm obsolete :)

Waiting for words of wisdom from my fellow MAist here in MT.
Many thanks!
 

Tony Dismukes

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If you're running your own dojo, then your income will depend on your ability to develop and maintain a student base, collect payments promptly, and control expenses. This probably has as much to do with your business savvy as with your martial arts skills. Some instructors make a good living, others can barely afford the rent on their studio. If you're wanting to teach seminars, then you probably need to be famous enough that a promoter can line up a good crowd of people in a given area who are willing to pay a bunch of money above and beyond their regular training fees for a day or two with you.
 

lklawson

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Sorta similar in some ways here in the U.S. Martial Arts schools are everywhere. Even a small, one stoplight, town has a TKD Dojang at the minimum.

As for how much to charge or to pay... Charge whatever you want, what you think you/your art are worth, and what students are willing to pay.

Look, I'm one to talk because I love what I do so much I frequently teach for free, like you. However, particularly in the U.S., but also in other cultures, what you charge for something is often interpreted as representative of its value. You can pick up dirt for free everywhere because it has little value. Gold is worth an arm and a leg and nobody is giving it away for free. Prospective students are well aware of this and, thus, if they see you are charging little or nothing for your instruction, they assume your instruction is worth little or nothing.

Regular, continuing, group classes are, generally, considered to require the lowest entry fee for students.

Seminar classes are usually considered to "worth" more because it's a limited event which may or may not happen again at an unspecified time in the future.

Private classes for individual students are frequently considered to be the most "valuable" and, thus, should have the highest charges per hour. Some instructors I know charge over $100 per hour for private lessons. Well known instructors can (and do) charge a lot more.

How much to ask other instructors to pay is sort of a variable answer. You are assumed to be passing instruction worthy material to experienced martial artists and therefore private or semi-private prices may apply. On the other hand, I know that some instructors will "trade" instruction or other tangible/intangible valuables. I know some instructors who occasionally teach other instructors for free specifically because they were asked nicely; they know that the person asking has a good idea of how valuable the knowledge is specifically because he, himself, is, likewise, a dedicated martial artist. He "understands."

Personal experience tells me that if you charge little or nothing, you will never have very many students. However, if you charge too much without having an established reputation, then prospective students will be wary of paying you large amounts of money because they're unsure if what you have to teach is "worth it."

If you're asking if I think you should charge (more) money, then the answer is, "yes, I think you should."

...except to me. Teach me for free. ;)

Seriously, though, I'm an awful example because I charge little to nothing many times. I sought out people with the skills I wanted to learn and asked them, often traveling some distance. They usually taught me without asking for any money (though I usually took them some sort of "thank you gift"). Thus, it feels really weird to me to ask much money for my instruction. Conversely, it feels perfectly normal for someone to give me a bowie knife or something in exchange for instruction.

On the other hand, I practice and teach as a hobby. Semi-pro, at most. I have a "regular" job to pay bills and put food on the table. I have no problem at all paying for instruction nor do I have any problem with professional instructors making a living from it. They gotta eat too. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

lklawson

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If you're wanting to teach seminars, then you probably need to be famous enough that a promoter can line up a good crowd of people in a given area who are willing to pay a bunch of money above and beyond their regular training fees for a day or two with you.
Teaching something unusual or in high demand will help with that too.

Tae Kwon Do instruction is common and isn't the flavor of the month. It would take a fairly well known instructor to draw much of a seminar. MMA, on the other hand, while fairly available, is very popular and, therefore, seminars are in much more demand, even from less known instructors.

CQC-FMA is a little bit unusual and FMA is fairly popular. There is a dedicated RBSD and CQC community, at least here in the U.S. and FMA is highly respected by those groups.

I'd say that what he has to teach is unusual enough and in enough demand that he could arrange some seminars, at least in the right place and to the right people. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Cyriacus

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Conversely, it feels perfectly normal for someone to give me a bowie knife or something in exchange for instruction.

To be fair, id pretty much teach someone whatever they wanted that i could offer and give them a funny bowler hat if they were offering me a decent bowie :)
 

MJS

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I'm just curious on how much is the average payment a martial arts instructor receive per session, month, or per seminar and is it worthwhile to teach MA abroad for a foreigner.

I have been sharing weird MA since I was in high school to my school mates and friends and naturally I don't get paid. These past few years I came back to MA with the main intention to share with my son but from time to time I get asked to teach. Often times I share with BBs, MA instructors and sometimes support kids. Sometimes I do private lessons and seminars but never got paid... There were instances where I got an envelope (as a donation) and one time an old Toyota Celsior but that was it.

To be honest, my son was the only newbie to BB that I have handled. Most that I have handled are military guys, BBs and instructors. Sometimes I teach girls/ladies self defense (I just put it as self defense so they wont freak out when I give them eye gouging and knife lessons, lol). For the kids, I only give advice and support but nothing fancy. My son and some of my fellow MAist instructors who I shared MA with said that my teaching is more on actual and I seem to be cramming up always and should only pass techniques as the students progress. They said that I tend to spill out lots of techniques in one go that is often hard to digest. I even heard comments saying "please take it slow, we are not going to war tomorrow", hahaha! My wife often reminds me when I'm teaching my son when he is left scratching his head that I may be a good pawn but my teaching stinks, lol. Slowly I am also trying to adapt my teaching to the more modern way...

Maybe I'm in the wrong country to teach MA since there are lots of MA school here in Japan and lots of MAist here teach for very little or as a hobby and CQC-FMA is very little heard of unless they are some kind of military mania. I've heard and read that MA instructors abroad (even instructors with funky skills) can make a decent living from teaching. Times are tough so I'm just keeping my options open. My MA friends told me that I should try teaching abroad but... Anyway, Im 43 and I guess that I'm obsolete :)

Waiting for words of wisdom from my fellow MAist here in MT.
Many thanks!

I would say that it will vary depending on location and art. I pay my Kyokushin teacher $105/month. I also pay for my belt exams. When I take an Arnis lesson with my teacher, I pay him $25 for the hour. The main difference between the 2, is that my main art (Kyokushin) is taught out of an actual dojo that is rented space in a small commercial plaza. My Arnis inst teaches his lessons from the basement of his home. For clarification, he's no running a commercial business. He has a handful of students, and of course, does the vast majority of teaching at seminars/camps.
 
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Happy-Papi

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Sorta similar in some ways here in the U.S. Martial Arts schools are everywhere. Even a small, one stoplight, town has a TKD Dojang at the minimum.

As for how much to charge or to pay... Charge whatever you want, what you think you/your art are worth, and what students are willing to pay.

Look, I'm one to talk because I love what I do so much I frequently teach for free, like you. However, particularly in the U.S., but also in other cultures, what you charge for something is often interpreted as representative of its value. You can pick up dirt for free everywhere because it has little value. Gold is worth an arm and a leg and nobody is giving it away for free. Prospective students are well aware of this and, thus, if they see you are charging little or nothing for your instruction, they assume your instruction is worth little or nothing.

Regular, continuing, group classes are, generally, considered to require the lowest entry fee for students.

Seminar classes are usually considered to "worth" more because it's a limited event which may or may not happen again at an unspecified time in the future.

Private classes for individual students are frequently considered to be the most "valuable" and, thus, should have the highest charges per hour. Some instructors I know charge over $100 per hour for private lessons. Well known instructors can (and do) charge a lot more.

How much to ask other instructors to pay is sort of a variable answer. You are assumed to be passing instruction worthy material to experienced martial artists and therefore private or semi-private prices may apply. On the other hand, I know that some instructors will "trade" instruction or other tangible/intangible valuables. I know some instructors who occasionally teach other instructors for free specifically because they were asked nicely; they know that the person asking has a good idea of how valuable the knowledge is specifically because he, himself, is, likewise, a dedicated martial artist. He "understands."

Personal experience tells me that if you charge little or nothing, you will never have very many students. However, if you charge too much without having an established reputation, then prospective students will be wary of paying you large amounts of money because they're unsure if what you have to teach is "worth it."

If you're asking if I think you should charge (more) money, then the answer is, "yes, I think you should."

...except to me. Teach me for free. ;)

Seriously, though, I'm an awful example because I charge little to nothing many times. I sought out people with the skills I wanted to learn and asked them, often traveling some distance. They usually taught me without asking for any money (though I usually took them some sort of "thank you gift"). Thus, it feels really weird to me to ask much money for my instruction. Conversely, it feels perfectly normal for someone to give me a bowie knife or something in exchange for instruction.

On the other hand, I practice and teach as a hobby. Semi-pro, at most. I have a "regular" job to pay bills and put food on the table. I have no problem at all paying for instruction nor do I have any problem with professional instructors making a living from it. They gotta eat too. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk

Teaching something unusual or in high demand will help with that too.

Tae Kwon Do instruction is common and isn't the flavor of the month. It would take a fairly well known instructor to draw much of a seminar. MMA, on the other hand, while fairly available, is very popular and, therefore, seminars are in much more demand, even from less known instructors.

CQC-FMA is a little bit unusual and FMA is fairly popular. There is a dedicated RBSD and CQC community, at least here in the U.S. and FMA is highly respected by those groups.

I'd say that what he has to teach is unusual enough and in enough demand that he could arrange some seminars, at least in the right place and to the right people. :)


Business has been tight these past few years and I am really keeping my options open and one of these is teaching MA. I got an offer from another country to teach and support (I smell something like paramil or private-mil ???). The price is good if I will be living there but since I live in Jpn, it will be very tight so I had to turn this down.

Definitely I am not popular nor have good looks so I may have to erase teaching MA abroad in option list.

I think that we have many things in common in MA. I got my MA training free of charge and with this in mind, it feels weird to ask for payment. Even with teaching instructors is always free since they are my friends and some are my son's instructors. For kids, they are all my son's friends and asking for payment is very weird. They come, I teach plus give them lunch or dinner, hahaha! About the ladies that I have taught, again they are friends and most have some bad experiences like being attacked by some pervert, some had experiences with domestic violence, just got separated from a bad marriage, etc. which adds more to the drama. Sometimes I get asked by total strangers to teach but if they look dodgy I refuse. I don't want loonies to have skills :)

Several times I received envelops during private lessons and it ranges from 10,000 to 50,000 Yen but these are very rare. One time a student gave me his old car for my time since he had bought new car. I think that is the most expensive...
Sometimes I assume that "my instruction is worth little or nothing or of little value" just like what you wrote since they seem to act like everything is for free. Probably because I'm in Japan and there are lots of MA teachers here who teach as a hobby and often get the "he understands"... I always get positive comments from my students and all of them wants to learn more but due to the lack of "$ motivation" I shy away.

The price studying MA here in Jpn based on my experience with my son is: School judo is free. Separate Judo dojo is 2,500 Yen per month. Karate is 5,000 Yen per month.

Most of them wants the real stuffs and often times they want to learn more weird stuffs like stealth, evading, etc. but naturally that will cost more but often it's a "thank you" only. Maybe best that I limit teaching as a hobby but when I teach privately I will ask for payment from now on. I will follow your advice and will ask for more. Or probably best to just wait for my son to get older and start a dojo abroad and just be his sidekick, lol. I'm sure that it will be easier for him than me since he knows Japanese MA and is a Japanese.

Do you know if there is something similar like Blackwaters here in JP??? Been trying to look around but can't find anything...

Of course I will share MA with you for free (to disguise my true intention of stealing your masters techniques),HAHAHA!

Your input and advice is a big help, many thanks again Kirk!
 

lklawson

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Well, I don't know how much I'd have to teach you, but I'd be more than happy to share.

You might look at what the market is in the U.S. for fly-in seminars. Like I wrote, there is a thriving CQC and RBSD community in this country.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

arnisador

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My experience is $80-120 per month here in the States for instruction by a teacher, at a location, that would be acceptable to most people. But it varies a lot.
 
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Happy-Papi

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Many thanks for the infos and advice. Now I got a rough estimate on how much...
I think that going abroad to teach will be a challenge and near to impossible so I'll just continue what I'm doing here.

My friends told me to open up a class in their dojos or rent a space/day at the local municipal hall to give lessons but if I do this, I really have to get some compensation or it will not be worth doing it. Will continue giving private lesson but I'll be taking payments from now on unless they are my MA friends.

You are all very kind to give me advice. Thank you very much.
 

Zero

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However, particularly in the U.S., but also in other cultures, what you charge for something is often interpreted as representative of its value. You can pick up dirt for free everywhere because it has little value. Gold is worth an arm and a leg and nobody is giving it away for free. Prospective students are well aware of this and, thus, if they see you are charging little or nothing for your instruction, they assume your instruction is worth little or nothing.

Kirk
"To charge or not to charge, that is the question". While I have to agree with Iklawson's perceptions and comment on this and that to be seen as credible you may need to charge "market" rates, in my experience (and a gut feeling that this may also be the case on a wider basis) some of the best training you will get is on a freebie or "cheap as chips" basis from some ex-pro or old salt who has actually done the rounds and is not overly hung up on cashing in on his/her martial arts skills/experience but is still involved in MA and passing on the skills for the pure joy and love of it.

The two best clubs I have trained with have been karate clubs operating out of scout/community halls (so cheap rent and overheads not a real concern, I concede) which charged (charge) embarrasingly low monthly or per visit fees (to be honest I have wanted to send some heavy bags or strike pads to my old goju club for some time just to help them out and to say thanks for the years of dirt cheap training! I need to put my A into G!!). The ones that operated as a commercial concern (two TKD clubs and later a WC club) were nowhere near up to the level of the "scout hall" goju ryu training, I am not saying they did not have good training but they just did not have the same level of devoted one-on-one training/correcting, "after-school" training and chats etc. It was just different (not as good). That said the goju guys all had day jobs so could be a lot more relaxed about "pushing the classes through and on to the next chargeable session".

If you want to earn a buck (and I am all for that!) charge what you think you can - and what your punters show you that you can.
 
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