Question about internal schools

blindsage

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I'm studying Bagua right now, and this question even applies to my school to some degree, but I've noticed over the years that internal CMA schools/instructors seem to charge significantly more than most MA schools. Can anyone address why this might be the case?
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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It depends on alot of things really.

Is the teacher the only one in the area?

Is the teacher someone who is famous like Jwing Ming Yang?

Are the classes more private and alot of time to train?

You can see where I am getting at.

I don't think it is higher than most schools.
I know one who was charging about $80 a month I think unlimited class in three arts.
It was cheaper compared to some other more common schools like ATA Taekwondo and MMA school down the street.
 

Formosa Neijia

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I'm studying Bagua right now, and this question even applies to my school to some degree, but I've noticed over the years that internal CMA schools/instructors seem to charge significantly more than most MA schools. Can anyone address why this might be the case?

Because the arts tend to attract upper middle class who have the time and interest in that area.

Besides, you charge what the marketplace will allow. Nothing wrong with that.
 

Xue Sheng

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I can only speak for my area and there are only 4 schools that teach or claim to teach internal styles

My first sifu who charges rather exuberant prices and cheats a lot of people by teaching garbage and requires year long contracts and DVD purchases (his DVDs of course) I believe he now charges $125/month for 1 class a week

My most recent Xingyi sifu who teaches forms rather well but does not really know the fighting of it (The lions share of his MA background is TKD and Kenpo) who is less expensive than my first sifu but more expensive than the next 2 and he charges about $60/month for one 55 minute class. He also teaches CMC style taiji from William CC Chen.

A group that is associated with Chen Zhenglei who I believe charges about $50/month (I have no idea how many classes that covers) and they are trying very hard to understand and teach real Chen style but they have a ways to go and they also teach Yang 24 and a Wu competition form

My Yang sifu who has been at this for over 50 years and was a student of Tung Ying Chieh and charges $60 for 10 weeks and the class is once a week, beginners 1 hour advanced for as long as it takes (1 hour minimum I have been there for greater than 2 hours).

As compared to styles that are not internal they are really in the range of the same to cheaper.

Of course there was my Wing Chun Sifu, student of Ip Ching, who charges about $50/month for 4 classes a week.

In my area it appears that the most qualified CMA teachers charge less. But then there are not that many of them here.
 
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blindsage

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In my experience there is quite a range of prices, but most MA schools charge between $90 and $125 a month, and for multiple (3-5, or unlimited) classes a week. Internal CMA schools seem to charge, on average, between $70-$150 a month for one class a week, and always include prices for private classes. It just seems much more difficult to get a decent amount of class time per week at a half way decent price. My school is actually better since it offers Bagua, Yang and Chen Tai Chi, plus Qigong, and regular Roushou and Sanshou classes, so I'm not really complaining about it, but I've notice the trend and find it curious.
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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I meet with my teacher once a week. Sometimes I do not see him for a month due to work or he is at seminars.

I think I get a fair amount of information once a week for an hour.

IMO alot of practice in Bagua is circle walking. So though I meet up once a week every day for at least 2 hours I am practicing the forms and circle walking. Enjoy the journey.
 

DaleDugas

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I teach 2 hour classes twice a week in two different locations.

the first hour is Baguazhang.

The second hour is applications.

I charge 65.00 for 4 two hour classes a month.

If you want to come to both sets of classes I charge 85.00
 

Formosa Neijia

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In my experience there is quite a range of prices, but most MA schools charge between $90 and $125 a month, and for multiple (3-5, or unlimited) classes a week. Internal CMA schools seem to charge, on average, between $70-$150 a month for one class a week, and always include prices for private classes. It just seems much more difficult to get a decent amount of class time per week at a half way decent price. My school is actually better since it offers Bagua, Yang and Chen Tai Chi, plus Qigong, and regular Roushou and Sanshou classes, so I'm not really complaining about it, but I've notice the trend and find it curious.

You have to look at this from a teacher's point of view -- he or she has to eat. Most students don't realize or frankly appreciate this.

The instructor will charge what they need to charge and what the market will allow. That is the only criteria for a commercial school. If someone is teaching non-commercially then they may charge accordingly or even teach for free.

Most students have no idea how much money it takes to operate a school or how hard teaching and running a MA business is. It's just the nature of things.
 

ggg214

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...If someone is teaching non-commercially then they may charge accordingly or even teach for free.

Most students have no idea how much money it takes to operate a school or how hard teaching and running a MA business is. It's just the nature of things.

Agree!

i want to ask a question about the quality of MA classes in your area : are the teachers teaching the real CMA or just making money?
 
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blindsage

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Unfortunately this is not just in my area. I've noticed in when I've visited other parts of the country or looked at schools online in other areas. This is not uncommon. I'd be happy to provide links to the websites of some of the places in my area, but I have checked them out my self, and as far as I can tell, yes, they are legit, quality teachers with legit lineages. But this is not just an isolated occurrence in my area.

Now I've also found that most internal teachers teach multiple styles and offer limited classes in any 1 style, i.e. Yang Taiji twice a week and Bagua once or twice a week. Or whatever combination of what they teach. When I used to study Kyokushinkai Karate there was 1 monthly fee, it was less that most internal styles charge, and it was unlimited classes per month, plus there was a Small Circle Jiu Jitsu class offered twice a week with no additional charge. I'm trying to figure out the economic difference here. My old school had classes for kids and that often helps offset costs for adult classes and memberships, maybe that's the difference.

I just find it odd that I can go down and join one school and pay a certain amount for unlimited classes per month, and then I can go to another school and pay noticeably more for 1, or 2, or 3 classes a week. I'm well away that there is wide variety of fees that schools charge, I just find it strange that internal schools, unless they have classes at a community center, seemed to charge higher amounts, and always make known the cost of private lessons as well. I'm well aware that a business has certain costs and that prices tend to reflect them. I'm just not sure why, if that is the case, it often seems that internal schools have highter costs to maintain them.
 

Formosa Neijia

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Unfortunately this is not just in my area. I've noticed in when I've visited other parts of the country or looked at schools online in other areas. This is not uncommon. I'd be happy to provide links to the websites of some of the places in my area, but I have checked them out my self, and as far as I can tell, yes, they are legit, quality teachers with legit lineages. But this is not just an isolated occurrence in my area.

Now I've also found that most internal teachers teach multiple styles and offer limited classes in any 1 style, i.e. Yang Taiji twice a week and Bagua once or twice a week. Or whatever combination of what they teach. When I used to study Kyokushinkai Karate there was 1 monthly fee, it was less that most internal styles charge, and it was unlimited classes per month, plus there was a Small Circle Jiu Jitsu class offered twice a week with no additional charge. I'm trying to figure out the economic difference here. My old school had classes for kids and that often helps offset costs for adult classes and memberships, maybe that's the difference.

I just find it odd that I can go down and join one school and pay a certain amount for unlimited classes per month, and then I can go to another school and pay noticeably more for 1, or 2, or 3 classes a week. I'm well away that there is wide variety of fees that schools charge, I just find it strange that internal schools, unless they have classes at a community center, seemed to charge higher amounts, and always make known the cost of private lessons as well. I'm well aware that a business has certain costs and that prices tend to reflect them. I'm just not sure why, if that is the case, it often seems that internal schools have highter costs to maintain them.
Basic economics: Prices are set by what the market will allow.

Please stop and re-read that sentence. If people (buyers) WILL PAY a certain amount, then teachers (sellers) WILL CHARGE a certain amount. It's not just a reflection of cost but of value.

IMA is seen as being more valuable in certain markets than other arts. Therefore people will pay more for them, therefore teachers will charge more for them.

You've obviously never been in business for yourself. If you had, you would understand.

Unfortunately as a school owner, I see that a lot of things in the MA business world just aren't going to be understood by some people. Business knowledge is unfortunately a rare commodity.
 

Formosa Neijia

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Agree!

i want to ask a question about the quality of MA classes in your area : are the teachers teaching the real CMA or just making money?

As a school owner myself now, I don't feel it's right to talk about what others are doing. I can only speak for my school.

Speaking for my school, I can tell you that there's more to it than just "teaching the real CMA" or "just making money."

Teaching something real often implies serving the style being taught over the needs of the individual. In other words, "My style says you should stand in horse stance for a hour every day" or something like that. That's usually considered "real" in MA. But that's very damaging to people that aren't ready to stand in horse stance for an hour yet.

I teach the arts with lots of small steps built in so I can start a person off wherever they are and with whatever they are capable of doing. And I phrase it in terms of the INDIVIDUAL, not the style. I show then how good kungfu skills can help them gain health and well-being instead of just teaching them another form, etc.

My experience so far tells me that the trainings aren't all that different, it's simply how you pitch that training to the student. And people are willing to pay good money for someone that actually cares about them as people, not just objects to further the style.
 

oxy

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My experience so far tells me that the trainings aren't all that different, it's simply how you pitch that training to the student. And people are willing to pay good money for someone that actually cares about them as people, not just objects to further the style.

Back when I was an junior assistant instructor, I had one student under me at any one time and I could focus all my attention on them all the time. Students, young or old, do seem to appreciate the very individualized training through that rather than, as you say, as objects to further the style, or as vehicles for the instructors to show "look how awesome I am".

Plus, I find you learn more yourself through teaching in a personal way and why would a teacher want it any other way?
 
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blindsage

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Basic economics: Prices are set by what the market will allow.

Please stop and re-read that sentence. If people (buyers) WILL PAY a certain amount, then teachers (sellers) WILL CHARGE a certain amount. It's not just a reflection of cost but of value.

IMA is seen as being more valuable in certain markets than other arts. Therefore people will pay more for them, therefore teachers will charge more for them.

You've obviously never been in business for yourself. If you had, you would understand.

Unfortunately as a school owner, I see that a lot of things in the MA business world just aren't going to be understood by some people. Business knowledge is unfortunately a rare commodity.



Having worked in retail for years, now in wholesale buying, and having studied economics as part of my degree in International Political Economy in addition to plenty of reading as a general personal interest, I have some notion of how these things work. Your supreme oversimplification doesn't really answer the question I asked. If you'd like to engage in a discussion of business and economic theory so you could actually explain specifically what factors go into the assumed (on my part) higher prices for IMA, then great, but just saying it's about value doesn't do that. Yes, perceived value can increase the amount people are willing to pay, and there are times when a price below that reduces the number of buyers, but that doesn't seem logical for this context. 99% of the time increased cost reduces the number of buyers, not the goal for most MA instructors in general, especially when there's competition. Now there is the question of costs for the instructor. If IMA instructors typically attract a smaller number of students than another style, then maybe they have to charge more to cover the same costs of doing business. I don't know, but that's part of why I'm asking. I'm not really accusing IMA instructors of anything, I just noticed what seems to be a trend to me, and I'm wondering why this may be.
 

geezer

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If IMA instructors typically attract a smaller number of students than another style, then maybe they have to charge more to cover the same costs of doing business. I don't know, but that's part of why I'm asking. I'm not really accusing IMA instructors of anything, I just noticed what seems to be a trend to me, and I'm wondering why this may be.

I can't speak directly to your situation since I don't live in your area and I am not currently practicing an internal art, but I think there are a lot of factors involved beyond matters of business and laws of supply and demand. You may be up against cultural attitudes involving pride, even elitism, and a sense that one's art is something special and "not for the masses". Some Si-fus would choose to not teach at all, rather than to give their art away cheaply to those who do not appreciate it. I have found this attitude widespread in the Chinese martial arts... especially among the less commercial instructors. Some other asian cultures are far more interested in spreading and promoting their arts... almost imperialistically so, perhaps as a matter of national pride. And we Westerners tend to view everything in terms of business.

Then again, my old Chinese Si-fu was also obsessed with building a kung-fu empire and amassing a fortune. So you really can't generalize.
 

oxy

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but that doesn't seem logical for this context.

There's your mistake right there. It's not about what's logical.

The simple thing is either the instructors do not have a sense of their perceived worth and have either priced themselves too high or too low and have not responded accordingly, or they have found that the price they're charging meets their needs.

The mistake of "market forces" is it assumes sell sell sell profit profit profit is the only goal and that market movements are instantaneous.

My LHBF teacher charges significantly less than other schools (it's LHBF for goodness sake) and amazingly people are willing to pay more for karate lessons than LHBF or the 7* Praying Mantis he teaches. But he still finds that his rates meets his personal needs. ie, he has a steady income stream from a proper week job and teaching is just a hobby on the side.

If another teacher charges really high and only has a few students, that might just mean they are happy with the arrangement. Some teachers are just more interested in knowledge than capitalism. Then some teachers are just more interested in money than learning about business. It's not about logic. Or rather, it's about a higher level of logic: not everyone follows trends.
 
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blindsage

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I appreciate your point and agree with it, but you missed my point and took it completely out of context.
 

oxy

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Wasn't your point that Kung Fu economics doesn't seem to follow regular economics?

Having worked in retail for years, now in wholesale buying, and having studied economics as part of my degree in International Political Economy in addition to plenty of reading as a general personal interest, I have some notion of how these things work. Your supreme oversimplification doesn't really answer the question I asked. If you'd like to engage in a discussion of business and economic theory so you could actually explain specifically what factors go into the assumed (on my part) higher prices for IMA, then great, but just saying it's about value doesn't do that. Yes, perceived value can increase the amount people are willing to pay, and there are times when a price below that reduces the number of buyers, but that doesn't seem logical for this context. 99% of the time increased cost reduces the number of buyers, not the goal for most MA instructors in general, especially when there's competition. Now there is the question of costs for the instructor. If IMA instructors typically attract a smaller number of students than another style, then maybe they have to charge more to cover the same costs of doing business. I don't know, but that's part of why I'm asking. I'm not really accusing IMA instructors of anything, I just noticed what seems to be a trend to me, and I'm wondering why this may be.

So don't try that "taking you out of context" stuff with me.

You were very clearly stating that what IMA instructors do seem to go against economic theory.
 

ChukaSifu2

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Unfortunately this is not just in my area. I've noticed in when I've visited other parts of the country or looked at schools online in other areas. This is not uncommon.
I believe part of this may be do to what those teachers or instructors believe what they have to offer is rare to the general public and it commands a higher fee. But hopefully at this point they are teaching it properly as well, and your not just paying the extra money for alot of talk.
You mentioned retail, to me it's like buying a samurai style sword. You can get a sword that has been mass produced and looks of quality and elegance, but what type of steel is it, does it have real ray skin wrap, and so on.
Like the handmade, hand forged one that may look the same, but has so much more time and energy put in it to develope it. Just like the internal arts. It's not just about mimicing movements, it's also about how to combine the internal with external, make them one. The philosophy behind the principles vary from internal to external styles. In a nutshell there is alot of mental, and physical requirements. One of my students went to a Chi Kung seminar in Tai Chi yesterday, and he called me afterwards and made mention that one the the techniques they worked on was a technique that are system also works on, but he said for internal power generation within the form of Tai Chi they were attemping the technique while using proper Don Tien, took 30 steps(concepts) for proper technique, comparred to our 10 steps to apply the same technique. We are an internal style as well, but obviously the Tai Chi is more in depth with the flowing of internal energy. In english, same techniques. Ours quick and powerful. There's a little slower, but more powerful. So i guess, you get what you pay for when it comes to the internal arts. Hope this helped some.
 
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blindsage

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Wasn't your point that Kung Fu economics doesn't seem to follow regular economics?



So don't try that "taking you out of context" stuff with me.

You were very clearly stating that what IMA instructors do seem to go against economic theory.

I was specifically commenting on a previous poster's statement that higher prices for IMA reflect a perceived higher value on the part of the consumer, who then wouldn't consume it at the same level if priced lower. This is an observed phenomenon for some products. I was not saying that IMA doesn't follow regular economics, I was saying that I don't think that the market for IMAs reflect that particular phenomenon, and that the normal supply and demand forces apply, implying that if you priced the product lower more people would consume it.

So, yes, you then saying that my comment about what's 'logical' completely missed the context of the conversation to then make an unrelated point. I still agree with your general assessment of how many IMA instructors decide on their prices. But yes your use of my comment was completely out of context.
 

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