teaching free, just for the love of the art.

dragonswordkata

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I was reading some new threads about teaching, holding back info and getting students into higher fee classes just for the money. This made me reflect on my son's dojo. We both needed places to practice/teach and he fell into a good deal. He found a building that needed work and a company that would pay to fix it if we would teach.soooo
I would teach Kempo and he would teach Judo. The operating costs were still covered as a right off by the company. We got the school going about 7 months ago and we didn't charge anything for our classes till last month. (then the supporting comp wanted to turn a profit).

My point is that I wanted to share my style with others and show the depth and richness it had to offer.
As I exsplain in my classes: this is not only my art, but it is also your art. It is exactly what you put into it. I know about 23 katas/forms, 30 odd combos and kempos, different blocking tecniques but I want more! The learning never ends and it's exciting! I love to share that excitment of knowlidge with others. I ask my students to always look for that passion in what ever they exsplore in life, be it Kempo, music, whatever. Don't worry if you can't do a punch like Bruce Lee, do YOUR best!

We all need to eat and live but when the allmighty $ rules our styles, then the soul of Martial Arts has died.
 

Hand Sword

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OUTSTANDING!!!!!!! Remember, while teaching the material, to teach your students to have the same mindset as you do right now.

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tellner

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I don't know how to say this, but you aren't charging enough.

When we taught for free nobody was interested. When we started charging we got more students than we wanted. Our teacher told us what his teacher told him "You've got to charge them something or they won't take it seriously." There's something about the exchange itself that makes people value it more. It doesn't have to be huge amounts of money. You're always free to slide the scale, take payment in kind or just receive a symbolic gift of hormat. No matter how important it is to you there's a difference between something that you can show up to or not because it's not costing you anything and the same thing if there's some kind of exchange or agreement involved.

Another way our teacher puts it is "The Art is free. I don't charge to provide for the common defense, but my time is worth something." Giving the teacher something is an indication that you value the time he's taking out of whatever he's doing in order to teach you.
 

John Bishop

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Excellent. There still is a lot of instructors around who don't teach for pay. Most traditional "karate clubs" still only collect enough dues to cover the expenses of their training hall, insurance, and equipment.
In fact the largest martial art organization in Japan, "Shorinji Kempo", does not have paid instructors. They're instructors worldwide, are only allowed to charge students enough to cover school expenses.
Pretty easy to keep your standards high when your not depending on tuition to support yourself.
 

Hand Sword

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Tellner, I disagree. I've been working in the past with MANY that could not afford a dojo's tuition, let alone, new sneakers. They loved training! Money, and it's exchange are NOT necessary. It's what's gained in the enviroment, and experience that counts. If It's found beneficial by the students, they will take it seriously, and kep coming back for more.
 

Kacey

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I think there is merit to both sides of this discussion. I teach at a YMCA, and a significant percentage of my students are on scholarship from the Y. There are two distinct groups present in the scholarship students: the ones who show up faithfully and volunteer to do things for the class to make up for the money they're not paying, and the ones who wander in when they feel like it because they're not paying, so they are not particularly invested. I put up with the latter because the former are among the best students I have.

As far as making money goes... any year I break even is a good year for me! But I am not a full-time instructor; I teach twice a week at the Y for a percentage of the dues the class generates, and provide additional instruction at no additional cost for students who request it - but I can do that because I am not dependent on the income from this class to pay my bills.

One caution I will give: get liability insurance. I've never needed mine, and hope to never need it - but accidents happen, and so do scams.
 

ArmorOfGod

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Great work!
I taught for free for about two years. The first year and a half out of a park and the last out of a church gym
What I recieved was far greater than what I gave--and that was from teaching for free.

AoG
 

Hand Sword

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I think there is merit to both sides of this discussion. I teach at a YMCA, and a significant percentage of my students are on scholarship from the Y. There are two distinct groups present in the scholarship students: the ones who show up faithfully and volunteer to do things for the class to make up for the money they're not paying, and the ones who wander in when they feel like it because they're not paying, so they are not particularly invested.

Exactly to my point. the wanderers didn't have the martial arts as a priority overall, except when it outweighed what else was present in their lives at the time to do. Some want hockey, football, etc.. For those with the priority, I guarantee money exchange wouldn't be necessary. Think about it, students will stay out forever shooting hoops, in the batting cages, in the dojo, etc.. out of passion for what they are doing, no paycheck is ever received, still they do the work. From the MA side, Hey, you can't get them all-lol, there will be wanderers, all you can do is talk with them, and see what their passions are.
 

Solidman82

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My former SiFu once told me "You couldn't pay me for what I know. You pay me for my time." If he had charged for what he knew too he wouldn't have had to shut down the school and work 3 jobs to get back on top. Don't let your morals drive you into the ground if you can help it. But as long as you can I agree with teaching for free. I would if I didn't have to pay the rent.
 

bushidomartialarts

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i admire your intent and dedication to the art.

there are too many charlatans out there allowing the dollar to dictate too much of their program.

but let me bring up the other side of the equation.

in all things, professionals do a better job than amateurs. professionals spend their entire workday thinking about and improving in their field. a professional program has the budget to hire excellent staff and give them top-notch training. a professional teacher never comes to work in the evening already tired and cranky from a hard day at their money job. if you charge enough to go full time as a teacher, your program will improve.

provided you don't chase dollars over students.
provided you never test somebody too keep their membership.
provided you keep your joy in the arts even though it's now become your work.

another way to put it. if it costs me ten dollars to help somebody, how many people can i help before i run out of money? BUT if i make ten dollars when i help somebody, then i can help people until i run out of people to help.
 

Iron Leopard

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Almost every teacher in the forums here as taught someone or multiple people for free at some time or another. even if you are in it for the money, there is always one incredible student who can't afford who you teach anyways! I love to teach! If you don't love to teach you shouldn't be an instructor!

that said if you don't like kids you shouldn't run a dojo full time!
 

Iron Leopard

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lol amen to that! I think teaching kids really helped prepare me for parenting!
 

Danjo

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i admire your intent and dedication to the art.

there are too many charlatans out there allowing the dollar to dictate too much of their program.

but let me bring up the other side of the equation.

in all things, professionals do a better job than amateurs. professionals spend their entire workday thinking about and improving in their field. a professional program has the budget to hire excellent staff and give them top-notch training. a professional teacher never comes to work in the evening already tired and cranky from a hard day at their money job. if you charge enough to go full time as a teacher, your program will improve.

provided you don't chase dollars over students.
provided you never test somebody too keep their membership.
provided you keep your joy in the arts even though it's now become your work.

another way to put it. if it costs me ten dollars to help somebody, how many people can i help before i run out of money? BUT if i make ten dollars when i help somebody, then i can help people until i run out of people to help.

I don't think that anyone is arguing that you shouldn't charge enough to meet your expenses, or even have some left over to spend.

The thing is though I have always found that amateurs do a better job if they are doing it out of love. Hobbyists are the ones that are really into something. It's their passion and their escape from the mundane. They do it because they love it. They are passing something on to others that will follow them.

Professionals do get cranky and tired in my experience. They are the first ones to lose their idealism about what they are doing even if they chose their profession based on being able to live their dream. Before I became a public school teacher, I had many idealistic notions of what it would be like. That all flew out the window after I started teaching. Many teachers that want to remain idealistic (and can afford it because their husbands etc. have a really good job) go into the private sector and teach there for a fraction of the money. In other words, the less you have to worry about money, the more idealistic you can afford to be.
 

John Bishop

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if you charge enough to go full time as a teacher, your program will improve.

provided you don't chase dollars over students.
provided you never test somebody too keep their membership.
provided you keep your joy in the arts even though it's now become your work.

Now if all professional instructors kept those 3 things in mind, there wouldn't be a need for the term "McDojo".
 
OP
dragonswordkata

dragonswordkata

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Thank you all. Having such wide and diverse opions and vantage points help us all, helps me, keep focued on higher horizons. I know that for myself, I am honered to have this medium to exspore and learn from.
 

bydand

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ain't that the truth.

my wife and i (who are as yet without kids of our own) refer to our after school karate program as 'parenting boot camp'.

lol amen to that! I think teaching kids really helped prepare me for parenting!



:lfao::lfao::roflmao::rofl: OK.


Sorry, just thinking of my 4 boys and how there isn't a kid in the kids programs who would have prepared us for them. It's different when it's all you 24/7 and you can't ship the mis-behaving little brat home with Mom and Dad because suprise; that's you. And ALL kids mis-behave at times. Even though they are a challange every single day, I wouldn't trade any of them for all the money in the world. As a good friend once said "I wouldn't take a million dollars for any of my kids; but, I wouldn't give you a nickle for another one just like them either." There is a truth to that statement that only a parent will appreciate I think.

Back to the thread though, I think it is great when somebody can teach and pass on their knowledge of their art for free. Those places and people are becoming fewer and further between I think. If you can, :asian: all respect to you. If you can't and have to charge something for your time and building :asian: all respect to you as well. teaching what you believe in and love is a great thing, no matter what side of the fence you are on for payment. Everybody I know who runs a school has a few students who don't pay a dime for training. It is not displayed or shouted from the hilltops, but done quietly and without fanfair as well it should be. I have the highest repsect for instructors in the MA's (at least 90% of them anyway.) :)
 

tellner

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Hand Sword, I think you're missing the point entirely. That's why I said that it can be something other than money and that you're free to slide the scale (all the way to zero). We've had students like that. Heck, we've been students like that. And that's why our Guru and his Guru said "something". Not necessarily a lot, but something. If someone is really poor it doesn't have to and probably shouldn't be money. Some students you take because it's the right thing to do as a human being.

But for most we've found that if they're paying something of worth that they can afford they come to class more often and are more serious. They train more on their own and seem to appreciate the knowledge a bit more.

A lot of traditional Japanese teachers who won't take money for instruction will charge for equipment, upkeep on the dojo and the costs they incur. In Silat the traditional gifts of hormat aren't something that would strain a rural peasant's finances - a knife or needle, a chicken, some cloth, a piece (however tiny) of gold, tobacco. What was more important was what they represented.
 

Hand Sword

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No, I didn't at all. I think you are not thinking into my posts. I think you are taking both sides of the argument, could be nothing, could be something. I'm trying to get around that, and get to the main point. I feel, and have seen, that all of us have some sort of passion. Taking part in it will be done irregardless of money, and the martial arts are no exception. Sure you can charge something, as you say, but, that's charging the "choir" if you get my meaning. They already will be there, the arts is what they want to do, and are happy to pay something, from a hell of a lot, to a little, as we all know. My point is again, Money is irrelevant if we, and they do what they are truly passionate for. If you think differently, then we must agree to disagree, rather than continue to argue this.
 

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