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Wado Heretic
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 23 May 2014
Posts: 492
Location: United Kingdom, England, Shropshire
Styles: Wado-Ryu , Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu (Kodokan), RyuKyu Kobojutsu

PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before concluding belt factory or not, or whether prices are unreasonable, one needs to consider if it is a commercial school that is renting, or hiring, the teaching space it utilises.

Often, teachers who run a commercial school in a rented space will have higher fees due to the use of monthly membership fees. However, these membership fees often only cover the expense of renting and running the space, with not a vast amount of money left over for the person running the school. One can therefore see grading fees, and the like, as one might see the commission model many car dealerships run with their sales personnel. It is the grading where most school operators make their money, not the regular membership fees. Also, grading processes often have more material costs than running a class or sessions; one has to purchase belts and print certificates for example.

Similar situations are true of clubs run out of hired facilities, but can often be cheaper, as the session costs need only cover the expenses or hiring the space for an hour or two, and any costs the instructor incurs such as fuel costs. The difference amounts to whether the instructor is running a business, which a commercial dojo is, or running a club.

Once one makes that discernment, and then takes into consideration the locality of the club or dojo assessing the cost is easier. If one is running a place in a more affluent locality, then you are going to put the price up as you are likely to be having to pay greater costs yourself, and vice versa.

Saying all that though; the quality of the services provided should be a consideration. If you are attending a dojo, and paying the costs you might pay for round the clock use of a gym, you should perhaps be expecting round the clock access to the dojo, and not just at session times. Furthermore, you should be asking if the services provided are true to what is advertised. If you are getting what you pay for, then I do not think one can complain too much.

I trained, and was assistant instructor for several years, at both a gym which offered karate sessions, and a karate club run out of a hired space at a leisure centre. At the gym, there was a choice of pay as you go, monthly membership (Which was a bargain if you attended every session during the week), and grading was a very regular event occurring every four months. In comparison, at the club it was always pay as you attend, and a grading was held whenever there were enough people ready to make it worth it. So, the pressures of keeping a commercial space really do affect the service provided by a martial arts instructor, and the costs involved.

I only teach adults now, and pretty much out of my back garden. The only sessions I hire a space for are our kumite sessions for safety reasons, and I rarely hold a formal grading; I prefer to just give people the belt they deserve when they show they deserve it during training. Only issue is I have to tell the person I wish to promote them, and have to ask if I should buy them a belt and produce a certificate, or they wish to get the belt themselves; which leads to me having to ask for 5 or them spending it themselves some where. I only award five belt colours; green, blue, purple, brown, and black, and I have a pretty good method for dying white belts green, and I also accept belts back for reissuing if they are in a good enough state after a thorough wash. I do not accept my dye job green belts back, or brown belts; they usually have too much wear and tear, and collected grime to be hygienic or expected to survive the wrath of a second wear through. I only run a kumite session if enough people tell me they will attend to cover the cost of hiring the space we use for that particular week, and I only charge 2 to 3:50, depending on how many sign up.
So, one can really cut down costs for their students if they want, but inevitably there are costs to be met, and if one owns a dojo, the costs to be met get ever larger.
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Luther unleashed
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 661
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, bushido man was the first one a few pages back (yup I skimmed the entire 4 pages) to ask about the instruction. I'm surprised everybody just went for cost and never thought if the services may be worth it. I'll put it out there how I do it, and maybe some will think of me as a Mcdojo and I can except others opinions.

My monthly tuition is only $45.00 per month if you are a city resident. I receive $40.00 of this and the recreation center the other $5.00. It's a pretty good deal for the area, I turned down an opportunity at another location where the rec center wanted 30%. As most of you know $45.00 is much cheaper then the average. I have lived in a few states from Nevada, California, Illinois, a few others and now in the Phoenix area for some years now. I think finding a place under $100.00 is hard to do.

I charge $40.00 for a color belt testing. I'm surprise so many think it's high. I do of course have to consider I make less then half of the average dojang so it should be more reasonable that my testings are a bit more but either way, should I not be paid for my time on a day there is a testing being held? I read a few that stated that their instructor doesn't charge for color testings and that black belt testing fees just cover the cost. Well, I wonder if my students want a place to train next month because I love what I do and I'd do it for free if I could but I can't. It's America and I have a family to feed as well and I don't see anything wrong with making a living teaching martial arts. I don't use tape, always a belt but the cost covers certificate, belt, the board they break and my time to be there. You pay the mechanic to fix your car and we don't think our karate/martial arts instructors deserve to be compensated? I'm left with about $25 dollars per student after testing material. That's 40 for the monthly tuition and 25 for testing which is 2 to 3 months depending. I left a career as a mechanic and hurting my back to the point of physical therapy to teach and go after a 20 year old childhood dream, why should I not be payed a fair amount for services?

Old post but I see nothing wrong with the prices, I mean black belt fees for me are $200.00. Ouch I know, but after the boards required to perform breaks and speed breaks, a new custom uniform from Korea and custom black belt from Korea I'm left with maybe $50.00. $200.00 sounds like a lot, what about $50.00, does $50.00 seem like a rip off to compensate your instructor to drive to the dojang/dojo and create the environment where you test, to keep it moving with a high level of energy, sick, not sick, being dependable for his students? We'll that depends on weather he makes it worth it doesn't it? It's not like I am going to test more then 2 or 3 tops at a time for black belt. I will say 400 is high but if you must know the price at the most recent place I trained was $300, instruction Was great and I didn't hesitate because TO ME it was with the price.

I read once before...
Students conversation with his teacher.
STUDENT: sensei, why do you allow some students to train if they don't work hard, and have attitude problems.
TEACHER: I allow them to train here so that I can afford a place to teach students like you!

Money also pays for equipment, and many other things so we shouldn't be so harsh On A school that asks us to pay, it takes money to run a Buisness and if the services are quality it's a no-brained, not a MCDOJO!

I payed for an iPad which is actually where I do all of my Buisness stuff, I built a website, and Buisness cards and I make short commercials and many other things on it. Maybe the grandmother up the street would feel that an iPad for $500.00 dollars is a MCIPAD, but to me it's worth the cost.

You guys see what I'm trying to get at here? Sorry for the novel guys, just get into some of these topics lol
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JR 137
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2442
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything, yet the value of nothing"
- Oscar Wilde
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 16104
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When the economic downturn hit a few years ago in the USA, I ended testing fees permanently. Then, as Kaicho, I did the same thing for our Hombu!!

Both had overhead, but this is to be expected for any business, and yes, my dojo AND the Hombu IS a business! That's how we/I have treated them for as long as we/I can remember.



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JR 137
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2442
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
When the economic downturn hit a few years ago in the USA, I ended testing fees permanently. Then, as Kaicho, I did the same thing for our Hombu!!

Both had overhead, but this is to be expected for any business, and yes, my dojo AND the Hombu IS a business! That's how we/I have treated them for as long as we/I can remember.




If you didn't treat it as a business, their would be no dojo. I don't know why people have such a hard time with people trying to earn a living. There is a ton of greed in every field, but people have the idea that every penny that a business takes in goes right into the pocket of someone who doesn't need it.

My father has owned his own auto repair shop for going on 40 years now. Everyone thinks he owes it to them to fix their car for free so they can get to work. A regular customer started making stupid comments one day about labor rates. My father pointed to his tool box and said "That alone cost me about $100k to fill. Do you think $10 an hour is going to cover it?"

Another one of his favorites: "How would you feel if your boss tried to work out a deal every week when he hands you your paycheck?"
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 16104
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
sensei8 wrote:
When the economic downturn hit a few years ago in the USA, I ended testing fees permanently. Then, as Kaicho, I did the same thing for our Hombu!!

Both had overhead, but this is to be expected for any business, and yes, my dojo AND the Hombu IS a business! That's how we/I have treated them for as long as we/I can remember.




If you didn't treat it as a business, their would be no dojo. I don't know why people have such a hard time with people trying to earn a living. There is a ton of greed in every field, but people have the idea that every penny that a business takes in goes right into the pocket of someone who doesn't need it.

My father has owned his own auto repair shop for going on 40 years now. Everyone thinks he owes it to them to fix their car for free so they can get to work. A regular customer started making stupid comments one day about labor rates. My father pointed to his tool box and said "That alone cost me about $100k to fill. Do you think $10 an hour is going to cover it?"

Another one of his favorites: "How would you feel if your boss tried to work out a deal every week when he hands you your paycheck?"

Solid post!!



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CredoTe
Red Belt
Red Belt

Joined: 26 Jul 2013
Posts: 776
Location: Ohio, USA
Styles: Matsubayashi-Ryu (Shorin-Ryu), Hung Gar (Hung Siu Lum)

PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
JR 137 wrote:
sensei8 wrote:
When the economic downturn hit a few years ago in the USA, I ended testing fees permanently. Then, as Kaicho, I did the same thing for our Hombu!!

Both had overhead, but this is to be expected for any business, and yes, my dojo AND the Hombu IS a business! That's how we/I have treated them for as long as we/I can remember.




If you didn't treat it as a business, their would be no dojo. I don't know why people have such a hard time with people trying to earn a living. There is a ton of greed in every field, but people have the idea that every penny that a business takes in goes right into the pocket of someone who doesn't need it.

My father has owned his own auto repair shop for going on 40 years now. Everyone thinks he owes it to them to fix their car for free so they can get to work. A regular customer started making stupid comments one day about labor rates. My father pointed to his tool box and said "That alone cost me about $100k to fill. Do you think $10 an hour is going to cover it?"

Another one of his favorites: "How would you feel if your boss tried to work out a deal every week when he hands you your paycheck?"

Solid post!!




Absolutely... Agreed
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29847
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luther unleashed wrote:
So, bushido man was the first one a few pages back (yup I skimmed the entire 4 pages) to ask about the instruction. I'm surprised everybody just went for cost and never thought if the services may be worth it. I'll put it out there how I do it, and maybe some will think of me as a Mcdojo and I can except others opinions.

My monthly tuition is only $45.00 per month if you are a city resident. I receive $40.00 of this and the recreation center the other $5.00. It's a pretty good deal for the area, I turned down an opportunity at another location where the rec center wanted 30%. As most of you know $45.00 is much cheaper then the average. I have lived in a few states from Nevada, California, Illinois, a few others and now in the Phoenix area for some years now. I think finding a place under $100.00 is hard to do.

I charge $40.00 for a color belt testing. I'm surprise so many think it's high. I do of course have to consider I make less then half of the average dojang so it should be more reasonable that my testings are a bit more but either way, should I not be paid for my time on a day there is a testing being held? I read a few that stated that their instructor doesn't charge for color testings and that black belt testing fees just cover the cost. Well, I wonder if my students want a place to train next month because I love what I do and I'd do it for free if I could but I can't. It's America and I have a family to feed as well and I don't see anything wrong with making a living teaching martial arts. I don't use tape, always a belt but the cost covers certificate, belt, the board they break and my time to be there. You pay the mechanic to fix your car and we don't think our karate/martial arts instructors deserve to be compensated? I'm left with about $25 dollars per student after testing material. That's 40 for the monthly tuition and 25 for testing which is 2 to 3 months depending. I left a career as a mechanic and hurting my back to the point of physical therapy to teach and go after a 20 year old childhood dream, why should I not be payed a fair amount for services?

Old post but I see nothing wrong with the prices, I mean black belt fees for me are $200.00. Ouch I know, but after the boards required to perform breaks and speed breaks, a new custom uniform from Korea and custom black belt from Korea I'm left with maybe $50.00. $200.00 sounds like a lot, what about $50.00, does $50.00 seem like a rip off to compensate your instructor to drive to the dojang/dojo and create the environment where you test, to keep it moving with a high level of energy, sick, not sick, being dependable for his students? We'll that depends on weather he makes it worth it doesn't it? It's not like I am going to test more then 2 or 3 tops at a time for black belt. I will say 400 is high but if you must know the price at the most recent place I trained was $300, instruction Was great and I didn't hesitate because TO ME it was with the price.

I read once before...
Students conversation with his teacher.
STUDENT: sensei, why do you allow some students to train if they don't work hard, and have attitude problems.
TEACHER: I allow them to train here so that I can afford a place to teach students like you!

Money also pays for equipment, and many other things so we shouldn't be so harsh On A school that asks us to pay, it takes money to run a Buisness and if the services are quality it's a no-brained, not a MCDOJO!

I payed for an iPad which is actually where I do all of my Buisness stuff, I built a website, and Buisness cards and I make short commercials and many other things on it. Maybe the grandmother up the street would feel that an iPad for $500.00 dollars is a MCIPAD, but to me it's worth the cost.

You guys see what I'm trying to get at here? Sorry for the novel guys, just get into some of these topics lol


I agree with your post here. $45 a month for classes is a good deal these days. Our school charges more than that, and testings get more expensive than you've mentioned for yours, especially at the higher black belt ranks, but those are controlled by the HQ school, not ours.

I also agree with you that if you believe you are providing a quality program, that there is no reason that a school owner should not allow himself to be compensated for the work put in to run things. An MA instructor shouldn't have to work another full time job just to run a dojo for no profit another 20 to 40 hours per week.
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Nijil Jacob
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 09 Mar 2015
Posts: 7
Location: India
Styles: Shito-Ryu

PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:04 am    Post subject: Re: Belt tests...too often. Reply with quote

FangPwnsAll7 wrote:
There is something I just thought about, and I think belt tests at my dojo are held too often. Every 3 months, there is a new belt test. I'm going to post how the belts in my school go. You pay for belt tests and the prices are as follows. I have a feeling I might be going to a McDojo. It costs $1260 each year you go in the dojo.

The youngest person in my dojo I saw with a black belt on was 5 years old. You have to know all of the forms, long distance, and you have to say some of the body parts in Korean. My instructor says that it takes 4 years to get a black belt there. Of course, he also mentioned that you have to pay $400 to actually take the black belt test.

Yes, I admit I do take these belt tests every time their held.

Belt System
White Belt [$60]
Yellow Belt [3 months, $30]
Orange Belt [3 months, $30]
Orange Belt w/ 1 green stripe [3 months, $30]
Green Belt [3 months, $30 + $15 for lapel]
Green Belt w/ 1 red stripe [3 months, $30]
Green Belt w/ 2 red stripes [3 months, $30]
Red Belt [3 months, $30 + $15 for lapel]
Red Belt w/ 1 blue stripe [6 months, $30]
Red Belt w/ 2 blue stripes [6 months, $30]
Blue Belt [6 months, $30]
Blue Belt w/ 1 white stripe [6 months, $30]
Black Belt [1 year, $400]

Your thoughts?


Well... not considering the price, you could say they are just taking gradings more often to check if students are getting on with what is being taught. The amount of time to get to black belt is in the required boundary, Considering the fact that there is enough time in between for learning katas, perfecting stances, understanding concepts and kihon.

I am not fit to judge money wise, because I am not from the particular region or even dojo. Every dojo has its own circumstances, The sensei might have to pay a large amount as rent, or maybe money for their certification or things like maintaining the dojo.

If it doesn't have any of these other needs to fulfill their is a possibility of it being a McDojo or Money minded martial artist.
It is to be said to ensure that he is a certified instructor before joining.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 16104
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

$400 for a Shodan testing cycle?!?!? Holy Gouge, Batman!! It's JUST a belt, some little paperwork, and some time!! Time and paperwork are not worth $300+!! All of these are only tangible things!!

So, $30 each for all kyu testing cycles!?! OK...I must be missing something...let's see...hhhhmmmmm...same belt material, just different colors....same time and same paperwork...

A $370 increase from Ikkyu to Shodan...I wasn't aware that the market demanded that type of increase with the same tangible items.

I know it's whatever the market can bear, and allow. $400 is quite a lot to bear and allow!!

Imho!!



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