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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
MatsuShinshii wrote:
I don't personally agree with demotions. If they have done something heinous enough to warrant a demotion, IMHO then they deserve to be shown the door.

For one a demotion of rank is perception alone. The student still has the skills and knowledge so the only thing this accomplishes is taking away one belt and replacing it with another. Furthermore the student remains in class (if they do not quit) and at some point I am sure that the instructor will elevate them back up. Thus this is not really a punishment.


I agree. Also, I have an issue with demotion if it involves the physical taking of a belt. The student earned that belt (and likely paid for it), so, to me, taking that away from someone is pretty much theft. If it is something that I felt that I absolutely had to do, I would take to the Grandmaster at the head school about just having the demotion made in the records of the HQ school.


Just out of curiosity: How many schools make students pay for their belts? Our color belts are given to us (no testing fee what so ever.) Black belt testing costs something like $100, but that covers a new uniform, embroidered belt and whatever paperwork our master instructor needs to fill out to register black belts with the WT.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14301
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

singularity6 wrote:
bushido_man96 wrote:
MatsuShinshii wrote:
I don't personally agree with demotions. If they have done something heinous enough to warrant a demotion, IMHO then they deserve to be shown the door.

For one a demotion of rank is perception alone. The student still has the skills and knowledge so the only thing this accomplishes is taking away one belt and replacing it with another. Furthermore the student remains in class (if they do not quit) and at some point I am sure that the instructor will elevate them back up. Thus this is not really a punishment.


I agree. Also, I have an issue with demotion if it involves the physical taking of a belt. The student earned that belt (and likely paid for it), so, to me, taking that away from someone is pretty much theft. If it is something that I felt that I absolutely had to do, I would take to the Grandmaster at the head school about just having the demotion made in the records of the HQ school.


Just out of curiosity: How many schools make students pay for their belts? Our color belts are given to us (no testing fee what so ever.) Black belt testing costs something like $100, but that covers a new uniform, embroidered belt and whatever paperwork our master instructor needs to fill out to register black belts with the WT.

Within the SKKA network, we charged testing fees, which includes belt, for all ranks. Black belt testing fees were based on the Dan being tested for.

That was then; during the USA Great Recession, which lasted from 2007-2013. We, the SKKA, suspended all testing fees until further notice. In my own dojo, I went a step further by completely eliminating all testing fees forever, which removed that annual revenue in the neighborhood of 40K!! Shortly thereafter, the SKKA voted to completely eliminate all testing fees forever. That decision has cost the SKKA an annual revenue of mid-upper 6 figures...however, the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one; that decision , for the SKKA and myself and other SKKA affiliated dojo's was a no-brainer. Not one dojo within the SKKA network has testing fees!!



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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2350
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

singularity6 wrote:
bushido_man96 wrote:
MatsuShinshii wrote:
I don't personally agree with demotions. If they have done something heinous enough to warrant a demotion, IMHO then they deserve to be shown the door.

For one a demotion of rank is perception alone. The student still has the skills and knowledge so the only thing this accomplishes is taking away one belt and replacing it with another. Furthermore the student remains in class (if they do not quit) and at some point I am sure that the instructor will elevate them back up. Thus this is not really a punishment.


I agree. Also, I have an issue with demotion if it involves the physical taking of a belt. The student earned that belt (and likely paid for it), so, to me, taking that away from someone is pretty much theft. If it is something that I felt that I absolutely had to do, I would take to the Grandmaster at the head school about just having the demotion made in the records of the HQ school.


Just out of curiosity: How many schools make students pay for their belts? Our color belts are given to us (no testing fee what so ever.) Black belt testing costs something like $100, but that covers a new uniform, embroidered belt and whatever paperwork our master instructor needs to fill out to register black belts with the WT.


All schools that I personally have experience with charge for testing in one way or another. The ones that donít roll it into a long-term contract that includes tuition and testing fees up to a certain rank/time period.

My school charges testing fees. The way I look at it, itís part of the cost of attendance. If my CI didnít charge it, Iíd have to pay more in monthly tuition. Every business has a bottom line that needs to be met. One way or another they either meet it or close.

Hereís an analogy...
My father owns an auto repair shop. He charges labor and makes a profit on parts. If he didnít make profit from the parts, heíd have to charge more for labor; if he didnít charge labor, heíd have to make up that money in parts. Whichever you look at it, he needs a certain dollar amount for each job. Thereís a trend lately where people want to supply their own parts to try and save money. My father charges time and a half in labor when people do that (he makes it clear). When they ask why, he tells them he needs to make a certain amount of money on each job to make it worth his time, regardless of if the money comes from labor or parts profit.

Belt testing fees are the same thing. If you need $10k to cover your rent, that $10k will have to come from students no matter which way you break it down - tuition, testing, equipment sales, whatever.
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2350
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me put this in another way. Itís overly simplified...

Letís say I need $1200 per year per student to keep the doors open and my students and I are happy with the arrangement. I could charge $100 per month and eliminate testing fees. Or I could charge $75 per month, and charge $75 for tests 4 times a year. Which ever way I do it, itís $1200 per year. Some people think theyíre getting a better deal with lower tuition; others think itís better to not charge testing fees. Either way, the cost of attending is still $1200 per year.
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're full time job is teaching then I absolutely understand testing fees (to an extent).

I have never paid for a grading test in my organization over the past 40 years. Why? Because my Shinshii looks at teaching as a passion rather than a job. He holds down a full time job and what he charges is to pay rent, utilities, and misc. supplies like belts and certificates, etc. When I started he was charging $10 a month. Prior to retiring he was charging $54 a month.

I do not charge a testing fee for gradings. But I have a full time job that pays my bills and then some so I do not have to. When I was renting space I charged enough to keep the doors open and the lights on (easy calculation - rent,utilitie and misc. expenses / number of students = each students monthly due). I personally would not feel right to charge for something that has already been paid for. I feel that the student, through the monthly fee's, has paid for my teaching. They earn the belt. I do not sell belts nor rank. Because of this I would never charge a student to test nor to receive what they have already earned. But that is my personal feelings.

Having said this and being in business for my self in an unrelated business and understanding expense, and profit, I understand the need to charge an amount that not only pays the rent, utilities and supplies but also puts a pay check in your pocket to pay bills. And again I have no issue with this.

Making a living to support your family is the right thing to do and if you are teaching as your sole means of doing so then I understand the practice of charging for testing along with monthly dues and find nothing wrong with it. In fact I support it in this circumstance.

My biggest issues are those schools that rip off their students/instructors and their sole purpose is making money. It's a business not a Dojo. The ones that I am talking about are those that have their instructors/ assistant instructors volunteering (perk they get to teach and use the Dojo for free, yeah!) their time but in yet the owner is charging large monthly fee's, testing fee's, forcing their students to buy books and video's from them to get to the next grade and to top it off forcing students to buy their uniforms, belts, and equipment form them as well at a hefty mark up. Oh and I forgot, twice the number of belts and tests to obtain what you could have with half that in another school within the same art. In other words a McDojo.

I have never forced a student to buy uniforms or belts from me either. It is their choice to have me get their Obi/Gi or buy them from another source. The only exception is the Yudansha grades. I send notice to the Hombu that a student has passed their grading for a Yudansha grade and they send me an embroidered Obi with their name, grade and art on it. All Mudansha belts are their choice to get or to get them through me/organization.

I have also never forced a student to buy or spend money on anything to receive a grade. I think it is ridiculous to force a student to pay for this or that or not be able to test. This IS a scam and a pure money making scheme. This is a McDojo period.

Maybe others feel differently but for me personally I don't teach to make money but to pass on what was passed down to me. To me it's a responsibility that I have to both my instructors who taught me and to the art itself. Having said that if I were teaching to support my family I would not have an issue charging higher monthly fee's but still would not charge for tests. Just the way I was brought up in the arts I guess.

There is a magic number of students needed to pay the rent/utilities and supplies. There is also a magic number of students to pay for the instructor should it be their full time job to live on. There is a certain dollar amount that each student would need to pay in order to make this happen. It's simple math. If you need to charge for tests along with monthly dues in order to reach that magic number, I see nothing wrong with doing so. However it's those that reach that number and go far beyond it and then start to increase their dues and start to charge for everything under the sun that I do not see eye to eye with.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please don't get me wrong... I'm not opposed to schools charging for services! In fact, most of them should charge (especially if it's the primary source of income for the instructor.)

I feel lucky to have found the school I'm in. Everyone who's teaching is doing so because they're doing what they love, and it's not their primary source of income. If memory serves, I believe rent for the gym we rent out is less than $400 per year. We lose maybe 10 classes per year due to the church needing the gym for other things and holidays, but overall, it's a sweet deal!
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1710

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It isnít right to deny anyone the right to earn an honest living. Having said this, what is considered an honest living depends a great deal on several factors mentioned by others here. Things like the state of the economy, the cost of living and whether or not the dojo/school is the primary source of income. Even when the instructor has other work, there still are cost for upkeep. Rent, utilities, maintenance and equipment often cost most of the total earnings.

A truly passionate and dedicated instructor might even be willing to personally pay some of those costs just to keep the the doors open and continue to teach if fees are not enough. Students will never be told, though.

In Okinawa, the cradle of karate, this is widespread. The majority of instructors there work full time at various jobs and run their dojo in the evenings. Very few are lucky enough to own their training space and have to pay rent and buy equipment. Things are the same on mainland Japan and in urbanized areas or large cities such as Tokyo, a small dojo(enough space for 12-15 students) can cost as much as 3000US$ just for rent. As expected, the fees match the cost of living.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14301
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspended, then eliminated any and all testing fees because I consider the MA as a want, and not a need.

I wanted to demonstrate to my student body that they are more important to me, than money. Money, during the recession I spoke of in my last post, was difficult for many of my students to make ends meet.

Not only did I eliminate testing fees, I also lowered the overall tuition pricing structure to the bare bone lowest possible.

I've not looked back since!!




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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
I suspended, then eliminated any and all testing fees because I consider the MA as a want, and not a need.

I wanted to demonstrate to my student body that they are more important to me, than money. Money, during the recession I spoke of in my last post, was difficult for many of my students to make ends meet.

Not only did I eliminate testing fees, I also lowered the overall tuition pricing structure to the bare bone lowest possible.

I've not looked back since!!





Yeah, I'm fairly sure our master instructor writes things off as a loss in his taxes. The service he provides to the area, in my opinion is invaluable. I hope to maybe carry that same torch, one day.
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spartacus Maximus,

You are correct that most Okinawan's have full time jobs. Most teach in a make shift Dojo in there homes or as an outbuilding on their property. Others have small Dojo's that they rent and finally you have those that own their own space and teach full time. The later is not common.

My Shinshii adopted this methodology and worked full time, taught at night out of his pole barn. Monthly dues were cheap and we never paid for testings.

I have carried this on myself.

However as I said before there is nothing wrong with keeping the doors open and making a fair living. Of course this is subjective to each person as far as what fair means.
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