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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1888

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2023 9:12 pm    Post subject: teaching for free(almost) Reply with quote

Do you or does anyone you know teach for free or almost free such as not making any personal profit? For example if any money generated is spent to maintain the school running(rent, basic utilities), buy training equipment, etc.

This is obviously less than ideal for anyone who wants to make their teaching primary income. But there must be others like myself who would be happy just to have a place to train themselves and share martial arts with others. Outdoor public places like parks are not an option because eventually, any decent training will require at least basic equipment or training tools that might not be practical to carry or use outdoors every time. Weather is also constantly an issue if it means not having access for months.

If you are or if you know such a teacher, what kind of location(assuming it is indoors and isnít your own building)do you teach from and how did you find it? What sort of agreement (rent, membership, exchange of services etc) is there with the owner party for having access and using it? Maybe itís somewhere uncommon or unexpected that is different from the obvious places one might look such as public sports gyms or community centre. Anyoneís ideas and experiences are most welcome. Hopefully someone out there has thought of some type of place to run a school that I have never did before.
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ashworth
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 13 Nov 2006
Posts: 695
Location: UK
Styles: Shotokan, IJR Karate, Iaido, Kobudo

PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2023 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I am like that. To be honest my class has been running at a lose for a little while, never wanted to put pressure on my passion by trying to make an income from it. I'm just happy doing karate and passing it onto others.

I'm friendly with an Aikido group in the area and they rent us their dojo for a decent rate.

I have also used space at my work to run a session for someone, (but this is a small space and only big enough for 1 on 1 sessions. The space was an empty office at our company, which they allowed me to turn into a gym, have various equipment in there but have recently moved a few things around to provide more floor space, mainly for myself and my own training, but I do have the option to run a private session there if needed.
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Ashley Aldworth

Train together, Learn together, Succeed together...
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Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 2242
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2023 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I teach for free at the moment, just to get a base and some practice. It's only to friends and their kids, and I've been clear that if they invite anyone that those people will be paying. Right now, I teach out of my home or my friend's home. I've looked at some rec centers but right now I only have 3 students so I just keep it simple.
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Martial arts training is 30% classroom training, 70% solo training.

https://www.instagram.com/nordic_karate/
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aurik
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 458
Location: Denver, CO
Styles: Shuri-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu

PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2023 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have trained with a Uechi-Ryu club in San Jose that teaches for a very minimal fee. It's run out of a local youth center, and the instructors have full-time day jobs, so they don't need the money. It was a fun casual group of people who I learned quite a bit from.
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Shuri-Ryu 1996-1997 - Gokyu
Judo 1996-1997 - Yonkyu
Uechi-Ryu 2018-Present - Nidan
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RJCKarate
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 19 Jun 2006
Posts: 100
Location: Australia
Styles: Matsubayashiryu Karatedo Kobujutsu / Yamaneryu Kobudo

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2023 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always find this topic to be interesting. I operate a not-for-profit club which means that surplus made goes back into the dojo - we use it to run community events, purchase equipment, and essentially run a 'full time' dojo similar to any other commercial facility, except, our focus is community and no profits can be drawn from the funds.

However, a few years ago we made the decision -- on the basis we wanted to be professional and align with how many other NFPs run -- to employ paid instructors. This meant that it rewarded them for their dedication, added responsibility that was needed to ensure we have consistency for our students, and also actually met expectations of our students (they thought people were paid) - especially me as the head instructor. I teach 15 hours a week and spend at least 10 hours a week on admin and did this while maintaining a FT job for a long time.

Now, I still maintain my FT job (which is a different business I own) but with being a paid instructor, this gives me added time to give to the dojo, and ultimately benefits them.

This has allowed us to grow into a fully-dedicated and purposely designed facility, meaning that we can do what we want, when we want, how we want. It gives us capacity to also preserve the cultural heritage and education my teachers have handed down. We do month-to-month fees (and we're very low - around 50% of our competitors), and no contracts.


I know it's not exactly what you asked, however, I feel passionate about the martial arts and often think as instructors we undervalue ourselves, and ultimately undervalue the impact of the industry we're in.

Best for the future.
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Reece Cummings
Kodokan Cummings Karate Dojo
5th Dan, Matsubayashiryu (Shorinryu) Karatedo Kobujutsu
1st Dan, Yamaneryu Kobudo
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"Even after many years, kata practice is never finished, for there is always something new to be learned about executing a movement" Osensei Shoshin Nagamine
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 16246
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2023 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For as long as I can remember, I've known of many of my students who teach/taught for free at various venues, most often at their church. Any and all of the money they/they'd earn went 100% back into supporting their school. Takes money to survive, but it doesn't take money to make money especially when every dollar earned doesn't go into the CI's pockets.

Even the most basics of necessities require a cash flow. After all, the students are reaping the benefits of the CI's knowledge, experience, and time.

I've even known of a few of my students that don't ask for a dime whatsoever. They've the space to hold classes, so that's exactly what they do...teach!! Those Ci's pay for everything that's needed out of their own pockets without batting an eyelash.

I commend them wholeheartedly for their dedication to their students and to upholding that which the floor requires.

Me. Well, I've ran a for-profit dojo and supply store forever and a day of which has been quite cost-effective. I've taught at my students' non-profit schools many, many times for free because I sincerely believe in what it is that they're doing. I have a soft spot.

I respect those CI's that run a non-profit school because they fulfill a very necessary need within their community.



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Montana
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 861
Location: Formerly Kalispell, Montana, now Spokane, WA
Styles: Shorin Ryu Matsumura Kenpo & Kobudo

PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2023 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My original sensei charged a whopping $30/month for the first couple of years. He taught in his living room of a 1 bedroom duplex. When he bought a house he had a small single car garage that we insulated and tossed old carpets on the floor (it was in Montana and the winters are COOOOOLD!)

After a year or so he decided to teach for free because he had a good job and didn't need the money.

Our small class of about 15 students dropped the first month down to maybe 10, the next month down to about 7.

What we found out is that if people don't have anything invested ($$$) in their training, most put no value in it. Personally, I loved it because I was a poor college student! lol

I taught in many different locations, but my favorite was in my basement when I had full control, no rent, easy access, etc. I liked a small class and had around 15 students, which was good. Quality over quantity.
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Student since January 1975---4th Dan, retired due to non-martial arts related injuries.
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DarthPenguin
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 03 Dec 2021
Posts: 722
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Styles: Shotokan, Judo, BJJ

PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2023 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it can vary a lot depending on area and style plus what is expected.

As an example i pay a lot more for my bjj club than any other style but that is expected - usually it costs more than other styles but there is usually a lot more class availability and more often than not it is a full time instructor and people can train 7 days per week. I contrast that with my karate club which is a second activity for the instructor who does an excellent job of teaching 5 sessions a week and you pay as you go, with it being a lower headline number, though the actual per session prices are not that different to BJJ classes and BJJ can work out less if you train loads per week. Judo was the cheapest i found.

Where i am you typically would expect karate/judo/taekwondo to be taught in a sports hall or church hall for per class fees of £5-£8 with BJJ being in a BJJ gym and it being monthly fees of £50-£70 depending on planned attendance, with pay as you go for something like £10.

Most non-bjj or mma instructors here are teaching from passion and the costs are usually just to cover the hall rental and if any left over then they make something, but bjj and mma are more of a job/business for the coach.
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