I'd say it comes from the insane need a kind person has to spread the knowledge that gives them enlightenment. We talk about how martial arts influences our lives enough, and refusing someone instruction denies them our passion when they're even willing to learn.
It's like spoiling a movie. You want to tell someone the plot twist because it made you go "WOW HOLY ****," and you want them to experience the same feeling as soon as possible, not when they get around to seeing the movie. Or you're just an asshole, but that would kinda ruin my point.
Part of it is also an investment in the future. If a kid's good, he might be worth keeping around - a good fighter coming from a gym can be worth WAY more then one tuition.
Or if someone, say, starts when they are 15 and is pretty good when they hit that broke ass 18 year old phase . . . well, if tuition is 50 bucks a month, and you as the instructor value your time at, say 150 bucks a day, if the kid can give you one day off a week plus a little cleaning, you are MAKING 350 bucks in saved wages a month by having the kid around. It's actually a damn good deal for both people.
But, al, I like your kindess explanation better.
Last edited by JohnnyCache; 7/14/2005 2:59am at .
Plus the "kid" thats cleaning the gym or whatever or sweeping the floors isnt freeloading but paying his way... (pretty much what JC said)...
Originally Posted by Osiris
And the debt isnt or shouldnt be at least, accruing... hes working it off... if not him/her then the instructor would just have to pay a cleaner or do it themselves... freeloading is different from barter...
"If you can get it from my kungfu grip then you can have it... otherwise... step off b*t*h!!!" - Meet the Parents
"Hetero or Homo I don't see anyone telling him, "NO SIR I WILL NOT TAKE IT IN THE ASS!!!" " - Asia
"My neighbor has what he calls an "immortality potion" that will let you live forever.
People have been telling him that it's stupid and will not work... for 1200 years." - Leodom
Expect Death - read in a book
this is actually a very real possibility. a personal anecdote. when my first school closed all the students started looking around for a place to train. some went to a real mcdojo down the street. i figured i trained with these guys for years, might as well see what the mcdojo had to offer. in talking to the owner i mentioned i was a black belt from "that other school down the street that just closed", the guy's eyes lit up. he was damn near bending over backwards to give me an offer that i could live with (being a broke ass 17 year old and my dad not up to paying a crapload/month). (the guy wasn't a good teacher so he eventually sold the place to my current teacher, but that's another story for another time)
Originally Posted by JohnnyCache
if you think you are paying for too much, just find a non commerical school. you will find somone who trains for the love of the art/excercise and not for the money, along with students of a similiar mindset.
i personally teach out of my garage and a local park.
i have looked into renting space somewhere, or subletting at a school, but it is way too much money.
the best gig is to open a club and gain part time employment at a local university, because you can get paid and get health benefits as well.
100 student's paying $100 per month is 120,000 a year, not 10,000 a year.
Good post Sam Browning, thanks. I may pick up a copy of Massie's book.
And interesting stuff guys. I've been thinking about and dealing with this a lot lately.
Ming Loyalist nailed it as far as the insane overhead costs involved with running a school in an expensive city. It should be criminal what they charge for real estate prices here in Boston. We had to comprimise on the size of our place to remain downtown, and there are also a lot of strict zoning and code issues that limit choices even more.
Katana is in the right track as far as cost breakdown and business expenses go. With the new generation of the business, we havent gone around enough times to average things over a significant time period with our own gym, and sharing space before was a considerably different equation.
So far insurance has been cheaper than we thought *knock on wood* and is factored into the cost of tuition. Paying laywers to review real estate and legal matters is an additional cost. Materials may cost that much if cardio equipment upkeep is factored in (which we don't have any right now..) , replacing mats, broken mirrors, worn out thai pads, broken bags (we just busted one last night) all add up. Computer system setup and upkeep along with materials like credit card machine, laminators for ID's and such. Utilities, basic cleaning and maintainance expenses add up, we spend a lot a home depot and costco. Money for advertising, graphics, signage, marketing is a significant expense too. And where we're located we're constantly worried about being broken into and robbed, so we'll probably need to buy more insurance and add monthly alarm/security system expense.
We know we charge too little right now, but we wanted to retain our old client base through the transition and grandfather them in before we raise prices. Most of our old students are good personal friends of ours too. And many are not wealthy, a lot of college students and city kids, not exactly the wealthy soccer-mom crowd to tap into. Many of our less affluent students are our best assets too, the ones who may go out and win for us. Just like JohnnyCashe said, our talented fighters with good training ethics are WAAAY more valuable to the school than what we'd charge them for tuition; in fact, team fighters/competitors get a greatly reduced rate, and some may train free if they instruct, or even get profit sharing.
Its all a balancing act really. Right now we are charging $70/mo for unlimited classes (currently 18 classes per week, every day execpt sunday) and people are welcome to use the gym when ever we are around to manage, which is often, but not full time. We all have other jobs and careers too to focus on too. We will charge more once we tap into the more affluent crowd, but we have to take care not to squander what we have now, which makes it all possible.
We're going to start a more cardio oriented lunchtime kickboxing class to go after the yuppy crowd, will be solid technique, but not intimidating to them or overly technical either adn geared towards fitness, not application. $12/day. They can join the other classes if and when they want more. We need to focus on advertising for that to get it jump-started. There is significant competition here too (not specific, but general), we are right on the edge of Chinatown... a few days ago i was spending my lunch break passing out flyers at downtown crossing, a zoo of people, this other dude was passing out flyers across the street from me for a while, evently we crossed pathes, i glanced at his flyers and he was advertising a nearby kung fu school too. A fight ensued. No not really, but it reminded me that there is a lot of cheap competition right in the neighborhood, and many people don't know what they are looking for to begin with. We do make money on extra privates, drinks and snacks, and will be selling in-house gear soon. We would like to make money on seminars too if possible. We originally planned to host competions, but we couldnt afford a place big enough to house a permanent regulation ring, so we're looking at alternative approaches, removable ring if we can find storage, things like that.
We need to find viable ways to make this work over time. Our new ad campaign should bring in a lot of new clientele. Some of our intructors help with marketing, and we have bartered with students for various help marketing or general help around the school.
People who knock the expense of martial arts lessons and various costs of crap that goes with it have to think of it like this:
1) Does it add significant value or improvement to your life? Many peeps pay more monthly for cable television without thinking twice, and then get cheap about tuition for something that improves their life and they apperanetly value and even obssess over; just look at all the posters online thinking about this stuff outside of class. It really is a way of life for many people. Is the expense worth maintaining that?
2) Are you willing to contribute enough to keep the lessons coming? Too many cheap people and the school closes down, and then they end up with no instruction and have to go elsewhere, possibly to a place of lessor quality.
Does growing larger and offering extra services make a school into a McKwoon/McDojo? I think that depends on the material and instructors obviously, but at a certain point it may cross a threshold and take on some of those qualities that we all seem to despise... My goal is to maintain the right balance to keep it a cool place that doenst comprimise technique... otherwise I wouldnt invest money in it, i'd go spend it on something more viable than a martial arts school... without integrity me and my partners would quickly lose interest ourselves.
In the past at times I have studied martial arts with small, not-for-profit private groups, and that can be great. But there can be benefits to a bigger school too, like a broader pool of talent and more resourses to train with, and better coaching to compete with if that is ones goal.
Its good to read the different view points on this as well as different price structures. Can actually be more helpful that some of the fitness management books i have.
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