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View Full Version : "For $3000+ a year YOU TOO CAN HAVE THESE MEMORIES!!!" - Another side to West Wind



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mrradley
6/15/2007 3:38am,
I want to start this off with saying this is going to be long and factual. I will try and answer as many questions that may come up as I can. I was there for about three years starting in 99/00 or so. I got pretty far in the system, and pretty high up as I left the school a Senior (full time ) Instructor. I'm taking the time to write my story and really just memories for a couple reasons.

First, after googling West Wind just the other day and stumbling across Bunyip's thread and all the goodness within it, I haven't been able to stop laughing. I hope maybe my story(ies) may be able to bring some joy to someone else one day. (Side note: I've actually met Bunyip a year or so ago at Mod Com in Berkeley right before I moved to AZ. He was a great guy. Really nice and down to Earth. Although I can't remember his name to save my life, it's ironic to read his opinions a year after meeting the guy. )

Second, I wanted to write something that was more geared to the former West Wind student/instructor than your typical BS'er. I do believe what I write will be entertaining to all, so don't worry about that. But after I did some more digging on BS and realized just how many scorned WWers there are on here, I figured we should have a place we can go to an laugh at all of the silliness we experienced.

Last, I've lost contact with people I consider myself close to over the years (old students, fellow instructors, etc) and would love to reconnect. Hopefully they will be some old WW'ers on here and we can have another party like we did back in 03.

With all that said I would like to finish up with one last disclaimer. It's 1:30 where I am. I can't promise a literary masterpiece, but I do promise to TRY and keep it all entertaining and informative.

Cheers!
~TMR

mrradley
6/15/2007 4:06am,
Honestly, it wasn't all bad. I'm not trying to start all positively like a fool on purpose, but after reading these other threads and seeing the GLORIOUS C.O.R.E. picture, I can't help but laugh at it all. If you were there and have been gone for a substantial amount of time, I'm sure you know what I mean. For the un-initiated, here is some insight:

Can anyone believe just how over the top the respect thing was? And the ways they would test you? I mean COME ON! I remember after doing formants or stripe (now dan) tests and having to then be mindful of who sits down first, second, third, etc. Like seriously. I just busted my ass in a small dank school (old Berkeley, not new Berkeley)... I'm sweating bullets which was customary because the amount of warm bodies in that place made the San Fernando Valley feel like the North Pole by comparison, and now you want me to think about "the rules" of sitting?! ... AWESOME! Just plain awesome!

Or what about the time wasting tradition of the instructor having to say sit three times to any one student before they would do so? How many people loved that little piece of Heaven? I remember when I would teach students I respected; you know... the ones who were actually higher ranking than me (regardless of my red belt), had been there longer, and were all around older, wiser and deserved to be treated in a certain regard... well I remember teaching them in group classes and "wanting" to tell them all a story while they sat down... only to have to go through that whole dog and pony show. God, I remember always looking at THOSE students thinking "I'm really sorry I'm having to ask you to sit down three times, because I know your just as sick of this **** as I am." I mean I was 19 or 20 for Christ sake, telling HIGHER STUDENTS who were 30+ when they could sit down. How stupid did that look?! Lets now throw in the fact that MOST of the people I taught who where higher ranking than me KNEW EXACTLY HOW MUCH LOWER I WAS because they SAW MY ASS AS A WHITE BELT! It's not rocket science ya know!

Back to the sitting...

I actually don't know what is worse: The process of getting a group to sit, or what would happen when a higher ranking INSTRUCTOR would walk by?! ...MADNESS I TELL YOU! MADNESS! So, for conversation sake lets make up an instructor level chart real quick. 1-5, 5 being the highest. Well I was a 2. Now if a 3,4 or 5 walked by if I had my class/students... HELL ANYBODY FOR THAT MATTER sitting down, everyone sitting would immediately stand up. Frustrating considering I just had to ask x people to sit THREE TIMES BEFORE THEY WOULD, and now it was all in vein because Mr. S walked by to get the phone. I would now be back to square one: SIT SIT SIT! (yes, instructors ACTUALLY DID SAY IT LIKE THAT when the situation required it.)

Guess what is supposed to happen though if lets say a level 1 instructor walks by? NOTHING! Guess what WOULD happen when a 1 instructor walks by? EVERYONE STANDS UP! ... ....

I've come to the conclusion that the United States Constitution is in fact, less confusing than the rules in which people can sit (or have to stand) at West Wind Schools.

That's it for now. Tomorrow I'll go into other such funny things like: Students not being allowed to watch/look at instructors while they worked out/lessons. Hours of a full time instructor and how they differed from part time instructors (more than what you may think.) And something that I'm sure will be a crowd-pleaser: Pay structures!

Oh and if anyone could get me in contact with a Beka that would be great. The email she had listed on some threads is inactive and I can't PM just yet. Any help would be great. See you tomorrow!

~TMR

plasma
6/15/2007 9:26am,
Awesome post.

Sam Browning
6/15/2007 10:36am,
I'm moving this thread to MABS

mrradley
6/15/2007 4:57pm,
"Do as I say not as I do because, the ****'s so deep you can't run away..."

I think that line from the Green Day song "Walking Contradiction" best sums up this next subject: Students not being allowed to watch instructors work out or have lessons.

Simple answer: Its just dumb. But then again all of you probably already knew that, so I'm going to give you my take on the whole conspiracy.


So let me paint the picture for you. When I started at the Berkeley school, it was on San Pablo Ave underneath an apartment building. The school had about 6 or so private rooms; rooms that were about 8x8, most likely smaller. On their side of the school was one of two "group" mats. One dubbed the small mat (which was from the original school, as a few years prior to this WW bought out the storefront next to them thus doubling their space) and the other was the large mat, on the newer side of the school. Men changing rooms were on the small mat side (right), women on the large mat side (left). All this is important, I assure you. Because see... you had to walk PAST either mat in order to get to the changing area, or leave in... Remember that.

So you change and go to leave and all the sudden an instructor would be working out on one of the mats. You were supposed to KNOCK on some surface around you to let that instructor know you were trying to pass... THEN WAIT for them to acknowledge you and let you go by BEFORE you could leave the changing room. Or enter that area for that matter... Thats right. You couldn't just walk by and advert your eyes... NO NO NO you had to wait for the "it's okay to pass" message which was "COME IN!" yelled in some weird bark. Everyone did this bark. You couldn't tell who was actually on the mat from the voice because everyone sounded the same.

You may be thinking what would happen if you didn't do this. Well on more than one occasion someone would knock to pass and NO ONE would answer! After a certain amount of time and knocking 2-4 times extra the student would just walk by only to get "REMINDED" that they weren't allowed to pass until told! REMINDED= Politely reminded of the traditions of the school, being yelled at for knowing better, and then sometmes being sent back to where they were until they were told they could pass! Awesome huh?

Okay so now lets actually get to the whole why you can't watch part. You basically can't watch because you really don't want to. With a VERY FEW exceptions, the old saying holds true at West Wind: Those that can, DO. Those that can't, TEACH

When I finally became an instructor I clearly was around the school a whole lot more. That time multiplied 10 fold when I went full time. So it really wasn't until I became an instructor when I learned how just.. weird some of these people's form truly was! As funny as it would be to name names, I'm not going to. Sorry. You all are just going to have to wait for the book entitled "Memoirs of a McDojo" that I"m now determined to work on. But the noises I heard from a lot of the instructors who worked out there were just alarming. And their faces were down right pornographic at times. Which always made me chuckle on the inside because I have video tape of myself from tests and formats and such (well I used to at least, just tried to find some and can't to save my life) I didn't look like Bruce Lee or anything, but I also didn't look like a retard, okay? And I remember how my instructor(s) always used to get on me because I didn't have the "look" they were looking for while I did what I did. I mean.. .what look was that? An O-Face while I was doing a technique?!? What was wrong with my kia? (or however you spell it) Did I not have enough animal sound in it?

Legit, if I could back in time and make a mix tape of all the sounds I heard from most of the Instructors working out, I'm confident that it would sound like a Rhinoceros fucking a Llama. Now I don't know what that sounds like exactly, but I ask in your faith of my story so far. That wombo-combo of sound production would make the PERFECT EXAMPLE of a Rhino fucking a Llama. Period.

The other reason students weren't allowed to watch? A lot of it just looked BAD! Like "WOW! And your teaching me again because?!" ... You know what, that's kinda not true. Let me be more specific. No one is perfect (except for Fedor, but that's a whole 'nother topic on a different thread.) People train in things to get as good as they can. People have their highs and lows. It's human nature. Some days are worse than others. But what I saw from most of the people there in their own practice was magnified to be as bad as I think it looked... because ... get this... of the "SUPREME WARGOD IMAGE" EVER INSTRUCTOR was SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT! AND YOU CAN QUOTE ME ON THE QUOTE-UNQUOTE of the Supreme Wargod crap.

Yes... I did just say that the instructors were taught, and most believed that they were the Second Coming. And you know what. It's kinda hard to be Jesus come back when you are having a tough time with that Arcing Heel Kick of yours, or you forgot a technique you learned about 8 years ago... Wouldn't you agree?

West Wind instructors are human. Nothing more, nothing less. Now, sure. We can argue that a lot of them are either brain washing people, or brain washed themselves. I wouldn't argue that. But that makes them no less human. And humans make mistakes. (Again, unless your Fedor Emelianenko. Or Jack Bauer. He doesn't **** up either.) The whole problem is they're clearly not perfect. The higher ups need to work on their craft more than they do, which is why their students are often more proficient than they are, and the lower instructors aren't black belts yet and are often trying to do their part in "mastering" new **** they just learned the week before.

In a nutshell: I have seen students who were much more talented martial artists than instructors that were there. Main reason they didn't get a red belt is they could see past the bullshit. The instructors working out looked just horrible because of the laughable facial expressions, weird animal noises, and often times poor technique that was being worked on. I would like to now give the short list of Instructors that I had the pleasure of working with, working out with or was able to watch without getting caught and looked good, sounded good and was actually GOOD at what they did:

A. Draper, E. Swanson, S. Flint, D. Murphy, D. Kelly, E. Shipp was pretty talented, P. Flores, K. Flint, D. Mickelson, Hickman, T.Jenkins, and my absolute favorite... "ABSOLUTELY" Adam Bradley. Now I know that may seem like a long list... but hear me out. There are 12 names there. 12 Names over the 3 years I was there, plus my return journey in 2005/2006 which I'll talk about too. When I was there for the first three years PLEASE understand The system LITERALLY went through 100 instructors. There were at that time 4 schools, and each had about 10 instructors, plus turnover. No Fucking joke. Of the 12 I have listed here 3 left the system within my first 6 months there, 4 left after a year, and only 1 remains there to this day... Think about that, will ya?

I'll be back later today to do my part in explaining the student/part time/full time relationship, as well as covering the pay structure. Both, how much was asked, how much the school MADE (that number will make your brain fall out of your heads) and how much was actually trickled down.

See ya in a bit.
~TMR

Sam Browning
6/15/2007 5:03pm,
I'm really enjoying this thread. :)

tiktok
6/15/2007 5:14pm,
I'm really enjoying this thread. :)

As am I. *makes popcorn*

Fantasy Warrior
6/15/2007 6:16pm,
Lovely read. Entertaining and informative. Along with our latest FengCrapDo visitor this making for a fantasticly positive week in the war on silliness in martial arts :)

colonelpong2
6/15/2007 6:29pm,
You know something is wrong when they make you an instructor after only three years

HRMERoar
6/15/2007 6:51pm,
I LOVE THIS...

Please keep the truth coming! It's so true that it wasn't all bad to start with. I do have fond memories of some people I've met there and I'm still good friends to this day. However the pay scale will blow people's minds (how crazy was I? really).

Love this..Can't get enough of it.:karated:

mrradley
6/15/2007 8:26pm,
Students & Slaves. Payments and Paydays.

I want to thank you all for your support of the many many stories I have. I was expecting Ninjas4breakfast or that Tef guy to jump on soon, which will be great, don't get me wrong. But with all the WW threads on here already, I was a bit skeptical as to how well received the truth would be. So thanks again for the support.

Before I get back into the nitty gritty I just want to cover CP2's comment about teaching after only 3 years. That's your opinion, and I'm cool with it. I think I had students for a time that I had no business teaching. I will agree with that. But at 17 to 20 roughly I think my experience with THIS PARTICULAR SYSTEM was more than enough to teach newer students and children, without a doubt. I plan on discussing Instructor's Training in depth for everyone, my TOP 5 Laugh Fests of all time at WW and well, everything in between in due time. Maybe my Instructor's Training coverage will help you with stomaching people who were "proficient" with certain aspects being allowed to teach new students. Again. I do respect your opinion and honor it as yours. But really, the only difference between what West Wind did and other schools I've been to have done is put a bit more "respect" around the waists of those students who were talented and were willing to help teach their art. And you'll see how this ties in to my student/Part Time/Full Time spheel.


I can only speak from the experiences that I have, but they happen to include me being a student, a part time instructor, and a full time instructor. With that said I want to tell you all my opinion for the most fun in the system. Most fun title to least fun title is as follows: Student, Part Time Instructor, Full Time Instructor. I bet a lot of you already guessed that though...

Lets start with being a student. I came from another Bok Fu school on San Pablo in Richmond (not the OLD Richmond school mind you. That was on McDonald and "way to ghetto" for my parents to drive me to on a nightly basis.) I started there when I was 10, became a teacher there to kids when I was 14 and left when I was 16. Yes. I did just say I taught prior to my experience at WW. I wasn't great, but I could keep the kids attention. Only issue I would say was that school was a joke compared to WW. Honestly there are positive aspects to WW that one day I will get to. I just don't see it anytime in the very near future...

So when I started training at WW in Berk, being a student was great! I got to go to all the group classes I wanted. Had great instruction by Mr. Murphy, then Mr. Kelly. And because I had pretty much known the system already up to Blue Belt from the other school, I pretty much breezed by it. I did get some questionable looks from the students from time to time, but it was understandable considering I was told to keep quiet about learning from that other school. I always thought if we were honest about it the other students wouldn't have minded nearly as much. To me it was weird because I would constantly get put into situations like these. Okay. My "White Belt Test" to join the school was actually my 2nd stripe test for my white belt... Yeah because that's not gonna be weird when the new student suddenly walks in half way to orange. Oh, btw I took my Orange Belt Test I THINK 3 weeks later. Maybe a smidge longer. I remember I got a case of food poisoning while in Vacation in LA and that held me up. (I was hospitalized for two days, so that kinda makes sense). But I joined in August and by the beginning of October I had an Orange belt. That USUALLY takes ABOUT 4 or 5 months to get. It took me like 5 weeks.

How about this one: I had this instructor from Daly City named Mr. Gardner. He took over from Mr. Kelly, because he went to Alameda. I ended up testing for my Purple belt in February? YES IT WAS! I just turned 17. (My B-day is in Feb, and since I was 14 something "BIG" in my martial arts career always seemed to happen around my b-day). Now that was like two months before our inter-school tournament. Keep in mind I knew all the info through the Purple Belt so I asked Mr. Gardner if I could compete as a Purple, not an Orange. Got told no. I was needed in the Orange category for the points/medals... Fine. No sweat because I was on a TEAM BY GOD! So like 3 weeks before the tournament, there is this Purple Belt (from now on PB) group class preparing for a tourney. I was in the OB group. We got done early and Mr. Gardner asked me to go join the PB's. I had at this point had LITERALLY 2 lessons as a PB k? So I'm supposed to know Jack followed IMMEDIATELY by **** in regards to the PB material, got it? The PB's are working on Kata 4 which is the longest of the Katas up to that point. Also "arguably" the most difficult one to do. Especially for a kid who's had a PB for 2 weeks right? WRONG! Mr. Gardner.. who is now known lovingly as Coke, because he used to walk around drinking it like it was water... So COKE tells me to jump out there in the middle... FUCKING 30 PB's ARE LOOKING AT ME LIKE I JUST GREW A THIRD HEAD! Coke asks me if I know it. I"m all being polite and ****... mubling and trying not to answer. He confronts me and says "Do you know it or not?!" I say yes, and I do it... I"m not trying to be a dick, but I was 17. I had been doing that particular form for 3 years now. At the old school I demo'ed it at a movie theater because our school got asked to do some **** for the Mulan movie premier. Save for some MINOR style differences between the two places, I OWN KATA 4! OW34G3 I SAY! (I'm not good with the number/letter writing, so I'll stop that there.) To say that the group treated me a WEE bit different until they FINALLY heard that I was a student from another school and that's why... would be an understatement....

Okay, so that was the bad cover job of my history. Now onto what I liked. As a student I could just fucking work out! I of course had to change my idea of what working out was to that of WW's, as my odl school was very lax in that respect. But once i was motivated, man oh man I was there all the time! I think in my stride I did 7 group classes a week, and about 2 to 3 hours on the mat 5+ days a week. I PRACTICALLY LIVED THERE! And I always felt good at the time "helping out" when I was asked by any Instructor, because it was considered an honor.. yes HONOR to be asked to mop the mat, change the trash, dust the school, etc. (Yeah... so I had some major acceptance issues. Dad wasn't around much, so it did feel good to get my ego stroked. I think anyone will agree with this. More on all the psycho stuff a little later. Just go along with me, k?)

Once you got higher up, or in my case older, I noticed it was the student body that did a lot of the work around the school. Did a lot of the painting, electrical work, made signs, got things "donated", etc. Everyone seemed to take pride in it, and it was a good team feel. I imagine I would have got along great with a lot of the people at Berkeley outside of the school. I say imagine because well, we weren't supposed to talk to one another at all. Outside of a sneaked word here and there, we really WERE NOT supposed to shoot the ****. Like, we would get yelled at.. I'm sorry "talked to", usually outside about it and how that was rude behavior... (RIIIIIIIIIIIGHT. I'm being RUDE talking to this person in my class I really respect.... Here's your sign.) Well that pretty much sums up the experience as a well liked (after the whole other school thing got established as fact.) student and what was fun about it. Could do my thing in peace, have fun and work hard in group classes and be apart of a team with a "common goal".

Part Time Instruction: I really didn't mind because like I said I was an instructor at the other school. There was a lot of difference between the views about instruction at WW than at the Other place, so that took some time to get used to. Also, looking back, I really missed out on a lot of school stuff because of my devotion to it. I am willing to take responsibility and say yes, I chose not to do certain things my Jr. and Sr. years. But I think one has to also accept that I had a bunch of people I "looked up to" that said I didn't need all that stuff. That it was just a year or two in my life, and my time at WW would mean so much more. (How true that turned out to be even THEY can't imagine.) I mean, it felt good to get compliments from the top 6 people in the system every time I was there. I for a good amount of time was kinda the golden boy. I"m not trying to blow smoke, but it was what it was. I wasn't perfect in any way, but I tried my best. Had a great attitude, and I was always willing to do what needed to be done. During the honeymoon phase of Instructor training I think I observed the most lessons, was made to teach the most lessons and was damn near perfect on a lot of my written tests (would usually miss 1 question out of 35+ about the system.) I was the "safe bet", so to speak. Well once I got the red belt that all changed. Berkeley got taken over by a couple of asst. head instructors. One good cop, one bad cop. You can guess who I always ended up teaching under.... Everything we did under bad cop was punishable by yelling and screaming. I constantly had Bad Cop bringing up my prior training and teaching and how it didn't mean **** here and I needed to "empty my cup" and do it their way or fucking leave. I'm serious about all this btw. But I really liked Good Cop so I stuck it out. A lot of the ... time out. Sorry. This will help everything.

Instructor Levels from Highest to Lowest(and how many there were at this time in my story):
Chief Instructor (1), Asst. Chief (2; Right hand man, left hand man... kinda like the hands of God really...) Senior Head Instructors (2 or 3 depending on the exact time) Head Instructor (2 to 3, kinda) Asst. Head (anywhere from 3 to 80,000. Seemed like any former Head who came back from the "dark days" instantly got promoted to Asst. Head. There used to be upwards of 7 schools with Head instructors turning over like I change my undies... and a lot of them started coming back after the shock in the real world that well Life is tough. There were only 3 schools at this time so why we needed more than you know, 3 Asst. Heads is BEYOND ME so please don't ask.) Director (1 There were supposed to be 1 for every school, but well, that fell to **** shortly after I started) Senior Instructors (2 to 5 Per School. These were the full time dudes/dudettes) Part Time (?!?!? What day are we talking? Who fucked who that day? That is the most debatable number, and well doesn't really matter. I was a part time dude, so there you go.)

Back to the Hellishness. Like I said Bad Cop was an Asst Head. My instructor at this time was an Asst. Chief. So although he could do something about it (and eventually did) I was pretty miserable for about... 5 months. My work out time got cut down MAJORLY because now any time i was at the school I was expected to either teach my students (of whom I had like 8 over a 4 day period.), or take up the slack on someone else's students. There was never just straight work out time. Ever. I always got "told" to do something else more important. At this point I was a Blue Belt btw. Half way to Green. Eventually I had a week "trial period" at the Alameda school. I was liked so much by their Head Instructor Mr. G and the other Asst. Chief I was moved. Now of course they told me they saw how "stagnate" I was at the Berkeley school, but come on. Well all saw through it. I was getting treated like **** at Berkeley. Used and abused, and they were taking care of me. It was kinda hard to come right out and say that to the new guy though. "Hey Mr. Radley... your getting treated like ass here by one of our instructors. We're going to move you to a better environment and you'll be a lot happier. Sorry again that Bad Cop's such a bitch! Bye now!" The commute grew big time but I didn't care. I had a few ties to Alameda at that time. Really liked the student body, and the instructors so all was well.
While at Alameda I made it to the next tourney (this is now 2002) My students did so well I got offered a job back at Berkeley, but as a FULL TIME GUY! OH YEAH! I was 19 and gonna be making the big bucks.... (I PROMISE YOU I WILL GET TO THE MONEY TONIGHT! Just not QUITE yet.)

Full Time Instruction: Worst time in my life. Period. I can't even count the ways. Bad Cop was now gone, so that was a relief. And I really liked the new Head Instructor. He was one of the returning Heads from the "Dark Days", but a great guy nonetheless. Why was it so bad then? Alright... here we go:

I was a slave. Period. End of story. At this point I had pretty much seen through it all, but felt like a douche if I turned back and had WAY too much of an ego to tell everyone in my life who didn't like me being there that I was wrong. Plain and simple. The school hours were 9-9 7 days a week at this point. I worked 5+. On the days I was there I had to be there NO LATER Than 8:30 to open the school... and I fucking ASSURE you there was never ONE DAY I left before 9:45. IF I left at 9:45 I could have practically cried with an abundance of joy that I would get to sleep before 1. See. I hadn't had dinner yet. I had a lunch break from 3 to 4, and taught 5 hours straight. There was no time to eat, so dinner was needed. Then time to digest. Time to unwind from the day of Hell... You can EASILY see how my 1 A.M. bed time was the "right time" to go to sleep. KEEP IN MIND that was all IF I got out by 9:45. USUALLY we were there til 10:15. I remember distinct days I was there til 11 or later. ONLY to have to be at the school the next day 30 min before it opened.

I believed being a Sr. Inst. that I would have some sort of SENIORITY over someone. I mean the name kinda implies that. HA! I was the low man on the totem pole even more! Here's why. I was 19. I got hired as Full Time at Berkeley the same time as one other instructor got promoted and another guy came back. They were both older. The guy was higher ranked, the girl was lower. Because of her "professionalism" she was placed higher than both me and the other guy... Awesome huh?! Gets better. It actually looked bad if Us three delegated our duties to the part time crew because they had their own **** to do, and were all either under age, or had other careers and couldn't commit to what needed to be done. That's what we were actually for. But that didn't mean the three of us couldn't delegate between ourselves...

Hell yeah I got the shaft man! To be fair, the girl, now known as WOMAN was pretty good to me. We went through instructor's training together. She was a nice WOMAN that WOMAN was, and I taught her son. But I still got the plunger end, if you catch my drift.

BTW If I couldn't really practice when i was Part Time, yes, that does mean my work outs turned to **** even more upon full time. We had these weird group classes EARLY in the morning 2 days a week with just the three of us. WOMAN And BOONDOCK (the guy) and I were always tired, because you know... it's fucking 9 am, we got like 5 to 6 hours of sleep, had nothing good to eat, and now I"m up doing this **** again. I used to get slammed all the time at this point because I had a yawning problem. Yup, that's right I was a yawner. Said I was being rude and disrespectful and I needed to control it NOW!...(I'm going out on a limb and saying 5 horus of sleep, 1500 - 2000 calories a day while working as hard as I was was PROBABLY NOT what a FUCKING 19 YEAR OLD GROWING BOY NEEDED! I rest my case.)

So... here we are. I know what your thinking. When will he finally give us the numbers?! Well.. This post is REALLY LONG! SO I'm gonna put this up now... and I SWEAR the next part will be student payments, the bartering that went on, how much money was made at Berkeley over ONE QUARTER ALONE, and how much money I was making at 19 years old, working 60 to 70 hour weeks. Enjoy!

(next part will be up in about 30 min)

~TMR

mrradley
6/15/2007 9:20pm,
The Money - Payments: Students paid for what started as groups of 33 lessons, then went to groups of 22. 22,44,66,88,etc up to 154 lessons. I don't remember the exact prices for these because my parents just kinda wrote a blank check in a way. I do remember if you payed all of it up front you got lets say a 20% discount. Long story short, with the amount of lessons I was taking (usually 2x 1hour private lessons a week) ONLY AS A STUDNET, I was NOT an instructor at this time, I think I payed around 500 a month. That sounds about right. The lessons again were 22 HALF HOUR lessons. You would have an hour, but that would eat 2 lessons. Got me? OKay... That was what I remembered as a student. And lets also keep in mind, I was only a student from August to April: 8 months. I think my parents did three contracts during that time. THe initial 22, the next one 66, the other being 110 I think.

Part Time Instructors: When I did this part time instructors didn't get free lessons like they do now. (more on that in a minute.) Part time instructors got an even GREATER discount per lesson. Now the irony in this was it was the SAME **** I was paying before... because not 2 WEEKS after I got my red belt (teaching belt) did they up the prices for regular students. So I actually think I was paying like 50 an hour. And 2 hours easily a week. Okay so it was like 400 to 500 a month still. Sometimes I would have an extra hour. You know how it goes.
I REALLY wish I could tell you how much the regular student was paying at this point, but I can't. They kept that info from the part timers pretty well, and at 17 I didn't really care, ya know? I do remember a lot of people quit around that time, which was the customary response to the constant price gouging that happened. There were always those on the fence, and when the next letter came out that said "We're sorry to say we're raping you further" I always got some little kid's Mom coming up to me saying how much they liked ME, but couldn't afford the prices that were being asked. Always the good ones too. Well.. I guess a kids talent level is directly associated to how much common sense their parents have isn't it?

Full time Instruction Pricing: Free! That's right! We were given every quarter 152 or so lessons that were a gift from the Main Man himself, Mr. TOMMAY! (Not his real name, but TOMMAY will be used from now on.) We were to use these lessons for ANYTHING that had to do with our teacher. I **** YOU NOT when I tell you that I was expected to mark it down as a fucking HOUR LESSON if I ate lunch with the Head Instructor of the school, because he was giving me wise and valuable information... HAHAHAHAHAH YOu wanna know what the wise and valuable information was? We usually talked about puss. ROFL! Isn't that awesome?! I remember walking in on him talking to some other Red Belt (Instructor, now known as RB) and they were talking abotu buying a house. The Head Instructor of Berkeley, now known as EAZY was awesome. I really like that guy. But yeah... if I had a lunch time lesson with him it most likely had to do with puss. God, if only they knew!

The Money - Payday

Studnets: Well we didn't get paid. BUT remember earlier in the previous post I mentioned bartering and certain students doing work on the school? Well that was actually used as a way to get students who otherwise couldn't pay the outlandish prices to do work on the school in exchange for lessons! How great is that?! So I remember when a lot of people were commenting on other posts about how good their school looked, and how they must have spent a fortune. The answer is No... no they didn't. The STUDENTS may have spent a lot of money on paint, materials for electrical work, dump runs, etc. but West Wind didn't. The students who did that were asked to keep the receipts, submit them with the assessed value of the work they did, then they would get "comparable" amounts of lesson time. Usually the students who did this were the ones who had connections in a certain field. Masonry, wood working, etc. So they would get a deal on stuff, then jack the prices on WW, which I thought was great! But yeah, not very practical for a stay at home mom and a Dad who works on database architecture, is it? (My parents btw.)

Part Time Instruction: Part time Instructors got paid $1.00 over minimum wage! We got 7.50 I think at the time, and a decent raise of a quarter very quarter or two. I don't remember. Oh, but did I mention you only got paid for hours taught?! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH That's right. So if I was in the school from 4 to 9 (which was quite often as i was still in HS), and I only taught 2 hours, but cleaned, answered phones, hand wrote the schedule, etc. Guess how much money I would get? Apparently doing other work such as the tasks I already mentioned was not viewed as actual work worthy of being paid for. And in a way their right. I mean I DID clean a lot when I was a student, and I didn't get paid then... so why start now?!

(* Since my time I have come to learn that Part time instructors no longer have to pay for lessons... but they also don't receive any money for teaching at all. It is completely on the barter system. I know some of you will say oh that's probably better.. .but hear me out. A lot of the instructors who are part time are kids using it as a part time job, whohave parents who don't mind paying the prices (clearly). So now although the parents don't have to spend the money, the kids aren't earning anything for themselves and often times don't have the time to get a real part time job, work at the school and go to school all at the same time. DO I smell Child Labor laws being broken? I think so!!)


Full Time Instruction: Well, when I got started and got "sold" on the whole idea it sounded good. I was gonna get salary for the first time in my life but apparently didn't really understand what that meant. I was also sold on the idea of doing what i loved (which i did love teaching) and the promise of getting a significant raise and a promotion to Asst. Head Instructor upon getting my 3rd Degree Brown Belt, which was what I was working on prior to going full time. Oh yeah.. .I forgot to tell you how much it actually was! I was to make 2000 a month, before taxes, not including quarterly bonuses that were the value of one of my bi-weekly checks... before taxes. Basically, after a mini raise 3 months in I was making 28k a year, ASSUMING I was to get all of my quarterly bonuses. (my raise/promotion was to be up to 4000 a month, which was a: double what my current salary was, and b: the going rate of an Asst. Head at that time.)

The funny part? It was expected for Sr. Instructors to constantly offer to buy the higher ranking instructors lunch, drinks from 7-11, coffee in the morning, etc. It was part of the "respect" that was to be shown. And if a Higher Ranking Instructor offered to buy YOU something for lunch or a gatorade, it was an EXTREMELY HIGH HONOR as it did not happen nearly that often! How AWESOME IS THAT?! I MEAN REALLY... THINK ABOUT IT.

Oh, btw, who here has already figured out that i was making $7.12 an hour after taxes when I was on my "higher salary"? Keep in mind I was really doing 70 hours a week, which means 140 hours a pay period, and LITERALLY 1k every two weeks after taxes. Yes... I was actually making more money part time than I ever was Full Time. And NOW I was expected to spend my less money on the higher instructors!

In all fairness... we were told that if we kept all of our receipts for food and other such "reimburseables" and submitted them at then end of the quarter, we would get it added on to our bonus check, provided we got one. Now.. here's the thing. I'm doing God knows what in that school 12+hours a day 5+ days a week. I had UnGodly demands on how quick I was to answer the phone, give tours of the school, teach the introductory courses JUST RIGHT to get more money, and teach little Johnny Goodkid the lesson of his life... Do you REALLY believe at 19 I cared about where my receipts went for a 5.00 worth of gatorade? I SHOULD HAVE, YES! But I think it's quite understandable how something like receipts were the last thing on my mind.

I know I said I would give you numbers today, but I am kinda lying. I do have an exact amount as to how much was made 3rd Quarter 2002, but I want to wait. I've written a lot today, as you can clearly see. But the number I have is from a letter. In fact THE letter. The only letter that I have kept this long from anyone, as it is the only letter that means so much to me. I will transcribe it in it's entirety tomorrow, but you def. need the backstory. I think by now you all trust my judgement on what is good and juicy, so have more faith. No, I will not ask you to drink the koolaid. I don't want your first born, or for you to wait til I ask you to sit three times until you actually do it! JUst hand tight. Enjoy the story so far, and I'll be back tomorrow with ...


THE GREATEST LETTER EVER WRITTEN

Cheers!
~TMR

P.S. HMR, I'm sure I know you. If you can, post message me after I'm at 10 or send me your email. I'd love to catch up with you, because if your on here, your most likely someone I got a long with really well. Also. Beka anyone?! Bokfutopgrapher... Hell.. UnderCoverBrother.. .Anyone actually. Feel free to pm. Thanks guys!

HRMERoar
6/15/2007 10:02pm,
Bravo!!!!! Every word is true..
I really liked your interpretation of what it meant to be a senior instructor (the who fucked who that day)..ain't that the truth..ROTFLMAO

Te(V)plar
6/15/2007 11:33pm,
Wow, I am at a complete loss how noone firebombed this school. These working conditions sound extremely illegal.

HRMERoar
6/15/2007 11:52pm,
To add to mrradley post..from a former student, regarding the money side of things. The last time I purchased lessons was in early 2005, and I paid $5500..yah, I kid you not..I bought the highest available amount which was 100 or something and got a discount for paying it in a lump sum (stupid, stupid, stupid)..

You burned through this amount quickly as you "needed" to take more than one full hour lesson to prepare for your dan tests.

Sure I could go to unlimited lessons and I did, at one point I practically lived there. I just loved working out! That's the only positive side I retain to this day. I was in the best shape of my life while there. But the BS that went on behind the scenes was just not tolerable at some point. My friend left shortly after the 2005 tournament. I don't even want to call it such, It was a joke. rigged from beginning to end and it just felt ridiculous for us "older" folks to be competing with kids. I followed suit shortly after my green belt test.

mrradley
6/16/2007 12:31am,
To add to mrradley post..from a former student, regarding the money side of things. The last time I purchased lessons was in early 2005, and I paid $5500..yah, I kid you not..I bought the highest available amount which was 100 or something and got a discount for paying it in a lump sum (stupid, stupid, stupid)..



I don't think your stupid. I understand the situation you were in. I know a lot of people reading this may question all of the logic none of us had at a point in time. That isn't me though, because I was metaphorically one of the people (at one point) who made you renew for more lessons.

I think, all things considered, you did the right thing with the lump sum. Short of quitting (which you clearly did at some point, and by doing so earned your West Wind Black Belt imo), paying in fullto get the discount was the smartest thing one could do. I hope you didn't go completely broke by doing so, but to put it simply: I feel ya brotha!

~TMR