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#430918 - 11/16/10 08:39 PM Re: "Black Belt Clubs" [Re: JasonM]
JMWcorwin Offline

Registered: 07/13/07
Posts: 731
Loc: SoCal, USA
If your gym offers all those things, trust me, they are not free. You don't notice it because it's rolled into your tuition or the gym would go bankrupt. If they're paying so much rent, so many instructors so much money, the rent, etc, then they take that into account when making the price. This would be the socialist rates that were mentioned before. They have to get enough money from you and every other member to pay for those things. If they wanted to add another instructor/different class, they'd have to charge for it, recruit enough new signups to cover it, raise current members' rates, or wait until there's already enough above that magic number to run the business before employing that instructor. But, they have to get that person's salary paid somehow. It's not just cuz they think you're cool, right?

If your martial arts school has group classes 6 days a week, then you do pay for that, whether you see it or not. If there's no test fees, or uniforms are "free", then they are getting the money from the tuition. It's just straight forward economics. You have to take into account the bills to keep the doors open however many days/hours per week you're going to be open, add in the salary you need to take out of the business to feed your own family and you have a target number to keep the business going. If I need $5000 to pay for all that and only have 10 students, I would need to find a way for them to each pay $500/mo to cover it. If I could maintain 50 students, then it would only require $100/mo. If nobody will pay that much where I plan to run my school, I'll have to get it some other way. Maybe I charge everyone $60/mo and make the rest up in test fees, association fees, whatever you work out.

And no, the classes wouldn't be going on whether or not you are there. It seems that way, but your fees are part of what enables those classes to be open. If the cost of being open those extra hours or days isn't covered by the tuition of your current students, you have to either get more students or charge your current ones more money. The amount of money brought in by the total of the students alows x number of classes. It's not cost effective to have 10 classes a day with 2 people in each...unless they're each paying through the nose. If there aren't enough students or tuition to allow for those clases, there wouldn't be as many. 7-11 isn't always open because you might show up one day and buy a candy bar. It's open 24/7 because they have enough clientelle at those times to cover the cost.

To keep a viable martial arts business going as a functional business, you have to appeal to enough people and keep them interested enough, long enough to pay the bills. Some students will keep paying you every month for the rest of their life to come in and just exercise a little, learn a little, but not have to go home with all the bumps and bruises. Some martial arts students want more traditional/harder style training. It's only smart to try and offer something to both markets. Some schools do this with black belt clubs or other type programs. So, as said earlier, the full contact fighters get waht they want and the soccer moms looking to exercise with the family can co-exist in the same gym...just not with the same training. So, you charge a minimal rate for those who need minimal attention and charge more to those that require more. Or, you raise the rates on everyone to cover the extras. There's no other way to do it. One way or another, the $$$ has to come from the students, if you need to have a martial arts BUSINESS. Whether you admit it or like it, there's only so many viriables to work here: tuition, # of students paying, amount students are paying, cost for the owner to run x number of classes. That's about it.

Balck belt clubs can be a way to offer something more to those students that want it without rolling that extra cost into the fees of the others that are happy with the current level of training. They are abused by some schools, no doubt. But, then again, your product is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it; no more, no less. The rest is an ar

If you'r lucky enough to be financially independant and decide to teach purely because you enjoy it, then you would be in a position to do otherwise. I would love to be there. I'll stop on that note cuz I've gotta get to my class. wink
There are no PERFECT techniques, only perfect execution for the situation at hand. ~Corwin

#430922 - 11/17/10 03:34 AM Re: "Black Belt Clubs" [Re: JMWcorwin]
Shi Ronglang Offline

Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 91
Loc: Samarobriva, Gallia
Interesting... I had never heard of such "black belt clubs" before. I guess they must be more popular on the other side of the Atlantic; I don't think we have them over here.
Among the "schools" I've attended over the seven short years my martial instruction has been going on for, the current one is probably the one with the closest thing to a "BB club".

With my very first instructor (Japanese), there was zero fee involved. He taught for the sake of it, and classes would take place in a public park.

My second instructor's dojo ((British) would offer the choice of paying on a per class basis (the choice I had to go with, not knowing for how long I'd be staying in town) or through an annual fee. It was pretty McDojo-ish (expensive, lots of extras to be had for a fee, belt-mill-like superfast gradings and the obviously-lacking black belts that come with it, birthday parties for kids, etc.) but the instructor was extremely competent and I loved what I learnt there. I still practice some of it to this day, even though I no longer do jujutsu.

My iaido instructor teaches for the sake of the art. The annual fee is approximately $40, which is but the price of the federation license stamp. The training facility is kindly lent by the city.

My Chinese instructor in Tianjin (a highly traditional type) would charge a fixed fee (can't recall how much that was) for a 20-class package. The student was absolutely free to make those 20 tuitions last three weeks by showing up every day (I did), half a year by showing up once a week, or twenty years by showing up once a year if he so desired. The fee was for the instructor's time, as training would take place in a public park (pretty common practice over there), but he was definitely not stingy with the said time: although classes were meant to end at 6 PM, they would often stretch to 8 or more if the students were willing to go on (I was). One last detail: that fee only applied to European barbarians. Chinese could be instructed for free, and Japanese devils would be barred from it altogether. That's China for you! grin

My current instructor (Chinese-Vietnamese) charges an annual fee. The fee varies depending on whether you choose to attend one class a week, two classes a week, or all weekly classes. The club doesn't own the training facility but rents it on a per-hour basis, so the charging system makes sense. Yet I guess you could call the one-class-a-week program a "basic" package while calling the higher intensity ones "black belt clubs", it's a mere matter of vocabulary here.
Wen wu shuang quan

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