Not disagreeing--not really.
But could you not ask the same question of a person that provides sucky instruction and lousy classes and still expects people to show up and pay good money for their "lessons"???
You often have to sign a contract pretty early on to train---anything can look good with just a little bit of exposure.
Is it the students fault that at just 3 classes what they thought they knew about the school does not hold up say 6 months later??
Heck for that matter--if the student is "unmotivated" is that all the students fault???? Or does the teacher have to bear some of the responsibilty?
If the class is way to hard for me physically, or just really boring---is that all the students fault???
I agree with you--and I HATE people taking advantage--either direction.
I think part of the problem is that many owners/teachers want it both ways on these kinds of issues.
As in your example---sometimes they want to treat the whole thing a simple business transaction---but they ALSO often want to be seen as "sensei" and treat the interactions as something far more than "just" business.
If you look at any other business contract and compare to martial arts you can see where the reasoning breaks down.
I sign a contract with a rug cleaning firm to clean my carpets and they fail to get them clean--I can walk away and contract be damned.
Do martial arts schools expect to be treated the same??
Its "all business" when its time to get paid---but its "I'm the sensai" when it comes to how one expects to be treated by the students......or would it be "customers????"
IMO there are a whole raft of things that would need to be changed should one wish to apply a true business model to martial arts instuction...not the least of which would be needeing to establish some sort of rough performance standards for evaluation----anybody want to submit their school to another systems standards????
As harlan points out above (a really good point/way to say it BTW
) --in the abscence of contracts--market forces would take a much greater role in the "success" or "failure" of a given school.
A good question for any business owner might be:
"If I let my customers out of their contracts--how many of them would still CHOSE to do business with me????"
If a large propertion of a given business customers are only there until the time runs on their contracts---and only stick around because of punitive clauses in the contract itself----then IMO that is business with some SERIOUS problems.....problems that are only DELAYED by the contracts.