Excuse me while I scramble things around a bit so my response will better ďflowĒ.


Oh I'm sorry, I keep forgetting that MA instructors are not allowed to make a living teaching, unlike every other kind of instructor in our society. How silly of me.


Ah sarcasm. Love it. I thought about saying something about small minds, but that wouldíve made me the smaller person. By the way, I have NO illusions that academic teachers in our country are underpaid. I donít pretend to be an academic instructor, thatís not my function and wonít make an invalid comparison for the sake of an argument.

I donít begrudge anyone their wanting to make money. All are entitled to earning as much as they can. But under what pretenses? Letís put this in perspective for you.

I am a black belt (I am a Sandan now) and have been training since I was 16 (roughly 21 years). I also have my own dojo and approximately 30 students that attend regularly whose ages range from 6-40. I see from your name and what you have written in the past that you are not a black belt yet and havenít been training for very long. So my perspective is one of a teacher that runs a dojo and has a traditional mindset when it comes to martial arts training.

I have been in 2 MA schools whose focus was the business side of things and not the art. Both were focused on making money any way they can. They created whatever elitist clubs they could to make people feel better about themselves. They lost sight of the fact that the this type of physical training by a good instructor is designed to help one do that as is. I always knew there was more to what I was doing than shouting ďWE ARE A BLACK BELT SCHOOL!Ē Thankfully I am with an instructor that is showing me what true martial arts training is about. In the 20+ years I have been training I have learned more in these last 4+ years with him. But thatís a different topic and I digress.


While not a "black belt club" we have special training for our "hit team" high intensity training team. It's an extra twenty bucks a month if you want to attend, and is geared towards the sport aspect of TKD, extra patterns and sparring practice for tournament competition.

Our dojoís philosophy about demo teams is this: Every single student should be good enough to be on any demonstration team we put together. There are no cliques. Every single one of our students are expected to be quality practitioners. Period. Dot.


While hit team participation does not necessarily affect the speed at which students are promoted, those students that choose to attend are typically more motivated than those that only attend the regular classes. Not to mention, the extra hours they spend training makes a big difference in how quickly they improve.

I see. So students have to pay more to be better motivated or in other words, get more motivating instruction? Interesting concept. I figured instructors would be good enough to motivate students without making them pay extra.


We have something we call a black belt club, however it's intention is strictly motivational. Typically when a student reaches red belt, a parent or other family member, pays for the students membership in the black belt club. For 30 bucks, the student gets their embroidered black belt which sits on a display shelf in the dojang as an incentive to help them through their next year or more of training.

I would disagree that itís strictly motivational. If it was STRICTLY motivational, there would be no price tag associated with it. This is about making a few extra dollars, which, as you said, you donít see a problem with. I also see this as a false motivator. The motivator should already be inherent in the training. One would want to train for the sake of training not for the sake of a piece of cloth on the wall. That is the problem with todayís trainees. They are focused on being rewarded for their effort when sometimes completing the hard work is the reward in and of itself. Training pays its own rewards. In todayís American Martial Arts arena itís all about ďmake me feel good because I did it! Oh! Recognize me because of this accomplishment!Ē For example, Johnny gets an A in school. Awesome, wonderful. You earned the A. What, I need to give you a Star on your uniform because you got an A in class? Um, no. Thatís creating a reward mentality that is not realistic. It creates a precedent where it then becomes expected that because I complete a task that is EXPECTED of me (doing well in school) I am supposed to get an additional reward? Not. No different than completing your job at work: you were hired to do a good job. You shouldnít have to have some crazy recognition program for doing a good job. Again, itís what you were hired to do in the first place.

Something else I see in todayís Martial Arts practitioners: too many do not understand that a black belt is not an end but the beginning of a journey. A black belt is an expert of basics, most certainly not a master. A 1st degree black belt is one that is now ready for the true path of learning. It took me 20 months of intense study (after already having trained for over 12 years) to dedicate myself to achieve my 1st degree. At the time I thought wow, I am here. I have been a black-belt for 7 years now. I have learned more about martial arts (and myself) from 1st to 3rd degree than in any of the previous 14 years I trained or even the ~3 years I was already a 1st degree (most of that is, again, thanks to the good instructor I have now).


Frankly, I don't see a problem with providing different opportunities of training, and asking that students pay for those extras. If the instructor is going to take more of their time to teach them, they should get paid more.

Again I have a problem with this. The curriculum should be complete without having to pay for extras. Yes, my time is precious to me and is worth something to me, but why force students to pay for what they should already get through the program? What? Itís not good enough as is? They are already paying you for the privilege of teaching them. Why make them pay more?

What I see here is a person who has bought into the notion that paying more for what they should already be getting is better. If you donít have a problem with it, great, wonderful, go for it. Itís your dime. My students pay through sweat and hard word. Their effort is reward enough. I am going to put out quality martial arts and be the best teacher I can be WITHOUT asking my students to pay more for what they should get out of the curriculum as is.

Feel free to agree to disagree.


Edited by SNieves (02/05/08 11:20 PM)