Monday, February 8, 2010

New Class Times for the Dojo

We've recently decided to expand our evening classes to encourage the growth of our dojo.Since our location is in an industrial business area, we're going to start offering an after work time slot, 5:30 - 7:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

While we are expanding my class times, rest assured that we won't "sell out" in the process though. We have no intention of ever becoming a McDojo.


Chris Olson said...

I don't think you have to worry about becoming a McDojo, I think myself and the other students will keep you honest. ;)

John W. Zimmer said...

As a business school graduate, I don't think you have to worry about becoming a "mcdojo" so long as you strive to offer quality as well as value.

I generally think the term "mcdojo" is used two ways... one ;to describe a school that focuses on quantity and looses sight of quality and two; schools that are jealous of other school's business acumen so they resort to throwing stones.

I can see from your writings that you are the former.

Hang in there - losing one job is generally a great transition to another better a better job or trading that all in to become your own boss!

Anonymous said...

That sucks, although luckily you don’t seem to take it too hard. Every downside has an upside and you seem to have found yours. As long as you don’t obsess over it and let it wear you down you’ll be just fine. While I’ve never actually been in your dojo or know you personally I’m pretty certain you’re not the kind to sell out and let the business side preside over the development of good students with a fine-tuned technical skill and the proper attitude. You’re obviously very passionate about what you do and as a student of a very competent and passionate teacher myself I can say students will always appreciate this and won’t mind paying a reasonable fee. There’s no dishonour in making a living as a martial-arts teacher as long as you deliver quality, personalized instruction and don’t overcharge. I think John’s right: if all goes well and there is enough demand for your skills maybe you can actually make a living off your passion. I think lots of people dream of this but never make it, either through lack of effort or simply because they don’t have the guts to take a risk and go through with it.

The best of luck to you, keep us informed of your progress.


Anonymous said...

Maybe you should consider adding a few MMA or ground-grappling lessons to the schedule. Since you trained at an almost professional level I’m presuming you have the skill to teach those arts (if you are going to do this it would be advisable to train elsewhere on a regular basis) and it might diversify your audience so to speak, in turn generating more income. Plus it would be a nice add-on to your self-defense classes: as I said in a previous post practicing combat sports will only augment self-defense skills since it offers the possibility of resistance-training and sparring without too much modification of techniques. Over here most schools which stick to just one discipline or art generally don’t do so well and the number of students tends to be small, especially if they’re traditional and purely focusing on self-defense. The place where I train offers almost anything: from JKD and kali to thaiboxing & MMA to BJJ and self-defense based primarily on Japanese JJ. The number of students if phenomenal (of course fluctuating in time and depending on which martial art is the fad of the decennium): in the Thai boxing-classes there are over 45 students each lesson and the dojo (there are two) is actually getting too small. Of course the fees are quite hefty (more than 4 times what I pay for my training in JJ but that’s for a full subscription covering everything, allowing you to participate in every class and including insurance. While it’s quite expensive and I can’t really afford it right now (nor do I have the time) I do believe it is worth it since all the teachers are top-notch, properly certified and very approachable. No matter what you study there you’re assured you’re learning from the best in the country and you’ll be properly prepared for exams organized by national and international organizations.

Anyway, it’s your call of course but if you decide to become a professional instructor it’s a good example of making a decent profit without sacrificing your integrity or treating students merely as a source of income. Of course this won’t be easy but it can be done: the owner (at least the guy who runs the place on a day to day basis) used to be a security-guard but now he can live of the academy (he sells equipment on the side). Making a living of the martial arts is not the easiest route but if you diversify enough and are able to offer a well-rounded program and quality instruction along with good equipment and infrastructure it’s as good a career as any other. Perhaps you could cooperate more closely with that boxer-friend of yours and offer a joint-subscription? Just an idea.

Ah well, none of my business of course. Just my two cents.