Tuesday, January 19, 2010

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Would you buy your coach a cup of coffee every day?


I think it worthwhile putting the whole 'training or membership fee' concept, into some kind of perspective.
Let's say the average cost for training is around $100 per month - cheap I know - but we'll use that as a base-point. This comes down to about $3.30 pr day - to belong to a club, receie all the tuiton, and use any faciities the club/academy may provide.
Now, the last time I checked, this is about the price of a cup of coffee, bought down the street.
In any teacher.student relationship - you would have to agree that to buy the teacher one cup of coffee every day, would represent a pretty good deal for the benefits received in return. Thats' right - ONE CUP OF COFFE A DAY! So next time, you are wondering whether you are getting a good deal for the training you are getting - ask yourself - are you getting value from your teacher that is commensurate with buying him a cup of coffee every day?
Many people swear that their martial arts training has changed their lives ... but quite often, these ver same peole, want to put their memberships on 'hold' while they get over their flu or go on holidays ... come one ... if you value the relationship you have with your teacher, think about buying him (or her) the cup of coffee every day - even on thse days when you have a dose of the flu.It's all a matter of Perspective!

JBW

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7 Comments

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John,

Great point and wonderful perspective. I agree with you, a cup of coffee is NOT a lot in the whole scheme of things but, I am seeing many people change their lives to forego that daily cup of joe, trips out to the movies, going out to dinner and the like in order to keep their heads above water on the home-front.

In many ways, we all do some sort of cost-benefit analysis and in some cases, coffee, dining out and maybe even BJJ are sacrificed in that equation.

Just my 2 cents.

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I certainly would and I kind of feel bad that I'm not at the moment.

The way it works at my dojo here in Japan is that we pay to use the place, not pay the people. The money goes to the head of the dojo who lives above it. The teachers are all regular guys with jobs who have been going there for years. We pay about $60 a month and we can come in at almost anytime during the week to use the facilities plus we can come to whatever classes whenever we want (kickboxing, BJJ and Karate). It's a pretty sweet deal that I'm making the most of.

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I agree totally with your point of view John, as coaching, facilities, cleaning, front of house staff etc are all very expensive... But I think that the new gym membership mentality that some clubs are now putting into practice is shocking. Forcing students to be locked into 1,2 even 3 year contracts shows that some coaches/clubs have no confidence in the product/service that they're providing to their students, they obviously feel that the student wouldn't remain training with them if the contract wasn't in place. Coaches build loyalty and respect through their teaching and actions on and off the mat, if a coach is respected then people will remain and train with them. I'm a Will Machado student myself and have alot of mates that now train elsewhere whilst having to still pay fees under contract... Not good grr. In saying this I have been in your seminars twice now and I'll gladly pay whatever the price of you choose to charge as I get alot from the interaction.
Cheers Ben

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Anonymous 9:10 am

Hi John,
I think you make a good point. However, having some facility to put a membership on hold can be a valuable way of keeping people feeling 'part of it'. I chose to stop for a while due to heavy study demands (and I realise that this was an individual choice, and for my life, I needed to prioritise studying at that time), and had to cancel my membership. I would have preferred to put it on hold. It is not so much the membership cost, but rather, when you start again, anywhere, the business that facilitates payment (such as ADFIT, banks) require an additional payment. That leaves a person to choose to keep paying for a few months for a membership they can't use, or have extra costs from businesses wanting a cut too. Having some kind of hold option may help some people get back into it sooner. However, I'm NOT talking about putting it on hold while you have the flu. Who does that??!!
Having said that, for the joy and discipline and motivation I have lost in the meantime, with an out of balance life, I would have gladly bought my trainer a coffee each and every day to have kept it, if that makes sense.

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Hi Anonymous,
this particular blog was actually inspired by comments I am getting in lots of conversations with other martial arts school operators. In my school - in Geelong - I now have a 'hold' option - I am not sure what it is - maybe $5 a fortnight or something - that keeps people's memberships 'alive' while they are taking a month off for study or whatever. I was just talking generally - I think in this business-oriented world, more and more people are seeing the teacher/student relationship as a business relationship and not really seeing it for what t actually is (at least from my perspective). my feeling is that the students are paying for the rent of te building, the insurance, etc - all te expenses that need to be covered to keep a fulltime school in operation - the teaching (again, from my perspective only) comes from the heart, from a genuine desire to help peopler and share the many benefits of quality martial arts training.
And you may be surprised at how many people have a wek off for some minor reason - and want that portion of their fees back. if these were fees commensurate with say, the fees we pay an architect, and engineer or a doctor - I may concur - but when it amounts to the price of a cup of coffee - I say it's time to take a deeper look at what the teacher/student relationship means - and what real value it has.
Thanks for your response,
best wishes
JBW

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Hi Anonymous,
this particular blog was actually inspired by comments I am getting in lots of conversations with other martial arts school operators. In my school - in Geelong - I now have a 'hold' option - I am not sure what it is - maybe $5 a fortnight or something - that keeps people's memberships 'alive' while they are taking a month off for study or whatever. I was just talking generally - I think in this business-oriented world, more and more people are seeing the teacher/student relationship as a business relationship and not really seeing it for what t actually is (at least from my perspective). my feeling is that the students are paying for the rent of te building, the insurance, etc - all te expenses that need to be covered to keep a fulltime school in operation - the teaching (again, from my perspective only) comes from the heart, from a genuine desire to help peopler and share the many benefits of quality martial arts training.
And you may be surprised at how many people have a wek off for some minor reason - and want that portion of their fees back. if these were fees commensurate with say, the fees we pay an architect, and engineer or a doctor - I may concur - but when it amounts to the price of a cup of coffee - I say it's time to take a deeper look at what the teacher/student relationship means - and what real value it has.
Thanks for your response,
best wishes
JBW

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Learning martial arts is learning a skill and instructors should be compensated. My BJJ black belt under Carlos Valente--at this time--is of more value than my university diploma. My gym rates for memberships are competitive with other gyms and we will freeze memberships for those that need time off. I understand not all learn martial arts because they want to be instructors, but learning a skill from a reputable instructor shouldn't be free. Expect to pay any kind of instructor whether it's yoga, pilates or martial arts.

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