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Thread: explaining changes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
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    Question explaining changes

    Hi,
    I understand that change is inevitable even in "traditional" martial arts schools. I have encountered changes to training schedules, curriculum content, fee structure and grading requirements to name a few. If you run a school how much of an explaination do you provide or feel you owe your students when you make a change? If you are a student how much of an explaination do you feel you have a right to expect? Does that differ from what you actually get?
    Claire

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Smile It depends on the change

    How drastic your change is will dictate how to implement it. For example, curriculum change. With your low belts or new students, just do it. They know nothing different anyway. With the older belts, that have been around for awhile, explain why the change is taking place and slowly add it to their requirements, unless it is a complete change. Then you have to do it, completely, and work backwards for them. The key is communication.

    If it's a schedule change, explain the new class times and why they are changing. If it's a fee change, explain that cost's go up so your tuition must also. There is a gentleman in Denver who has raised his tuition every year. The thought is he may lose people but the opposite is true. While he may, and I stress may, lose a few, he usually enrolls more. Utilities, insurance, training equipment, it all has to be paid for. When your costs go up so must theirs.

    Again, the key with any change is communication with your upper belts that have been around for awhile. The new students don't know anything different.
    With respect,

    Mitch Saret

  3. #3
    HinodeBuddha Guest

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    This is something I have encountered rather frequently. In my opinion the instructor is not obligated to explain his/her actions. The bottom line is we are at the mercy, if you will, of our sensei or organizations we belong to. My friend tld me once that it is as simple as this: If when your sensei changes something, anything, and you do not like it you have two choices, stay and keep your mouth shut, or leave and persue your training elsewhere.

  4. #4
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    We're going through a rather significant curriculum change right now, too. I explain: "We're trying to make things better. You can't make things better without changing them once in a while."

    That seems to satisfy people.
    Mike Hough

  5. #5
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    I have been the beneficiary of some changes in a nearby school. They had been teaching class on Thursday nights for years. They moved the class to Monday nights. I teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I had six students show up with parents in tow, all because a red headed boy whom my wife be-friended five years ago (he was three at the time) brought all his buddies with him. Needless to say, I owe him!
    Respectfully
    Mark W. Swarthout, Shodan

  6. #6
    power teacher Guest

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    I have a friend that has a school in a local recreational facilities. His classes were tues-thurs from 7:00pm-9:00pm. Because of security issues around the neighboring area, the rec center decided to change the hours of operations to close at 8:00pm instead of 9:00pm. Some students had to leave because it interferred with public school activities. He has held firm on pricing for 20+ yrs refusing to go up, which I admire. Unfortunate for him though, some parents think the more you are charged the better training you will receive. This proves wrong when students from other schools come to spare with his students.
    A good instructor will maintain a strickness in class during serious training and a casual side as well as a parent figure who will take time to listen to the students questions and need. There is nothing wrong with explaining changes to the students and/or parents. A students respect for his/her instructor is priceless. A good instructor is a good listener also.

  7. #7
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    Lightbulb I did the same thing

    With a curriculum change I suggest starting with the upper belts first as opposed to everything at once. The reason being the upper belts have been there for awhile and would be more willing to change a bit, as it adds to their training. The middle belts are kind of inbetween, but the upper belts should be able to help out here. The lower belts have no idea. It's all new to them, so it's no problem, especially with new students.

    If it's a matter of dropping things, that's the way to go. If you are adding to the curriculum, that's easy too, as it's just new stuff, like for their next belt. All in all, really not that difficult.

    The hard part was when I decided to make it a rotating curriculum, and I had to re-organize the curriculum. It was the same stuff, just the order had to be re-arranged.
    With respect,

    Mitch Saret

  8. #8
    CIM-BA Guest

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    Originally posted by HinodeBuddha
    .... If when your sensei changes something, anything, and you do not like it you have two choices, stay and keep your mouth shut, or leave and persue your training elsewhere.

    Likely the best comment!

    Since belts cost about $3-5 (not counting volume purchases) and Certificates are usually run off a cheap printer (some Instructors actually use nice paper - my last dojo used a cheap little ditto machine and copy machine paper) - Charging a student more than $5-$10 for a promotion that the instructors claims the student earned is outrageous!

    Any fee more than $5-$10 to cover the cost is selling ranks

  9. #9
    HinodeBuddha Guest

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    [QUOTE]

    I don't think this is really true. Selling rank implies that you are not concerned with the performance of the test and are only interested in the money. It is true that a lot if not most schools have test fees that exceed the cost of the actual test necessaties, like belts and certificates, but the extra money goes for other expenses. I've not heard of anyone getting rich off of test fees though I'm sure there are a few.

  10. #10
    CIM-BA Guest

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    It's not a 'get' rich system, nor does a McDojo have to 'not care' about a students promotion.

    When a system sells belts (excuss me, promotes students), and the new rank costs $15, $25, $35, etc... progressively through the ranking system, this is a red flag! The belts and certificates do not cost more money,nor does the Sensei's time.

    I have seen schools (or systems) who claim to promote a student when they are 'ready'. The student receives notification that they now need to PAY $30 for their next rank. The Sensei will promote them after the payment is received. There is no formal testing as the student was 'observed' during the regular class time. Now you have schools with students in high ranking postions who cannot perform simple kata, let alone discuss strike mechanics and they have no concept of self-defense strategies - BUT they did pay for their next belt and their 'qualified' sensei promoted them.

    Point being - a good number of schools/systems promote students to generate revenue. Promotion makes the student feel good, the school owner feels good with the income, the Sensei has 'ranking' students and these students are likely to enroll again - Everyone WINS! - except the student walking around with a brown or black belt who knows nothing but to smile big.

    Just my twenty-five cents (inflation)

  11. #11
    HinodeBuddha Guest

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    Point being - a good number of schools/systems promote students to generate revenue. Promotion makes the student feel good, the school owner feels good with the income, the Sensei has 'ranking' students and these students are likely to enroll again - Everyone WINS! - except the student walking around with a brown or black belt who knows nothing but to smile big.
    [QUOTE]

    I completely agree with this lone statement.

  12. #12
    Yokosho Shinzu Guest

    Cool

    Yeah I agree.

    Quote: Hatsumi, Masaaki~"A Dojo isn't something concrete, it's living everyday and is also somethings that's spiritual. That's what a Dojo is really about."

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