Real Dilemma

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Rhythmkiller, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    Hi Guys,

    A little advice required if you could be so kind. I have a dilemma. I was recently approached by a neighbour who spotted me coming in from TKD training one night. I was wearing my dobok trousers and t-shirt. I have only recently started speaking to this guy who seems pretty cool. He noticed the ITF sign on my trousers and asked how long I had been doing TKD. After a short discussion about how I was doing/enjoying he let me know that he is also a TKD practitioner, actually that he was an instructor.

    One of the things he mentioned to me is that his group were opening a fully padded fully equipped Dojang in my town. This piqued my interest. He laid out further details including price which was a third of what I currently pay. I am going to check out the Dojang tomorrow night as a guest of course so no fee to pay.

    This is where my dilemma comes into play. I love my training and have never missed a class or seminar since I started last June. But it is very expensive. I can afford it though. The problem is my training takes place in various community halls, don’t get me wrong I have no problem whatsoever with this and the instructors arrive with all pads etc for the class. However at the price I and others pay we are expecting a little extra, I and other long term (much longer than me) students have spoken of this. We have massive respect for our instructor but we all know the overheads are bare minimum for the halls. On the other hand I believe the quality of instruction to be top class (I say that never having been anywhere else). We have in the last three months had about six new recruits four of them from TAGB and the other two I’m not sure where from but I believe they did UITF. The TAGB (I only use this as a bench mark) guys reckon this class is better, two of them are black tags I think maybe one is red belt not sure as I only see them occasionally.

    Now to the real problem. When I go to the Dojang tomorrow evening and try out the class and like it. What do I do? What would you do? I am going half wanting it to be rubbish so I can continue with my own training. I have built a camaraderie with the guys at my own class and have massive respect for my instructor/s.

    If the quality of training is as good then I will go for the new place with a heavy heart, if not I’ll be happy. As I said earlier I pay quite a lot and this new place seems more for less (too good to be true). It’s all down to the quality of the instruction. My current instructor is 6th Dan – has been European and British champion and generally a really cool guy. I love the idea that my instructor has a proven track record. He has produced European a British Champions also, a couple in the past have been world Champions. At the Chang Un cup in Edinburgh recently all of his students won their matches. I don’t know anything about the new place I’m going to check out but I guess that’s why I’m going to check it out.

    I don’t know the chemical reason for it but I feel a bit of a rat! Have any of you been in a similar position and did it work out for the better?

    Comments and questions welcome.

    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  2. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    I'd try the new class, for a few weeks if necessary, then decide. Weigh up what matters most to you, out of all the factors you have listed: price, quality of instruction, cameraderie, etc.

    Then if you still feel undecided, try this trick. You toss a coin. Then depending whether you feel pleased or disappointed with the outcome, you know what you REALLY want deep down inside.
  3. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    There's only one thing for it. You'll have to train at both.

    Grading twice for every belt is going to suck.
  4. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    This makes sense.

  5. TKDDragon

    TKDDragon Valued Member

    As a relatively inexperienced martial artist determining which school fits you better is tough. Some indicators of a good program are the upper belts. You mention black tags in your current school. How are their skills? Did they start under your teacher? How long have they been with him? What does a typical class do under your current instructor? Why do you not see the black tags as often?
    When you check out the new place look at some of the same things and find out this new instructors background in Martial Arts. Later on cross training can be important as well so you might look into what other martial arts they both have experience in. Who know they both might share a similar lineage
  6. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    Yeah there are four black tags that go to training on the same nights as me. I often spar with them. Two of them are in their 40’s and are all hands, very good fast hands though. The other two vary one is about 17 and the other I ‘d say in his 20’s. Both are very good and at a level I hope to eventually be at. To look at them both you’d say they weren’t far away from black belt. The two young guys started under my teacher, one of the older gentleman came in from another school when he moved house. All our black belts actively compete, most of them are aged between 17 and 30 (all of these guys to my knowledge started under my teacher).

    The Black tags I don’t see often are the ones that came from TAGB, they go on a Monday night – I can’t attend Mondays because the wife has something called poloxing and then another thing called power hoop so I don’t get to see these guys as often as I’d like.

    I have two instructors for the nights I go to class. Warm up routine, running, star jumps, squats etc. Followed by stretching. After that it’s usually sparring depending on the night. The 6th Dan loves his sparring and dons the gear now and again, everyone gets a lift from this and I often spar with him. The 3rd degree likes doing pad work and patterns. Both change up all the time though.

    I am in no real hurry to leave my school but the facilities of the new one have piqued my interest. I’ll have some more info on it tomorrow night though and a clearer idea of what to do.

  7. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Personally if I was in your position I'd change to the new place if you end up sure you'll receive the same quality instruction. At the end of the day this is a consumer business after all and if the new place is better quality for money then I personally would go there. I appreciate the desire to stay with people you know though. That said, you mentioned the class you attend now is expensive so are there others who would find it a lot easier to got to the new place? If so you might be able to go to the new one with some friends you already have from your current club.

    Just my thoughts.
  8. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    A few of them are of a similair opinion as me. They are interested. They want me to scope it out lol. As you say on paper it seems a no brainer, i have reservations though. I'd rather not cast stones though until i see what is on offer. I actually have no right to cast doubt at my level.

  9. TKDDragon

    TKDDragon Valued Member

    A just some food for thought on making a change I would add the following criteria.
    1) Duration of time students have trained under the new instructor and number
    2) How permanent is the lower pricing as in is it just an intro price? I find it hard to believe someone with the overhead of their own facility would be able to charge significantly less than someone teaching out of a community center. Beware price increases, fees, and other hidden costs.

    You don't want to change only to find out he closes 3 months from now, triples the fees, or has all kinds of startup costs
  10. raaeoh

    raaeoh never tell me the odds

    My only question is why you does your current instructor move from hall to hall? Reminds me of the gypsys. Back in the day after his divorce and financial demise that followed. An old instructor of mine trained us out of a garage, and in a vacant lot until another studio could be rented. I actually preferred the field training to actual dojo/dojang trainng.

    Any way enough rambling. If the instruction is equal you will have a tough choice indeed. Comfortable high price vs the extra cash left over to add to your nest egg.
  11. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    This is a concern. I'll take the man at face value. Just for clarity unlimited training at the new school is £27 and £20 a grading.

    Currently i pay £60 unlimited but that includes my grading and all seminars fees are waived, as well as competition fees. Combined with my daughters TKD i pay about £88 a month. It would be cut in half at the new school. Leaving for the sake of the money isn't my style though. i will have to ask tough questions tomorrow because it will be a lifestyle change for better or worse.

  12. raaeoh

    raaeoh never tell me the odds

    Valid point about the possible intro rate. Also something to consider. Is there a long term contract? I would avoid any place that requires a contract.
    My gym offers you a month to month high$$$ or contract at a much lower rate
  13. raaeoh

    raaeoh never tell me the odds

    You mentioned your daughter. Another factor. My kids have only trained at one place, and have many friends there. It would crush them to leave for another school.
  14. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    My instructor has various classes all over Scotland, he teaches in my area on Monday and Thursday. I go to a different instructor on Tuesdays which is in a different area all together hance a different hall.

  15. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    Yeah mines would be upset as well. Something else to factor in. That decision ultimately will be hers, she's only six but know what she wants. I won't influence her decision whatsoever. I'll probably end up staying as well though. I wouldn't be leaving right away anyway.

  16. OwlMAtt

    OwlMAtt Armed and Scrupulous

    Absolutely give the new option a try. Then decide what is best for you. Maybe this new place will be better for you but not for your daughter, or maybe vice versa. But there's no shame and no harm in looking.
  17. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    So your neighbor laid out the facilities and the price, but did not mention his specific lineage and qualifications in that conversation?

    If I understand this correctly, this would raise a red flag to me. Why would he not mention his qualifictions/ experience to entice you to his school?

    Think about it. What is more important to him? What he brings up first and what he doesn't is really telling.

    You said it, it sounds too good to be true. I would take your time and not just decide on one lesson. Especially if you really like your current school. Finding a good school/ instructor is a blessiing. And not easy.

    Be really careful before trading in a good thing for an unknown.

    I have to say this too. I don't think it was very respectful to bring up another school you aren't even sure about in the very place the instructors you like and respect are earning a living. (Unless you talked to the other students away from the school.) To potentially talk up a place that could hurt their earning a living IN that place is just not cool in my book. Did you say it in front of said instructors? Would you have felt it was ok to do it in front of those instructors? If not, maybe it was not appropriate.

    Honestly, I wonder if you instinctivly feel this as well, which is why you feel - what did you say - a bit like a rat? Note I am not calling you this, just noting what you said. You didn't feel good inside about something and I am thinking this might be why? But I may be misunderstanding the situation.

    And if you leave, try do it respectfully and honestly. Leaving. particularly taking other students with you is probably not going to leave you in very good terms with them. Especially if you enticed them away during class. So you may not be able to go back. But at least try and leave your options open.

    I dunno. I understand it is a free market. On the other hand, something doesn't seem right in the way this neighbor is trying to get you to go to his school. I have conversations with other MAists. some who even teach, and we are always very respectful of each others training. It isn't like "Oh, you should come to my school instead."

    Yeah, I expect others to disagree with this post, but this just doesn't set right with me. That said, still check it out. It might turn out to be a great thing. Just be really cautious and trust your gut feelings.........
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  18. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    You need to factor in how much you compete and how much those competitions will cost at the new place, how often you attend seminars, how often you grade etc etc though, otherwise you're in the same trap as people who say, "Ha! Suckers! I don't pay for my gradings, they're free! Lesson fees? Yes, they're £15 an hour." :D

  19. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    Lineage? I take it he operates Chang Hon system – do you mean who taught him? No he didn’t mention it, it was 21:30 and he caught me coming in from training while he was putting the bins out so maybe never fought of it. In fairness I never fought to ask.

    He did mention his qualifications, Sorry I thought I had mentioned that he is a 3rd dan. Like all adult instructors in Scotland working with kids he would have passed his disclosure Scotland as well.

    What is important to him is getting students into his Dojang. The conversation was quite quick and in fairness ended by me. Just in from training and pretty sore just wanting to soak in the bath you know.

    This is what is holding me back. My school is excellent I feel but then I have nothing to compare it to.

    No this wasn’t mentioned to the instructors, I have to say as well though that one of the instructors has become a good friend of mine, we often socialise. The people I mentioned this to are grown men and I initially mentioned it to gather a response. What were they thinking? Do they think I am being a rat? I also socialise with these guys outside my dojang and it has been mentioned before class but not in the dojang. Bear in mind we arrive about 45 minutes early. Also as a sign of respect I did let my friend (an instructor) know I was going to check out this place. Why would I keep a secret from a friend? You are correct though to mention this to my main instructor would be disrespectful and it’s not my style to do that. On another note my instructor must know the new guy because the new guy knows him and my inclination is that he was a former student of my instructor???? The plot thickens.

    You have misread the situation to a certain degree but yes I do feel bad. I feel bad because I’d be leaving good people behind, a good instructor. I have to make this absolutely clear, I have massive respect for the club owner/instructor. I can’t imagine anyone else being as patient with me or pushing me as hard. I am now capable of doing things I never thought I could do because of this guy. I feel bad if I am to leave a fantastic person behind but I owe no allegiance, I pay for his time.

    Enticing/manipulating is not in my genetic makeup. Honest is all anyone can be. In fairness I can sometimes be honest to a fault, often brutally so honesty won’t be an issue. That being said – the guys that have been with him would never leave regardless. I must note as well some of the guys their 15 years plus train for free and only pay to grade(They pay annual insurance as well I think). The others who might leave will do so of their own accord without my influence.

    Something doesn’t sit right with me either and that’s why it must be challenged. Your comments are merited, I take you are an instructor? The reason this might have struck a nerve with you. The neighbour seems pretty cool, I don’t think he’s dodgy in anyway but I do fear that his training isn’t going to have the same quality as I am currently getting.

    I asked for comments and you commented honestly. Nothing wrong with that.

  20. Rhythmkiller

    Rhythmkiller Animo Non Astutia

    Yeah i know what you mean Mitch. I prefer this option simply because it's direct debit. Hate the idea of filling out forms to grade and go to sparring seminars to pay my fee then get a reciept etc. This just suits me.

    Prices are to £45 to grade, Seminars £15 competition £35

    There's a seminar once a month i think. Gradings are every three months and competitions i can enter are about 2 a year i think. i also get a free dobok each year as a sweetner.

    All in all it works out worth it for me over the piece as long as i attend.


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