I'm not sure who wrote that if you can 'find something you love, you'll never work another day in your life'. (or words to that effect)
Is it o.k. to make a living from teaching the martial arts?
I've rarely trained under anyone who has made any money at the martial arts game. Sure, some teachers ran clubs that turned enough profit to cover rent for the dojo and the odd piece of equipment, but it's always been their secondary job. It's been a labour of love for most of them.
This type of dedication is admirable. I was making a comment over at Jiu-Jitsu Sensei about the types of places I've trained in. I've trained in everything from a barn and a backyard to a state of the art martial arts center.
Mainly it's been small scale dojos in rented units, often falling prey to floods, power outages and a distinct lack of air conditioning.
There has always seemed to be a certain pride in the fact that these smaller training spaces and clubs didn't have to sacrifice their art in the name of business and attracting lots of students.
So, is it possible to run a large enough club to make a living without compromising the quality of instruction? We often hear about McDojo's popping up here and there, purely to make a profit. Most close up shop quickly enough. Black belt packages, mandatory up front year long membership costs, hidden fees, mandatory accessory purchases and that sort of thing give these places a bad name. And rightly so in most cases.
Assuming you care about your art and the quality of instruction, is it possible to grow large enough to make teaching martial arts a full time endeavor and your primary source of income? Is it wrong to do so? Does trying to make a living water down your martial art? Do you compromise yourself and your art when making money is one of your concerns?
I've only seen a few dojos that have made money and stayed in business for a long time. Typically, I have steered clear of large commercial type dojos, often assuming that they only want my money. I've even been in one that wouldn't let you watch or take a class without paying 3 months up front.
Can you have the best of both worlds?