Author Topic: United Studios of Self-Defense  (Read 19991 times)

M.Rose

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Re:United Studios of Self-Defense
« Reply #30 on: June 06, 2003, 02:03:30 PM »
We definately see eye-to-eye here! ;D

For the most part, the prices mentioned just seem like someone prostituting the art. In some select cases perhaps such prices might be more justified, but really in the case of USSD I can't see such justification. As I mentioned before, wouldn't their size give them the sales volume to charge considerably less than most places?

Another thing I totally forgot to mention, was that I went in there with a pass for a 'free lesson'. No such lesson was given! He told me that unless I could put some money down that we wouldnt be able to begin. I guess free lesson now translates into "free tour of facilities and free price quote"

<<I just don't think it's right regardless of what your talent is, its a matter of ethics.  A diminishing virtue in today's martial arts world.>>

My sentiments exactly!

Karazenpo

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Re:United Studios of Self-Defense
« Reply #31 on: June 06, 2003, 02:21:10 PM »
   Perhaps, Mike, the term 'McDojo' shouldn't really be applied here. The original concept of the 'McDojos' by their founders when they first started out in the early 70's was supposed to be 'quality martial arts at affordable rates.'  Affordable for who? Bank of America?, lol, ;D

M.Rose

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Re:United Studios of Self-Defense
« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2003, 02:35:46 PM »
LoL that is quite true. I remember thinking to myself, "But wait...wouldnt a McDojo offer affordable or even CHEAP tuition?"

Its like they consulted STARBUCKS before deciding tuition prices!

Jon Pack

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Re:United Studios of Self-Defense
« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2003, 11:15:30 PM »
My experience with USSD on the West coast began in my local studio where I was training in the same school as my sons(great to have this in common) under a young black belt. Relatively early on(Blue Belt) I decided to enroll in Instructor Training, the main reason was to take my training to the next level.
My costs at this point were high, group and private classes at my local school and Instructor training at the S.F. headquarters. To say I jumped in with both feet would be an understatement. Three group classes and one private locally and two instructor classes and one Masters training class per week.
In the years to come there was a falling out between my Master level instructor and USSD. The personal attacks on him and the strong arm tactics used with the instructors that sided with him were enough to show there true colors.
On the business side I have to say Mattera is pretty smart. He makes $ off everything. All schools buy supplies through his supply co.. The popular Dojo shirt co.... now owned by Mattera. Recently I noticed he owns the rights to the converse style shoe.
I look at USSD the same as the Mitose situation. No Mitose no Kempo. No USSD no MA. career.
Jon Pack
chippewavalleykempo.com

napashifu

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Re:United Studios of Self-Defense
« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2003, 12:15:51 AM »
 :D
Before she found out that she was going to be a grandma 8) 8) 8), Sigung Pat was thinking about getting a Harley, then once she heard the news about being a grandma, she decided that the trailblazer was a little better idea.
Aloha Sigung ;D ;D

Karazenpo

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Re:United Studios of Self-Defense
« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2003, 08:36:33 AM »
Sigung Pat, I appreciate your analogies with the cars and SUV's but please look at it this way. Yeah, I may buy a $50,000 Corvette but I'll be getting $50,000 Corvette, high quality automobile that is an investment, in other words, unlike many other vehicles, Corvettes have a very high resale value. Now, John Smith Chevrolet is selling brand new 2003 Corvettes for the General Motors 'sticker' retail price of $50,000. Jack Jones Chevrolet a few miles away, and this is done by some dealerships on Crovettes, puts an additional sticker on the same exact line of Corvettes that states, "Adjusted Market Value: $55,000. Why in the world am I going to shell out $5000 more for the exact same car? So why would I pay a ridiculously inflated tuition to learn, essentially, 'Sonny' Gascon's Shaolin Kempo when it is taught by qualified instructors all over the world with affordable, down to earth rates? See my point. USSD doesn't have a copyright on the Shaolin Kempo of Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu.

Hi Jon, Imho, you are correct in stating No USSD/No Jon Pack Kempo because USSD gave you your identity, your foundation to build upon. You should acknowledge it, its the truth! Nothing wrong with that and nothing wrong with the system they teach, it's a genuine, traditional Hawaiian derived kempo system. Its roots and lineage stand undisputed. The question here is how the product is being delivered and at what cost?

                             Respectfully, Shihan Joe

Karazenpo

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Re:United Studios of Self-Defense
« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2003, 10:58:42 AM »
Agreed, Sigung Pat. I mean't to put in my response 'all things being equal' as far as the comparison goes but I must have forgotten. However, unless USSD can teach me to dodge bullets and walk through walls, $275 a month is absolutely absurd! I wouldn't pay that much for instruction even if I had money to throw away! Reason: There is no need too, there are plenty of excellent people out there teaching at affordable rates. As far as these inflated tuition rates go, USSD is the 'exception' and not the 'norm'.   Respectfully, Shihan Joe :)

Karazenpo

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Re:United Studios of Self-Defense
« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2003, 09:56:53 PM »
   In all due respect, Sigung Pat, and I sincerely mean that, no matter what "spin" anyone wants to put on it $275 a month is a "rip off" and schools like that give a black eye to the martial arts in general. Don't you realize that is the heart of the controversy over these so called McDojos?  Why do you think some people are critical of us? Its people like that! If I were a civillian and not a police officer, I would be better off applying for a license to carry and buy a handgun than take a second morgage on my house so that a 5th degree master in business administration  can teach me how to defend myself. Give me a break! $275 a month! "Buy a Black Belt"!, what's next? The "Steve Spry Black Belt in One Year Video Program", I suppose that's relevant too, you'll have to sell your kids to pay for that program. When are we going to make a stand and say enough is enough instead of partonizing these issues? Sorry, but as you can tell, this is a passion of mine. These schools ARE the exception and NOT the norm! I respect your right to voice your opinion but I will bet you $275 a month for the next ten years that if we take a poll I will win. ;D  I usually am humble enough to say IMHO, but in this case I'll go out on the limb and say this is POPULAR OPINION! What say you, out there?
« Last Edit: June 07, 2003, 10:19:40 PM by Shihan Joe Shuras »

Karazenpo

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Re:United Studios of Self-Defense
« Reply #38 on: June 08, 2003, 08:22:57 AM »
Hi Sigung Pat, I reread your post as you requested. I am an open minded person and I do see your points. I also agree on your statement, 'Let the buyer beware' but one would like to think that wouldn't have to happen in the martial arts because we teach virtues like character, sincerity and ethics........well, most of us do but unfortunately there are those out there that your warning is mean't for. My point also being that even with instructors who are very good and legit, I feel some have a problem balancing ego and greed with ethics and are charging way over inflated tuitions. The $275 a month is pure business with martial arts quality control taking a back seat.  Again, it's just my opinion. Some are just too out for the buck these days and they compromise their ethics in pursuing that almighty dollar! I'd close my doors before I'd sell my soul. ;) So, I do agree with you there, 'let the buyer beware'! I appreciated and enjoyed this discussion. I feel when two people debate like we did, more is learned by both parties. See you at the slot machines! ,lol ;D    Respectfully, Shihan Joe

sigung Ray

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Re:United Studios of Self-Defense
« Reply #39 on: June 08, 2003, 09:41:46 PM »
Hi
Just a comme....t

If I Train for years and years and develop a outstanding form of self defense, and I then wish two teach it $200.00 or $300.00 a month per student why will I give it away for less? Is there a law that tell us, that we have the need too teach for pennis. is martial arts regulated to a low monthly payment, wend is that we are going too learn that is more in teaching a student to live a life than too take one.??? $275.00 is nothing compare two what is been teach.
It is time to ask for the right amount per month?
Is a martial artist movie star more train too teach than Us? Is Thats why I stop been a teacher too become a student two pay the price!!??

Karazenpo

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Re:United Studios of Self-Defense
« Reply #40 on: June 09, 2003, 09:43:17 AM »
Believe me Sigung Ray, I understand your point and you don't know how much it sickens me when I see someone who does not have the commitment  myself and others do charging these inflated tuition rates and these poor students don't have a clue. Many less fortunate kids can really be helped and given direction by quality martial arts training. I have seen more kids grow out of low income families and trouble with the law through the direction good martial arts training provided them. I'm sure yourself and many on this forum have these experiences also. These kids needed the martial arts more than the 16 year old who pulls up to the studio in the brand new BMW his mommy and daddy bought him for his first car and slaps down a ward of bills on the instructor's desk and says, 'I want to be a black belt'! I may not ever get rich but myself, and Shihan Kathy Shuras are totally at peace with ourselves, especially when one of our students introduces us as their second Mom & Dad or comes home from defending our country in Afganistan and Iraq. These are the people that I take pride in their accomplishments and enjoy teaching the martial arts to and they just can't afford $275 a month so why shouldn't they be able to get quality instruction! ;)

                                 Respectfully, Shihan Joe
 

Offline Rock

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Re:United Studios of Self-Defense
« Reply #41 on: June 09, 2003, 01:52:20 PM »
Shihan Joe,

Speaking respectifully, I wish to disagree with part of what you are saying. Although I agree with the point of providing "quality" instruction, I disagree with the idea that we should "cap" prices for instruction.

To better illustrate my point I will create 3 ficticious schools.

School A charges $20 a month and is held in a school cafeteria.

School B charges $70 a month and is held in a gymnasum.

School C charges $275 a month and is in a dedicated facility.

All three schools are run by reputible instructors, except for the facility and location they adhere to the same high standards of training and testing.

School A and B are in a moderate income area. Provide 3 (1) hour classes a week on set days, the facility is quite large and has lots of space.

School C is in an area of high income families. They provide classes 6 days a week, with 4 hours a day of specialized classes available, The facility provides all the equipment and conveinences of a modern health club (weight machines, cycles, showers, etc) The floors are padded for safety and training equipment is up and available without prior setup.

My point is, value is in the eye of the consumer. If you provide a valuable service and can also charge what the consumer is willing to pay, then what is the harm. However I see your underlying point, that the schools which charge more, tend to "churn" out black belts like an assembly line.  And with that point I agree with you.

You also mentioned that there are those who cannot afford the higher tuition, yes, and there are also those who cannot afford any tuition, or pay for protective gear, uniforms, etc. What then, as the owner of the school you have the decision to lower the tuition, sponser, or provide some financial means where they can attend your class.

Finally I agree $275 is an extremely high amount to pay. And personally I wouldn't pay that (at least not for any extended period of time). But money has different values to different people. And like all things different people are willing to spend more or less of it.  

Aloha,
Noel  
Noel Araki
Hawaiian Kajukenbo Association
Mililani, Hawaii
www.hawaiiankajukenbo.com

Karazenpo

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Re:United Studios of Self-Defense
« Reply #42 on: June 10, 2003, 08:45:46 AM »
   Rock, you make a valid point which I had addressed in one of my posts:

"Before it is brought up about Bruce Lee again, I am aware of that but that's a different scenerio. Lee was an instructor to the stars. They had big bucks to spend, he knew it, they knew it and it was acceptable to both parties."

   Now, I agree, Rock, I don't feel there should be a 'cap' put on how much we should charge for tuition. Should one of my schools be in the Beverly Hills area I would by all means adjust the rates accordingly but in reality, how many of us on this forum have schools in such exceptionally high income areas? My experience on this forum tells me the vast majority if not all of us do not have studios in these astute areas. It would be interesting to know what the average income is in the area where Mike Rose had this experience. It also seems to me, but we would need more input on USSD, that they have a general 'blanket' tuition rate as policy for their studios, maybe not, but if they do then that is where the complaint would lie. I agree with you Rock, but let the area dictate how much one would charge for tuition. For example, one wouldn't put a Rolls Royce dealership in an area that caters to subsidized housing, would one? Tuition rates should be adjusted accordingly to the average income of your area.  Perhaps Mike Rose can shed some light on this?  Thanks for your response, Rock, I hear you. ;)     Respectfully, Shihan Joe

   

M.Rose

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Re:United Studios of Self-Defense
« Reply #43 on: June 10, 2003, 04:35:43 PM »
This has become quite the discussion! Allow me to offer a few more tidbits to the thread after some reflection and experience in looking for a school

As I mentioned before, I went into USSD for a FREE LESSON. I went to the site and sent a FREE LESSON pass to my email address. The chief instructor saw that I had checked out the site and signed  up for a free lesson and emailed me for some details about where I lived etc. I answered back and scheduled an appointment for my free lesson.

I got nothing free whatsoever. No free lesson, only a mini-tour of the Dojo and price quote. I was told that we couldnt begin unless I had some money to put down. When I said I hadn't any money at the time I was continually egged on to try and get the funds somehow. Honestly, the man was trying ever-so-dilligently to get into my wallet in ANY WAY possible. "Check card? Credit card? ANYTHING? How about you go give some blood?" Nope...sorry pal. Then he said that he would be there until about 5 pm and that if I could come back later and give him $50 dollars for the yellow belt book he would be happy to give it to me. Lets see...$50 dollars for a book? Only if the pages are 14 kt gold. Undying and salesman-esque clutching at any funds I might have? *sniff* *sniff* Say, that smells like Starbucks brewing in the room over.

Needless to say I continued my search for a school that might better suit my needs. I found a Paul Mills Kenpo school but just wasn't satisfied with that went on in the class I attened. Then I heard about the Wing Chun Kung Fu council. There happened to be a school close to where I worked and I checked it out. All I can say is WOW.

At the WCKFC there was no talk of money when I showed up for my free lesson. Furthermore, it was at a dedicated facility and the class lasted 2 1/2 hours. Given that they have 4 classes a week...thats 10 hours of instruction per week. For group instruction, it was the best I've recieved (of course this isn't based on a vast experience with martial arts and schools). I'll simply say it was better than at the Paul Mills Kenpo school I went to and that was all I needed. Moreover, the instructors at WCKFC went through rigorous training for way more than 12 months...giving them more experience than lets say, a USSD instructor? (I suppose that depends on the instructor but someone did mention they have a training program that lasts 12 months only)

When the workout was over I was given a month pass for free lessons. Curious as to what they might charge for all their services I inquired of their monthly rate. $75 dollars a month is all theyre charging for 10 hours of instruction a week at a dedicated facility. Hurray for everything.

If you feel comfortable paying 275 a month for instruction, thats fine. I however, do not and will not ever.

For those of you who don't know what USSD offers...

Private lessons at USSD last 30 minutes. Group lessons last an hour and a half. 3 group lessons and one private lesson a week equals 5 hours of training a week. I will be getting twice as much training FOR FREE at WCKFC(this month)...USSD wouldnt even give me 30 minutes for free when they said they would. That wasn't very nice of them I'd say. Furthermore, it indicated where their primary interests were and it obviously wasnt in "sharing the magic of martial arts with as many people as humanly possible"

IMHO, USSD is overcharging quite a bit and shafting quite a few people in the process. Perhaps some USSD schools offer services being closer in relation to what they charge, but unless they can teach me how to fire a ka-me-ah-me-ah from my hands and destroy whole cities then 275 a month is just plain robbery.
                                     

M.Rose

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Re:United Studios of Self-Defense
« Reply #44 on: June 10, 2003, 05:13:41 PM »
Shihan Joe Shuras, I would love to run a poll over the internet at various websites in an attempt to verify the popular opinion on what reasonable prices are for Martial Arts training! I know without a shred of doubt that people from all over the world will resoundingly agree that USSD is overcharging their students. As you said, there are still people out there (obviously not being put out of business) that are commited to providing quality instruction first and foremost. I'm glad to hear that you and yours are part of that dwindling percentage of people! Keep up the good work!