I was recently talking to one of our students who told me he went to a few different places around Brisbane before he came to our dojo. He said one of the biggest reasons for joining us was we had a full-time dojo with plenty of different classes, all at the same place! There are only a few full-time dojo around Brisbane, and I can pretty much name them all. We have had a full-time dojo at Coorparoo since 1992, and before that at Chandler.
So what is the difference between a full-time v part-time dojo?
Full-time – Generally most full time MA schools have a large space dedicated to training. It is usually a fully equipped studio with mats, kick bags and shields, focus mitts, change rooms, toilets, shop, showers, and plenty of parking (oops, just described our dojo). They either own the property or rent it at quite a large amount of money.
Part-time – Most karate clubs train at a school hall, scout hall, or some other kind of ‘hall’. We have done so in the past and have always had to clean up before hand as it was usually dirty. The building is often used by other activities – yoga, scouts, knitting, and sometimes other Martial Art clubs. The hall is usually ill equipped with students only punching air, and the floor is usually either slippery, dirty, or just plain dangerous. The toilets can often be very questionable, and forget about showers or change rooms!
Full-time – The amount and choice of classes are often quite large. There are usually separate beginner, intermediate, and advanced level classes, as well as kids and adults. We also have a kindy karate, weapons, cardio-karate, and sparring class choices. We are also able to offer seminars, and competition team training as well. Some other clubs have different Martial Arts class available to students – Ju Jitsu, MMA, kickboxing etc as a choice as well.
Part-time – The limited number of available times available in a rented hall often limit the choice of classes. Kids and adults often train together, and all levels often train together. This is counter productive to the students progression, and often the higher grades help (read teach) the lower grades instead of concentrating on their own progression. And kids and adults training together? How can the syllabus be the same for kids and adults? Obviously the adults are learning Physical Education karate which is fine, but by no means is that self-defense, which most clubs claim to teach. You can’t teach kids and adults the same way – they learn very differently.
Full-Time – The fees are generally higher, but the overheads are much higher. The rent, insurance, equipment, marketing, water, electricity, depreciation, etc is a major factor. There is also a bigger choice of class, and the class times are often longer. To go full-time means that the owner(s) have a real passion for their chosen martial art and have most probably spent thousands of dollars researching, reading, and following their art for a long time.
Part-time – The fees are lower, but as my father often says — Pay Peanuts, Get Monkeys.
If you are considering choosing between a full-time Martial Art studio and a part-time school, then the choice is easy.