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  • #16
    Originally posted by stealth_monkey View Post
    Yes, your grading fees are a little on the costly side, but you pay about half we do for yearly membership. Balances out I think, and I'm led to believe the cost of insurance over in your side of the world is obscene.
    When the AUSKF took out insurance the cost was/is about $14 per member which is what our dues were increased by. I have benefited greatly by it in the last 4 or 5 years as they all seem to want insurance certificates now. Every month it seems several people need certificates.

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    • #17
      The CKF had, for many years, a very poor record of payment of yearly dues. As a result the examination fees became the main source of income for the federation, thus they were high and accepted as such by everyone. Upper level grades were even higher due to fewer people grading at that level, and more years of non-yearly dues payments and again, everyone accepted that as fair under the old, "throw cash at the treasurer" system.

      We have never had a budget come in under funded that I knew of, and recently we even turned a series of investment bonds which were contributing interest to the general funds back on themselves to compound at the request of some of the old sensei who were concerned that the investment "had not grown" since it was made... of course it had, it was going into general funds but is now simply sitting there compounding.

      Last year we obtained insurance for the entire federation and that fee, around the same as the amount above, was covered in an increase in fees for the membership from $20 a year to $35 a year, and in an increase of the test fees. The CKF has three fees, membership, testing and "certificate", the first two as I say were increased to cover the insurance, and the electronic registration system, which was already capturing much more yearly membership fee income than ever before, was tripped to collect back-fees from members who have not paid in past years when they register for their next grading. The increase in income from that move will not work its way through the system for several more years as people come up for their next gradings. With all that extra income being raised, and with a hard look at the certificate fees in comparison to other countries we decided not to raise certificate fees. They may have last been raised a decade ago but they were still amongst the highest in the world.

      I suppose I do have a dog in this race because I was on the board when that discussion was had. (No longer on the board so don't blame me for this one folks.) Now it seems that we have somehow become underfunded so the certificate fees have been boosted. I have asked to see a copy of the motion voted and passed by the board but have not had any success getting that from anyone, nor have I seen the budget which is a "confidential document" as one member was told, or had any other indication as to specific funding needs for this increase so I'm a bit concerned as to why it's needed. Our paid membership is in fact down quite a bit from the numbers given in the past, by over 50% on some reports so I'm hoping that the board has some sort of plans on the go to increase membership, especially on the kendo side of things where there is much more potential for growth in the kids martial art market. Iaido and jodo are rather non-kid friendly although we have just started a kids iaido class locally and we're watching that with some hope.

      I'm all for paying for service, but up to now it hasn't been something that has happened. I live in hope that things will change and now that Neil and a few other youngsters are on the board, perhaps they can power that change.

      As for comparing our shodan to the shodan of other organizations, that's a bit tricky at the best of times. It is more accurate to consider "teaching rank" and "grading rank" equivalents. For us, teaching rank is officially 5dan, when you can sign your student's grading application on your own. Grading rank also starts somewhere around 5dan but rapidly gets to 7dan.

      I can't speak to judo but I'm pretty sure you can teach at shodan, which would mean I would compare that grade to our 5dan. I can speak with more knowledge to aikido where the gradings up to "teaching rank" (shodan in my particular organization) are all $10 apiece. Shodan is a couple hundred because it is registered in Japan, no choice in that matter. You need five to ten years to get to shodan in aikido, so let's say the first five years of practice will cost you $50 in testing fees. We can compare that to the first five years of practice in the CKF and come up with considerably more. Judo and aikido are fair comparisons to the CKF as the three organizations are mostly non-commercial.

      As for comparing TKD or most Karate to the CKF, that's also a bit of apples and oranges. Most TKD and Karate organizations are commercial in nature, their expenses include paying their instructors a "living" wage. The CKF is a volunteer organization and nobody gets paid as far as I know, except for small honoraria. The directors are specifically unpaid according to the current bylaws. I'm assuming that will remain in the new bylaws being drafted by the board.

      Regarding fees being used to present gradings, all I will say is that we have recently lost grading panel members due to them not being reimbursed for travel expenses this year that they were reimbursed for in past years. Again, if this is an indication that the federation is drastically in debt, I'd like very much to know why. The accounting we got of the grading in question was that the testing fee would not cover the travel expenses so said expenses were not to be paid. No mention at all was made of the certificate fees collected during that grading which amounted to a couple thousand dollars.

      The upshot is that we are short grading panel members and long on resentment from some quite senior folks. Not an unusual situation in many (most?) organizations but rather unusual in the iaido and jodo sections, and for that I'm more than a little ticked off. It takes decades to build supportive and involved leaders in a volunteer organization and it only takes one bonehead a few minutes to eliminate that dedication. It's going to take years more to rebuild what's been lost in this last year or two and I'm getting old, so I'm going back to work on something else and leave the kids to fight their own fights... good for them to find a way to have a say in the federation.

      Kim.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Kim Taylor View Post
        I can't speak to judo but I'm pretty sure you can teach at shodan, which would mean I would compare that grade to our 5dan.
        I can't speak publicly to most of Kim's post, but I can say that the equivalent judo rank to kendo godan as far as teaching permission (ie allowed to run your own dojo), at least here in Saskatchewan, is nidan. Even so, that particular point is valid - the accumulated fees are higher in kendo to get 5 dan than judo 2 dan. Lots more judo members though. I think we might have half the membership of CKF just in Saskatchewan.

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        • #19
          Not sure why your budget would be confidential. If you have similar nonprofit status as we do here then it must be made public upon request. Your corporate laws may differ. As the president of our regional federation I get a report every year.

          Certainly if an organization is taking your money then they must give an accounting of it's use. That said I have found people in kendo range from really cheap to I don't care what it costs like any other thing. I just tell people kendo is cheap and if they don't like it go do something else.

          Try training in Japan and see what it costs you by the time you pay for dues, transportation, etc.

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          • #20
            I kept trying to give rep to Halcyon -- he summed up my thoughts pretty well -- but "spread it around yada yada"...

            Originally posted by Curtis View Post
            Not sure why your budget would be confidential. If you have similar nonprofit status as we do here then it must be made public upon request. Your corporate laws may differ. As the president of our regional federation I get a report every year.

            Certainly if an organization is taking your money then they must give an accounting of it's use. That said I have found people in kendo range from really cheap to I don't care what it costs like any other thing. I just tell people kendo is cheap and if they don't like it go do something else.

            Try training in Japan and see what it costs you by the time you pay for dues, transportation, etc.
            Indeed. Non profit 501(c)(3) corporations, as I suspect many if not all Kendo organizations and dojos are, must file IRS Form 990 which makes public its return. However, I don't know that the level of detail in that filing would satisfy the curiosity being expressed in this thread exactly. In any event, although I'm working through some related issues now for a US dojo, I wouldn't be surprised if Canada has different laws on this issue than the US.

            One thing I am curious about Marsten-sensei, how does Japan handle monthly dojo dues? What is a typical amount?

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            • #21
              Originally posted by jjcruiser View Post
              I kept trying to give rep to Halcyon -- he summed up my thoughts pretty well -- but "spread it around yada yada"...



              Indeed. Non profit 501(c)(3) corporations, as I suspect many if not all Kendo organizations and dojos are, must file IRS Form 990 which makes public its return. However, I don't know that the level of detail in that filing would satisfy the curiosity being expressed in this thread exactly. In any event, although I'm working through some related issues now for a US dojo, I wouldn't be surprised if Canada has different laws on this issue than the US.

              One thing I am curious about Marsten-sensei, how does Japan handle monthly dojo dues? What is a typical amount?

              I have never had to pay the monthly fee in Japan since I'm always a guest. I have paid fees at municipal halls which are quite reasonable for one time visits. Most monthly fees as I recall were 5000 or more yen. Memberships in anything there tend to add up.

              There are of course the other costs I have incurred for transportation, gifts, rounds of beer, etc. Transportation without a pass really adds up. Even if you have a pass it's limited to some run you make daily. I spend anywhere from a few dollars up to $40 or $50 a day by the time I run around to dojo. $20-30 would be average. I can drive to any dojo in the Seattle area for only a few dollars of gas. Even if I go 25 miles one way it's still about $8 in gas.

              It all tears at your pocket quite quickly, but is worth every penny to me. Kendo here in the States is far cheaper than most anything else I have done. When I hear about ski lift tickets, green fees, target shooting (which I occasionally do) I just cringe.

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              • #22
                Still, cheaper than golf (at least according to my dad)

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