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Finding A Sensei -- Part 9

Another consideration is whether a school or dojo belongs to an organization. Sometimes, students must also pay association fees, which are usually quite reasonable but can add up. I was speaking to an instructor about the association fees his group of dojo paid each year. He mentioned that the fees were about the price of a nice car. Many dojo owners would prefer to pay for equipment and other items rather than pay for association dues or ranking fees-- unless they get back something positive and worthwhile in return.

Having a governing association also adds a potential layer of politics that can become a nuisance (and much worse), particularly as a student advances and become an instructor himself. Sometimes adminstrators run things rather than skilled instructors.

Don't get me wrong. Some Karate organizations raise the level of the art and do an excellent job. Some do not. When you join a dojo or school, you should try to find out which situation will apply to you.

I am an attorney. I practice Karate to get away from work, not for more of the same headaches! I practice Karate because I enjoy it. If I did not enjoy it, why would I continue to train?

Some of the happiest Sensei and students I have ever met, train in the smallest dojo. I am thinking right now about a very happy Sensei who has taught in his garage for many years. You do not need to have a magnificent training hall, hundreds of students, high rank, high titles, and a big association to learn Karate. What do you need? A good Sensei -- and you must be willing to be a good student.


Charles C. Goodin