As far as we know, our school’s plan for membership dues is unique. We don’t know of any other martial arts school that lets any student earn free tuition through excellent attendance. Because this system is so unusual, we expect people will have a lot of questions. Here are some answers:
None of the instructors at River Valley Taekwondo expect to make money through teaching Taekwondo. We aren’t doing this to make a living, it is simply the Way we follow. Attracting high quality students makes the experience more satisfying for everyone in the dojang. This means we are free to follow a path that’s unpalatable to schools that prioritize the bottom-line.
Success in Taekwondo usually begins with regular attendance in class. Dedication to training is more important than any other factor in determining whether any given student becomes a skilled martial arts practitioner.
Our dojang leadership decided that teaching students with the most potential is our highest priority. Students, regardless of their rank, are valued members of our school. We view this membership plan as an opportunity to further support students who are diligent in their Taekwondo training—making time to come to class regularly week after week, month after month, year after year.
Those who regularly receive tuition waivers because of strong attendance will likely notice that in addition to saving money, the quality of their training remains high, with a corresponding level of satisfaction from achieving excellence in martial arts training.
It’s hard to come to every single class when we’re only offering three classes per week. As our school recovers from the pandemic and class sizes grow, we expect to add more classes. When we have four or five classes a week, we’ll shift to a certain number of sessions per week. This will make it easier for students to make up missed classes by attending more during the rest of the month.
We hope this is a short/medium term problem, which will resolve itself as we return to a more normal life. In the meantime, keep in mind that students who miss a couple of classes each month won’t get entirely free tuition, but they’ll still pay much less than the normal $100/month. Since every other martial arts school charges full tuition no matter how many classes you attend—in fact, many charge MORE when you attend more classes—you’re still getting a pretty good deal if you earn $40 or $60 off your next month’s membership dues.
Please also consider that although emergencies and appointments that can’t be moved do sometimes come up, most people can usually find the time for 4.5 hours of workouts per week if they really want to. People who are motivated to prioritize Taekwondo training—who are willing to juggle their schedules, maybe even miss things they’d really like to do, so they can come to class—are the exact people we want to reward with free classes. Remember that we still welcome everyone in our school if they can only come twice a week, or even once. They just won’t get free classes.
If you’re not lined up when the instructors bows everyone in to class, you are late. Some traditional schools lock the door when class starts, and if you’re not there in time, no class for you. We’re not quite that strict, but if you’re late, you will not receive credit for that class toward tuition reduction. You are, of course, welcome to stay and work out—once the instructor welcomes you onto the training floor.
If you know in advance that you’ll be late for class, or for a series of classes, bring it up with your teacher as soon as you find out. We will not rubber stamp exceptions to this policy, but we’ll listen to your situation and handle each on a case-by-case basis. Family, work, and health-related commitments are the main reasons exceptions may be granted.
People who miss classes won’t earn free classes for that month, it’s that simple. You are welcome to ask for an exception, but we will not routinely grant them, and you’ll have to make your case. When it comes down to it, our dojang relies on at least some students not getting free tuition, so we can pay our rent and other expenses. If you have to miss some classes, that’s okay, it just means it’s your turn to help support the school. We’re hoping this still beats paying full tuition every month, as you would in every other school.
You can suspend your membership whenever you like, as many times as you like, for as long as you like. Students who choose to suspend their membership will pay $100 for their first month of classes whenever they return, and they will immediately begin earning credits toward free tuition for the next month’s classes.
For example, if you miss six months on parental leave with a new child, you’ll pay $100 for your first month back. At this point you’re immediately eligible to work toward free tuition for the next month and thereafter. If you miss more time later, the cycle starts over again, and so forth.
Accurately recording attendance, then calculating each student’s membership dues for a given month, is a time-consuming task. We’re willing to take on this tedious bookkeeping so we can offer our unique membership plan, which opens opportunities for people who might not otherwise be able to join our school and rewards our most dedicated students.
Adding an additional layer of paperwork, sending each student their total, reminding those who forget to pay their dues, and all the extra recordkeeping would make our payment plan untenable. To make it work without driving ourselves crazy, we need to store your card and bill it automatically once we’ve calculated your discounts. Students who choose not to provide a card are welcome to train with us, but they’re ineligible for our discounted/free tuition program and will pay $100/month regardless of their attendance.
Students with perfect attendance for three consecutive months will earn a free pass that allows them to miss one class and keep their streak intact. These “get out of jail free cards” accumulate, so if you have perfect attendance for nine months, you can miss three classes.
Remember that missing a class now and then is not the end of the world. Your classes won’t be free the next month, but they’ll still cost much less than you’ll find at any other martial arts school. If you’re going on vacation, if you get sick and need to miss class to recover (and keep others from getting sick), if there’s a family or work emergency that needs your attention, these are good reasons to miss class, and you should do all those things. Do the best you can, and those who do a superlative job of attending class regularly will be rewarded accordingly.