Belt fees/Promotion fees

TSDTexan

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What does your school charge for belt/exam fees?

And how many ranks in your school/system?
 

kuniggety

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My last school, nothing. This one has actual "exams" and charge like $25 which is basically just the price of the belt. This is BJJ so adult ranks are white -> blue -> purple -> brown -> black.

I guess I wasn't paying for it back then but I think the karate school I went to as a kid had a similar model of essentially just paying for your new belt when you tested. The other martial arts I've studied haven't used belts.

This seems to be a sore topic for some but I've always seen paying for belt tested as just another way to milk more money out of students. They're already paying for their tuition, but if they want to actually advance or get recognition for the work they've put in then they need to fork over more money.
 
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Headhunter

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20 quid normally I think. Black belt tests from am oversees instructor who comes over to test people is 85
 

dancingalone

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Nothing. I charge an all-inclusive tuition fee that covers the cost of belts, manuals, etc. as students advance. If a black belt wants certification through the three organizations we participate with, I do charge the actual cost of registering them along with a small handling fee (like $20).
 

Tony Dismukes

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No promotion fees. My instructor does run occasional rank eval seminars - basically just a two hour seminar (which might cost $25 or so) followed by a bunch of rolling so the assembled instructors can take a look at students and decide who might be ready to go up in rank. However attendance at these events is not required to be promoted. It's just a way to make sure the assembled instructors can see and discuss where you're at. If you show up for class and perform at the requisite level consistently, you will get promoted regardless. It might happen a few weeks or months earlier if you make it to one of the events, but that's not such a big deal considering it's normally 2-3 years in-between belt levels in BJJ anyway.

The belts are white, blue, purple, brown, and black. Making it to black typically takes 10-15 years.
 

Gerry Seymour

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What does your school charge for belt/exam fees?

And how many ranks in your school/system?
I charge nothing. I should (I lose a few bucks at every promotion, for the cost of the belt, and my fees are very low), but I don't. I know a few instructors in NGA who charge a minimal fee for testing (something in the $30 range). Most charge at least $10-15 for promotion certificate and belt.
 

Gerry Seymour

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What does your school charge for belt/exam fees?

And how many ranks in your school/system?
Sorry, forgot to reply to the last part. I'll give you two answers on belts, to cover what I know of NGA.

At my school, student ranks are white, yellow, orange, brown, and black (white stripe, shodan). Instructor is black (white stripe and red stripe, nidan). Senior Instructor is black (white stripe, 2 red stripes, sandan).

In the mainline of NGA, most schools follow the NGAA's ranks. Student ranks are white, yellow, blue, green, purple, brown. Instructor ranks are black (1 yellow stripe, shodan) through black (5 yellow stripes, godan). Technically, there exists a 6th dan rank, but it has never yet been awarded by the head of the NGAA (who wears a red belt, no stripes, I think). There is some variation in dan (black belt) ranks outside the NGAA. Some have gone to a 10-dan system.
 

Gerry Seymour

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My last school, nothing. This one has actual "exams" and charge like $25 which is basically just the price of the belt. This is BJJ so adult ranks are white -> blue -> purple -> brown -> black.

I guess I wasn't paying for it back then but I think the karate school I went to as a kid had a similar model of essentially just paying for your new belt when you tested. The other martial arts I've studied haven't used belts.

This seems to be a sore topic for some but I've always seen paying for belt tested as just another way to milk more money out of students. They're already paying for their tuition, but if they want to actually advance or get recognition for the work they've put in then they need to fork over more money.
I can understand why you'd see it that way. I think some instructors see it as just a different way of billing. If I charge you $70/month and $60 once a year for a promotion, that's the same as charging you $75/month, assuming you average a promotion once a year. And since some tests require a lot of work by the instructor (time away from teaching, etc.), I can see a valid reason for those to cost a bit more. If I had to do testing outside regular class times (which I'd have to do for brown and black right now, because I have nobody else to teach classes), I'd charge something to cover that extra time. If I could do it all within normal classes, I'd be disinclined to charge extra for it.
 

PhotonGuy

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What does your school charge for belt/exam fees?

And how many ranks in your school/system?

At the BJJ school I train at now they don't charge anything for belt exams as they don't do any kind of formal testing. When the head instructor sees that you're ready and when you've had your current rank for at least the minimal length of time, usually four months or so, you get a stripe on your belt. After you get so many stripes you go up a belt. The belt order is white, blue, purple, brown, black, and then red for the very few most elite. To go from white to blue I believe you need four stripes and I believe you need more stripes to go up a belt for the higher belts. Im not sure if you have to pay anything to go up a belt as I have not yet gone up a belt although I have gotten a stripe.

At my Karate school they have formal tests every four months or so. How much you pay to test depends on the belt you're testing for. The higher the belt the more the test costs since its longer and has more material. When I tested for yellow belt, the belt right after white, the test cost $5. Its a five dollar increase for each consecutive belt. There are ten belts from white to black and that includes white and black. When I took the black belt test it cost $55.
 

Martial_Kumite

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My School charged about 30 for the "test" from white - double tip red belt (White, yellow, orange, green, brown, red). It is the Dan test that is overly expensive. I believe my first dan test was 300.
 

PhotonGuy

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This seems to be a sore topic for some but I've always seen paying for belt tested as just another way to milk more money out of students. They're already paying for their tuition, but if they want to actually advance or get recognition for the work they've put in then they need to fork over more money.

When you pay for a belt test you're paying for the instructors. Testing a student takes time and skill so that's what you're paying for, the instructor's time and skill. Now some schools such as the BJJ school I train at don't test and thus don't charge anything but for schools that do test, the idea of testing is that it tests the student's performance under pressure. Naturally you want to succeed when you test and so you've got that mental and psychological pressure you have to deal with. Sure, an instructor might be able to tell to some degree when a student is ready by watching them in class but how a student performs during practice when they're not being tested is different than how they preform under the pressure of being tested. That's the point of the test, to add that mental and psychological challenge.
 

PhotonGuy

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My School charged about 30 for the "test" from white - double tip red belt (White, yellow, orange, green, brown, red). It is the Dan test that is overly expensive. I believe my first dan test was 300.

I do see that in some Tae Kwon Do schools, where the test for the first black belt, the first Dan, is overly expensive. Some TKD schools charge $500 or more for the first dan test. Not all TKD schools are like that but its sad how its become so commercialized.
 

Tony Dismukes

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After you get so many stripes you go up a belt. The belt order is white, blue, purple, brown, black, and then red for the very few most elite. To go from white to blue I believe you need four stripes and I believe you need more stripes to go up a belt for the higher belts.
FYI - the standard in BJJ is 4 stripes in-between belts all the way up to black. In most schools, stripes are awarded on a more informal basis than belts, just as a reminder that the instructor has noticed you are progressing. Most schools don't have detailed requirements for stripes. It's not uncommon for a student to skip stripes (say, jump from 1 stripes to 3 stripes or from 2 stripes to the next belt). Some schools don't even use them at all. There are schools which have formal requirements (in terms of time in grade or demonstration of specific techniques), but they are in the minority.
 

kuniggety

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When you pay for a belt test you're paying for the instructors. Testing a student takes time and skill so that's what you're paying for, the instructor's time and skill. Now some schools such as the BJJ school I train at don't test and thus don't charge anything but for schools that do test, the idea of testing is that it tests the student's performance under pressure. Naturally you want to succeed when you test and so you've got that mental and psychological pressure you have to deal with. Sure, an instructor might be able to tell to some degree when a student is ready by watching them in class but how a student performs during practice when they're not being tested is different than how they preform under the pressure of being tested. That's the point of the test, to add that mental and psychological challenge.

I see the reason but I just don't agree with it. If I go to a university, I don't pay extra for the "instructor's time" when it's exam time. That's just part of the tuition that I'm paying.
 

Andrew Green

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What is sadder is that some schools have to do some commercialization to be able to stay active.

No, all schools have to operate with a business mentality to stay open. Expenses in a business are generally quite high, so money needs to come in.

What's sad is when business start using shady practices or misleading people. These are short term thinkers though, long term business success means keeping customers happy and delivering a high quality service with good customer service.
 

Mujician

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I don't know the grading fees at my school (Wado Ryu Karate) yet as I have only just joined. However, I joined as a purple belt after an 18 year break. After gaining 1st Dan the instructor doesn't charge any class fees.
 

PhotonGuy

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I see the reason but I just don't agree with it. If I go to a university, I don't pay extra for the "instructor's time" when it's exam time. That's just part of the tuition that I'm paying.

I see what you mean, so perhaps, how about if every several months they were to run a class in which all the students were tested and so that whenever they ran a test each and every student would either pass or fail, and that the students don't pay any extra to go to the class where they're tested its just part of the package that they pay for when they pay for classes.
 

PhotonGuy

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FYI - the standard in BJJ is 4 stripes in-between belts all the way up to black. In most schools, stripes are awarded on a more informal basis than belts, just as a reminder that the instructor has noticed you are progressing. Most schools don't have detailed requirements for stripes. It's not uncommon for a student to skip stripes (say, jump from 1 stripes to 3 stripes or from 2 stripes to the next belt). Some schools don't even use them at all. There are schools which have formal requirements (in terms of time in grade or demonstration of specific techniques), but they are in the minority.

You might be right, about 4 stripes being the number of stripes between all belts. I do know that you get 4 stripes on your white belt before you get a blue belt and I thought that maybe you had to get more stripes on higher belts but it might be 4 stripes for all the belts. When you get a stripe, at the end of class the instructor will call you over and put a stripe on your belt. I did once observe a student going ip a belt. If you're going up a belt the instructor will take off your old belt and tie the new belt around your waist so there is a bit more of a formality with that. I've never seen a student skip stripes and from what I know at least where I train you have to have a stripe for 4 months before you can get another one so I don't think there would be any stripe skipping, but I haven't been there all that long yet.
 

Andrew Green

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I see the reason but I just don't agree with it. If I go to a university, I don't pay extra for the "instructor's time" when it's exam time. That's just part of the tuition that I'm paying.

And some schools do include it in the tuition and not have a extra fee, that's fine. That's how I do it, no extra fees.

But, we are different then a University. In a University everyone writes the exam at the same time. Term starts and ends and you write the exam and then pass or fail. In a martial arts setting you might take the exam after 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. months depending on when you are ready. So if you train less frequent and test less often then someone should you pay the same "built in" amount?

So for a client if you miss some classes, or otherwise fall behind and aren't ready to graduate you pay a little less. Which might help motivate the school to make every effort to get everyone ready... or in a less then ethical school promote you anyways to get the fee.

Anyways, just to throw some background into this for anyone who cares. Part of what lead to schools pulling things like testing fees out of tuition as a separate charge has to do with the way billing companies operate. Generally the company would take over handling billing and all the work that goes into that for a school and charge a percentage as payment. Kept the school from having to call you if you missed a payment, tracking down delinquent accounts, etc.

Of course having a 3rd party take a cut off everything you bring in is no fun for a business, but a testing fee is paid strait to the school, so no cut going to billing. So the school would want to make sure monthly billing was done through a billing company as doing it in house is a huge pain, but any "extras" that are paid direct to the school don't have a cut taken off before the school even sees them.

It's less of a issue nowadays as software solutions lets schools automate EFT and credit card payments without going through a 3rd party. As a result there seems to be a swing back towards all inclusive billing going on.
 
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