How much should I expect to pay?

Hordfest

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Hi everybody,

I'm new to martial arts and have done a bit of research and am planning to meet with some of the local schools to figure out which one I want to go with.

However, one thing I couldn't really find online is a good indicator of how much is too much when it comes to fees. I heard that the average is between $100-150 per month but I'm not sure how close that is to reality so I would like to know your guys experiences! Also, how much should I expect to pay for a uniform and equipment over the course of training?

As far as schools go in my area that I'm considering, and I'm assuming that this will potentially have an influence on the price, it's between a more traditional place that teaches Shuri-ryu karate (similar to Shorei Ryu I hear), Tae Kwon Do, or Aikido.

Basically I'm just wondering what kind of financial adventure am I getting myself into here by getting into the martial arts. Any and all help is appreciated!
 

Blindside

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Depends on where you are and whether the instructor is trying to make a living (or even a profit) out of the classes. I have paid $100/month and have paid 1 pepsi per private lesson, it depends on the instructor.
 

David43515

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Yeah, it really does vary from place to place and school to school. I`ve known guys who teach for free just to preserve their art, and others who do it as their sole source of income, and then there are the ones in between. Price doesn`t equal quality though.
 

shesulsa

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A shrubbery. Once that looks nice. And that's not too expensive. :lol:

Basically, what everyone has already said. The big-name schools, popular ones, who have more than one location will likely be the more expensive. Watch out for contracts.
 

Cyriacus

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Answers Will Vary.
It all Depends.
Above all else, do NOT Jump to Conclusions.

$100-$150 is Fine. Just make sure the Standards are Nice and High.
 

Buka

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You might want to call all the places near you, ask how much per month, how many classes a week that entails, if there's a sign up fee, what equipment costs are. Then go watch three classes at each place. (on different nights) Best of luck, bro.
 

jks9199

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Hi everybody,

I'm new to martial arts and have done a bit of research and am planning to meet with some of the local schools to figure out which one I want to go with.

However, one thing I couldn't really find online is a good indicator of how much is too much when it comes to fees. I heard that the average is between $100-150 per month but I'm not sure how close that is to reality so I would like to know your guys experiences! Also, how much should I expect to pay for a uniform and equipment over the course of training?

As far as schools go in my area that I'm considering, and I'm assuming that this will potentially have an influence on the price, it's between a more traditional place that teaches Shuri-ryu karate (similar to Shorei Ryu I hear), Tae Kwon Do, or Aikido.

Basically I'm just wondering what kind of financial adventure am I getting myself into here by getting into the martial arts. Any and all help is appreciated!

There's really no way to say. Fees range from free or "rake my yard" to more than $1000 a month... depending on the instructor, the facility, the number of classes and format, and what they can get away with charging. And more expensive doesn't necessarily mean better instruction; there are some very good martial artists and teachers out there who don't charge a dime -- and some very poor instructors charging boatloads. And that's not even considering places that have a "name" on the door, who rarely teaches any classes at all...

Compare the prices as you visit. Assess contracts -- and escape clauses in the contract. You don't want to be stuck paying for years for something you hate. And "a free trial lesson" -- or even a month of free lessons -- isn't really enough time to tell if you like it.

As a VERY loose guide, I'd figure on between $50 and $150 a month... before possible association fees, testing fees, uniform fees, mandatory study material purchases required by some schools... so look out for those hidden costs, too. Ask what the basic fees are, and what that gets you. How many classes a week, that sort of thing. Then ask about testing fees, uniform and other equipment costs, and so on.
 

Never_A_Reflection

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As others have mentioned, that $100-$150 is probably the average but you will get some that charge more and some that charge next to nothing--you just have to ask around. As for equipment--well, the "course of training" could be as little as a couple weeks if you don't like it and as long as a lifetime if you do, so that's hard to measure. A cheap $30 gi will get you by for probably a year, or so, but after that you will either have to keep buying a new $30 gi twice a year or fork over at least $130 or more for a gi that will last you 4-8 years, depending on the gi and how its treated. Sparring gear depends on what you get as well--the cheap dipped-foam stuff will probably last you 6 months to 1.5 years depending on how hard you spar and how much duct tape you're willing to use to keep them together, whereas the more expensive MMA-style gloves and shin/footpads tend to last much longer and can often be repaired with stitching instead of duct tape. If you happen to pick up the kobudo bug along the way then be prepared to get the sudden urge to buy weapons that you already have because you don't have one "quite like that!" :p

I'm interested to hear that you found a Shuri-Ryu dojo, by the way, since my start in karate was in Shuri-Ryu and I'm still friends with my dojo-mates back home--who is the instructor at the one you looked at?
 
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Hordfest

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I'm interested to hear that you found a Shuri-Ryu dojo, by the way, since my start in karate was in Shuri-Ryu and I'm still friends with my dojo-mates back home--who is the instructor at the one you looked at?

His name is Christopher Miller. He originally studied Aikido under Fumio Toyoda and Meido Moore and then he got into Okinawan Shuri-Ryu, Taijiquan, Shorin Ryu, and Budo Taijutsu. At his dojo he teaches mostly Shuri-Ryu though although he also does Chungliang style Taijiquan. I haven't actually been there yet though, I left a message on the phone and am expecting a call from him today hopefully. I'm from Northwest Ohio, so I don't know if you have been in that area or not.
 
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Never_A_Reflection

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I'm afraid I don't know him and he isn't listed on my lineage chart as having been given Yudansha ranking under any of the Chief Instructors or Assistant Chief Instructors of Shuri-Ryu as of the end of 2004 (I don't have a newer chart), so I'm not even sure who he trained under. Still, Shuri-Ryu has very solid basics, which is the key to any martial art, really. Good luck!
 

rlobrecht

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Also check for things like "Black Belt Clubs", "Fight clubs", etc. When asking about testing fees, ask about frequency of testing, and whether the fees change as you move up in rank.

Ask if you're required to buy equipment and uniforms from them, or if you can bring your own. If you have to get it from them, ask for a price sheet, and compare the prices to online. At the dojang we attend, prices are better than online in most cases (i.e. there's no profit in equipment for the school.)

Ask about incentives for family members. At our school, the second student is half price.

Ask if there's a benefit for getting friends to join. Our school gives you $25 if you get a friend to join, and they stay for 3 months.

Our school doesn't require a contract, but if you pre-pay 6 or 12 months, there's a good discount (10% and 25%.)

You might also want to check out the Hallmarks of a Good TKD school thread. It's pretty generic, and has some good suggestions.

Good luck finding a school.

Rick
 

Bill Mattocks

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As everyone says. I realize that in many cases, you 'get what you pay for', but that's just not true with martial arts instruction. Good instructors charge whatever they feel is appropriate, just like bad ones. The dojo where I train is one of the cheapest around, maybe the cheapest in the state, but the instructor is absolutely unquestioned as one of the very best instructors of our style anywhere; it's just not possible to get better training in my particular art, at any price. Price is just not a great indicator.
 

Grenadier

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I'm afraid I don't know him and he isn't listed on my lineage chart as having been given Yudansha ranking under any of the Chief Instructors or Assistant Chief Instructors of Shuri-Ryu as of the end of 2004 (I don't have a newer chart), so I'm not even sure who he trained under. Still, Shuri-Ryu has very solid basics, which is the key to any martial art, really. Good luck!

If he's in Northwest Ohio, then I'm guessing he's under the Robert Bowles' lineage, since there's a Bowles Karate Academy in the Defiance area.



100-150 / month isn't unreasonable, if the martial arts taught are good, and if you honestly believe that you're getting a good value out of it. There are places that charge 300 / month, and they get it, too, simply because their students perceive that they're getting a great value for their money spent. I know that Kotaka Sensei, in Hawaii, charges quite a hefty amount, and that there are many folks quite willing to pay it, too.

There's nothing wrong with a contract, as long as it has reasonable "out" clauses. For example, if you sustain an injury and cannot train, or if you have to move your residence, etc.

Most of the time, a contract is there simply to make sure that the school owner has dedicated students who are there to train for a longer time.

Think of it as a membership with a Gold's Gym. If you're not willing to go to the gym on a regular basis, then it's better that you simply not sign up.
 
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Hordfest

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For those of you interested in my quest to find a school, I have decided on the Shuri-Ryu school.

As far as its lineage goes, the two black belts there, a 2nd degree and a 3rd degree trained under Sensei Hurtsellers who was trained by (the current Grand Master I believe) Robert Bowles, who was trained by Trias.

Wish me luck!

Edit: Also, it's $70 a month for 2 classes and an optional 3rd weekend class as well as a free Gi through the dojo if you sign a two month commitment. So not too bad!
 

Never_A_Reflection

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For those of you interested in my quest to find a school, I have decided on the Shuri-Ryu school.

As far as its lineage goes, the two black belts there, a 2nd degree and a 3rd degree trained under Sensei Hurtsellers who was trained by (the current Grand Master I believe) Robert Bowles, who was trained by Trias.

Wish me luck!

Edit: Also, it's $70 a month for 2 classes and an optional 3rd weekend class as well as a free Gi through the dojo if you sign a two month commitment. So not too bad!

Congratulations on starting your martial arts journey!

And well done, Grenadier, on the Bowles-lineage call ;)
 
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