Why is WTF/KKW TKD More Expensive Than Other Arts?

Gwai Lo Dan

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From what I have seen WTF/KKW TKD is more expensive than other arts. For example, in my area, WTF TKD is about $89/month for twice a week, whereas the muay thai / bjj gym is $69 unlimited.

Also, my friend mentioned 4th dan/poom at his school was over $2000. With 1st dan at $600, one can infer than 2nd and 3rd dan are $1000 and $1500 or so.

So the question is why is WTF/KKW TKD more expensive than say muay thai or bjj? Looking at it from an economics point of view - i.e., supply and demand - the reasons I see are:

1) It's in the Olympics, so that carrot is dangled in front of kids with aspirations. Judo is also in the Olympics, but.... (#2)
2) It's flashy, so people are impressed by it. On the other hand, Judo looks like hard work and not fun.
3) WTF TKD has more of a history of focussing on respect, versus some other arts like MT or BJJ which focus on effectiveness. (That's my point of view, but admittedly it's debatable). Hence you should feel privileged to test, and not balk at the cost.
4) Related to #2, running a TKD school requires experience and age (e.g., you have to have 4th dan (or 5th dan in some places) to test students), whereas other arts require effectiveness. Thus a person with a TKD gym is likely older with more financial commitments and hence requires a higher income.
5) The student has to have 1st poom/dan to compete at higher levels, so schools have students by the cajones (or female equivalent) if they want to go in tournaments.
6) GM's and Masters are from the same cultural background, and may stick together, agreeing on prices and thereby limiting price competition.

That's off the top of my head. If you agree that WTF/KKW TKD tends to be more expensive than other arts, why is it? I don't mean to debate the legitimacy of the prices, only how the prices comes about.
 

dancingalone

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Dunno if the premise you put forth is universal to begin with. BJJ schools are actually the most expensive in my area across the board.

But to digress a bit, I would say in general the more expensive schools in my area are open 6 days a week and they have many more classes than the typical 2 hour block a part time school owner might offer. Facilities, staff, equipment... they all come with a price that the owner has to recoup if he has invested in them to any degree. I always tell prospects that value should not be measured purely by tuition costs alone. That $80 a month price might not be that much of a bargain if you only get 2 classes a week with students of all ages crowded together on a rented wooden floor.
 

dancingalone

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Valid point...interested in hearing if the KKW/WTF schools are NOT the most expensive.

I'd say it's hard to generalize something like that without comparing apples to apples rather than to oranges. Classes availability, special training, facilities (mats, bags, etc.), included private time with instructors, test fees, etc. You've got to factor them all in somehow and then come up with an adjusted value ratio to compare total value of membership.

There are so many KKW ranked instructors out there in the world that I would say it's impossible to state authoritatively that "KKW" classes are the most expensive MA offered.
 

BoA36

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I believe the Kukkiwon charge for 4th dan is $150, certainly no more than $300. Anything above that is from the local master and at $2000, it is exorbitant. I'd go elsewhere.

Bo
 

msmitht

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Bjj unlimited for 69 a month? where? No black belt I know would teach for that little. Maybe they have a blue/purple/brown belt teaching.
People charge what their market can pay but both quotes seem low. At Gracie Barra we charge 165per month.
 

Archtkd

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From what I have seen WTF/KKW TKD is more expensive than other arts. For example, in my area, WTF TKD is about $89/month for twice a week, whereas the muay thai / bjj gym is $69 unlimited.
What's your area? What's the average commercial rent rate?
 

ralphmcpherson

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My instructor charges $50 per month, has about 100 students ($5000 per month), rents a hall for four hours a week (4x1 hour classes a week), the hall costs $200 per month. That leaves him $4800 per month/$1200 per week, for four hours work per week. All grading fees, profit on uniforms, hogus etc, plus any other revenue goes to the GM/club. Thats pretty good coin for four hours work per week :)
 

Metal

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I'm happy that we have a non-commercial club system in Germany which offers reasonable prices. So if your wanna learn Kukkiwon/WTF Taekwondo it doesn't need to be expensive at all.

Right now I pay 10 EUR per month with the option of training 6 days per week (and there are 11 different training sessons offered for adults, ranging from classes that cover all aspects for beginners or advanced to classes that focus on sparring, poomsae or sef defense).

At the club where I started when I was a kid it's even cheaper, 2 EUR per month for adults and there's two training sessions per week!


The costs for Dan testing fees and certifcates if you go through the national member of the WTF:
(DTU = German Taekwondo Federation)

1st Dan Kukkiwon and DTU 130,-
________________________________
2nd. Dan DTU 100,-
2nd Dan Kukkiwon and DTU 160,-
________________________________
3rd Dan DTU 100,-
3rd Dan Kukkiwon and DTU 195,-
________________________________
4th Dan DTU 100,-
4th Dan Kukkiwon and DTU 230,-
________________________________
5th Dan DTU 100,-
5th Dan Kukkiwon und DTU 305,-
________________________________
6th Dan DTU 100,-
6th Dan Kukkiwon und DTU 385,-
________________________________
7th Dan DTU 100,-
7th Dan Kukkiwon and DTU 460,-
________________________________
8th Dan DTU 100,-
________________________________
9th Dan DTU 100,-


Of course there are indpendent Kukkiwon schools and istructors who issue Kukkiwon certiificates and those charge more for training and testing.
Once instructors wanna make a living and have their own school they need to charge more.

The most expensive dojang in Germany may be Ko Eui Min's ( http://www.masterko.de/) school in Munich where adults pay approx. 100 EUR per month and there's training five times per week.

His dan testing fees (Kukkiwon certificates are):

1. Dan 250,-
2. Dan 300,-
3. Dan 350,-
4. Dan 400,-
5. Dan 460,-
6. Dan 520,-
7. Dan 580

I just checked the prices of a local Kukkiwon-instructor and he charges:

1.Dan - 190,-
2.Dan - 210,-
3.Dan - 240,-
4.Dan - 270,-
5.Dan - 420,-



When I see the prices that some instructors charge for dan gradings in the US I think it's ridiculous.
 
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Gwai Lo Dan

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What's your area? What's the average commercial rent rate?
The $69 example was in an industrial area of a Toronto suburb. The TKD examples I gave were more business, less industrial areas. (That's a factor in cost of course).
 
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Gwai Lo Dan

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IMHO it's not just WTF/KKW TKD that can be expensive, in my region BJJ training is pricey too. More so than what the local taekwondo dojangs charge to train you.
Does that factor in the TKD testing fees, which I think BJJ doesn't have?
 
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Gwai Lo Dan

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Bjj unlimited for 69 a month? where? No black belt I know would teach for that little. Maybe they have a blue/purple/brown belt teaching.
People charge what their market can pay but both quotes seem low. At Gracie Barra we charge 165per month.
Since BJJ doesn't interest me too much, I hadn't looked into it. A much more serious BJJ club in town has similar monthly fees to TKD, but again, without belt testing fees, it comes out less expensive in total.
 
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Gwai Lo Dan

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When I see the prices that some instructors charge for dan gradings in the US I think it's ridiculous.
Yup, when I went to one club, the person said they charge $600 for 1st dan "the same as the other Korean masters". So you can read between the lines and understand how/why they all charge the same high price.
 

Earl Weiss

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My instructor charges $50 per month, has about 100 students ($5000 per month), rents a hall for four hours a week (4x1 hour classes a week), the hall costs $200 per month. That leaves him $4800 per month/$1200 per week, for four hours work per week. All grading fees, profit on uniforms, hogus etc, plus any other revenue goes to the GM/club. Thats pretty good coin for four hours work per week :)
No Insurance? Postage, Printing, Phone, Advertising? Compensation to assistant instructors?
 

Gnarlie

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I'm happy that we have a non-commercial club system in Germany which offers reasonable prices. So if your wanna learn Kukkiwon/WTF Taekwondo it doesn't need to be expensive at all.

Right now I pay 10 EUR per month with the option of training 6 days per week (and there are 11 different training sessons offered for adults, ranging from classes that cover all aspects for beginners or advanced to classes that focus on sparring, poomsae or sef defense).

At the club where I started when I was a kid it's even cheaper, 2 EUR per month for adults and there's two training sessions per week!


The costs for Dan testing fees and certifcates if you go through the national member of the WTF:
(DTU = German Taekwondo Federation)

1st Dan Kukkiwon and DTU 130,-
________________________________
2nd. Dan DTU 100,-
2nd Dan Kukkiwon and DTU 160,-
________________________________
3rd Dan DTU 100,-
3rd Dan Kukkiwon and DTU 195,-
________________________________
4th Dan DTU 100,-
4th Dan Kukkiwon and DTU 230,-
________________________________
5th Dan DTU 100,-
5th Dan Kukkiwon und DTU 305,-
________________________________
6th Dan DTU 100,-
6th Dan Kukkiwon und DTU 385,-
________________________________
7th Dan DTU 100,-
7th Dan Kukkiwon and DTU 460,-
________________________________
8th Dan DTU 100,-
________________________________
9th Dan DTU 100,-


Of course there are indpendent Kukkiwon schools and istructors who issue Kukkiwon certiificates and those charge more for training and testing.
Once instructors wanna make a living and have their own school they need to charge more.

The most expensive dojang in Germany may be Ko Eui Min's ( http://www.masterko.de/) school in Munich where adults pay approx. 100 EUR per month and there's training five times per week.

His dan testing fees (Kukkiwon certificates are):

1. Dan 250,-
2. Dan 300,-
3. Dan 350,-
4. Dan 400,-
5. Dan 460,-
6. Dan 520,-
7. Dan 580

I just checked the prices of a local Kukkiwon-instructor and he charges:

1.Dan - 190,-
2.Dan - 210,-
3.Dan - 240,-
4.Dan - 270,-
5.Dan - 420,-



When I see the prices that some instructors charge for dan gradings in the US I think it's ridiculous.

Completely agree, prices in the UK and Germany are very similar. Here in Munich, the price is pretty similar regardless of which art you choose. Training prices vary but the certification prices are similar because there are only a few qualified examiners. I find the US prices absurd, artificially inflated to take advantage of a captive audience who have no alternative if they want KKW TKD certification.

I'll add that in my experience in Europe you get what you pay for. If someone's charging a higher price it's usually because they have the experience and ability to command that price, not just because.

Gnarlie
 

Dirty Dog

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My instructor charges $50 per month, has about 100 students ($5000 per month), rents a hall for four hours a week (4x1 hour classes a week), the hall costs $200 per month. That leaves him $4800 per month/$1200 per week, for four hours work per week. All grading fees, profit on uniforms, hogus etc, plus any other revenue goes to the GM/club. Thats pretty good coin for four hours work per week :)

Really? $200 a month for the hall? That $50 a week. Four classes means he's getting the hall for $12.50 an hour. Seems a tad low to me.
I also suspect there are expenses you're overlooking.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk.
 

Archtkd

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The $69 example was in an industrial area of a Toronto suburb. The TKD examples I gave were more business, less industrial areas. (That's a factor in cost of course).

Don't you think this was something you should have mentioned in the original post? I would think $89 per in a Toronto suburb is actually cheap? What's the price per square foot of commercial space in a place like Mississauga. Good space in a St. Louis suburb will be anywhere from $18 to $25 a square-foot, annually, net net net. At that rate, monthy rent (excluding utilities and other incidentals) for a mere 1,500 square-feet would cost you $2,250 to $3,125.
 

Archtkd

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Completely agree, prices in the UK and Germany are very similar. Here in Munich, the price is pretty similar regardless of which art you choose. Training prices vary but the certification prices are similar because there are only a few qualified examiners. I find the US prices absurd, artificially inflated to take advantage of a captive audience who have no alternative if they want KKW TKD certification.
Gnarlie
Who pays for construction and upkeep of the training facilities in Germany? Do teachers pay to build club facilities, do they pay for utility bills, insurance, equipment, etc.
 

Metal

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Who pays for construction and upkeep of the training facilities in Germany? Do teachers pay to build club facilities, do they pay for utility bills, insurance, equipment, etc.

The majority of non-commercial clubs in Germany train in municipal gyms which mostly belong to public schools. The clubs have to pay rent and also need to cover part of the utility bills. Those costs differ from town to town, but the city councils are very supportive when it comes to recreational sport activities.

The DOSB (German Olympic Sports Federation) offers insurance for it's members. Don't know how much they charge from the clubs, but due to the high number of members in total I think they can keep it very very low per head.


Of course this makes life harder for the commercial schools since it's impossible for them to compete when it comes to the montly fees.
 
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