How Much Are Karate Classes?

The Karate Blog

You’ve finally done it.

You’ve actually decided to take steps towards finding a karate class in which to hone your martial arts skills. 

You’re plain tired of having the world kick your ass every day, so you’ve decided to get all ninja-like and finally take an aggressive, iron-willed approach to life.

You’ve come to the decision to present to the world the fine character and chiselled physical form that come from years of honed practice in the pursuit of perfect stillness — fearlessness in the face of hostility, or even death – through the ancient and mystical practice of karate.

Or maybe you are looking for a local karate class for yourself and your family?

Top choice either way!  Martial Arts are good for the soul! (As well as the mind and the body)

It probably won’t be that difficult to find a karate class in your area as the art/sport is now so widespread that there are classes of various styles and descriptions held in just about every town there is, and definitely in every city.

But while having the intention to take up karate is one thing, finding the right class or dojo to train at requires a little further consideration from various angles.

For the majority of people, the deciding factors when looking for karate classes are going to be largely related to location, time, environment, and of course – the cost.  

But how much are karate classes exactly?  

Well first let’s break this down into various aspects. There are always a few things to consider when deciding how much to pay for any kind of physical training or contact sport – let alone a traditional martial art — so let’s take a closer look at some of the finer points involved.

A few of our simple indicators will hopefully make it much easier to decide which karate class is the right one for you or your kids, and hopefully, you will benefit from paying the right fees for the level of practice — and the environment your requirements are most suited to!

Factors that affect karate class fees

Firstly, it is never going to be as simple as just finding a local class, joining, and away you go jump-spin-kicking on your journey towards superior black belt skills. Many people who take up karate are also just as likely to quit again not too after – often for a variety of reasons.

So this is where a little forward-thinking might need to come in to play – more specifically, formulating a plan! The next 5 points might help with that. 

1. Level of commitment 

How committed are you at this point in time to the idea of finding an amazing karate class to participate in? Are you willing to make sacrifices and exercise discipline in order to up your fitness and skill level? Or do you just fancy having a look since you dig martial arts computer games?

Maybe you have already formulated a 20-year, or even lifelong plan, to see this mystical martial arts journey through ‘til the end, and you KNOW that you will be committed to the art for the rest of your life – for you then it is less likely to be just about any fees involved in the class.  

You will probably be more concerned with finding the right training environment, style, and instructor – and then sticking with them.

The majority of people who do join classes though tend to quit at some point due to a variety of factors. This could be lack of time, or maybe a lack of any serious motivation – it could even be related to the cost and/or tuition quality.

However, the majority of hard-core, committed, experienced karate practitioners are more likely to consider factors other than cost as the prime reasons for training in a particular karate class or club.

These types may be more interested in aspects such as style, technique, and the training methodology and pedigree of the instructor – rather than simply which class is the cheapest or nearest to where they live (!).

2. Regularity of training

Further to that, anyone starting or looking for a karate class should have some idea not only of the regularity that they are able to seriously commit to, but also they should have some awareness of what frequency of training is actually necessary for them to see progression in the sport or art.

Anyone wishing to consider themselves a serious practitioner of karate will likely want to establish some kind of regular, if not daily training regime, which could turn out to be costly when paying by the session. 

Average prices for individual sessions of karate tend to be around the £5.00 ($10.00 USD) mark, and monthly fees are usually somewhere between the £40.00 and £80.00 per month mark ($30.00-$60.00 USD) although there will be some classes that are much more expensive than that for whatever reason, and others (though not many) that may be even cheaper.

Even someone just starting out should really be looking to train at least 2-3 times per week to see any real progress, and this particular matter is strongly linked to our first point.

So monthly fees may work better for more serious practitioners with higher levels of commitment and thus regularity of training, but may not always be the right way to go for those just starting out who are yet to be sure that karate is indeed their thang. 

3. Average costs

One of the first things for anyone considering taking a new karate class to do would be to check out some of the average prices of karate classes local to your area. 

This will give some basic, comparative ideas to begin with, and then you need to consider other aspects such as membership fees, monthly payments, equipment, gis, lockers environment, travelling costs etc., etc.

Traditionally, karate classes were the ‘pay as you go’ variety, where you paid an agreed fee for the cost of the lesson every time you attended. The average cost for a ‘run-of-the-mill’ class these days tends to be around the £5/$7 mark.

More commonly these days is the monthly, direct debit route which tends to be anywhere between £20/$27 and £50/$67, depending on whether the organisation has its own facility or not (the more expensive option).

The membership fee (which usually includes a license and a uniform) will again depend a little on the organisation and its premises, but you can expect to pay somewhere in the region of £20/$27 – £40/$53 for this annual fee. 

4. Tuition quality

The quality of tuition required will depend on the level that you are at, but as you progress with your karate training technique and its application, you will always benefit from raising the bar – so make sure you find the quality of tuition that will allow you to push yourself and progress to new levels from the offset.

And looking for the best quality of tuition around may usually (but not always) tend to be a more expensive route as well – depending on the aspirations and approach of the instructor.

Maybe a bit of background checking on the establishment and its coaches should be standard procedure by now for anyone considering taking up martial arts.

5. Training environment

Clearly the martial arts training vehicle has now headed well into the 21st-century (as can be seen from MMA and kickboxing shows and, more recently, karate combat — HERE.

The trend towards bright, (often loud), well-equipped, hi-energy centers of excellence has become more and more prevalent these days – leaving the idea of doing your kata in a dusty old community hall in silent reverie more and more unappealing.

Of course, there is a price to pay for such an environment to train in which will be apparent from some of the fees and monthly sign-up schemes on offer.

Different payment options

So there are usually different payment options offered on karate classes, with the trend over the last decade or so veering more and more away from the traditional pay-as-you-go method (per class) towards the direct debit, monthly fee type of membership and training. They both have different benefits and drawbacks depending on your own circumstances and desired level of commitment.

The main 3 payment options offered tend to be one (or maybe all) of the following: 

  • Pay-as-you-go
  • Monthly fees
  • Annual fees

Don’t forget that this fee is taken as being only for the lesson itself – so make sure you consider any other possible additional costs. 

What other costs might be included in karate training?

It has long been the usual practice for many karate clubs and classes to ask for additional payments for other items that are required for training. These are likely to be for items such as:

  1. A license: Most traditional-style martial arts organisations require members to first have licenses which cover things like insurance and allow them to grade and receive records of their achievements. 
  2. Equipment: This is related to uniforms, gis, belts, gloves, pads and other safety equipment etc. required for participation in contact karate. There is just no getting around this – especially if you want to train with some degree of contact.
  1. The use of the facilities: If you are joining or attending one of the new wave of modern, super-dojos for your karate class, then you may expect a few additional charges to come into play for things such as the use of lockers, showers, parking etc. 
  1. Gradings: some clubs and dojos actually charge extra for the various belt gradings involved, which covers the certification, belt, administration costs etc.

Things to look out for in these kinds of situation include:

The cost of the gi – anyone can do a quick check online or even find them in some local sports stores. If you see them in your local Super Sports for £10.00 and your karate club wants to include yours in with your license in the £50.00 membership fee (?) – that’s when maybe a few alarm bells should be ringing. 

It’s also not that difficult to do a quick check with the organisations and governing bodies issuing the memberships and licenses on fees which, if they are even required at all by law, are usually around the £10/$20 mark. 

One of the things that MMA has done is put paid to a lot of the fees commonly charged in karate and other traditional martial arts classes that are often additional and possibly even unnecessary.

It is also usually a better option to source, compare, and buy your own training equipment such as gum shields, pads, gloves, headgear etc., than buying them from a gym, dojo, training center or instructor who will likely have added a reasonable mark-up.

Not to be cynical but don’t forget that martial arts is now considered purely from a business perspective by many organisations and instructors who may try to profit from all aspects of being involved in the sport from the offset, including equipment and various types of equipment and documentation.

Anyone serious enough to want to spar and get involved in some kind of contact training would do much better to source their own equipment, bearing in mind that quality products last, and it is not always that expensive now to get stuff shipped from abroad where it is made more cheaply but maintains its quality. This is generally true only of the professionally-used brands.

Conclusion

So there you have it – how much is a karate class worth to you? 

It is fair to say that most kids and adults who participate in karate classes get a great workout for both mind and body, and they have the opportunity to build character through training in an environment with both physical contact and social interaction.

However, your motivation for training will be much higher if your goals are identified and set, realistically to begin with (we all want to improve, right?), and establishing what value you expect to get from the class exactly.

These are all hugely deciding factors you may need to take into consideration before signing up for a karate class.

It always pays to have a plan, and knowing your options in terms of price range and the kind of training environment that you are going to be in are all key factors involved on your karate journey. You can then begin formulating the kind of karate training schedule that best fits your requirements regarding where you train and how much you pay.

So you now have more of an idea which way you would be better off going in terms of payment options and fees when starting any karate class. And always remember – ‘a journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step’ – I have no idea who said that but it seems a pertinent end to this post!

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Span Chen

Span Chen

I have been practicing karate for more than 6 years, and now at the sixth level (green belt) of the Okinawa Goju-Ryu Karatedo Kugekai. Though I haven’t earned my Black Belt yet, I am deeply passionate about my training.