Entering the karate world can be a daunting experience because there’s a lot you need to know about. Due to it being a martial art, the classes need to be taught by a professional, which means they do not come cheap.
There are many reasons why karate classes can be expensive, so check out the round-up below to help you make an informed decision about whether they are worth the high cost.
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There’s a Health and Safety Aspect
Karate is more of a specialist ability, which means you need to be taught the specific moves. Looking online is easy, but you need to know exactly how these skills are performed when you’re performing a karate match or even training.
The last thing you want to do is injure yourself or others, so you need to make sure everything is carried out with health and safety in mind, something only a karate instructor will honestly know the ins and outs of.
Here are some more reasons why health and safety are essential when it comes to karate:
- Venues that are leased out for karate will only have insurance if it is trained by a professional.
- The moves are very complicated for intermediates, explaining why there is a wave of different belt colors.
- Injuries are more prone to happen with karate because it is a physical contact activity. One wrong move could result in injury, so it’s always best to be well informed about how best to carry out particular abilities.
This video covers more about insurance and legal aspects from the perspective of a school (still worth reviewing as a student):
Karate Is a Martial Art
The person carrying out the lessons has had to go through rigorous training to be able to teach these skills.
On top of that, it’s more of a specialty because karate isn’t popular everywhere, so there’s a good chance you’ll find that some of the martial arts instructors in your area will already have too many clients.
When things are not widely available, there’s a demand, leading to higher prices. Yes, prices for martial arts instructors will indeed vary, but there are some things you can do to make sure the person is the best to train you.
- Check if the instructor has a website or social media page: Many freelance instructors will include testimonials, showing up as reviews. It’s not uncommon to find testimonials for the person online. See how the instruction comes across.
- Ask the venue: The venue hosting the instructor’s classes will be able to tell you more about the person.
- Ask the instructor: You’ll probably find the instructor has a wealth of experience in karate that they will be happy to explain it to you. This is good if you need peace of mind.
- Check what belt the instructor holds: The rule of thumb is that the instructor will have at least a black belt in the style they teach.
This video shows how some of the more popular instructors attract their students:
Karate Instructors Are Well-Educated, Though Not Necessarily In School
It is really dependent on the person and their style of teaching, but you will probably find that some karate instructors have a martial arts teacher training certification. This allows you to know the person has been taught a lot about working with other people.
However, that’s not to say it’s required. There’s a good chance you’ll find more people without the certificate than with it because it could be the case that the person has been mentored by someone else in the community.
The beauty of karate is that there is no hard and fast rule for becoming a teacher. People come from all walks of life, each with their own view on the martial art and how it should be carried out.
It’s true that teacher training programs can help the instructor attain a lot of skills before becoming a teacher, but it truly comes down to the individual and whether they felt comfortable teaching from the get-go.
It’s possible the teacher-training program only started because the instructor wanted designated skills for teaching students. Here are some other reasons the instructor might have studied a teacher-training program:
- Discipline: You need to have a certain level of authority when teaching someone so that they know you’re there to teach them the craft and nothing else.
- Warmth: It’s hard to get on board with a teacher who is not approachable. The student paying the high fees will want someone who will listen if they have issues with the class.
- If they don’t recall how their instructor taught them: It’s common for people to use the training their instructor gave them as a style of teaching a new generation, but sometimes you need more of a nudge when teaching.
Karate Is a Way of Life for Instructors
While there are no hard and fast rules to becoming an instructor, many of the people teaching it to take it on as a way of life, which involves a very different level of discipline. You’ll probably find the person lives very differently than the people not studying karate.
There’s an emphasis on physical and mental discipline in karate for a reason: It’s not an easy martial art to master.
There are things you need to sacrifice if you’re joining the world of karate, and the chances are your instructor will have already made a string of sacrifices to get them to the powerful position they are in today.
Karate is not for everyone, and any good instructor will coach people to figure that out when they meet a potential student from the get-go. You might find that an instructor will not think karate is for you, which will harken back to the physical and mental discipline required. You are paying for the honest truth too, not a cheaper class that will pass you along without really learning what it takes to be a master.
Many sacrifices need to be made when it comes to karate, and here are some of them.
- Healthy diet: As with anything sports-related, you need to maintain a healthy diet to fuel your body with the nutrients required for karate.
- Time commitment: As with any endeavor, there’s an opportunity cost when putting so much time into an effort.
- You need strong attention to detail: Paying attention to karate during a fight is imperative because you also need to consider the health and safety aspects. You need to be able to cut the environment and what’s going on away from the spar our to allow you to make the best decisions.
Karate Instructors Have Overhead Costs
While you may think the instructor has a lot of money and that the costs for the lessons are expensive, you would often be more wrong than right. As with any business, there are overhead costs, and some of them can come at a premium.
This ensures the instructor and their students are protected should there be any issues down the line. Here are just some of the things that contribute to the overhead costs of a karate instructor:
- Liability insurance: It is frowned upon to teach karate without it. Instructors don’t know what could go wrong during a lesson, and making sure they’re protected is paramount to running a successful company.
- Renting space for lessons: This is yet another high expense because instructors need to ensure a safe environment with plenty of room to carry out their teaching.
- Equipment: As you’ve probably already realized, the gear for karate does not come at a cheap cost, and even if it did, the instructor would go for the more expensive because certain brands have a certain level of recognition in the community.
- Instructors have bills: To get to the level of skill they have to lead classes, instructors have probably had to take on multiple jobs while simultaneously paying their bills.
The Price of Tuition Varies
This is not uncommon because some areas will not be as interested in karate as others, and for some, there are too many instructors, making things considerably more expensive. Let’s take a look at why the price of tuition varies:
- Area: The area plays a significant factor because you might find that different parts of a city have different costs. This could be due to how many people are in that area, whether the area is run down, and more.
- Experience of the instructor: If the instructor comes with lots of rave reviews and is well-known in the karate community for their skill, you can expect their services to come at a premium. For an instructor starting out, you will probably find it’ll be cheaper to get word of mouth out there about their services.
- Size of the class: The volume of students plays a huge factor because if there are only a handful, it means the instructor might not make enough money for the overhead costs. The more students, the better, but you might also find that some classes are waitlisted. This could be due to the liability insurance or the capacity of the venue.
Prices Can Even Vary Between Adult and Children Students
As with anything, the prices vary, and it’s really down to the instructor’s discretion whether the adult classes or the children’s classes start off cheaper. It’s not out of the ordinary for a children’s class to be more expensive. There are a few factors that go into this:
- Children can be harder to teach: This comes down to the self-discipline of it all because they might not be as ready to learn as an adult.
- Liability insurance could be more expensive for children: We’ve spoken about liability insurance a few times now, but it’s a crucial component of any well-regarded karate school. Children are more likely to get hurt than adults, explaining the premium.
- Lessons might have to be extended for children: When it comes to teaching, there are goals the instructor wants to reach with students every time, and there’s a good chance it will be more challenging to reach with children.
- Adults could also be more expensive: This will come down to the area and whether more adults are joining the class than children. The instructor may need to incentivize some classes to get the ball rolling.
Testing Fees Are Likely Not Included in the Cost of Lessons
As with any skill, there are tests. These tests allow the student to carry out a series of moves with the promise of a move to the next level of their karate career, but in most cases, the testing fees will not be included in the cost of the lessons. There are a few reasons for this:
- The instructor can’t carry out the lesson as standard: The tests could span the whole lesson, meaning that the other people in the lesson wouldn’t get as much value for their money. Tests could be separate and paid in advance.
- Tests typically come with new equipment at the end: New equipment is seen as a progression in the world of karate, and new belts, clothing, and everything else come at a cost. This is a cost that won’t come from the instructor. They’re running a business, so don’t be surprised if the testing cost is over $100.
- The area and cost of running can play a part: If there are a lot of overhead costs and the person carrying out the course does not charge a lot per lesson, this could be the easiest way for them to keep the lights running on their dojo.
There is much debate in the community about these tests, mainly because of the variance in prices between areas and, of course, the frequency of the tests. You could find some karate instructors doing one test a month or once a quarter. Unless there is a federation requirement, it would come down to the instructor and what they want to charge.
Pick the Right Instructor for Your Needs
Picking an instructor can be challenging, but as long as you know you can afford the person you are pursuing, you should have no issues. Always make sure to ask about the frequency of tests and the costs associated in advance.
This will allow you to have a much clearer picture of how the instructor runs their business and whether there will be a lot of extra charges in addition to your lesson cost. The last thing you want to do is sign up for an attractive offer and realize the cost of the tests is higher than the area average.
Research is paramount before agreeing on the right instructor for you. If you still don’t know, it’s worth trying a trial class or sticking with an instructor for a set amount of time to help form your decision.