What does karate cost? How much should karate lessons cost? I will address these questions in this post.
Before you start going to a karate school you should always make sure that you find out their full pricing structure. Many karate schools have their own website which should contain this information. Some karate schools offer a free trial or a discount for kids which can save you a lot of money in the long run.
You'll want to make sure that there are no hidden fees being used to rip you off. Warning signs may include excessive numbers of belts, a self taught instructor or disengaged and poorly performing students.
There are two main types of payment structure. One is pay per lesson (or perhaps per month) in which you pay a small fixed fee. The other is to enter into a contract for a fixed period. From what I've seen, contracts are more common in the USA than the UK. I would advise firmly against a contract, but more on that later.
Paying per lesson or per month is the most common method and is in my opinion the best way to pay for karate lessons. A good price depends heavily on the quality of teaching, the number of instructors, the equipment the school uses, etc. Personally I would be satisfied paying around 4 GBP per hour. I hear 10 USD per hour is typical in the USA.
There are several advantages to having a per lesson or per month arrangement. Two of these are as follows:
I am completely and utterly against contracts in karate. Please do not sign one. If you're asked to sign a contract then it's likely that the instructor is only in it for the money. Contracts should be avoided at all costs. You have been warned.
Contracts usually ask for a fixed and non-refundable fee in return for a fixed period of training. Such fees can be as high as 2,500 USD per year and range from 3 months to 3 years. Nobody can plan that far ahead. Perhaps the karate school will go bankrupt and close down. Or you may get into financial difficulties. Or perhaps you'll fall victim to an injury. You should not commit yourself long term.
Even worse than a standard contract is a so called fast track course. These kinds of courses are no more than a money raising exercise for the karate school. Learning a martial art takes time. It takes years of hard work and dedication to even begin to contemplate going for your black belt. Fast track courses are a con.
Occasionally there are deals which give, for example, 10 lessons away for the price of 8. Such a deal can be good value for money provided you don't become disinterested in karate. Kids will often love the first two lessons and then want to quit, thus leaving you out of pocket.