How Much Does It Cost To Learn Karate?
Like any sport, karate comes with its own unique assortment of lesson styles, required gear, and varying levels of competition. Each of these items also comes with its own set of costs that are important to take note of before starting yourself or your child in the sport of karate. Listed below is the range of such costs.
The first cost of any sport is the price of the gear required to take lessons or compete, and karate is no different. For any level of karate training, especially for children, standard uniforms and belts are required, each of which generally costs anywhere between $30 and $70.
If you are interested in sparring at your local dojo or participating in an official competition, you will also need to purchase sparring gear. Sparring gear typically includes sparring gloves, headgear, boots, chest guard, shin and forearm guards, a cup/supporter, and a mouthguard. Buying an entire set of sparring gear can set you back anywhere from $300 to $1000, depending on the quality and design of the equipment you purchase. You should thus expect to pay at least $30 for required gear at the very beginning stages of karate, but expect to occasionally pay at least $300 as you advance in your training, especially at a competitive level.
Once you have bought the basic gear required to participate in karate, you will most likely want to take lessons. The first and most common style of lessons offered by a karate dojo are group lessons in which large groups of students, especially children, can learn the basics of karate from a trained instructor and then practice with one another under his or her supervision. The cost of such group lessons vary widely based on individual dojos and regions in which they are offered, as well as whether you purchase lessons in individual blocks or as part of weekly and monthly packages. Whichever manner you take lessons in, the cost will typically average out to about $25 to $50 per hour.
The second type of lessons offered by some dojos and by all professional karate tutors are private lessons. As with group lessons, the cost of individual one-on-one lessons varies widely based on who and where the lessons are being offered. For example, some gyms may offer private karate lessons for as low as $50-$100 per hour, while some higher-end martial art studios and teachers may charge as much as $60-$100 for each 30-minute lesson. Due to private lessons being generally about double the cost of group lessons, it makes sense for most people, especially novice and younger students, to only pay for group lessons until they are ready to advance into private tutelage.
Being part of a dojo can also come with costs beyond lessons. For example, karate athletes are divided into levels of ability and are labeled as such by the color of their belts. While some dojos may charge no fee or include it in the overall fee for lessons, the cost of belt testing can range from $25-$50 per test.
The Cost of Competition
After a certain number of lessons, many karate students enjoy partaking in official competitions in which athletes display their techniques or spar one another in refereed matches. Besides practice competitions offered as part of individual dojo contracts, the first rank of karate competition is at the regional level, where children and adults from the surrounding area can compete for medals in various areas of karate proficiency. While the cost can vary from competition to competition, participation at the regional level should cost around $70 per athlete, while spectatorship will usually cost from $0 for infants to $6 for adults.
For national competitions, such as the Okawa Cup, participants may be expected to pay at least $55 for one event with a graduated scale with a fee of $135 for five events. For such events, spectatorship fees will also be higher, with a fee of around $10 for anyone above the age of 7, while those under the age of 7 get in free. At any level of competition, it is also worth noting that there will be a significant upcharge for paying at the door to a karate competition rather than saving money by pre-registering in advance.