We’re Americans right? Well most of you are, according to Google Analytics, I have a surprising number of Brazilian and Canadian readers as well (and two from China! Take that Communism!). But regardless, most of us are consumers! And what can be more American than that?
Anyway, we are in a life long quest to get the most bang for our buck (or Loonie or Real as the case may be) and that holds true for martial artists. A very wise person (who will not be cited here because I’ve forgotten who it was) once said to me, “You don’t choose which martial art you want to train in, you train in what is near you.” And I have found that to be very true. But sometimes the martial art of choice not only is in your area, but there might be more then one location within reasonable driving distance. Then our Consumerism rises up to action. If there is one thing I know for a fact in martial arts, its that there is no such thing as a good teacher. Teachers will always fall into one of two categories. Near god-like and Awful. Believe me. Go find a martial arts school and ask around about its instructor. They will either tell you that master “fill in the blank” can knock you out by spitting at you, he was a world champion in something and something else, and will most likely be chosen to be the next Pope… and he’s Protestant! Now ask around on the other side of town and you will hear that he never train in any martial art at all. His beard is a fake and was stolen from a homeless child, and he was caught on that “To catch a Predator” show. So the quest to find a new martial art school is more difficult then you might think. More after the jump
The first question is always price vs perceived value. School number 1 might charge $100 a month and have classes four times a week, School number 2 charges $150 and has the same number of classes, but an awesome training facility, School 3 charges $70 but only has classes twice a week. Which one has better value? My personal experience is that there are only two kinds of martial arts students. Those who are there everytime the doors open, and everyone else. If you are of the former group, (those who are trying to have relationship problems) school three isn’t for you. For everyone else, ( or as I like to call them, almost everyone else) are you really planning on coming more then twice a week? And I don’t mean, what do you feel like doing Sunday night when you are all healed up and rested. I mean how many times are you going to go out and get sweaty and beaten during a normal week of things going wrong. School 3 might be your best bet.
So returning to all of you
pre-burnout hard core martial artists. We all love to train in and around awesome equipment. We love to strut around in our compression shorts in the locker room after class and talk about the “sick choke” we pulled off and how we plan to cut 35lbs and fight as a light weight…in three weeks. But lets face it, most of training requires a partner and a mat. So after the first week, most of us might work best at school 1. That goes double if you will promise to stay at school 2 for us.
So basically, take the school with the best price for the amount of time you realistically think you will spend there.
The other big question is what is a good price for martial arts lessons? Lets look at that. I live in a small town in the southern US. To rent a decent space on a more or less main road will cost you between $1000-1500 a month. For the sake of easy math, lets say $1000. Utilities are more expensive for a business then for a home, so you can factor in at least $250 for them. If the instructor likes having students, you’ll want to factor at least $150 in advertising, and lets say a another $100 for insurances. So what are we up to… ok $1500 a month just to exist. That’s no money for equipment, a pay check, or when someone leaves the lights on over night. If you are charging $50 a month as tuition, that’s 30 dedicated students that have to pay a month, just so the instructor can have the fun of working for free. Lets say he wants to make some money himself (or herself!) and wants to make at least as much as the place costs him, we bump things up to $3000 a month, which means you need a school of sixty constantly paying students to support paying a teacher a whopping 18k a year!
So factor that into the amount of time the instructor will be at the school. 18k is a nice part time job if you are only there twice a week. If your school has classes most nights a week, its understandable that the instructor would charge more. The YMCA charges around $40 a month just for the fun of watching you make excuses not to go.!
So end result is that there are several things to look at, but the going rate for a up and coming martial art school is about $100 a month (give or take a little depending on the area). If you are paying too much more, you might check and see what the difference is. Some times the difference between martial arts schools and food at the grocery stores is just the label