A Cost Comparison Between Martial Arts and Other Activites
Posted: June 07, 2017
How much does it cost?
This is the most common question we get when people call or email us at ATA Excellence Martial Arts. In this post I'm going to do something that most martial arts schools (or any business for that matter) don't do. I'm going to break down our price and other competitor prices for you in an honest and transparent way. That being said, I'm going to also explain why we charge more than most other activities. When we're all said and done I suggest you always TRY a program out before making any kind of long term commitment. That is the absolute best way to see if you're getting your money's worth.
Let me start by saying, our martial arts program isn't cheap. You can do most team sports for half the cost of what we charge. (How's that for honesty!)
Enrolling at ATA Excellence
First, let's break down our prices and what that includes. After students have tried out our program with a 5 Class Test Drive they are invited to our regular program which starts with a down payment and then monthly tuition of $95. The down payment takes care of their membership fee with our international organization (ATA International) as well as their basic gear package. This package includes all the safety gear that they will need for the beginner program. At the time of this writing our enrollment fee/gear package is priced at $175.
The monthly tuition includes up to three classes a week as well as an additional sparring class if a student chooses to start that training right away. We suggest that all students try to attend a minimum of twice a week to keep up with the training and to get the most out of their membership. Every class includes basic martial arts training, forms, self-defense, board breaking, weapons, and sparring drills. Classes are 45 minutes for our students 7 and up and 30 minutes for our 4-6 year olds.
(We do partner with a non-profit that offers scholarships to help students in need who can't afford our full program. We offer these on a limited basis depending on our funds and only work with those who are dedicated to the success of their children in partnership with our program. You can contact us for more info.)
To be completely transparent I want to include some additional fees that you may run into as your training progresses at ATA Excellence. First, we do charge a fee when you test for a new rank. Students typically test every 8 weeks and the testing fee ranges from $35-$50 depending on your rank and age.
Also, each cycle (8 weeks) we rotate through a variety of weapons and in the first year or so of training you will have to purchase those as the weapon enters the rotation. These weapons are between $20-$30 each.
Finally, when you move from our basic class to our advanced class, which usually takes about 10-12 months you will have to get the rest of your sparring safety gear. This package usually runs around $150.
Like all activities that people participate in there are optional expenses that you can incur if you wish. This includes t-shirts, extra uniforms (you get your first one free with our trial membership or when you enroll in our basic program), tournaments, seminars, camps and more. These are not required but are things to think about when budgeting for any activity. We also offer advanced programs that train students in leadership skills or how to become a certified martial arts instructor. These programs range in price from $100-$150/month and include additional classes, privileges, and training.
Let's take a look at some other activities and compare their offerings and prices. The most common thing for people to do is to compare our martial arts program with other sports such as baseball or basketball. Usually one of these programs is sponsored by a community sporting league that has sponsorships, volunteer coaches, and a set season. These programs whether as a community sport, school sport, or YMCA league may have a small entry fee and then a fee for a uniform or gear and then you'll need a few basic things like shoes and a ball.
Though sports like this are the most common thing martial arts is compared to, its really a comparison of apples and oranges. Let me explain. Because most of these activities are sponsored by others and have volunteer coaches (or coaches paid by a local school or YMCA) they can keep their expenses very low. In addition, the point of these programs is the sport. Very few parents call up the community soccer league and say, "My child is having some bullying issues. Does your soccer program help with that?" This is the kind of call we get all the time in the martial arts.
Martial arts is certainly a sport but people don't usually enroll for that reason. They enroll to help with confidence, discipline, focus and more. Because of this our instructors have specific training and years of experience. Not only do they go through an intensive certification process but they must participate in continuing education to stay current. Our instructors are more than experts in martial arts, they are true teachers who are trained in helping each student succeed.
A closer comparison to our martial arts program is that of a dance or gymnastic school. These programs have instructors with more training (though often, not any formal certification) and they have year round or at least much longer training seasons. Dance and gymnastic programs are also not usually sponsored by community groups or businesses so they have to generate enough revenue to keep their doors open and pay their employees. This of course, increases the cost.
Our program is often priced competitively with the local dance school if you compare the amount of time a program offers in training. The one main difference I would again mention is that people join dance or gymnastics to learn to dance or perform gymnastics. I suspect that they don't often get calls about helping students with ADD or confidence issues. This takes a special kind of training and focus, one that most programs aren't equipped for.
Finally, let's compare our martial arts programs to some other martial arts programs around. In about any community you can find a few guys who teach some form of martial arts out of their garage, local church, or community center. These individuals are often very talented in their physical skills and might be the best option for someone looking to learn a very specific form of martial art such as jiu jitsu, kali, or muay thai. These programs usually run between $50-$75/month and often offer per class prices. If you are looking into martial arts for purely the sport aspect then this might be the best option for you.
When it comes to any program, whether that be a sport like basketball, an activity like gymnastics, or a martial arts class it's important to look at what your goals are. What are the outcomes you'd like to see for the program? From there decide what would be the best fit and then be sure to try it out. There is no substitute for an actual trial. This will give you an opportunity to see if the program delivers on its commitments and if it's worth the fee they charge.
I hope this breakdown gives you the information you were looking for and helps you make a better decision about what activities to involve your family in. If you have any questions about our program feel free to reach out and talk with us. We'd be happy to answer any of your questions.