IMO (and keep in mind that I am a school owner, so my perspective is at least semi-biased), people tend to look at MA (or combat sports in general) instruction costs from a very strange perspective.
Let’s say that you were going to either attend or send your kids to a University to get educated, earn their degree, and then hopefully get a job with that education/degree. Would you simply look for the cheapest place that you could find? Or would you pick the best school that you could realistically afford? Why the hate for martial art schools that take pride in their product and charge what they believe is a fair value for it?
In what other profession are people expected to give away their knowledge for next to nothing, or charge peanuts for their work? Does anyone see plumbers doing that? How about Carpenters? Auto mechanics? Chefs? Graphic designers? Seriously, why are MA and combat sports instructors held to such a different standard then?
Like someone mentioned before, the instructor has to pay up front for all of the equipment in the school (just buying enough Jiu-Jitsu mats to cover a decent sized floor space can set you back a few grand, then add in pads, kick shields, extra gloves, shin guards and headgear for students that need loaners until they can buy their own, training knives, sticks, and guns) which represents a large chunk of money, then add the monthly cost of rent, heat, electricity, phone, advertising, liability insurance, any affiliation dues that might apply and you’ve got quite the financial hole that you need to balance out with training fees. Now add in a ring and/or a cage and you’re even deeper in the red. Finally add in mortgage/rent for your house, food, gas, utilities, and other usual living expenses, and well, hopefully people see my point by now.
Then you’re supposed to charge people $50 for unlimited classes a month? Sure, maybe if you’ve got 300 students right off the bat and they all stay with you for decades (or at least the number stays that high or higher) you might be able to charge that little and make that work. But let’s say you’ve got classes 3 days a week at 2 hours per class. So 24 hours a month at $50. So that’s $2 per hour that you’re getting paid by each student. And realistically, if we’re talking about aspiring pro fighters, that is not even close to enough training time, so let’s say you even bumped it up to 6 hours 3 days a week (which would be about the minimum), so now you’re down to around 67 cents per hour. Again, you’re going to need quite a few students to make that a sustainable business.
Now, I’m not saying that one has to charge $1,000 per month like Lloyd Irvin charges his pro fighters. But there is a happy medium where the instructor can cover their expenses, make an acceptable living, and the students can still afford the training. That exact number will vary some depending on the area where the school is located. Obviously if the rent for the space and living quarters is dirt cheap, and the students are all strapped for money, then the prices will have to be lower. Or if the rent is high and students more affluent the fees will reflect that.
Also, these are realizations and observations that I did not make initially as a student, but have only come to light as a business owner. So, I wouldn’t expect other students to have thought of these realities themselves. Hopefully my perspective will help the OP understand why schools charge what they do though.[/quote]
I think this is a very valid perspective, and also well reasoned. I understand that from a business perspective, there are base level costs of living that running a business has to cover.
That said, in the UK at least, community sports centres are often supported via the state. Boxing, certainly, tends to gets government grants that cover many of the costs associated with set up and daily running. Coaches then give their time for free, at the amateur level at least. They also charge low level pros relatively little for their time because their facilities are paid for, so there are few overheads to cover. Obviously the costs associated change as (if) the fighter goes up in the pro stakes. As Sento says, there is no reason that a good coach shouldn’t expect to be well paid for guiding a fighter to success, and the financial rewards that involves.
I think that one area where there is a debate in your reasoning is the college analogy. I agree that it makes sense to maximise what you learn, and where that learning can take you. In certain things, like education, I understand why parents who can, want to pay for their kids to get ahead. The difference in the UK at least, when it comes to combat sports/RMAs, is that it is possible for most city people to get very well educated locally in a discipline like boxing, for about Ã?Â£30/month. With that in mind, and appreciating that it may not be the same scenario in the US, I could personally never justify (or afford) to train in a more expensive discipline.
It also seems that a lot of gyms capitalise on the fan-boy culture that MMA has generated, and charge them a lot of money to be in a position to tell their mates how tough they are. It is a little like the Mcdojos of yesteryear, in that you can pay a lot of money for not very much, and it can be difficult for the uninitiated to tell when their coach is full of shit. Clearly, some gyms like yours (judging by the quality of what you post here) offer a high grade product, and feel justified in charging a higher rate. But I’d be willing to bet that more than 90% of gyms out there are claiming the same service and delivering nothing like the same quality for the price. It’s no wonder the general opinion is that MA gyms are ripping you off. [/quote]
All totally valid points. There are some boxing programs in the US that do either get a break from the government (like those offered in YMCA’s, since that organization is categorized as a non profit and thus gets tax breaks and other financial breaks that come along with that status), or are funded by local or state governments (like rec departments, community centers, youth programs, etc…). And obviously, since these facilities are either non profit or state/locally run I would agree that one should expect to pay less for their services. There are some martial arts classes offered in these types of locations/scenarios as well, so the same pay rates would be expected.
I also completely agree with your observation that plenty of MA schools charge rates in accordance with high quality instruction and yet fail to deliver such instruction. That’s why I generally tell people shopping around for a good school to go try classes at a bunch of different places before signing up anywhere. Like you said, most consumers/potential students are not highly educated on what makes for a quality martial art, and thus aren’t going to recognize quality from crap without some sort of comparison. Just looking at price may have you wind up paying a very low fee and getting poor quality instruction, paying a lot and getting poor quality instruction, paying a lot and getting top level instruction, or low fees and getting very good instruction.
In the end you’ve got to shop around to see what the is the best deal that you can realistically afford and then make your informed choice/purchase; just like my college analogy. You also need to be honest with yourself about where you expect your MA/combat sports training to take you. You truly believe and are motivated enough to want to be champion of the world someday? Then maybe you’re willing to make the sacrifices to be able to afford training with Lloyd Irvin, Freddie Roach, or some other top level coach. If on the other hand you’re just doing it as a fun hobby, then maybe you will be fine with a lower quality of instruction for a cheaper rate.