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Q for the Martial Arts Guys

I took my young son to a introductory lesson on Monday night. Tomorrow night he goes for his second intro lesson. The instructor asked me to bring my wife to discuss the plans they have at this second meeting.

Since he sked me to bring my wife, I take that as code for “the programs are REALLY expensive and your going to want to talk about it”. On one hand I don’t want to break the bank for my son to have Karate lessons, on the other hand I was really pleased with what I saw in the first lesson. The instructor was terrific with my son. In a very positive way he was instilling discipline and self control and I don’t know what kind of price I can put on that.

So, my question is, can you bargan for lower rates at a Karate school the way you can at the typical fitness gym or is it a take it or leave it deal? I’ll probably pay the full price if I need too, but I’d like to get it reduced if that the way they opperate.

Good questions sir. I own a dojo and I can tell you the reason he asked you to come back with your wife was most likely so that she could see what exactly it is that you are paying for (it’s hard to judge the value of a program until you’ve seen it yourself). It sounds like you took your child to a really nice place that is very professional, as a result you are going to have to pay the price. I charge almost double what the other local dojo does and I have between double and triple the amount of students he does (and I don’t advertise). So it’s unlikely that he will offer you a cheaper rate.

Feel free to PM me if you have any more ?'s.

FatSensei

In my experience you can, although if it’s part of a Karate school chain of dojo’s you might not be so lucky. It also depends on if they have a collections group collecting the payments as I have seen in the past. If that’s the case, you’re usually assed out then too. In the end, it never hurts to try because you never really know. Sorry if it ain’t much help, but good luck.

Chris

Hate to sound harsh, but…

Is there a jiu jitsu school nearby? If so, don’t waste your son’s time or your money on karate. If not, then disregard my comments, as martial arts training is good for kids. But if you have options, go with jiu jitsu.

[quote]on edge wrote:
I took my young son to a introductory lesson on Monday night. Tomorrow night he goes for his second intro lesson. The instructor asked me to bring my wife to discuss the plans they have at this second meeting.

Since he sked me to bring my wife, I take that as code for “the programs are REALLY expensive and your going to want to talk about it”. On one hand I don’t want to break the bank for my son to have Karate lessons, on the other hand I was really pleased with what I saw in the first lesson. The instructor was terrific with my son. In a very positive way he was instilling discipline and self control and I don’t know what kind of price I can put on that.

So, my question is, can you bargan for lower rates at a Karate school the way you can at the typical fitness gym or is it a take it or leave it deal? I’ll probably pay the full price if I need too, but I’d like to get it reduced if that the way they opperate.[/quote]

[quote]on edge wrote:
So, my question is, can you bargan for lower rates at a Karate school the way you can at the typical fitness gym or is it a take it or leave it deal? I’ll probably pay the full price if I need too, but I’d like to get it reduced if that the way they opperate.[/quote]

Most schools I know of charge either a flat fee per month or by the number of classes (for example - for $70 you can take 2 classes per week and for $80 you can take 3 classes).

As for a price reduction, the only times I’ve seen it is when they offer some sort of incentive, like sign up for x amount of months/refer x amount of people and get x amount off.

Since good kids jiu-jitsu programs are hard to find in many areas you could also consider Judo as an alternative. Judo has many advantages over other schools:

  1. Judo is an olymipc sport and therefore often subsidized by the gov’t and sport athletic commisions/non-protfit societies.

  2. subsidization allows the schools to charge less and they often have better equitment like highschool wrestling teams do.

  3. Judo is typically as dicipline oriented as something like karate, but possibly more functional for future athletics and strength.

  4. It will set him up if he wants to be a wrestler in HS etc.

I train BJJ and understand your desire to put your kid in a MA program but really don’t want you to pay out the nose. So think about what he tells you regarding his prices. think about your area. Is he just fleecing rich middle class people becasue he knows you will pay? Is he being competitive, check other gyms and facilities. Also community run programs can be hella more cheap and last for only a season sometimes. This way you are not loped inot several year contracts if your child gets bored as hell or disenchanted.

Be an informed consumer and check stuff out. Getting your kids to do anything other than sit around eating chips off the floor and playing videogames is true parenting, which is rare in our times, keep it up.

-chris

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Hate to sound harsh, but…

Is there a jiu jitsu school nearby? If so, don’t waste your son’s time or your money on karate. If not, then disregard my comments, as martial arts training is good for kids. But if you have options, go with jiu jitsu.

on edge wrote:
I took my young son to a introductory lesson on Monday night. Tomorrow night he goes for his second intro lesson. The instructor asked me to bring my wife to discuss the plans they have at this second meeting.

Since he sked me to bring my wife, I take that as code for “the programs are REALLY expensive and your going to want to talk about it”. On one hand I don’t want to break the bank for my son to have Karate lessons, on the other hand I was really pleased with what I saw in the first lesson. The instructor was terrific with my son. In a very positive way he was instilling discipline and self control and I don’t know what kind of price I can put on that.

So, my question is, can you bargan for lower rates at a Karate school the way you can at the typical fitness gym or is it a take it or leave it deal? I’ll probably pay the full price if I need too, but I’d like to get it reduced if that the way they opperate.

[/quote]

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Hate to sound harsh, but…

Is there a jiu jitsu school nearby? If so, don’t waste your son’s time or your money on karate. If not, then disregard my comments, as martial arts training is good for kids. But if you have options, go with jiu jitsu.
[/quote]

Why?

Thank you, all, for your input.

I would also go with Judo, great sport and it’s not very expensive.

To the OP,

If I were you I’d really think about why your son wants to do a MA, and why you want him to do one.

If the main purpose is character development, self discipline, self control, etc… then that should be the most important thing that you should look for in the school you choose.

If he wants to learn something that will actually help him defend himself, or get in better physical shape, etc… then finding a school where they do realistic training should be a high priority.

If you find one that offers both, go there. If there are more than one that fit the bill, and he likes one more than the other, try bargaining with the more expensive one saying something like “well such and such dojo only charges X amount, will you match their rates?” Oh, and if possible bring the money you plan to pay in cash, cash is very influencial.

Good luck and good training,

Sentoguy

My experience, since 1972, is price and quality are (generally speaking) inversley related in the martial arts. I think the most I ever paid for Karate was $7.00/month plus I got a key to the place. I took judo and I never paid for a lesson my teacher came from a club that put judo players into the Olympics.

I also took judo from a former Japan National Champion; he taught me free of charge. I just spent 2 years living in Japan, due to work, and took aikido for both years from a renowned guy and the cost was $50.00/month but if you were too poor to pay nobody cared you could come for free.

Everywhere I’ve ever been if you couldn’t pay the going price then you paid what you could and got on the mat. All the instructors were just wonderful human beings that changed the direction of my life. Good luck to you and your son. jim

I agree with those who suggest you get your son into Judo or jiu-jitsu (especially Gracie/Brazilian).

Good quality Judo and BJJ/GJJ schools are wide spread and JUDO is very cheap usually.

A GOOD Karate school on the other hand is hard to find. Also depending on the age of your son a grappling art would definitely be a better place to start than striking.

Also you probably want to get something MARTIAL out of your money which isn’t too likely in kids Karate (most adult programs either).

Oh, and wrestling is free martial arts training.

To the OP,

The best way to decide if a martial arts school is worth the cost, especially for children, is to watch the classes. Are the students attentive or are they goofing around and not paying attention? Does the instructor allow the students to goof around or require them to pay attention? Obviously kids will be kids, but there’s a huge difference between a martial arts class and an overpriced day care.

Do they look like they enjoy being there? On the flip side of my previous point, some instructors don’t understand that there’s a difference between a 5 year old and a professional fighter. Kids won’t want to keep doing something if it’s not fun.

Also, watch some of the older kids or higher belt classes and talk to their parents. Those kids that have been at the school for a while will really be able to give you a good idea of what your son can get out of it. Are they well behaved, respectful, and polite, or are they the kind of kids that you look at and say “good god! I would never let my child act like that in public”. A good martial arts school with good instructors can teach a child a hell of a lot more than just how to punch and kick.

Finally, in regards to the money issue and the instructor’s request to bring your wife along. Just see how it feels. If you get that “used car salesman” feeling, thank him for his time and leave. One thing I always ask when checking out a new school is if they require a contract, and if so, how binding is it.

If you have to sign up for a year and pay for the whole thing up front with no chance of a refund, don’t bother. Lots of schools work just like commercial gyms, they make money on the people who buy a year membership and then quit after 2 or 3 months (weeks?). If you can pay for a month or two at a time without penalty and leave at any time, there’s a good chance the school is for real.

One last thing, the request to talk to your wife may very well be what you think, a sign that it’s expensive and you’ll need her ok, but maybe not. Lots of teachers like to talk to both parents to make sure they understand that this is a martial art. There’s kicking, punching, wrestling, etc… i.e. a chance of injury.

Mother’s tend to be a bit more sensitive to these things and more likely to freak out the first time little billy comes home with a black eye. Father’s tend to hand the kid an ice pack and tell him to walk it off (while secretly grinning ear to ear imagining the brutal jet li style battle royale his son must’ve been in to get a shiner like that).

Overall, go into this with an open mind, but don’t let yourself get locked into anything longer than a couple of months. Even if everything is great, kids are fickle, next month your son may decide he doesn’t want to do karate anymore and would rather play soccer (or baseball, footbal, rugby, synchronized swimming, who knows).

Hope something in that rambling response helped,
Jay

I agree with everyone on getting into a BJJ or Judo club. Also, wreslting or even if they have a place where they train boxing but don’t spar until he’s older.
Basically any martial art that is trained in a fun and sporting way and does not have kata type stuff.

[quote]on edge wrote:
CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Hate to sound harsh, but…
Is there a jiu jitsu school nearby? If so, don’t waste your son’s time or your money on karate. If not, then disregard my comments, as martial arts training is good for kids. But if you have options, go with jiu jitsu.
Why?[/quote]

Watch UFC 1. Watch Royce Gracie beat every top striker. Before the UFC, there was the “Gracie Challenge.” Anyone who could beat a top Gracie BJJ fighter got 100K. The money went unclaimed.

Plus, jiu jitsu is more demanding than other martial arts. So you’re get will get into better shape, and he’ll actually know something that will help him if he ever needs to defend himself.

I’m not knocking traditional ma. I did tae kwon do for seven years, and found it beneficial. But BJJ is a superior art.

So… As others have said… Something is better than nothing. But if there is a good BJJ school nearby, enroll him there.

BJJ is a traditional martial art.

Also Royce didn’t face any top strikers in UFC 1.

The UFC was an advertisement for Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. A very good one too.

Are you saying a top striker without grappling skills can defeat a top jiu jitsu practicioner? This debate has been settled long ago. BTW, how was your last meeting of the Flat Earth Society?

[quote]supermonkey wrote:
Also Royce didn’t face any top strikers in UFC 1.
[/quote]

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Are you saying a top striker without grappling skills can defeat a top jiu jitsu practicioner? This debate has been settled long ago. BTW, how was your last meeting of the Flat Earth Society?

[/quote]

The striker vs grappler debate is senseless now that everyone in MMA are much more well rounded then when Royce dominated the octagon. Take Chuck Liddell, he knocks everyone out because of his excellent take down defense. Pure strikers or grapplers don’t really see much if any success in MMA today.

[quote]m0dd3r wrote:
To the OP,

The best way to decide if a martial arts school is worth the cost, especially for children, is to watch the classes. Are the students attentive or are they goofing around and not paying attention? Does the instructor allow the students to goof around or require them to pay attention? Obviously kids will be kids, but there’s a huge difference between a martial arts class and an overpriced day care.

Do they look like they enjoy being there? On the flip side of my previous point, some instructors don’t understand that there’s a difference between a 5 year old and a professional fighter. Kids won’t want to keep doing something if it’s not fun.

Also, watch some of the older kids or higher belt classes and talk to their parents. Those kids that have been at the school for a while will really be able to give you a good idea of what your son can get out of it. Are they well behaved, respectful, and polite, or are they the kind of kids that you look at and say “good god! I would never let my child act like that in public”. A good martial arts school with good instructors can teach a child a hell of a lot more than just how to punch and kick.

Finally, in regards to the money issue and the instructor’s request to bring your wife along. Just see how it feels. If you get that “used car salesman” feeling, thank him for his time and leave. One thing I always ask when checking out a new school is if they require a contract, and if so, how binding is it.

If you have to sign up for a year and pay for the whole thing up front with no chance of a refund, don’t bother. Lots of schools work just like commercial gyms, they make money on the people who buy a year membership and then quit after 2 or 3 months (weeks?). If you can pay for a month or two at a time without penalty and leave at any time, there’s a good chance the school is for real.

One last thing, the request to talk to your wife may very well be what you think, a sign that it’s expensive and you’ll need her ok, but maybe not. Lots of teachers like to talk to both parents to make sure they understand that this is a martial art. There’s kicking, punching, wrestling, etc… i.e. a chance of injury.

Mother’s tend to be a bit more sensitive to these things and more likely to freak out the first time little billy comes home with a black eye. Father’s tend to hand the kid an ice pack and tell him to walk it off (while secretly grinning ear to ear imagining the brutal jet li style battle royale his son must’ve been in to get a shiner like that).

Overall, go into this with an open mind, but don’t let yourself get locked into anything longer than a couple of months. Even if everything is great, kids are fickle, next month your son may decide he doesn’t want to do karate anymore and would rather play soccer (or baseball, footbal, rugby, synchronized swimming, who knows).

Hope something in that rambling response helped,
Jay[/quote]

Thanks Jay, what great advise.

I’m heading home. We’ll be getting the sales pitch in an hour and a half. I’ll let you all know how it goes. Thanks for all your input. Out.