Reader questions are a great way for Jiu Jitsu Times to give back to the community that supports us. We recently got an interesting question from one of our readers:
“Why is BJJ more expensive than other martial arts?”
This is not a simple question. There are many reasons why BJJ is so expensive.
Perhaps the most important detail in this is that the path to black belt is long and difficult. Whereas in other arts, black belt can be awarded in a couple of short years and is available to children, a BJJ black belt often takes upward of a decade even with regular training and competition. For this reason, the time and money invested by your instructor to get to where they are today is very likely far more substantial than that invested by your neighborhood Taekwondo or Karate instructor.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is trendy, and the demand in many cases justifies the high price. I know that in my region (Northeastern Ohio) black belts have only become common place within the past few years. Up until that point most schools were run by brown belts or below. Gradually the community started to blossom and in that process more competition emerged.
Yet another aspect of BJJ that makes it a high price commodity is the dedication required by an instructor to actually produce good practitioners. Unlike with many other martial arts, a move cannot simply be shown and then practiced, but rather a good instructor needs to make their rounds and check each individual’s technique and in many cases feel that technique themselves. Therefore the activity of teaching BJJ can be far more labor intensive than other arts.
Yet another aspect of this is that many BJJ instructors aspire to essentially be professional athletes. I say this to mean that rather than hold “day jobs” they teach all day long, and thus make their living from their athletic pursuit. Because prize money isn’t great in BJJ yet, instructors need to make their living somehow. Even top level instructors very often draw a modest living from what they do, but they get to do what they love and live off of it so they live the dream.
If you really think BJJ is expensive, break down the cost per class if you were to attend every class available at your academy. Chances are you’d only be paying a few dollars per class. Then take into account the costs of doing business (rent, utilities, insurance, etc) and the cost of any support staff (instructors, front desk people etc) that may exist within the academy. BJJ isn’t cheap, but it’s not that bad, and it’s totally worth it given the amazing contributions it makes to our lives.