So you have enrolled your child in martial arts school, congratulations! This is the first step to a rewarding journey for both of you. You probably have a few concerns about what is ahead but at the same time you’re probably really excited to see your child get into the martial arts. So what equipment, uniform and gear do you need to buy for the first class -- and how much should it cost?
One of the great things about the martial arts is that it doesn’t cost much to get started compared to other activities. For example a set of good golf clubs can cost as much as $1000 or more. Starting soccer can lead to multiple purchases of a soccer shirt and shorts, socks and cleats, shin pads and of course a decent soccer ball. Baseball and football have similar requirements. Dance and ballet can also become extremely expensive with all of the different costumes and outfits for the various recitals. You want your child to look good of course so you’re willing to buy whatever is necessary. But you don’t know much about karate.
Initially for martial arts training you only need a uniform (often called a gi) and that’s it. Of course there are other things you could buy such as a gear bag or a club T-shirt but essentially your only piece of equipment to get started is a uniform. A basic uniform should cost around $50 to $60 and sometimes, depending on the professionalism of the school, the first uniform is given to you FREE as a bonus for signing up for the initial program.
“OK, this sounds good. All I need is a uniform for less than $60 and I might even get it for free. This is a great deal, what am I missing here? What lies ahead that will affect my pocketbook?”
Well, you’re right to be a little skeptical but honestly you don’t need much money for karate equipment. Your biggest ongoing expense will be the cost of your tuition which is currently (as of January 2017) at an average of around $100 to $120 per month for a twice a week program. Community center part time programs are cheaper and large schools that are located on busy streets in nice areas are obviously higher because they are professional and have all the additional expenses to stay current and professional.
Concerning the equipment, these are the items that you will need to purchase as your child progresses through the ranks to black belt:
- Better quality uniforms (these can range from $100 for a mid-level uniform, to $150 for a good uniform, and all the way up to $200 for a top of the line uniform – your instructor should offer a good selection to fit the different budgets)
- Sparring gear – your child will need hand & foot pads and a mouthpiece. All of this should cost you $100 or less depending on the quality of gear you buy. Often your instructor will offer the whole package for a discount and you should definitely take advantage of this to save a bit of money.
- Training gear – Martial arts requires a lot of practice and your child will probably need to practice at home as well as in class. To facilitate this you may need to buy some focus targets or a kick bag (either a hanging bag or a free-standing bag). These targets usually begin at around $20 for the basics, and a good kick bag will cost a little over $100.
- Weapons – Depending on your school, there may be a weapons requirement and again this will be an additional expense. Basic weapons don’t cost very much at all and you probably won’t have to put out any more than about $40 per weapon just to be able to participate in the class. The biggest bonus is that the weapons last for years!
- Instructional support resources – Many schools offer books and DVDs for curriculum support and although these items are yet another expense they are a one-time investment that can be tremendously beneficial to your child’s ultimate progress and development. These tools will help your child practice at home and can also provide you, as the parent, with the means to offer support and help to your child as she progresses through the ranks. The cost of these resources will vary based on the different curriculum that is being studied but very often there are some excellent resources to be found online, but most professional Academies have a member’s only website with many resources for you.
All in all the gear, equipment and uniform cost of practicing martial arts is minimal because in most cases all you need for the first three to four years is a uniform, some sparring gear, some basic training gear for practice at home, an occasional weapon, and some instructional DVDs or books to take your child’s understanding to the next level. The estimated cost of all of this equipment is about $400 to $500 over a period of 3-4 years to fulfill the minimum requirements. If you break this down on a per month basis then you are looking at less than $15-$20 per month on average for basic equipment costs for the few years of training.
The truth of the matter is that like every good parent you will probably spend more because you will want to buy your child some T-shirts and clothing, a gear bag, additional equipment and so on. But these things will still be considerably less than that set of golf clubs! And what’s more, you can use these items as valuable incentives for your child as they successfully make it through the ranks of their training.
The Academy of Martial Arts in Port Credit is the Best Professional Martial Arts School serving Mississauga for 31 years teaching kids, teens, and adults all ages in Karate, Tai Chi, and Fitness Cardio Kickboxing.
For more information about classes at the Academy give us a call (905-278-7234) to get started!