When it comes to martial arts, karate proves to be the most prevalent discipline that anyone around the world can identify. In fact, it is one of the fewest styles of fighting that has been inscribed as a common noun in the dictionary prior to the internet age. But despite its popularity, not everyone can truly appreciate the complexity of its origin.
Contrary to popular belief, karate did not begin in Japan. In fact, the irony is that karate is an art from Okinawa which was originally imported from China. When the island was occupied by Japanese samurai in the 17th Century, military repression and the prohibition of weapons on the local populace have helped foster an effective ‘empty-handed’ self-defense.
Its transition from a lethal combat system to a sports competition was largely influenced by the Japanese scholars who embraced the art – among which included Funakoshi Gichin, the renowned father of modern karate. In 1945, the first karate dojo opened in the United States.
What makes karate especially attractive is that it emphasizes the promotion of health and character development. In fact, karate is one of the fewest forms of fighting effectively modified to accommodate all age groups. Kick Site underscores how karate both helps ADHD-diagnosed kids attain focus and personal growth and allowed elderly people to maintain a stable stride, considering that 1 in 3 people at the age of 65 or more experienced tripping losing balance.
National Average Cost
So, how much does karate cost in the United States? Despite the exact differences in the average karate class prices, the usual estimate for monthly lessons at community centers and gymnasiums is anywhere between $50 and $100. At private studios, the expected monthly cost is anywhere around $75 to $145.
It is important to take note that this price range usually concerns adult enrollment. The usual rate for children is around 20% to 50% less than adult price range. The age of the juvenile practitioner also contributes to the nominal price variation.
Apart from the average karate class prices, one should also account for the cost of the Gi (uniform) and the promotional exam fees. The cost of the uniform is anywhere between $17 and $40 while exam fees could entail as much as $250.
5 Hallmarks of a Legit Club
When it comes to joining a karate club, choosing a legitimate dojo proved to be very challenging. An article in Karate by Jesse emphasizes some of the salient points that distinguish a genuine association from the unscrupulous types. These are the important factors every sincere prospective disciple should look for in any karate club:
Knowledge over Money
Quality learning does not always equate exorbitant karate lessons cost. Although all karate clubs operate as a business enterprise, a respectable sensei (instructor) does not prioritize the nuances of instruction fees. In essence, his/her principal concern is the cultivation of skills and ethics.
When it comes to the cultivation of skill, the hallmark of an excellent dojo is its ability to teach techniques that actually work in real conflict scenarios. More than preparing the students to excel in sports competition, a sensei’s obligation is to help practitioners defend themselves. It is important to take note that ancient Okinawans effectively fought off armed oppressors and the only rule that governed their duel was survival.
A true sensei does not subject his students in drills that have no direct relevance to the cultivation of their skill. At times, it is a standard drill for all instructors to explain the importance of 30 push-ups. A so-called instructor that cannot effectively justify the meaning behind executing drills and specific movements simply do not understand what he/she is teaching in the first place.
Basic Training Gear
Under the responsibility of a sensei, proprietor, or a club administrator; a good private studio must be able to provide its own basic training equipment for the enrollees. Just as a classroom would have chairs and a writing board, a dojo must have its own set of focus mitts, kick pads, sparring gear and heavy bags.
Learning from the Source
If there is one sure way to settle the legitimacy of a karate club, it is determining the veracity of its source. As mentioned earlier, karate (as it is known today) originated in Okinawa and was further developed in Japan. Any dojo in the country must authenticate its link to globally established Okinawan and Japanese associations. These are some of the globally-expanded pioneering karate schools one must acknowledge:
- Shotokan Karate
- Goju-Ryu Karate
- Budokan Karate
- Kyukoshin Karate
- Shorin-Ryu Karate
- Shito-Ryu Karate
- Uechi-Ryu Karate
- Wado-Ryu Karate
Training in Okinawa
If a practitioner wishes to push the limits of his/her karate training, Okinawa is the best destination for setting the bar higher. In fact, karate is (arguably) a very important tourist program in this part of the Japanese archipelago. One of the best ways to organize such overseas training program is to coordinate with the Okinawan Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau.
After sending a correspondence to their email address, the staff will disclose comprehensive and streamlined information ranging from the detailed schedule to the nuances of karate lessons costs. If there is one inviolable rule outsiders must observe while training in Okinawa, it is to ‘stick with one karate dojo.’ Switching from one club to another connotes disrespect belying any innocent intent.
Training in Japan
But how much does karate cost if one chooses to train in mainland Japan? Booking Martial Arts feature an 8-day training program for the months of June, August, September, October, and November in 2017. It is important to take note, however, that this seminar is only reserved for those who have attained the rank of black belt (graduate of basic training).
The overall cost per person is around $4,289. It already includes air-conditioned accommodation, kitchen, and free hair dryer service. Apart from breakfast and dinner, the cost will also cover the karate uniform, taxes and the dine-out celebration after the last night of the training.