Why Are Martial Arts so Expensive?

Why Are Martial Arts so Expensive? (8 Reasons)

You might have wanted to start training in martial arts, but have soon realized that the monthly fees of the gym are really high. Why are martial arts gym fees so high?

The biggest reason martial arts gym fees are high is the rent and utility bills. It costs real money to rent the place, buy the equipment needed and keep the electricity and water bills paid up. All that is covered by the fees collected from trainers.

There are other costs as well. Keep reading, and we will go through all the different reasons, why martial arts cost so much.

Reasons why martial arts are so expensive

Now we go through why martial arts are so expensive and all the different reasons there might be behind this.


Rent is one of the most giant money pits for running a martial arts gym. This depends a lot on the space needed, as well as the location but in general, rent is the biggest cost when running a martial arts gym.

If you want to get a decent space for your martial arts gym, you are probably going to have to pay a fair price for it. Real estate prices have been rising for a decade now, and investors want to make a profit as well.

Money for the rent is collected directly from the monthly fees of the people who train at the gym. Of course, there are a lot of differences between gyms and their prices.

Here is a full guide for choosing the right martial arts gym for your needs, and what you need to consider.


Next up comes equipment. This is mostly a one-time cost at the beginning when it takes the most money.

The gym needs mats, punching bags, and all kinds of different equipment, depending on the martial art.

Even though a lot is bought up front, sometimes the equipment needs to be upgraded. Something might break or wear out and needs to be replaced. This also takes money to cover.


Electricity cost depends a lot on the facility the gym is at. If the facility is heated by electricity and the bill is paid by the renter, this could add up to a lot, especially in the colder months.

Sometimes the electricity might be included in the rent, but then the rent would be higher as well.

At the bare minimum, there have to be lights and some kind of air conditioning, that takes some electricity.


Gyms could and should also have showers, toilets, and water taps available. This will mean water and maybe sanitary bills if they are not included in the rent.


Sometimes the instructors work full-time at the gym, and they are supposed to make a living out of it. If this is the case, the monthly fee of the gym is typically higher.

This also means more professional teaching of the martial arts, as well as more classes throughout the week.

At some gyms, the instructors could also be just casual martial arts hobbyists, that do not take any fee from their teaching.

This could mean smaller fees, but the training hours could be limited if the instructor has a full-time job and a family on top of the martial arts hobby.

Business licenses

Martial arts gyms can also be run like businesses. The instructors are the employees and they do have to pay the bills.

Their clients are the people who come to the gym, pay the fees, and learn martial arts. Works like any other business.

In order to run a business like this, some type of business license is typically required. This might vary depending on the country where the gym is located.

Legal fees

With business liabilities, come different kinds of legal fees. For example:

  • Starting the business
  • Rental agreements
  • Accounting
  • Other legal matters

Whatever the gym might need legal things done for, usually doesn’t come for free.


Businesses usually need different kinds of insurance, in case the worst comes to happen.

Martial art gyms are no different. People could get hurt during their watch in their facilities. This is why insurances and safety are really important.


Taxes could also be a part of running a martial arts gym, especially if it is run like a business.

All this could add up to be a lot. That is why martial arts gyms have to ask for high monthly fees.

Why don’t martial arts gyms tell their prices?

Martial arts gyms don’t necessarily want to show their prices publicly if they are high. They don’t want to scare off potential customers with their sky-high monthly and joining fees.

There has been some incident, where parents have dropped their children off for a free trial lesson in martial arts. Afterward, when their child has had the time of their life, the prices are revealed.

The child is already hyped up and ready to go again, but when prices are hundreds of dollars each month, that is a lot for the parents to pay.

In my opinion, that is a kind of unethical way of getting new customers to the gym. Playing with the children’s feelings to get them hooked before revealing the prices is kind of a shady practice.

Other expenses for martial arts practitioners

On top of the membership fee that we have been going through in this post, people who practice martial arts typically need some equipment on their own as well.

That might be some kind of uniform or training clothes, such as a gi. They could need gloves, mouthguards, shoes, and all kinds of different equipment, depending on the martial art.

Personal equipment is mostly a one-time payment since you can use the same gloves for a long time.

Final thoughts

So, martial arts can be expensive to practice. This depends a lot on where you live and what kind of gym you attend to.

If the gym is run like a regular business, the prices are typically higher.

On the other hand, if you can find a gym where the instructor is just a hobbyist as well, you could train for less than 50 dollars a month.

Here is a post about all the costs of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. That could give you a better image of how costly the equipment is for BJJ and different martial arts.

Hopefully this was helpful, have a wonderful day!

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