Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: The Cost of Training at a BJJ Gym
Updated: Apr 18
How much is too much to pay for your jiu-jitsu gym? Let this guide help you in spending your money in the right way.
Find a jiu-jitsu gym that matches your budget
As I mention in my post about choosing the right jiu-jitsu gym for you, cost is something you should consider. It is about investing in something you feel is important to your overall well-being. There are many factors That being said there are a lot of things that go into the cost of a jiu-jitsu gym.
General BJJ gym prices
First off, you have to consider why the prices you pay will be the price that you pay. On average, a bjj gym membership will cost you anywhere from $50 to $250 per month for adults. My coach even said there are some places that charge upwards of $300. These prices will of course depend on a lot of factors. If you are in one of the BJJ hotspots like California, New York, or Texas, you might run into more notable or famous championship competitors teaching or owning a gym which will definitely reflect on the price. On the other side, if you’re not in a hot spot or if the gym is new and is just opening, the price might reflect that.
In addition, the price might vary if you pay month to month, 6-months, or yearly. Obviously, the more you pay upfront, the less you pay per class. When I was living in Shanghai, this pricing structure was quite common, but I think that prices are a tiny bit cheaper comparatively (In Shanghai, jiu-jitsu could be considered as more on the expensive side compared to other martial arts like boxing, Muay Thai, judo, and Tai Chi).
What’s included in your BJJ gym price?
When you put your money down for your BJJ classes, what will that include? Most gyms include unlimited classes for BJJ, and they might offer a class and open mat every day. In addition, your gym fee might include other martial arts and other facilities, so your money is stretching a bit. When you sign-up, the price might also include some sign-up incentives like a free gi and belt, apparel, and other items.
Are there any discounts for BJJ gyms?
Sometimes you might get lucky and be able to discount depending on the circumstance or if you’re part of a group. If a gym is just opening up, they will sometimes offer a grand opening deal to build their client base from early off. If you and a friend decide to sign up together, or if you have a friend who already trains at a gym, there are some friend discounts and referral programs to save some coins.
There are also gyms that offer discounts for college students and women. One discount program that is quite popular in my area is the “Adopt-A-Cop”program, where affiliate gyms allow cops to train jiu-jitsu at a discount until they become a blue belt. You can always ask if the gym you plan to sign up with has any discounts they can offer you.
Can you train BJJ by yourself?
You might be thinking that training BJJ by yourself or with a group of friends in a basement or a garage somewhere might be a viable thing to do if you’re trying to save money. There are many resources out there for you to pick up jiu-jitsu and learn through watching videos. But honestly, I highly advise against that, especially if you’re a brand-new baby beginner. There are a few reasons why I advise against this, both physically, financially, and emotionally (or at least I think the emotional reason is emotional).
Reason 1: Costs add up, even without a gym membership
You may be thinking that you can save a few dollars (yuan, yen, pesos, euros, wherever you’re at) by just watching some YouTube videos and not buying all the necessary training gear you need to properly learn and train Brazilian jiu-jitsu. But there are many associate costs that come together that may add up in the end. You need to buy some kind of mat to protect yourself when you’re training. You also need to buy enough mats to cover a specific area of your home that can be also big enough to cover space as you roll around. You also need the mats to be thick enough, so you don’t hurt yourself when you fall or roll.
These mats should also go along the wall, so your feet, hands, or head doesn’t roll into the wall and make a hole. If you don’t properly make a good training environment, then you risk having to pay for repairs to your home or training area and of course hospital costs because you don’t have a proper coach telling you what’s right or monitoring you to make sure you don’t hurt yourself. In addition, if you don’t have someone to train with, you’ll need to purchase a grappling dummy to drill and rep out techniques. Grappling dummies can be quite expensive as well.
I’m not saying that having a home training area isn’t a great idea. I love going to friends’ houses to drill and train. I even have one friend who had a mat area big enough for three or four pairs to roll. But the main thing is that all of us train at a gym that we can get properly monitored and proper feedback.
Reason 2: You Can Seriously Injure Yourself and Others with Submissions
It goes without saying that if you don’t have the proper training environment and the proper instruction, you can seriously injure yourself. BJJ coaches are there to help you understand not only how the submissions work but when to tap. Some submissions I specifically think about are heel hooks and wrist locks. These submissions don’t hurt until the last second and then your knee or wrist is destroyed. Also don’t forget about not knowing when to tap or not recognizing a tap. These are things that can even lead to death if you don’t let go early enough. Training at a gym may not prevent or outright avoid this from happening, but training around an experienced coach adds a layer of protection.
Reason 3: Lack of Motivation and Feedback from Jiu-Jitsu Coaches
You can follow any video to the exact letter, but how will you know if you’re placing your arms and legs in the right place? How will you know or be able to see what exactly is going right or wrong when you do a technique? These are just some of the things you have to worry about when doing jiu-jitsu. A coach and a team are there to help you at the gym and guide you to being your best at training. A bunch of dudes/chicks in a basement who never did BJJ is just creating a “blind leading the blind” kind of situation.
If you’re just trying to learn by yourself with a dummy, how will you know if you’re getting the right position. Also, a grappling dummy is not really the most motivating training partner. Even my most enthusiastic bjj friends ignore their grappling dummy sitting at the corner of their home training area. Sometimes you need a gym environment to get you motivated to train. There’s nothing like your friends messing with you and peer pressuring you into going to train when all you want to do is sit at home and watch tv.
Reason 4: Improper BJJ Instruction
Again, this goes with reason 3 but with the addition of using video resources that aren’t verified by a notable instructor. YouTube is a great place to learn many things, but there is no screening for who shares what and people can say anything. So, if you’re getting your lessons from YouTube, you might not be getting the proper instruction. There is also always that guy who’s seen some stuff from a UFC fight or some other unverified source who tries to teach. This person generally lacks the proper credentials AND knowledge to teach and show jiu-jitsu.
There are also resources like BJJ Fanatics who can help with learning techniques from world-renowned instructors that give proper instruction. But, if you’re new to BJJ and you don’t know the vocabulary or you don’t understand basic concepts, it will be hard to comprehend what the instructors are doing.
How much should I pay for classes at a jiu-jitsu gym?
In general, what you pay for jiu-jitsu classes and training is up to your budget, what you’re looking to get out of the class, and the community. All of these things might have different significance to every person. But when it comes down to it, it’s about what makes you feel and do your best on your BJJ journey.
How much do you feel is too much to pay for jiu-jitsu? What factors do you consider when it comes to training costs? Comment below or let’s chat on Instagram @blackgirlwhitegi_bjj.