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Why Are BJJ Classes So Expensive? Here’s Why

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This is a common question that many people ask when they first start looking into Jiu Jitsu classes and gym options.

That’s because compared to your regular run of the mill gym, that may offer some aerobic classes, a weight lifting room, and some stationary bikes. BJJ and MMA gyms provide some of those things and much, much more.

So, why is BJJ so expensive? Jiu Jitsu gym memberships and classes can be considerably more expensive than some traditional gyms. This is because you’re not paying to get fit or in shape, you’re paying to learn a skill that’s taught by a qualified instructor EVERY class you attend. So when looking at BJJ class prices, you should think of the cost as tuition to learn Jiu Jitsu, rather than a gym membership. 

How much are BJJ classes?

BJJ class prices may vary by location, variety of training options offered i.e., unlimited classes or non-BJJ training, and most importantly, who’s teaching the classes.

Depending on where you live, prices for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gyms can be anywhere from $0 to $250+. 

You could be in a small town with one guy who teaches people for free in his garage (be careful with stuff like this), or someone teaches a BJJ class at the Y.M.C.A. for $15 a month Y pass.

Or you could live in a big city with a wide range of gym options and might pay somewhere between $80-150, which is about average. 

And BJJ can get expensive, at Rigan Machado’s gym in Beverly Hills it costs $250 a month for a membership and Renzo Gracie NYC is about the same for unlimited classes.

With all that said, let’s get into what you’re getting out of your monthly BJJ tuition.

Check out this article on How Much Do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Classes Cost?

What are you paying for?

Before you pass up trying Jiu Jitsu because it’s so expensive, we want to talk about what you’re paying for when you sign up for BJJ. 

Some of the things you’ll learn, achievements accomplish, and relationships you build will be so great that you won’t be able to place a monetary value on it.

Getting in shape

If you are consistently training BJJ 3x a week, you will, in no doubt, get in shape, getting in shape by doing Jiu Jitsu is often a goal people set.

BJJ is expensive for many reasons, and getting in shape is very important to a lot of people, and it’s hard to put a price on that. 

We think you should train to learn Jiu Jitsu, not to get in shape.

Getting in shape is a fantastic bi-product of learning Jiu Jitsu, but there are much better ways to get in shape than doing BJJ.

A good weight training routine with the right amount of cardio and a clean diet will get you in great shape; no Jiu Jitsu required. Remember, Jiu Jitsu is a legitimate combat sport that’s hard on your body, and injuries are relatively common when training regularly. 

I say this to set realistic expectations for new people that are interested in taking up BJJ, not to discourage them.

If you know this going in, you’re more likely to have better long term success in your BJJ journey. Trust us when we tell you, the pain and the struggle are all worth it.

Check out this article Will BJJ Get You In Shape?

Learning to fight and self-defense

BJJ is expensive because of how popular it’s become for self-defense over the last decade. That’s a big reason why some people take up Jiu Jitsu. It’s also a big reason why parents decide to get their kids involved in martial arts. 

Jiu Jitsu and submission wrestling (no-gi) are vital elements to Mix Martial Arts (MMA), and every professional MMA fighter incorporates BJJ into their training, hell BJJ is what got the UFC starting in the first place. 

It’s safe to say that Jiu Jitsu is legit and without a doubt works, many schools focus on sport BJJ, and some schools still teach traditional “Gracie Jiu Jitsu” that involves more self-defense tactics in training. 

There’s the debate between “what’s better sport or self-defense?”. We think that either you go, if you join a BJJ gym and train consistently, you will 100% learn to fight. 

BJJ is also a great gateway to MMA. Many people who are interested in learning to fight or people that inspire to be MMA fighters often start in Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, Muay Thai, boxing or other combat sports and martial arts.

Check out this article on Jiu Jitsu For Self-Defense: Why BJJ is the Best Martial Art For Self-Defense

Build confidence and self-esteem

You can’t put a price on confidence, and maybe that’s why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is so expensive.

There’s a certain confidence that you develop when you train BJJ and other martial arts, it’s not cockiness, it’s more of a self-assurance you gain from knowing that you can handle yourself in a bad situation.

As I just mentioned, Jiu Jitsu teaches you to fight and gets you in shape; those two things alone are a tremendous confidence and self-esteem boost. 

There’s no better feeling than looking good and kicking ass, another way Brazilian Jiu Jitsu helps you build confidence is by competition. 

Regularly competing in BJJ will not only make you a better grappler, but it does wonders for your self-esteem.

It’s a great feeling to work hard for something, all the training that leads up to a win after giving it your all against someone of similar age, weight, and skill.

Keep in mind if you start competing in Jiu Jitsu tournaments, those can get pricey, and they add up, making your BJJ expenses grow.

The social aspect 

In Jiu Jitsu and other combat sports, you fight alone, but you train as a team, and Jiu Jitsu teams are very supportive of their teammates. 

You notice this at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions when the different squads of teams in their groups help each other warm-up, coach, and cheer one another on.

Here’s an article on preparing for your first BJJ tournament

You’ll see many of the same people when you train regularly, and many of these people will often become your friends if you train long enough. 

They say you can’t put a price on friendship, and we don’t believe that this is a contributing reason to why BJJ is so expensive, but we do believe it brings a lot of value to Jiu Jitsu.

Early on, when you’re new to a BJJ gym, it may seem like upper belts are cliquey, and people aren’t super social towards you. Don’t take this personal it’s usually due to a few things.

  • Many people start Jiu Jitsu and quit soon after, this is very common, and because of this, some people might not be as welcoming to newcomers. They don’t want to potentially waste their time teaching someone who won’t be back next week. Keep showing up, and those upper belts will start giving you pointers, one might adopt you like their white pet belt. 
  • A lot of these people have been training together for years, remember the average black belt takes ten years to earn. So if two purple belts have been training together at the same school since white belt, they probably have known each other for 4-6 years. You’re the new kid in school, don’t stress out about it, show up to learn Jiu Jitsu, and pretty soon you’ll be friends with everyone.
  • People don’t necessarily have time to talk during class, and everyone is focusing on learning what’s being taught. It’s bad etiquette to talk while your professor is showing a move, you also should only talk about what you’re working on during practice. So really with warm-ups, technique, and rolls, you only have time to converse before and after class.

Introverts

Many of us are introverts, we don’t like groups or hanging up with friends and rather stay by ourselves. So meeting with a bunch of sweaty dudes to choke each other doesn’t necessarily sound like our idea of a good time. 

You can be an introvert and still enjoy BJJ. Just show up, learn, and train hard. There are many days when you don’t feel like making small talk or chit chat with people, that’s fine most people at Jiu Jitsu just want to roll and don’t mind skipping the small talk. 

Mastering the art

Mastering the art is the big reason everyone sticks around in BJJ, you get bit by the Jiu Jitsu bug, and you just can’t get enough of it. It will have you coming back for more and more, only if you enjoy it, of course.

I mentioned before that it takes an average of 10 years to get a black belt in Jiu Jitsu, this isn’t something you’re going to learn quickly without putting in a crazy amount of work to do so.

Over the long haul, if you train for ten years at $120 a month, that’s $14,400 for a black belt in Jiu Jitsu. BJJ might be expensive, but the knowledge that you gain from that money spent, along with what the people you meet and the friendships you make, that’s priceless.

Things to consider when looking at pricing

We covered what you’re paying for and some reasons why BJJ is so expensive. So we want to talk about some of the things to consider when looking at prices of potential Jiu Jitsu gyms you want to train at.

Who’s the coach? Are they BJJ famous?

One big thing that can drive up the price of a Jiu Jitsu gyms fees and make your BJJ classes more expensive is having a famous coach or professor with a prestigious lineage such as a direct Gracie or Machado family member.

This is an excellent reason to pay a little more for your BJJ tuition, but you should make sure that the person whose name is on the building is the same person teaching the classes.

Many times huge names in Jiu Jitsu own gyms but don’t teach often and have their black belts teach the classes. This isn’t a bad thing, just something to keep in mind when shopping around for a gym. Make sure to do a trial and see who’s teaching the classes so that you can know for sure.

How often are you training?

BJJ can be very expensive, but the more you go, the cheaper it is. 

  • 3x a week every week @ $120 a month that’s $10 a class
  • 4x a week every week @ $120 a month that’s $7.50 a class
  • 5x a week every week @ $120 a month that’s $6 a class
  • 6x a week every week @ $120 a month that’s $5 a class
  • 7x a week every week @ $120 a month that’s $4.28 a class

So yes, Jiu Jitsu isn’t the cheapest hobby, but when you crunch the numbers, you find out that it’s not that bad and probably comparable to in price to other adult hobbies.

Just remember if you want Jiu Jitsu not to be so expensive, you just need to train more!

Will you be training with BJJ world champions?

This may or may not matter to someone who’s new and looking to learn a little self-defense and get in shape. But this could be a big deal if you’re interested in competing and setting a high bar to challenge yourself with.

Competition schools train hard, much harder than the average BJJ gym. If you’re at a competition school with world champions, you’re likely going to be training harder than you’ve ever trained before. This could also make for a higher, more expensive Jiu Jitsu tuition, and it’s probably worth it.

Does the gym offer non-BJJ classes with your gym fee?

A lot of gyms offer different types of membership “Packages,” many times we see gym have a “Limited” and “Unlimited” plan for Jiu Jitsu gym memberships. 

  • Unlimited – Allows you access to the entire gym and all classes except for private lessons and seminars.
  • Limited – You can train X times a week for a lower fee than the “Unlimited,” and you can only do BJJ

With “Unlimited” plans, a Jiu Jitsu gym may offer different classes such as yoga or strength and conditioning and even weight lifting equipment or cardio machines.

If you find an MMA gym that has a BJJ program, they might offer an “Unlimited” package that grants you access to Jiu Jitsu and MMA classes. This is common. Doing this can save you some money and give you more variety in your combat training, also making your BJJ training not so expensive.

Upfront, contract or month-to-month

One last thing to mention before we wrap this up is your choice on payment and contract deals with your Jiu Jitsu gym. 

Every gym offers different deals and payment plans, so check with the gym you want to sign up with to see what they can do.

  • Upfront – Pay three months, six months, or a year upfront at a better rate than you would have from the “Contract” deal. Not all gyms offer this. You can usually ask the gym owner if they’ll work out a deal like this for you. 
  • Contract – This is the most common payment set up for many Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gyms. Usually a year-long contract at a set rate that’s significantly discounted from what the month-to-month cost is.
  • Month-to-Month – This is an excellent payment method when first trying a gym. No commitment with a contract and should be able to cancel payment easily. This payment method usually is much higher than that of “Contract” and is the most expensive for Jiu Jitsu.

That’s about it

Even though Jiu Jitsu is so expensive at times, it’s a great hobby that’s a ton of fun. 

There’s a lot of other things that you can pick up that cost just as much as Jiu Jitsu but will never bring you the same amount of value to you as that BJJ will.

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By Let's Roll BJJ

Let's Roll BJJ aims to be the leading source of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Grappling information and news on the web. Dorian, the owner and editor of Let's Roll BJJ is a purple belt in Jiu Jitsu and has been training and competing for over 6 years.

Apart from being a BJJ geek, Dorian is a software developer by trade, a husband, and a father of two wonderful kids who he's recently began teaching Jiu Jitsu. When he's not training, coding, or writing, you can find him hiking, camping or occasionally binging on video games.

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