Can You Make Money Doing Karate?


Being good with Karate comes with a host of benefits. You’ll become fit, more disciplined, and you’ll be more confident. Many also compete. But can you make money doing Karate?

Here’s what I know, having managed a dojo before:

You can make money doing Karate. There are over 13,000 martial art instructors in the U.S., earning an average of $36,949, but top earners make $60,000 plus. And the average UFC fighter, who may know Karate in addition to other martial arts, earns almost $150,000 per year.

And the internet is being leveraged by Karatekas to earn money through blogging and YouTube as well.

So, you can use your Karate skills to make money from a global audience. Like most things in life, what you’ll get is a function of what you put in. If you master Karate, there are several ways to monetize your skills.

Read on to learn more because, in this article, we’ll explore:

  • What you can do with your martial art skills
  • Whether you can make a living as a martial arts instructor
  • Whether Karate teachers are in high demand
  • Do Karate Combat fighters get paid?
  • How much money do martial artists make?

What are we waiting for? Let the fun begin.

What can you do with martial arts?

You can do a lot with martial arts. Potential careers include martial arts instructor, bouncer, stuntman, actor, fight choreographer, owner of a dojo, and fitness instructor. It is also possible to become a martial arts blogger or author. 

If you like, you can work as an administrator in a martial arts school which is what I did.

So, there’s a lot that can be done with your martial arts skills. You can even fight in Karate contests or leverage your skills to become an MMA fighter.

There are elite fighters with a Karate background.

Of course, some of these paths are more difficult than others. It’s reasonable to start with the “easiest” and work your way up.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, or Chuck Norris. 

You could start with being an instructor (that’s after you’ve attained some impressive level of competency) and blogger. That way, you’ll have two income streams: as an instructor and as a blogger.

The good thing is that both if handled well, can help each other.

You’ll be writing about what you practice. That makes what you write more believable and useful. And you get to earn active income as an instructor and passive income from blogging. Awesome, if you ask me.

In addition to using it to earn a living, martial arts has a host of benefits. 

In a recent article, I looked at the key benefits and why we need to learn self-defense. But I also explored the elephant in the room: do martial arts make you violent? And I spent some time on the side effects of martial arts.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can you make a living as a martial arts instructor?

Martial artists can make a living as martial arts instructors. There are over 13,000 martial art instructors in the U.S., earning an average of $36,949, but top earners make $60,000 plus.

Some even move to other countries to do it. The secret is to try and be one of the best. No one wants a merely average instructor.

In virtually all spheres of life, those who are good at what they do command high fees. So you want to be the kind of instructor most students gravitate toward and talk about.

You can work for others, or you can set up your dojo. The latter is, of course, more demanding, but it comes with greater rewards.

If you’re entrepreneurial, the latter is the way to go. 

But I suggest you work for someone for about a year before you open your dojo. You’ll get paid, and you’ll also get to know about the inner workings of running a Karate school.

Because you’ll need more than Karate skills. A Karate school is a business. Having or cultivating business skills would increase the odds of becoming successful at it.

As I mentioned above, there are 13,025 martial art instructors in the U.S. alone.

A little over 70% are men, while the rest are women. If they can do it, you can. Karate was introduced to America after World War II.

Naturally, a lot of Americans became masters at it and have taught many others.

But it takes time if you’re just starting. Of course, you don’t need to be a black belt before becoming an instructor, but that should be the goal.

Becoming very good in martial arts takes years. If you’re ready to invest the time, you’ll eventually reap the rewards.

I am probably preaching to the choir. You’ve made up your mind to learn Karate? Awesome. But are you a tad concerned it may be expensive?

You’re in luck seeing as that’s what I explored in a recent article.

In it, I looked at why martial arts are so expensive and whether Karate is expensive compared to other sports. But I also checked out how to avoid Karate schools that charge way too much. And even spoke about how to get out of Karate contracts.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Are Karate teachers in high demand?

Karate teachers who both have a black belt and good teaching skills, especially with children, are always in high demand. On average, every medium-sized city has at least 20 Karate schools in addition to other martial arts. Each school may employ between 1-4 instructors.

And the options are even greater if you know something in addition to Karate.

Research from IBIS World reveals that:

  • 35% of martial arts students take MMA classes. 
  • 22.2% study Karate
  • 12.8% study Taekwondo
  • 10.2% study Judo

According to the IBIS World report, the demand for martial arts will rise as economic conditions continue to improve.

The report records 2019’s total revenue at $5 billion, with 80,559 martial arts businesses in operation.

Karate, despite the popularity of BJJ and MMA, is highly popular in the U.S. A little over 18 million Americans practice the art.

And, I think that BJJ and MMA are not inhibiting its growth since many people now realize that it’s better to know at least more than one art.

The trend is toward arts that complement each other. So, as each one grows, its effect on the demand for Karate teachers will be positive.

MMA is the in thing now. Fortunately, some of its celebrated fighters have their roots in Karate or related arts.

Do Karate Combat fighters get paid?

Karate Combat fighters do get paid, but far less than UFC fighters. Karate Combat was created recently as an alternative to the UFC, and fighters rely heavily on sponsorships since many of the fights can be viewed for free on YouTube.

And unlike MMA, the earnings of fighters are not publicized, so it’s hard to come up with figures.

However, when one considers the quality of fighters and the promoters of the sport, and the fact that it has been held in different parts of the world, it’s easy to conclude that the fighters must be getting paid.

But speaking of full-contact Karate, Did Daniel (in Karate Kid) use an illegal kick? 

The debate’s been on forever. I offered my 2 cents in a recent article where I looked at whether the Crane kick is even a real kick and whether it’s illegal in real life. I also spoke to whether Daniel cheated in the tournament. I even shared some of the kicks that are illegal in Karate.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How much money do martial artists make?

On average, martial art instructors earn $36,949 per year, while MMA fighters earn $147,965. Dojo owners fall in between those ranges, making an average of $13,000 per month in net profit for the business.

Becoming a martial art instructor is one of the accessible paths you could explore.

The average earning per year could be as much as $40,000 if you’re in a big city or as low as $20,000 if it’s a small city.

As you know, location is not the only variable when it comes to earning a lot of money.

In any field, there is often a huge disparity between the average income and what the top pros get, right? So, if you aim to be among the top, your average earnings could shoot up to as much as $65,107!

What about MMA fighters? Do they make a lot of money? 

There are MMA fighters who earn only $15,000 in a year! I am not kidding. There are those like The Last Stylebender, who earned $640,000 in his last fight with Jan Blachowicz.

Note that Mr. Blachowicz earned $1.04 million.

And there are top dogs such as Connor McGregor, who commands $5 million per fight! And that’s despite his fairly poor track record from the last couple of years.

But the average earning of an MMA fighter based on 2020 figures is $147,965. However, many of the top MMA fighters don’t use Karate to make their millions.

Conclusion

In the article, we explored what you can do with your martial art skills and whether you can make a living as a martial arts instructor.

We also checked out whether Karate teachers are in high demand and whether Karate Combat fighters get paid. We wrapped things up by looking at how much money martial artists make.

But one other way to make money doing what you love is to do a YouTube channel about martial arts.

Master Ken is one of the most loved martial arts YouTubers out there! But is he legit? Does he really know martial arts? Luckily, I find out for us in a recent article.

Just click that link to read it on my site.


Image by Ruth Weitz from Pixabay

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell was Academy Director for a large martial arts school for over 7 years, and has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, different styles of Karate, the Russian Martial Art of Systema, Aikido, and much more.

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