How Much Are Aikido Classes? (Reg, Uniform, Kids & Adults)


Since almost everything seems to have hidden costs or extras we don’t know about until we’re committed, it’s not uncommon to wonder about the total cost of martial arts classes including registration, uniform, and more. So how much are Aikido classes?

Here’s what I know from running a martial arts school for 7 years:

The average monthly cost for Aikido classes is $88/month with an overall range of $45 to $150 a month. In addition, there is often a registration fee of $75 which may or may not include the uniform. Some schools also charge for belt testing which can be $20-50 every few months.

But that’s a lot of numbers.

So in this article, we’ll break it down and get some very specific numbers to give you a better idea of what to expect when you start to call around to different dojos.

Unfortunately, most don’t list prices on their website as they want you to physically come in and take a look or try a class. From there, they hope you’ll be so impressed that the price will be less of a factor.

Let the fun begin!

What is the average cost to join an Aikido school?

The average registration fee for many Aikido schools is $150 for an 8-week introductory set of classes. Sometimes, that includes the uniform. If it does not, a uniform (aikidōgi) may be as much as an additional $50-100. The ongoing monthly fees often average at $100.

But first off, Aikido schools come in all shapes and sizes and can be found in different neighborhoods.

They also have different enrollment figures, number of employees, and training schedules. In other words, they ultimately have different cost structures. This is one of the key reasons costs can vary from $50 per month to even $250 per month.

I guarantee a school in Manhattan will cost twice as much as one in Boise, ID. But in researching this article, I, of course, know what my old school used to charge (not an Aikido school though).

So I looked at 15 specific Aikido schools across the country and found the following averages:

Type of Expense Low end High end Average
Registration $40 (one-time) $78 (annual) $75 (one-time)
Uniform free with 3-months prepaid $75 $50
Youth Monthly Fee $30 $100 $50
Adult Monthly Fee $70.00 $150 $88
Free trial offered? 2 free classes $150 for 8-week intro $100 for 8-week intro
Belt Testing fee $20 $47 $30

Martial arts also take time to learn. You don’t want to spend years at a subpar school simply because it’s inexpensive, right?

Remember that your life could depend on how well you master the art. So, seek out quality schools. It’s also vital to stress that what’s offered could also be slightly different from school to school.

Some schools charge certain fees that others don’t.

But as an overall ballpark, plan to spend upwards of $200 to sign up and about $100 per month for 1 person.

Some dojos also have a special discounted rate for military personnel, and most offer a discount for attending more than once per week, and for additional family members.

We all know there’s almost always a relationship between quality and cost. So, this is not an area where you should be looking for bargains.

After all, we get what we pay for.

Do Aikido schools charge a registration fee?

Most Aikido schools charge a registration fee as a formal show of commitment to be a student in the dojo and to cover administrative costs of the time involved in the sign-up process. Most often it’s a 1-time fee and not annual. While some schools offer specials and discounts, the average registration fee is $70.

Since it’s paid once, it’s not a charge I’ll suggest you pay much attention to.

It’s not a practice unique to dojos. It’s a standard business practice for any sport or after-school activity. And it’s reasonable considering that you’re taking up the time of one of the dojo’s administrative assistants during the process of registration.

In some cases, the fee may cover a physical student handbook and/or uniform.

So don’t sweat it. Pay attention to the recurring fees, which usually relate to tuition and belt testing. Truth be told, most of what I’ve seen is reasonable. Especially when you consider the amazing impact learning Aikido could have on your life.

Are you relatively new to Aikido or need a refresher about its essence?

If so, I shared a relatively comprehensive overview in a recent article of mine titled “What is the Philosophy of Aikido?”. In it, I looked at who is the founder, and when it was created.

I explored his beliefs, the martial arts he learned before developing Aikido, what’s taught in Aikido, what type of martial art it is, the ranks, how it compares to BJJ, whether it’s the most peaceful art on earth, and whether it’s effective in a street fight.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Do martial arts registration fees include the uniform?

The initial uniform is sometimes included with the registration fee, but the practice varies widely from school to school. And even if it does include it, it would not include replacements which may be necessary over time.

After all, we have to change our other uniforms, too.

So, both are distinct charges. One is paid once, the other you’ll pay a couple of times as you progress. One is an admin fee and intangible; the other is at the risk of being merely the cost of an item of clothing, a tangible item. They are seldomly lumped together.

You should budget $75 for the aikidōgi (Aikido uniform) just to be safe.

Does it cost more to train Aikido more than once a week?

Most Aikido schools charge a set monthly fee for unlimited classes. While there are some that charge different rates depending on the number of training days a week, most want you to attend as much as possible knowing you’ll be more committed in the long-term.

A few schools expect you to sign a contract for at least a year.

But, they are rare. A monthly subscription is the norm. Some schools even allow you to come in and train as often as you like. In fact, there’s hardly a school where you only get to train once!

But they may ask for a 30-90 day cancellation notice.

Most martial arts practitioners agree that one needs an average of two or three practice sessions per week to get good over time. There are even those who supplement this with their own personal practice at home each day.

But, you don’t have to worry at all. In most schools, once you’ve paid your monthly fee, you can train twice or even thrice each week.

A few schools charge guests who are still testing the waters per class, while some allow guests to audit the classes free. Once you’re a full-fledged student, you’ll have no worries about more training time, as long as you pay your dues.

Why do martial arts cost so much?

Martial art schools’ charges are costly because it also costs a lot to engage some of the best instructors who can then offer high-quality training. Additionally, there are expenses such as rent, marketing, and especially insurance which can be high due to the likelihood of injury.

So it’s important is to realize that many of these schools are businesses.

They have expenses to meet and thus must earn profit to be able to sustain the school. Some schools make a good profit, while some are just teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. And with Aikido, it can be more common to see non-profit schools who just try and cover expenses and give back to the community.

If martial art schools are going to survive and thrive, they must charge fees that not only cover their expenses but also allow them to earn a good profit.

On the theme of instructors: Some of the instructors in the best dojos are like seasoned professors.

You could find masters who have been practicing for 20 years and, in some cases, even for decades. At that level, most have an in-depth understanding of all the techniques, philosophy, and the spiritual element of Aikido.

Naturally, they’ll be well-paid. And, should be.

The cost you’re paying might cover more than tuition. In some cases, it would include the cost of registration, the cost of testing, and also the cost of the equipment you’ll be using. In a lot of cases, however, you may have to pay for each.

Another key reason why these costs are high is rent.

Yes, the cost of renting the studio. Unless, if the dojo is in a seedy part of town, the rent would be considerable. In addition to the practice area, there will be restrooms and changing rooms. All these can translate into a high-rent if it’s a good neighborhood.

And, it has to be covered by the fees.

As I mentioned earlier, you may have to fork over about $100 per month, and I agree, that’s not money to sneeze at.

But, the vital thing is that it’s more than worth it. One should never look at cost in isolation. That gives a skewed picture. The other side of the story is: Is it worth it? Yes. It’s more than worth it.

But before you start Aikido, it’s also not uncommon to wonder how effective Aikido is.

In a recent article, I explore just how effective it is, especially for things like self-defense. But I also take a look at the overall way Aikido works and how it compares to some other well-known martial arts. That way you can make an informed choice if Aikido is right for you.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Conclusion

Did I cover most of what you’ll like to know about the cost of taking Aikido classes?

In the preceding paragraphs, we explored the average cost of joining an Aikido class, the typical fees they charge, if it costs more to train more than once a week and why martial arts schools are relatively expensive.

But overall, plan to spend upwards of $200 to join and then at least $100/month per person. Do expect discounts for family members and kid’s classes are often cheaper than adult classes.


Photos which require attribution:

Nikkyo by Tharso Vieira and Aikido open lesson for the kids by Ignat Gorazd are licensed under CC2.0

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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