So you got your kid enrolled in your local martial arts school, congratulations! This is the first step to a rewarding journey for both you and her. You probably have a few worries about what lies ahead but at the same time you’re probably really excited to see your child get into the martial arts. So what equipment, uniform and gear do you need to buy for the first class — and how much should it cost?
One of the great things about the martial arts is that it doesn’t cost much to get started compared to other activities. For example a set of good golf clubs can cost as much as $1000 or more. Starting soccer can lead to multiple purchases of a soccer shirt and shorts, socks and cleats, shin pads and of course a good soccer ball. Baseball and football have similar requirements. Dance and ballet can also become quite expensive with all of the different costumes and outfits for the various recitals. You want your child to look good of course so you’re willing to buy whatever is necessary. But you don’t know much about karate.
Initially for martial arts training you only need a uniform (often called a gi) and that’s it. Of course there are other things you could buy such as a gear bag or a club T-shirt but essentially your only piece of equipment to get started is a uniform. A basic uniform should cost around $30 to $40 and sometimes, depending on the school, your first uniform is given to you FREE as a bonus for signing up for the initial program.
“OK, this sounds good. All I need is a uniform for $30 and I might even get it for free. This is a great deal, what am I missing here? What lies ahead that will affect my pocketbook?”
Well, you’re right to be a little skeptical but honestly you don’t need much money for karate equipment. Your biggest ongoing expense will be the cost of your tuition which is currently (as of January 2008) at an average of around $100 to $120 per month for a twice a week program. Community center programs are obviously cheaper and large schools that are located on busy streets in nice areas are obviously higher because they have to be to keep their doors open.
Concerning the equipment, these are the items that you will need to purchase as your child progresses through the ranks to black belt:
· Better quality uniforms (these can range from $60 for a mid-level uniform, to $100 for a good uniform, and all the way up to $200 for a top of the line uniform – your instructor should offer a good selection to fit the different budgets)
· Sparring gear – your child will need hand pads and shin & instep pads, and in all probability a gum shield and some headgear. All of this should cost you $100 or less depending on the quality of gear you buy. Often your instructor will offer the whole package for a discount and you should definitely take advantage of this to save a bit of money.
· Training gear – Martial arts requires a lot of practice and your child will probably need to practice at home as well as in class. To facilitate this you may need to buy some focus targets or a kick bag (either a hanging bag or a free-standing bag). These targets usually begin at around $20 for the basics, and a good kick bag will cost a little over $100. However be warned you could easily spend up to $500 on this type of equipment depending on how much your budget is, because there are all kinds of really cool training gear available.
· Weapons – Depending on your school, there may be a weapons requirement and again this will be an additional expense. Basic weapons don’t cost very much however and you probably won’t have to put out any more than about $20 per weapon just to be able to participate in the class. As usual of course there are multiple upgrade options and if your child wants to enter into tournaments then a better quality weapon will be required.
· Instructional support resources – Many schools offer books and DVDs for curriculum support and although these items are yet another expense they are a one-time investment that can be tremendously beneficial to your child’s ultimate progress and development. These tools will help your child practice at home and can also provide you, as the parent, with the means to offer support and help to your child as she progresses through the ranks. The cost of these resources will vary based on the different curriculum that is being studied but very often there are some excellent resources to be found online, on your club website or on other style specific websites. Be sure to do your research in addition to purchasing the necessary content support.
All in all the gear, equipment and uniform cost of practicing martial arts is minimal because in most cases all you need for the first couple of years is a uniform (or two), some sparring gear, some basic training gear for practice at home, an occasional weapon, and some instructional DVDs or books to take your child’s understanding to the next level. The estimated cost of all of this equipment is about $400 to $500 over a period of two years to fulfill the minimum requirements. If you break this down on a per month basis then you are looking at less than $20 per month on average for basic equipment costs for the first few of years of training.
The truth of the matter is that like every good parent you will probably spend more because you will want to buy your child some T-shirts and clothing, a gear bag, additional equipment and so on. But these things will still be considerably less than that set of golf clubs! And what’s more, you can use these items as valuable incentives for your child as they successfully make it through the ranks of their training.
If you need more help with this or any other karate subject, please be sure to download my FREE Report “Beginners Guide to Karate”. You will find out how to download it at http://www.freekarateinformation.com
Good luck and best wishes on your journey in karate.