So, you’ve been thinking of signing your kid(s) up for Karate Classes in Madison? Well, read this before you make any rash decisions! Full disclosure – our academy teaches Jiu Jitsu, so we’re biased, but bear with me :)!

We know some parents aren’t familiar with the difference between Karate and other martial arts, but knowing the difference can be a HUGE impact on your child’s development, and feeling like you’re getting your money’s worth for months of training. Let me explain:

Karate Madison WI Class Fees & Upgrades Can Leave You Feeling Ripped Off

Karate is BIG BUSINESS and one of the most popular martial arts taught in the US.  The core membership itself can cost you anywhere between $125-$200/mo in the Madison WI Area… and that would be fine for a lot of people, but there are loads of unadvertised costs that go into a Karate membership! Here are just a few common costs:

  • Buy Uniforms for Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced classes. – While the basic white uniform may (not always) come free on sign-up, consider every time your child upgrades to an intermediate or advanced program, they will often be REQUIRED to purchase a different color uniform. These can cost between $30-$100 each time!
  • Weapons (swords, kama, bo staff, nunchaku, sai, etc) can cost $50-150 a piece – Just look at these prices from a this world supplier!
  • Program Upgrades – a common revenue stream for Karate Dojos, if your child wants to advance, you must pay extra for the “Black Belt Club” 3-year program! Just pay the higher rate (often $175-$250/mo), buy the fancy uniform, and your child is GUARANTEED a black belt in 3 years!
  • Belt Testing Fees – at most Kids Karate Madison WI Dojos, belt testing costs money. For lower belts, testing fees can be $35-$65 per test. At the black belt level and beyond, testing fees can cost $100-$450!
  • Tournament Fees – your child may or may not want to compete in Karate. If you choose to, be prepared to pay up to $85 per entry fee.
  • Sparring Equipment – if your Madison Karate Dojo offers full contact sparring, be prepare to purchase things like gloves, headgear, boots, chestguards, shin & forearm guards, mouthguards, athletic cups, etc. All of these can cost from $20 to $100 per item!

Unlike Karate Classes, most BJJ Schools do not require much in terms of equipment – usually just a uniforms and compression shirts. Many schools like ours have no testing fees, belt fees, program upgrade fees, or weapons.

photo of how expensive kids karate madison wi classes can be

Kids Karate Gives Kids a False Sense of Security

Everybody knows that most real fights end up on the ground and stay there. Unfortunately, most Karate schools teach absolutely NOTHING on the topic! School fights with slams like this are ALL over the internet – (be advised, some viewers may find this video disturbing):

Kids Karate Madison WI Classes will make your child feel special for breaking a thin wooden board. They’ll get a big high five from the Sensei and get a big smile on their face. But lets not confuse that false sense of confidence with real skills. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, however, does exactly that – it focuses on ground grappling/wrestling and teaches kids EXACTLY what to do when the fight goes to the ground. After a few months, your child will have REAL confidence knowing they can handle those kinds of scenarios without even thinking about it.

Karate Doesn’t Teach Kids Reality Based Self Defense

In general, kids don’t want to fight. But if it comes down to it, will they remember their Karate training? Could they make it work on someone who is throwing haymakers at them?  Karate is a japanese martial art that teaches both kicks and punches. But the only true way to ensure these techniques actually work is by having your kids train with RESISTANCE. Unfortunately, and again, most Karate schools don’t do this. In Kids Karate classes in Madison, your child will work with targets, cooperative drilling partners, and perform beautifully choreographed kick and punch sequences in front of an audience of friendly coaches and parents. But this won’t prepare them for a flurry of angry body weight and hands being thrown at them.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is used in professional fighting (MMA, UFC), and it works on the streets. In our jiu jitsu classes, your child will learn age-appropriate techniques to control a bully on the feet and on the ground. The best part is they will be training with resistance every day, and will learn to apply all of the techniques under pressure.

Your Child Doesn’t Want to use Karate on Another Child, and could Get In Trouble if He/She Does!

Generally, most well-adjusted kids don’t want to “strike” another child – even if they know how to fight! We see lots of videos like this one with kids being pushed around and even if they have done martial arts, they are reluctant to use it:

On top of this, most Karate schools in Madison, WI are going to teach your child NEVER to use the techniques unless you’re in a “self defense” situation, whatever that means. How is your child to reconcile defending themselves and not getting suspended / going to the principal’s office? What would you do in their place?

Fortunately, our classes have the answer to this where Karate does not. Using wrestling/grappling techniques, your child can take a bully to the ground, pin them and wait for help to arrive. If the bully is especially violent, your child can continue to control them further using painful holds on the ground without ever need to throw a strike. Your kid is happy because they never have to hit someone. You’re happy because your child will stand up for him/herself and do so in a way that won’t likely get in trouble.

Karate Can Be Unsafe for Your Child’s Developing Brain

If your child advances in Karate, they may be asked to begin sparring or competing in Sport Karate. Even with protective gear and “light contact” rules, your child will begin to sustain kicks and punches to the head (both of which score points and are 100% legal according to North American Sports Karate Association Rules). As a child who competed in Taekwondo for many years, I can tell you there is no such thing as a “light contact” head kick, ok?

Ask yourself if you want your child to begin accumulating a long series of “light contact” strikes to the head over the course of years. If they do it, what will be the long term impact on their still developing brain? Is it worth the risk?

Again, we don’t have this problem in our school. Our kids spar daily with full resistance, but there we don’t teach kids to punch or kick each other in the head. It’s all grappling. And it’s all practical, safe, and fun :).

Ask These Questions Before Signing Up Your Child for Karate in Madison WI

There are lots of martial arts to chose from, and for the most part, Kids Karate, Taekwondo, and Jiu Jitsu memberships cost around the same in the Madison, WI area. However, they are NOT the same in a lot of other areas. Before signing up for karate lessons, ask the owner:

  • What kind of fees do you charge for Kids Karate program upgrades, renewals, black belt club, weapons, sparring equipment, belt tests can I expect in the future?
  • How long does it take to get a Karate black belt and what does it mean to be a child black belt?
  • What do you advise kids to do if they get into a self defense situation at school?
  • Specifically how do children develop discipline and focus in your program?
  • Do I pay for the program monthly or up front?

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