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The Cost of Karate

Sometimes I hear about Karate classes that are pretty expensive and dan promotion fees in the many thousands of dollars. Karate can be expensive.

My Karate class is not very expensive at all. However, the real cost for any Karate student is not just the tuition paid but the opportunity cost. The student is not just paying money, he is also losing out on other things that he could be doing. For example, instead of learning Karate, the student could be learning Judo, boxing, or a foreign language, or even pursuing a graduate degree. Or he could be working at a part time job, or even writing a novel. Or he could be tending an elderly parent or caring for a newborn child.

My point is that tuition and even promotion fees are not the only costs in Karate. Come to think of it, some people also spend quite a lot of money to participate in tournaments in their own hometowns, in other parts of their country, or even internationally.

The cost of Karate also includes what else you could be doing.

Of course, many people study Karate and also do many other things successfully. Practicing Karate does not mean you cannot do other things. But during the time you are practicing Karate, you usually cannot be doing other things -- things that could be quite worthwhile.

For me, Karate training is more than worth the actual costs and opportunity costs involves. When I train, it is exactly what I want to be doing.

My teachers here in Hawaii taught me from an early age that I should never expect to get rich (financially) from Karate. The rewards of Karate training and teaching, to me, are not financial -- they are personal. Getting in good shape and developing self defense skills are also a benefit.

The form of Karate I practice, Kishaba Juku Shorin-Ryu, is also intellectually and physically challenging to me. Each time I practice and teach it is always new. Sometimes I watch my sons, daughter, and students and marvel at their movements and dynamics.

I hope that all Karate students are doing what they want to do. Life is too short to miss out on opportunities.


Charles C. Goodin