Monday, April 28, 2014

What Does Your Martial Artist Need For The First Class?

So your child is now enrolled in your local martial arts school, congratulations! This is the first step to a rewarding journey for both of you. 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?

One of the great things about the martial arts is that it does not cost much to get started compared to some 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 are willing to buy whatever is necessary. But you don't know much about martial arts?

Initially for martial arts training you only need a uniform (often called a go or dobok) and that's about it. Of course there are other things you could buy such as a gear bag or a martial arts 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.
That's fine for the beginning, but now you are asking What lies ahead that will affect my pocketbook?

Your biggest ongoing expense will be the cost of your tuition. 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). Do a google search for uniforms also, there are several companies offering affordable uniforms.

- Sparring gear: Your child will need a chest guard, arm, shin and foot protectors, head gear and a mouth guard. 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 kicking paddles or a kicking bag (either a hanging bag or a free-standing bag).  These items range in price greatly because there are many different qualities of training products 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. 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. Also, perhaps your gym may have some weapons that your martial artist can borrow during class.

- 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 childís 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.

Good luck and best wishes on your journey in martial arts.

If you are looking for some unique gift ideas for your martial artist check out Martial Arts Gifts by Lora Severson Photography. Customize a t-shirt, ornament, bag or card with the name of your child and gym or year they earned their black belt. Gifts are suitable for all martial arts including karate, taekwondo, kung fu, judo or ju jitsu. All belt rank colors are represented.

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