The normal path to the pinnacle of a BJJ practitioner’s achievement certainly contains many obstacles and sacrifices. Some are physical. If you train on a regular basis, you are bound to have some type of injury, big or small. Some are emotional. Competition anxiety can be a burden and stressful at times. The pressure to perform is definitely something you need to overcome.
But let’s talk about the financial aspect. Of course, nobody’s going to get a legit black belt without training consistently for years and being able to demonstrate that skill but how much money does the average person need to spend to obtain the coveted black belt in BJJ? Let’s examine.
Most jiu jitsu gyms offer membership via a monthly rate and with that membership you get to essentially train as much as you want. Obviously, this doesn’t include private classes. On the low end, we have about $70 per month. On the high end, some gyms could get up to $230-$250. On average, I think it’s fair to say the rate is about $130 per month for unlimited training.
The white to black belt trajectory in terms of mat time depends on how often you train and also your tournament performance. Something typical would be like 1-2 years at white belt, 2-3 at blue, 2-3 purple, 2-3 at brown. So a rough, shorter timeframe would be 7 years and a rough lengthier timeframe would be 11 years.
Of course, it depends on how much you train and how well you do in competitions if you do compete. Someone training 7+ times a week and winning competitions at all belts will get there much faster than someone training 3 times a week trying to stay fit and has no competition experience whatsoever. Many sources say an average is about 10 years of consistent training.
Knowing this, let’s do the math. At a minimum, taking the cheapest gym membership (assuming the monthly rate does not change) and taking the shortest time to achieve black belt status, we have $70 per month times 84 months totaling $5,880. At a maximum, taking the most expensive membership and taking the longest amount of time training, we have $250 per month times 132 months totaling $33,000. Utilizing the same math, on average, a black belt will cost $15,600 based on training only.
The above analysis doesn’t account for the equipment and competition expenses. Gis are not cheap by any means and can range from $100 to $200+. Let’s assume you have 2 gis and replace them every few years. At the very least, this would cost about $500 for training 7 years and at most about $1500 for training 11 years.
What about competition costs? Let’s assume the competition entry fee costs $80. That’s a pretty reasonable average cost. For someone that competes relatively regularly throughout their jiu jitsu life (let’s assume 5 times a year on average), this will cost $400 per year. This rate only applies to the people that get black belts with the shortest amount of time so $400 per year for 7 years totals $2,800.
On the flip side, someone that doesn’t really compete will generally get their black belt later. We’ll just assume $0 for their competition costs.
Adding everything up, the minimum spent for a black belt is about $9,110 and the maximum for a black belt is about $34,500. On average, a black belt will cost $18,600 almost the price of a brand new car. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.