kids practice in karate class

How Much Are Karate Classes

Karate is a very popular martial art, and it’s possible to find classes in almost every town, and definitely in every city. Before starting karate it’s important to know how much it costs, so you can get an idea of what’s involved in learning karate. Here’s how much karate classes cost.

On average, $100 to $150 a month for two to three classes a week. Many karate schools also provide unlimited classes for one price. Some karate academies have classes every day, whereas, others only have 3 classes per week. You will also need to buy a karate uniform (gi/kimono). 

Karate takes some time to learn, so today I will explain how long it takes, what the typical karate curriculum looks like, and how long karate classes are.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Karate

Getting good at anything takes dedication, and practice over a long period of time, and karate is no different. This is how long it takes to learn karate.

As a general rule, it takes 5 years to become an expert in karate. It takes 5 years on average to get a black belt in karate. After yellow belt students typically start training sport karate. A student will typically get their yellow belt after 3 months of training.

There are in total 17 belts and ranks in karate. There are 7 belts from white to black belt, and there are 10 dan ranks, after black belt. However, a karate student wears a white belt with no prior training. So, you could say that there are only 16 belts/ranks. 

Before starting karate you will need to get a karate uniform. This includes a belt, a jacket top, and pants. Depending on how often you train you may want more than one. After getting your yellow belt, many schools start competition/sport karate training called ‘kumite’.

Some take the same amount of time to get, whereas, other are quite different. Here’s a table that shows how long it takes to get each belt in karate. 

BeltCumulative time (time total)
White0 – you can wear to your first class
Yellow3 months
Orange9 months
Green1 year, 4 months
Blue2 years
Brown3 years
Black4.5 years

Therefore, over the entire journey from white to black belt, you could expect to pay between $5,400 to $8,100. Going from white to yellow belt takes the least amount of time, only 3 months. Each belt after that takes 6 months to a year.

A white belt is considered to be a beginner. A person with a yellow to green belt is considered to be intermediate. And a brown belt or black belt is considered to be advanced. After getting a black belt there are dan ranks. Here’s how long it takes to get the dan ranks in karate:

Dan ranking – after black beltCumulative time
1st Dan1 year
2nd Dan2 years
3rd Dan4 years
4th Dan7 years
5th Dan11 years
6th Dan17 years
7th Dan24 years
8th Dan31 years
9th Dan39 years
10th Dan48 years

(source: Japan Karate Association)

The first set of techniques you will learn are:

  • 7 strikes
  • 5 blocks
  • 4 kicks
  • 4 stances

These are foundational skills that you will continue to use all the way to black belt and beyond. After yellow belt, you will begin learning ‘kata’. These are sequences of moves that you perform. Typically, you will need to know 1 or 2 kata for the orange belt grading. Each subsequent belt will have a few more kata each. As well as, teach new moves.

After you get your yellow belt, most karate academies will allow you to participate in sport karate training called ‘kumite’. This develops your reflexes to be able to throw strikes, and avoid strikes in a real-life self defense situation. 

A very important question about karate is what style is the best for self-defense. I did a breakdown of which style is the best in this article about the best karate style for self-defense.

These skills can also be used to compete in tournaments, which many people like a lot. Competing is one aspect of karate where it’s better to begin at an earlier age. More about this below.

How Long Is a Karate Class

You can do karate classes every day, or a few times a week, depending on your schedule and the karate academy you train at. Karate classes can vary in length and bit different from other martial arts. This is how long a typical karate class is. 

On average, a karate class is 1 hour. But, classes can range in length from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. 1 hour to 1.5 hours is more common. A karate class involves a warm-up, followed by specific drills such as blocking, kicking, and punching. Then, it can be followed by sport karate sparring.

Some karate academies have changing rooms for you to change into your karate uniform, whereas, at others, you will need to turn up in your gi. So, you should allow time to get changed, and also say hi to everyone. 

What Age Is Best To Start Karate

It’s possible to start karate at any age in life. But, there are pros and cons to starting when you’re younger and when you’re older. So, here’s what age is the best to start karate.

As a general rule, 6 years old is the best age to start karate. Before, 6 years old most children can’t follow instructions from the karate instructor. But, it’s also good to start martial arts as early as possible. Studies have shown that martial arts develop discipline and psychological wellbeing.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to get these benefits sooner rather than later. The other main thing is that competing is very nerve-racking if you’ve never done it before. At a very young age, kids can’t really hurt each other with strikes, and they aren’t as competitive. This makes it less daunting, and scary than if you compete after the age of about 10 to 11.

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