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Monday, January 18, 2016

BJJ and My Bank Account

So you started BJJ a few weeks ago and you love it--naturally--but now you're looking at some sticker shock at pricing. Let's keep it real, BJJ isn't cheap; but that's not to say that it isn't affordable. When you stack monthly tuition up against other martial arts, it does seem a bit stupid to be paying so much (I just Google'd "karate lessons" and the top hit (major school in my area) is offering $19.99 a month plus a free uniform). I'm not going to try to drop all kinds of knowledge here on financial advice, but hope to remind you that BJJ is more like an investment than an expense. But if you're reading this then I think we both know that other martial arts out there are mostly rubbish and, to keep with the old adage, you get what you pay for.

Did I just imply that by paying more for martial arts that you get better training and ipso facto can dust more fools in the streets? I mean, yeah--to a point. I usually try to avoid drawing comparisons between Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and mixed martial arts, but here it will be necessary. Going back to UFC 1, we all learned that BJJ is the most effective martial art against someone trained (or untrained for that matter) in any other martial art. Royce Gracie dismantled a a well-known boxer in Art Jimmerson, then the Shootfighter Ken Shamrock, and then finally a kickboxer, Gerard Gordeau. All of whom were, respectfully, masters in their field. MMA has since evolved and in that area the case can be made for BJJ being enough, or not. To the point: BJJ is at the pinnacle for effective martial arts. It's proven time and time again. Helio Gracie once said that "a knockout is a win on accident," and I've always loved that train of thought. I don't mean to take away from any martial art--because mutual respect--but let's keep in mind that we're paying to learn how A) not to die in a fight and B) how to kill. Any kind of martial arts background is better than none, but BJJ don't get bent out of shape over the price when we consider what an average Blue Belt can do to an average punk.

All that in mind, a lot of school offer tiered memberships over flat rates. For instance, you may be able to find a school around you that offers 1 or 2 classes a week + an open mat for a smaller monthly fee. Or, even with the gaining popularity of BJJ, you may be able to shop around and find a school with a more affordable rates; though I wouldn't expect much of a difference. But you may be able to find a school run by a higher belt (Purple or Brown) that may not charge as much as Black Belt level training. Hey, food for thought anyway; and if you're not a Purple or Brown yourself, then who cares? It's better to be on the mats (somehow) than not.
Buying a gi isn't cheap, either. While no gi BJJ is an option, I highly encourage you to train in the gi--or both. No gi grappling is more popular now with the seamless transition to MMA, but the gi is jiu jitsu. But if you're in a pinch and want to keep training while you work out your expenses and save for a gi, no gi is a great option to keep training. My friends at VVV Fight Co will get you fitted up for both, so go holla!

Also keep in mind that you'll be replacing your time doing something else with time on the mat. Additionally, you're--eventually--going to want to make dietary changes, too. Those are two good opportunities to refine your budget to ensure your monthly tuition isn't an issue. Personally, I stopped going out on weekends as much because I didn't want to waste all the time I put in on the mats and throw away my physical progress on 12 beers and fried food. Keeping it real, a weekend night out is like $50.00 USD--and that's on the low end. Stay home two weekends and you've pretty much doubled your gains right there by investing in BJJ :).

So while I will agree that this life isn't cheap, but we both know it's worth it. Personally, I look at BJJ as my second shot at life. By that I mean that I look at BJJ as my opportunity to do something that I love forever; and maybe one day earn a Black Belt and do it professionally as an instructor. So, for me, BJJ is an investment. Maybe for you it's something else; but for all of us it means bonds of friendship that you can't find just anywhere. Yes BJJ is expensive, but now that you know what's up, can you really afford not to pay for it? Doubt it, homie.

This week's sponsors:

VVV Fight Co.
Gis, no gi shorts, super rad tshirts, and even cooler people.
Top of the line products, I'll guarantee it.
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Left Hand Pass

Left Hand Pass is that new BJJ ish you been hearing about, but didn't know the links--I got you, dawg. My friend, Jake Miclot, and his crew got their new brand of BJJ life by way of a dope BJJ podcast and shirts. Check them out, give them some love.
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Q5 Sports Nutrition

You need supplements, Q5 has the supplements. Why Q5? Because it's for grapplers. Designed for the person grinding on the mats.
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