5 BS Ways BJJ Schools Gouge Students

Keeping the lights on and the mats clean aren’t cheap, but neither is the monthly tuition at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academies. At some BJJ schools, the owners and coaches use their influence and control over their students’ promotions and standings at the school to gouge them for extra revenue several times a year. Even though the students are the customers, there are a number of coaches that use their position and power to flip the switch so they can make unreasonable, unquestioned requests and keep the students subservient. So, here are 5 ways BJJ school gouge their students without their students really raising their hands and asking why.

Initial fee: You visited one of several schools you wanted to check out before picking the right BJJ school for you. After getting your butt kicked in your 90-minute trial class, you sit down with the coach or academy manager and handed an offer you can’t refuse. If you sign up tonight, your $200 initiation fee will be waived. WTF? You still have three more schools to visit, but the manager said this deal is only good for tonight along with a mandatory two-year, iron clad contract. The truth is, that same manager will likely call you three times over the next week and will quickly waive the initiation fee just to get you to take another free trial class and have a chance to win your business, so don’t bite on this.

Stripe and belt promotion fees: $50 for a piece of tape from a roll that costs $3? $200 for a belt that costs $10? Is this really necessary after paying $100 plus dollars per month? There are schools out there that will charge for belt promotions and students will pay it to get to the next level. They will even rationalize the decision by saying how grateful they are to their coaches and talking up the certificate they get at the promotion. This can easily create trust issues if there is a sudden mass promotion of students right around the time the coach just paid for an expensive vacation to Europe or the Caribbean.

Academy uniforms: You prefer the $75 Fuji kimono that has been proven to be reliable, durable, and the best budget gi on the market, but your school wants you to buy their “special,” limited edition in-house gi for $179. If you don’t have the in-house gi, you can’t step on the mats, despite the fact you just paid an extra $50 a month so you can get unlimited training. So in order to train the number of times you want per month, you will need to purchase three academy gis at $179 each. Then when you finally build up the courage to compete, you will need to add the competition team patch for $30.

The mandatory seminar: Your coach’s coach is coming around for his annual weekend seminar/money grab/promotion ceremony. Since it is the weekend, you thought you might have a light weekend roll, work on the yard, watch your kid’s soccer game, and maybe have a beer or two. Nope, your coach starts promoting this seminar three months out and strongly encourages everyone to attend for a low cost of $129. Your coach even cancels all weekend classes during the weekend of the seminar so you will have to attend the seminar if you want to train that weekend. Keep in mind, this isn’t Marcelo Garcia or Rickson Gracie. This is a just a guy you never heard of outside of your academy. Now, you are being pressured into spending $129 on something you don’t even want to do. You can skip it, but then you will be viewed as a malcontent and disrespectful because you chose to mow the lawn and save some dough rather than do a two-hour long seminar.

The Mandatory tournament: Your coach is gung-ho about getting everybody in the school to compete at one specific tournament. Is your coach’s reason behind encouraging everybody from the guy who started this week to the guy who hasn’t shown up for class in six months truly altruistic? Nah, he owns the tournament and really wants your $50 to $100 entry fee or he has dreams of seeing himself on the podium holding the team trophy and knows his best chance of getting to the top of the podium is to have an all-out assault of entering every student in his academy into the tournament. Who know? Maybe the brand-new white belt can rise to the occasion despite struggling to do five push-ups and getting winded shrimping half way down the mat before giving up. Points are points and money is always green.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here