The national average cost of self-defense instructors is $30 to $40 an hour. What you'll pay depends whether you want private or group lessons, what age group the lessons are for, how much time and how many sessions are involved, your own experience level, and the type and complexity of instruction.
While you certainly hope you'll never have to use your training, knowing self-defense will make you feel prepared for dangerous situations. Before you start the search for a self-defense instructor, get an idea of cost factors to consider and what type of instruction is best for you.
What's in this cost guide?
Many self-defense programs cover a range of topics and build on skills and techniques. They teach hands-on self-defense tactics to handle potential real-life scenarios. An introductory class usually covers the self-defense mindset and learning how attacks occur.
Additional classes will cover managing an unknown person in one's physical space; learning and practicing simple striking, gross-motor combative skills, targeting and defenses against common ambush attacks; and more. With ongoing lessons, you'll build on skills, getting stronger and learning more advanced moves over time.
Self-defense lessons can help you feel more empowered and in control of your own personal safety. Self-defense instructors teach you the hands-on skills and techniques to learn to protect yourself and get yourself out of a dangerous situation. But it's not all about flipping a would-be assailant over your shoulder. As importantly, self-defense programs also teach you how to be better aware of your surroundings, recognize a potential threat, and get to safety.
People also take self-defense classes to build confidence and strength, develop discipline, and improve their overall physical health and fitness level.
The length of the lesson and number of students are two of the biggest factors on what you'll pay for self-defense lessons. Each class can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes or more.
Age and skill level
Self-defense classes are available for all levels from beginner to advanced and for students of all ages. Schools also offer self-defense lessons to give children and teens more self-confidence and teach them safety awareness and techniques for self-defense. For a children's self defense class, expect to pay:
- $120 on average per child from groups of six to 10 kids
- $140 per child for groups of three to five kids
A self-defense instructor can come from many different backgrounds. Some have a law enforcement background. Others may be experts in martial arts. Karate, mixed martial arts, kickboxing and Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Jiu-Jitsu, Krav-Maga, Judo and boxing are popular self-defense practices.
Teachers with extensive martial arts, weapons or military training, or those who have competed professionally in their area of expertise may have higher rates than other teachers. If you're looking to hire a celebrity trainer, expect to pay for it in higher fees.
You can either take a self-defense course, which can last several weeks to several months, a self-defense seminar, which can last several hours, or a single one- or two-hour long lesson.
Packages and ongoing classes often cost less per session. For example, NOVA Self Defense in Arlington, Virginia, charges $180 for a two-hour introductory session ($90 per hour), which covers the self-defense mindset and learning how attacks occur; managing an unknown person in one's physical space; learning and practicing simple striking, gross-motor combative skills, targeting and defenses against common ambush attacks. For any self defense training sessions after that, they drop their fee to $80 per hour.
You can either opt for group or private courses. A group course is a great option if you want to offer a group workshop or self-defense seminar for friends or co-workers, as part of a get together, camp or corporate event.
- Private sessions. Expect to pay from $40 to $80 an hour for one-on-one instruction. Private sessions typically cost more than a group class.
- Group lessons. A group class will depend on how on many are in your group. Group instruction typically costs less per person per hour than private instruction because individuals do not receive the teacher's full attention. Instructors may charge per person or per class. Here are two examples of group self-defense course prices:
As with other such services, where you live can affect the cost. Cities and areas with a higher cost of living typically have higher rates for self-defense classes.
The class may be taught at either the pro's location, at your home, or at another venue, such as an office. If you're organizing a group lesson, you can often have your instructor come to you so the class can fit easily in your schedule. If your schedule is flexible, ask your instructor if you can save money by going to their facility and saving them the added time and cost of getting to you.
There are many self-defense trainers out there. Before you sign up for a self-defense lesson, follow these tips to find the best one for you:
- Check their specializations: For example, do they specialize in women's self defense? Or tactics that might relevant to individuals who work in specific fields?
- Be proactive, not reactive: Don't wait until something happens to begin learning self-defense. Instructors at Cruz Fitness Systems encourage women especially to be proactive in learning to defend themselves.
- Look at what others have to say. Reviews can tell you a lot about whether this trainer will be a good fit for you or not.