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How much do self defense lessons cost?

National average: $55


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The average cost for a self defense instructor is $55. You are likely to spend between $25 and $105 total. Exact price may vary depending on your area and project details.

Updated September 1st, 2017

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Self-defense classes are available for all levels from beginner to advanced and for students of all ages. Karate, mixed martial arts, kickboxing and Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Jiu-Jitsu, Judo and boxing are popular self-defense practices. People take self-defense classes to learn to protect themselves, to build confidence and strength, to develop discipline and to improve physical health. Classes can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes or more. Several factors affect the cost of self-defense classes.

Private sessions

One-on-one sessions are often an instructor’s preferred way of teaching self-defense to an individual, but private instruction typically costs more than a group class because it prohibits the teacher from earning income from other students during that time frame. Here are some examples of private instruction fees:

Ongoing lessons

Packages and ongoing classes purchased in bulk often cost less per session than when purchased individually. For example, NOVA Self Defense in Arlington, Virginia, charges more per hour for an introductory session, with lower price per hour for sessions thereafter. The company’s intro class 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; and more. Here’s how NOVA Self Defense breaks down pricing:

  • Two-hour private introductory session: $180

  • Private instruction thereafter: $80 per hour

​Group workshops

Group training can be a one-time activity for a corporate group, organized by a group of friends or family members who want self-defense instruction, or may be held at schools or for special interest groups. 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 some examples of group class rates:

Children’s self-defense

Many trainers offer self-defense and safety awareness training to children and teens. Trainings may be on an ongoing basis or taught as a one-time group activity. Generally speaking, in group trainings, the cost per child is higher with fewer participants. Here’s what NOVA Self Defense charges for 90-minute group trainings for kids:

  • $120 per child for groups of six to 10 kids

  • $140 per child for groups of three to five kids


The region of the country the teacher is located in can affect the cost of lessons. Cities and areas with a higher cost of living typically have higher rates for self-defense classes.

Teacher training

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. In addition, teachers with famous clientele or a celebrity reputation will often command higher fees than those without a built-in following.

Pro tips:

  • Be mindful of cancellation fees. NOVA Self Defense charges $40 for the cancellation of any private lesson with less than 24 hours notice.

  • Don’t wait until something happens to begin self-defense. Instructors at Cruz Fitness Systems encourage women especially to be proactive in learning to defend themselves.

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Recent reviews

Serge Self-Defense and Fitness Fight/Fit

My son, age 14, had his first lesson private lesson with Serge last week and love it! Serge is a professional and obviously well versed in Krav Maga. He is also a very good instructor, explaining the moves but kept the class fast paced and fun. We bought a 5 class private package for a great price. Would highly recommend!

Ladies F.I.R.S.T. Self Defense

I hired Kendrick Stephens to come to my office and provide my Real Estate Agents with valuable self-defense skills. He taught us moves that could save our lives, used examples to bring home the real life scenarios we may face and was open to answering our questions. In addition, he was on-time, brought and set-up his own equipment and didn't seem to mind when we went over a couple of minutes. I will definitely use Ken's services in the future and recommend him to anyone looking to stay safe!

Advanced Renewal

Kevin was my daughter's self defense instructor for two separate sessions. The first session involved walking through Downtown Denver one evening in which Kevin explained many techniques and strategies of being alert and aware of your environment. We also had a very memorable moment in which Kevin took us through a dark alley way and, by chance, got to actually experience a taste of the dangerous situations that Kevin spoke to us about throughout the three hour session. The initial session was an incredibly eye-opening and valuable experience on its own, and Kevin's knowledge on self-defense techniques, tools, and other information was worth more than the price of the session. At first we thought the first session would be enough, but attending the second session, in the words of my daughter, was by-far one of the best decisions that she has made. Kevin spent over an hour instructing her on the physical portion of self defense, in which she got to practice strike moves on a dummy and sandbag, as well as many strike techniques to respond and escape from different types of attacks. Kevin also went further by giving advice on exercise techniques to improve body strength to correlate with the self defense moves that he taught. Overall, it was a very valuable experience that I would recommend to anyone who would like to learn self defense. My daughter would also highly recommend this for females. Kevin is a very professional, respectful, and experienced instructor who provides a lot of valuable knowledge that could potentially save your life.