How To Make Money With Martial Arts (13 Methods)

With the evolution of digital media and global connectivity, opportunities to make money in the martial arts sector have expanded far beyond the traditional dojo. 

From leveraging online platforms to entering the ring, there are myriad ways for martial arts enthusiasts, instructors, and professionals to monetize their passion. 

This guide explores 13 traditional and modern methods that cater to the martial artist’s entrepreneurial spirit, enabling you to turn your martial arts skills and passion into a profitable venture.

How To Make Money With Martial Arts

Some of the best ways to make money with martial arts are selling digital products, building online assets, teaching in person, hosting seminars, selling clothing and supplements, fighting, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing, just to name a few.

Let’s go through the 13 ways that martial artists can make money in 2024.

1. Building an Online Following and Selling a Digital Product

By far the best way to make money with martial arts skills, passion, or knowledge is to build an online following and sell a digital product.

In the age of social media, building an online following by blogging and creating content on platforms like Instagram, YouTube, X, and TikTok, can reach a global audience interested in martial arts.

By consistently posting engaging content, tutorials, tips, and personal insights into martial arts training and lifestyle, you can attract followers and establish credibility.

Once you have built a substantial following, you can monetize your online presence by creating and selling digital products.

These can include online courses, e-books, training plans, and exclusive video content. Your followers are likely to purchase products from you because they like you, trust your expertise, and want to learn more.

2. Building Online Assets and Selling Advertising Space

Creating a blog, YouTube channel, or podcast dedicated to martial arts topics allows you to build valuable online assets. 

By covering a wide range of subjects from techniques, gear reviews, training routines, and fighter interviews, you provide valuable information that attracts a dedicated audience.

With a strong following, you can sell advertising space to martial arts brands, gear companies, and even non-related advertisers seeking to engage with your audience. 

Additionally, participating in affiliate marketing programs by recommending products and earning commissions on sales can boost your revenue, as can sponsors.

3. Teaching Martial Arts In Person

Opening a dojo or martial arts studio to teach classes is a traditional yet effective way to make money. 

You can offer various programs catering to different age groups, skill levels, and martial arts disciplines.

Additionally, providing private lessons for students who seek personalized training can increase your earnings.

Income is generated through class fees, memberships, and private session charges.

Offering tiered pricing models for different levels of access or training intensity can maximize earnings.

Most customers will pay monthly fees. If you charge $100 a month per person, for two 1-hour classes per week, and the class size is 30, that’s $3,000 for 2 hours of classes per week.

If you can teach 4 classes per week, that totals $12,000, as an example.

4. Hosting Martial Arts Seminars and Workshops

Organizing seminars and workshops with renowned martial artists or on specific topics like self-defense, weapon training, or competition preparation can draw attendees from various locations. 

These events can be marketed through social media, martial arts forums, and email lists.

Participants pay a registration fee to attend these seminars, which can be set based on the instructor’s renown, the seminar’s duration, and the exclusivity of the content.

Recording these sessions and selling access to those who cannot attend in person can generate additional income.

Charging a cheap price such as $20 and attracting 200 attendees will net you $4,000 for a day’s work.

5. Selling Martial Arts Gear, Apparel, and Nutrition Products

Selling physical products related to martial arts, including gear, apparel, and nutrition supplements, involves setting up an online store or a physical retail space. 

You can source products from manufacturers or create your own branded line. Most sellers use a service like Shopify or WooCommerce (for WordPress websites) to build their online store. Some will sell on Amazon.

Revenue is generated through product sales. Offering a diverse product range can attract a wider audience, maximizing market appeal. 

Exclusive or specialized items, such as high-quality gear or scientifically formulated supplements, can command premium prices. Promotions, discounts, and bundling products can also boost sales volume.

Exclusive or high-quality gear can be sold at a premium, and running promotions or discounts can boost sales volume.

The person with a larger online presence will make more money via martial arts gear, apparel, and supplement sales.

6. Competing/Fighting

Fighting for professional promotions such as the UFC or PFL and amateur martial arts tournaments offers fighters the chance to earn prize money. 

This pathway demands rigorous training, a deep commitment to the sport, and strategic competition entry.

Fighters must navigate through amateur ranks to gain experience, build a record, and potentially secure opportunities in professional circuits.

  • Professional Fighting: Competing in professional leagues brings in income through fight purses, win bonuses, performance bonuses, and for some top fighters, pay-per-view shares. The financial rewards are significantly higher in professional fighting, with additional revenue streams from sponsorships and endorsements based on performance and popularity.
  • Amateur Fighting: Amateur promotions and competitions, while offering smaller financial rewards, provide essential experience and exposure. Cash prizes, gear, and travel stipends from tournament wins can support an aspiring fighter’s journey. Success in the amateur ranks can attract attention from sponsors and open doors to professional contracts.

By excelling in competition, fighters can earn direct prize money and enhance their marketability for sponsorships, endorsements, and higher-stakes fighting opportunities.

7. Sponsorships and Endorsements

Athletes who excel in their martial arts discipline can attract sponsorships from sports brands, gear companies, and other advertisers. 

Building a strong competitive record, along with a significant social media following, increases visibility and value to potential sponsors.

Sponsors may provide financial support, free products, or pay for appearances at events and promotions.

Contracts can include performance bonuses for wins or championship titles. The key is to align with brands that fit your image and values, ensuring a mutually beneficial partnership.

Many UFC fighters partner with Monster Energy because they have a large online advertising program and pay higher than others. However, some UFC fighters have fallen out of favor with Monster Energy for a number of reasons.

Again, martial artists with a larger online presence, better records, and competing on platforms with higher viewership will benefit the most. They can command higher sponsorship fees and will attract more offers.

8. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing in the martial arts context involves promoting products or services through your digital platforms, such as a blog, social media account, or email newsletter.

By sharing affiliate links to martial arts gear, nutrition supplements, or fitness equipment, you can earn a commission on sales generated through your referrals.

Commissions are earned on each sale made through the affiliate links you provide. This requires a dedicated audience that trusts your recommendations. 

Successful affiliate marketers often provide honest reviews, tutorials, and product comparisons to help their audience make informed decisions.

While affiliate commissions have worsened over the years and are now usually very low, it’s a very easy and simple way for martial artists to generate extra money.

9. Stunt Work and Choreography for Film and Television

Martial artists can leverage their skills in the entertainment industry as stunt performers or choreographers, designing and executing fight scenes in movies, TV shows, and theater productions.

Professionals are paid per project or on a contractual basis, with income varying based on the production’s budget, the artist’s experience, and the complexity of the work required.

Many of the biggest martial arts stars in the world today started out as stuntmen, such as Tony Jaa. While stunt work won’t pay the highest, the potential for it to lead to acting roles offers it a high upside.

10. Writing and Publishing Martial Arts Content

Martial artists can make money by creating written content such as books, e-books, articles, and instructional guides on martial arts techniques, philosophies, promotions, or biographies of famous martial artists, to name a few.

Sales from publications, either self-published or through a publishing house, can provide significant income, especially if the content captures a niche audience or gains widespread popularity.

The other common method is to do writing work for martial arts websites, either employed or self-employed.

11. Consulting Services for Martial Arts Businesses

Offering expertise in running a successful martial arts school, including marketing strategies, school management, curriculum development, and student retention techniques.

Consultants charge fees for their services, which can be on a per-session basis, through packaged programs, or via long-term contracts. Consulting can be done online and in person.

12. Online Membership Sites

Developing an online membership site involves creating a platform where subscribers gain exclusive access to content not available to the general public. 

This content can include advanced tutorials, live Q&A sessions, behind-the-scenes footage from competitions or training sessions, and community forums where members can interact with you and other members.

Platforms like Patreon, MemberPress (for WordPress), or Thinkific can facilitate the building and management of these sites.

Members pay a recurring subscription fee for access to the content. The key to success here is offering valuable, regularly updated material that keeps members engaged and willing to pay the monthly or annual fee. 

Pricing tiers can provide different levels of access or perks, catering to a wider audience while maximizing revenue potential.

This model benefits from building a loyal community around your brand or martial arts discipline. It encourages long-term engagement and provides a steady income stream that can grow as your member base expands. 

Engaging directly with members, soliciting feedback, and tailoring content to meet their interests can help sustain and increase the site’s value over time.

13. Coaching

The transition from competitor to coach represents a significant and rewarding avenue for martial artists to monetize their extensive experience and deep understanding of the sport. 

Unlike traditional teaching roles that might require certifications or degrees, coaching at the competitive level often values practical experience, insights from personal success, and a nuanced understanding of fight strategies and mental preparation.

Former fighters and seasoned martial artists can offer specialized coaching services for up-and-coming fighters and competitors looking to enhance their skills, strategy, and performance in the ring or on the mat.

This can involve one-on-one sessions, focused training camps, ongoing mentorship roles, or becoming part of a fighter’s team and going to their fights with them.

Coaches can charge for their services on a session-by-session basis, through fixed-term contracts leading up to a fight or competition, via a retainer for ongoing advisory roles, or percentages from a fighter’s earnings per fight.

The fees can vary widely based on the coach’s reputation, the level of the athlete being coached, and the specific goals of the coaching engagement.

Notable examples of successful transitions from MMA fighter to coach include Mike Brown, James Krause, and Trevor Wittman.

The Bottom Line

The journey of a martial artist is one of discipline, perseverance, and continuous learning. As demonstrated, this journey also holds the promise of financial reward through various new and traditional methods.

Whether your strength lies in teaching, competing, content creation, or entrepreneurship, there’s a path that aligns with your skills and passions. 

By embracing the digital era’s opportunities, understanding the value of your expertise, and engaging with the global martial arts community, you can transform your dedication to martial arts into a sustainable and fulfilling career. 

Remember, success in monetizing your martial arts passion relies on the same principles that guide martial arts itself: commitment, innovation, and the relentless pursuit of excellence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *