For many people, jiu-jitsu is a hobby. For more diehard practitioners, it’s a way of life. Regardless of where you are on the spectrum, BJJ is something you can monetize and make money off of. How can you make money from BJJ besides teaching? Let’s look at the diverse ways you can make some moolah off of your passion.
In order to make 200k(USD) or more per year, you will most likely need to deploy multiple streams of income. This may include a gym, coaching, weekend seminars, selling digital assets, and selling hard goods. The key is to start small and grow with consistent effort.
One more thing to add is that the ideas outlined below are scalable. You can make some pocket change, or you can turn it into a full-time career. It all depends on your aspirations and how much time you choose to invest. Another thing is you don’t have to be a high-level black belt to make money off of BJJ. It certainly helps with building your brand, but even blue and purple belts can use the monetization methods outlined below.
Without further ado, let’s look at how you can monetize jiu-jitsu.
How much does a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Coach make?
It seems like every week there is another announcement about a major MMA fighter or top Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor transitioning into MMA coaching.
So what does this mean to you? Well… If you’re passionate about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and have ambitions of one day becoming a BJJ coach, then it probably means that you need to know what kind of salary ranges one can expect when pursuing such a career path.
Before we get into the numbers, it’s important to note that these salary figures are averages and may not apply directly to every BJJ coach out there. These figures will give you a ballpark estimate. Below we’ll explain how we came to these figures.
Salary Stats for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Coaches:
Average Income $34,000 – $89,000 (USD)
The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) is one of the most trusted and official sources in America today when it comes to statistics and numbers about every occupation under the Sun. It’s no surprise, then, that they’ve reported on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coaches in the past – and their salary figures are quite impressive.
According to the BLS, the average income for Jiu-Jitsu Instructors is $34,000 per year ($17.00 hourly). However…If you look into figures for head instructors ( black belt level ) the average salary jumps up to $89,000 per year ($44.00 hourly ).
Salary by Gender: Women vs Men
Female Jiu-Jitsu Instructors earn almost as much as men in the same position. The BLS reports that female Jiu-Jitsu coaches earn an average of $34,000 per year whereas the average income for male Jiu-Jitsu coaches is $35,000 per year.
Salary by Level of Experience: Beginner vs Master Level
Generally speaking, the longer you’ve been coaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and competing…The more money you can make. In fact, the BLS states that most instructors who have been in the business for a year or less make an average of $21,000 per year ($10.91 hourly).
However, the higher your level of expertise and experience becomes…The more you can earn. According to the BLS, most Jiu-Jitsu Coaches who have been coaching anywhere from 1-4 years make around $45,000 per year ($22.35 hourly ).
Salary by Region: Location, Location, Location
The latest figures that we could find show that the highest salaries for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Coaches were in and around New York and California ( aka The Mecca of BJJ ). In those states, most Jiu-Jitsu coaches make anywhere from $65,000 to $77,000 per year ($32.55 to $37.27 hourly).
The places with the lowest salaries for BJJ instructors were in and around Louisiana, Alabama, and South Carolina where most Jiu-Jitsu coaches make an average of $16,000 – $19,000 per year ($8.09 – $9.54 hourly).
It’s also important to note that often times salary increases somewhat proportionally with cost of living.
How much can you a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach make teaching private lessons?
Private lessons are a great way to earn money as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Coach. According to BLS figures, Salaries for private instructors average around $50,000 per year ($24.91 hourly).
How much can you make teaching BJJ seminars?
BJJ Seminars can also be another great source of income for the BJJ Coach. As seminars tend to pay more than private lessons ( on average ). According to BLS data, Salaries for public instructors range anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 per year ($24.91 – $49.46 hourly).
How much can a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner make selling photos?
If you want to make a little bit of extra money selling photos online or at your local gym, then it’s entirely possible. According to the BLS, the average income for photographers is $25,000 per year ($12.82 hourly).
How much can a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner make selling videos?
You can make quite a bit of money selling videos online to people all over the world. According to the BLS, Videographers average $25,000 per year ($12.82 hourly).
If you take all of these sources of income you can make more than enough to live comfortably.
How much can you make a year competing in Jiu-Jitsu?
There are a few ways to make money by competing.
One way is to be sponsored by a brand…Who will pay you a monthly salary just for being their athlete. This can range from $400 per month on the low end to $2000+ per month on the high end.
Another way to make money competing is by performing at local tournaments and taking 1st place. In this case, you get a percentage of the total cash prize pool. The percentage will vary depending on the size of the tournament so it’s best to ask ahead of time.
How much can a black belt world champion make in a year?
When it comes to BJJ, the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can make. For example…
According to IBJJF data…Black Belt World Champions at the IBJJF Pan American Championships in 2019 took home cash prizes anywhere from $4000 for 6th place all the way up to an astonishing $10,000 for 1st place.
How much can a black belt world champion make in a year teaching private lessons?
Based on the figures above, Black Belt World Champions probably make anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 per year ( or more ) teaching private lessons.
How much can you make competing in No-Gi/MMA?
Compared to Jiu-Jitsu, No-Gi/MMA can pay much better. How much you earn will depend on which organization you perform for and what place you take home.
For example…Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship ( another MMA promotion ) paid $38,000 to winner Bobby Lashley for his win against Kevin Asplund. Lash served as the main event for the June 16th, 2018 BKFC 5: Lashley vs Asplund card which was live-streamed on pay-per-view at a cost of $29.95.
How much can you make per sponsorship?
The answer to this question is going to vary greatly depending on the quality of your sponsors. However, if you are a high-level competitor with tens of thousands of Instagram followers, then it’s possible to make anywhere from $250 – $3000 per sponsor per month. As for how many sponsors you can have at one time that depends on their deal.
Own a Gym
How much money can you make as an owner of a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym?
The amount of money you make as a gym owner mostly depends on the location, the number of instructors, and how large your classes are.
If you want to open up a BJJ gym you need to calculate the monthly expenses and income needed.
A 120 sq foot space costs approximately $2,000 in Manhattan New York, which includes rent and taxes. The annual cost for this same space is $21,600 (this can be lower or higher depending on your location). By dividing $21,600 by 12 months you get $1,800/month or $21,600/year. You can own your equipment (mats and bags) for at least 7-years before you’ll need to replace it. The cost of equipment is usually between $3k-$7k depending on the quality.
The annual cost of a BJJ instructor is approximately $20,000. That includes the costs for 1 blue belt and 2 white belts (the minimum you should have). You can pay instructors more depending on their experience or if they have a university degree.
For your monthly expenses, you also need to calculate utilities ($700-1,200), transportation to the gym ($200), and buy a few mops every month (about $100-150).
By taking all of these costs into consideration it’s easy to see why you won’t make much as a gym owner. You’ll need at least 4 students per class and at least 11 classes per week in order to make an overall profit of $2,000 a month.
On the bright side, if you own a gym in your neighborhood and it’s successful, you can make a small fortune from this business.
The overall profit can increase or decrease based on the location of your gym, the instructors’ experience, and various expenses. There are also other income sources you can get from owning a BJJ gym such as online sales (t-shirts), events (instructor seminars), birthday parties (if taught correctly), etc.
At least 7 years is the average time you will need to own your gym before it becomes profitable. Once you’ve owned your gym for at least 7 years, you can start thinking about opening up another BJJ gym in a different location because it’s proven that most people who open yet another location are successful.
*All the information above is based on personal experience and other gym owners’ experience.
The official website for the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in New York says it takes at least 7 years to make a profit from owning a BJJ gym, but other sources say 3 months or 1 year is enough time to become profitable depending on various factors.
It’s hard to make an estimate on how much you can make after owning a BJJ gym.
The most important thing is whether your students are satisfied with the level of instruction they are getting, otherwise, they won’t come back.
If you decide to open up a BJJ gym for the purpose of making money I recommend opening up a real estate business instead because that will be more profitable. You’ll need a BJJ instructor who can teach classes at your gym and private lessons for your students.
You might be thinking of opening a BJJ gym as a hobby without the intention of making money, but if that’s your reason then I still recommend finding a way to make money from it. There are many cool things about owning a gym such as teaching and training.
Become an Affiliate Marketer for BJJ Brands
An affiliate marketer is one of the best ways to start an online career. It’s easy to get started because you simply promote someone else’s brand. There’s no need to create your own company and line of products and services. If a visitor clicks on an ad or link on your site and makes a purchase, you get a commission.
You can become an affiliate marketer for brands that sell BJJ uniforms and gear. Instead of pairing with a specific brand, you can also promote select items on Amazon. You can also go beyond BJJ and promote wrestling, MMA, or traditional martial arts equipment.
Here are some ways to promote as an affiliate marketer.
Create a BJJ Blog
Start a BJJ blog and talk about all things jiu-jitsu, from techniques to how the discipline applies to life on a grander scale. Add your affiliate links to each post.
Get Active on Social Media
Take advantage of the different social media outlets. Aside from Facebook, get active on sites like Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Share with followers the awesome products you’re promoting.
Tell family and friends about your affiliate marketing foray and have them share the news with their own associates. Do the same with the people in your BJJ class.
Start a Blog
We just mentioned starting a blog as an affiliate marketer. However, there are other ways to make money on a blog. You can also enable Google Ads and get paid when visitors click. Whether you become an affiliate marketer, enable Google Ads, or a combination of both, here are some best practices in terms of content creation.
Optimize Content for SEO
Do keyword research on the topic you’re writing about. A single keyword like “armbar” is way too competitive to rank for. However, a keyword phrase like “armbar from guard” or “how to do a belly-down armbar” may be more manageable to acquire a first-page ranking. Here are the general rules for keyword optimization:
- use the keyword in the meta title
- use the keyword in the meta description
- use the keyword in the H1
- use the keyword in at least one H2
- keyword density total should not exceed 5%
Keep the Content Informational
Blog content should be informational in nature. Diversify the content to include:
- how-to articles
- top 10 listicles
- predictions or recapping BJJ/MMA events
Refrain from discussing too much about the products you’re promoting. As a rule of thumb, save any promotional language for the final paragraph, where you may include a promotional link and call-to-action.
Start a YouTube Channel
There are various BJJ YouTubers with a tremendous following. One good example is Chewjitsu, a BJJ coach that provides content on techniques and advice on various situations that arise in the gym. Chewjitsu has just under 300,000 subscribers as of the date of this post. Other moderately successful BJJ channels include Tyler Spangler and Jordan Teaches Jiujitsu. Granted, these channels are led by high-level black belts. However, even intermediate-level practitioners can have a successful channel. After all, there are BJJ topics you can discuss other than techniques.
Here are some video topics to consider:
- nutritional advice for tournament preparation
- your personal experience training in different gyms
- advice for white belts
- jiu-jitsu vs other grappling martial arts
- live Q and A
How to Monetize Videos
There are several ways to monetize YouTube. One way is by enabling ads. You receive compensation for every click. You can also acquire sponsors and give the sponsor a shoutout along with a promo code at the start of each video. Another way is through channel memberships with exclusive content. Some content creators also encourage one-time or monthly donations via Patreon or Subscribe Star.
Write a Book
Write your own book. The good news is that publishing is easier and cost-friendlier than ever. You can release it exclusively as an e-book and avoid expensive printing costs. In this day and age, you don’t even need to find a publisher. As long as you get an ISBN number, you can self-publish. Once you have a book released, promote it on your blog, social media, or YouTube channel. You can also sell it on Amazon in Kindle format.
So, what are some topics you can write about? The most common BJJ books are centered on techniques. However, unless you’re a black belt with coaching experience, it’s probably best to write about other stuff.
Topic ideas include a lot of the same content you can write for a blog. With a full-length e-book, though, the topic is far more in-depth. Let’s explore some topics to write for a BJJ e-book.
You can write a memoir about your life with a big emphasis on BJJ and how it influenced your perception of day-to-day living. This can include the intertwining between BJJ and your work or family life.
Write your own novel with a BJJ-centric theme. The world is your oyster as you can create your own plotline and a roster of interesting and complex characters. Add in additional elements that include drama, action, or romance.
You can write a motivational book that includes inspirational quotes from well-known BJJ practitioners. You can also use non-BJJ quotes and tie them into the martial art.
Create an Online Course
Create an extensive course and sell it on your own website or through a site like Udemy. With the latter, there are plenty of BJJ courses you can find. Most of these are a drill, exercise, and technique courses with progressions from beginner to advance. There are courses that cover just a single technique or cover other specific topics like submission counters. Once again, though, these topics are probably best left for high-level black belts with an extensive coaching pedigree. For everyone else, there are other topics to consider, such as:
- BJJ for kids
- strength and conditioning exercises for beginners
- how to monetize jiu-jitsu (just like what this post is doing)
Courses can also be in a variety of formats. Most courses are mainly through videos. This makes sense; after all, it’s easier to show how to do an armbar than explain via text alone. However, in addition to videos, you can also diversify the media by incorporating images, slides, quizzes, etc.
Start an Email Subscriber List
If you have a blog or do affiliate marketing, create an email subscriber’s list and get people to sign up. Subscribers will receive your newsletters on BJJ-related topics. This is also where you will include links to your affiliate products, e-book, or course.
Content for Email Newsletters
Content for newsletters is similar to the content you would create for a blog. One advantage, though, is that you don’t have to perform keyword research or optimize it for the search engine. As with blog content, keep the topic informational and on point. Save the call-to-action for the closing paragraph. The email subject should also be clear and brief; this helps with the open rate.
Sell Your Services on Fiverr
You may be familiar with Fiverr, where you can offer a number of services and name your price. What kind of BJJ-related work can you do online that others may be willing to pay for?
- use your graphic artist skills to create designs and logos for BJJ academies
- design flyers for upcoming BJJ events
- offer writing services for BJJ blogs or newsletters
- create short technique tutorials
You’re not likely to get rich off of Fiverr, but there are tons of users looking to outsource. A small percentage will be looking for material related in some way or another to jiujitsu or MMA. Just visit the site and type in “jiujitsu” to see what services other people are offering. Other services may include making recorded ring announcements for an upcoming tournament or acting as a one-time brand advocate to promote an event on social media.
Become a BJJ Writer or Journalist for Hire
Think of all the BJJ and MMA sites on the Web. Some of the prominent sites include Jiujitsu Times, BJJ Fanatics, and Gracie Mag to list a few. If you reach out, some of them may be willing to take you in as an independent contract writer or journalist for their site.
Writing for a BJJ publication is not that different than having your own blog. The only difference is that you’re writing for someone else’s site. You may also have to follow specific writing guidelines and write on the topic of the site administrator’s choosing. Essentially, you have less leeway. However, in most cases, you do get a byline, which helps establish your own credibility and get your name out there.
How Much Money Can You Make as a Contracted BJJ Writer?
Each site will have its own pay structure. Some sites have a flat fee per article; others may charge per word. Others pay by ad revenue, meaning you make money whenever a reader clicks an ad embedded in your article. If the writing assignment requires interviews, then expect a higher payout. In any case, keep in mind that a lot of these sites don’t have a particularly big budget. Expect pay ranges between $10 to $20 for an average 300 to 500-word article, which will take around 30 minutes to one hour to complete.
Create Your Own BJJ Designs for T-shirts
You can create passive income by designing your own T-shirts. Use your artistic creativity to develop eye-popping BJJ designs and logos. Apart from T-shirts, you can create designs for a number of other items like pillows, stickers, snapbacks, and coasters. This is something you can do even if you have zero background in BJJ and just find martial art fascinating.
Where Can I Get Started?
There are multiple sites where you can create an account. Use the site’s features and templates to create your design and upload them to T-shirts and other items. The design process is easy and doesn’t require a graphic design background. If someone orders an item with your design, you earn money; it’s that simple. You can even set your own price.
A few sites where you can get started include Red Bubble, Spread Shirt, and Printify. Visit any of these sites and type in “jiujitsu” to see some of the existing designs from other creators for inspiration.
If you choose to go this route, keep in mind that this niche is quite saturated. When you look up existing BJJ shirt designs, you’ll find hundreds to thousands of designs. These are the designs you’ll be competing with. People who get started often won’t make their first sale until several weeks or months.
List of BJJ Tournaments and Promotions
|SJJIF Worlds (JJJIF)|
|Jiu-Jitsu World League (JJWL)|
|Five Gi and No-Gi Grappling (FIVE)|
|UAEJJF Grand Slams (UAEJJF)|
|Asian Open Championship (IBJJF)|
|European Open Championship (IBJJF)|
|Brazilian nationals (IBJJF)|
|Pan American (IBJJF)|
|Abu Dhabi World Pro (UAEJJF)|
|World Championship (IBJJF) (Mundials)|
|World No-Gi Championship (IBJJF)|
|Sport Jiu-Jitsu International Federation Championship (SJJIF)|
|Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI)|
|Polaris Pro Grappling|
|KASAI Elite Grappling Championships|
|Third Coast Grappling (3CG)|
|Fury Pro Grappling Events|
|Fight to Win Promotion (F2W)|
|Submission Underground Events (SUG)|
|World Series of Jiu-Jitsu (WSOJJ)|