How To Make Money In Jiu-Jitsu Without A Gym

It’s inevitable, those who fall in love with Jiu-Jitsu want to know how they can do it full-time.

In this post, I’ll look at:

  1. How you can get a job in BJJ and how much you can make
  2. What prize money to expect as a competitor
  3. How you can find sponsors if you’re competing
  4. How to start coaching without a gym (as early as blue belt)

Let’s get into it!

Can You Actually Make A Living With Jiu-Jitsu?

It’s definitely possible to make a living with Jiu-Jitsu. This will depend on a number of factors, but the most important factor is whether you want to teach Jiu-Jitsu or compete in Jiu-Jitsu.

If you’re looking to teach, there are a few options available to you.

You can either start your own academy, work as an assistant instructor at an existing academy, or get a job as a strength and conditioning coach for an MMA team (many of which will have BJJ programs).

Starting your own academy is obviously the riskiest option, but it also has the potential to be the most rewarding financially.

The biggest obstacle you’ll face is finding a location to rent/lease, as retail space is expensive – especially in larger cities.

You’ll also need to invest in mats, equipment, and other supplies.

If you go this route, I recommend starting small (e.g. renting a space at a local community center) and gradually expanding as your business grows.

Working as an assistant instructor is a great way to get your foot in the door of the Jiu-Jitsu world.

Most instructors are always on the lookout for good assistant instructors, as they free up the instructor’s time so that he/she can focus on teaching.

As an assistant instructor, you’ll likely be paid hourly, and your pay will increase as you gain more experience and responsibilities.

The final option is to get a job as a strength and conditioning coach for an MMA team.

This option doesn’t pay as well as the other two, but it’s a great way to learn more about Jiu-Jitsu while still making a living.

Plus, you’ll be able to train with some of the best Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the world!

There are really only four ways to make money from Jiu-Jitsu:

1. Teach classes in a Jiu-Jitsu gym

2. Compete in tournaments

3. Find sponsors

4. Start your own academy

I’ll go into each of these options in more detail below.

Teach classes in a Jiu-Jitsu gym

This is the most common way people make a living from Jiu-Jitsu.

If you’re lucky enough to find a good Jiu-Jitsu gym that is willing to pay you a salary, then this can be a great option.

The downside is that it can be tough to find a well-paying teaching job, and you may have to sacrifice some of your training time to work.

Compete in tournaments

Another way to make money from Jiu-Jitsu is to compete in tournaments.

There are a few different levels of competition, from local tournaments with small prizes, all the way up to the big international events like the IBJJF World Championships where the prize money can be significant.

The downside of this option is that it takes a lot of time and effort to compete at the top level, and you will need to dedicate a lot of time to training if you want to be successful.

Most cash prizes and sponsorships are reserved for higher belts, so you’ll need to get creative with it.

Find sponsors

If you’re able to find sponsors, then this can be a great way to supplement your income from Jiu-Jitsu.

Sponsors can provide you with money, equipment, or even just free products that can help you with your training.

The downside of finding sponsors is that it can be difficult to find companies that are willing to sponsor you, and you will need to have some success in competition before most companies will be interested.

Start your own academy

This is probably the most challenging option on the list, but it can also be the most rewarding.

Starting your own Jiu-Jitsu academy requires a significant investment of time and money, but if done correctly it can be a great way to make a living from Jiu-Jitsu.

The downside is that there is a lot of risk involved in starting your own business, and it can take a long time to turn a profit.

So, those are the four main options for making money from Jiu-Jitsu.

But how much can you realistically expect to make from each of these options?

Teach classes in a Jiu-Jitsu gym

The pay for teaching classes in a Jiu-Jitsu gym can vary widely depending on the size and location of the gym, as well as your own experience and credentials.

In general, you can expect to make anywhere from $30-$100 per hour teaching classes.

Compete in tournaments

The prize money for competitions can also vary widely, but there is potential to make good money if you’re able to win at the higher levels of competition.

For example, the first place prize for the IBJJF World Championships is $20,000, and there are also many other tournaments with significant prize pools.

Find sponsors

The amount of money you can make from sponsorships will depend on your success in competition and your ability to find companies that are interested in sponsoring you.

It’s not uncommon for successful competitors to make several thousand dollars per year from sponsorships.

Start your own academy

This is probably the most difficult option to quantify, as there is a lot of variation depending on the size and location of the academy, as well as your own business acumen.

However, it is possible to make a good living by running your own Jiu-Jitsu academy, and some people have even been able to make a very comfortable living.

So, those are the four main options for making money from Jiu-Jitsu. As you can see, there is potential to make good money from each of these options.

The best way to find out how much you can realistically expect to make is to talk to people who are already doing it and ask them about their experiences.

If you’re serious about making a living from Jiu-Jitsu, then I would encourage you to explore all of these options and see which one is the best fit for you.

Related Jobs

The best jobs for training BJJ full-time are those related to Jiu-Jitsu but don’t require competing or rely on finding students. These include skills you’ve learned outside of Jiu-Jitsu, like photography, writing, and event management. Other related jobs include entrepreneurial work like blogging and YouTubing. You can also find Jiu-Jitsu-specific work like coaching, refereeing, and running a school.

Photography

If you’re a good photographer, you can make money by taking photos at Jiu-Jitsu events. There is always a need for good event photography, and you can typically charge around $100-$200 per event.

You can also sell your photos online through sites like Shutterstock. This won’t make you rich, but it can be a nice way to make some extra money.

Writing

There are many ways to make money from writing about Jiu-Jitsu. You can start a blog and sell advertising, or write articles for magazines and websites. If you’re a good writer, you can also write books about Jiu-Jitsu.

Event Management

If you have experience organizing events, you can work as a Jiu-Jitsu tournament director or referee. This is a great way to stay involved in the sport without having to compete yourself. You can also work as a Jiu-Jitsu coach or instructor.

Blogging and YouTubing

If you’re good at creating content, you can make money by blogging or making YouTube videos about Jiu-Jitsu. This option requires a lot of work, but it can be very rewarding if you’re able to build up a large following.

Coaching

If you have experience coaching, you can make money by working as a private Jiu-Jitsu coach. This is a great option if you want to help people improve their game without having to run your own academy.

Refereeing

If you have experience refereeing, you can work as a referee for Jiu-Jitsu tournaments. This is a great way to stay involved in the sport and make some extra money.

As you can see, there are many ways to make money from Jiu-Jitsu. Which option is best for you will depend on your individual circumstances and goals. However, all of these options have the potential to be profitable if you’re willing to put in the work.

How Much Do Top Jiu-Jitsu Fighters Make?

Unfortunately, most Jiu-Jitsu fighters don’t make much. The vast majority of fighters are hobbyists who don’t compete for money. In fact, most Jiu-Jitsu tournaments don’t even offer prize money.

The few professional Jiu-Jitsu fighters that do exist typically make very little. The top fighters in the world might make a few thousand dollars per year from sponsorships and appearance fees. However, most professional fighters make less than $1000 per year.

So, if you’re looking to make a living from Jiu-Jitsu, fighting is not the way to do it. There is simply no money in the sport.

More and more tournaments are starting to pay winners.

But unless you’re winning every tournament, it won’t be enough for a living wage.

Does IBJJF Pay Winners?

The IBJJF offers between $4,000 and 7 grand in cash prizes to black belt world champions. The more entries that are submitted for a given weight category (depending on how many competitors there will be), the greater the reward! A single person can win up to ten thousand dollars if they’re an Absolute Division champion–no matter what other people enter or not at all!

Entries2-89-1617-3233+
All$4k$5k$6k$7k
Open Class$10k$10k$10k$10k
source: strictlyfighters.com

Remember, prize money is only given at black belt level (at the moment).

Since they’re the largest competition federation in the world, it’s a very promising move.

There are more tournaments offering cash prizes to champions every year.

List of Jiu-Jitsu Tournament Cash Prize

TournamentEst. Cash Prize
ADCCSuperfight – $40,000
1st – $10,000
2nd – $5,000
3rd – $3,000
4th – $1,000
IBJJF Worlds$4,000 – $10,000
per champion
EBI
(aka CJJ or Combat Jiu-Jitsu)
$12,000
per win
Polaris$10,000
per champion
Fight 2 WinNegotiated
(similar to UFC)
Kasai Pro$20,000
per champion
UAEJJF
(Abu Dhabi World Pro)
$8,000 – $34,000
per champion
source: strictlyfighters.com

How Do You Get Sponsored In Jiu-Jitsu?

Sponsors in Jiu-Jitsu don’t pay near what you’d expect from pro golf, for example.

But there are a few things you can do to increase your chances:

First, be active on social media. Create content that shows you using the sponsor’s products. Use hashtags and tag the sponsor in your posts.

Second, compete in tournaments. This will give you exposure and show potential sponsors that you’re serious about Jiu-Jitsu.

Finally, try to get featured in the media. This could be an article in a local newspaper or a mention on a popular Jiu-Jitsu podcast. The more publicity you can get, the more attractive you’ll be to potential sponsors.

How To Find Sponsors In Jiu-Jitsu

There are two types of sponsorships:

  1. Celebrity Sponsorships
  2. Affiliate Sponsorships

Let’s break these down:

Celebrity Sponsorships

You guessed it. These are sponsorships where the Jiu-Jitsu fighter is a celebrity. This could be because they’re a multiple-time world champion or because they have a large social media following.

Celebrity sponsorships are usually given to black belts who have a lot of exposure. If you don’t fit this criteria, don’t worry. There are other options.

Affiliate Sponsorships

An affiliate sponsorship is when a Jiu-Jitsu fighter promotes a product or brand in exchange for a commission on sales.

For example, let’s say you have a blog about Jiu-Jitsu. You could promote products from a Jiu-Jitsu retailer and receive a commission on every sale that you generate.

This type of sponsorship is more common and easier to get than a celebrity sponsorship. And it can be just as lucrative.

To find affiliate sponsorships, simply Google “Jiu-Jitsu affiliate program” or “BJJ affiliate program”. This will bring up a list of companies that offer commissions in exchange for promotion.

Alternatively, you can contact companies directly and ask if they have an affiliate program.

How To Coach BJJ Online Without A Gym

There are two ways you can coach online:

1) Find an online platform that already exists.

2) Create your own online platform.

Finding an online platform that already exists is the easier option. But it comes with some downsides. First, you’ll be competing with other coaches for students. Second, you’ll likely have to pay a percentage of your earnings to the platform owner.

Creating your own online platform is more work but it has two big advantages. First, you’ll keep 100% of your earnings. Second, you can build a community around your brand. This will make it easier to attract students and grow your business.

If you decide to create your own online platform, there are a few things you need:

1) A domain name. This is the address of your website (e.g. www.example.com).

2) Web hosting. This is where your website lives on the internet.

3) A content management system. This is what you’ll use to create and manage your website content. WordPress is a popular option.

4) A payment processor. This is how you’ll accept payments from students. PayPal and Stripe are two popular options.

5) A video conferencing tool. This is how you’ll deliver your classes online. Skype and Zoom are two popular options.”

Conclusion

Getting sponsored in Jiu-Jitsu can be a great way to earn some extra money. But it takes more than just being a good fighter. You need to be active on social media, compete in tournaments, and get exposure in the media. And you need to find the right type of sponsorship for you.

Coaching Jiu-Jitsu online is a great way to make money. And it doesn’t require a lot of start-up costs. You just need a domain name, web hosting, a content management system, a payment processor, and a video conferencing tool.

Now that you know how to get sponsored and how to coach online, there’s no excuse not to start your own Jiu-Jitsu business. Good luck!

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