Why We Don't Have Contracts

The Philadelphia Judo Club

Osagame and Philadelphia judo club

We all agreed contracts wasn’t what we wanted to do.

When Osagame opened in 2010 and the Philadelphia Judo Club moved here, our instructor team had some discussions on the kind of club and community we wanted to build.

We had all been in other programs and were familiar with how they handled the business side of their Martial Arts programs. We also consulted other clubs and programs in the area. We even attended a week-long seminar on how to make the most money from your Martial Arts programs. One of the most common themes and focus was how to best lock students into contracts.

The idea, on its face, makes sense. Push students to sign a contract ranging from 6 months to multiple years, while they’re in the honeymoon phase starting a new fun experience. (I’ve even seen ones that were one huge upfront payment for what becomes essentially a lifetime contract) Then it makes it hard for them to stop, they feel intimidated by being in a contract, then even if they stop coming to classes, the automatic monthly withdrawal keeps their membership paying for months after they may have stopped attending classes. We all agreed this wasn’t what we wanted to do.

philadelphia judo club

Community is more important than contracts

The idea behind our decisions was to build the club we all wished we had walked into on our first day trying this new thing. Our goal was to build a community rather than just a place for people to learn Judo, BJJ and/or Kickboxing. It would have felt strange to welcome a new student to our community and try to lock them into a contract. On the contrary, we introduced our 30 day free trial and made sure there were no strings or commitments attached to it.  People can come in and experience what we teach or send their kids to try it and have plenty of time to decide if we’re a good fit for what they want to do and learn without the pressure of committing to something before having enough information to make an informed decision. 

Considerations for Joining a Martial Arts Program

A number of factors go into selecting a Martial Art, and even more into finding the right community to join.

Contracts Don't Align with Our Core Values

In our pursuit of financial success, we are faced with the question of whether it’s better to lock students into contracts and coerce them into paying for classes they may not attend, or to focus on creating a positive environment that fosters long-term loyalty and engagement from our students. While we cannot definitively answer this question, we do know that our approach has resulted in a community of satisfied students who choose to continue training with us, refer others, and rarely choose to leave.

Your First 30 Days Free!

Your First 30 Days are for FREE.


Pick your start date and fill out the registration form. No strings attached, ever.