Some interesting points.

CXT - Agree all round. Especially with the Cost often not being indicative of quality.

CXT said
Martial arts is a hobby/activity that if seriously undertaken will take years to get good.

I'd never really thought about this in terms of cost before. I Think I will make a new thread in the self defence section about it if anyone would like to join!

Prizewriter - Thanks for the welcome.

I remember reading a quote from the guy who co-runs the Carlson Gracie Team in London and he said the reason they charge what they charge is they want to build a successful team, and to do that you have to have people who are willing to make a commitment with their training, not just someone who shows up once a week

I'm not sure I completely buy this. They probably charge this because they can (which is fair enough).
If their motivation is to build a successful team (in terms of bjj/mma success) surely the aim would be to attract MORE people to the gym to get the pick of the talent.
There is of course a history of successful fighters often coming from a poor background.
Dedication is important, but i don't think charging more money relates to attendance - Look at all the people who have gym membership leaving their account each month, but never attend.

LEO & Prizewriter:

I'd say if you're looking to try martial arts for not big money in London, check out the Judo clubs....Alternatively, look at boxing clubs

when it comes to value for money, a good Judo club is hard to match

I'm with you both here. And Leo your the least biased judoka ever!

Ronin says:
Find the atmosphere you want, THEN consider the finance aspect

I agree with your sentiment, but realistically I don't think this is viable for many.

Take this scenario:

Lets say we have a 15 year old full of sporting potential, from a poor family, who has never done any MA is their life. They miraculously manage to navigate all the BS of the various martial arts wanting to be a top practitioner. They try all sorts of first lesson free classes. Deciding that the only class which they would be willing to dedicate them self to has a 50 joining fee, 50 induction, is 100 a month on the other side of town plus an investment in training gear is needed.