Tips for Choosing a Martial Art School
We invite you to try our programs, but if you do not live close enough to train with us, we hope this page will be helpful to you.
Many martial arts styles and schools are available; where should you train? Which style is the best? What should you be looking for in a martial arts school?
Here are some tips and recommendations from our experience.
Instructor's Rank Claims
Another thing to consider is the rank claims of the head instructor. Below is a "time in rank" chart with reasonable time frames per rank for most styles. These estimates can vary from style to style, and this chart assumes training under qualified instructors.
Sadly, there are many self-promoters who pursue rank rather than skill that should be avoided.
The integrity of my faith is CRITICAL to me. Knowing where the instructors are coming from is essential when choosing a martial arts school. The approach of the instructors WILL BE expressed in the classes. If the instructor is a devout Buddhist, Hindu, or other, classes will be taught from that perspective.
The style is not nearly as important as the instructor (especially the head instructor). You will want to learn as much as you can about the Senior Instructor. Obtaining advanced martial arts ranks can be a snare to some people. It can tend toward arrogance. A good martial arts instructor will be humble. Remember, many people are capable of performing very well, but some are not able to teach.
Be careful of "Self-Promoters." I knew of a young Brown Belt in Korea who moved to the United States and, six months later, was a Fourth Degree Black Belt! I also knew of a Second Degree Black Belt who promoted himself to Eighth Degree after purchasing the school from his instructor. Again, find out as much about the Instructor as you can. Remember...
Those with mediocre skills can impress those who have none.
AVOID long-term contracts, especially early in your martial arts training. Many businesses push the benefits of their "Black Belt Program," "Lifetime Memberships," or other expensive contracts. Remember, most people who start working out in the martial arts don't last long. These long-term contracts rarely have any refund policies.
I want to stress that some of these contracts might genuinely be a "good deal" after you are convinced that you will train with this instructor for a long time. Once you have found your martial arts "home," then look into longer-term payment options.
In any case, be sure that you... READ THE CONTRACT!
You will want to inquire about the terms and conditions of your contract. Of course, you want to know about your payment options, but you should also ask about non-payment policies. Will the martial arts school send your account into collections? Will they stop letting you work out until your payments are caught up? While few plan to become delinquent, difficult situations may arise. These are things you will want to know.
Inquire about the various fees and costs involved in training. Some prices other than the class tuition may include registration fees, uniforms and patches, competitions, maintenance fees, testing fees, membership fees, fundraising involvements, and others. Ask about purchasing training equipment. Some schools mandate that equipment be purchased from them. This is often more costly than buying the same equipment from other sources.
Any school that will not allow you to watch a class randomly is a school to be cautious of. Many schools have "viewing areas" or windows into the main workout room to allow interested people to watch classes. I would be careful of "scheduled" times when you are permitted to watch a class. With few exceptions, there should be no reason you should not be able to walk into a school and observe the class in session.
Family and friends with experience are great places to begin looking for a martial arts club. Ask several people for suggestions. After receiving recommendations, follow the other guidelines available. Find out how long they have been training from the people you ask. Ask how much they are paying. Ask them about long-term contracts, etc.
Check out the school's facilities. They should be clean and sanitary.
Use the Internet
With the availability of information online, you can generally find a wealth of information with some research.
If possible, avoid reviews from teachers and students of competitor's schools, as well as from the school you are looking into. Both are potentially biased. Check the BBB and other online resources.
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