How to choose a martial arts school...
Learning martial arts can be a fulfilling and enjoyable pastime. In some cases, it can change lives.
Since there are many different types of schools it is worth taking some time to understand some of the differences and how they will impact your experience.
Schools are like colleges or restaurants....some are fast food, others are fine dining. Some colleges are just okay, others are excellent.
On this page I will briefly discuss some things to help you select a good fit for yourself or your child.
What are you hoping to achieve?
Martial arts can be a great value as they can often deliver in any ways. Improved fitness, discipline, respect, flexibility....these can be realized in most schools. But what else do you want?
If self-defense is important to you then you need to be careful about what school you choose. Some schools, such as Kodokai Dojo, focus on self-defense. The majority of schools, however, focus on 'sport' martial arts.
Examples of sport martial arts are Brazilian ju-jitsu, Taekwondo or any karate school that competes in tournaments. If competing in tournaments sound like something you would like then sport-focused schools are the way to go!
Every school claims to teach 'self-defense', but there is a substantial qualitative difference from school to school. A trophy display is an unmistakable indication that a school teaches sport martial arts and is less focused on self-defense.
At least do this!
Check out Facebook and You Tube
It isn't practical to visit every school but take an afternoon and browse through the media pages of the schools you are looking at.
Instead of a sales pitch you will get a glimpse of what is actually going on.
If the Facebook page is all about rank promotions, you can be assured that belts are important to that school. If there is talk of tournaments you know the school teaches sport martial arts. If everything is geared toward little kids and you aren't one, well...
As far as You Tube goes, you can often see parts of classes, instruction and other activities of the school. Do you like what you see?
Links to our Facebook and Youtube pages can be found at the bottom of this page.
The Style and The Instructor
Styles are not always as advertised. You might be told that a school teaches the style of Bruce Lee, or 'traditional' karate, when in reality, you are learning nothing of the sort. Really.
You have to take a good look at the teacher, the one who will actually be teaching you day to day.
An instructor should have substantial training and there should be ample evidence of this. Who did the teacher learn from? How long did they actually study with their teacher? Is there any evidence of their history or are they merely just making claims?
Don't have to settle for a teacher with dubious credentials.
Some people merely choose the school closest to home or the one their friend goes to. This is the worse possible way to pick a school. The best locations provide a high volume of students but quantity and quality are are not the same. Popular doesn't mean good.
It is far better to drive a little out of your way for something that can make such an impact on your life.
Martial arts isn't cheap like it once was. Commercial rent, insurance and other costs keep going up. You are investing in an education (again, think of the differences in colleges). The important thing is to know what you will be paying. Find out before you step foot on the mats.
Some schools are notorious for being elusive about fees. This should be a big red flag. If you can't get prices without first having to try a class walk away. High pressure sales tactics usually don't end after you join. They are a sign of things to come. Ask if you will be required to sign a contract (don't do it).
Check us out, ask questions, get answers.
See you soon!