Tips For Choosing A School

Martial Arts Tips

Decide in advance what benefits you want from martial arts training.

Do you simply want to try martial arts? Do you want a unique fitness activity? Do you want to develop more discipline and focus? Do you want a social outlet? Maybe you want to test yourself in eventual competition? Or you might simply want to have fun.
Whatever you primary outcome, decide before you set foot in any martial arts facility. This will immediately help you narrow your search and know what questions to ask.

Look for a professional, well equipped facility.

Although martial arts schools will come in a variety of sizes, and layout and equipment will vary as much as the variety of martial art styles, there are some key features that are a must.
Avoid “basement dungeons” when possible. A bright, pleasant, atmosphere with lots of windows will make a big difference over the long run in your martial arts training enjoyment and the quality of the experience.
Both basement and 2nd floor locations may also indicate the owners did not have the financial solvency to be granted a ground floor prime location. Something to be considered before investing your money with such a establishment.
Absolutely do not settle for anything but a fully matted training area. Hard floors are especially hard on the joints while carpet is a serious hygiene concern as every bacteria and germ will remain in the fibers. Safety is also of course a major concern in all physical activities and a martial arts school that did not invest in proper matted flooring throughout should be avoided.

The instructor check list.

Do they look the part? Martial arts are meant to develop disciplined athletes. An great instructor leads by example in his or her training and lifestyle. Seeing an instructor that is overtly obese or a smoker for example should certainly raise questions as to their personal standards, and therefore their ability to lead you to excel.
Are they professional, courteous, friendly, with a genuine interest in you? You are potentially going to spend the next few years in contact with these individuals. Make sure you are setting yourself up for success with good coaches.
Are they good martial artists? You may not be an expert at making that distinction at this time, but aside from external factors such as old age, a good instructor needs to be at the very least a good practitioner of their craft. Be aware however that a belt rank may not be an indication of their actual skills or knowledge. Most martial arts organization hand out the higher black belt ranks and titles as patronage promotions for “good service”. That is unfortunately why the industry is full of paper tigers – 7th 8th and 9th degree black belts that have not thrown a punch in decades.

Only consider martial arts schools that offer a very comprehensive trial process.

A martial arts school that does not offer a trial should definitely be suspect, but more importantly that trial should include some private lessons.
Your needs and goals are unique. The only way for the instructors to really get to know you is in a private setting. If a school just wants to throw you into a group class from day one without taking the proper time and effort to discover more about you then you really should avoid them. Do they care so little about your individual needs? Or do they only have a “one size fits all program”?.
A martial arts school with a sink or swim mentality when it comes to your first few classes demonstrates a clear disregard not just for your progress, but potentially for your safety as well.

How much should you pay?

No two martial arts schools will offer the same experience and therefore the question is not what one charges in comparison to the other, but what are you getting for the price?

Achieving your goals and passionately enjoying your training is certainly more valuable than wasting your time in a cheap activity with mediocre results. You absolutely want to get good value, but looking exclusively at price gives you zero indication of the value you will actually be getting.
If you saw an advertisement that stated only: “Car. $5000” and another “Car. $25,000” it does not give you enough information to make the right purchase decision. You could be buying a lemon that will break down in a few months, in which case you actually lost $5000. On the other hand $25,000 amortized over many years of reliable service may very well be a much better deal and genuinely serve your needs. Until you get more information, you cannot make an intelligent decision.
Any martial arts school that tries to use their low price as a means of attracting customer is in fact saying that they have so little that is unique or valuable to offer that they can only offer low cost as a reason to join. Martial arts is not a commodity, which is why choosing the right school is so important. Remember, you get what you pay for.
There are of course other factors in choosing a martial arts school. For a full free report on choosing a martial arts school go here.