Choosing the Right Martial Arts School for You or Your Children
We have had many inquiries asking us what people should look for when choosing a
karate school so we have compiled this information to help you find the school
that is right for you. The first question you should ask is of yourself�what do
I want? Are you looking for fitness? Self defense? More confidence? A little
bit of everything? If you are looking for a specific style in mind I recommend
that you visit a few schools and observe their classes. I will tell you right
from the start that any school that will not allow you to view their classes is
not the kind of school you want to join. The following list is designed to provide
you with some insightful ideas and also questions you may want to ask when
potentially enrolling in a Karate School. We hope this information helps you
choose the right path for you.
Safety: Safety should be the number one concern for you and your family.
Is the class being taught in a safe, concise way to prevent injury? If the students
engage in sparring, is equipment mandatory? Are the children and juniors closely
supervised the entire time they are in class?
Teaching Style: The instructors should teach in a style that is stimulating,
exciting, and also fun. Are the classes separated by age or by rank? What is the
overall emphasis being placed on? Being fit? Discipline? Traditional Karate
training? Self defense? Sport? Again, depending on what you are looking for
specifically this can be determined by meeting with the instructor and observing
the class. Keep an open mind. Some schools have broken with traditional Karate
training and are teaching a more modern form of Martial Art without the emphasis
on learning thousand year old customs from foreign countries. That does not mean
it's not a legitimate form of training with something of value for you or your
child. Ask the instructor if you can meet one of the more recently enrolled
students to ask them how they like the program.
Also, you may see advertisements from schools stating that you can only learn
martial arts from an original oriental master. A lot of these instructors are
using their ethnicity to convince you of the authenticity of their teaching.
There are many qualified American instructors who have just as much if not more
experience than their counterpart oriental competitors. Again, look at whom you
will be learning from as opposed to what country they were born in. If the classes
are for children make sure that the instructor is someone who speaks English well
enough that the children can clearly understand them.
Rank: Some traditional Karate schools feel that only an instructor of the
rank of 4th degree black belt or a self proclaimed grand master are the only people
qualified to teach the martial arts. Unfortunately for the students they teach the
same exact way they were taught without any deviation from tradition. Politics
rears its ugly head in almost every aspect of our lives and Karate training is no
different. There are many Karate associations in America that have or claim to
have affiliation in the country of origin of their Martial Art. In this day and
age there are countless types of styles or hybrid's of styles, each claiming to be
the best. Each association has different requirements for advancement or rank. Some
schools claim that the association they are affiliated with requires them to charge
a test fee for each belt. I have seen test fees vary from $25.00 to $75.00 for
student ranks below black belt to over a $1,000.00 for a black belt. Do yourself
a favor and ask about testing fees before you enroll. Belt tests could wind up
costing you hundreds of dollars extra and are usually associated with franchised
belt factory schools. Do you want to buy a belt, or earn it? Associations are
not important, the instruction you are receiving is.
Tuition and other fees: Some schools require you to sign a long-term
contract after only one or two private lessons of telling you how talented you
or your child is. They say they are committing their time and effort to you and
therefore they want the same commitment from you. Nonsense! Before you enroll on
a long-term contract you should at least try a few actual group classes to
experience what the training is really like.