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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.

The EDGE Kickboxing & Fitness
57 Midland Avenue
Elmwood Park, NJ 07407
(201) 703-1222

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