Choosing The Right School
Choosing the correct martial arts school is an important decision for both you and/or your child, this will determine the environment in which you will train and grow. Deciding where to training is not complicated, once you have decided what you wish to get back from your training.
When deciding which martial arts school to train in, there are several different factors that should come to mind; Location, staff, environment, costs and style. It is best to begin you search by checking with word of mouth and local groups, as you can get first hand experiences. Internet searches and yellow page are also an option, but be prepared to receive a sales pitch – it’s in the interest of the business to sign you up – we’re no exception, without students we wouldn’t be here!
Once you have obtained a list of schools that you are interested in, make a point to visit them. Call a head or email them to be sure that is allowed.
Remember: Always ask to try before you buy!
Every school should offer you some kind of trial period for free or reduced cost. No exceptions.
School location can be one of the key factors when looking for a martial arts school. After all, you will be making this commute weekly and possibly several times within the week. This extra time spent driving, combined with today’s changing fuel costs may quickly make a good school hard to get to. Consider trying to find a school within about 10-15 minutes, of where you live. The closer the school is, the easier it is for you to attend without having to worry about running late, too long of a drive, or any other unforeseen delays.
The martial arts school you choose should have staff that you are comfortable with. Does the owner teach the majority of the classes? If not, are the instructors knowledgeable? Do the classes move to quickly? Do you feel welcome? You should feel that the lessons you are receiving are coming from experience, with an attention to your individual development and speed. Just having a black belt does not make someone a good teacher. The teacher should have an understanding of the style and be able to pass their knowledge down to others. They should also care about your personal progression and safety.
When making your decision, the appearance of the school should be a consideration as well. Schools vary in size and feel depending on the locations and style. You should feel comfortable with the look and feel, but take note of important details such as size and features. Will the classes be overly crowded? is there a place to keep your belongings? or an area to sit and watch? These questions will help you become more comfortable with school you pick. The school doesn’t need to be polished from top to bottom, but it should be able to comfortably and safely conduct classes.
Costs – no martial arts school is without them, and that is to be expected of any business selling wares; but each school can differ significantly in its prices. It is very important to know the full costs and expenses before joining any school for a long period. Some key questions worth asking are:
- Is a contract required? If so, how long is the contract for? Are there sign up or exiting fees?
- Can you pay monthly? Are you required at any time to sign a long term contract?
- What are the costs of equipment? Can you buy from the school? Can you buy elsewhere?
- Are there any additional fees? Testing fees? Membership fees? Any charges not previously mentioned?
Be sure you understand all costs, so there are no hidden surprises once you start. A contract is not be a bad thing, as it will clearly state what is expected of you as a student /customer and what the school will provide in return. Be sure to read and understand everything before you sign. If need be, always ask for something in writing. For Sawyer’s Martial Arts, we believe our classes offer our students a great training environment and have never required any long term contracts.
Unless you are specifically looking for a certain discipline, the style of martial arts is one of the least important factors as most styles offer similar health and physical benefits. However, it is important to ask what kind of martial arts is being taught, and what that style entails. Is it a fast paced? Slow and concentrated? Is there a lot of physical ability required? This will help you understand if the class follows your training goals.
When in doubt, ask to try a class or two! Every school should offer some kind of trial period. Not just a private class, ask to join one of the group classes. Only then, will get a real idea of what you will be learning.
Now that you have a few ideas on what to look for in a martial arts school, the next step is to start looking!