Posted by William on October 23, 2012
Once you have found a few possibilities of where you might like to train, visit the schools and see where they are and what they look like.
Remember that just because a martial arts school may look like it is being held in an oversized broom closet does not mean it is a poor choice for your training. A school that spends more time and money on chrome and glitz, may not spend the time it needs on its students. Watch the instructors as they teach the students. Is the discipline fair and consistent? Are the classes organized? Do the students look as if they are interested in the program and are they having fun? Martial arts training usually has a level of ceremony, most of it dating back to the early days of each style, where respect is shown to the instructors. Do the students show this respect to the instructors of each school you visit?
Watch the classes and the techniques being taught. Are these moves something you think you will be able to do, once you have had some training? Is there more emphasis on upper body, or lower body movements? Remember that once class may be devoted to a particular sequence of moves and may not be representative of the overall style. You may need to come back more than once to get a feel for the school.
Now that you’ve narrowed your choices to one or two schools, ask questions about the cost of classes. Most schools have an introductory package that will permit you to try a few classes before committing to any agreement. This is usually a good idea. Being in a class can give you an entirely different feel for the school rather than watching from the sidelines. Be wary of a school that requires a long-term agreement. Since only a small percentage of people who want to start any type of physical training program actually stick with it, some schools are requiring their students to sign up for a year’s worth of classes at a time. In this way the school is guaranteed a minimum income, in order to pay their overhead expenses. Unfortunately, if the student drops out before the end of the year, they are still responsible for the entire year’s cost. A good school will permit payment on a monthly or quarterly basis. You can pay for a year if you want to, but by the time a student is ready for that kind of a commitment, they are certain they will continue the program.
Finally, if you don’t like a particular style, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad style. People are different. Not everyone drives a Cadillac or a Jeep. Make your own choice about the style you are studying. If you decide it’s not the right school for you, politely inform the instructor you are leaving and find a school that does fit your needs. It may take several attempts to find the right school.
The mixture of style, instructor and your requirements may take some work to reach a comfortable level. Students may study different styles for different reasons.
Whether your purpose is just to keep in shape, to learn how to defend yourself, or to find a better way to focus your life, martial arts could be the key to that better you. Start your training now!