Choosing a school

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by Kacey, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    There are a lot of threads posted about choosing the right school, and there's been some discussion about putting up a stickied discussion - here's a start (attempt 2; I accidentally closed the first one instead of saving it :eek:)

    Would this be better placed in The Beginnger's Corner, General MA, Meet & Greet, or somewhere else?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    5 Steps to Choosing the Right Martial Art for You

    Choosing a style

    Choosing a school

    Choosing an instructor

    Looking for an effective martial art

    Choosing a martial art for self-defense - women

    Choosing between available styles

    The right age for a child to start MA training

    Returning to martial arts after a break

    I'm already here - but is this really the right school?

    Choosing a second (or third, or fourth...) style

     
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  2. Kira S

    Kira S White Belt

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    Hi Kacey,

    This is great information.

    I am currently looking for a martial art with my daughter, and a friend recomended I download a free report at www.which-martial-art.com

    I found the information really useful on this report as it tells me what to expect from starting to train in a martial art and a checklist of what I should be looking for when checking out clubs.

    I'm using this along with the advice on this forum to help find a school right for me and my 6 year old daughter.

    Thanks again, nice work

    Kira x
     
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  3. Skippy

    Skippy Orange Belt

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    Hello,


    First I would ask myself why is it I want to study & train? Second stay clear of any school or instructor that will promise you a particular amount of rank in a particular amount of time for a particular amount of money ...(Schools like this only want your money)... It's also best to stay clear of the politics of the arts & the arts are full of this. You will encounter lots of that here as well as many people wanting to feed their egos. Keep in mind being a martial artist and a brawler are totally different. Anyone can fight, thats just blind rage. A good school with a good instructor will teach you how not to fight as the highest level of martial arts is being able to end an encounter without having to fight & use force. Lots of people regardless if they admit it or not start in the arts with one thing really on their minds ...(A Black Belt!) If a person wants a black belt that bad it's much cheaper to go out and buy one! Rank in reality means nothing as the path you follow as you train is much more important as on your path the experiences you have good as well as bad make you a far richer person & give you a stronger spirit. Trust me, I teach but I'm also a student as everyday I learn something new. Best of luck in your search for the right school & art.
     
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  4. WingChunIan

    WingChunIan Blue Belt

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    My advice would be to develop a criteria list and rank them in order of importance.
    - why do you want to train? fitness, discipline, sport, self protection, want a hobby, co-ordination, etc etc
    - distance from home, accessibility by public transport, car etc
    - class times
    - limitations in terms of personal beliefs, religion etc
    - limiting physical conditions, injuries, etc
    - level of expense, class fees, uniforms, gradings, memberships, insurance, seminars etc - establish your budget
    - reputation of instructor, local unknown vs international best seller (only you can decide if its important)

    Once you've drawn up your criteria then do a local search and note down the ones that might score highest. Finally go visit the school, watch a class, talk to the instrutor and the students and decide if it feels right. If anyone refuses to let you watch before choosing to join, cross them off the list and move on.
     
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  5. Napitenkah

    Napitenkah Orange Belt

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    My feelings on this may diverge from what is considered good advice, but I also consider the motivations of established schools with the traditional nobility attitude.
    As there are schools that will pretty much guarantee you a belt if you show up for the test, having paid the fee, and go through the motions.
    The legitimate schools do something similar in a different way.
    There are schools that are considered sincere, and if you screw up during a test, you won't pass. The fees for instruction, and testing are very high. Because they are a legitimate school.
    If you don't pass that test that you paid $500 for, then you have to pay it again.
    I have seen it, where the hook is, if you are serious, then you should be willing and able to pay a higher price for a legitimate martial art.
    It is possible that teachers do approach it that way. "Why pass them, when I can get them to pay for it again?"
    That works on certain kinds of people, just as the; "Black belt clubs" work on others. Where they are told they will receive their black belt in about 2 years, even if they screw up most of the tests.
    Having this in mind, that most people teaching martial arts, have it in mind as a business, and not just they want to share their martial art with the world, then I can figure out what I want from a martial art.
    And not get worried or buy into the, I got to find an authentic school or teacher, or what is considered that.
    I have seen both kinds, and if a teacher is proficient at the art, and can teach well, I don't care about their credentials, I am aware of their credentials or lack of their credentials, and as long as I don't stand to lose from their deceptive schooling, then I will still learn the martial art.
    Like in taekwondo, I had a legitimite South Korean Kwangjangnim, 6 dan, Kukkiwon certified, who taught well, but gave fake black belt tests and moved away.
    What he taught me though, of Taekwondo, I can use and practice the rest of my life.
     
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  6. Roger Tyson

    Roger Tyson Yellow Belt

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    Most schools let you try out training with them for one lesson or more. I would simply try out some and then deicide wich one you like the most and wich one is most like the school you can imagine yourself staying with. There is a lot of different schools and unfortunately not all of them is as serious, organized and competent.
     
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  7. Renshi I

    Renshi I White Belt

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    There are many ways to choose a school. So far I have heard legal jargon, I have heard the money piece the best advice anyone can give you is " now yourself first, and if you are a parent know your child and then watch the instructor. Cause you are not buying the school you are paying for quality instruction and trust. Quality instruction you can buy videos but trust is priceless. The best indicator of a good school is the success rate. How many high ranking students do they have and how do they look when you visit; are they respectful; do they follow the protocol of the school; Do they greet you with respect; Does the instructor make you a priority when you come through the door. All need to be in place before you even talk money. You want your diamonds to be more valuable when they leave then when they came. Tang Soo
     
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  8. TheArtofDave

    TheArtofDave Green Belt

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    While reasons vary, and may change over time. I think as long as you don't end up in a system that qualifies as a mcdojo you've got a step in the right direction.
     
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  9. Yeong-gug-in

    Yeong-gug-in White Belt

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    Hmm how to choose a good school, its fraught with pitfalls unfortunately. I speak from experience from the UK. The first school I joined was a McDojo, sadly :(. All they were interested in was getting students in the door and paying fees, they charged extortionate amounts, and offered very little in the way of teaching. They had a nice dojo in a clean industrial building, they had nice equipment and a nice padded floor, and they seemed nice enough but while the head instructor had something like 30 years of experience, great posture, and from what I could see seemed like he was a very capable instructor it just didn't feel right. I sort of knew something wasn't right, but at the same time I didn't realise just how bad it was. :confused:

    So first of all the fee's were somewhere in the realm of £80 a month. Beware fees, this was very much a business first, and a school last. You paid by credit agreement, this should set alarm bells ringing, and it was a franchise :eek:. Frankly if you come across this, run. There are plenty of good instructors who charge just enough to cover costs, or just a little bit over, if there doing it for the love of teaching, and for the art itself there not going to charge extortionate rates.

    Secondly they had a sales pitch. So in the UK if you walk into an electrical store that sells computers and laptops and things, they always tell you about how just for you there going to do you a deal (shhh don't tell anyone! ;)), or because it's the last day of the week customers get a "special offer"...ughh its tedious and all lies, this school actually had the nerve to say that to potential students. Why is this even necessary? Martial arts can do great things for you, it can open doors, boost confidence, it could even save your life some day... just tell it like it is. This sort of behavior is insulting frankly, and it's a huge red flag.

    Lastly the teaching was just awful. It was family friendly, this could be controversial to some people, don't get me wrong martial arts isn't just for adults I wish I had started it as a kid, but when a school dumbs down its curriculum to cater for young students so much that the older students teaching suffers it's just pointless for the adults, and it isn't real. Martial arts has two words MARTIAL and ART, it's both. You would look around in class and see adults who can't punch properly, nobody used hip movement, stances were none existent, nobody broke into a sweat, this particular school is Tang Soo, there were green /red and black belts who couldn't name the first Hyung the school taught. The school was afraid that students would quit if they found it too hard. The head instructor even said out loud to the entire class one day "I have a policy of not correcting students". Boy did some of these students need correcting, including me, but it never happened, and when they got the camera out to take pictures at grading it showed...boy did it show.

    Grading was every two months, and it was a walk in the park, the students stood still in a line and did techniques stood on the spot. Students were guaranteed belts if they attended the grading, no matter what. A grading should be a test, sure there is room for error, and making a few mistakes shouldn't be instant fail, teachers evaluate students in class as much as at gradings, everybody gets nervous at gradings and sometimes you make mistakes but a good instructor will take that into account, if they know you can perform a Kata/Hyung/whatever your style calls it, or a techniques a few mistakes at grading are forgiven, but a good school should expect students to put effort into it gradings, and show spirit.

    So my advice is watch a class or two, the class should be challenging to the students, and if you know anyone who does martial arts, maybe at your work or your childrens school, talk to the students or the parents and see if they have any thoughts on what is a good or bad school in the area, they might have encountered more than once school and can compare them.
     
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  10. sinthetik_mistik

    sinthetik_mistik Green Belt

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    People put a lot of emphasis on finding a good school, which is most definitely true, but what is as important or maybe even a little more important is how hard you train at the martial art you choose. Each martial art has its pros and cons. Most or all martial arts are formidable if you get really good at them. From my understanding, Boxing is the best martial art for punching, Taekwondo is the best martial art for kicking, Brazilian Jiujitsu is the best martial art for cage fighting, and Krav Maga is the best martial art for street fighting, where there are no rules.
     
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  11. Oldbear343

    Oldbear343 Orange Belt

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    Spot on advice! I know a a highly regarded karate Instructor who has promoted a student from yellow to brown belt in half a year. The student is a nice bloke and a former boxer, who trains hard, so I am not knocking him....
     
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  12. Oldbear343

    Oldbear343 Orange Belt

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    When all is said and done, all these comments say much the same thing. It is horses for courses. All schools are different - even in the older formalised styles the instructors are all individuals. All styles of martial arts have something to commend them. All students are also individual - in their physical capabilities, their learning styles, their drive, and their reasons for wanting to study. Many of us feel we NEED to study! On top of all that, some place more emphasis on competition (the sport aspect) whereas some regard it more as a life art. Shop around within your area and compare styles, instructors, fees, and discipline. Most clubs will let you have at least one lesson free. It is also worth looking at the students before and after a class, to give you an idea of the general atmosphere. The only thing I would be wary of is clubs who ask you to sign a contract before you have tried a class....

    Good luck and persevere in your search - it is a life-changing decision ☺
     
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  13. JohnnyEnglish

    JohnnyEnglish Green Belt

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    6 is way too young, children have not the needed disciplin and concentration to practice and learn any martial art properly at this time of age.

    Except your daughter is one of the 3% worldwide who are highly motivated and highly disciplined to learn how to become a proper martial artist.
     
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  14. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Except her daughter is now 12, the post was written in 2009, it's now 2015.
     
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  15. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    How did I ever manage to learn, way back at the age of 7?
    I guess that one year difference is vital, eh?


    Sent from an old fashioned 300 baud acoustic modem by whistling into the handset. Not TapaTalk. Really.
     
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  16. JohnnyEnglish

    JohnnyEnglish Green Belt

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    There is a small amount of children that is able to learn even at earlier ages. But the mass of children is not !

    + There is no evidence that proves, that most children even learn something out of it, most just continue and start adapting what they learn at the age of 11-12.

    I've seen too many martial art schools where children do not take anything serious they learn there, can't even stand still.

    Next time when you quote me, please also quote the part which proves you wrong, or proves that I did not say something this polarized as you are trying to make my conclusion look.

    Have a nice day !
     
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  17. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Incorrect. All children are capable of learning. Will they learn at the same pace and with the same understanding as an adult? Probably not. But they are certainly capable of learning.

    No evidence that children learn from MA training? Right now, instructors all around the world who have actually trained children, are laughing at you. You understand this, right?

    There are differences between adults, teens and children, certainly. But to make the claim that younger children cannot learn, is, frankly, ridiculous.
     
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  18. JohnnyEnglish

    JohnnyEnglish Green Belt

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    What I mean is, the concentration span is very short, for most ! But not for all.

    This is just my personal experience in certain martial art clubs. More I can not say about it.
     
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  19. youssefmartialtalk

    youssefmartialtalk White Belt

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    i think that you should not dp a comparison between martial arts schools. because every shool has its own style and pros...etc. you should first try to answer the question : why do you want to join a martial art school? from the answer you will see what style will convence your needs.
    Good Luck
     
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  20. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Just how many martial arts places have you been to, looking at your posts across different threads you must have been in hundreds of them?
    I've taught children martial arts, horse riding and am also a Girl Guide leader where the youngest girls are 5, children can learn easily. Of course everything must be age appropriate to get the best from their lessons but really, children can learn martial arts at a young age. Whether they should is up for debate as people have different views on it from various points of view but not because children cannot learn. The argument against is whether they should be taught at a young age and grade so that you have young blackbelts while the argument for is that the children learn the ethos of martial arts to take forward into adulthood, neither argument says that children cannot learn.
     
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