Seeking info on joining Martial Arts School

Emptyhand

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I am an adult (just over 40yrs of age) with no martial arts background. I am interested in learning a martial art but due to my location and work schedule there are limited locations in relative close proximity to my home that offer classes.

From what limited research I have conducted I am most interested in Shorin Ryu (took classes over 20 years ago but I had to move and did not continue studying) and Ed Parkers Kenpo. In addition to that research one school is closer than the other. The Shorin Ryu nearby is Shinjinbukan Shorin Ryu. I believe these two forms are in quite a contrast to each other. One tradional while the other more modern (if I have termed them correctly?).

How far do most of you travel to get to your dojo and was the distance a factor in your decision in choosing a particular school?

One is around the corner basically, with the other over 16+ miles away with a limited adult class schedule. I also have the price for one school and I am waiting to hear if a price will be quoted to me from the other school.

I will be visiting each school to view a class but I don't think that with my limited understanding of the martial arts visiting a school for one or two classes would be enough for me to determine which form would be best for me. (I have read a number of threads/posts for things to consider in selecting a school).

I am not looking to determine which is the better form etc... but more direction in other things I might not be considering when making my decision.

I have a general idea which would be the best for me based on my above listed concerns (the Shorin Ryu school, for the following reasons, closest to me, offer as many adult classes as I want to attend and they teach adults at least 3 times a week and one mixed weekend class. However, the Kenpo school is of interest also due to the style and applications I have read about, but further away and limited adult classes. Both schools are not commercialized with the Shorin Ryu school being much more "one on one" so to speak due to the number of students attending the class.

I do know that while I have no martial arts experience other than one particular school over 20 years ago, I don't tend to be interested in the "chain" style schools. (I think in these forums they might be referred to as McDojo's??). They seem more geared on the dollars incoming. (my perception and not to take away from the teaching, but I prefer a smaller less commercialized atmosphere).

I apologize for rambling on, I guess I already know the answer to my questions or perhaps I have answered them above. I am just hoping to get some input about the various forms and perhaps receive questions from forum members about things that I might not have considered when I make my decision. To me this is an investment of my time not just a monetary decision so I want to make the best decision possible as I plan on studying for as long as I can.

Thank you for your time.
 

CityChicken

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IMO, you want to choose a school that is easy to get to and works for your schedule. That will make you more likely to get to class and train. Also, make sure you think you will enjoy learning from your instructor. I would not worry too much about the style if you are just starting out. I think you are wise to check out the schools in person. Good luck in your search!
 

bushidomartialarts

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You're definitely on the right track. The art will not be nearly as important as the quality of instruction and the culture of the school you attend.

16 miles is definitely worth the drive if that farther school is a better fit for you.

Both schools are likely to have some sort of introductory package. I'd recommend doing both intros and then joining the school you like best. If, after trying both, you like them equally, then join the nearest school or the cheapest.

But it's likely you'll find one fits you better than the other.
 

Xue Sheng

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- Is the school close enough for you to actually get there on a regular basis?

If you like the school but it is too far away you may not want to go train after a long day at work. And a great travel distance is a great excuse not to go. I know this from experience.

- Does the schedule of classes work with your current schedule of your work/Life?

Might be a great school but if the class is a 6:00 pm a Wednesday and you don't get out of work until 6:00 you can't make it.

- Do you get along with and or like the teachers?

If you do not like and or respect the teacher you will learn nothing.

- Do you like what you see in the class?

I once went to watch a class (TKD/HKD) that the head teacher seemed like he was very well trained, but he no longer taught, his son did. His son was also very skilled, he learned from his father. But his son could not teach and the class was horrible.

How far from my home; .75 hours to 1 hour depending on which Sifu I train with. And if I have my way my newest sifu will be about 21 hours (by jet) from my home next year.
 

NDNgirl4ever

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Go with the one that fits better. See how each instructor teaches the class, the enviroment, and whether or not the students seem friendly and have fun. Go for the quality of instruction and how it fits your personality and schedule.

That said, I take Shorin Ryu at a small independently owned school less than 10 minutes from my house. The distance is nice, but not the biggest factor. The school just felt right to me, so I tried it, and it turned out well.
 

Drac

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The school just felt right to me, so I tried it, and it turned out well.

That is probably one of the most important factors in school selection..Avoid any school that want to to sign lenghty contract..
 
OP
Emptyhand

Emptyhand

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Thank you to all that replied to my post.

Actually, one of the schools has followed up asking if I have had a chance to attend one of their classes.

I will let you all know what I decide when I finally make that decision.

Thank you again.
 

cali_tkdbruin

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IMHO, I think you should follow what suits your needs best. Take into consideration what you want to accomplish, and given your body type, what you're capable of physically doing, and of course what is most convenient for you and where you reside. I live in the Los Angeles CALIfornia area so I'm fortunate in that there's an abundance of different schools of martial arts styles here.

I followed the Korean martial art style of Taekwondo because in my family it's a big family tradition to be a Taekwondoist. A lot of us have reached the dan ranks. Anyway, in hind sight, I maybe should have started in the ground fighting styles of the MAs like the MMAs and BBJ because that would have been a better fit for me. So, to cut to the chase, my advice would be to research the all of the various MAs available to you, and practice the art that works best for you.
 

Em MacIntosh

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They already said it best about the instructor being the most important thing so I'll add something different. Get yourself a copy of the Tao of Jeet Kune Do if you don't already have one. Makiwara is excellent to practice in these arts and should be considered. Iron palm as well. Get access to a heavy bag if you can. Pumping some iron is usually a good thing. Cross-train, fill your head with good knowledge and harden you fists. Or as you will of course. Tip of the hat and congrats. Hope it all works out for you.
 

Touch Of Death

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That is probably one of the most important factors in school selection..Avoid any school that want to to sign lenghty contract..
Define lengthy. I think you will prolly be happiest in what you know from your experience 20 years ago; for, that is the culture you know. A six month to a year contract is not the end of the world, but try to keep your monthly dew under $200 or even $150.
Sean
 

Em MacIntosh

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From my experience, the best schools are non-profit. A place that teaches the art for the art and for whoever wants to learn, not for money. However, these schools are often limited with their equipment.
The quality of instruction is usually better though. Just what I've found.
 

charyuop

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I drive 10 miles to go and 10 to come back 3 times a week, but even tho the high price of gas I do not regret it.
My luck is that even tho I live in a small town I found a Sensei who is 5th Dan and knows his Art very well and can even teach it very well.

So as you can see distance is something that in the long run won't bother you if you have a good teacher and you like what you are doing.

Something you shouldn't underestimate is also class size. In my dojo we are basically 3 or 4 student with Sensei always on the mat with us. A small class makes easier to learn and Sensei can be more aware of your mistakes.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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First off good luck!
icon6.gif
Second I would advise taking a class at
each one and see which Training Hall suits you best. Then you
can make a more informed decision.
 

Grenadier

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Don't let your age discourage you. One of our instructors here just began five years ago, and is now a nidan. He's also 75 years old now, and thrives in the dojo. He had no previous training, but accomplished a good deal by being a good listener, and training hard.

As for distances, that's difficult to say. Back when I lived in Connecticut, I'd drive 35 miles each way, to go from Bristol to New Milford, so that I could train at the best dojo in the area for me. When I moved to Alabama, I regularly drove 25 miles each way to train until we opened up another location closer to me.

If you can fit it in your schedule, then the distance shouldn't really matter, as long as it's reasonable (less than 60 miles one way?).
 

Shidoshi0153

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While you are looking for a physical dojo, I have started something online for guys in just your situation. It is a dojo completely online. Check it out if its for you, great; if not, it may be interesting as a suppliment to a training routine you find. www.impactninjutsu.com

It was designed for those who have limited time or no dojo in close proximity.
 

bluemtn

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Excellent advice given so far, especially visiting each place and taking or watching a class. The first one is usually free... Best wishes in finding the class that suits you best!
 
OP
Emptyhand

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Well, I am going to attend my first class as a spectator this Wednesday eve at the Shorin Ryu School. They offered for me to participate but I would prefer to watch first to see a "wider" picture thus being less involved.

The other instructor does not have a specific dojo currently but is willing to take on private students. I have not discussed about attending a private session as of yet.

I am rather torn between the two arts because both offer either private or a small class but they are different styles and have different class attendance options.

Hopefully I can make a decision soon.
 

Em MacIntosh

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I've had good experience with private lessons and reccommend them if you feel you've found a good instructor. Sometimes it's worth paying a little extra or putting in the extra effort. I'd say go with your gut and pick the one you'd feel happiest with. If you don't like one you can probably switch later on.
 
OP
Emptyhand

Emptyhand

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I went with my heart on this and decided over much thought to study Ed Parkers Kenpo Karate. I will be taking private instruction.

I am very excited and anxious to get the instruction.

Thanks to all that posted.
 

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