What perspective students need to know about our Art.

IcemanSK

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There are a lot of threads lately that boil down to "this is something I wish I knew (about the Art; the dojang where I train; my instructor, etc) when I started Tae Kwon Do." I've had conversations with parents from other schools about the promise of KKW certs that never come, low expectations of masters in belt tests, & other things that they wished they had known when they enrolled their child (or enrolled themselves).

What do you think are the important things to tell a perspective student? Or better yet, what questions should perspective students ask of a school owner before they begin training?
 

Gwai Lo Dan

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Here are a few things I have asked recently in looking for a new school, which prompted instructors to ask "oh, you did taekwondo before?" Many of them are due to issues I have seen at other clubs.

- What is the cost? Is that for a certain number of times per week or unlimited? Is it a contract, or do you have month-to-month?
- Is testing mandatory? How much is testing? How much is black belt testing? Does the black belt testing include a KKW certification?
- Are there any other fees?
- Is billing through a 3rd party or through the school?
- Is the sparring class by invitation only, or can anyone go if they have the equipment? (I am surprised by how often it is invitation only. So the better get better and the poorer students stay poorer).
- Do you shutdown during weeks in the summer or at Christmas?
- To what extent do you correct students on body mechanics versus letting them figure things out on their own? (I usually know the answer to this by watching a class or two, and may make a comment rather than a questions. For instance, I commented to a Master that I liked that he corrected students on supporting leg position in the front kick, for instance).
- Will you be teaching here for the foreseeable future? In particular, I have asked this to a young Korean master, since his high level of instruction was the reason I was looking at that club.
- What is the curriculum? Do you add many things like 1 step sparring and self-defence to the KKW curriculum of taegeuk patterns, taekwondo techniques, and sparring?
 

Earl Weiss

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What are the "all in costs". Tuition tests, gear, uniforms, ancilary courses that you are required to incur?

Are you expected to participate in tournaments fundraisers etc.

What organization are you certified thru and do you certify thru and what is the contact information.

I tell anyone looking for a school to visit the school and watch a few classes. On any given night they may be focusing on one or two areas and you might get the mistaken impression that is all they do all the time.

I had a visiting family watch an entire class where we did not spar and ask if we did contact sparring. I said of course. You have to get wet if you want to swim. They never came back. Later found out from someone else thye visited that they had a bad sparring experience at theri current school and were looking for non contact sparring.
 

Gwai Lo Dan

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I had a visiting family watch an entire class where we did not spar and ask if we did contact sparring. I said of course. You have to get wet if you want to swim. They never came back. Later found out from someone else thye visited that they had a bad sparring experience at theri current school and were looking for non contact sparring.
Your school is ITF, right? If so, do you talk about ITF style (i.e., ruleset) of sparring vs WTF style?
 

RTKDCMB

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If you look on the websites from various martial arts schools you may find a section on Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). The questions people ask usually depend on what they are looking for in a school. Some of the likely questions are:

- How often are classes held?
- What are the costs involved and how are the fees paid (month by month, contract etc)t?
- Does it cost extra to train more often?
- What do the fees include (training fees, gradings, equipment etc)?
- Do you offer a free trial?
- Is the school full or semi-contact or non-contact?
- Does the school compete in competitions and will I be expected to?
- Does the school focus on sport or self defence
- What does the training involve (grappling, striking, flying kicks, weapons etc).
- Who conducts the grading of the students?
- How long has the instructor been learning and teaching the art?
- On average how long does it take to reach black belt? A good school will be able to give you a rough idea but not a guarantee.
- What makes this school different than the other school(s) I have just been to?
- Does the school make allowances for people with limited physical condition? Someone who is 60 years old, injured, has a bad back or is overweight is not going to be doing any jumping triple upside down flash kicks anytime soon. There was once a former Muay Thai guy who came to train at our school who had lost a kidney in a car accident and could not continue fighting full contact and the school was not willing to modify his training in any way.

These are just a few.
 

Earl Weiss

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Your school is ITF, right? If so, do you talk about ITF style (i.e., ruleset) of sparring vs WTF style?

I would not use initials of orgs to describe sparring since this info is meaningless to newbies. I may explain that our school allows punching to the head while sparring and some other systems do not. So, depending on the purpose or goal of their training thy may prefer one over the other.
I actulay had one mother come with her 12 yearold daughter who may have been a Kukki BB looking for a new school. The girl was the one in a thousand who had great technique as a 12 year old. I told her any instructor would be proud to have her daughter as a student. However it would be difficult for her daughter to consider learning a new system so should would likely be happier at a Kukki system school.
90+ % of other kids who come in and might be transfers have little knowledge and ability so it's no kreat loss to transition.
 

Earl Weiss

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As a part of shameless self promo I might tell prospective people that if a school purports to follow a certain style to check out any official videos of the style and see if they look like what the school does.

this can affect their ability to fit in at some other school years down the line.

This might be difficult for newbies to evaluate. In my case any people following the current standard for the Chang Hon system are able to make the determination with a short observation.
 
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