“Finding A Martial Art School That’s Right For Me.”

Your child comes home crying due to a bully situation at school. Perhaps its a situation where you’re walking towards your car after a late night at the office and you sense someone walking behind you making you feel uncomfortable wondering if that individual has some evil intention and you not knowing how to respond, leaving you with a feeling of panic. Regardless of the reason, finding a Martial Art School can be a rather stressful process, especially with all the options out there and certain questionable tactics used to get you to sign on the dotted line.

To help with the search process I’ve created a Top Five List of things to consider when choosing a Martial Art School right for you!

#1 – “What Do I Want Out Of A Martial Art Program.” – The very first question I ask those looking for a school is what is their goal when training in a Martial Art program. Is it learning self defense, learning to compete in a tournament like a MMA match, losing weight, etc? Don’t be fooled when a school says they can provide all goals however! For example: Having a tournament curriculum and self defense curriculum are very different. One may say gouging the eyes is a good defense tactic given a certain situation where the other may say its against the rules. The body responds how it was conditioned and training two different ways can lead to the body freezing up under realistic conditions, figuring out what to do so having goals written out before visiting a Martial Art School will help in determining if the program taught will help you reaching said goal(s).

#2 – Contracts, Contracts, Contracts – Martial art Schools need income to survive. It’s basic business 101 however be careful on what you are signing up for. Some programs love to dazzle potential students with flashy uniforms, weapons training and various high end training tactics but fail to tell you that each of those training areas come with an additional price of a standard class setting. While I agree we need to make money to live, shady tactics of hiding certain fees until you’re hooked is just bad business practice so make sure they provide all fees up front before the dazzle begins.

#3 – Instructor Participation – Is having the main Instructor teaching the majority of classes, important to you? I hear all to often, people meeting the senior instructor and how they were the one that sold them on the program yet rarely taught them. Usually it was several senior belts that were always teaching the class. While I am a fan of Assistant Instructors and the role they play in a school, having that information of who teaches the class should be provided and discussed so you don’t feel blindsided or cheated if things are not what they seem.

#4 – Belt Systems – Every school has some sort of belt system for structure and learning purposes. The question is though what are the requirements for obtaining a belt level? Usually there’s an added cost to cover the out of pocket expense the school takes when testing their students. Or the school may just build it into a students monthly fees to cover such costs. What may not be shared is a student may have to attend a certain amount of tournaments (mainly for tournament style curriculums), donate a pre-determined amount of their time to teaching young belts, conduct several classes or assist in testing days in order to acquire their next belt level.

#5 – Gear And Other Required Items – Most schools are pretty good at providing a costs list of everything you may be financially responsible for and is often a sheet placed within a welcome packet you receive at the time of your first visit however there are some schools who tend to not openly provide the costs without being asked first. Make sure you double check the packet or ask for a price sheet of everything just in case! I have heard to many horror stories of parents and students getting billed for costly items they were not aware of that was required of them in order to participate in certain training drills. A standard class special price may seem like a good deal but you might be trapped in either paying for high priced gear to continue the class or be out the fee you paid for up front if you choose not to purchase said items!

We at Dynamic Self Defense welcome all who wish to visit our school to see how our program works and figure out if we are the right fit for them! Whether its our Master Instructor taught classes, month-to-month membership fees or our no-nonsense approach to effective self defense training, we strive to have something for everyone!

About Master Mulhollen

Master Mulhollen has studied martial arts for over 20 years. He was a Choi Kwang-Do instructor prior to Dynamic Self Defense. He holds a 4th degree Black Belt and is the Master Instructor at the New Albany Dynamic Self Defense School.

Speak Your Mind