Martial Arts Houston: How to Choose a Martial Arts School – Considerations for Making the Right Choice
Whether you are a parent looking to enroll your child in martial arts classes, or interested in training yourself, the basic principles for choosing a martial arts school are the same. You first have to decide what you want to gain from taking up martial arts, and then you have to find the best school and instructor that best fits that need. Let’s take each step one at a time.
STEP 1: DECIDE CLEARLY WHAT YOU WANT YOU OR YOUR CHILD TO GAIN FROM MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING
This is a crucial step that is sometimes overlooked. People have different but very good reasons for wanting to start martial arts training. There are many benefits that martial arts training offers, here are a few:
- Self defense
- Develop a general sense of well-being and self-confidence.
- Lose weight
- Gain flexibility and coordination.
- acquire more discipline
- And more…
Why do you want to train in martial arts? Maybe your reasons include all of the above, and that’s fine, but try to find one or two reasons that are most important to you. For example, are you just looking for some light recreation? Then a community center program may be enough. However, if you want all the benefits that martial arts has to offer, such as self-defense or personal development, then you’ll need a full-time professional school. Deciding what you really want is a very important step in choosing the best school for you.
STEP 2: CHOOSE THE SCHOOL AND INSTRUCTOR THAT BEST FITS YOUR NEEDS
Once you’ve decided what you want from your workout, the next step is to find the right place. There are several factors to consider when choosing a school. You’ll want to consider things like; finding the right instructor, cleanliness and distance from the school, price of classes, finding a suitable style of martial art, and safety considerations. Let’s look at each of these factors a little more closely.
What is your impression of the instructor?
You must realize that an important factor in choosing the right school is actually choosing the right instructor. Here we are talking about the instructor’s personality and teaching style. It’s hard to make an informed judgment about a person in a short meeting, but you’ll usually have to trust his instincts here. Intuition and first impressions, while not always correct, often turn out to be true. Be sure to visit the school, meet the instructor, and take a look around.
How does the instructor greet visitors and treat students?
A vocational school will have a friendly atmosphere, lots of smiles, and be well cared for. You will feel comfortable with the staff and facilities. While this may not be the closest school to your home, when it comes to your safety or your child’s safety and education, an extra ten minute drive can make a big difference to the bottom line.
How advanced does the instructor need to be? Should they have many titles and trophies?
Contrary to popular opinion, finding the best martial arts champion does not mean you have the best teacher. Just because an instructor has a lot of competition wins doesn’t always mean that person is a good teacher. Similarly, the fact that someone has received a high rank within an art does not make them a good teacher. This is a critical point to understand. One can be “natural” at martial arts, which means that they simply learn very quickly. This type of person can become a great champion with many medals and trophies, but of course this is no guarantee at all that he can effectively communicate and translate to others what comes to them quite easily. There are many examples of great competitors who are actually bad teachers. Clearly, a school owner or head instructor must be a black belt or the art equivalent. Beyond that, though, the instructor’s rank will actually mean very little to your classroom experience or the quality of your classes. What an instructor has accomplished is not as important as what he or she can do for you. It is much more important to find an instructor who cares about the students and makes them the focal point rather than seeking all the attention for themselves. Titles and trophies signify excellence in competition. So titles and trophies are great, IF that same person is also a good teacher. So if you can find an instructor with great credentials, medals, belts, etc., who ALSO cares about his students and can effectively convey that information to them, then he has the best of both worlds.
Is the school clean?
This is very important. Dirty gyms can spread staph and a lot of other nasty stuff you’d rather not know about. However, good gyms are vigilant about regularly sanitizing their equipment. Don’t be afraid to ask how often the instructor cleans and disinfects the equipment. Sometimes you will know everything you need just by looking around you. This does not mean that the school has to be so immaculate, a little dust here or there does not hurt. But if you see dirty carpeting or blood on the walls, it’s time to look elsewhere.
How far is the school?
The best school in the world won’t do you any good if it’s too far away for you to attend classes regularly. Consider the traffic too. It might even be a good idea to take a “test” ride during the hours you will be traveling to class. Is the class schedule adequate? Ask to see the schedule and make sure you can comfortably attend at least twice a week. Also pay attention to the duration of the classes. In today’s world, it’s very difficult to spend more than an hour on an activity for any length of time, and attention span studies have shown that 30-60 minutes is the maximum for most people.
How much should I expect to pay?
Paying for martial arts lessons is a lot like buying a car or anything else. You often get what you pay for. Cleanliness, professionalism, quality, safety and individual attention is what usually differentiates high-end schools from cheaper schools. Most schools charge what they think they are worth. So if you want the best instruction, you should expect the price to be higher than normal. So what is normal? In 2007, the average price in the United States for martial arts training was approximately $100 per month. Schools in smaller towns will charge less, and in cities where the overall cost of living is a bit higher, the same will be true for martial arts classes. For those who want the best for themselves or their children, expect to pay around $120 a month or more. Just as private universities and academic institutions exist for a certain group of people who want the best academic education, similarly, these high-level martial arts programs are for those who want the safest and most professional service available for their martial arts training. martial.
You should also note that offering classes on 6 or 12 month agreements is common practice in the martial arts industry. In fact, in our experience, schools that have such agreements are generally better maintained, better managed, and of better quality than cheaper “month-to-month” schools.
What style of martial art should I choose?
This answer here depends on what your goals are. If you just want some light recreation then most tae kwon do schools would be fine. If you just want a cardio alternative and don’t care at all about self-defense, boosting your self-confidence, and the like, then a typical “cardiokickboxing” class at your local spa might be just what you need. . If you’re just interested in preserving an ancient Eastern art form, with perhaps a little self-defense as an added consideration, then a traditional Kung Fu, Karate, or Tae Kwon Do school would be right for you.
However, if you’re looking to really increase your fitness level or get serious about self-defense training, here’s a tip: When it comes to serious conditioning and self defense, martial arts styles are NOT “all the same”.
This is a controversial question, and surely there will be those who disagree with what we say here, but we believe that the style or discipline that is taught is very important if you want serious training that can give you the best in conditioning and self-defense. Perhaps the most famous martial artist of all time, Bruce Lee recognized the limitations of the more traditional forms of karate, kung fu, and tae kwon do. Lee thought that many of these arts clung to outdated and impractical techniques and training methods out of an unfounded respect for “tradition”, while he ignored the fact that there might be new and better ways of doing things. We agree with Bruce Lee’s assessment. In our opinion, the more contemporary martial arts like Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, Krav Maga, Kickboxing, Grappling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Boxing and Wrestling are much better when it comes to conditioning and realistic self defense.
Is martial arts training safe?
In general terms it is, but it can vary depending on the school you choose. Most schools are very safe and go to great lengths to ensure the safety of their classes. Other schools are tougher and may have a military atmosphere where only the strong survive. An almost exclusively adult male student body and a “wrestling gym” atmosphere may help you recognize these schools. You should know that the insurance ratings above rank martial arts as safer than golf in the number of injury claims. That doesn’t mean you won’t get sore or bruised occasionally, it just means serious injuries aren’t very common in most martial arts schools. This may be particularly true for schools that belong to a professional organization that emphasizes the importance of safety.
Finally, while claims against schools are very rare because training is very safe, many schools are not insured, which is wrong. Make sure your school is insured and instructors are attending seminars and workshops on teaching safe classes.
If you are interested in going further, feel free to check out the resources at www.MartialArtsDVD.com for home martial arts training programs.