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BellaOnline's Martial Arts Editor

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Find a Martial Arts School

Guest Author - Caroline Chen-Whatley

Finding a school can be one of the toughest steps entering Martial Arts. Itís an important step forward for anyone interested in learning more about Martial Arts.

Over the years, Iíve heard some horror stories of people not liking the Martial Arts school they found or quickly dropping out of their training after only a few months. The shame is that the person who loses out on this great experience of Martial Arts is that student.

Iíve been fortunate finding some great instructors and schools and here are some of the things that I used to uncover my teachers in the past.

#1 Figure out what style you want
If youíre in a Martial Arts rich environment (which I might add is not always just metropolitan areas), you will have a wide array of schools and styles to pick from. To help you narrow down your search, itís important to first figure out what you want to gain.

Check out my What is... series to help you distinguish some of the differences in the styles.

#2 Observe the teacher/school
Even if youíre in an area where you donít get to choose which style is optimal for you, it is a good idea to take time and observe the teacher. If they are going to perform in a local demo somewhere, try to attend. If they offer free classes, see if you can join. If they do none of these (which is rare), ask if you can sit in on class for a small fee.

Most schools will have some way to introduce a new student to their system. Itís a great way for you to observe the teacher and environment. Ask yourself some basic questions:
  • Do people seem friendly? Are these the type of people youíre willing to hand out with? You will be spending time with them, so itís worth finding out. (Check out my criteria in Family with Martial Arts
  • How do they view competition and other public events? (You may want to read my article on Competing and Martial Arts
  • Does the head instructor seem to be involved in the classes a lot? You may not be able to gauge this with just one class but itís important that even though other students may be instructing, the head instructor is available, accessible, and involved in whatís happening in the school.
  • Do classes seem orderly and things run smoothly? This is a business and service industry after all. If the school seems to operate in a professional manner, it reflects well on how they may handle other aspects of the business.

    #3 Be clear on why youíre joining
    Are you doing it for health reasons? To build your self-esteem? For your children? To build discipline in them? To learn self-defense?

    Thereís a multitude of reasons to learn Martial Arts and a multitude of reasons youíll be looking into a school. Being clear with what you want out of any program will help you find the right one for you. (If you donít know what youíd like to gain out of it, check out this article, Beginner Martial Arts Questions Answered

    #4 Remember to have fun!
    If I said it once, Iíll say it again. Martial Arts should be something you do because you enjoy it. If youíre finding yourself dreading to go to class, take some time to sit down and figure out why.

    Maybe something in the style or the program doesnít suit you. Maybe the time isnít right for you to be doing this. Maybe itís worth looking around at other instructors or schools. Ultimately, youíre paying for these classes; and while you need to respect what your teacher has to offer, you should also feel like youíre learning something and gaining knowledge with each class.

    These are four basic questions you can look into when trying to find the right school for you. If you have any specific questions, please let me know and Iíd be happy to answer them or address them in another article here.

    Until next time...

    ... train hard!
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    Check out other 'What is..' Articles
    Finding a Martial Arts School for Your Child
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    Content copyright © 2013 by Caroline Chen-Whatley. All rights reserved.
    This content was written by Caroline Chen-Whatley. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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