When venturing into the world of the martial arts, everything seems impressive. Intense instructors teach out-of-this world techniques, promising effectiveness, self-improvement and more. The beginner sits baffled in the corner, wondering how it’s possible to become so controlled and agile, graceful yet brutally violent. If one actually experiences this on their first night, they are lucky indeed! Despite many school impressing new students, some schools have less quality than others. In a perfect world, all Martial Arts schools would be amazing places to train, each offering something unique and useful, mesmerizing as well as encouraging. This is, sadly, not the case. Some schools are hardly worth the room they’re run from and can leave a bad taste in a potential student’s mouth. With that in mind, here are some areas to pay attention to when looking for an instructor and school.
The Room Itself
- A Clean Environment – If the dojo (training hall) has used tissues piled in a corner, striking pads tossed aside and blood stained mats, pay attention! While a good instructor does not depend upon a clean environment to train in, those that have no respect for the place they train in may have no respect for the arts they teach.
- A Humble Environment – Is the room adorned with pictures of celebrities, photographs or self-serving propaganda? If so, be wary! While some martial cultures value these kinds of displays, they could be a cause for concern. What is the style? What are that style’s values? A humble environment in which the instruction does the talking is far more powerful than any poster or photo.
- Happy Students – This is always a good sign. If the students getting ready for class are excited to be there, then the dojo could be a great one. Although there is no causal relationship between good instruction and happy students, there has to be some reason they’re so happy.
- Respectful Students – There is a difference between quiet, fearful students and those with respect. This does not relate to a specific code of behavior while training, but the way in which those students respond to their instructor. Do they listen? Do they apply what they are told? These things demonstrate respect.
- Demonstrated Effectiveness – A good teacher will show the application of what they teach. The martial arts are about fighting, after all. The level of understanding a teacher has will be apparent in the way they use their skills. Asking questions and being critical should not be thought of as being disrespectful. A true martial artists will welcome question and discussion, but always remember that being polite is important in any dojo.
- A Teacher with History – Ask the teacher where they learned the art they teach. Most will be happy to answer. Listen carefully to the answer. A quality instructor will have learned from another quality instructor and have an understanding of their place within the wider context of the art they teach.
- Quiet Presence – This is perhaps the biggest indicator of a quality school. If the head of the class controls their students without having to raise their voice, without having to issue commands or really even try, a true martial artist has been found! They are likely to be a person to have spent many years practicing their art. Listen closely!
It may be challenging to find the right teacher. However, the search is well worth it once it’s over. With a great instructor and a great environment, learning is far quicker and has more impact. Be sure to seek out the best!
The Benefits of Martial Arts for Kids
Kids have several opportunities to participate in team sports throughout the year where often only a few excel and others are benched. Finding an alternative activity for your child, such as martial arts, could be beneficial for your child.
Is Your Child Ready for a Martial Arts Class?
Age is important when considering if a martial arts class will suit your child. If your child is able to work independently in a classroom setting, the timing may be right to enroll your child in a class. Be sure to search out a school that meets your goals. One way to do this successfully is to take advantage of a free trial membership if the school offers one. Also be sure to check out the instructor’s qualifications and the facility where the class will be held to ensure a positive experience. Both boys and girls can benefit from classes in martial arts.
Research Types of Classes
There are many styles of martial arts such as Karate, Aikido, Jujitsu, Taekwondo, and Kung fu. Some are more appropriate for younger children than others. Be sure to do your research on techniques and methods, as some require more contact and competition than you or your child may be comfortable with. In some cases, there may be parent/child classes offered. This can be a fun way to learn a new skill with your child.