How to Choose the Right Martial Arts School?
How to Choose the Right Martial Arts School
I once heard at a business event that the most difficult thing in the world to do was to make a decision. Even though that statement was made in jest as set up for what the individual was talking about, you almost have to agree with it on some level. Think about it. How often have you asked your spouse or partner, “What do you want for dinner?”. We all have had the experience of the merry-go-round that conversation becomes, LOL!
All kidding aside, choosing the right martial arts school for your child or for yourself can be a daunting task as well. It’s an important decision to make. The wrong choice can cause a person to become disillusioned and quit something that could have genuinely been great for them. However, the right choice could mean one of the best life journeys you’ll ever take.
Since choosing the right martial arts school is a very important decision I’m going to go over, what I call, The Big 5. The questions below will help you narrow things down as you go looking for the right martial arts school for your family.
Is the location convenient for you?
Is the dojo/studio clean and safe?
Do they have a character/personal development curriculum?
What is the culture of the dojo/studio?
What is their online integrity and reputation?
The questions I’ve outlined above will definitely help you become more informed about one of the most important decisions you can make. Choosing martial arts as a new activity for yourself or your child can be rewarding and there are so many benefits to training in the martial arts, so I want to make it easier for you to make the correct decision.
Is the Location Convenient for You?
Your level of commitment and your goals will determine where on the scale of importance the location of the martial arts school is in relation to your house or work.
Somethings to consider. Who will be going to this dojo? You or your child? If it’s your child will you take them after school or will they go home first then to the dojo? If the classes are for you then will you plan on going immediately after work or will you be leaving from home?
These are important things to consider because you want to make it easy for you to get to the dojo. If it’s easy to get there then that means there will be less of a barrier to actually go to class. Especially on those days that you “don’t feel like it”. Believe me, you’ll have those days. Maybe because you had a bad day at work, you didn’t get enough sleep, or your kid a bad day at school.
No matter the reason, your motivation will be challenged and if the school is nearby then you’ve made it easier for yourself to get there. Remember, this decision is a healthy one, an important potentially life-saving one too. So don’t lose sight of why you started and don’t make it harder on yourself to get there.
Is the Dojo/Studio Clean and Safe?
This is a very important question ask yourself when you’re visiting each dojo. Nobody wants to train in a filthy and unsafe environment, especially if you have kids. A lot can be said about the instructor, the staff, and their philosophy if a dojo is clean and safe.
Some areas to consider:
- Are the bathrooms clean?
- Is the sitting/waiting area clean and uncluttered?
- Is there a place for students to put their personal items?
- Do they regularly clean and sanitize the training floor?
- Do the students practice good hygiene by keeping a clean uniform?
- Are there rules of the dojo for safe training and proper etiquette?
All of the above are important considerations in regards to personal and professional cleanliness. Another detail to take note of, do they have rules to further reinforce the cleanliness of the dojo? For example, are students allowed to go into the bathroom barefooted and then step back onto the training floor? If so this should be a HUGE red flag for an unsanitary training facility.
Many martial arts schools, I know, teach children the importance of doing the right thing, doing their homework, keeping their room clean, etc. How can a martial arts instructor tell the kids to keep their room clean when they can’t even keep the dojo clean. This isn’t a “do as I say, not as I do” situation. This is a matter of integrity and setting a good example. This is one of many, simple ways, to tell if a school lives by what they say.
Is There a Character/Personal Development Curriculum?
If you’re looking for kids martial arts for your child another question to ask the head instructor is if there is a Character Development curriculum they follow for their kid’s martial arts program? This has been especially important at our dojo and the parents absolutely love this part of what we teach. A solid character development system lays the foundation for success for your child and takes martial arts training to a new and exciting level.
Martial arts is more than just punching and kicking. It’s about teaching kids about respect (for themselves and others), courtesy, discipline, empathy, kindness, and other important values and life skills.
For adults, it’s really no different. This may or may not be important to you but at the Budo Shingikan Dojo we have an adult version of Kid’s Character Development program called Warrior Ways. Warrior Ways takes the student into a much deeper understanding of the martial art concepts, principles, and philosophies we teach.
Many if not ALL the Warrior Ways lessons can be applied to everyday life. This is exactly the parallel we make and that our students make when applying the lessons outside the dojo. A personal development approach to martial arts may not be what you’re looking for but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
What is the Culture of the Dojo/Studio?
The culture of a dojo is a very important thing to notice when choosing the right school for your family. The culture or “vibe” of a school is often times the best reflection of the head instructor and staff. Do the people seem friendly and inviting or guarded and rude?
Did you get a welcoming feeling when you walked in or a cold shoulder from the high ranking students of the school?
The culture is a great measuring tool to know if you’re going to like being there or not. That first impression and gut feeling are usually right, so don’t ignore it. This all comes back to the idea of respect. If the head instructor is doing a great job with his students then they will be respectful, friendly, inviting, and genuinely want to help you.
You won’t this warm welcome at every school so when you do know that you may have found your second home and future best friends.
What is Their Online Integrity and Reputation?
This last criterion is an interesting one. What do I mean by online integrity? If you were to visit the Facebook page of the owner or head instructor and his timeline is full of lude jokes, pictures of him at the bar drinking, and living an unhealthy lifestyle then you may want to approach with caution. Not saying that a person can’t have a personal life but if there is a big disconnect between the choices they make for themselves and the image they are trying to portray in the dojo then how can a person with little to no integrity be trusted.
Go to the Facebook Business page too and check out what the dojo does online. Are they consistently communicating with their community? Are there any videos you can see of class? Any coll pictures to give you an idea of what the place may be like?
Again it’s an important decision to make and sometimes you have to go a little Sherlock Holmes to know who it is you’re about to trust your family’s martial arts education to. Check the major sites:
and Tik Tok (if it makes sense to)
Lastly, check their reviews online. This is a great indicator of what others think of the school and of the instructor and staff. We’re all used to looking at reviews for other services and products, so why not look at what the social community is saying about the martial arts school you are considering going to.
If you found yourself reading this because you are looking for a martial arts school for your child or for yourself then please, I encourage you to visit us or register for a trial program to try us out.
You won’t be disappointed!
See you soon,