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Thread: Selecting a school for beginners

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Baltimore, Maryland
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    Default Selecting a school for beginners

    The most important step you will take after deciding you want to study the martial arts is selecting a school. Karate is sometimes perceived as a strange Oriental discipline. There may be a fear or trepidation about actually entering a school. That is the first challenge. Many people have thought about taking karate lessons at some time. They ask their friends who attend about it. The recommendations are great, they or their children love it, they are in the best shape of their lives and so on. Sometimes there are horror stories about being beaten up in the studio. It is acknowledged that there are some bad instructors out there and they treat incoming students like fresh meat. Rest assured that the vast majority of instructors welcome new people, not as a chance to try out their stuff on the unsuspecting, but as an opportunity to perpetuate the arts.
    Much has been written about finding a school, mostly in magazine articles. The typical American wants the closest school to his/her home or work. There are more commercial martial arts studios in the U.S. than there are McDonalds restaurants. Thus, you can understand it is easy to find a school in your neighborhood.
    I find that most people that call about lessons do not event know what they really want. Most ask for Tae Kwon Do, probably because it is the best-marketed name in the arts. Most people have no idea at all about the difference in the arts, or the focus of the school on their particular art. These include elements such as punchers vs. kickers, and tournament players vs. self-defense practitioners. You need to realize just what it is about the arts you want and whether you think the school in mind can deliver.
    One of the natural questions is about price. The national average in the late 90's is around $80/month. This is an average; some people base their decision on where to study solely by price. Some schools above the national average see themselves in the image of the pricey private school and many do quite well at that. That appeals to a certain person in a certain area. Some will go the other route and pay $25/month at the local church or recreation center.
    The following questions will help you determine a fair price:
    - What do you get for your tuition?
    - Are there registration fees
    - Do you have an introductory program or tour?
    - Is the uniform, if any, included?
    - If not, how much is it?
    - Are adults and children classes separate?
    - What is the schedule?
    - Who are the instructors and where did they come from, what are their credentials?
    - Are spectator allowed?
    To recap, t is easy enough to identify a good teacher. Go to a class and watch. If you are comfortable with the material and how it is presented, that is a place to start introductory classes. I hope this helps. Does anyone have anything to add?
    "To hear is to doubt. To see is to be deceived. But to feel is to believe." -- SGM Ed Parker

    "Sic vis pacem parabellum - If you want peace, prepare for war." -- "The Punisher"

    "Praying Mantis, very good. . . For catching bugs." --Jackie Chan

    "A horse stance is great for taking a dump" --Jet Li

  2. #2
    Carol's Avatar
    Carol is offline Deo duce, ferro comitante
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    Feb 2006
    Nashua, NH
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    Default Re: Selecting a school for beginners

    Good Stuff Parkerkarate!

    A couple of things to add...just from my own personal experience.

    One is...are the instructors committed to giving everyone a great class? Is the whole environment focused and under control? Or...not so much so?

    The other does the class fit YOUR life and is it something you think you can do on a regular basis? The most difficult decisions I've had to make were based on my schedule and distance from the school.

  3. #3
    sifuroy is offline In Memory of our Departed Friend
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    Default Re: Selecting a school for beginners

    Selecting the right school is probably one of the most important decisions you will make. Visit as many schools as you can. See how they teach.

    Look for some of these things.
    1.Will they let you watch some classes to help decide?
    2. Do you like the way they teach? Some insructors are like Marine Drill instructors. Do you want that kind of disipline? Most don't!
    3. Would you fit into that class? Did you like the atmosphere?
    4. How would you describe the moral of the class? Did the students seem to get along well and seem to be learning?
    5. How well run was the class?? Were students paying attention or talking to each other? If so how did the instructors handle that?
    5. How much contact was allowed doing techniques. Are you comfortable with that? Does the instructor watch out for student safetey?
    6. How about sparring? Do they use proper safety gear? does the instructor keep a close eye for excess contact? How does he handle it?
    7.Check around and find out the average price of Martial arts instruction in your area. Are they with in that guideline?
    8.Do they want you to sign a long term contract? Find one that don't!
    9. Do they want you to pay by automatic deposit frem your checking account? Once it is started it is sometimes hard to get stopped and some people continue to pay even after they have left the school.

    These are just some of the things you should be looking out for. Take your time in selecting the right school. It is probably the most important martial Arts decision you will ever make. If you pick the wrong one you will end up dropping out in a short time. That will be wasted time. You will have to start over somewhere else. A few of these stops and starts and you will end up getting nowhere. I have seen many people in the martial arts that have maybe 10 years experience with different schools and still don't have a Black Belt. Only a lot of disconnected and conflicting information.

    I am most Respectfully,

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Sarnia, ON, Canada
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    Default Re: Selecting a school for beginners

    Here is a very simple way of finding a school for you. Check out as many schools as you want and the one that made you feel the most comfortable on the inside is the school for you at that time.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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