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Thread: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

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    Default Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    Every day people call or visit schools looking for training, but too often they have no idea what they should be looking for.

    What should they look for, or ask, and what are the warning signs that they should look for to avoid the bad schools?
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    Wink Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Hubbard
    Every day people call or visit schools looking for training, but too often they have no idea what they should be looking for.

    What should they look for, or ask, and what are the warning signs that they should look for to avoid the bad schools?
    Here are a few important considerations to get things rolling:

    (1) How long has the studio been in operation?
    (2) How much do the lessons cost?
    (3) How many classes am I able to attend on a weekly basis?
    (4) How long has the head instructor been involved in the martial arts?
    (5) How many students are in a typical class?
    (6) Do all belt levels train together or is there seperation based on belt ranks?
    (7) Do kids and adults train together?
    (8) How frequently does the head instructor teach?
    (9) Is sparring required? If so, how often do sparring classes exits?
    (10) Does the school include weapons training?
    (11) What are the costs of belt tests?
    (12) Do you see a lot of kids with black belts on? If so, RUN AWAY FAST!
    (13) How attentive are students during a typical class?
    (14) Are the classes disciplined and focussed?
    (15) How well do the students move compared to students at other schools?
    (16) Does the school encourage its students to compete?
    (17) How should I refer to the instructors when I have to ask a question?
    (18) What are the costs of private lessons?
    (19) What type and colour of uniform is required?
    (20) Does the studio owner claim to be a master in a half-dozen styles? If so, RUN AWAY FAST!

    Jamie Seabrook
    www.seabrook.gotkenpo.com

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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    One red-flag for me is when the instructor(s) won't let a prospective student observe any class they want. I won't buy something that I can't sample and investigate first.


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    John
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    Thumbs up Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Seabrook
    Here are a few important considerations to get things rolling:

    (1) How long has the studio been in operation?
    (2) How much do the lessons cost?
    (3) How many classes am I able to attend on a weekly basis?
    (4) How long has the head instructor been involved in the martial arts?
    (5) How many students are in a typical class?
    (6) Do all belt levels train together or is there seperation based on belt ranks?
    (7) Do kids and adults train together?
    (8) How frequently does the head instructor teach?
    (9) Is sparring required? If so, how often do sparring classes exits?
    (10) Does the school include weapons training?
    (11) What are the costs of belt tests?
    (12) Do you see a lot of kids with black belts on? If so, RUN AWAY FAST!
    (13) How attentive are students during a typical class?
    (14) Are the classes disciplined and focussed?
    (15) How well do the students move compared to students at other schools?
    (16) Does the school encourage its students to compete?
    (17) How should I refer to the instructors when I have to ask a question?
    (18) What are the costs of private lessons?
    (19) What type and colour of uniform is required?
    (20) Does the studio owner claim to be a master in a half-dozen styles? If so, RUN AWAY FAST!

    Jamie Seabrook
    www.seabrook.gotkenpo.com
    Very good points Mr. Seabrook! I honestly wish I would have had a "guide" such as this when I considered commercial training in the martial arts. I know some studios have taken the approach of handing out or distrubuting materials to prospective individuals, I honestly think that is a good policy to put forth. You have even added a couple that I would not have considered before! Good post!
    www.hunterskarate.com

    "I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one."

    - From the Lone Ranger's Creed




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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    I teach a lot of college students that have never had any exposure to the martial arts beyond the movies. It is an introductory course they take for credit. When I talk to them about continuing on some of the points I mention to them are:

    1.) If an instructor claims to teach several or "all" arts combined, grab your wallet and run.
    2.) If an instructor tells you they don't make contact because their techniques are too dangerous/deadly, grab your wallet and run.
    3.) If an instructor does not allow you to watch a class, grab your wallet and run.
    4.) If an instructor will not allow you to try an introductory class before shoving an agreement under your nose, grab your wallet and run.
    5.) If they mention secret techniques or mysticsm, grab your wallet and run.
    6.) If they start talking about ancient Shaolin monks, grab your wallet and run.

    These are just a few of the pointers I bring up.
    Just because you do something one way, does not mean that everyone else does it that way, or that it is even the correct way.

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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    If they hold out a pebble in the palm of their hand and tell you to "snatch it"....
    grab your wallet and run.

    If they use the term "Master" to describe themself and they are under 30-35 years old....
    grab your wallet and run. (( if they use the term "Grandmaster" to describe themself and are under 40 years old, grab the person nearest you and both of you run))

    If they begin to tell you about their school by telling you about all the tournaments their students win...
    If they begin to tell you about their art by first telling you all the arts that it's better than...

    Grab-n-run

    Your Brother
    John
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    ((if you use "FaceBook", look me up there by name))
    "Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven't planted"
    ~ David Bly

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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    I almost forgot, if you see a 12 year old teaching the adult class or if you see a four year old wearing a balck belt or a seven year old wearing a black belt (at all) with more than one stripe, quit laughing and run.
    Just because you do something one way, does not mean that everyone else does it that way, or that it is even the correct way.

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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Seig
    I almost forgot, if you see a 12 year old teaching the adult class or if you see a four year old wearing a balck belt or a seven year old wearing a black belt (at all) with more than one stripe, quit laughing and run.
    Ah, finally someone has posted this other than me. I have been arguing this point for years, and I'm glad to you stated it.


    Jamie Seabrook
    www.seabrook.gotkenpo.com

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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Seig
    I almost forgot, if you see a 12 year old teaching the adult class or if you see a four year old wearing a black belt or a seven year old wearing a black belt (at all) with more than one stripe, quit laughing and run.
    The truly educated never graduate.
    "To understand the heart & mind of a person, look not at what they have already achieved, but what they aspire to do." -Kahlil Gibran

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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    The following is a true story.


    About three years ago, I received a call from a woman interested in enrolling her son in Kenpo. She told me her son had studied martial arts before and that he was a black belt. I asked her son's age and she proudly told me, "8". She proceeded to tell me that he had not actively trained in two years, but she wanted to get him back into it as he was so good. I invited her to watch a class and told her that her son was welcome to participate. She asked me if he could wear his black belt and I recommended against it, but told her to what she thought best.

    At the appointed time, she showed up with her little darling, who came strutting into my studio in a gi that showed no signs of use (white) and a black belt. He strutted around like a little peacock watching my kids do their things. Back then, I had the kids do a about 10 to 15 minutes of sparring to end class. I offered to let him do techniques or sparring with one of my yellow belts. He looked me dead in the eye and said, "No thank you, sir." I asked why not, he never waivered as he said, "She'd kill me."

    I never saw either of them again.....
    Just because you do something one way, does not mean that everyone else does it that way, or that it is even the correct way.

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    Unhappy Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Seig
    The following is a true story.
    That's just sad. It sickens me that there are "McDojos" out there who would give a child a Black Belt in the first place, but it's also sad because he had a chance to learn some real MA in a legitimate school & didn't take advantage of it-- his loss.
    The truly educated never graduate.
    "To understand the heart & mind of a person, look not at what they have already achieved, but what they aspire to do." -Kahlil Gibran

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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    It amazes me that parents will spend thousands at a school that will give a false promise and not want to spend less on a school that takes longer but gets real results.
    Just because you do something one way, does not mean that everyone else does it that way, or that it is even the correct way.

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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    Nother true story...

    I was looking for a new school in the University area of MD and found a studio reputed to be a "good" school so I went for an intro class.

    Studio was small.. mats were ripped and ducktaped.. head instructor came wearing camo and combat boots... we spoke a bit about my past training and he kept making promises about making me "great" and look at all the trophies...

    so we did a few basic techniques on the matt and on a bag.. then he tried showing me a close reaping... well he didn't warn me that he was going to do it and so out of reflex I stepped out of it and reset my stance... he tried it agiain and again I stepped out of it then he got really agressive.. I rolled out of the throw and came really close to smacking the wall.

    Directly after that he started pushing his contract.. would never give me a clear ammount (as I was going to use that as an excuse to say no and leave right then) he kept pushing that I would not find a better school.. etc etc etc...

    Hopefully I do not have to say that I did not take classes there.

    ghaa.. talk about every red flag on earth.

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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Seig
    It amazes me that parents will spend thousands at a school that will give a false promise and not want to spend less on a school that takes longer but gets real results.
    Perception is reality to too many people, and quicker results in our Microwave dinner world seems to be more effective. So people buy into the myth that the bigger Mc Dojo is better because fo the way it works. It is easy to have 500 students in a pretty school caharging more than everyone else if yo are constantly instilling false hope into the students. It is harder to have 20 great students, and charge a more appropriate rate.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad
    It is easy to have 500 students in a pretty school caharging more than everyone else if yo are constantly instilling false hope into the students. It is harder to have 20 great students, and charge a more appropriate rate.
    Well put brother.


    Jamie Seabrook

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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad
    Perception is reality to too many people, and quicker results in our Microwave dinner world seems to be more effective. So people buy into the myth that the bigger Mc Dojo is better because fo the way it works. It is easy to have 500 students in a pretty school caharging more than everyone else if yo are constantly instilling false hope into the students. It is harder to have 20 great students, and charge a more appropriate rate.
    HEY! I happen to like some microwave dinners.. some of them are pretty taisty... what have you got again Nukable food?!?!

    mmmmmmm nuten says luvin like raidioactive edibles... mmmmmm yummy!

    Ohh wait thats a bit off topic...

    Ok so here is a question... if you are at a school that you do honestly enjoy.. bu due to some factors it would be more adventagious to go to a differant school... cost, location, schedual.. whatever and you like them both equally.. how do you approch your curent teacher and tell them that you want to study somewhere else?

    Somehow it feels like highschool and wanting to break up with the brunette so you can go out with a redhead...


    edit...

    Not saying that I want to leave my school... just hypothetically.

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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Seabrook
    Well put brother.


    Jamie Seabrook
    I know you see that in your neck of the woods on a daily basis with King Mullet around.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    The best ambassador I had was a friend of mine, also in the music scene. He showed me an few blocks, explained a little about them, then invited me to join the class. He thought it would be a good idea if I knew self defense. I was allowed to watch then participate w/one on one instruction that first day and have been hooked since then.
    They let me make my own decision, the only thing I had to sign was a well-written waiver (so if I busted my own head open, I couldn't sue them) and everyone was relaxed. That made me appreciate it so much more.

    And there is something about taking time to learn the skills correctly...
    especially in such an "Instant Gratification in a Me Generation" mentally that runs most schools.

    *sigh*
    "Second chances they don't never matter, people never change
    Once a whore you're nothing more i'm sorry that'll never change
    And about forgiveness, we're both supposed to have exchanged
    I'm sorry honey, but i'm passing up, now look this way...*" --Paramore "Misery Business"


    (*this is where a punch would be landed)

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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    no instant gratification?!?! I don't knwo what the big hubbub is.. I can go down to Chinatown... pay 15 bucks and get a blackbelt all on my own...

    POOF!!! instant blackbelt...

    Nobody better mess with me!!!!

    for those who missed it.. this is sarcasm and simply an extreme illustration of some of the McDojo's

    for I am Sarcastro!!!

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    Default Re: Looking for Training? Tips for the newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by gimpat01
    The best ambassador I had was a friend of mine, also in the music scene. He showed me an few blocks, explained a little about them, then invited me to join the class. He thought it would be a good idea if I knew self defense. I was allowed to watch then participate w/one on one instruction that first day and have been hooked since then.
    They let me make my own decision, the only thing I had to sign was a well-written waiver (so if I busted my own head open, I couldn't sue them) and everyone was relaxed. That made me appreciate it so much more.

    And there is something about taking time to learn the skills correctly...
    especially in such an "Instant Gratification in a Me Generation" mentally that runs most schools. *sigh*
    Sounds like you have a good friend & a good school.
    Quote Originally Posted by MrBunny
    no instant gratification?!?! I don't knwo what the big hubbub is.. I can go down to Chinatown... pay 15 bucks and get a blackbelt all on my own... POOF!!! instant blackbelt...
    Nobody better mess with me!!!!
    LOL! And you're undefeated in Asia like Celtic Crippler, right?
    The truly educated never graduate.
    "To understand the heart & mind of a person, look not at what they have already achieved, but what they aspire to do." -Kahlil Gibran

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