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Thread: How To Choose A Martial Arts School By Clint Leung

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    Default How To Choose A Martial Arts School By Clint Leung

    How To Choose A Martial Arts School By Clint Leung
    By Bob Hubbard - Tue, 13 Nov 2007 16:25:46 GMT


    How To Choose A Martial Arts School
    By Clint Leung

    To reap the best benefits from martial arts, they should be
    taken as long term activities rather than short term. Given this
    suggestion, one should not just simply walk into the closest
    martial arts studio and sign up right away without doing some
    research. Not all martial arts are alike and not all schools or
    studios are alike either. Therefore, it is important to really
    think about what your own needs are with respect to martial arts

    The discussion of which martial art style to take is too
    extensive for this article. So what I will say here is that
    there are differences in the various styles of martial arts
    which may result in some being more suitable for certain
    individuals compared to others. Do some research on the
    different styles and do visit the classes of different studios
    that teach different martial arts if possible. But more
    important is each individual schoolís approach to teaching their
    martial arts. Many martial arts schools teach only techniques
    and forms (set routines) that are specific to a traditional
    style. These schools follow the ways that the original founders
    of each martial art style developed and they have continued with
    minimal variance over the years. Other studios like to borrow
    techniques from a variety of martial art disciplines and
    integrate a mix into their programs. Some schools are
    non-traditional and adopt a more open free style system which
    incorporates traditional martial art techniques with gymnastics
    and open choreography of forms. There are many clubs that do
    both traditional and open styles. Each school will claim that
    their martial art style and method of teaching is superior to
    others. Prospective students must not take these claims too
    seriously and choose an approach that would be best suited for
    them on an individual basis.

    Many advertisements for martial arts schools push the
    backgrounds of their higher ranking instructors as a way to
    attract students. It is important to realize that the more
    degrees (or dans) a particular black belt has donít always mean
    that the individual is a better instructor. This is the same
    with instructors who have very successful competition records.
    There is no correlation to the number of world championship
    titles won with how good an instructor is. The term ímasterí
    should also be taken with caution. A master doesnít always make
    an excellent instructor. The teaching style of different
    instructors can vary. Some use the old Asian mastersí approach
    where discipline is strictly enforced much like in the military.
    While general discipline is actually a good attribute to learn
    from martial arts training, some of the old ways of teaching,
    particularly reprimanding students vocally or physically for
    incorrect techniques may be considered a bit harsh for todayís
    society. This is why it is important to watch classes of
    prospective martial arts schools you are interested in. You want
    to see the teaching style of an instructor to determine if itís
    a style that would be compatible with you or not. Ask questions
    after instructors have finished teaching. If you have the gut
    feeling that certain instructors will not be right for you, move
    on to find another club. Most legitimate schools will allow
    prospective students to witness or even try out a class for free
    before joining.

    Related to teaching styles, some instructors emphasize safety
    more than others. The use of protective equipment and certain
    rules while sparring are factors. In addition to asking
    instructors, also ask other students about injury rates and
    their general feedback about the classes (ideally when they are
    outside of their schools). Another point on the students is that
    some schools attract a certain type of student profile. Observe
    the other students and decide whether these are people you would
    like to train with.

    Some schools are very much into competition with active
    encouragement of students to participate in tournaments. In
    fact, some schools even make this a requirement in order to
    advance through the different levels. Other schools have been
    known to restrict competition only within a particular circuit.
    For example, many tae know do clubs only participate in
    tournaments that are strictly Olympic style tae kwon do and
    never go to events that are open to all martial arts styles.
    There are schools in the complete opposite end where they do not
    believe in competition at all and pretty well keep to themselves
    without any interaction with other martial arts clubs. Many
    Chinese kung fu clubs do not compete and some styles of martial
    arts such as aikido do not offer any competitive outlet. Many
    martial arts schools choose to have a relaxed position towards
    competition where they leave it up to individual students to
    choose whether they want to participate in tournaments or not.
    Some schools have special competition teams where additional
    training is available for those students who wish to compete. So
    as a prospective student, you should consider what involvement
    you would like in competition if any. If you know that you never
    want to compete, you should not get locked into a school that
    requires tournament competition. If you have a desire for
    competition, donít join a studio that shuns competition.

    Some martial arts schools teach in community centers, school
    gyms and even church basements. Some have bare bones studios
    with outdated equipment. Some schools have the latest martial
    arts and fitness equipment with sparkling clean change rooms and
    facilities. All of these will factor into the membership fee of
    each school. You have to determine what you are willing to pay
    for and what type of environment you will feel comfortable
    training in.

    Many schools require annual contracts while some are on a month
    to month basis. There could be initiation fees. There could also
    be testing or grading fees for advancement. All of these extra
    costs will add up. Ask what happens if you have to freeze your
    membership due to extended illness or injury.

    If one doesnít really know whether martial arts is an activity
    for them in the long run, the option of taking short term
    courses such as those offered by community centers may be a
    viable alternative to making a full commitment to a dedicated
    martial arts club with its own studio space. But do be aware
    that although martial arts can be very enjoyable from the first
    day you put on a karate uniform, it is a long term activity and
    one must have patience in order to benefit the most from martial
    arts. Fortunately, there are many options in the form of
    different martial art styles and schools to choose from in the
    market today. Just make sure that you do some preliminary
    research before committing to any particular club.

    About the Author: Clint Leung is a lifelong martial artist with
    over 32 years of training experience in kung fu, tae kwon do,
    karate, kickboxing and martial arts weaponry. He has won
    Canadian and world championship titles (NBL and WSKF). He is
    also owner of Free Spirit Activewear
    ( , an online retailer and
    designer of premium martial arts activewear. Free Spirit
    Activewear has martial arts info articles.


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