Choosing the Right School
A Little Investigation Beforehand Can Save You a Lot of Time, Trouble and Money Later
Joining a martial arts school is a lot like purchasing a used car: You don’t always know what you are getting until it’s too late. In the marketplace of martial arts, all schools are not created equal. Martial arts teachers generally do not have to answer to a government agency, and there is no consumer group to act as a watchdog to ensure the quality of instruction. Anyone, in fact, can acquire a business license, purchase a black belt, rent studio space, and, to the unwitting public, appear to be the second coming of Bruce Lee.
Some instructors receive their “black belt” when they purchase their franchise and receive some basic training. Other instructors train many years before becoming a qualified black belt. In addition to a black belt ask the instructors what other qualifications they have. Martial arts qualifications are often given by the Master instructor. Ask the instructor if they have any coaching certifications. NCCP national certified coaching program, Medical certificates like CPR or first aid, etc. Check with Sport BC or a government organization to see if they are a recognized club with a trained and affiliated instructor. Ask the instructor how many years they have been instructing, as a competitor or practitioner doesn’t always make a good instructor.
Unfortunately, most first-timers and some veterans have a difficult time seeing past the price tag or the convenience of location when choosing a martial arts school. Those should not, however, be the only determining factors when deciding on a school. It is important to visit several schools before committing to one. See what each school has to offer, and then make your decision.
Often an assistant instructor or adult black belt teaches classes, and not by a school’s master. Be sure you know before enrolling find out how available the master instructor will be to help you with your learning. Generally, the Master instructor will not be able to do all the classes but make sure they do some of the classes your child or you will be involved in. Then check out the credentials of their assistants. Talk to the instructor about an appointment to watch both beginning and advanced classes. If the school offers a free introductory class, take it. Many very good clubs have instructors who teach karate as a hobby and are doing it for the love of the art, not just the money. Make sure you are aware that some clubs or schools are in it only for the money and will have contracts and requirements that will become very expensive.
The following are a couple of factors that should all be weighed before you sign on the dotted line, if the club has contracts, many don’t and still offer excellent instruction.