A Guide to Selecting a Martial Arts School
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Martial Arts School
Choosing a martial arts school to train yourself or your child is an important decision. There are many factors toconsider when selecting a place to train such as:
1. Instructor authentic– or just a business
3. Martial Arts Style or System
4. The School
This guide is unique in that it will not only help you explore issues to help ensure that you find a school with quality instruction. The guide will also help you find a good “school situation” in terms of the customer relationship and business interactions that will be healthy and enjoyable for you. This will enable you to stick with classes over the long term, receive the highest quality training and a positive customer experience so that you can become an avid martial artist and maintain peace of mind throughout the multi-year experience of your martial arts journey.
The instructor is one of the most important things you should consider in your decision. The head instructor of the school should be knowledgeable, experienced, capable and most of all a good teacher. The head instructor should actually teach a significant portion or all of the classes the school offers. There are several factors you should explore with a potential instructor.
In order to fully understand the system’s curriculum, an instructor usually must have achieved the rank of fourth Degree Black Belt (fourth Dan). From a credible lineage- Korean, Japanese, or Okinawan Masters, not a franchise.
Thus a fifth Dan should have at a minimum of 17 years training. Some programs and schools offer two year black belts and accelerate ranks that go one year for second Dan, two years for third Dan, three years for fourth Dan etc…. which would produce a fifth Dan at 12 years of experience. This is way too early and a warning sign. Some schools have six-year-old Black Belts. We do not promote anyone to Black Belt until they become 10 or older. It takes three years and at least six months to attain Black Belt at our school. Warning some schools you can become a Black Belt in under three years, these schools are questionable and a warning sign.
There are several other traits that instructors can posses that may enhance an instructor’s ability to delivery a quality martial arts experience such as:
Instructors lineage— Who he has been taught by? Any one that is known for excellence? My first Master was taught by his father, who taught Chuck Norris. I also learned from the founder of Hwa Rang Do to name a few. Trained in Hwa Rang Do and Hap Ki Do in Korea. I have been taught by Koreans since I was 13-years-old.
Having military service experience- Master Ruffing is a Afghanistan Combat Veteran.
Law enforcement training- Master Ruffing graduated Police Academy and has taught Police Officers self-defense tactics.
Does the Head Master teach all the classes or does he have a student teach?
Pictures or videos of the Instructor/Master Mastering techniques? Believe it or not many instructors have no pictures or video of them mastering any complicated/difficult techniques. The reason is because they can’t or never have. Would you want someone to work on your car who has never worked on an engine before?
Has the Instructor trained in the country of origin of the martial art? Master Ruffing and Instructor Hughes have lived and trained in Korea.
Does the instructor have high standards and enforces them? Or do they pass any student for the testing fee? Warning some schools are just belt factories. These are usually franchise schools.
An instructor who has demonstrable credentials, achievements and success inside and outside of the martial arts world is more likely to be able to maintain and grow the school from a business and operations perspective. This will result in a healthy school that will exist long enough for you or your child to earn a black belt. It will also enable the instructor to provide a better customer experience for you and the other members of the class.