10 Questions You Must Ask Before Choosing a Martial Arts School
- How long have you been in business at your CURRENT location?
Why is it important? Shows longevity and not a fly by night place of business
Where we stand? We have been at our current location for 10+ years, and have studied martial arts for 30 years, the school used to be Harshall Karate Academy.
- What are your school’s hours?
Why is it important? To ensure their schedule meets your availability
Where we stand? You can request our hours on our website or by email.
- What style of martial arts do you teach?
Why is it important? Usually, it’s not. Unless of course you are a teen or adult with your heart set on a particular style. Beware of any teacher that tells you their ‘style’ of martial arts is the best. That is like saying if you buy the best hammer, you can build the best house. It all comes down to individual effort, and training
Where we stand? Korean Tang Soo Do with mixture of aikido, and weapons training. We also teach Korean sword and Archery which is called Kummooyeh.
- What is your current rank, and do they have certificates displayed or on hand?
Why is it important? To ensure they have the skills they say, some schools recently have opened, and instructors have given excuses as to why they cannot prove their ranks, or where they got them. If you ask for proof of their credentials and they give you some excuse run, it is a red flag something is not right. You also want to know how often they train with their instructor and if you can contact their instructor for a recommendation.
Where we stand? Master Oravec is a 5th degree black belt certified under the World Dang Soo Do Union, whose headquarters is in Korea and my certificates are displayed in our waiting area. I train with my instructors 1-2x a year, my Tang Soo Do instructor is GM Brooks Matsuda from California and my Kummooyeh instructor is GM Hyun Kyoo Jang from Korea.
- How are your classes separated? Age? Rank?
Why is it important? There are several ways in which schools split their classes. Most split their class by rank (experience level) while others split their class by age group. This is a very important distinction. The idea of grouping students by experience level ‘sounds’ like a good idea but having to wide of an age range in class is a BIG mistake. Four-year old’s, six-year old’s, eight-year old’s, and ten-year old’s all learn in VERY different ways. It is crucial, especially at younger ages, that student are taught in a way that is most conducive to their age and learning level.
Where we stand? We break down classes by age and by rank.
- How often will I or my child advance?
Why is it important? Every student is different and learns at a different pace. Some schools like to promise a black belt in three years or less. This is never a good thing! Sure, McDonalds can crank out a cheeseburger in just a couple minutes, but how does it compare the Red Robin burger you have to wait 20 minutes for?
Where we stand? Every 3 months until red belt and then every 6 months, only if we feel the student is ready for the next rank. Each student learns differently and their progress maybe different.
- Has your staff passed background checks?
Why is it important? Unfortunately, the world is not a safe place and even though martial artists are to be highly respected there can be bad ones out there as with anything.
Where we stand? All of our instructors have had child abuse background checks done.
- Are visitors welcome?
Why is it important? If a school does not allow visitors, or does not let parents watch classes, RUN! Don’t walk, RUN!
Where we stand? We love visitors and as part of our initial call and talk on the phone with a potential student we recommend they come in to watch or try a class in person before making any decisions.
- Can we try a class or two before joining?
Why is it important? How do you know you will like it before trying martial arts? Some students go to the movies and see actors performing martial arts and think wow I want to do that and when they actually try out a class, they find out it’s a lot different.
Where we stand? We recommend that in our first contact with a potential customer to come in to try a class or two before making any decision.
- Do your students participate in tournaments? Are they required?
Why is it important? Some school focus heavily on tournaments, some don’t, and some fall somewhere in the middle. Schools with a heavy focus on tournaments often require students to participate in order to earn their new belt. It is important to know because tournaments can be a big extra expense and are definitely not for everyone.
Where we stand? We do participate in tournaments; however, they are completely optional and we have separate training times for competitors that they can take in addition to their regular classes.