How to Choose a Martial Arts School
If you are looking for a quality martial arts school for yourself or a child, it would be wise to consider several criteria.
You should know that each martial arts school is different from the other. You need to choose carefully. Should your child have a bad experience with a piano teacher, you wouldn’t give up the piano, you would get a different piano teacher.
First, you should not choose a school solely based on price. Just as a car is a car, there are many variations on this theme with many different price ranges. Decide what your goals are and what you can afford. Then check to see what is offered within an acceptable driving range for you. (Just because a school is close, doesn’t necessarily make it the right school or the best value for you).
Next check the quality of the instruction. Some schools have many Black Belt Instructors and in some schools (as in ours) the Master teaches the classes. Many schools brag about how many tournament trophies they have. Don’t be fooled by this, some unscrupulous schools display store bought trophies as decoration. Even if those trophies were earned, it is not an indication of how good the instructors are, only how good they are as competitors. You would be best served by watching a class or two during the time period that you would be attending. Also find out if the instructor you just observed will, in fact, be your teacher. You should do a trial class, there may be a charge for this. It is well worth the investment.
Be wary of schools that require lengthy contracts. Most students, who drop out, do so between 4 and 6 months. Be sure you are willing to make the commitment in time before you make the commitment in finances. At our school, for example, you have choices. The student may choose a 3 month, 6 month, or a 12 month program while also selecting a once-a-week, twice-a-week or unlimited class package.
There is a trend, among martial arts schools, to shorten their classes while raising their prices. At our school
(www.StevensTaeKwonDo.com) we have maintained the price, the regular kids’ classes are all one hour and all our adult classes are 90 minutes.
Another issue that is worth noting is that many schools will write the student’s name on the outside of their uniform jacket. Some in English or some in an Asian language. I generally recommend AVOIDING any school that follows this practice. It is usually an indication that the school has too many instructors, or too many students, or they just don’t care enough about you to remember your name.
Check to see that the class schedule, of the schools you are considering, offers enough variation and flexibility so that you won’t lose a class which you may need to miss. Check their make-up policy for missed classes.
Many schools have hidden fees. If a school asks you to pay an “Insurance Fee” or an “Enrollment Fee”, run the other way, they are interested in your money not you. Most schools do have “Test Fees”. That is an acceptable fee since there are additional costs for the school. The range of these test fees go from reasonable to outlandish. A typical test fee range should be between $30 and $50 and the Black Belt test should range average about $500.
Gary Stevens TaeKwonDo
175 Rock Road / Glen Rock, NJ 07452
tel: 201 670-7263 / fax: 201 652-8925
email: [email protected]