How To Choose A Martial Arts School
Choosing a martial arts school is not a "one size fits all" proposition. Every potential martial arts student has different needs and expectations. When you consider which school to attend, consider the following aspects.
Money. Go through your budget and determine how much you want to budget for your martial arts training. Budget a minimum of $100. Once you've figured how much you're willing to spend, don't let money become a factor any further. If two schools are inside your budget, the cheapest one may not be the best one. Martial arts training with a teacher you can work with is literally priceless.
Style. Contrary to popular belief, the actual martial arts style the school teaches is not nearly as important as the personality of the instructor. However, make sure the style is something that interests you and works well with your needs. If you're into artistry, a military hand-to-hand style like Krav Maga won't be the martial art to choose. If you want rock hard cage training, you won't want to try a Tae Kwon Do school.
Attitude: Look at the way the teacher runs class, the way the students act on deck and the general atmosphere of the school. The right school for a twenty-something looking to get into MMA fighting won't be the right school for a soccer mom who wants her kids to learn some self-defense. To gauge this right, come in and watch a class from start to finish. While doing so, watch what goes on off the deck as hard as you watch what happens on it.
Introductory Class: Once you've narrowed the field to two or three schools, sign up for an introductory class. All good schools have some sort of no- to low-committment option so you can check out what they have to offer without signing a contract until you're certain. Complete the intro at no less than two potential schools, even if you really like the first one you try. Do not go any further with a school that asks you to sign a contract without trying an introduction.
Shopping: Once you've tried intros at several schools, apply your basic shopping instincts to your final decision. Weight pros and cons, without making money too much of an issue, and make your final decision.