Finding the right martial arts academy for you or a loved one can be very difficult if you don’t know where to start or what questions to ask. We believe that everyone should get involved in martial arts because of the positive impact it makes in a persons life, self – esteem, and the comradery you get from being part of a team. We would prefer to help someone find the right school for them and not just give up and not train. So how do you start?
First thing to figure out is why you or your loved one wants to do martial arts? Is it for discipline? Is it for exercise? Is it for character traits? Is it to compete at tournaments? Is it for self defense? It could be one of these, it could be all of these, or your reason could be one not mentioned.
Secondly you need to determine which martial art you should start. Best thing to really do is Google the different styles of martial arts and familiarize youself with them. Make a note of what looks interesting to you. Some of the most common styles in the Omaha Metro area are Judo, Taekwondo, Karate, Brazilian Jui-jitsu.
Next you need to search for Academies that teach the style you are interested in. Google again will be your friend with this. Once you find a list of places, call them and ask about stopping in to watch/try a class and meet the staff and students. It’s extremely important you meet at least the head instructor and some of the students because this is where you are going to learn and spend time away from home. You want it to be enjoyable but you want to learn something as well.
Now when you go to visit the academies you will want to ask some very important questions to determine if 1) the academy is a legitimate academy 2) do you earn ranks or buy them 3) does the instructors have enough knowledge to teach you and 4) is it a safe environement for you. Here is a list of questions we feel you should ask every perspective academy you visit,
1) Is the academy chartered through a governing organization? If so which one?
2) What rank is the head instructor and how many years experience does he/she have?
3) Are the instructors(including the head instructor) certified instructors with a governing body?
4) Are the instructors or a staff member who is onsite during training have CPR/AED/First Aid certification?
5) Who teaches the classes?
6) If there is an issue or a problem who do I contact and how?
7) What is the cost and how often a week is the training?
8) Is there a contract? If so, for how long?
9) Do you charge a promotion fee? If so, how much?
10) Will my ranks be honored at other clubs if I happen to move or travel somewhere and want to train?
11) Is your curriculum created by you or is it created by a governing body who monitors it?
The questions are very important. You want a place that has certified instructors with a governing organization and is a charter academy with that organization. It shows the legitimacy of that academy. The rank of the head instructor should be at least a first degree black belt but preferrably a 3rd degree black belt or higher. You want to make sure that if the head instructor is the only black belt that he/she is the one teaching the majority of the classes. Contracts are normal for many martial art academy so that is more of a personal preference for you. If you like the place and are going to train there why not show a little commitment. That is generally all they are asking for, unless there is many different levels of membership cost etc. That is something you want to watch for. For example, if it costs more to train for different belt levels than you will want to be very hesitant and ask even more questions. Promotion fees are normal when testing. It covers the examiners time and expenses. Some places charge a fee but provide the belt and the certificate which is most ideal situation as they are not doing it for a profit. There are hundrends of scenarios and questions that we obviously cannot answer here. Please feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or advice you may need. No matter the style you are considering training in, all legitimate martial art schools have things in place to show you they are a good place.