Martial arts is not only an ancient discipline in the East but also an extremely popular sport here in the United States. In fact, in the past 20 years, it has risen in popularity, and according to a study by Statista, there are 3.5 million people practicing mixed martial arts in the United States today – as it has whole-life benefits from mind to body, in addition to training safe and peaceful self-defense techniques.
But with karate schools being available in almost every large neighborhood shopping center, how do you choose one? How do you know what to look for, especially if you don’t have anything to compare it to?
Since martial arts schools can offer something to everyone in your family, it is important to have a list of what you are looking for. While location is important, that may not be your final deciding factor.
To help you in your journey, we’ve created a quick guide to choosing a martial arts school – let’s get started on finding the right one for your family!
> What sets each school apart?
> Researching Martial Arts Schools
> Questions to Ask During a Tour
> Choosing Goals & Priorities
What Sets Each School Apart?
Schools may look similar on the outside, but each school has its own people, processes, and way of doing business. Here are three things to consider before you begin your research:
1. Martial Arts schools should be family-oriented
Most people assume that martial arts schools are just for kids. Some schools do cater primarily to kids, but plenty of them offer instruction for people of all ages. If you’re looking into martial arts as a fun fitness activity the whole family can do together, you’ll want to make sure your chosen school is family-oriented.
Are you thinking about what ages are best for martial arts? Look no further! Read about the benefits of martial arts by age.
2. Martial Arts schools should offer core values
Another thing to look at is how and what they promote as their core values. Learning martial arts is about a lot more than just learning to kick and punch.
Proper martial arts instruction involves training the mind as well as the body. Self-discipline, confidence, hard work, perseverance, and other honorable traits should also be a part of the curriculum. Some schools will take a well-rounded lifestyle approach offering advice on nutrition, proper fitness, and other topics.
Most karate schools will display some of their core values on the wall and review them at the beginning of each class.
There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong approach here.
3. Martial Arts schools should have quality instructors
Instructor experience is critical…and we’re not just talking about how many tournaments they’ve won or how many trophies grace their mantle. It is possible for people to be amazing athletes yet terrible teachers. Oftentimes those with loads of natural talent have a hard time encouraging someone with less talent and helping them reach their own potential.
If you’re looking for a school for your child it is also important that the instructors work well with children. Teaching kids and teaching adults are two different things. Of course, many instructors are skilled in both types of teaching. Just make sure the instructors are a good fit for all the age groups you are planning to send to the school.
Finally, check out the school’s hiring policies or ask if they run background checks on their instructors.
Sample Instructor Video – How to Throw a Front Kick
In this video you can get an idea of a qualified instructor that offers family, goal-oriented values:
Researching Martial Arts Schools
Step One: Researching Online
As with anything these days, the best place to start looking is online. With one simple search engine query, you can have a list of schools and their locations at your fingertips. Of course, simply choosing the one that is closest to your house isn’t the best way to pick one.
- Choose your top schools based on their location. Are they close enough that it would work for your family? If location is not a barrier, you might look at the reviews first before making your list. Take a look at choosing a Martial Arts school in Ashburn or Tips for choosing a karate school in Leesburg.
- Look at the online reviews. It’s important to look at a range of reviews from 1 to 5 star. Sometimes “disgruntled” customers will give 1-star reviews for bad reasons, so watch out for trolls. You might find that looking through the middle reviews (2-4 stars) is a good way to sort through any potential red flags.
- Visit the school’s website. You can learn a lot about the values and style of a business by looking through the content on their website. You can also find case studies or testimonials this way.
- Learn more about the different styles of teaching. Here is an article on MMA vs AFK
Step Two: Tour Potential Schools
Now it’s time to visit the schools in person. Most martial arts schools offer free trial classes for prospective students. Take advantage and be sure to talk to some of the current students after class. Ask them what they like about the school and if there is anything they think could be improved.
Here are some critical questions to ask during your tour:
- How is the location? Does it work for your family?
- What did the online reviews say? Were there any themes or things that stood out to you?
- What was your first impression?
- How were you greeted?
- Did it feel organized and professional?
- Did it feel clean and well-lit?
- How often do their instructors train and learn new techniques?
- What is their staff turnover? How long have the lead instructors been there?
- How many instructors do they have? How many per student in each class?
- What are their hiring policies? Do they run background checks?
- How well do the instructors interact with the students? Are they good with children, and adults alike?
- What makes them different from other schools? Can they tell you without having to think about it?
- What kind of martial arts do they teach? If there is something very specific you are interested in, make sure to ask.
- Do they promote core values? How and where are they displayed and taught?
- Do their core values align with your own or what you’d like your family to learn?
- What about special needs your children or family may have? Can the school accommodate all of your needs?
- What are their prices? Does it fit your budget?
Narrowing your priorities to pick the right karate school
Think about your entire family. Who might benefit from a martial arts program? What are your ultimate goals for finding a martial arts school? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Meeting new fitness and weightloss goals
- Family togetherness
- Self-defense techniques
- Anti-bullying programs
- Teaching my children core values
- Being part of a community
- Competitions and awards
- Having fun and learning new things
- Staying physically fit and active
- Location and closeness to home
- After school and camp programs for kids
- Toddler classes
- Special adult-only classes
- Help with teaching my children discipline
- Sticking with a budget
What about online karate classes?
You can now get karate classes from the comfort of your own home. Similar to other fitness on demand programs, online martial arts offers both live and recorded programs to suit any schedule. Take a look at how online karate classes work.
Start with Super Kicks Karate
Super Kicks Karate is ready for your evaluation! We offer a variety of martial arts training techniques that can offer something to everyone in your family, from toddler to the oldest in your crew. Feel free to come and give us a try – we offer classes that are not only fun but also will help you grow together as a family. Learn more about us here.
Our instructors are highly trained in a variety of martial arts, not just Karate. Each class is designed to help students build self-discipline, integrity, respect, and perseverance. We also teach students how to resolve conflicts nonviolently and how to know when to use which types of techniques. Bring the whole family along and get a 30-day guest pass today either in Ashburn or Leesburg, VA, or online. We’re confident that once you try it, you’ll LOVE it!