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 Martial Arts

Tips on Locating a Studio

 

Selecting the martial arts style that is right for your child can seem to be overwhelming.  Once you decide on the style you must then find the right studio that will meet your needs and expectations.  This process can be made easier by following the steps listed below.

Steps to make selecting a martial arts studio easier...

First, decide what you and your child want out of martial arts.  Are you interested in increasing self-confidence, learning self-defense,  improving physical fitness, or demonstrating respect or self-control.  These are just some of the characteristics you will learn when training in the martial arts.  This will then help you to determine which martial arts style is right for you.   The six martial arts styles generally considered best for children are Tae kwon do, Aikido, Judo, Jujitsu, Kung Fu, Karate.  For more information on these styles see our section on Martial Arts Styles Best for Kids. 

Second, search for the schools in your area.  Remember that you will spending a lot of time at your studio so you want to find something that is reasonably close to home.  Quite often it is difficult for parents just starting out in a particular martial arts to locate the studios in your community.  There are in fact a number of ways to resolve this problem.

  • National Websites...
    In the age of the internet the best way to locate a studio is to use a search engine like Google or Msn and
    type in the keywords: "martial arts schools."  This will give you a list of sites that have listings of martial arts schools. You can usually narrow down your search by entering your zip code or city/state.  Once you have found the names of the studios in your area you can go directly to their websites for additional information. 
     
  • Telephone Directory...
    If you choose the old fashion way then you can search for martial arts schools in your area in your local yellow page directory.
     
  • Parents...
    Other parents are a great source of information. You will not only find out about the schools in the area but you will get a good feel for what the school is all about.  
     
  • Newspapers...
    Information  will often appear in your local newspapers.  Page ads throughout the paper or notices in the sports section would be a place to look. Other sources are any free monthly youth magazines available in grocery and department stores.
     

  • Elementary Schools...
    Many elementary schools will distribute flyers containing youth sports/activities registration information for the community.  Middle or Intermediate schools are less likely to send flyers home. The number of students is often large and the percentage of students participating in non-school sports/activities tends to drop off during these middle school years.  Once your child reaches Middle school the information that you receive will be for school district activities.
     

  • Sporting Goods Stores...
    Local sporting goods stores may have bulletin boards containing information for all sporting activities in the community. 

  Third, create a list of the schools that are within your desired distance and then call them to ask questions.  For a list of suggested questions to ask each studio see our section on Selecting a Karate Studio.

Fourth, visit the school(s) that you were most impressed with.  Martial arts lessons need to be rewarding from the warm-up techniques to teaching methods. The kids should be excited to be in class.  The best way to get a feel for the instructor is to watch them teach a class and to see it the kids and parents are smiling.  Smiles can be equated to a great teacher.   In addition, you may want to observe an advanced class as well so you know what the future holds.

Fifth, is the studio clean.  Remember that the cleanliness of the business is an extension of their professionalism and quality of lessons they deliver.  The instructor should lead by example and promote acceptable hygiene by wearing clean uniforms and requiring the same. 

Sixth, you want to consider safety.   Does the school have adequate space for the number of students and is the equipment, mirrors, kick bags, sparring gear,  in good working condition and readily available. 

Next,  if they believe in their program they will offer some sort of free trial classes.  This will give you the opportunity to see if your child will enjoy their program and will allow you to get a real feel for the studio.  If they don't offer it you may want to consider a different studio.

Lastly, select only after you have tried all of the schools on your list and have all of your questions answered.