Martial arts is serious business. Your life could depend on what you learn or fail to learn. Here are some tips that will help you find a school that meets YOUR needs.
1. Watch classes at several schools before choosing one.
2. Decide what aspects of martial arts you are looking for (i.e. self defense, health and fitness or tournaments) and determine if the school has the same priorities you have.
3. Look at the instructor-to-student ratio, especially in the junior classes. Example: If all levels (ranks) are learning at the same time, is there an instructor for each rank? Are there enough assistants or instructors to insure that a student can get one-on-one attention if needed? (Determine if the students are learning, or just being "kept busy.")
4. Do the students stay long enough to learn or is the school just making money on turnover?
5. Beware of contracts. If you're there just because you've already paid, then you are there for the wrong reason.
6. See if questions are encouraged or discouraged during class. If the question is important to the student, it should also be important to the instructor.
7. How are the instructors and assistants being trained? Just because you can do it doesn't mean you can teach it.
8. What is the policy or philosophy of the school? Are they looking for students or looking for their student's wallets?
9. Don't just talk to the head instructor, talk to the students themselves. Their opinions are the ones that really count. Ask if they've gone to other schools and why they chose the one they're in. If you're looking for classes for your child, talk with some of the other parents and ask them the same questions.
10. Can the head instructor qualify as an EXPERT witness if you are forced to use your art and find yourself in a criminal or civil court? Can he or she defend what they have taught you, or will they help put you behind bars or cause you to lose your assets?
Like all things, martial arts has its good, its bad and its mediocre, therefore, you should look and compare before you commit. When you choose a car you are careful. When you choose a home you are careful. When you choose a martial arts school you should be VERY careful.