So, you’ve been interested in trying a martial arts class in Grand Rapids, or West Michigan, or really any where in the world. The process is going to be the same no matter where you live. In the first part of this series, Martial Arts in Grand Rapids-How does one choose?, Part 1, I said that knowing what you might be looking for from the martial art that you choose was really important for several reasons.
First, it will help you save time while investigating martial arts schools in Grand Rapids, MI or Grand Junction, CO, once again, it wont matter the area of the country one lives in, the process is the same. Second, it will help you figure out which martial arts NOT to look any further into. For example, if your list of desired benefits includes cardio vascular benefits but does NOT include learning how to fight, you may want to cross “mixed martial arts classes” off of the list. If your list includes wanting to be more flexible but does NOT include learning how to flip people then you may want to cross “Aikido classes” off your list.
So, now you have a list of things you’d like to learn and some things you have no interest whatsoever in learning. You take that list and start typing keywords into the Google search bar of your internet browser and start doing some investigation into which martial arts classes have schools within a relatively close distance from your home. A good rule of thumb is no more than 10 miles from your home. If you’re going to stick with the martial arts class that you choose, it will be important to be within a reasonable distance from your home so that when the honeymoon is over, meaning the initial euphoria of joining a new program is gone, your martial arts school is still relatively close. If its too far away, you’ll use that as an excuse to stop going.
The next step in this process, once you have your list, is to get some good data from the Yellow Pages and a thorough Google, Yahoo or Bing search for martial arts schools in your area. For example, in the Google search box in the upper right corner of your internet browser you would type, “Martial Arts Classes in Grand Rapids+self defense”, or “Self Defense Classes In Grand Rapids”, if you’re looking for self defense. The resulting page that comes up should give you some good local martial arts schools offering the classes you are looking for.
Begin by writing down which schools have the martial arts classes you know you might want to try. Be sure to look for ones that have been around a while. Fly by night martial arts schools are the ones that haven’t been in town that long but want you to sign a long contract and/or pay for a year or two up front. While they may be a legitimate martial arts school offering legitimate classes, a good school with a confident staff and instructors will offer a free trial period for you to check out the facility and the particular art they’re offering. While this sometimes seems like a gimmick, its actually a sign of confidence in the instructor that they are willing to offer their classes for free before asking you to make a commitment.
Now, with your list of potential martial arts schools, classes, locations, addresses, phone numbers and questions, you can start calling around to various schools to further narrow your search. Once you start calling, for the first time in this process you’re going to begin using your gut instinct to whittle down the list based on the responses you get from the various martial arts instructors running the schools you call. Before we actually begin calling around though, we’ll need a solid list of questions to ask. I’m going to give you the list of questions in the next blog post but just know that the last, and least important question you’re going to ask is “how much are your martial arts classes”
See you for the next installment!