To recap the last installment, we talked about calling around to different martial arts schools. You might be interested in Karate, or Aikido, or a mixed martial arts school in Grand Rapids, or wherever you may live. Using the list of questions in the last post to ask the person on the other end of the phone, you’re going to gather some vital information about the school, the martial art, the instructors and their beliefs, and pricing. You, most likely, were able to shrink your list a bit using this process but hopefully you didn’t base your initial decision solely on low price.
Now you’re ready to schedule some visits to local martial arts schools to watch some classes. This can take some time but I guarantee it will be well worth it since you are the best judge of what you’re looking for and you really wont know until you start visiting some martial arts schools to see how things are run.
I recommend that you print out the list of questions from the last post and bring it with you when you visit the martial arts schools you have on your list. This may sound silly and common sense, but I have to say it anyway, please make sure you visit schools when they are having actual classes. This will be mostly in the evening. You want to see a couple of key things: how big are normal classes, how are the students behaving with one another, how are they interacting with their instructor and whats the overall feeling you get from the whole “scene”. This process should take 45 minutes to an hour (or more) per visit to get a good idea of what martial arts classes are like at this particular school.
Remember that each martial art and each martial arts school will have some things in common but will also have vast differences. Only you can tell what style, art, and practice suits you. Some schools are very strict and will call themselves “traditional” while others are not as strict and tend to be a bit more loose and, in my opinion, “fun”. However, even though I’m turned off by the so called traditional and strict schools, you may very well be looking for that kind of experience. You’ll find out when you’re there if it “moves” you one way or the other.
In the next installment we’ll talk a bit about what to expect when you are watching a class. See you next time!