Six Ways to Know If Your Karate or Taekwondo Teacher is Legit

by | May 10, 2021 | Blog | 0 comments

If you’re new to martial arts, how can you figure out if your potential teacher is legit? After all, as a beginner, you probably don’t even know what to look for yet. Choosing the wrong instructor can mean hundreds or thousands of wasted dollars, and worse yet, wasted time. 

But have no fear! We’ve prepared a list of things our Novi, Northville, and Plymouth friends ought to look for when searching for a karate or taekwondo school.

And here they are:

How many years of experience do they have in their martial art? A good master instructor should have a minimum of 15 years of experience in their art.

Unfortunately, not everyone is honest about their experience. So, look for some signs of longevity. That might be pictures of them in a uniform from twenty years ago, or trophies and certificates dated far enough into the past.

Another thing to look out for: as some traditional martial arts like karate have become less popular, and other arts like taekwondo and jiujitsu have exploded, some instructors will try to ‘borrow’ time from an art they practiced, but don’t teach. Make sure their experience is in the art you want to learn. 

1. How many years have they been teaching that martial art? Just because someone has spent a lot of time practicing martial arts doesn’t mean they have spent that much time teaching it. Try to figure out how much time a potential instructor has spent on the mat helping others.

2. What is their highest rank, who granted it, and where is it certified? Not all black belts are created equally. You can get a ‘certified’ black belt online in a weekend, or you can earn a black belt from a respected teacher through years of dedicated practice. Figuring out what rank a teacher holds is a good idea, but what’s really important is figuring out how credible its source is.

3. Do they have training as a teacher? Just because you can do something doesn’t mean necessarily mean you can teach someone else to do it too. You’ve probably already noticed that sometimes the best athletes make the worst coaches.

One way to overcome this is to find out if an instructor has taken any training to learn to be a teacher. If they have, that’s a great indication they take passing on their knowledge seriously.

4. Are they a criminal? Pretty simple – make sure you’re not dealing with a con artist or worse. You can just do a deep dive on Google, or spend a few bucks on a background check to find out.

5. Is their disposition friendly… or arrogant? Finally, disposition is everything. A good teacher is going to be polite, humble, courteous, and talk more about what they’ll do for you than how great they are.

Remember that when you meet your potential instructor for the first time, they are putting their best foot forward. If something about their nature turns you off, pay attention. It could be a signal of things to come.

Let Michigan Academy of Taekwondo Help

At the MAT, we’re all about helping people live their best martial arts life. So even if you’re not in the Northville, Novi, or Plymouth area – we’d be happy to answer any questions you have. Just send an email to and mention this blog.

And if you are looking for a karate or taekwondo school in Northville, Novi or Plymouth we invite you to check us out! You can  register for our free introductory package, or just give us a call at 248-349-6900.