Are you searching for a martial arts school and trying to separate the good from the bad? Even if you’re not here in the Northville, Novi and Plymouth area we’d like to help. In this post we’re going to point out ten things that indicate you’ve found a real gem.
So in no particular order, here they are:
1. Customer Service
Martial arts is all about mastering the fundamentals, so your school of choice should have mastered the fundamentals of customer service. That means they answer the phone during normal business hours, their facility is clean and odor-free, and their staff and students put out a friendly vibe.
2. Real-world martial arts experience.
You need an objective measurement of whether or not a school’s curriculum is valid in the ‘real world.’ In other words – do the things they’re teaching work.
The most common validation comes from a school’s record of winning tournaments and competitions. Even if a school doesn’t actively compete, its instructors should have a robust competition resume. Or, put another way, they should be able to prove they can make their techniques work on the unwilling.
Pro tip: make sure that these accomplishments are in a legitimate league, not one they created themselves.
Of course, not all martial arts have competitive leagues, particularly those that are geared more for self-defense. In such cases, instructors can often demonstrate their expertise by verifiable time spent ‘operational’ as a soldier, police officer, or in another high-risk security role.
What if you don’t care to compete or learn self-defense? Admittedly, in such a case real-world experience may not matter. On the other hand, with legitimate options available nearly everywhere, why not choose an instructor who knows their stuff?
3. Many long-time martial arts students.
One sure way to know if you’re visiting a great martial arts school is if there are a ton of long-term students. If hundreds of people choose to invest their time and money year after year, they must see the value.
One way to determine if your potential martial arts school is retaining its members is to look at the schedule. You should see more advanced and intermediate classes than beginner classes.
4. Appropriate pricing.
In general, a quality martial arts school will charge between $149 and $229. Rates may be a little lower in areas with a lower cost of living, but in most parts of the U.S, you should consider it a warning sign the monthly costs are any less.
Low costs could mean that the school lacks the quality to charge a higher rate, or it could mean they lock members into a contract, and charge a lot of people who never attend classes.
When a school’s tuition falls in that $149-$229 range it indicates they offer a quality program, and that they are established enough to ask for a sustainable rate.
5. Fair contract terms.
A martial arts school that offers flexible terms for cancellation is confident they’ll keep you around on the strength of their program, not the strength of the contract. If a school is willing to cancel your membership under a variety of circumstances, you can be confident they’ll continue to work to earn your loyalty as the months and years go by.
6. Earned martial arts belt system.
A school that awards its belts based on performance instead of attendance demonstrates its integrity. You want to be sure what you accomplish is truly earned, so look for a school that requires an honest effort of its students.
A caveat: we don’t think beginners (especially children) don’t need to be held to an exceptionally high standard. It’s enough that there is a standard, and that that standard becomes more demanding as students approach black belts.
7. Martial arts instructors that can explain how they provide benefits.
A quality martial arts school doesn’t just say they’ll improve your fitness, confidence, self-discipline, and self-defense ability – they can explain how. A first-rate school has a proven system for helping their students reach their goals that makes sense.
8. Martial arts instructors who are background checked and first-aid certified.
Safety is paramount in the martial arts classroom. One simple way that the best martial arts schools demonstrate their commitment to your wellbeing is by background checking and first-aid certifying their instructors. It’s a relatively easy, low-cost process and one that a good school won’t ignore.
9. Martial arts press, affiliations, certifications, and championships.
Another sign of a quality martial arts school is press from magazines like Black Belt, Taekwondo Times, or Jits. These industry publications usually have a good nose for sniffing out the best programs, and if they routinely recognize a school for its excellence, it’s a great sign.
Likewise, schools with legitimate certifications from large, credible associations are operating within a group that holds them to a kind of minimum standard.
Finally, a school that wins medals demonstrates the quality of its curriculum. As mentioned before, even if the average student doesn’t compete, and you don’t want to either, your instructors must have some experience applying what they know.
10. Martial arts instructors are still training.
Training in martial arts is a lifelong journey. Your instructor should be ahead of you on the path, not someone who has ‘arrived’ at the destination. If instructors are still actively trying to improve their skills it shows you they are passionate about what they do. After all, if they are telling you it’s good for you to practice martial arts – shouldn’t they be doing it themselves?
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 help steer you towards a great martial arts school. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask us any questions you have.
Of course, 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.