"So you're new to the Martial Arts?
Choosing the Right School"

An introduction to selecting your dojo

Choosing the right school of Martial Arts is considered by some to be the most difficult and the most important part of their study of Martial Arts. Making the right choice from the start guarantees you the quality of instruction and a resource to the world's real top Martial Arts Masters. By not making this correct decision, one can jeopardize one's obtaining the quality and knowledge that may be readily available in your own city.

Personally, I ended up studying in one of the largest and oldest Karate organizations under a real Martial Arts Master by accident. Most people are not so lucky. They usually don't have enough knowledge at the time they make this crucial decision. I didn't. So here's what you need to look for in choosing the right school of Martial Arts.

First of all you should look at the larger more well established Martial Arts organizations. Not to say that the smaller independent schools don't have good instruction, because they do. But your long term resources are limited in most cases.

In the larger Martial Arts organizations, you are dealing with multilevel resources that are available to you for many years to come. Not just dealing with your fighting skills, but also learning a beautiful art form that teaches both spiritual and physical techniques which develop all aspects of your being.

These organizations have a direct and unbroken lineage to the past and the great masters of those times are felt in every technique and movement that you do. This makes your practice, including your ranking, respected throughout the world.

An extra bonus is that these large organizations usually have schools in almost every major city in the US, if not the world over. This allows you to continue to train while on business trips, vacation, etc. This is most important if you have to move to another part of the country at some time.

Some people think, for example, if they study Tae Kwon Do at one school, if they move, they can easily find other schools with no problem. Well, guess what! Not all Tae Kwon Do schools are the same. You may have to make changes in your technique and in some cases completely start over. This is not a problem with large organizations.

You can find the world's top Martial Arts masters and the large organizations connected with them in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Martial Arts. Once you have found a teacher and organization which you feel suits you, pull out your local Yellow Pages and see if this organization has a branch in your city. Who knows? The Master Instructor himself may be residing, or at least teaching periodically at your local school!

Then you need to go down to the school to meet the instructor or instructors and talk to their students; not just the beginners, but students of all levels. The idea is to see where you are going to be in a few years, and this is only accomplished by observing every level - from beginning student to master instructor. You want to get as much feedback as possible.

See if they will give you one free lesson. Usually this is not a problem and is always a good idea. Sometimes you can watch a class and think it's perfect for you. But when you take your first class, it's clear it's not the right one. If possible, try to take a class from the Master. This may not be possible as he may teach only instructors, but always ask! At the very least, try to watch his class. This is your chance to see first hand the Master and his top students at work. Along with inspiring you, it should give you all the information needed to make the correct decision. Do this even if you have to travel a little bit. I guarantee it will be worth your while. This is really all you need to know to find a high quality school and instructor. And last but not least, remember, it's not the Martial Art that makes the man, but the man that makes the Martial Art.




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