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What to Look for in a Martial Arts School


The key to learning any martial art is practice. To make this easy for you, look for a school near your home, work or school. The easier it is for you to get there, the more time you’ll spend practicing and the better you’ll get. Eliminate those “Well, it’s kind of a long ways away, so I’ll just watch TV tonight” excuses.

Note to husbands: Watch out for schools located in malls as they give you wife an excuse to shop while your kids are in class! (The location of a school says nothing about how “good” it is…give every school a fair evaluation while you’re checking them out.)


You want to be sure that you get along well with your instructor, especially if you’re going to commit to a school for a period of time. Keep in mind that a martial arts instructor is just like any teacher or coach that you have had, their job is to teach you the art and help you improve. Pay special attention to their personality, philosophy, energy, motivation and how they treat other students. If you’re having a difficult time making a decision, go with your gut feeling…this is a decision that has to be right for you. Remember, selecting an instructor is not a life-long decision so don’t take too long to make a decision. Get started, learn about the arts and change instructors later on if you feel it’s in your best interest.

Learn more about selecting an instructor


You want to be sure the schools you’re looking at offer styles that will help you accomplish your goals. If your goal is meditation, you probably don’t belong in a jujitsu school. But don’t get too picky either. Just because you always wanted to be like Bruce Lee doesn’t mean you have to practice Wushu. Many martial artists train in different arts through their career and end up creating a style that is a combination of all their styles.

Again, this isn’t a permanent decision so it’s better to just get started with a school nearby that has an instructor you like.

Research some martial arts styles


Look for schools that offers 1-2 introductory classes for free. These benefit both you and the school by ensuring you’re a good fit before making you commit to anything.

If you’re going to invest in a “martial arts education”, make sure it’s within your budget. You don’t want you or your kids to get started and become excited about martial arts, just to have to quit due to finances.

Some schools require contracts (or “tuitional agreements” as they are often called) while others don’t. Don’t be afraid of tuitional agreements, often times these schools are extremely interested in seeing you or your child succeed, which is why they want you to make a longer-term commitment after a free class or two. There are also excellent instructors who don’t want to see money interfere with a martial arts education, so they opt to not require contracts and charge on a per-class basis.

Both contract and no-contract schools are good options, just be sure to give location and instructors more weight than payment structure when making a decision to commit to a school.