Know what to expect before you go
Start with a short list of martial arts schools, basically the ones you like. When you plan to visit a martial arts school for the first time, it is considered proper to request permission to watch classes. Make sure that visitors are welcome and make an appointment if necessary. Plan to visit more than one martial arts school before you begin your martial arts training. Plan your visit ahead or schedule a private lesson if one is offered.
Here are some useful tips to remember when planning a visit to a martial arts school on your short list.
Before you arrive at the martial arts school
- Observe proper school protocol. If you are unfamiliar with the protocol, ask about it when you call for a visit or watch behavior of others closely when you enter the school.
- Be polite and courteous . If you’re offered a hand, shake hands. If someone bows to you, bow back.
- Be quiet during class, do not do anything to draw attention to yourself while the class is in session.
- Get there early and stay afterwards so you can ask questions of the instructors, students, and other parents.
What to do upon arrival at the martial arts school:
- Wear normal street clothes unless instructed otherwise. Remove your shoes only if it is required.
- Observe proper school protocol.
- Be polite and courteous. You can never be too polite or overly courteous.
- If someone bows to you, bow back.
- Be quiet and respectful during class.
What to watch during martial arts classes. Martial arts classes vary from one to another, and different classes may emphasize different curriculum or different instructors.
- Does the martial arts instructor teach most of the class, or is the class taught by a senior student?
- Does the martial arts instructor have a positive professional teaching style and attitude?
- Does the martial arts instructor promote a safe training environment and effectively discipline rule breakers?
- During a class, observe the differences between exercise, practice, and instruction.
Questions to ask during your visit to a martial arts school
- Ask the instructor about their martial arts credentials. Are they certified by recognized martial arts organizations?
- Ask the martial arts instructor how long they have been teaching.
- Are students required to attend martial arts tournaments?
- How often should the student attend classes to progress to the next belt rank?
- Are there testing fees for each belt rank?
- Are there contracts? Is so, what are the length and terms of the contracts?
After observing class, if the instructor has time, feel free to ask questions. Beware of high-pressure sales pitches at some schools. If you feel pressured, leave. Many schools do not have continuous enrollment, you may have to wait until next week, next month, or even next semester (if the school meets at a college) for the next beginner’s class to start.