If you are just starting to look for a martial arts school you’ll quickly discover not all martial arts schools are created equal.
Martial arts schools come in all shapes and sizes. And, as with any business, there are the good, the bad and the ugly. Fortunately, the good martial arts schools far outweigh the ones that are bad.
Therefore, it is smart to arm yourself with some knowledge to help protect yourself in the process of signing up for a martial arts school. This way you can recognize the good from the bad right away.
Here are five tips to help you expose the bad martial arts schools.
1. They won’t let you watch a class
Be very leery if an instructor won’t allow you to watch a class. Rather than showing up unannounced, it is highly recommend that you schedule a class in advance. Scheduling in advance allows the instructor to set aside time to meet with you before or after a class. If you just show up, they will probably have something else scheduled and won’t be available to answer your questions. There is a lot to be learned just by watching a class and seeing the training facilities. You can see how the instructor treats the students, how he answers questions and if the students seem skilled or sloppy. As an alternative, participate in a trial program so you can experience their program first hand. Watching a class doesn’t give you the same perspective as participating in a trial program provides. Make sure you can either watch a class or participate in a trial program before signing up for lessons.
2. High pressure sales tactics
If you are scheduled to watch a class and the instructor immediately takes you into their office to sign up you up before you even see things in action, proceed with caution. Defer until you are able to watch a class first. You should be allowed to either watch a class or participate in a trial program before you have to make the decision to sign up. If they say you have to sign up before you see anything or participate, it is a bad sign and you should kindly move onto the next martial arts school on your list. Don’t put up with high pressure sales tactics.
3. Kids and adults train in the same class
Adults and children learn differently. Not only that but they also shouldn’t be taught the same material. Classes should be separated and the material for the adults should include more immediate and devastating techniques. Most martial arts schools simplify the material for kids because they just don’t have the same judgement an adult. Targets such as eye, throat and joints are often omitted because kids don’t understand when it’s acceptable to use those moves. Parents also frown on these moves because they think they’re too violent for their child. Find a martial arts school that teaches kids and adults separately.
4. Long term contracts required
Many martial arts schools require long term contracts when you train at their martial arts school. Contracts aren’t necessarily a bad thing because they do commit you to your training and are often cheaper than month to month options. They also help to keep the martial arts school open by providing reoccurring and predictable revenue. The main thing is to understand if there are penalties for terminating early and under what circumstances can you cancel the agreement. Consider that you may need to cancel your training ahead of schedule and understand everything in advance before signing. Ask if there are month to month options (usually costs a little more) or, if you can afford it, pay for lessons 6 or 12 months in advance for a discount instead of having to carry a long term contract.
5. Overwhelmingly negative reviews
While no business is perfect, online reviews may help you determine whether or not a martial arts school is worth contacting. Realize you may find negative feedback; particularly on online review websites like Google, Yelp or SuperPages. However, that doesn’t mean you should immediately dismiss the potential martial arts school and strike them from your list. What is the ratio of positive reviews to negative? What was the situation that caused the bad review? Did they explain it? Did the owner respond to it? Did it seem trivial or a serious issue? Ignore the ratings that don’t offer explanations for low ratings.
Remember your experience may vary and you should use all of the ideas outlined here in combination with the each other. Don’t just look at one area as it won’t give you a complete picture.