It is quite common for a beginner in the Martial arts to contact a school, go along and start in the class without even looking, or finding out about the school’s background or instructor teaching the art. It is a misconception that a large school, in a good location, is the better school, just that perhaps they are giving the art away, i.e. belts too easily, or just in a good location. With today’s technology, it is very easy to print off your own certificate, purchase your own belt, and learn from many DVDs on the market, without having had, and still have good instruction from top world-class Instructors (Sensei).
Therefore, it is very easy for would-be instructors to set up schools in a variety of places to teach martial arts and pass on poor-quality instruction. Let me give you an example of this in my experience with karate.
Over the years I have had many students who have come from other schools after being disillusioned with what they have been or are being taught. Furthermore, some of my students have left for university and could not find another suitable dojo (school) with similar instruction. Here is just one example that occurred during a conversation with a work colleague who trained at another school:
He said to me: “I have just achieved my 1stst Dan Black Belt”
I was pleased for him and replied: “Well done, and now what are you doing for your 2ndnd Dan Black Belt?”
He said: “Well, the same as my 1st Dan, but now making sure my techniques of punching and kicking are on target.”
As he was so pleased with himself I didn’t want to tell him that we teach this from white belts. It will be hard for him now to retrain muscle memory to get the strikes on target.
So, a student needs to make sure they choose a good school so that they are being taught a good system. They need to get information about the school and the instructor, and don’t be afraid to ask for proof; a good instructor will always be willing to provide this information. This will confirm that they are a bona fide instructor of the system and associated with an authentic association.
Types of Questions to ask about the school:
- What are the qualifications of the instructor?
- Are they associated with a good organisation?
- How long have they been training in the system that they are teaching?
- Are they still being taught by a recognised instructor? Just because they have a 6th Dan doesn’t mean they don’t need a Sensei of a higher standard.
- Do they have a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Check done on them?
- Are they First Aid Qualified?
- Are they willing to provide proof of the above information? A good instructor will always say yes and not be offended.
So please Ask Before Making your decision.