Choosing a good Dojo (School)

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, purchasing your own belt, and learning from many DVD’s 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 and 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 that have come from other schools after being disillusioned in 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 please with himself I didn’t want to tell him that we teach this from white belts. It will be had 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 in order 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 to an authentic association.

Types of Questions to ask:

  • What are the qualifications of the instructor?
  • Are they associated to 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) Checked 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.