1. Find the right instructor!
– It is up to you the parent to decide whom it is that will be instructing your son or daughter. Come prepared to each school you are interested in with a set of questions for the owner or for the instructor themselves. Also, it is a great idea to be ready with a list of the benefits you want to see your child receiving through their training. Do your research!
2. Investigate the arts!
– There are many different martial arts styles in the world. In the U.S though, some are much more mainstream than others, so your choices may be a little more slim. A few kid-friendly arts that you may find are Karate, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Taekwondo, Judo and Aikido. Take some time in investigating what each of these arts has to offer. Take into account what these styles focus on, and what you want for your kid. It really depends on the kid and what their personality is when deciding what is right for them. For example, Judo involves a lot of throwing and direct contact, so if your child is claustrophobic, this would not be a good choice.
3. Investigate your choices!
– Every school you are interested is run differently. Take the time to make calls and see how things work! Nothing is more valuable than how your son or daughter spends their time, so make sure the school you choose will be engaging and fun.
Things to ask about are –> Belt/Ranking Systems
Age Ranges/Class sizes
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS!!
– Don’t be shy about going to a class with your child just to watch (You will have to contact the school ahead of time for schedules) If it gets them excited just from watching and they want to participate, that is the place for them! Look and see if the students are engaged and smiling versus hunched over and bored. If they are attentive and focused that means the instructor knows what they are doing. If they listen and respond to direction with “Yes Sir!” or “Yes Ma’am!” then you know that the instructor has done a great job teaching respect and discipline. If your interest is sparked and your child is excited, speak with the front desk person (if the school has one) about what steps to take next.4. Attend a class!
5. Cleanliness is Godliness!
– While you are at your school of choice, look around. If things are dirty or disorganized, it is a safe bet that so are the staff and students. It is very important that a martial arts school be clean, as martial arts are very physical activities and children will be in contact with each other, and with gear that others have used. Boxing gloves, focus mitts, blockers, pads, are all things that are shared within a facility.
– Many school will only employ the bare-bones structure of a kids program, and focus more on their adult program. Others don’t even have a kids program. Ask to see if your school of interest does anything extra for the kids. There are schools that even give out homework for the kids to do outside of class, and reward them with extra stripes for completion. Some schools have extra events just to appreciate their students, or offer extra, more topic-focused classes or seminars. Something to look for is a school that cares not only about your child learning self-defense or fitness, but also about their personal development and attitude.
7. Community Impact….
– Check and see if the school has given anything back to the community! This one tends to be underrated on people’s importance list…but don’t overlook it! Kick-a-thons, Punch-a-thons or Push-up-a-thons are a few regular fundraisers seen in martial arts schools. Many schools do community outreach as well. This is a great way to find out if the Owner and Head Instructors care about the people around them, and that they will be generous and understanding with your kids.
-When you pick up the phone to call a school for the first time, how are you greeted? What does the person on the other side sound like? Are they cheerful and upbeat? Does it take them a long time to answer your questions? Are they even friendly? Or are the drab, and treat your call like a chore? We can all understand if someone is having a bad day, but they should always be appreciative of your effort to call them and seek out their services.
– It is important to know the value of the school you are looking at. Schools can pop-up very quickly, so make sure to research and find out how long the school has been open, the history of the Owner or Head Instructor, and also what members think about it. It is a regular thing nowadays to see reviews about school on Google or Yelp … so read up!
10. PRICES PRICE PRICES!
– Last but certainly not least … PRICES! The range of membership fees in martial arts schools can be anywhere from $40 a month to as high as $300 a month for children and for adults as well. The monthly fee is usually an indicator of the quality of service/instruction and also the amount of time invested by the instructors. Usually. Some schools will charge an arm and a leg, but only give back a finger or a toe. The good schools however, pride themselves on taking one dollar, and giving two in return. Some schools do not give out their prices until they know that you are truly interested in their program, and this is a good sign that they care about the education of your child and they are confident that the education they provide is well worth your investment. BEWARE SCHOOLS THAT USE THEIR PRICE AS A SELLING POINT! If the monthly dues seem cheap, then more than 90% of the time the service will also be cheap. These school’s are much less likely to care about the progress of your child, and more about getting your money into their pockets.