Classes today (Saturday 9/23) will be held as usual. The lion dance was postponed.

At_The_Gate

What to look for in a martial arts school (Part 1)

There are many articles and blogs written on this subject by a variety of people. Most have valid points but unfortunately the vast majority miss the key issue that is fundamental in this decision making process, you.

“He who knows others is wise; He who knows himself is enlightened. He who conquers others has physical strength; He who conquers himself is strong.”

Analects 12.21 – Confucius (孔子)

The first point to consider is your goal. What do you want out of the study, what are your objectives, in other words, where do you wish to be after a year, or two, or ten, as you continue studying? Is your goal just to get a workout or to fight in full contact matches? Do you want to improve your health, flexibility and coordination or just learn how to defend yourself? Do you wish to have a strong basic foundation of what you study or become a teacher in the art? Keep in mind that the answers to these questions are not mutually exclusive, it all depends on how, for how long and where you approach your training.

Once you have decided on your goal, the next step is your commitment. What level of commitment are you willing to make, and stick to, in order to reach your objectives? This is fundamental in order for you to be successful in your study (and life itself). If your commitment is low you cannot expect high returns, regardless of how long you study. If your commitment is high you will be able to see results quickly and after time you will see great returns in your efforts.

The third, and last one today is, your expectations. This is a tricky one because your expectations may be based on fantasies and myths that you may have inadvertently thought were facts. This gets even more complicated when a martial arts school and/or teacher understand this and plays it up in order to capture prospective students. An example of this would be that you want to learn fighting skills yet the school does not offer classes to teach this, instead they say that they teach applications to all the moves and say it’s the same, it is not.

Your expectations must be realistic and in line with that of the school you ultimately choose. You can’t expect to learn and be skilled in something the school does not teach. What you should expect at a quality martial arts school, regardless of it being X, Y or Z that you study, is basically to be respected, receive proper instruction and get appropriate answers to your reasonable questions. Beyond that is the subject that we will talk about in Part 2 of this text.

Make sure your expectations are reasonable and attainable just like your goals and commitment.

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