We know that the martial arts have amazing benefits for adults, children & young people, over & above the physical skills aspects, so it is important to make sure that you take these into consideration when looking for a club to enrol yourself or your children in.
It can be a complex decision. What do you base it on?
Closest club to you?
A martial art that you've heard of or seen on TV?
A recommendation from a friend?
The one you did as a youngster?
Whichever one bubbles up to the top of an internet search listing?
Is one branch of the martial arts better than another?
Should it be based on the rank or title of the instructor?
Whilst many of these factors are valid, they will not necessarily help you to choose a club that will give you the full range of martial arts benefits. Here are some things that we think you should consider:
What do other people think?
Have a look at their website, Google or Facebook reviews - this will give you a feeling for if they are well regarded by their members, past & present. Speak to current students/parents to see if they would recommend them - when we have people down for trials, I always tell the prospective student's parents to speak to the other parents in reception as they will give you a true reflection. Scroll through their social media pages to see how active parents & students are and whether the club supports their members, charities, the community and so on.
Is there a good structure to the classes (before, during & after)?
This is hugely important if you want your child to learn the additional benefits of martial arts, such as discipline, respect, resilience, etc, rather than just spend time hitting & kicking stuff.
Whichever club you choose/try should have a proven structure. By this we mean:
Do the younger students spend time messing/running around before/after class or is there a discipline to their behaviour?
How are the classes run? Simple things like do they run to time, is enough time given over to the various elements of learning and is there support for people to gain the skills they need, regardless of talent?
Do they use structured lesson plans, which build on skills over the course of time or is it just the same old stuff cranked out every lesson, week-in, week-out? Ask to see the syllabus.
Is there a here-to-there process in what they are learning? Eg: how do they teach a roundhouse kick to someone safely & effectively? How are those skills practiced & improved upon in class?
What type of additional benefits can you expect from enrolling in the club. We have a system of homework books which help to reinforce the additional skills & attributes, over & above the physical ones.
The type of martial arts style or discipline being taught will only have relevance when all these considerations have been met.
What is the class environment like?
Our physical environment plays a big role in our focus and energy levels, so the training space has to support your learning.
So, do they have their own space or do they just use any old space they can hire? Take a look out for the cleanliness and neatness of the space? Is there enough equipment for the students to train effectively? What is the wider environment/facilities like (eg: toilets)? Are things well organised? Does it look inviting enough that you would want to stay and train?
Whilst the physical environment is important, so too are the people within it - having friendly classmates to interact with completes the experience and will ensure you or your child will feel welcomed & comfortable.
The way students act, speaks volumes about the quality of the Instructors and the club as a whole. Do they show a genuine respect for the Instructors, each other and the facilities? Are they helping each other? Community is a large part of the martial arts. When you join a club, you should be joining a family, a community of people working towards similar goals and helping each other when the going gets tough.
Are there appropriate classes for all students?
Every child is different, but it is important to find an age-appropriate programme that is tailored to your child’s stage of development. Family Martial Arts Centres, for example, has Tiger classes that caters specifically to children ages 4 to 6/7 years old.
This ensures the activities, the skills and the vocabulary of instruction is appropriate for their age. It also means they can have fun with peers their own age in the process.
What are the Instructors like?
These are the people that you or your child will be looking to when it comes to their martial arts training, so they are crucial. You want the Instructors to not only be skilled, but also to be able to build connections with their students. Instructors provide guidance and at the same time act as a mentor.
The Instructors should be able to make a student learn without feeling like they are learning, so they will enjoy themselves more and should be able to retain what they learn for longer. You also need an Instructor who can command the respect of their students to that the atmosphere within the class is one of learning, not just doing.
A good instructor will focus on the learning experience, teaching you correct technique and making sure you learn the skills. The class should be structured for students to get the most out of each class and the Instructor should demonstrate a genuine care for teaching the skills and passing on his or her knowledge. Ask what level the Instructor’s are or check the club’s website for details, it's important to know your teacher is actually qualified in the martial art you are wanting to learn.
Is there 'Social Proof'?
Most martial arts schools will have some type of trial class offer, which will help you to make a decision about whether the programme will be a good fit for your child. During this period you can also interact with other parents there to see what their experience has been.
Our classes are fun, will work you hard and are varied. We offer free taster sessions in all the arts and you can always move from one to another, trying different techniques to find out what suits your personal style.
What did you use to choose your club? Why did you choose us? Comment below 👇