10 Tips to Find a Martial Arts School

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Martial Arts is an ever-popular activity for kids and adults.

Every year, a new crop of students begin attending martial arts classes. Choosing the correct dojo can be a challenge if someone does not know what to look for or what questions to ask. We have put together a list of 10 items to be aware of when researching a dojo for yourself or your child.

  1. The first step is to look into the dojos that are in your neighborhood. It is best to find a dojo that is near your home, school, or work. If the dojo is accessible it’s more likely you will attend classes. Proximity to the dojo will also help create the habit of training.
  1. The next step would be to schedule a visit to the martial arts school. Take note of your experience with the martial arts staff. When you arrived at the dojo were you greeted by a staff member?  Did the martial arts space feel inviting? Is the dojo located in an area you feel safe traveling to? Is the location easily accessible if you have a stroller? 
  1. Cleanliness at a martial arts school is critical and is as important as location. Does the space look clean?  How does the area outside the dojo present itself? When you step inside the dojo it should smell clean.  Be sure to use the restroom to ensure the bathroom is clean, fresh, and in good working order. Look around the dojo floor, particularly in the corners, is it free of clutter and dust?  Attention to detail is key.  Professionally run martial arts schools must be cleaned daily in detail. Ask the staff at the dojo what their daily cleaning routine is.  A clean martial arts school indicates that the gym cares about the health of the members and staff. A clean dojo also demonstrates discipline in its presentation and philosophy.  
  1. When visiting the dojo, observe classes. Settle down and take time to watch a martial arts class. Observing a class in person provides significant insight into the style and experience you can expect to have.  As an observer, you will decide whether you like the style of the class and the instructor. 
  1. While observing a martial arts class at the dojo, be aware of a few items.  Does the instructor have the attention and control of the students in the class? Are students engaged and following the class? Are students enjoying the class? All martial arts classes should have form, discipline, and fun regardless of the size of the class. It is imperative that students are engaged and follow the class. Observe the instructor, does the Instructor look like they are enjoying themselves? 
  1. Listen to the instructor and the lessons taught during the class. As you observe and listen to the class, are the message and corrections of the instructor one that you or your child could appreciate? A martial arts class should also be fun. Does the instructor seem to be enjoying teaching the class?  Is the class energetic? To keep the class engaging, an instructor must be present. Listen for the tone of voice of the instructor, do they change their tone to make corrections or give direction? 
  1. Attend a Free Trial Class. The majority of martial arts schools offer a free trial class. By scheduling a free trial you have the opportunity to experience the class yourself. You have nothing to lose! Trying a free martial arts class will give you a good opportunity to determine if the dojo is the right fit for the student and family. 
  1. After the trial martial arts class reflect on your experience. Did you or your child enjoy the trial class at the dojo? Ask your child what they enjoyed about the class. Did your child have a positive response to class?  Do you or your child want to return to class? If your child can’t stop talking about their experience or they were engaged and focused in class these are all great signs.  
  1. We would also advise you to speak to current parents or members. Ask for feedback, review their social media, and read online reviews. At El Dojo NYC we receive a considerable number of referrals. If people are talking about the dojo in a positive manner and recommending it that means you’re on the right path to finding the optimal martial arts school for you and your family. 
  1. Finally, what were the values taught in the martial arts class? Discipline, respect, focus, confidence, devotion, honor, and appreciation are all common themes in our philosophy at El Dojo NYC. The instructor should always speak about any of these values during class, this is an integral part of the practice of martial arts. Do you see these words of encouragement anywhere in the dojo’s literature or even on the wall?

We hope you find these tips valuable and that they help guide you to find the right dojo for you or your kids. 

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