How To Select A Karate School

Top 5 things to look for when researching a martial arts school in your local community.

I know what you’re probably thinking… “what am I suppose to ask or look for when picking a Karate school for my child?” Not to worry! This is a very common question parents ask themselves when they are looking for a Karate school near by. And, I want to make sure you ask the right questions, but more importantly, find a studio that offers exactly what you want and makes you feel comfortable. As the old saying goes: “Karate is the best thing you can do for your child”. So make sure you find a school that fits!

Before you start your research, you may want to evaluate what you or your child are looking for. Increase self-confidence. Learn self-defense. Develop self-discipline. Improve physical fitness. Demonstrate respect. Learn to persevere. These are just some of the characteristics one will learn when training in the martial arts.

Once you’ve determined this, evaluate whether there will be time to attend Karate classes. Most schools require students to attend about 2-3 times per week, in order to assure students learn the curriculum to test to the next belt rank. Typically classes will be in the late afternoon and early evenings, as it accommodates both parents and children’s schedule.

Finally you want to make sure you have budgeted enough money to pay for monthly tuition. Keep in mind – what you pay is what you get. Now, I’m not saying you need to pay $250/month, but the national average for Karate lessons is about $135/month. Depending where you live, you should expect to spend about this much. Some schools may be more because the cost of living is higher. Others may be less to accommodate lower to middle income families.

Now on to our top 5 list of things to look for when selecting a martial arts school!

1. Location, location, location – Studies show that most consumers will drive about a 3-5 miles radius to reach their destination when shopping for products and/or services. Plus, with gas prices on the rise, you want to find something that is reasonably close to home. Pick up the Yellow Pages, or browse the Internet. This way you can find out exactly where schools are located and how long it will take to get there. You don’t want to be late to your first appointment!

2. Professional service – Now I don’t mean the Nordstrom type of service; rather the type of service that gets you to continue to come back because the instructor(s) care. There are great martial arts studios out there, but if the head instructor does not show they genuinely care about you and/or your child’s progress, I doubt they will teach some of the best Karate classes. You can get a feel for this when you call or show up to the studio. Which leads me to #3…

3. Enthusiasm – That’s right. Energy! Motivation! Great attitude! This is different from the Starbucks associate that has had 3 espressos and 4 lattes before serving you. You should feel excited to come to class. And, the instructor should be happy you came in too – because you have choices. In addition, the classes should be upbeat. Learning discipline should be “cool” and the new “in”. From fun warm-ups to engaging teaching methods, martial arts lessons need to be rewarding. The best way to get a feel for the instructor is to just drop by and watch them teach a class. If you see kids and parents smiling, you know they are a great teacher.

4. Is The School Clean? – Did their mom teach them how to clean correctly? I’m serious! I’ve seen some Karate schools that smelled, the bathrooms were nasty, and kids were wearing soiled uniforms. The cleanliness of the business is an extension of their professionalism and quality of lessons they deliver. The instructor should lead by example and promote acceptable hygiene by wearing clean uniforms and requiring the same. Remember, you are paying for these classes, you should feel comfortable walking in – not icky. This should be easy to find out.

5. Free Karate Lessons – We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch, but most martial arts studios offer (or should) some sort of free trial classes with no obligation. This gives you the opportunity to see if you and/or your child will fit their program, ask questions about the lessons taught, and more important follow the above steps. You should be able to “try it before you buy it”. If the head instructor believes in his Karate program, they should be willing to provide trial lessons in order for the end consumer to make a sound decision. If they don’t offer it, then ask. If they hesitate, call another school.

You should approach your research as though you are buying a car. Shop around! Yes, it may be daunting, but it’s better than throwing money around.

One last thing I would like to point out to all consumers searching for a Karate school. You need to make sure you and/or your child are committed for a certain period of time. There are many schools that require 6-12 months of a commitment, and this is common, so don’t freak out. This is a good thing though. It shows that the instructor is committed to help you meet your goals and staying in business, and that you are determined to show up to class to learn Karate. Plus, if you follow the 5 tips above, you’ll make a great decision.

So what are you waiting for!