Five Steps to Choosing a Martial Arts Studio

When searching for a martial arts studio in Honolulu, the first step you should take is to decide what discipline you are interested in learning. In Honolulu, Tae kwon do, Karate, Hapkido and MMA are popular choices.

To decide on a discipline, start by researching in the encyclopedia, Google, and visit some websites dedicated to these martial arts. Watch some movies to see how each style differs. When watching movies, realize that Hollywood dramatizes everything, and is not always correct in portraying a martial art. It is also important to note that many movies focus on the violence, when they should focus on the style as an art form. Be realistic in how each discipline is actually used.

The second step is to visit local studios. The easiest way to find local martial arts studios is to look them up in the search engines online. For instance, you can type in "martial arts Honolulu" in Google and get great results. Another easy way to look up places is in the phone book. For example, look up martial arts, and you will find Tae kwon do studios in Honolulu, in addition to Hapkido and MMA studios.

Once you find a studio that you are interested in the third step is to call the studio and set up a time to meet the instructor. Before going in to meet them, create a list of questions that you want answered. For example, what is your teaching philosophy? What life skills do you teach? Do you have training in teaching? How do you keep up on your martial art skills?

Another important point to keep in mind is that unlike many other industries the government does not regulate opening a martial arts studio. This unfortunately, allows the possibility of under qualified and fraudulent instructors opening schools. It usually only takes acquiring a business license to open a self-defense school; but in contrast, setting up a day care, for example, requires licensing, background checks, and extensive paperwork. Due to this lack of regulation in the martial arts industry, it is essential to take extra precautions when choosing instructors, especially for children. Select an instructor that is a member of a recognized and respected martial arts organization, and that has proof of their rank and membership in the organization. Some examples of organizations are the World Tae kwon do Federation and the National Association of Professional Martial Artists.

Fourth, go in and observe several classes. Observe how the classes are taught, and how the students behave. Are the students respectful and disciplined? How is the technique of the students? What is the teaching style of the instructor(s)?

The fifth step is to take a class. Many academies will offer a free trial class. The best way to know if you have chosen the best discipline and studio is to experience the class. Take a class at several different studios so you can compare your experiences in each. For example, if you had chosen to take a class in Tae kwon do in Honolulu, be sure to also go take a class in Karate or Kung Fu. Try out several different styles, even if you already know which style you want to learn. Your multiple experiences will either solidify your choice, or open you up to new possibilities.

Eight Tips For Selecting a Martial Arts Studio

The main reason most people drop out of the martial arts -- besides life taking them in different directions -- is because they didn't take the time to do any research and found out later the studio they joined wasn't what they expected.

The time you invest researching studios will pay you back a thousand fold. It will also help you find the right studio for you. You'll be more enthusiastic about your training and you'll get more out of it.

Here are eight consumer tips to help you make a more informed decision before starting at any martial arts studio:

1. Belt Rank Isn't Everything. Just because an instructor is a high ranking black belt doesn't automatically mean they're a good instructor. What's important is if they can help you reach your goals and teach you what you want to learn.

2. Size of Studio. Quality of instruction can vary from studio to studio no matter its size or what they teach. A larger studio may have more convenient hours, but may not offer you the personalized instruction you're looking for that a smaller studio may provide.

3. Watch a Class. Don't overlook this step. This will tell you more about the studio than anything - especially when you show up unannounced. Most public studios welcome walk-ins.

4. Visit Several Studios. Just because a studio is close, doesn't make it the best place for you train. Wouldn't you rather train at a place Five or ten minutes further away if it better matched your needs? Visit at least three places before deciding just to be sure.

5. Talk to Students. Students will tell all. They will tell you what to expect and why they decided to train there. This may help you make a better, more informed appraisal of the studio and its instructors.

6. Read the Fine Print. Not all studios require a contract, but if they do, pay particular attention to the terms of any contract and make sure you fully understand your rights before signing on the dotted line.

7. Ask Questions. Don't be worried that you will offend the instructor because you look for clarification. If an instructor or studio owner doesn't answer your questions to your satisfaction, then maybe you should move on to the next studio.

8. Try Before You Buy. If the studio you're interested in offers a trial program, it is recommended you take it. This will tell you a lot about how you will be taught and what you can expect from the studio.