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.