If you look around these days, you will see a lot of children hypnotized by electronic devices. The only physical activity they get is when they move their fingers to play games or text their friends. Some parents strive to break this pattern by getting their child involved in something like a sport. Many parents consider enrolling their child in a martial arts school.
When sorting through the different martial arts schools, some parents can get easily discouraged. There are so many styles, and sometimes so many schools that teach the SAME style, that it’s nearly impossible to figure out where to begin. Here is a list of things to consider when looking through different martial arts schools to make the right choice for your child.
FIND A LIST OF SCHOOLS IN YOUR AREA
What’s the distance you are willing to drive to get to a school? You need to know the travel time.
FIND OUT THE SCHOOL’S SCHEDULE
There’s no point in getting your child excited about starting a martial art that holds classes at 4:00PM, and you don’t get out of work until 5:00PM.
VISIT THE SCHOOL’S WEBSITE
This is optional because not all schools have one. However, if they do, then they may have footage of class on there. Let your child see the style in motion so you can figure out which one they would be interested in doing.
VISIT THE SCHOOL ITSELF
Most schools will let your child run through a free trial class. This will help your child know which style they actually like doing. It will also give you a chance to see how the instructors interact with the children.
ASK THE HEAD INSTRUCTOR QUESTIONS
If there are twenty different tae kwon do schools in your area, then ask each head instructor how THEIR school differs from the others. You will want to know if there are any test fees and how often they test. (Most schools charge you EXTRA for the test day, plus extra for the new belt. I beg you to not just walk but RUN from any school that has an excessive amount of testing.) Also of great importance here is to ask the monthly tuition. Another warning here: stay away from schools that make you sign ANY kind of contract! If your child loses interest in a month, they can use that contract as legal means to pursue you for the rest of the months that they don’t even attend!
ASK YOUR CHILD WHICH ONE THEY LIKED BEST
After all, THEY will be the one taking the class, not you. And not for nothing, but won’t you be less likely to get mad about wasted money if you find a school that your child actually WANTS to attend? They are more likely to stick with it longer, and…who knows…turn it into a lifelong passion.
In my opinion, the most important factor on this list is finding something your child enjoys and connects with. Otherwise it’s just one more thing that their parents “force” them to do. The world of martial arts is wonderful and infinite. Don’t make them think of it as another chore!
Steve Grogan is the creator of Bully Free Fitness, a site devoted to one simple concept: people who are bullied often have poor self-esteem. A practitioner of a martial art called Wing Chun Kung Fusince 1995 and Team Beach Body coach, and author of THE SEARCH FOR THE WARRIOR’S PATH.