How to Choose A Martial Arts School

Three Things Everyone Needs To Know When Choosing A Martial Arts School

1. Choose a Style of Martial Arts That Fits You:

There is a large number of distinct styles of martial arts, but there are only three basic forms to address when choosing a martial arts school: Punch-Kick, Throwing, and Grappling.

Punch-Kick styles of martial arts rely heavily on strength, speed, flexibility, conditioning, and athleticism.  Common Punch-Kick style martial arts include Karate, Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, and Muay Thai.  Throwing arts rely on leverage, pins, chokes, and joint locks.  Common throwing arts would include Judo, Aikido, and Hapkido.  Throwing arts are good for all body types and you don’t have to be in top physical shape to participate.  Because the throwing styles of martial arts rely on leverage; shorter and even heavier body types will benefit due to a lower center of gravity.  Grappling arts also rely heavily on leverage, joint lock, choking techniques.  The most common grappling arts are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Japanese Jujitsu.  Grappling arts work for all body types and athleticism isn’t necessary.  Grappling arts are almost purely defensive and their techniques are designed to allow weaker, smaller people defend themselves against larger, stronger aggressors.

Note:  Some martial arts will incorporate techniques from all three basic styles, but normally focus heavily on just one aspect.  There are also styles of martial arts that teach weapon fighting.  In our opinion: weapon training can be cool, but very impractical if you are training for self-defense reasons.  It’s highly unlikely anyone would carry a broadsword, nunchucks, or other illegal weapons on them day to day for self-defense.

When choosing a school also keep in mind your goals: self-defense, fitness, competition, and/or social reasons.  We recommend you observe and then try a class before joining any martial arts school.  Also, check out as many schools as possible before making a decision.  Unless you are 100% certain, never join a martial arts school without due diligence.  Visit as many schools as possible keeping in mind the best school for you may cost a few dollars more per month or may be a little longer drive.  When joining a school you should become part of a team and your training should be enjoyable.

2. Safety: 

Make sure the environment you are training in is clean!  Staph infections to include MRSA and Ringworm are the most common infections in martial arts schools.  Ask about cleaning procedures.  Cleaning should be done daily and when necessary between each class.  In addition to a clean training facility, training partners and fellow students must also maintain cleanliness; a clean uniform, clothing, or hand wraps and equipment is a must for every class.

A good student to teacher ratio is also a must for safety.  Beware of teachers who play favoritism and focus mainly on their star pupils.  This type of atmosphere will inhibit your learning, will not promote a friendly team environment and usually puts you in the painful role of the training dummy and not an equal.

Live Weapons:  Do not participate or even observe self-defense demonstrations with live (real) weapons.  The use of live weapons is completely unnecessary and very dangerous.

Verify that your instructor knows what he or she is doing.  Your instructor is a human just like you; do not be intimidated or overly impressed by titles like Master or Grandmaster.  Verify the lineage of your instructor and don’t be afraid to use open resources to do a criminal background check if you feel it is necessary.  Remember, there isn’t a regulatory body over the martial arts community.  Anyone can open a martial arts school.

3. Hidden Fees:

One of the biggest mistakes someone can make when looking to join a martial arts school is price shopping via email or a cold call.  Price does not always equal value!  Too often school “A” will be overlooked for school “B” because school “B’s” initial cost is a few dollars less per month.  What the consumer may not realize is the overall cost of school “B” is much more expensive because of hidden fees, such as belt testing fees which can range hundreds of dollars per test.  For example, one local area school offers a 2-week trial for $19.95, what they don’t tell you is if you join, there is a $195.00 “Test Fee” for a white belt.  The other secret some schools don’t want you to know is each future belt test is more expensive than the last.  We have heard of martial arts schools charging $400, $500, $1000 or more for a black belt test.  Martial arts schools may also require you to buy merchandise and training materials from them at inflated prices.

In conclusion, we recommend you visit the training facility: do they have adequate space, is the school clean, what equipment do they have (mats, heavy bags, focus mitts, kick shields, etc…) and is the equipment in good condition.  Observe classes in action and take a trail class.  How crowded are the classes and how much attention will you get in each class?  Finally, always bring a list of questions with you.  Doing so will help you choose the best school for your needs.

Calvert MMA Academy’s Promise:

The Calvert MMA Academy is the only martial arts academy in Southern Maryland to offer both, authentic Muay Thai Boxing and Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  We also incorporate Judo and Wrestling techniques into our Grappling and Self-Defense programs.  Calvert MMA Academy has a very high student to teacher ratio, so you or your child will receive private attention every class.  Our academy is cleaned and disinfected at least daily or between classes as necessary.  When you become a member of the Calvert MMA Academy, you join a team and are treated as family.  You will know your instructors by first name, and can address them by their name or simply “Coach”.  For your safety and benefit, Calvert MMA Academies’ training equipment is top of the line, kept in excellent condition or it’s replaced immediately.  We don’t have any hidden fees; we never charge for belt promotions in our Jiu-Jitsu programs.  Our philosophy is “you paid for the belt with your hard work”.  We do offer group patch (level) testing for a small fee in our Thai Boxing program.  Group testing in our Thai Boxing program is not mandatory for promotion, but many students choose to attend because we invite high-level guest instructors to assist with the training and testing.

You can start training at anytime and no prior martial arts experience is necessary.  Our oldest active student is 67 and our youngest is 4.  Stop in today for a free no obligation class.  We don’t require long term contracts and new members may be eligible to receive 30 days of free training.


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Posted in BJJ, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Jui-Jitsu, Kickboxing, Lineage BJJ, Muay Thai, Self Defense, Team Relson Gracie, White Lotus Thai Boxing
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