HOW DO I FIND A DOJO THAT OFFERS QUALITY MARTIAL ARTS LESSONS?

HOW DO I FIND A DOJO THAT OFFERS QUALITY MARTIAL ARTS LESSONS?

HOW DO I FIND A DOJO THAT OFFERS QUALITY MARTIAL ARTS LESSONS?

  • By Bushido Admin

I will try to help answer this question in hopes that this will help someone find themselves a great place to learn a self-defense in a dojo that offers quality martial arts!

I will try to help answer this question in hopes that this will help someone find themselves a great place to learn a self-defense in a dojo that offers quality martial arts!

First, decide what your initial goal for finding a dojo actually is, by writing down a few things you would like to gain from attending a local dojo.

Consider some of the following questions:

Are you looking for social time and friendships?
Are you looking for an exercise program?
Are you a parent looking for daycare and have seen the after-school martial arts school busses and you are interested, but really don’t know what the ideal choice is for child.
Are you looking for a quality martial art for personal self-defense for yourself or your child?
Whatever the goal may be, clearly identify your goal before proceeding further, this will help you narrow your searches greatly!

I will address the above questions since these typically fit most scenarios and by doing so, I think this will also clearly identify some specific details that anyone can use to find a quality martial arts dojo.

1. Are you looking for social time and friendships?

While often times you can makes some friends and socialize at a dojo, it certainly shouldn’t be at the forefront of reasons to join a dojo. Why is that? If the dojo is focused more on providing a social environment and that is the main cause of attracting students, then what does it say for the martial art being taught? Not much! A real martial art is generally not going to be packed with tons of people, simply because the age we live in, most individuals don’t want to work hard for something and experience pain while doing so, generally speaking. However, some of my best friends and connections with people outside of my immediate family have been forged on the training mats.

2. Are you looking for an exercise program?

Get FitExercise and martial arts somewhat go hand and hand, but not necessarily to the extreme that it can be taken. What I mean is, if you go to a dojo and it looks more like a high energy aerobics class, with a lot of punching and kicking, with no personal and individualized detailed instruction, then that is most likely all you will ever get. While you can burn calories and get exercise and some fitness from martial arts, there has to be a greater emphasis on the art and not the exercise. Now, a lot of MMA schools focus a lot of the exercise and endurance, and there is that trade off with less depth and expertise in the art to compensate for the greater emphasis on endurance training. This is perfectly fine for anyone with a goal of getting in a ring and fighting in a rule based environment. It’s like this, if I am faced with a confrontation with a guy that weighs 290lbs and is ripped with muscle from head to toe, umm, things are getting broke and fast. I am going for the weakest area of the body first. That is why a good martial art makes it possible for a smaller person to defend themselves against a larger person, brains, not brawn. Again weigh this with your goal, but do not misinterpret or believe a sales pitch and think because you attend a class and do a few hundred punches, kicks, sit-ups, push-ups, etc…, that this will actually enable yourself to adequately defend yourself. There must be specific, detailed instructions and applied training that focuses on self-defense that goes beyond just throwing a punch.

3. Are you a parent looking for daycare and have seen the after-school martial arts school busses and you are interested, but really don’t know what the ideal choice is for child.

This will probably offend and upset some individuals, but the truth needs to be stated about this. Martial arts in general should never be associated with daycare. If you want something for your little ones to do, take them to a daycare/learning center and pay for the service of a certified professional to watch and care for your child. Taking them to someone that has no daycare/childcare certifications to watch, simply because it’s cheaper is not a safe avenue for your child. In addition, be very cautious of any dojo offering such service and see that they have separate qualified individuals to run such a program. Martial art in no way certifies anyone through any style of martial arts to run a daycare program!!! Most programs like this have been started because there is good money to be made from childcare services, and these individuals have chosen this path as a main avenue to supply revenue for their failing or once failing martial arts program. Again, this speaks volumes about the quality of martial arts or self-defense that one could expect to learn. Martial arts can be taught to children, but there should be structure and the child should be learning age appropriate material. Not just let loose in a room to run around and do hand stands, again age appropriate material, separate from the adult ranks.

4. Are you looking for a quality martial art for personal self-defense for yourself or your child?

I think that through the above bullets that I’ve exposed some common areas that the layperson has to lookout for. However, I will sum up with some final thoughts to help you find a quality martial arts program. First and foremost, please be aware that there are a lot of schools out there and no regulations, so anyone can claim they are a master, with no real certification. I have even trained with a couple individuals that after an organization split, they saw fit to keep adding stripes to their belt so they could continue to impress prospective students. Then there is others that simply self-promoted all the way up to master or shihan in our style and this is just simply a dishonorable and fraudulent action, avoid these schools by all means. I also know of another guy that stopped his training at brown belt and later started a program in a local gym as a black belt. This sort of corruption in martial arts happens all the time and is a disgrace to the Martial Arts! Keep in mind anyone can print a certificate and order a belt with stripes, dig deeper and look for the links before investing in a school and don’t just judge by the looks! A novice or layperson will have a hard time making the distinction by appearance, because these individuals do this for a living and have discovered the more flashy and more stripes they present helps add students, ha one individual must have washed and dried his belt a thousand times to make it look worn and yet walks around in a nice new uniform…why not order a new belt with that uniform? Why, because it’s a sales gimmick that is aimed at the consumer from the point they walk in the door, the sales pitch has already started! Little details like this help to give away the “sensei” ,”shihan”,”soke” or “sifu” strategies of smoke and mirrors to help convince the prospective student to enroll at his school. From this point most will continue to buy in to the lie, as long as we feel we are getting something, simply because most of us never question our own decisions until given a reason to. Unfortunately at that time, you may have spent 8 years learning at a fraudulent school by someone that had actually been kicked out of the association. So quality martial arts should have a tie to a greater assembly of martial arts leader(s), even if it’s small, there should be some manner of hierarchy that points to one leader. Keep in mind that even this is not 100%, because anyone can start a new association or organization. Look at the details, check points of data across a few decades to get the story and then ask questions. Next, the instructor should have certifications that he can present with the signature from the organization and promoting officer/instructor. Next a quick check with that organization to affirm that they are still part of said organization, which any leader of martial arts would welcome and encourage. If there is none, than this individual should be at the very top of the hierarchy and this is usually because of the senior leader has either passed or retired passing the authority on to his most senior student. So, after verifying the qualifications of the potential school and instructor/sensei, you should watch a few classes or participate in a trial class if that’s possible. The content of the class no matter what the style should always come back to practical application, otherwise what are you training for. If all the material you learn is only applicable to fighting in the cage, what happens if someone slips a knife around your throat? This is what I mean by practical application; there should be some advancement of learning to take the student through this sort of scenario. Also, don’t expect to learn all the content in one class, nor should you expect the sensei to try and present it all in one class. Usually starting out in any new martial art can be a little boring because the teacher has to lay the foundation for bigger and better things and this is a slow process, if done safely. So don’t get discouraged if you start and thought that, after a week you would be able to take a bad guy down! Then there is Safety! The teacher should be sensitive to safety, while in some classes possibly pushing the limits of the student, but keeping it safe and never willing to sacrifice his student on the altar of his own ego! The teacher must lay out a safety presentation initially for students and there must be constant reminders to keep safety at the forefront of the student’s mind, while training! If this is not present, leave the dojo at once and find somewhere else to train! You will get bumps, bruises, bangs, etc…, but never should you experience major injury at the hands of the sensei, the single most qualified person in the school!Are you looking for a quality martial art for personal self-defense for yourself or your child?

As a final takeaway, remember that martial arts schools have to be a business in order for them to survive in today’s economy, but their survival should never come by falsifying/misrepresenting information or by transforming their school into something they are not qualified to do! Always check qualifications and references to validate information! My qualifications are below and I welcome any questions regarding these documents to any of my students, at any time.