Four essential steps to finding the right martial arts school

So you’ve decided to finally give the feudal arts a try?

Then, you’re probably wondering how to go about finding the right martial art school.

As intimidating as the process of choosing — and joining — the right gym can be, given the many styles, it can be a relatively simple process if you follow these four essential steps.

1. Figuring out what you hope to gain from learning the martial arts
The first step to finding the right martial arts school is figuring out the most important things you plan to gain from spending hours of your valuable time at a dojo. Common reasons for joining martial arts gyms include: learning how to defend yourself, improving your fitness level, weight loss, confidence building, reducing your body fat percentage, meeting new people, and training for competitive reasons.

Figure out what your main objectives are, then begin you search for local gyms that specialize in what you’re looking for.


Well, if you’re an aspiring MMA fighter, you don’t want to be sparring with a bunch of pot-bellied 9-5ers looking to break up a sweat after work, now do you? Sure, smashing them at the gym will feel pretty good, but you’ll be in for a rude awakening when you find yourself competing with other pros.

2. Shop around, then shop some more
There’s no such thing as visiting too many schools when it comes to choosing the right martial arts school. A simple internet search should lead you to several in your area, most of which should have websites you can browse to find out more about them.

Figure out which martial arts schools offer classes at times that work with your schedule, as well as prices and their contact info. Some gyms will be reluctant to give pricing information, so I’d recommend putting them at the bottom of your list.

Once you’ve narrowed down your favorites, it time for a field trip.

3. Pay attention to details during initial visits
Visiting various schools is another important step in finding the right martial arts school, and it is extremely important to pay attention to details during these visits. How do the instructors interact with the students? How large are the classes? Are the classes organized? Is it a family-friendly environment? Would you want to hang out with these people outside the gym?

The answers to questions like these will simplify the process of choosing the right martial arts school.

If possible, signup for a trial class since that will help you get closer to your potential future classmates and instructors.

Are the instructors genuinely interested in helping you reach your goals? If so, you just might have found the perfect martial arts gym for you.

4. Never stop searching for the best gym for you
Once you’ve selected a martial arts school that works for you, it time to sign up for classes. Avoid contracts when possible, since that might end up forcing you to stay even if you are no longer satisfied with their services in the future.

Some martial arts instructors aren’t fans of the idea of their students training with other schools, but I’ve never agreed with that point of view. Even if you love the martial arts school you end up choosing, feel free to attend open mat sessions at other gyms and seminars.

Constantly, evaluate your satisfaction levels with your current gym, and don’t hesitate to share any concerns you have with your instructor. If he/she is a good teacher, your concerns will be addressed. If not, you can always start searching for a new martial arts school.

David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter and check out his blog.

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