Don’t contact any martial arts school until you’ve armed yourself with these questions!
Unfortunately, getting started in the martial arts as an adult isn’t as easy as calling the nearest school and asking about the costs and schedule.
While those are good questions, they are very basic and don’t give you the full picture of the overall quality of the martial arts school and if they’re a good fit for you.
There are other more important questions you should be asking.
Here’s what you should really be asking:
Question 1: Do you specialize in teaching adults or children?
Many martial arts schools teach both kids and adults. Before signing up, you MUST ask what percentage of their school is kids and how much is adults. If it’s overwhelmingly children, you might want to consider finding a place that focuses more on adults.
Question 2: How long has your head instructor been teaching the martial arts?
There are many martial arts schools popping up all over the valley. Many are opened by newly promoted black belts with little teaching experience. What’s worse, many aren’t even black belts yet. If you’re serious about learning the martial arts, look for a seasoned instructor with at least 10 years of teaching experience. And, make sure they’re a black belt.
Question 3: Do I have to sign a contract?
Ask up front if you are required to sign a contract. If so, be sure to read all the fine print and understand the ramifications if you were to stop taking classes. Many contracts are often structured with cancellation fees and require you to pay back any back discounts you received when signing the contract. Some will even require you to pay for all remaining months of training that are left on your contract.
Question 4: What are ALL of the costs involved?
Don’t be shy about asking about all the costs associated with your training. If you don’t ask in the beginning, you might be very surprised later. To avoid surprise hidden fees be sure to ask about monthly fees, belt testing fees, tip test fees, registration fees, association dues, required equipment, or if there are any other fees or charges you need to be aware of in the future. You should also ask if there are any promotions or discounts available before signing up.
Question 5: Are you certified in the martial arts you are teaching?
There are multiple martial arts styles and systems being taught in Salt Lake City. While most are legitimate black belts, some schools are teaching supplemental martial arts programs with little time or training in the art. Be sure the instructor is certified in what they are teaching and ask to see their credentials.
Question 6: What is the instructor to student ratio?
This can tell you a lot about the quality of the school. The lower the ratio, the more attention you will likely receive. Also, see if they limit their class sizes because the more students that are packed into each class, the more you will likely get lost in the crowd. Further, ask how many black belt instructors are in each class or if colored belt assistant instructors with less experience and knowledge teach everything.
Question 7: Will you let me watch a class before making a decision?
Surprisingly, not every martial arts school allows this. Beware that some martial arts school owners or program directors try and get you into their office to talk about financing options and get you to sign a contract before you ever get to watch a class. If they won’t even let you watch a class, consider looking elsewhere as this definitely isn’t a good sign. Even better than watching a class, participate in one of their trial programs (see #10).
Question 8: Are kids and adults taught in the same class?
Many martial arts schools combine classes where kids and adults are together in the same class. What’s worse is that they can even let the younger students teach the adults. Ideally, children and adults should be taught in separate classes and taught age appropriate curriculum.
Question 9: Do you offer a money back guarantee?
A high-quality martial arts school will offer a guarantee, however, most don’t. Ask if they guarantee their lessons, and for how long, in case you change your mind. This way you can make sure you aren’t out all that money.
Question 10: Do you offer a trial program?
The only way you’re going to know if a martial arts school is right for you is if you can try it out before making your decision. Most schools offer some kind of trial program and it is highly recommended you participate in one before joining. Note that some offer a free trial while others charge for it. Either way, try things before you sign up. You’ll be glad you did!