Many people who are new martial arts, but are interested in finding the best martial arts school for their kids or as adults that want to get started learning a martial arts are often surprised to see how martial arts school vary so much from school to school. Cost, structure of classes and techniques learned vary tremendously, but also the culture, respect, quality of instruction and workout facilities vary greatly. When you're looking into a martial arts school, you want to find the right one for your family.
Probably the first thing most people inquire about when looking into a martial arts school is the cost, which will vary greatly. Some programs are just "club" activities at a local rec center, so they will likely cost less. But, since it's just a club activity, students likely won't get the most from their time training. Finding an established martial arts school is the best way to learn martial arts from a certified instructor. But on the other end of the spectrum, some schools will charge an astronomical amount for dues. In some cases this instructor's ego thinking their school is the best and therefore should cost the most, when often they aren't the best martial arts school around, pound for pound.
So when looking into the cost of a martial arts school, it's best to gauge the quality of instruction and the value of the program. Ask to try out a free class or two and see the program and let it speak for itself. It is an investment for you and your family, and you should see there will be results that you are looking for. Find the school that has the highest quality of instruction, no matter the cost.
Also, when trying out your introductory classes, you should look at the structure of the classes. Is the black belt instructor leading the students and setting a good example, or are assistants doing all of the teaching? Is the class structured to instill discipline and respect, or are students wild and out of control as if on recess? Martial arts are meant to teach discipline, focus and control and the structure of the class will show how much students are getting from the program.
One thing that people will often focus on is the martial art learned, when often that shouldn't be one of the more important factors when making a decision on a school. I personally love Taekwondo, but when talking to my sister about which school my nieces should join, I recommend finding the school with the best program. Every martial art teaches self-defense period. Students will be better able to defend themselves with training. But the other factors of the school (Are the instructors good role models? Are classes positive and fun? Are instructors mean and yelling at students? Are classes structured, yet dynamic?) are what will really influence how much you or your child gets out of the program. Don't put too much concern on the martial art taught, find the school with the best martial arts program.
When looking for local martial arts schools, another thing to consider is the facility. You will want to find a school that puts thought into the safety of its students training. Since martial arts involve lots of time on your feet and lots of action while barefoot, you want to find a school with good flooring. Some schools will place 1/2" foam mats on cement floors and call it good. This won't absorb much impact from jumping and doing kicks and forms. Other schools will build suspension, floating floors on foam blocks and use plush carpeting to reduce as much as possible the amount of impact and pressur on students knees, ankles and backs.
Also, you want to make sure there is enough room for students to safely practice. There needs to be plenty of room within the workout areas so students won't accidentally collide with each other. Also, you should check the general state of the school. Is it clean, well-lit and everything up to date, or are things run down and in disrepair. You want to make sure to find a local martial arts school that will provide a safe environment for you or your children to learn.
With all of this been said, I want to personally invite you and your family to come and try a free week of classes here at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute. We have five Denver-metro campuses, including: Lakewood (Green Mountain area), Littleton (servicing Littleton, Columbine and Morrison areas), Westminster (servicing Westminster, North Arvada and Broomfield areas), Golden (servicing Golden and Applewood areas), and Conifer (servicing Conifer, Evergreen and Bailey). Whether you are looking for adult self-defense classes, karate for kids, teens taekwondo, or anything in between, we can help you out. We've been providing the best martial arts instruction in Colorado since 1983.