It is interesting, working in an industry like martial arts instruction. You really do meet all types of folks. Some are genuine, honest, hard working and authentic people that bring honest value to your life. Others, well, let’s just say they are the type Paul is warning us about in 2 Corinthians (Hint: They seem to have friends in very low places…).
I definitely understand how it might be difficult to select a good martial arts school after having met so many good and, quite frankly terrible, martial artists, school owners and consultants over the years. How can a person who knows little or nothing about the martial arts in general and even less about the local schools and the systems they offer make a good choice? My suggestion to you, the potential beginner, is to follow your beliefs.
Regardless of the type of art or system of study offered, the real value of a martial arts school lies in the values of its owners and instructors. If their values and beliefs do not “play well” with yours, they are not likely to be a good long term match. As the challenges of life and training come up, and they will, you will find that you and your instructor will be “at odds” and the relationship will be strained. If your values are not compatible it may become impossible to continue your training. Martial arts training should be life-enhancing and be something you can engage in for life. Take care in selecting the right match for you and your values and beliefs and your time will be well spent.
A word of warning… And I have certainly heard this used as a reason not to join various schools and training centers over the years… Don’t compromise your values over a few dollars. You will always be able to find people who will teach for less. Problem is they also typically teach less. They have often “sold out”, watering down their art, taking out of their curriculum the most valuable lessons (those on life skills, values and real self-improvement) so they can lower their prices and attract more students. I have watched schools who do this come into town fast and leave town even faster.
Take your time, do your research, interview your potential instructor. Make a good choice and enjoy your training through even the toughest of challenges!
P.S. – Life Lessons for Martial Arts Training: The same care you put into finding a good martial arts teacher should be applied to EVERY partnership you enter into in life. Having a good partner makes all the difference!