Contacting a School
Once you have narrowed down your search, pick up the phone, send an e-mail or go visit the school that you are interested in.
Upon first contact (however you do that) don’t be surprised if you get asked a ton of questions. If it’s a good school, they are going to do a mini-interview right on the phone to see if you are the right fit for them and if they can help you. This is a good indicator of the quality of the school that you have called.
A word of warning: if you are like my wife, you are going to be a little nervous when you call and maybe not so open to what the next step is. When it comes to people and business, my wife is the type of person that would like to eliminate all human contact whatsoever. She is very shy and wants to use the Web for everything. If she has a complaint or a problem, she will use every tool known to man to address the problem, as long as it doesn’t involve talking to a person.
Some of you may relate. The next step (and most crucial) is that you must make an appointment to go down and visit the school. If it’s a good school, they are going to insist and not let you join unless you go through some sort of introductory course to make sure that you are a good fit.
This is a very important step that must be taken to choose a good school. You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it; you wouldn’t marry someone without dating first (I hope) and you wouldn’t let a surgeon operate on you without first meeting him and checking his credentials. It’s no different when picking a martial arts school.
The most important factor in choosing a school is your comfort level and trust in the staff and the school to help you achieve your goals. You aren’t going to be able to tell that over the phone. You want to sit down and meet with them face to face.
If it’s a good school, they are going to want to meet and put you through a course before they talk about letting you join. This is as much for your protection as it is theirs. If they just let anybody off the street walk in and join, and then he turns out to be violent and dangerous to the other students, that’s a Bad Thing. That can chase off the good students that are already there and open the owner up to potential litigation.
When you arrive for your introductory course, you will want to look for a clean, safe, professional facility; a staff that is friendly and approachable. I cannot emphasize enough that THE most important relationship you will have is the one with your Instructor, whether he is called Coach, Sensei, Sifu or anything else. If you don’t connect with this person, respect this person and feel he has your best interests in mind, you won’t last in your martial arts training.
A quality organization will conduct a pre-interview before you ever set foot in the main training hall. They will ask you extensive questions about yourself, your background, your physical conditioning and level of experience, your goals, needs, and desires in the martial arts, your schedule availability and how much you were thinking about investing in your training.
Once that is done, you will be taken into the main training hall for your first class. If it is a quality location and the Sensei is sharp, you should see by the end of your first class whether or not the school is going to be a good fit.
Depending on the length of your introductory course – some places offer one class, others a week or two, or more – you will look for a final interview, where the Sensei explains the details of the program and, if they can, customized one that is perfect for you.
By the end of this process, you will usually know if this location is the place for you; you won’t have to sit there and talk yourself into it.
If you follow these steps – and follow your gut – you will find a facility that is perfect for you and your family.
Yours in the Arts,
P.S. – The only thing that can make a facility like the one above any better is if it can customize and personalize their program to fit your needs. Follow the blue link to find a facility like that near you and see for yourself if it is the right fit for you and your family