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16

Here is a non-exhaustive list of warning signs. If any of them are present, you should definitely politely leave and never return. Cult warning signs. Run, just run. Here is how to spot the signs although a Google search can lead to other sites. Injuries. Too many people with injuries should let you know that something is wrong with the way they train. ...


13

Sard has a good list. I would add a few other things: Unwilling to let you watch/try out classes for a week or so. A very high proportion of new students to more advanced students (Unless it is something like a brand new school) - this indicates lack of retention, which can be indicative of problems. Phsyical (As in contact) discipline. Long term contracts ...


12

First, about children's ranks vs. adult's ranks... Child black-belts are not uncommon in the world of Karate and Taekwondo. But when there are child black-belts, they are generally awarded that rank in the "children's" rankings. This rank is not generally the same as an adult black-belt. At least in most schools. In some schools, there's no distinction ...


11

How do I determine which kind of martial art will suit me best? Unless you are willing to relocate to be nearer to the right teacher teaching the right martial art for you, you must look at schools which are within an hour or so commute from where you live/work. Because otherwise, you will not make it to the training session(s). All the martial arts ...


10

Some of the answers on the following questions may be helpful: What qualifies a school or business as a legitimate martial arts system? How important is lineage when it comes to credibility or trustworthiness? What characteristics should I look for in a sensei? Some of the danger signs I would look for in what people call a "Belt Factory": Either ...


10

I don't have a lot to add, as others have done a good job of answering this one. I do have a pet favourite thing to look for, though: Are the higher-ranked students obviously better than the junior students? I'm not talking about fitter, or stronger, or able to jump higher. Even to a relatively-untrained eye, you should be able to tell the difference ...


10

What Use Lineage? A traceable lineage neither guarantees a quality training environment nor a legitimate experience. One should also keep in mind that Asian martial arts have a tendency to embellish their relationships and lineages. For example, it's common in Japanese arts for a soke to claim he was the only student of his teacher, or for a practitioner to ...


8

My answer here is going to be very similar to my answer to What qualifies a school or business as a legitimate martial arts system? The short answer is: "It isn't unless you think it is or you are operating in a culture that thinks it is, and then only to the degree that you accept it as valid." Lineage is frequently claimed, but difficult if not ...


7

First thing I look at is cleanliness. I expect the mats to uniformly be the same colour, unless they're distinctly different, but all the red mats should be the same shade of red, and the green mats should be the same shade of green (reasonable exceptions are made for colour fading due to age). I also want to see by the end of the first class that the mats ...


7

I think rather than going into it with all these ideas about what you want to get out of it, just go and try some martial arts. Try multiple before you choose one, most allow a week or two of free training. I'll re-emphasize that, try multiple before choosing one. I suggest trying ( if available ) kicky punchy ones, karate, tkd, kickboxing a grapply ...


6

Nope, you have no obligation, legal or otherwise, to stay where you are. Go and do whatever you want. Go join another school. Be happy. Explore. Life is too short. I don't even know how old you are, but I can tell you that when you get to be a certain age, attending college, having relationships, starting a family, starting a career, etc. takes over your ...


5

First and foremost, I would bring it up with your new instructor. Do it in an assertive way, making sure she understands that you are not criticising her but looking for a way to help her teach you. Do not talk during a session but afterwards in the pub/bar/coffee shop. She might be scared of teaching (since you say that she has not done it before) so a lot ...


5

I'm going to be repetitive, because some things are worth repeating. @Sardathrion pointed you at two answers to prior questions that you'll cheat yourself if you don't go back and read. I might also recommend Eric Raymond's shopping series (even if you don't share Eric's politics or limitations, the series is a good one; he talks about how to evaluate a ...


5

I co-sign the preceding answers. As a ostensible "lineage holder" myself, my contribution is more personal: I'm a direct student of a famous grandmaster swordsman, from whom I have a fabulous diploma certifying me as "a master." He officially made me a lineage holder and expressly permitted me to teach the discipline, use its symbol, and propagate the art. ...


4

Note: This is from my own perspective training within a specific style and culture. It is skewed to my own personal experience and observations, but I hope that the thoughtfulness will be valuable to other people. Lineage's importance in relation to credibility or trustworthiness of an instructor and school depends on what you are looking for in martial ...


4

If anyone was to ask me that question without supplying any context, my answer would be: What do you expect to get out of it? To answer that, you need to consider things like: do you want to train long term, or are you looking for quick results? do you want to learn skills that will see you through lots of different scenarios, or do you just ...


4

I was going to enter this as a comment, but I think it will be too long for that. First, the other answers as a collective are all excellent, and taken as a unit could almost be a FAQ on how to select a school/art. However, the one statement that you put in your question that concerns me is: I want to get in shape but need external "guilt factors" to ...


3

I ended up taking over the Taekwondo club I was training at after our instructor wanted to dissolve it so he can go join an MMA club. I told him he didn't need to do it because I'd like to step up. I was a red/black tip at that point, but until the previous year I had been training at the headquarters of TKD South Africa, so I basically knew the entire ...


3

First and foremost, you should look after #1 - which is you. You are only bound to a particular school/gym for as long as the relationship is mutually beneficial. As a black belt you need to consider whether: your new immediate senior has anything to teach you why you're at that particular gym do you want to spend the time and effort to "get the ...


3

I had a similar situation couple of years back. Long story short, I am glad that I decided to stay. I would say its not really about the Style or instructor, but definitely about the art and how passionate you are for it. I would encourage you to continue to participate and train with the people there, getting to know each and everyone, both new and ...


3

Learn to love Grappling. You want to get in shape. You think you have low motivation, but once you start to love grappling you'll want to pick up a better diet and life regime because you know that's going to help you grapple better. Once you start to love grappling, you'll want to get into a better shape, and you'll have people who can help you, and you'll ...


2

Just because somebody comes from a certain lineage does not mean he is a good teacher or has certain skills. Lineage charts are pointless as they encourage people to believe that an instructor is a good one just because of his lineage. What about the guys who don't have this fancy lineage? Are they bad teachers? Are they lesser martial artists? It doesn't ...


2

I'm personally skeptical of any school that advertises its lineage prominently, and have never signed up to train at one of them. My reasoning is; don't they have something better to sell me on why they're good? What about the school's values and principles that they expect students to (mostly) follow? Even if I don't feel it's for me, I'm at least impressed ...


2

I'm going to offer a second answer because last night my girlfriend made another point that is very relevant to your question. Pick a school filled with welcoming people who you can imagine hanging out with. I train at three different schools. At my primary school, we wind up going out for lunch most days after class, and we get together for dinner once ...


1

One option that you might consider is to approach your former instructor and ask him whether he would train you one on one, or in a group, at his home, backyard, basement, garage, or even a park. There is a lot of extremely high quality instruction happening in places that are not pristine, sparkling dojos and gyms. Years ago, I trained a little with some ...



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