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#315558 - 01/16/07 05:54 PM Looking for a Dojo/Art?
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
One of the most frequently asked questions we have from new martial artists or prospective martial artists is "how do I find a good dojo?". There are a few key things to look for and we will address them on this thread for a guide to all new users here. Feel free to contribute to this list.

The first thing to do, is to see what available to you. What is in your area and do these places offer what you are looking for? By that, do they teach grappling if you want to learn to grapple, or do they teach striking with the hands and feet? Some schools may teach both. So decide what you want to use to defend yourself, then find a school that caters to that idea.

After you have chosen your prospective school, ask for a time that you may sit in and watch a class. Many dojos will allow you to do this. If they do not, I would find another school. Also, this is a free service. Many schools will even let you participate in a class for free to let you get a feel for it.

Once you have arrived in the dojo, observe the relationship between the instructors and each other, and the instructors and the students. You want to learn from someone that you can respect and that will respect you. One that you are comfortable asking qustions and one who will take the time to answer your questions. Someone you can speak freely with. Another thing to observe is the student/teacher ratio. You dont want a class thats too big. The more one on one time with the teacher you can get the better.

As the class goes on, pay attention to the movements and techniques. Are these things that you would be comfortable doing? Do they look like things that could work effectively for you? Can you make it work against resistance? Remember, if it ever comes to having to use your training, the enemy is going to fight back. Also, take a look at the Dojo Etiquette. Some schools require that you bow, that you wear no shoes and various other things. Make sure these are all things you are comfortable with, as you will be expected to perform these things each time you enter the Dojo.

If you have decided that this is the school for you, stay after the class and talk to the head instructor. See about class fees and testing or belt fees. In many traditional systems there is a monthly payment, as well as payments for belts and gradings. Make sure that these amounts arent outrageous. Also, if any waivers or contracts are required, make sure you read it very carefully. Also ask about equipment or uniform fees as well.

Last but not least remember that its the artist, not the art, that makes self defense effective.

(Edit: We've had a lot of posts recently about what arts are right for various people. Chen's advice is sound and should answer most questions. - TimBlack)

Edited by TimBlack (05/29/07 06:55 PM)

#315559 - 01/16/07 09:18 PM Re: Finding a Dojo. [Re: Chen Zen]
rowlon Offline

Registered: 01/11/07
Posts: 2
thank you very much for posting this, very good info

#315560 - 01/17/07 01:28 PM Re: Finding a Dojo. [Re: rowlon]
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
Thats what we are here for. Good Luck and Good training.
"When I let Go of who I am, I become who I might be."
Lao Tzu

#315561 - 06/26/07 06:12 PM Re: Finding a Dojo. [Re: rowlon]
JususNolo Offline

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 2
What ever you do don't sign a contract, I signed a contract and it's impossible to get out of. Let me explain,When I signed up at this school, I was told I would have an instructor that I really respected. That instructor left,and I'm not so crazy about the new guy, I respect him a little but I'm not getting the training I was promised, and I'm sometime stuck in classes with children under the age of 10. and I'm 51, so I'm really disappointed, I spent 8 months with, a really great guy, and had all intentions of staying with him I signed the contract for a year after my 8th month, for 12 more months he never gave an indication that he was leaving. Now I'm stuck for 12 months, of wasted time. Oh well at least I can spend the time getting in shape.

#315562 - 06/27/07 10:18 AM Re: Looking for a Dojo/Art? [Re: Chen Zen]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3120
Loc: East Coast, United States
Visit SEVERAL classes at a school, NEVER only one!

If for your child/children, do so with them several times, and without them at least once.

Several times and you will see/perceive things you could easily have missed the first time through. Without Mary, without Johnny at your hip you can ask the questions and have the conversations with whomever at decent length without them distracting and pleading for your parental attentions.

Visiting several times and they will see how class is conducted and get a small sense what reality is vs. their imagined version of martial practice will be like.

Multiple visits are mandatory for all involved.


#315563 - 01/25/08 11:35 AM Re: Looking for a Dojo/Art? [Re: Chen Zen]
BaguaNewbie Offline

Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 10
I'm new to BaguaZhang and I know check the yellow pgs phila but cant find anything
Does anybody know any Baguazhang schools/instructors/masters that they would recommend?
on the East Coast or Philadelphia Thank you

#315564 - 01/25/08 04:20 PM Re: Looking for a Dojo/Art? [Re: Chen Zen]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3120
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Chen Zen:

Well said!!!

I would repeat "the watch" aspect; is what these people are doing something that you wish to do? Do you like their methods, their basic approach to teaching....? Do you wish to learn by that method?

If not, do not return!!!

If so, I strongly advocate visiting twice at minimum. Once what we see can be a fluke class. Twice is less of a chance and begins a pattern of how you/I/anyone does things in general... If you explain "...I visited once, and I liked what I saw... I want to get a second look see if I missed anything the first visit, before I make a commitment... time, energy, money... I wanted another look"

I believe that would be a good approach.


#315565 - 01/25/08 10:23 PM Re: Looking for a Dojo/Art? [Re: Ronin1966]
Kenrocks Offline

Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 1
I wanted to return to karate practice for quite sometime. recently got a postcard from . checked out the site and learned that the head teacher has impressive background in both traditional teakwondo and wing chun. quite impressive. have schedule a trail lesson.

#315566 - 01/25/08 11:06 PM Re: Looking for a Dojo/Art? [Re: Kenrocks]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Well, you aren't going to have much luck trying to learn karate at a tkd school,lol.
The2nd ammendment, it makes all the others possible. <///<

#315567 - 02/25/08 02:01 AM Re: Looking for a Dojo/Art? [Re: BrianS]
JasonM Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 2502

90 percent of good abs is your nutrition

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