How to Choose the Best Martial Arts School for You
Which Discipline Insterests You?
There is no doubt, research is recommended in order to establish which discipline interests you, or to be precise, which best suits you. That can be a good starting point. For example, Taekwondo, Hapkido and Karate involve kicking and punching. Karate focuses more on the punching, whilst (modern) Taekwondo focuses heavily on the kicks. Hapkido focuses on both, but has an added focus on grabbing, holds, locks and escapes.
At Sun Bae, the focus is evenly distributed on kicking and hand techniques, because all classes include a strong influence from Hapkido. Later, an advanced student will be permitted to participate in Hapkido gradings, when the time is right.
We have found Sun Bae is especially suitable for children because the first defence learned in Taekwondo is foot work, no crash blocking required. Sun Bae beginners will also learn simple kicks and punches, which are fun and easy to do. It is also a very good option for the ladies, because it utilizes the strongest and longest part of the body, your leg. And for males, Sun Bae is well rounded, utilizing boxing and kickboxing together with grappling, allowing defence in close or from distance.
Hapkido and Jujitsu seem to be more focused on reactive self-defence maneovres, such as grabbing, holds and traps. At Sun Bae, these more advanced Hapkido techniques will be bolstered with a system of hand and foot striking techniques which include spinning, jumping and fast running attacks.
Sun Bae also offers Kumdo. This is the art of Korean sword - not a hand and foot self defense art and not exactly usable outside the training hall.
While many disciplines have similar movements or techniques, there are always distinctive differences. Not many schools such as Sun Bae actually offer multiple disciplines, whereby you can attain a separate black belt in Taekwondo, Hapkido and Kumdo. To choose the right school for you, we think the most important factor to consider is whether the martial arts school meets your personal goals. It will vary depending on your age, health/fitness level, past experience and perhaps even your lifestyle commitments.
Experience is Often Not an Issue
Most martial arts schools cater for beginners. At Sun Bae, lack of experience is not an issue. Beginners are introduced to simple techniques like kicking and punching without requiring strength of the legs or the arms. This makes it suitable for even those smaller in stature. Only two lessons per week are required.
If your goal is to get fitter, learn a new art, defend yourself or build your self-esteem and confidence, please come try out at Sun Bae. Most schools offer a try out lesson to allow a trial of the classes. Sun Bae offers a week of unlimited classes - with instructors who are ready to assist and answer your many questions.
For the inexperienced, it is common to not know what to expect. Be careful, some schools are more interested in the commercial aspect (often with less emphasis on skills and more emphasis on grading test fees). At Sun Bae, you do not pay for any grading test fees until you reach Black Belt. It is a true traditional club with club rate training fees and family rates. There are no nasty contracts either.
How Else Can You Evaluate a Martial Arts School?
What else can you do?
- History: We recommend you review the history of the school, the Master Instructor and it’s instructors.
- Credentials: Credentials of the instructors can reveal a lot about the martial art centre (ie achievements of their students and coaches, number of black belts and even reviews from other students). This can easily be found on the internet or the school’s website. Sun Bae proudly lists the resume of each instructor and the Grandmaster. Sun Bae is very proud of its reputation and international affiliations.
- Instructors: Who will teach me? You will find at Sun Bae that all instructors are required to bolster their many years of training with a teaching course, personally conducted by the Grandmaster. This ensures every instructor is ready and able. Schools that are genuine in teaching martial arts and keeping with the traditional philosophy will ensure students properly earn their ranks (with real skills and etiquette).
At Sun Bae, values such as courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit are instilled in students - and are known worldwide as the tenets of Taekwondo. These are not just great values to have in life but also something children will benefit from at a young age. If you are serious about learning a martial art, embracing the philosophy and these values should be part of it. This will be evident in the instructors and students of the school, especially in their manner.
Martial art students rely on their instructors to teach and to train them. Therefore, it is crucial that any instructor understands the needs of students and how they can better achieve skills. Instructors who are passionate and care about each student can only inspire and motivate. Sun Bae instructors pride themselves with great skill, physically and mentally, conducting themselves with integrity. Instructors lead by example. Often students look up to their instructor in multiple ways. For example, Taekwondo instructors who show great kicking skills, break boards and achieve many successes will encourage students to aspire towards achievement. Your impression of your instructor matters, as you have to trust them to guide you.
Last but not least, your enjoyment of training at the chosen school is crucial. Once you get to know a few students and make some friends, learning a martial art will become more enjoyable and sociable. A good school will ensure everyone is welcome. If beginners feel supported by their peers and instructor, they will be able to overcome their initial thoughts of doing something new and manage challenges better.
Writers personal comment: When I first learned Taekwondo at Sun Bae, who I trained with made a huge difference in the quality of my training sessions. My friends were there to encourage me and vice versa.
Before you decide which martial art school is best for you, always make sure you visit a few centres and have a few trial lessons. Getting to know the instructors, the students and asking questions about the school will give you an idea what the school is like. There are ‘genuine’ schools that are worth paying for, best to not sacrifice quality for the sake of a few dollars.
If a martial art is something new for you, do not be discouraged if it seems challenging at the beginning. Your perseverance and dedication will pay off with the right school and you will see results in due time.