1. ARE THE INSTRUCTORS REALLY CERTIFIED AND HOW LONG HAVE THEY BEEN INSTRUCTING?
The highest quality instruction will be found with ACMA certified instructors. This means that not only will you have a black belt who is an expert in their particular style of martial art, but you will also have an instructor who is certified as a teacher by an independent testing authority not affiliated with the school or local instuctor or his system of instruction. The American Council on Martial Arts is an independent, training entity composed of some of the world's top martial artists and leading educators, sports physiologists, and motivators. Members include: Joe Lewis, Jhoon Rhee, Bill Wallace, Brian Tracy, and The Cooper Aerobics Center Clinic. The certification ACMC is granted under the auspices of The Cooper Clinic which also certifies Personal Trainers and Fitness Consultants.
It is also important to ask how long the school has been in operation, and how long the staff has been teaching. New Martial Arts schools may not be around long enough for you to complete your training and transfering is costly and frustrating.
2. WHAT IS THE ATTITUDE OR STYLE OF THE SYSTEM TAUGHT?
Beware of schools that don't allow you to question what is being taught. This isn't military boot camp and you are paying for quality instruction. Make sure you are getting it. Many systems don't allow questions due to some misguided attempt to instill the worst aspects of Asian cultural traditions. . There are no secret methods known only to a few. No one has mystic or magic powers that kill with a single touch. More often these questions are discouraged because they simply don't have the answers to common sense questions that you have a right to ask. Be especially wary of any school that tries to imply supernatural powers or abilities of it's founders or staff. Children should not do meaningless board breaking exercises as it is usless for self-defense and is harmfull to young developing joints and bones according to The Cooper Clinic and the ACMA.
3. IS THE STYLE OF MARTIAL ARTS TAUGHT PRACTICAL ON THE STREET?
This is important if you want your training to have some value outside the school environment. Many styles of Martial Arts are studied for the "art" without regard to actual application. Other styles are taught as a sport for competition, such as The Olympic style of Tae Kwon Do. Other styles are taught which emphasize modern self-defense in real street situations when your safety is the primary concern. We teach American Kenpo which is considered to be the most comprehensive, deadliest self-defense system ever devised. (Black Belt Magazine Yearbook, 1999) After all, why study a "martial" art that doesn't deliver when you really need it? Notice we said self-defense, not offense! Kenpo is taught for defensive purposes only. Confident students do not have to prove anything to anyone and as such are respected and do not bully others or look for fights. We teach COMPETENCE as well as CONFIDENCE! And we teach an American Art with no phoney magical secret moves known only to the select few mystical masters of Asia or elsewhere.
4. ARE THERE GROUP AND PRIVATE LESSONS AVAILABLE?
We offer both group and private lessons.
5. ARE LONG TERM CONTRACTS REQUIRED?
Most Martial Arts Schools require you to sign 1, 2, or 3 years contracts similar to health clubs. We only ask for a 60 day notice to cancel your membership. This gives anyone ample time to evaluate our programs to see if it is right for them. If 60 days is too long a commitment for you, you really have no business even considering any martial arts training anywhere. Be realistic with yourself. Could you actually learn to Golf, become a surgeon, or become a pilot in a weekend seminar or in only 10 classes?
6. HOW OFTEN CAN I TEST OR ADVANCE ?
Some schools do not have regular planned advancements forcing students to wait until the instructor says they are ready. This can be very frustrating, especially for young students. We test every student every 30 days. This way you have both a short term and long term goal setting experience. There are progress checks and belt promotions, depending on your level of proficiency.
7.HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO TEST ?
This is an important "added fee" at many schools. These fees can range from $45 per test up to $1300! And you pay these fees pass or fail.When you consider that you will probably test a 4-5 times a year, this can add up to a lot of extra money! If you have several family members training, it can be very expensive! After all, when you attend college you don't have to pay extra to take the final exam at the end of the semester! At Colleyville Kenpo Karate, we do not charge any testing or belt fees except for the Black Belt Test which is $150 to cover the cost of the diploma from the AKTS.
8. IS THE SCHOOL AFFILIATED WITH ANY INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS ?
Our rankings are recognized worldwide at tournaments and through International Kenpo Associations so you will not have to worry about acceptance if you move to another city or country. Since our rankings are awarded by International Associations and are not tied to just a single local instructor, you have worldwide acceptance of your hard earned rank. This can be important if you move to a new area. Member schools will accept your prior training so that you do not have to start over. Our school is a member of The American Kenpo Training Systems (AKTS), The American Kenpo Senior Council (AKSC), The Gracie International Jiu-jitsu Federation, The American Council On Martial Arts (ACMA), Rape Awareness and Prevention International (RAP), Bodyguard Training International (BTI), and The Scientific Fighting Congress, and The Kid-Safe Network.
The Ten Questions You Must Ask Before Enrolling In Any Martial Arts Program