There are many, many different styles of karate and martial arts available to choose from for a new beginner student looking to start for the first time. You may want to join a dojo for any number of reasons.
- Exercise & Fitness
- Self Defence
- Personal Improvement & Development
- Social Activity
For every persons objectives there is more than likely a dojo or karate style out there that will match those goals. The challenge can be finding a good dojo that suits your needs. With the huge diversity of karate styles available it's a good idea to know at least a little of what you are looking for.
Here are a few things to consider when shopping around for a martial art, or karate club to participate in whether it's in Halifax, Nova Scotia, or somewhere else in the world.
Evaluate what it is you want to achieve from your participation in karate.
- Do you want to participate in a style that is non-contact, moderate contact, or hard contact?
- Are you interested in traditional karate, or do you just want to get a pair of gloves on and get into the ring?
- Do you want to be competitive?
- Are you looking for a sense of community in the club you attend, or a more strict military type atmosphere?
Here are a few things to consider evaluating in a potential dojo.
- The instructor should be willing to speak with you regarding any questions or concerns you may have. Of course this should be done within reason, do not interrupt a class in session to speak with the instructor. Approach the instructor before or after class or make an appointment so that you may sit down at a time that works for both of you.
- Ask the instructor about their qualifications.
a. Have they had a police background check done?
b. What requirements are there for them to be an instructor in their organization?
c. If you are looking for classes for your children, then what qualifications does the instructor have to teach children?
d. How long have they been training?
e. How long have they been teaching?
f. Would they be willing to allow you to speak with some of the clubs students?
Having a black belt or lots of medals and trophies may make someone a good martial artist, but that does not necessarily make them a good instructor or give them adequate people skills.
- Go to a dojo and observe a class or two. If the instructor does not allow you to watch a class, then go elsewhere....quickly.
- Overall attitude:
a. Is the attitude of the karate instructor positive and helpful, or arrogant and demanding?
b. Is the instructor willing to answer difficult questions in a professional manner, or do they get agitated or aggressive?
- Is the facility clean and well maintained?
- Do the instructors have first aid training and is there a first aid kit at the facilities?
- Do the instructors themselves still train and try to expand on their teaching and martial arts skills?
- Ask the instructor their opinion of other karate styles or martial arts. Are they accepting and respectful of different styles, or do they feel the style they teach is the only one of value?
- Does the organization have by-laws, policies and procedures that they adhere to and are available for viewing?
I'm sure there are other points to take into consideration, but this should help you get started.
Good luck in your search for a good karate dojo!
Thanks for reading!