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Picking a School Page 3

The next question often asked is, 'Is the teacher a good teacher?' A good teacher is one who will guide the class and you toward the agreed upon goal. A good teacher should never condemn or insult. A good teacher should be encouraging and aware of the limits of his or her students. A good teacher seeks balance in the training and practice opportunities they provide. A good teacher guides you in the philosophy needed to support the very real and dangerous skills you are learning. The proper philosophy taught hand in hand with the physical skills turns a fighter into warrior. A warrior's skills go beyond mere self-defense. They include self control, self-confidence, and humility.

Now we know our goals and have found a candidate school. What next?

Go inside! Watch the class. Do you like what you see? Does the instructor seem like a good one? Talk to few of the students. Do they like studying there? Do they like the teachers and curriculum? Will you have the same teacher? Talk to the teacher. Can you take a sample class? Do you need a uniform right away? I'd suggest waiting before buying a uniform or a lot of equipment. You might not like the style and be stuck with a lot of unwanted stuff.  Check the internet; it might have reviews for the school.

Do you need to sign a contract? If so, for how long? Most martial arts schools are businesses and exist to make money. My experience has been that the martial arts has a high turn-over rate among new students, in spite of the enthusiasm of the first class. I have heard many horror stories of people signing multi-year contracts and then learning after three weeks that the martial arts or style is not for them. They are still bound to the contract and continue to pay for lessons. Think before you sign! Be wary of high pressure sales tactics and guarantees of rank. No one can know how far you should go in the style until you get there. Most schools charge for testing but be wary of too much testing or exorbitant fees. If it doesn't feel right for you, it probably isn't.

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