This is something I have been thinking about for a long time. I am going to focus the next several blog posts to help parents understand what can be expected in a Martial Arts school. The reason I am doing this is because I have been seeing more and more frequently, students arrive at my school who lack basic Martial Arts skills but have been studying (and parents paying) for years.
It really saddens me when I see families wasting money on flash, belts and faulty instruction. The victims of these school will not have the skill necessary to protect themselves but they will have a lot of belts.
So, the point is that I will be writing several pieces to educate parents on what to expect from a proper Martial Arts school. All Martial Arts are good, but are meaningless without quality instruction. All Martial Arts are effective if they are mastered (which means practiced).
So the first topic on deck is: What is a Master?
A Master back in the day was simply a person who is a skilled practitioner of a particular art or activity, who taught others. Masters were known for "Mastering themselves", they had complete control of their bodies down to the smallest detail. These Masters were often teaching for over thirty years before they were considered a Master by others. Grand-Masters are simply "grandfathers" in other words, they have teacher levels who also have teacher levels. Many times the titles of Master and Grand Master convey some sort of air of mystique, and can mislead people into thinking the rank conveys more than what it really does...teacher.
These days, a lot of "Masters" are self-proclaimed, which is not bad, just be aware that many are. The best question to ask when interviewing a school is not "Are you a Master?", it would be "Who was your teacher? And who was your teacher's teacher?" In the Martial Arts world your lineage is very important. And thanks to Google you can research the style and teacher you are considering.
As always the most important thing when interviewing a school is to watch an actual class. Not the trial class. A REAL class. Go in, unannounced and watch.
Sensei and owner of Croton Karate. Sensei has been a student of Martial Arts for over 25 years. He knows every child in his dojo by name. Croton Karate is one big hardworking family.