Insider’s Expert Guide To Choosing The Right Martial Arts School

If you follow these 10 TIPS, you will most likely end up in a good prosperious Korean martial arts school with honorable Masters.


Expert Advice to Help You Choose the Right Martial Arts School 

Any martial art is based on humility, hard work, and support. But despite this ultimate teaching, there is always a chance to come across a school whose hunger for money overcomes the key principles of martial arts.

Avoid these 10 things at ANY cost when searching for a good martial arts school.

1. Excessive cost


The average price tag for martial arts classes varies from $25 up to $100 per month. More than that is too much for what one gets unless it’s one-on-one tutoring.

Custom Katana

In order to decide whether the price is reasonable for the services being delivered, don’t hesitate to ask a teacher what you will get in the school for a monthly fee.

Check the following:

  • how many classes you’ll get per week
  • access to locker rooms and showers
  • equipment in the training hall
  • Dan level of your teacher
  • extra payments

2. No free training

Every decent martial arts school offers trial training classes for free. Those who don’t might be more interested in your money than in teaching you.

3. Secrecy

Righteous kwans are having their doors (and windows) always open to those searching for a good martial arts school; the masters are eager to share the knowledge and experience with others.

AVOID ANY SCHOOL that is accessible for paid members ONLY, and those who ask for any upfront payment in order for you to see training or participate in it.

4. Belt factories

Try to spot and avoid those martial arts schools who focus way too much on testing and belt ranks. Every test is an extra fee, and it can generate a sizeable source of income. In these cases, the student becomes a money pinata that they hit every few weeks for more money. Students may or may not actually learn any fighting skill on their way up the ranks.

5. Not all that glitters is gold

When searching around, you might come across some martial arts schools that spend a significant amount of money on branding, such as Logo designs, outdoor banners, flags, etc.. As a rule, marketing costs will make the prices go higher. So if you are not willing to pay for someone’s ostentatious marketing, avoid such schools.

6. Diverse schools

The rule applies to those schools who rent their facility out by the hour, aka “kung fu tae kwan do hapkido muay thai”.

Avoid schools with too many styles under the same roof, unless there is an outstanding martial art master teaching in that school, and you really want to become his student.

7. Unknown style


An unknown style name often freaks potential members out. Is it really something all students shall avoid when choosing a martial arts school?

The truth is, the more a master practices the style, the more he evolves, the more accurate and precise his techniques become. It takes a whole lot of training for a master to come out with his own way of executing and performing a technique.

Don’t avoid a school just for its name. Go there, interact with teachers, and talk to students. Find out about the founder of the style as much as you can. If he is the 8th Dan and higher, you can definitely take his Kwan into consideration.


8. ‘Sports’ schools

Wanna learn self-defense or become a fighter? Then avoid martial arts schools that teach how to win medals.

Yep, that’s right! Competition training is different from self-defense and fighting training.

9. Tense atmosphere


It goes without saying, an unhealthy psychological environment makes things unbearable.

Although some students find it motivating to train under strict supervision and believe that competition breeds progress, a martial arts school is not an ideal place for “I am better than you” attitude.

10. Modern schools

Sadly, it is too much of showing off these days. Unfortunately, a new generation of martial artists tries to add and change, combine old and new.

Sometimes such a fusion works fine, but if you are not interested in something like dancing taekwondo or spinning hapkido, it is better to stick to the good old traditional Kwan who respects martial arts traditions and shares the knowledge with others.

It is the people that make a school. You shall always keep that in mind and try to lower the risks which might occur due to human factors.

Be always friendly but attentive to the details. Talk to people. Find out about introductory programs, trial classes, timetables; try the free or discounted classes at a number of places, and take your time deciding what to settle on.

Don’t get roped into any financial commitments beyond a month (i.e., punch cards, or discounts for 1-year memberships) until you’ve seen the training with your own eyes and tried with your own body. Once decided to sign up, read the membership agreement carefully, to avoid extra payments in the future.

The list may go on and on but if you follow these 10 TIPS, you will most likely end up in a good prosperous martial arts school with honorable Masters.

Attribution: Ribbon photo created by creativeart – Man photo created by nikitabuida – Business photo created by tirachard – Hand photo created by –


What do you think?

Written by Bo Mikael Lindstrom

Master Bo Mikael Lindstrom, the 8th Dan in Hapkido and Taekwondo, 5th Dan in Kumdo, the founder of Hwardokwan Martial Arts Institutes and a member of KHGA, KHF, IHF, WHF, WHMAF, KIDOHEY, KUKKIWAN, Changmookwan Taekwondo Federation and International Moogongkwan Kumdo Federation. Master Lindstrom gives Hapkido, Taekwondo and Kumdo seminars all over the world on regular basis.


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