But how do you pick the right school? What can you look for that will help guide your decision? Here's a few tips that can help you out.
1. What's the feel?
The first time you saw an advert, talked on the phone or made your way to a class you would have already had an impression or three.
How does the martial art school your approaching make you feel?
How do they make your children feel?
Do they greet you warmly and make an effort to make you and your children comfortable?
(We don't necessarily mean offering you a massage chair or reclining lounge but rather: do they engage with you and answer questions? Do they acknowledge your children and engage with them?)
If it feels good then you're on the right track.
2. What do your children think?
Did your child enjoy their first session? No, then find out why.
Maybe it was something as simple as: All the other children had their cool martial art uniform on and they didn't.
If they just flat out did not like it then don't worry about it and move on.
Yes, they loved it? Great! Find out if the school does a paid trial month. See, after one class you will know if you like the atmosphere and you'll get your first impressions.
After a month you and your child will know if they want to continue.
3. Is there a structured programme?
Can you be shown that if your child does XYZ they will be able to work towards their Black Belt and beyond?
Having a structured programme that teaches the martial arts and prepares your child for advanced and master grade content is what makes the difference between a martial art programme and a fitness for fun programme.
4. What does the facility tell you?
Is the venue that is being used clean? i.e floor swept and presentation tidy.
How does it smell? We know that there's an active smell when you have a room full of people moving around but beyond that it should be clean.
Is there a First Aid kit within sight? Seeing a First Aid Kit shouldn't turn you off from a school that has one handy but rather treat it as a visual sign that the Instructors are prepared should they need it. We all know that a First Aid Kit is useless after the fact so having it ready is the best policy.
5. Do they care?
Do the Trainers have Blue cards and is there at least one person with First Aid training to hand at all times?
These seemingly little things show that the school is forward thinking enough that they want to show that 1. They care for your children and 2. If something should happen then they are trying to be as prepared as possible.
6. Are they transparent?
This can be in a couple of ways. Are you allowed to talk with other parents while your child does their first class? (This should be a resounding yes by the way.)
Are you told the prices when asked? (I'll let you in on an industry behind the curtain here. One of the reasons martial art schools don't necessarily share $$$ straight up is because people have a horrible tendency to tire kick and dollar shop as opposed to picking the right school for their children.
Just remember that if you go for the cheapest school in the area JUST because they're the cheapest then cheap is what you should expect. If they're the cheapest and they tick all of your boxes then that's a great find for you.)
If you feel that they are not being upfront about something you can ask them (Maybe it's nothing) or decide to not engage any more.
7. They treat you like a person
Do they treat you like a person and not just a number?
Do they spend as much time with you after the sale as they do before?
Do they notice if you're not present and do they remember when you were unwell and follow up?
We're not saying that they've got to be on the phone with you all day every day but do they make contact and check in?
Hopefully these will give you a head start when looking for a martial art school for your family.
If you have any questions about our martial art school or would like to know more then please contact the Expert Contributor.