Martial Art Schools – The Good and Bad

An estimated two-million martial art schools are in operation in the United States alone. Some are small and operated out of the instructor’s garage while others may be franchise chains. Some of these are honest operations taught by highly skilled martial artists while others are outright scams ایران آموزشگاه.

How is a person who has no knowledge of the martial arts industry supposed to sift through and find a great school without getting ripped off? The answer is quite simple if you are willing to go on a little journey.

The best place to start is to take a look at the industry as it is today. Then look at some of the most popular types of schools that are in operation. Through focusing on what to avoid rather than what to seek out you will stand a much greater chance of finding you are looking for.

The industry is supposedly self-regulated. This is almost laughable with over four hundred associations and federations in existence and each having it’s own regulations. Major associations did not even exist until the 1920’s when Japan’s government started to standardize martial arts to curb the amount of people who attained a black belt.

Any major organization will have some type of politics within the rank and file of the association. This leads to a spit, and one association becomes two with different requirements and regulations. To add to the confusion look at all the martial art styles that exist.

Each one has it’s own associations or federations to “govern” the style. To make matters worse the associations may or may not recognize another association even though they both “govern” the same martial art style. Fully investigate any association or federation to insure they are serving you before paying any money to them.

You can spend years and thousands of dollars to attain a “registered” rank. If you move to another city and find another school, which teaches the same style your rank may not be recognized by that schools association. Moving beyond the mess of associations, we find a bigger mess in martial arts schools.

A popular theme being widely promoted are contracts, belt testing fee’s, rank registration fee’s, special programs or classes, and lots of belts. Over the past decade, the cost for martial art lessons has gone up while the quality of instruction has gone down. There is hope as there are some schools that outright refuse to penalize their students for moving up in rank.

Understand that any person may purchase a black belt and open a school. If they want to look legitimate, they can join an open “professional association” watch a few video’s and purchase some pre-made curriculum.

The “professional” association will provide almost everything the school needs to sell the school to a prospective student. They will get press releases, advertisements, posters, phone sales scripts, pre-made seminars, and even a professional looking web-site. In short, they are purchasing a ready made martial art school in a box.

These types of schools usually do not last long. Unfortunately, it comes at a cost to students being injured. Improperly trained instructors do not know how to instruct and how to watch for potential injury techniques. Failure to be able to explain how to prevent injury or what can cause an injury is a telltale sign of a non-trained instructor.

These schools follow closely to the scam school. The difference is that they can have an educated martial artist as an instructor. The pit-fall is that they lack quality instruction, which turns into a high turnover of students. To remain open, they devise a way to get as much money as possible from the students.

It starts rather innocently and with a contract. This guarantees the school a monthly income for a year or two even if the student drops the classes. Next comes the belt promotion and the testing and registration fee along with it. These schools can have anywhere from eight to fifteen colored belts or more. Some schools have gone as far to add camouflage belts.

It is a matter of numbers for these schools. Add a single belt and charge $40 for a testing fee and $10 to register the rank over 150 students. The school can make an extra $7,500 per year for adding one extra belt color to their line up. If you see a rainbow of belts and there is a testing fee, make sure you can afford to be promoted.

Once you have achieved the rank you need a “special” class because you are a “serious student.” this is again a numbers game for the school. Take a small amount of students and charge them an extra $50 per month for six months to learn something “exclusive” to them. \

This class will help them attain the next rank much faster and without it, you may not get the black belt for years. It’s an easy $300 per student plus the testing fee at the end of the “special” class.These schools can stay in business for a long time.

A large amount of money is put into advertising and student recruitment drives. They measure success by the annual profit rather than success of the student. Heavy pressure is placed on students and parents to sign up, and pay, for the next big “exclusive” or be left behind.

Many of these schools belong to “professional business associations” that cater to the martial arts industry. The cost to belong to such an association can run from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars per month. A personal touch can be added for $1,250 per hour for a phone conference if the school owner has problems figuring out why they are not making that $100,000 yearly profit that the association talked about.

You can spot these schools rather easily with a few questions. If you hear the words contract, upgrade, or anything, which comes with an increase in monthly cost, then you likely have a money grabbing school on your hands.

This is always fun to look at as they have all kinds of claims, which seem to come from an action movie. Walking into these schools you see pictures of war zones, military medals of all sorts, military award certificates, and martial art trophies galore.

Looking over a school’s web site and you may read about “combat tested and proven techniques”. The lead instructor was special forces and sent behind enemy lines where he used his martial art. He was part of some foreign military elite brigade where he was in command of some super duper top secret mission that he can’t really talk about. This is absolutely laughable as few people purposely go into a war zone to test a martial art.

Martial Art Schools – The Good and Bad

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