Martial art Schools in Virginia Beach

Virginia Martial art schools

Picking a martial art school shouldn't be tricky but it is, with the proliferation of franchise schools opening up in almost every shopping center, people with questionable credentials opening schools who's lineage can not be verified how do you know who to turn to for real martial art training?

What is lineage. Lineage is essentially where you and your karate come from starting with the source.  For example.  Up until recently Sensei Shugoro Nakazato was the head of the Shorin-ryu Shorinkan Association, each instructor fom this point can be counted as a Generation.  I am a second generation black belt becuase by instructor is a First generation from Sensei Nakazato, in the future should I ever have a school and promote students to black belt they will be third generation.

The closer one is to the 'source' the deeper their understanding of the system they are teaching.  Seek out those who are close to the source, many schools will hide their true lineage, and claim to be closer to the source than they truly are.  It is up to you, to dig for the truth.  Ask questions.

What to ask potential insturctions:

  • What style do you teach?
  • what year did you start training in this style?
  • what is your current rank?
  • when did you obtain your black belt?
  • who did you optain your first black from in this style?
  • who did you optain your other black belts from in this style?
  • who was your teachers teacher?
  • Can I get my black belt in 2 years?
  • Is rank determined on the number of classes a student attends. or on the quality of their martial arts?  Do they have attendance cards? Are tests based on how many classes are attended?

Do your home work before you arrive.  Dig using the "way back machine" you can look at a website history and its changes to see if they have modified information. Such as style, affliliation, who their instructors are or were.  you can see when the website came in to existance as well.

A note about rank.  You should seek out a good black belt.  His degree isn't that important, many good instructors study and don't seek rank, others seek rank beware of the braggart, you'll notice them.

Adult Martial art classes

Ask if the school teaches little kids, you'll be able to tell, you want to find out if they teach adults. What the focus is when teaching the adults. Observe the kids class, and then the adult class, do the adults move like the kids? Do the adults look strong, solid like warriors or do they look like they are just going through the motions, like one learning how to do a country line dance?  Research the school that you are considering, the number of students they have is meaningless.  

On a side note, while I am thinking about it.  I belong to several online marketing communities for martial art schools.  The school owners on these sites are always talking about how to sign up more and more people on long term contracts, belt testing fees ( oh we need to come back to this ), merit badges and participation patches for their students gis etc. But the one thing they never talk about, is how to teach quality martial arts, they never talk about how to explain ideas or concepts, they only talk about how to charge their students additional fees.  So read the contract.

Excessive Belts & Ranks

How many belts and ranks stripe belts does school need?  I guess it is based on their rent ;)  No I am kidding to some degree.

I have been to schools where they test the students every month for stripes, and every three months for the next belt.  They have so many belt colors and stripes that it looks like a bag of skittles exploded.  Old school dojos generally have very few belts.  The school were I train ( OBI Karate School of Virginia ) we have only 6 belts and two stripes ( white with yellow stripe and green/brown ) bringing the total to eight including the black belt. Testing fees are minimal and don't occure on a regular basis.  In addtion, the tests are private, it is not a production designed to be used to market the school, beware of schools who have monetized their belt tests, who invite friends to watch and cheer. Martial arts are about humility, ask yourself where is the humility in such a production? 

While you are asking the head instructors questions decide if they are being humble, or just selling you, you can tell if you are being sold if you are doing all the talking and they are the ones asking quesions.  Pretty clever isn't it.  Are they talking about the traiing, how they train and the goal of training or are they simply trying to sell you a contract?

Things to watch out for :

  • Dojos where there is alot of ego
  • Lack of humility.
  • Monetized belt testing parties for friends, family just to try to increase student count
  • An excessive number of belt ranks with many stripes
  • Excessive belt testing fees & many of them. 
  • Large number of trophies on display and on Facebook 
  • Do their adults look strong or weak while training?