When you are investigating local martial arts schools there is something to keep in mind as you observe classes and listen to the instructors and owners. There is one question, above all others, that when answered can make the difference between finding a good school and accidently enrolling in one of those schools that gives the rest a bad reputation.
Are they modeling the life skills they are attempting to teach?
Almost all martial arts schools will tell you they teach students life skills such as Honor, Integrity, Respect, and Self-Control. The key to teaching these skills is to first model them. If an Instructor or School Owner wants to teach others to act with Honor and Integrity they must first model those behaviors in everything they do. Good Instructors and School Owners demonstrate their honor by openly discussing any aspect of their programs, focusing on what they have to offer instead of what their competition doesn’t offer. Their Integrity shows when they act upon their word, when they deliver what they promise. A few out there will devote more time to “talking down” the other schools in the area than describing what they themselves can offer a student. Unfortunately not all martial artists live by the tenants they attempt to teach. Those that do live by what they teach stand out, through the outstanding work being done by their students and the positive impact they are having on their community.
When doing your research online, take care to read everything you can about a school, it’s owners, and it’s instructors. A caution, however, should be kept in mind as you read reviews of local schools. While good Instructors and School Owners invest their time and effort in building up their programs and keeping their training current, a few will instead focus on tearing down the work of others. These few Instructors and School Owners will illustrate a complete lack of Respect for others online, posting misleading and often completely false reviews and information on their competitors’ sites. When this happens they are not only doing a disservice to themselves and their competitor, but they are cheating their own students by focusing on, and modeling, negative behaviors. The good Instructors model Self-Control, even when under attack by the less honorable variety, by remaining focused on how they can best help and serve their students and community.
As you search, whether on the internet or by visiting your local schools, beware of those who focus on the negative of others. When a person is more willing and able to discuss the “negatives” of another that is normally an indication that they have little to offer themselves. When you read a strongly negative comment surrounded by much more positive reviews be wary of the honesty of that comment, it might just be an attempt to falsely discredit the school. Look instead for those schools that are actively building up their students, proudly announcing the accomplishments and “good deads” being done by their students. You will know when you have found a good school, the Life Skills will be front and center.