How to prepare for your first martial arts class

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Beginner martial arts students at Dojang X celebrating after their martial arts class.
Beginner martial artists at Dojang X celebrating after class

Congratulations on deciding to take your first martial arts class!  We know it’s a time where many beginners feel excited yet nervous.  After all, you’ve shown courage to take action for something you’ve wanted to do.  At the same time you’ll be at a new place, with new people, doing something you’ve probably not done anything like before!

Rest assured, we’ve got you covered! 

In this article we share everything you need to help you prepare and start with confidence at your first martial arts class.

Let’s begin!

1. Watch some videos related to the martial arts style

Many people trialling a martial arts class for the first time pick a club based on a recommendation, the location, or an advert that they’ve seen around. Whilst this is great, it helps to become a little more familiar with the actual martial arts style that you’ve signed up for a taster class.

Most good martial arts clubs will mention their style on their website – typically on the ‘home’ page or their ‘about’ page.  If unsure, feel free to contact the club and ask. With the information, simply search up the style on a platform like YouTube to get a better idea of what it’s about. 

2. Arrive earlier than the class time

We recommend that you arrive a little earlier than the scheduled class time even if the martial arts club that you’re visiting has mentioned it or not.  Arriving a little earlier gives you the opportunity to have a general chat with the instructor, understand what you’ll be doing and help to ease some nerves.  Also, this is typically where a participation form is given to read before starting class.  Ideally, you’d want to avoid arriving at the class start time and completing this form whilst other members are waiting to begin the session.

3. What to wear for your first martial arts class

Exercise clothes is recommended for your very first class.  You want to feel comfortable wearing something that you can get a good sweat and allows you the flexibility to move around and perform your best kicks!  This is typically a t-shirt with shorts or gym trousers.

Depending on the martial art style, some may require shoes whilst others are barefoot.  For Soo Bahk Do (Korean Karate) classes at Dojang X for example, our members train barefoot.  

Oh and before we forget – it’s best practice not to wear jewellery and watches for training.  This is for your safety and for others. 

4. What to bring

It’s always a good idea to bring a water bottle with you to stay hydrated.  Some clubs give short breaks to take some water.  Others may not, believing that participants can wait until the session ends.  Both sides have a plausible case.  Of course, if during the class you really need some water for whatever reason, ask the instructor first.

If your medical professional has advised on certain items (e.g. an inhaler for asthma), bring these along too.

5. Other ‘good to knows’

Many martial arts clubs will have a certain way of doing things.  This is to ensure the health and safety of all participants at the class.  For example, you might be instructed to remove shoes before joining the training space. 

In addition, especially with traditional martial arts styles, there’s likely to be bows at different times at class. The bow is a sign of respect to the martial art, the instructor and to each other.  It will all be explained to you and prompted in a clear way.

Wrap Up

Well, that’s pretty much it!  Hopefully, you’ll now have a better understanding of how to prepare yourself (or help someone you know who’ll be taking their first martial arts class). 

If you have any questions, get in touch with the instructor.

Give this article a read to learn more about our Soo Bahk Do martial arts style at Dojang X:

The beginner’s guide to Soo Bahk Do (2023)

We wish you a great martial arts training experience!  


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