How to choose the best martial arts school for you (2023)

Share This!

Dojang X members in Abingdon, UK group photo after a fun martial arts class!
Dojang X (Abingdon) members group photo are a fun class!

Congratulations on deciding to start a martial art! 🥳

You’re now probably looking through the whole list of martial arts schools and wondering “where should I start?”  After all, there’s many to choose from!

We believe that taking some time at this stage is really important to help you identify the best martial arts school for you and/or others. 

After all, you’ll be dedicating time out of your week for your new activity with the aim to build your skills and knowledge as you work towards achieving your black belt!  

If your goal is to go that distance, or inspire others to unlock their true potential, then this article will give you some pointers on what to consider.

Let’s begin!

1. The martial arts style

Martial arts styles come in a whole range of categories and almost all offer self-defense skills.  A good martial arts school will teach you how these skills can be applied in different situations.  

The question then comes down to:

What does the style prioritise?

In Abingdon for example, there’s many different martial arts schools available.  Some prioritise arm techniques, others focus on leg techniques and some, like ours in Soo Bahk Do, apply both equally.

The different styles will also give different levels of attention to sports competitions, ground work and throws. 

At Dojang X, we prioritise giving our members strong self defense skills – however, competitions are available for the keen!

Another question that’s worth thinking about:

Is a mainstream or niche martial art right for you?

When we first type something like ‘martial arts near me’ in Google, some schools will list the martial art within their name.  For others, like with Dojang X, we mention our niche martial art (Soo Bahk Do) directly on our website and social media.

Mainstream martial arts bring with it the familiarity. The benefit of a niche martial art like Soo Bahk Do is that there is a strong sense of community.  In particular, because we belong to the World Moo Duk Kwan organisation, we automatically have amazing global links to exceptional martial arts instructors and members around the world!  This means that they’ll be plenty of opportunities to meet and train with others as we invite them to our school or attend events, seminars and camps elsewhere.  In our view, it’s also nice to train in a martial art that’s not readily available everywhere!

2. Size vs. environment

A bigger and more equipped martial arts school can be impressive as it can indicate popularity. However, this isn’t necessarily an indicator for training quality.  After all, many martial arts schools of Eastern origin in the past only had an empty room and basic equipment for training and produced incredible martial artists. 

Whilst bigger class sizes give the advantage of training with more people overall, it has the likely drawback of less individual attention.  Some martial arts schools, like ours, limit class sizes so that each member can get individual feedback at each session.  We recommend that the best way to see if a martial arts school is right for you is to take a trial class and choose one based on the feel you get from the experience.

3. Pick your mentor

At most good martial arts schools, your instructor becomes your mentor throughout your black belt journey.  Therefore, the best martial arts school for you will be one where you feel there’s a good fit between what you’d like to accomplish and the instructor’s character.

What to look for:

During your first class, you’ll get a decent feel for the general environment of the school.  How current members behave indicates what’s accepted by the instructor and their leadership.

At the end of the class, review how you feel about the experience compared to your reason to start a martial art. 

Your gut is a great guide.  

Ask yourself: 

  • Is this martial arts school a great match for me?  
  • Does the instructor teach in a way that I enjoy?  
  • Can the techniques be demonstrated well?  
  • Do I like the instructor’s personality enough to consider them as my mentor?

4. Established vs. start ups

On the one hand, an established martial arts school has the power of greater word of mouth and reputation.  After all, they’re known in the area and likely to have a greater number of members.  This is a good choice for anyone who prefers going by recommendations with the assurance that others find the martial arts school near them enjoyable. 

On the other hand, a martial arts start up like Dojang X in Abingdon brings plenty of ambition and energy to build a strong positive reputation that makes up for our smaller size.  In fact, we enjoy our smaller size because everyone gets equal support at class and we can get to know each other very well!

Ultimately, it comes down to what type of martial arts school you prefer.

5. The free trial

Many reputable martial arts schools will offer a free trial and will be transparent in the costs involved when asked.  We suggest that you take a free trial to experience a session first-hand and ask the instructor any questions you may have.

Speaking of free trials, we offer a free martial arts trial class at any of our Abingdon locations at Dojang X. 

Why not give us a go and see where the experience takes you?

Wrap up

We know how important your decision is when it comes to choosing the best martial arts school near you for your black belt journey and hope that our article gives you some pointers to assist in your search.

To find out more about our Soo Bahk Do martial art, check out our beginner’s guide here: The beginner’s guide to Soo Bahk Do.

If you’d like to take us up on a free martial arts trial class at Dojang X in Abingdon, click on the button below to get started!

Share This!

Leave a Reply