Knowing which martial art we want to practice is already a huge challenge, how to choose a martial art school should not be another one. Sometimes it’s even the preferred school that will decide which martial art you will choose. And as we all know, registering can be very expensive. So why not sit down a few minutes and think about what questions might help you find the right one for you.

You will find in this article a sample of the most interesting and popular question that you can ask ordered by theme. Of course, their importance will change according to the martial art you’re interested in and other factors. So be aware these are just a suggestion.

1. What are you looking for ?

Before going to any martial art school ask yourself what are you looking for. No one can answer this but you.

What are your objectives ? Self-defense ? Cardio ? Competition ? Pleasure ?
What are the most important aspects to you? Efficiency ? Philosophy ? Tradition ?
Are you more of a weapon person? kicks ? punches ?

2. Trials

Most of your questions can be answered simply by participating in a trial class.

Can I watch a few classes?
Can I try a couple of classes before committing?

3. Expenses

Sometimes, martial art schools are run like businesses. Many fake schools exist with the only objective to make money. Ask about hidden fees or mandatory equipment that who have to buy from them. These questions will help you differentiate legitimate schools from fake ones.

What is the monthly cost? Annual ?
Is there any extra cost for gradings?
What is the equipment needed?

4. Instructors

As we said, it is important to know about the legitimacy of the school concerning their intention as well as their capacity to teach you something real. There are too many “fake” schools that claim to be some reality based self-defense method but in reality, just some stylish moves created by some random dude.

What is the background of the schoolmaster?
Who did you get your belt from?
What’s his martial art career?
What about the other instructors of the school?
Who teaches the classes?
How often will I get to work with a senior/master instructor?

5. Affiliation

If the school is a member of a federation, it might be a good thing but not always. If this is the case, take a look at how serious is this federation in checking its schools quality.

Who is the technical chief instructor of the federation?
How old is this federation?
How many schools has this federation?
How does the federation ensure its school’s teaching and instructors quality?

6. School objectives

It’s important to know what the school’s objectives are and whether they match yours.

What is the purpose of your training? the objective?
Do you participate in tournaments?
What amount of time do you spend on muscle strengthening at each class? on sparring ? on technique practice?

7. Time investment

Some schools are expecting a good amount an investment from their students. Some other just don’t care whether you come to practice or not.

How often can I train?
How many times a week is a good/minimum amount of training?
Minimum training time requirements to advance in rank?

8. Intensity and contact

The level of contact is very different from a martial art to another. For instance, Tai Chi involves very little contact, to the opposite Brasilian Ju-Jitsu is all about contact and is very hard on the joints.

Do you practice sparring? What is the level of contact in sparring? Is sparring mandatory?

This is not an exhaustive list of the question you should ask but rather a list of what matters the most. Of course, adapt the questions to your situation and most of all to the martial art of the school you’re interested in.