Add KarateForums.com
Let's Help sensei8 in His Time of Need
KarateForums.com Awards 2021: Winners Revealed!
Username:    Password:
Remember Me?    
   I Lost My Password!
Post new topic   Reply to topic    KarateForums.com Forum Index -> Choosing a Martial Art, Comparing Styles, and Cross-Training
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 See a User Guidelines violation? Press on the post.
Author Message

bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29040
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:08 pm    Post subject: When you check out other schools....what do you look for? Reply with quote

When you go check out other schools, whether its for a place to train, or just to see what else is in your area, or you are travelling through, and thought you'd check out area MA schools just for grins, what do you look for? What do you evaluate? Do you go in with or without biases?

I'm curious, because I am willing to bet that most of us do this; we want to see what others are doing, and compare it what we do; its human nature. So, I thought we could discuss it here.

I tend to look at technique first, from the higher ranks. I check to see what age groups are running around, and how full the class might be, and if its mixed or seperated. I would also kind of watch the curriculum, see where the class focus might be, and compare it to how I've done things in the past.

Other things I'll note are the age of black belts, adult/child ratio, and things like that.

How about you?
_________________
www.haysgym.com
http://www.sunyis.com/
www.aikidoofnorthwestkansas.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Montana
Red Belt
Red Belt

Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 827
Location: Formerly Kalispell, Montana, now Spokane, WA
Styles: Shorin Ryu Matsumura Kenpo & Kobudo

PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great topic! And one that fits me perfectly, as I'm one of those that pops into dojo's every chance I get, especially when travelling.

I try to keep an open mind when visiting another dojo, especially one that doesn't kbnow that I'm a martial artist also.

First of all, I look at the discipline of the dojo. Is it run like a military organization with a lot of "Yes Sir/No Sir" or is it more relaxed. My preferences are to the more relaxed schools, but that is me. If you like a more strict environment, that's ok too.

Secondly, I look at technique of the higher belts. I wouldn't even want to guess at how many black belts I've seen that, IMO of course, are generating the power that a lower ranking kyu/colored belt would generate. This alone will tell you if you're in a good dojo, or bad.

I watch sparring, which despite the system, is generally pretty mu7ch the same everywhere, with only slight differences, such as Korean systems using more kicks and less hands (generally). As an Okinawan system instructor, I favor the 50/50 hands/feet and kicks to be lower.

I look at weapons usage. Do they know what they're doing, or is it all for flash? If the students/instructors are holding the nunchaku higher (close to the cord/chain) then that tells me they are either self-taught, or just plain haven't a clue as to how to use the weapon.

If time allows, and I like what I see, I will attempt to talk to the head of the dojo and introduce myself and let them know I liked it. On the other hand, if I didn't like what I saw, I would most likely sneak out the door at the end of class before they try to sign me up!
_________________
If you don't want to stand behind our troops, please..feel free to stand in front of them.

Student since January 1975---4th Dan, retired due to non-martial arts related injuries.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

ShoriKid
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 14 Dec 2007
Posts: 900

Styles: Matsubyashi-Ryu, Okinawan Kempo, wrestling, bits of BJJ

PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I look for a lot of the same things Montana and Bushido are looking for. Class structure, is it super strict, or more friendly and relaxed? Are the students paying attention if it's relaxed or scared to ask a question in a strict place?

I'll look at how technique are approached and how well the upper belts get/apply the mechanics. And, if their are enough upper belts I like to see if they are individualizing the art while sticking to the same principals. If there is a kids class, is it separate, or mixed. There is a "feel" to a good dojo too. Hard to explain, but it has an atmosphere that invites hard work, camaraderie and makes you want to step on the deck and work out.

And I lastly, like Montana, I like to introduce myself to the instructor at the end, compliment them on their class if it was good. If it wasn't, quietly slip away as people file out of the class.
_________________
Kisshu fushin, Oni te hotoke kokoro. A demon's hand, a saint's heart. -- Osensei Shoshin Nagamine
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29040
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses, guys. Some things I didn't think of there, like noticing the "feel" of a school. Something I also might do is wait until the class is over, or even throughout the training, and see if anyone approaches me and introduces themselves, and how they address me and all that. I like to see if the conversation is one of genuine interest, or like visiting with a used car salesman.
_________________
www.haysgym.com
http://www.sunyis.com/
www.aikidoofnorthwestkansas.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

tallgeese
KF VIP

Joined: 04 May 2008
Posts: 6862
Location: McHenry County, IL
Styles: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Bujin Bugei Jutsu, Gokei Ryu Kempo Jutsu, MMA, Shootfighting, boxing, kickboxing, JKD, Pekiti Tersia Kali

PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right. That's the biggest thing I look for, the feel of the place. Do I like the way the students hold themselves. Is there a prevalent attitude about the place. Things like that. Espicially if I'm considering training there.

I look at the dynamics of the students and instructors with one another. That's a big indicator to me in regard to teh emphasis of the school.

I also look at if the school is accomplihing what it purports to do. If it's supposed to be a combative school, I want to see if what they are doing is combatively sound. How have tehy adapted new training modailites? Do they train live? How do those sessions look?

Too out of control and wild is a bad sign, it goes to a lack of proper technique and training at upper ranks. So constraied and presices as to look rehersed and pristine is equally bad, suggesting that they don't really know how out of control and chaotic a brawl can be.

If that's not the focus of the club, how are they doing at acheiving their goals. If you're looking for a pure BJJ school you should be seeing more technique and less spastic movements in their ranked guys. If traditional oriental arts are the focus, then they should display the form and power you'd expect from high level practitioners.

Really, for me, once you get past the attitude, it's about how well the school is accomplishing it's mission.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Yahoo Messenger

Throwdown0850
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 16 Feb 2008
Posts: 701

Styles: Judo, BJJ, Uechi Ryu

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I look to see if they have aliveness in their training. Sparring, sparring and more sparring. How old are the bb's. Is the class a learning experience. Or, an ego fest ( I got to see that today for the first time). Do the players have good sportsnanship.
_________________
You must become more than just a man in the mind of your opponent. -Henri Ducard
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1817
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At this point in my training, I look to see if the teacher giving all the right techniques and focusing on them for an appropriate amount of time, and also how big of an ego he has, I like a humble teacher. I say that because I know that as long as I'm learning the techniques, I can drill them at home enough to become proficient in them, and go back and ask whether or not I'm doing the correctly. For me any martial art as been 30% class time training and 70% solo training.
_________________
Martial arts training is 30% classroom training, 70% solo training.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15511
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Will you be challenged? If not, keep looking.

Platitudes and the like are fine for decorations, but it's the core of the Chief Instructor that I'd look into. Watch him/her, study him/her, and how well does he/she interact with students and guests.

Watch a lot of classes! Things will reveal themselves during class.

Good luck!



_________________
**Proof is on the floor!!!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29040
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zaine wrote:
At this point in my training, I look to see if the teacher giving all the right techniques and focusing on them for an appropriate amount of time...


What do you mean by "all the right techniques?" This jumped out at me, and I would like to hear your elaboration.
_________________
www.haysgym.com
http://www.sunyis.com/
www.aikidoofnorthwestkansas.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1817
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
What do you mean by "all the right techniques?" This jumped out at me, and I would like to hear your elaboration.


It's not elaborate. I study before I check schools out. When I say that I literally mean the techniques of the system and whether or not they seem to be doing them correctly. Other than that I look for teaching techniques.
_________________
Martial arts training is 30% classroom training, 70% solo training.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    KarateForums.com Forum Index -> Choosing a Martial Art, Comparing Styles, and Cross-Training All times are GMT - 6 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


< Advertising - Contact - Disclosure Policy - Staff - User Guidelines >