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A Lifehack On How To Choose A Martial Arts School

A Lifehack On How To Choose A Martial Arts School

lifehack martial arts school karate kung fu tae kwon do

    Martial arts training is one of the best activities for fitness as well as for developing personal confidence and self discipline. If you have decided that you might want to take up martial arts, do not just simply walk into the closest karate school and sign up right away without doing some research. Not all martial arts are alike and not all schools are alike either.

    The discussion of which martial art style to take is too extensive for this article. So what I will say here is that there are differences in the various styles of martial arts which may result in some being more suitable for certain individuals compared to others. Do some research and visit the classes of a few clubs that teach different styles if possible.

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    A School’s Teaching Approach Is More Important Than Styles

    What is more important is each school’s approach to teaching. Many martial arts schools teach only techniques that are specific to a traditional style. These schools follow the ways that the original founders of each style developed and they have continued with minimal variance over the years. Other studios like to borrow techniques from a variety of martial art disciplines and integrate a mix into their programs. These more non-traditional schools adopt a more open free-style system that incorporates both traditional and modern techniques.

    With the explosion of mixed martial arts, some martial arts are purely combative without any artistic and spiritual content. Each school will claim that their style and method of teaching is superior to others. Prospective students must not take these claims too seriously. Choose an approach that would be best suited for you.

    Watch The Instructors In Action First Before Signing Up

    Many schools push the backgrounds of their instructors as a way to attract students. It is important to realize that the more degrees (or dans) a particular black belt has does not always mean that the individual is a better instructor. This is the same with instructors who have successful competition records. There is no correlation between the number of championship titles won and how good an instructor is. The term master should be taken with caution.

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    Some instructors use the approach of the old masters where discipline is strictly enforced much like in the military. While general discipline is actually a good attribute to learn from martial arts, some of the old ways of teaching, particularly reprimanding students vocally or physically for incorrect techniques may be considered a bit harsh for modern society.

    This is why it is important to watch classes of prospective. You want to see the teaching style of an instructor to determine if it is a style that would be compatible with you or not. Ask questions after instructors have finished teaching. If you have the gut feeling that certain instructors will not be right for you, move on to find another club. Most legitimate schools will allow prospective students to witness or even try out a class for free before joining.

    Competition Versus Non-Competition

    Some schools are very much into competition with active encouragement of students to participate in tournaments. Some schools even make this a requirement in order to advance through the different levels.

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    There are schools in the complete opposite end where they do not believe in competition at all and pretty well keep to themselves without any interaction with other martial arts clubs. Many Chinese kung fu clubs do not compete and some styles such as aikido do not offer any competitive outlet. Many schools choose to have a relaxed position towards competition where they leave it up to individual students to choose whether they want to participate in tournaments or not.

    So as a prospective student, you should consider what involvement you would like in competition if any. If you know that you never want to compete, you should not get locked into a school that requires tournament competition. If you have a desire for competition, do not join a studio that shuns competition.

    Martial Arts Training Environment

    Some schools teach in community centers, school gyms and even church basements. Some have bare bones studios with outdated equipment. Some have the latest fitness equipment with sparkling clean change rooms and facilities. All of these will factor into the membership fee of each school. You have to determine what you are willing to pay for and what type of environment you will feel comfortable training in.

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    Many schools require annual contracts while some are on a month-to-month basis. There could be initiation fees as well as testing or grading fees for advancement. All of these extra costs will add up. Ask what happens if you have to freeze your membership due to extended illness or injury.

    If one does not really know whether martial arts is an activity for them in the long run, the option of taking short term courses such as those offered by community centers may be a viable alternative to making a full commitment to a dedicated martial arts club with its own studio space.

    There are many options in the form of different martial art styles and schools to choose from in the market today. Just make sure that you do some preliminary research before committing to any particular club.

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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