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When a reader asks me about the validity of his or her martial art or instructor, I tell him or her to ask him or herself if the instructor:
- Teaches what they want to learn.
- Is a good teacher.
- Has a teaching style that suits their learning style.
- Has a personality that suits their personality.
- Belongs to an organization whose benefits are reasonable considering the cost.
- Has a reasonable tuition considering what is offered.
- Is upfront about the art he or she teaches, such as: I only teach what I know, which may or may not be very much.
- Tells your what the martial art is—its purpose, its philosophy, and what it attempts to achieve. Other arts may differ with min in their purpose or philosophy but this does not mean my art is better or worse than theirs, it just means we have differing ways of achieving the same purpose. However, there are frauds and rip-offs of which you should be aware.
- Whether the instructor is a martial art technician and martial art teacher. Although some may be both, it is not required that they be both. Some of the greatest coaches in world cannot do what they are able to teach others to do and some of the greatest athletes cannot teach anyone what they do.
- Tells you there is no “world” rank sanctioning body, so anyone can issue and certify rank, and there are no laws governing the issuance of martial art rank. Therefore, although your rank will be honored in this school and in any other school in our organization, if you go to a school in another organization, the rank you receive here may or may not be accepted, or it may even be even considered worthless.
- Tells you the techniques you learn here may or may not work for you in an actual self-defense situation.
- Tells you what belonging to this school will really cost you: tuition; required equipment costs; required uniform and patch costs; total cost (not just entry fees) to attend required seminars, camps, or tournaments; cost to belong to the organization, cost for rank tests, etc.
- Here is the school contract and what its terms really mean.
- If your goal is to compete at the World or Olympic level, our organization is or is not recognized by these governing organizations.