Starting a new martial art is a commitment. You are giving up your time, your money, and putting your body under some stress. So it’s important to find the right club for you. Use our Find a Club Locator Map to find clubs in your area, and then use our handy guide below to find the best club for what you’re looking for.
Proximity to you
When you’re starting out, your club needs to be close enough so you will keep going back. Its location needs to fit in with your day, as you’ll be going after work / school etc, or taking time out of your weekend.
As you get more into your martial art you’ll find that you’ll be willing to travel further for sessions / seminars / tournaments / gradings, but to start with stay local.
Instructors do not have to have a black belt to teach a class, so do not be put off if you turn up and find a non-black belt is teaching. But your instructor should be allowed to teach by his / her governing body, and preferably insured.
In the age of the internet everyone has an opinion. Check out the club’s Google / Yelp / Facebook page and have a look at the online reviews and comments. Remember that the internet is a wonderful and awful place, so take all comments, good and bad, with a pinch of salt.
What do you want?
Do you want to hit, grab, throw, use weapons, get fit? Each martial art has a different approach to fighting and training. Check out our martial arts style guide to get an idea on what each one offers.
Do you want formal or informal?
Do you want to call your instructor Sensei / Sifu, or Dave? Some martial arts are very formal, and some are very relaxed. This can be down to the art itself, or the instructor’s teaching style.
All of us thrive differently under these different styles, so think about which one you prefer. Try both out, and decide which one you feel more comfortable in.
Go and Try It Out
You never have to go back to a class, so make a list of the ones you like the look of and try a few out. Most offer a first lesson free, so it shouldn’t cost you very much to have a few taster sessions.
Sport Club vs Training Club
Some clubs focus only on competitions, some on training, some both. Again, try out different variations to see which you prefer. Also have a think about whether you want to compete, or just train and work through the grades.
It Should Be Fun!
If it doesn’t feel like fun, don’t go. Find somewhere you enjoy. That’s how you will keep it up in the long run. Martial arts training will be hard at times, frustrating and even painful. But it should always in the end be fun.