Q: What factors should I consider when selecting a Taekwondo school?
Look at the class schedule. Make sure classes are offered at times you are able to attend. Depending on the size of the school, there may be separate classes for beginner, intermediate, and advanced, so consider that your class schedule may change as you advance.
Choosing the right instructor is one of the most important things you should consider in your decision. The head instructor of the school should be knowledgeable, experienced, capable and most of all a good teacher. When looking for a Taekwondo instructor, observe the teaching style of several instructors. Look for an instructor that:
- Never tire of teaching.
- Never abdicate the role of instructor, even outside the dojang. Students and the public in general, watch everything instructors do, both inside and outside the dojang. Good instructors always present themselves as the epitome of Taekwondo values.
- Teach to the best of their ability and continually strive to improve their knowledge and skills. Good instructors constantly seek the latest teaching methods and Taekwondo techniques and then incorporate them into their instruction.
- Feel responsible for the welfare of their students. Good instructors encourage students to associate with their classmates and help students develop good contacts outside the dojang, such as professional services or business opportunities that may be beneficial to them.
- Maintain a formal relationship with their students and avoid social or personal familiarity. Instructors who have personal affairs with students lose student respect and may create uncontrollable situations or develop a dishonorable reputation.
- Never betray a trust given in confidence. Good instructors always set a good example. They continuously work to earn the respect of their students and never take the respect for granted.
- Have the highest level of personal integrity. Good instructors are always honest and never attempt to defraud students. They always make decisions based on what is best for their students and the dojang.
- Treat all students equally and show no favoritism. Good instructors ensure individual attention is distributed evenly amongst all students during a training session. They never strike or abuse students under any circumstances.
- Display a quiet and calm demeanor. Good instructors never appear frustrated or temperamental, even when under duress or in pain.
- An instructor is merely a student of his or her students. A good instructor is guided by his or her students and is only as good as his other students.
Who teaches the classes? Does the head instructor teach most of the classes or does he or she only teach the advanced classes. If assistants teach beginner classes, what are their qualifications and experience? Ensure you watch classes taught by the person who will be teaching your class. And who will you be spending most of your class time with?
One of the most important aspects of selecting a martial arts school to train at is the location. A school’s proximity to your home or work should be taken into consideration prior to signing up. Most students attend a class within three miles of their home. If the school is a short distance from your home, there is a greater chance that you or your child will be able to attend classes regularly. Although an hour commute to class might not seem too bad at first, keep in mind that you will be making that drive two-to-three times a week for the next several years. While location alone is not the most important factor in selecting a school, it is the factor most likely to affect your ability to regularly attend classes and the likelihood of your attending classes for the long term. Find a school that fits your needs, but is also within an acceptable driving distance.
Take notice of the school atmosphere, the attitudes of the students and instructors. Are they friendly and respectful toward one another? Do they appear to be having fun while free-sparring or do they show irritation and anger? Does the instructor appear to enjoy teaching? Are there an unreasonable number of injuries in class caused by a lack of control? Overall, does it seem like a place you would like to spend 3 to 4 nights a week for the next several years?
If you see students engaging in sparring and smiling and laughing at the same time, there is too much sport involved and not enough serious training. If they never smile, then they are too serious and probably not having fun. If everyone laughs and talks all the time, the school is most a social gathering, not a serious Taekwondo dojang.
Schools vary in the type of equipment and amenities they offer. Some are large and modern, and provide weight-training equipment, showers and lockers, while others do not. Remember, students are paying for these extras. It is up to you to decide what is most important and necessary for your training. All schools should offer basic comforts, adequate equipment and learning essentials. Depending on your location, air conditioning may be a must. A pretty school is not necessarily a highly functional school, and vice versa.
Quality of Students
The quality of instruction in a dojang may be judged by the quality of the students. Do the students appear to:
- Enjoy their training at all belt levels.
- Act friends with each other during and after class.
- Show respect for each other, the instructors, visitors, and the art of Taekwondo.
Price is a strong factor in any purchasing decision. While price is important, you should also consider value. Does the school have a large amount of fixed costs such as an overly large facility or amenities that do not add value directly to your training, such as an aerobics room, or large meeting rooms? While these items may be “nice”, they inflate the amount of tuition charged unnecessarily.
Lastly, you should explore the school for its general fit with your needs and your comfort level with the school. Are the students friendly and helpful to other students? Does the instructor’s style of teaching seem like one you’d be comfortable with? Is it what you are looking for?
Q: How should I visit a Taekwondo school?
Here are a few things to consider when making your first visit to a prospective Taekwondo school.
- When visiting for the first time, call ahead to make sure visitors are welcome and to make an appointment.
- Wear normal street clothes.
- Be polite and courteous.
- If you’re offered a hand, shake hands. If someone bows to you, bow back.
- Be quiet during class; do not do anything to draw attention to you while the class is in session.
- Get there early and stay afterwards so you can ask questions.
- Do not try to impress the instructor with your limited knowledge of Taekwondo or other styles.
- Do not try to use Korean words unless you are sure of the meaning and pronunciation.
- Beware of high-pressure sales pitches at some schools. If you feel pressured, leave.
Q: What questions should I ask when visiting a Taekwondo school?
Here are some questions to ask when evaluating a dojang.
- Is the head instructor a full-time or part-time instructor/owner?
- How long has the school been open?
- Do you teach Olympic style Taekwondo?
- Do you teach practical self-defense techniques?
- Is the school matted for use in throws or falls?
- Is board breaking required in training? For testing?
- Do you charge belt testing fees? What are they?
- How often are tests conducted?
- Is board breaking required for testing?
- Do you award black belts to youths? If yes:
- Starting at what age?
- What is the average time for a youth to get a black belt?
- What are the class hours?
- Are instructors nationally certified thru a recognized organization? What is the organization and its history?
- Is the instruction by group or private?
- Is private instruction available at an extra cost?
- How many classes may I attend each week?
- Do you use youth instructors?
Q: What should not be considered when selecting a Taekwondo school?
The following are some things you should not consider when choosing a dojang/instructor:
- Nationality or Gender. The race or gender of the instructor is completely unimportant. Do not assume a Korean Taekwondo instructor is better than any other instructor. Do not assume a male instructor is better than a female or vice versa. What matters is whether the instructor can instruct and inspire your to be the best you can be at Taekwondo
- Aesthetics of Dojang. You do not want to train in a dump but otherwise the appearance of the dojang is not that important.
- Superfluous Stuff. A good dojang needs a clean, safe training area, punch/kick targets, punch/kick bags, maybe some mirrors, and maybe some mats. Do not be overly influenced by unrelated stuff, such exercise machines, weight room, hot tubs, tanning beds, etc. If you want to pay for all these extras, that is okay, but they are unnecessary.
- Uniforms. Do not be influenced by flashy uniforms. Be suspicious of dojangs that use uniforms that are too different from the norm.
- Appearance of Instructor. A skilled Taekwondo fighter will probably be in excellent physical condition. A skilled Taekwondo instructor may be a physical wreck. When you are in need of medical attention, you do not care whether the doctor helping you is fat or not, you only care whether he or she can help you. Similar to good coaches in other sports, good Taekwondo instructors come in all sizes, shapes, and levels of fitness.
- Rank. There is no universal Taekwondo ranking system. . Be suspicious of those claiming unusually high ranks. Each major Taekwondo organization has it own rank structure and is usually in a power struggle with the other organizations, so it is difficult to compare ranks between them. So do not base your decision on which dojang to attend on the rank of the instructor.
Q: How do you teach things like Focus, Confidence or Respect?
How do we teach . . .
Every activity done in the class requires our Three Focus. They are the first thing taught to a student and are referred to by the instructors daily. Focus is stressed and expected in every class becoming habit for the student in everything they do.
- Eye Focus. Look at the person who is speaking to you to avoid being distracted by your surroundings.
- Body Focus. Control your body and your movements.
- Mind Focus. Concentrate your thoughts on the activity at hand and clear your mind of any thoughts that may deter you from that activity.
Setting and achieving short term goals. Long term goals will show dedication, perseverance or commitment while the achievement of short goals gives the student that “can do” attitude resulting in the confidence to try other things and to keep pressing forward even after minor set- backs.
Respect is shown and expected in every aspect of Taekwondo. It is taught in the first lesson and insisted upon from that point forward. Instructors and students show respect to one another by using “yes ma’am”, “no ma’am”, “yes sir” and “no sir”. They show respect to the school by bowing when entering or exiting the training floor and respect to the country by bowing to the nation’s flag at the beginning and ending of every class. Most importantly the students are shown to respect themselves and their accomplishments.
Q: Why should I enroll myself or my family at United Tae Kwon Do Academy?
It’s unlikely that your child can attend a health club with you. And you would probably feel a little out of place if you joined in with your son or daughter’s soccer team. Yet, at United TKD, everyone can train together side by side. As a parent, you will also be setting an invaluable example for your child about the importance of regular exercise.
Best of all, no two classes are alike. You and your child will appreciate the varied, high-energy workouts and be motivated to attend lessons regularly. I’m sure you are always aware of the places your child goes and the people that surround them. At United TKD, you can be confident that you and your family will be developing relationships with sincere, motivated, healthy families who are dedicated to self- improvement. You will also share the pride of seeing your family’s
improvements, and you’ll be celebrating each new belt together. It is something that the entire family will be proud of!
5 Reasons to Enroll your child at United Tae Kwon Do Academy
Just like with adults, one of the most common reasons for enrolling a child into a martial arts class is fitness. Childhood obesity rates are climbing, and more and more children are spending a lot more time in front of the television, playing video games and using a computer. However, even among more active children, martial arts is still attractive since it is seen as a very good source of exercise that also teaches skills. Martial arts can help improve cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, balance, strength and overall energy levels.
Another popular reason for enrolling children in the martial arts is to develop “life skills”. These skills include discipline, self control, patience, confidence, courage etc. The idea with these classes and this motivation is to reinforce what is already being taught at home. Martial arts classes can be a valuable tool for helping to really drive home the points you make at home in a very real way.
Self defense is the most obvious reason that should come to mind when considering enrolling a child in the martial arts. The focus of a good children’s martial arts class, while still teaching self defense movements, should be on conflict resolution, personal responsibility and avoidance. In that respect, attending a good martial arts class would benefit both the bully by teaching to respect others as well as your own power, and the bullied, by teaching how to calm a situation or defend oneself if need be.
Many parents turn to the martial arts when their children are acting out in school and at home. This is tied in to the life skills reason, but is very specific in what the desired outcome is. These parents are looking for help improving attention span, respect, demeanor and self control. The structure of many martial arts classes can greatly aid in these areas, however results will really vary and depend on the relationship that is built between the child and the instructor. If the instructor has a good method of communicating with the child, is firm but friendly, and most importantly, is very consistent, then the child can really get a lot of out martial arts training.
Safe, after school activity
Many parents are just seeking a safe, wholesome, useful activity for their child to occupy some of their free time. These parents don’t want their child to sit at home all evening, or want them to get involved in something that makes them set and follow through on goals. Martial arts training will certainly help in that respect. A good martial arts school can become a second home for many children. The relationships built between classmates and with an instructor can last a lifetime and have a huge positive impact on a child’s life.
Whatever reasons you have for enrolling your child in a martial arts class, be sure to discuss your goals with your child, and come to an understanding that will make both of you happy. A one sided arrangement in something with such a large investment of time, energy and money really will not work out to anyone’s benefit.
Q: How do I get started?
Q: How much does a membership cost?
We understand the need for parents to compare prices, especially in this economic state. While we do not offer pricing info on our website, we’d be more than happy to speak with you in person and answer all of your questions. This way, you get the full UTA experience and you can make a more informed decision about starting yourself or your child in TKD! After all, you wouldn’t buy a car over the phone even if you knew all of the specs. You’d have to test drive it first!
Q: What if I start a membership, and then my child doesn’t want to come?
This is a rare occurrence with younger children; however, it does come up when children approach puberty. Pre-teens often become overwhelmed with schoolwork, have mental and physical changes that they don’t quite understand, and they are growing so quickly that it’s hard to find balance in their world. Whatever the issue might be, our experienced staff and instructors are here to help you with any issue that you might have regarding frequency of training. While we always encourage everyone to complete their full agreement, we deal with every issue independently of each other and can work through any issue, however troubling it may seem at the time. The most important thing is to continue to re-evaluate your personal agreement with your child regarding TKD, and keep them training throughout the issue, which teaches them the importance of long-term commitments like TKD. Quitting half-way through an agreement does not teach good habits for the future, especially when they are entering a time in their life when long-term commitments are more important (relationships, college, school projects etc..)