_The other day a mother called me inquiring about lessons for her son. She asked me the question, “Why should I enroll my son at YOUR school?” That is a very good question and I believe that everyone asks him/herself some form of that question before beginning the martial arts. However, I had never had anyone ask me so directly before, so I was a bit surprised. I explained that I felt the real strengths of our dojo (martial arts school) were the carefully organized curriculum and lesson plans, designed to help the students learn and grow as efficiently as possible, while ensuring that the student is always learning something new, and the experienced instructor staff. We have recently brought on several new instructors, and all of them have had a huge positive impact on our school and we are very excited to have them here. Sempai Nan, Mr. Tucker, and Mr. Casey are all talented martial artists and dynamic and effective instructors.
However, I’ve been thinking a lot about that question (“Why should I enroll my son?”) since then, and I think I would give a slightly different answer now. I believe there are many, many reasons why people of all ages should study martial arts. Training to kick a bag or block an attack at a precise time has profound effects on the students’ ability to focus. Learning how to defend one’s self and even how to fall properly can save a person from serious harm. As students make progress through the ranks, they learn the value of goal-setting, and they start to realize that with hard work, dreams that once seemed impossible become very realistic goals.
_There are many reasons to study the martial arts, and if I listed all of them this blog entry would be as long as War and Peace.
Nevertheless, if I had to give just one reason why someone should study at our school, it would be this:
When we ask the students to partner up, and a student is having trouble finding a group to work with, either because they are new to the class, arrived late, or simply can’t find any more people without partners, several students will always go up to them and say something like, “We would like for you to work with us.”
When I have children, I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather have them than at a place where everyone understands the meanings of teamwork, respect, and compassion. I think that kind of attitude is rare to see at any age, but amongst our youth students I find it particularly moving.
When evaluating a martial arts school, I think there is a real tendency to want to judge said school based on the instructors. Do the instructors care about their students? Are they capable martial artists, and perhaps more importantly, can they effectively pass those benefits on to their students?
However, I think an equally important question to ask when evaluating a martial arts school should be: What are the other students like? What are their attitudes toward their classmates?
In that regard, it’s very easy to see why so many people start and continue to train at Maryland Martial Arts: We have amazing students. If you don’t believe me, watch closely the next time we ask the students to partner up.