How can I recognize a quality martial arts school?
This is one of the most fundamental and important questions asked. As such, it should have a comprehensive response. Please take the time to read this section as it benefits you or your childs martial arts education.
First, let us note that there are numerous reasons why people are interested in martial arts. Some of the common values are: bodily and mental health, self-protection, competition, and development of a philosophy applicable to everyday life. Park’s Martial Arts can teach any of these values depending on the students goals.
Martial arts is neither a day-care or sport facility, nor is it a mere hobby or archaic tradition of training brutes. It is a beautiful and noble art form which we are confident that you will come to embrace with pride and enthusiasm. We believe that if there were more qualified black belts in the world today there would be less conflict and a greater appreciation for whole life values and practices. This statement may seem somewhat contradictory since martial arts is a warrior path, but in time and with thoughful consideration the meaning and depth of this will become clear.
There are generally three factors in determining a quality martial arts school and owner.
1. The school/owner is more concerned with teaching the well-balanced quality set forth in Whole-Life martial arts, (or what we call Traditional based Martial Arts), than with predominately seeking profit, mere pugilism, popularity and commercialistic trends.
(Note: “Traditional Martial Arts” was a general term our founder used to express what he reffered to as authentic martial arts. Our use of the term does not mean to blindly following some cultural, archaic or static approach. Our usage of the term is also progressively dynamic and refers to an honorable connection to lineage, faithfulness and dedication to your mentors/peers, and holding onto tried and true methodologies when they remain useful. It also connotes acceptance of new approaches when they have proven themselves irrefutably ethical, factual and true through tested careful observation.)
2. A school owner/master has – in good standing – a martial arts lineage, certified teachers and traditions. (He’s not a lone wolf…or trying to reinvent the wheel.)
3. The martial arts are of the highest quality and are optimally effective.
Further, a desirable master/instructor earns their position by:
- Being honorable, disciplined and devoted to his/her tradition and mentor. He/She has NOT created their own martial arts system, and does not promote himself/herself through the ranks, but earns it through an unbiased evaluation of the qualified master/system. He/She always gives credit where credit is due, (while a breech in doing this would be like stealing a patent or trademark).
- In rare cases an individual gains special unprecedented educated or even revelatory knowledge. This individual then becomes the founder or innovator of said knowledge and a new technique or approach is born. However, we know of no individual that has created an autonomous and complete martial arts system. As such, the question to ask is where did they learned their techniques if they didn’t create them? And did they gain the leagl or ethical rights to teach these techniques from the “source” by which they derived?
(Note: There is an unfortunate and popular trend now days – which actually is not new at all – where schools are dishonorably leaving traditions/teachers creating their own variants of martial arts. In conjunction with this trend is that the term “Master” has become generic and unearned. The foundation of this trend seems to revolve around the primary motivation being monetary or egoistic. And so while these “schools” and their “masters” appear progressive and innovative, or even reflective of the “American Dream”, upon careful scrutiny they rarely offer anything new…
Further, many of them have simply stolen, converted and or shared, among other dishonorable persons, techniques so as to appear to have some semblance of continuing progressive education. Ironically and unfortunately these unscrupulous individuals often make huge incomes and attempt to patent, trademark or copyright techniques and materials that they dishonorably took from others. In the end these types only dilute the mission and values of traditional martial arts and drain the time and resources of the unsuspecting well meaning student. Our founder would often say that in time as people became educated they would learn the truth and things would be set right.)
In order to avoid losing valuable time and personal resources it is imperative that the school and owner be carefully evaluated.
Here’s a summary of things to look for:
- Is the school/owner a member “in good standing” with a traditional lineage/teacher and able to provide the certification, etc, to prove it? Is the school a member of an accredited martial arts national or international governing body?
- Does the school follow moral and ethical guidelines that are in accordance with your beliefs and values?
- Does the school offer a comprehensive life long educational program? Such a program should demonstrate the value of martial arts as a complete personal and social endeavor involving body, mind and spirit – in other words it teaches how to become a healthy and complete fulfiled human through the “Way” or “Do”.
- Does the school offer diversity in its instruction so you can have well rounded, optimal and effective skills and understanding of the martial arts?
As you can see there are many factors to consider for you and your family in deciding which is the right school. As such, the prospective school should be readily available to answer any questions you may have. Never settle for less than you deserve or for mere convenience. Take the time to do the research because life is too important to waste on insufficient or substandard educational programs.