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P. 1
Is Your Martial Arts School Ripping You Off? Pt 2

Is Your Martial Arts School Ripping You Off? Pt 2

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Part 2 in a series of unethical business practices in the martial arts.
Part 2 in a series of unethical business practices in the martial arts.

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Published by: Spotsylvania Martial Arts on May 27, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Local Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania VA Martial Arts News5/27/2010Provided Courtesy of Spotsylvania Martial Arts
Is Your Martial Arts School Ripping You Off? Part 2
Mr. Craig Willits,
Chief Instructor at
Spotsylvania Martial Arts
in Fredericksburg VA, warnsmartial arts students how the martial arts school they are attending (or considering attending) maybe ripping them off.In Part 1, we looked at how unscrupulous martial arts businesses rip off prospective students using
questionable marketing tactics.
In this installment, we'll look at the other side of the coin -- howmartial arts studios rip people off by
delivering a low-quality product:
sub-standard martial artsinstruction.Because martial arts instruction is personality driven, a martial arts school either lives or dies bythe quality of its instruction. Sadly, there are a lot of martial arts schools that are poorly managedand unprofessionally run. As stated in Part 1, the owners of these establishments rely on the factthat the typical consumer is ignorant about martial arts. Don't be fooled by marketing hype, anddon't put up with a poor quality product. Pay attention to the following four areas so you are notvictimized in your search for quality martial arts.
Martial Arts Rip-Off #5: Dubious or Inflated Instructor Qualifications.
Some martial artsstudios try to attract potential students by impressing them with the instructor's credentials.Unfortunately for the innocent consumer, ad copy doesn't produce skilled martial arts students -- askilled and experienced instructor does. Legitimate martial arts instructors should have three basicqualifications as a minimum. First, they should be certified by at least one reputable nationalorganization; the certification process should include both a formal examination by a board of senior martial arts instructors, and an apprenticeship requiring several hundred hours of teachingmartial arts under the supervision of an experienced instructor (like a student teacher in a publicschool). Second, they
have a thorough understanding of their martial arts system so theycan teach it effectively; this usually means they have been a student of that system for severalyears prior to certifying as an instructor. Finally, they must have the maturity and people skills tobe effective teachers and leaders. A martial arts instructor who doesn't have these threequalifications won't give you effective instruction. Ask about an instructor's certifications andexperience before signing up. If there are any questions about his/her qualifications, lookelsewhere for martial arts instruction.
Martial Arts Rip-Off #6: The Instructor "Bait and Switch".
Most new martial arts students joina studio expecting to train with the owner. Even in reputable martial arts schools, this often doesn'thappen, especially if the school is large or the owner is a prominent grand master, noted fighttrainer, or other martial arts celebrity. In these cases, the owner relies heavily on assistantinstructors to teach the less experienced students. This is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact,helping the class instructor teach is a traditional part of a martial arts instructor's apprenticeship. Itbecomes a scam when the school uses the promise of training with the owner to sign you, thenpasses you off on an assistant who is essentially a beginner who doesn't know much more aboutmartial arts than you do. Sometimes, these "assistants" are little more than children. Whileinexperienced martial artists do serve as assistant instructors, they should always be directlysupervised (as in on the mat controlling the action) by an instructor with the minimumqualifications outlined in the previous paragraph. If he/she is unqualified, you will wind up no moreskilled at or knowledgeable in martial arts than when you started, although you will be poorer.
Martial Arts Rip-Off #7: Poorly Designed Curriculum.
Professional trainers in any field alwaysuse a well-designed curriculum, with clearly defined goals, detailed class plans that allow thestudents to meet those goals, and standards that measure a student's knowledge of the subject. Inan academic classroom, for example, the teacher plans the course of instruction, executes thatplan, and tests you on what you learned. You would expect martial arts instructors to be nodifferent. However, many martial arts schools take a disorganized approach to teaching, with noprior planning or goal setting, and no way to set or enforce standards. Because rank advancementis often a source of extra revenue, a martial arts studio won't make money if it never promotesanyone. Therefore, a poorly-run studio typically has no standards, and will promote studentsregardless of ability to ensure cash flow. A school like this is commonly called a "belt factory," alabel that's a sure sign their number one priority is to make money. If you want legitimate martialarts training, you should look for a school with organized, well-planned classes, and standards forpromotion. If a school has none of these, you'll get better value elsewhere.
Martial Arts Rip-Off #8: A Dysfunctional Learning Environment.
In order for martial artsstudents to learn effectively, they need to function in an orderly, disciplined, positive classroomenvironment. For this to happen, the class must be led by a well-trained, well-prepared,professional martial arts instructor who makes class fun while still maintaining control of control of class activities. Some instructors who brand themselves "traditional" maintain order in class bybeing overbearing and abusive. This usually involves yelling and screaming, humiliating studentsby name, or administering difficult exercises as punishment. In extreme cases, it may involvephysical abuse. Conversely, there are martial arts instructors who seem afraid of offendingstudents (and causing them to quit) by insisting on proper, orderly behavior in class. Worse, theyengage in such unprofessional behavior as horsing around with the students, or showing disinterestin and lack of attention to class activities. These are all serious warning signs. When you choose totrain in martial arts, you should seek a school that has well-run classes with a minimum of distractions. If you visit a school and everyone is behaving as if they're afraid of getting in trouble,or if the inmates are running the asylum, so to speak, you should look elsewhere for martial artstraining.In summary, predatory marketing combined with a low-quality product leads to a ripped off consumer, and martial arts consumers are not immune to the danger of being ripped off. Further,shady martial arts schools give the martial arts industry, and the legitimate businesses in it, a badname. Take the time to become an educated consumer of martial arts instruction, and you willhave a positive experience and get value for your money.
Spotsylvania Martial Arts
offers a
free three-class trial program
in the following areas:
Traditional Martial Arts for Children (Ages 6-12)
Better Grades, Self-Discipline, Respect, Enhanced Focus
Traditional Martial Arts for Teens & Adults (Ages 13 and Up)
Self-Discipline, Physical Fitness, Goal-Setting, Self Defense
Krav Maga For Adults (Ages 18 and Up)
Reality-Based Self Defense, Realistic Personal Protection
Spotsylvania Martial Arts Headquarters
4100 Lafayette Blvd, Fredericksburg Virginia 22408Commerce Center Plaza (across from Spotswood Baptist Church)Phone: 540-891-9008

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