There are several things to consider when finding the right teacher or the right fit.
First and most important is your health condition. Should you have bad knees kicking arts like TaeKwonDo, TangSooDo, or Thai Kick Boxing would not be a good fit. However, if you only had one arm or disabilities in both arms, those arts would be perfect for you.
Fitness level is next, if you visit the school and they start every training session off with extreme cardio, and you have not worked out in years. This kind of school may not be for you. As an expert Certified Personal Trainer (NASM), I can tell you that you start off with slow stabilization drills before you move any further.
Mental capacity, arts like Tai Chi and Xing Yi are perfect for someone with major health issues, but to a five year old, this would be like nuclear science. However, TaeKwonDo and Shotokan would be perfect. They are very structured and don’t get into the roots of it until Black Belt several years later.
There are financial considerations to consider as well. Make sure you work within your budget or some schools hidden fees can run you thousands of dollars a year. Now, let me say this, the average Yoga Instructors Certification program cost $4.500 dollars up front. The average Massage Therapy program cost 7 to $10.000 dollars. The average time to Black Belt is five years at 80 to $125 a month. This equals $7.500 in which you can now work off that certificate for the rest of your life or just subsidize your income as you need. No student loans to pay off for the next ten years, no mandatory CEUs to pay for, or state board test to mentally exhaust you.
Great instructors do not always make great students, and great students sometimes loss their credit to selfish instructors looking for fame and glory. For this reason there is an old saying that you should keep in mind. “Between the person you are today and the person you are to become is your constant challenge and no one else’s”. Simply said, your teachers will give you knowledge, your practice will develop your knowledge into skills, but without desire you will never find success.
With all these variables how do we find the right school with the right teacher? You don’t you become the right student, you become the journeyman, you become the constant. The destiny is within you.
With all that said let me give you some advice, I have studied under over 100 instructors in about 80 different systems, none of them any better than the other without my efforts. Traditional or conventional, hard style or soft style, kicking or striking, forms or freestyle all have their good points and bad points arguably, but who is anyone to judge unless you have fully learned their principles and techniques.
I would start my journey with trying at least 3 to 4 different schools, feeling the environment out in each one, making sure that the values I hold close they hold close, that what I wish to become can be seen in the instructors obviously, and most of all that they accept me for my weaknesses and strengths without being judge mental.
Remember that there are no goals, finish lines, or graduations in the martial arts, there is only the journey to become a better person, to develop others to become better people, and to someday know that your efforts made a difference in someone’s life. It is truly about the journey and the friendships gained along the way.
About the Author: Colonel James R. Hogwood is the National Training Director for C.O.P.S. International and C.E.O. of The National Self-Defense Agency, Inc 501c3
Ooltewah, TN. USA. He is also the President of the International Independent Hapkido Alliance. He can be reached at Ph: (423) 505-0525 Visit his page at https://www.facebook.com/internationalindependenthapkidoalliance and join the discussion at https://www.facebook.com/groups/worldmartialartsmedia