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How To Choose A Martial Arts Club

Martial arts has seen a huge rise in popularity, with it now being considered a mainstream sport, especially with personalities like Conor McGregor, Jon Jones and Tony Ferguson really engaging with people on a wider platform than ever before. Adding to this, is the new wave of celebrities getting involved with MMA too, with the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Aaron Chalmers and most recently James Haskell who have all taken up various forms of MMA.


The increase in popularity got the general public looking into ways in which they too, can get involved with MMA. Those looking to learn MMA often don't know where to start, with martial arts clubs not always being as well known to the public. With that said, even when aspiring fighters have found a list of potential places, it can be difficult to determine the best club to join. The decision is a tricky one, not only are there a host of martial arts to choose from, there are then also different styles of teaching, as well as different reasons for learning. This can lead to confusion and people giving up before they've even begun.


If you or someone you know is wanting to get started but have found it difficult to find the right place, then read our easy guide to help you choose the right martial arts club for you.


  1. Qualified (and Insured) Instructors – This should be your absolute number one priority. This does not necessarily mean your instructor needs to be the top level belt in their discipline but they should have the relative qualifications to teach. Furthermore, it helps to have an insured instructor just in case anything goes wrong, to ensure everyone is covered.


  1. Online Reviews – In the age of Facebook, Google and Yelp, finding out whether a place has positive or negative reviews has never been easier. While it's important to not let one, potentially bitter, bad review put you off somewhere. In general, a company's star ratings on review sites are usually a good reflection of a place's quality and if you need to quickly filter out a few options, this is definitely the quickest way to do it.


  1. Proximity – Location can often be a deal breaker, as travelling to and from a club can be very time consuming and off-putting. It has been statistically proven that people are much less likely to give up on a gym, class or activity if its near their house or on the way to or from work. Once you've narrowed down your shortlist by following the first two steps, make sure you consider how far you are willing to travel.


  1. What Martial Art? – Most likely you will have had an idea of this from the start, however some are open to trying anything and are more interested in the exercise and discipline sides of MMA rather than necessarily the technical moves. Regardless, if you haven't decided yet, now is the time to pick what martial art interests you the most. Do you want to focus more on striking with your hands and feet? Then maybe Kickboxing or Karate might be for you? If you are wanting to strike more with your elbows and knees? Then why not consider Muay Thai? Or perhaps you're not that into striking and are looking to learn how to defend yourself when you've been knocked down? In this case Brazilian Jiu Jitsu would be ideal. There are so many martial arts to choose from, so make sure you do plenty of research and pick one that suits you and your goals.


  1. Informal or Formal? – A formal or informal environment is an important factor to consider when searching for the right place to train. Are you looking to speak to your instructor on a first name basis or are you ok with calling them sensei, for example. Some people don't feel comfortable calling their instructor strange names and feel more comfortable in an informal setting. Others enjoy the impersonal nature, as it keeps them more focused and builds respect between student and teacher. It's a personal choice, so it is something to consider prior to deciding on where you want to train.


  1. Sports Club or Training Club? – Finally, the last decision to consider is what it is exactly that you want to achieve from your martial art training. Are you wanting to complete the grading system and get fitter and stronger? Or are you interested in seeing how much you can learn and then putting it to the test in competitions? The wrong type of club will leave you frustrated, uncomfortable or even scared. Make sure you pick the type of club that suits your goals.


Conor McGregor and his son Conor McGregor and his son Students and teacher at a martial arts class Students and teacher at a martial arts class

There are plenty of clubs to choose from and so many different ways you can train. We hope our guide has made it a little easier to start your martial arts journey. Just remember to think about the steps above and make the right choice for you. Don't feel pressured into making a choice based on someone else's preference and how they like to train, you'll be much less likely to give up if you do things your own way.