Do Government Agencies Protect You and Your Family From Unqualified Martial Arts Schools and Unlicensed Instructors? The Answer May Surprise You!
The Truth About Martial Arts Instructors Is A revealing report by Grand Master Richard Hackworth, Ph.D, CPT in Ocoee, Florida.
As with school teachers, doctors, pilots, and any other profession, all Martial Arts Schools or Instructors are not created equal.
First of all, you have to remember that in the USA, Martial Arts are just that – AN ART FORM. Martial arts schools in the USA are not federally or state controlled as they are in Korea and Japan. Orlando, Florida isn’t the only place that you will find unqualified instructors running schools. It is a national epidemic.
In Japan and Korea you can actually earn a college degree at a Martial Arts School. In the USA, there is no consumer watchdog agency to ensure the quality or legitimacy of Martial Arts instruction. There are no national standards, criteria or requirements for Martial Arts. Many people have abused this system and it is up to you, as a consumer, to try to find a good instructor.
So does that mean that if my Instructor is Korean or Japanese that he is qualified? NO, unfortunately the majority of those Korean and Japanese instructors in the USA came here as low ranking black belts to open a school because there were not licensed to do that in their country. You won’t have that problem if you attend one of our schools in Ocoee, Florida, Conyers, Georgia or San Saba, Texas. All of our instructors are internationally certified.
Essentially anyone can open a Martial Arts school after obtaining a business license. I have seen schools run by 15 and 16 year old children. In Korea you must be at least 24 years old to test for an instructor’s license. In the USA people can order an impressive looking certificate from some mail order organization in any Martial Arts magazine.
Decent schools have instructors with a reasonable idea about what they are doing with their art and their teaching ability and at the same time also understand how to run the school as a business so they can pay the rent and keep the lights on.
That being said, what does that tell you about their martial art, their ability to teach what you are looking for and the actual benefits that you will receive from studying with them? Nothing much.
In other words, a “Reasonable Idea” about their ability to teach Martial Arts and the ability to keep the lights on: Is this the Criteria upon which to base your choice of Martial Arts School?
The best Martial Arts instructors are “Self Regulated”. They seek out the proper training and certifications from the organizations for their Martial Art in the homeland country. For Korean Martial Arts schools that would mean belonging to the Korean Martial Arts Instructors Association or one of the branch member organizations.
First a few rules of thumb to consider:
You will encounter many “Masters and Grandmasters”. Their schools’ advertisements will tout their owners’ amazing achievements in Martial Arts competition or in rank achievement.
Many school owners will claim to be high-ranking black belts such as 6th degree black belt up through 10th degree black belt. Every Martial Arts style has a slightly different scale of belts or sashes and ranks. Don’t let this confuse, impress or intimidate you. Think of it as nothing more than some one who has gone through elementary school, then on to middle school, high school, college and possibly graduate school. However, in the USA nearly 99% of these ranks are self appointed, NOT from the world headquarters in Korea.
Rank means nothing if the knowledge of the “Masters” cannot help you achieve your goals. All schools will claim to teach the standard fare: discipline, self-confidence, respect, etc. All schools will try to impress you with the qualifications and accomplishments of the owner or master. However, you will almost never be taught by that person, but by his or her junior instructors – often times you may be taught by an 18 year old who is a 1st degree black belt or sometimes even a brown belt. There is nothing inherently wrong with this as long as you do receive some instruction from higher ranking black belts that are certified instructors as you increase in rank over time.
Some schools will tout the fact that they belong to some national or international association or federation related to their Martial Arts style. This is not a bad thing, but it is not a guarantee that you will receive quality instruction or that there will be good focus on self-defense. Many of these organizations are mere sports organizations that do not teach a realistic self defense system.
Most schools will try to fit you into what programs they have to offer. You want to try to pry more info out of them on how they will fit your needs and specifically how they will meet the claims that they make.
Finally, keep in mind that Martial Arts schools are not miracle factories. You will have to work hard and put a lot into it in order to get a lot out of it.
For the best Martial Arts training in Ocoee – Florida, Conyers – Georgia or San Saba – Texas visit American Dragon Martial Arts Academies Inc. I personally invite you to visit one of our locations for a free trial lesson.