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Questions to ask


Here are some questions to ask when evaluating a martial arts school.

About school itself

  • Is the head instructor a full-time or part-time instructor/owner?
  • How long has the school been in business? How long does it expect to be open for business?
  • To what organization is the school affiliated?
  • Does school use no-contact, light-contact, or full contact sparring?
  • Does school teach traditional or sport style taekwondo?
  • Does school teach practical self-defense techniques?
  • Does school teach ground fighting/grappling? What type?
  • Does the school have mats for use in throws or falls?


  • What is the cost of classes?
  • What is the total cost of all required sparring equipment? 
  • What is the cost of tournaments, camps, etc?
  • What other training equipment is required to be purchased, such as uniforms, target pads, re-breakable boards, weapons, etc.?
  • Must all equipment be bought through from the school?


  • Must I sign a contract? (Beware of hidden costs, get full disclosure before you sign any contract.)
  • May I have a copy to review before I sign it?
  • How long is the contract for?
  • Who owns the contract. the school or an outside agency?
  • What do I get for the money?
  • Are payments made to a third party? 
  • What/who may cancel the contract?
  • What if I am sick or on vacation?
  • What if I am injured and cannot train?


  • What are the class hours?
  • Are instructors nationally certified through a recognized organization?
  • Are all classes taught by a certified instructor?
  • Are instructors First Aid and CPR qualified?
  • Is the instruction given to a group or by private lessons?
  • Is private instruction available at an extra cost?
  • Do you use youth instructors? 
  • Are minor instructors used during adult classes?
  • How many classes must I attend each week?
  • How many classes may I attend each week?


  • What type of sparring is used?
  • What level of contact is used?
  • How much sparring is required?
  • What safety requirements are used during sparring?
  • Is kicking to the head allowed, in class or in competition? 
  • Is punching to the head allowed, in class or in competition?

Rank testing requirements

  • Do you charge rank testing fees? 
  • What are the fees? 
  • What if a student does not pass the test?
  • Do you have written requirements for each rank test?
  • Is attendance at tournaments, camps, or seminars required for promotion.
  • Is free-sparring required for rank tests? 
  • Is board breaking required for rank tests? 
  • How often are rank tests conducted?
  • Do you award black belts to youths? If yes, starting at what age?
  • What is the average time to earn a black belt?

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