Choosing the martial art style and teacher


1.   What you want to get out of martial arts training.

Fitness, fun, social interaction, health, fantasy, exercise, self defence, self-confidence, weight control, strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, protection, security, interest in tradition or culture, achievement, sport, competition, relaxation, etc?


2.   Choose a style.

Every style has something unique to offer. This partly depends on what you want to get out of martial arts training.

Aggressive, practical, passive/defensive, hard, medium, soft, subtle, extreme, prone to injury, least injury, easy, soft, meditative, way of life, fast, slow, grappling, throwing, standing-up, falling, rolling, street-wise, competition, discipline, weapons, sharp weapons, knives, sticks, staffs, self defence, etc. ?


3.   What kind of teacher suits you?

Traditional, modern, eclectic, mumbo-jumbo mixed-up type, smooth talker, story-teller, inspirer, disciplined, friendly, easy-going, dedicated, skilful, knowledgeable, elderly, youngish, mature, etc. 


4.   Researching

Look through the Yellow Pages or internet for the styles, schools and type of teachers you have decided upon. Do not be afraid to challenge the claims or assertions of the teachers. If anything does not sound logical, question it.

Ask for a free lesson. Enrol for a short introductory course.

Beware of commercial schools. These always look and sound fantastically great, but are structured to look and sound that way. You will be sucked in and won’t realise the truth until many years later.


5.  Investigate the costs

Investigate and compare the cost – including cost per hour. Most commercial schools have only 1 hour classes – some worse ones even take only 45 minutes. Warming up should take 20 minutes, and revision should take another 30 minutes, so and what is left for learning and practising has just been learnt during the session?

Ask about entry fee, membership fee, uniform, shoes, practice equipment, testing fees, fundraising etc 


6.  What will you learn?

What will you learn and within what time frame?




Written by John Chow,  a practitioner of Chinese medicine, acupuncturist, masseur, healer and teacher of Tai Chi, Chi kung, martial arts and spiritual paths in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Copyright:-  No part of this article can be used, quoted, copied in any form without the permission from the author.  For further information on this article, please contact John Chow  of Tao of Tai Chi Chuan Institute  at


Legal caveat:-

The information provided above is for general reference only. Although the author(s) has attempted to be as thorough as possible in compiling the information in this article(s), no legal responsibility nor liability is accepted for any errors or omissions. The information is presented for educational purposes only. Please refer any medical matter to your doctor before acting on any health-related information.