A martial arts gym can be an intimidating place for total beginners. Stepping on the mats for the first time can be so scary for new students that it keeps them from ever starting their journey. Having an idea of what to look for in a martial arts gym can make the process of selecting one a little easier. Here are three things to consider when selecting a place to train.
Martial Arts Gym Culture
Picking a martial art that you like is important, but what is most important when it comes to finding a place to train is the culture of the gym. Some questions to ask are:
- How do the instructors treat each other, seasoned students, new students, and prospective students, on and off the mats?
- How attentive is the staff when you walk in the space?
- How do students treat each other?
These questions all revolve around the culture of the school, which is set by the head instructor. Training is supposed to be challenging, and you should expect to step out of your comfort zone. You should also expect to have fun, and feel a sense of community within the gym. You should feel welcome in the space by everyone in it.
Martial arts can help you learn about yourself and improve your ability function in challenging circumstances. While the training is challenging and will push you past your limits, you should never feel unsafe. Kickboxing, wrestling, and grappling require close contact and a significant amount of trust between students, training partners, and instructors. Your instructor should recognize when you are in too deep and step in. If an instructor fails to do so, listen to your instincts and stop when you feel overwhelmed.
A dirty martial arts gym is inexcusable. It’s not “old school” to train on filthy mats, it’s a health risk, even before COVID. Poor hygiene is disrespectful to the gym and potential training partners (Click here for hygiene tips). Training on dirty mats with dirty partners can lead to bacterial and fungal infections. It’s gross. Look for any signs of poor cleanliness before you step on the mats. If your training partner is not demonstrating proper hygiene, ask the instructor to be partnered with someone else.
There you have it. We hope this helps you start your martial arts journey. Don’t forget to check out our schedule and sign up to get the only Sanda kickboxing curriculum in the Boston area. We are currently offering a free trial class to new students. See you on the (pristine) mats!