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Karate (and other martial arts) benefit children in more ways than one, including by allowing them to learn valuable self-defense techniques, make new friends, exercise, and have fun. However, as most parents are undoubtedly aware, the quality of services provided by a dojo depends upon the commitment and focus of its owner(s) and employees. Here are three ways for parents to select the best dojo for their child, maximizing the fun—and the athletic value—of lessons in the process.

Check the Instructors’ Qualifications
Like any other hobby, martial arts training is about passion. It’s those who truly enjoy practicing that ultimately thrive, and as such, parents should be sure to check the qualifications of instructors. Now, it’s unlikely that instructors will be professional athletes, but they should have at least some experience of karate or the other martial art(s) that they’re teaching. Through this experience, they can give students the edge they need to succeed. Qualified instructors make for fulfilled students, and inversely, unqualified instructors can compromise kids’ learning.

Browse the Dojo’s Website
Nearly every dojo has a website that provides a comprehensive overview of the establishment’s offered lessons and training style. By browsing through websites, parents can learn about dojos’ perks and atmospheres, and with this information, an educated enrollment decision can be made. It’s also recommended that parents peruse a dojo’s third-party reviews—customer feedback left on websites like Google and Facebook.

Enroll in a Trial Class
Most dojos offer trial classes, which allow students to see if the offered lessons are personally suitable. The vast majority of these trial classes come with no obligation, and parents would be wise to have their child try a dojo before committing to its program in the long term (especially if the establishment requires members to agree to a contract). Also, reputable dojos allow and encourage parents to sit in on lessons, and it might be a good idea to do so during a trial class and the first few lessons, both for the child’s sake and so that the parent can gain peace of mind. Karate and other martial arts afford practitioners a wide variety of advantages. These tips will help parents to choose the best dojo for their child, and in turn, the dojo and the student will benefit.