To Affiliate or Not Affiliate: by Calasanz

We Americans love affiliations and endorsements… The Good Housekeeping  Seal, Better Business Bureau etc. They lend credibility to a business or product. They assure us that our chosen product or service has received
some type of validation from a higher authority.

Martial arts are no different. Look at most generic articles entitled “how to choose a good martial arts school.” A piece of advice you will often see is that you find a school that is affiliated with an “accredited organization.”

Membership in a martial arts association has a lot of benefits. Some martial art schools are part of a franchise. This means that they are affiliated with a larger company that has licensed its name and methodology for a fee. The advantage here is name recognition along with some management assistance.

Another advantage is that martial arts associations set curriculums and provide rank certification. They establish governing boards that promote the art and quality control. They provide smaller schools with recognition and the appearance of being “official” because they are linked with a larger group. Associations organize tournaments, camps and special events. They provide its members with networking opportunities and may also maintain a website with links to its affiliates.

Martial art associations are wonderful marketing tools in a culture that loves the “seal of approval.” You are warned by a lot of websites to be leery of an unaffiliated school because they may not follow an “established’ curriculum and there credentials might be in question.

Well, I’m here to provide you with another warning…*membership in associations, organizations or affiliations will not necessarily guarantee you good martial arts instruction. *There are a lot of dedicated, competent martial arts instructors who are sick of the politics of some martial arts associations and have decided to remain independent or break away.

There is also a financial component to being part of an association. Schools pay fees to belong to the association. Students are often required to pay initial membership fees to the association and are charged by these entities for rank advancement or testing fees. In addition, some schools have to fork out thousands to have some “master” come to affiliate member schools and give special seminars. Students are pressured into attending and have to pay in for these seminars on top of their monthly or yearly dues.

Instead of putting too much stock in affiliation with an association, the best way to choose a school is to ask around in your community. Very often, several schools will be recommended. Word of mouth is often the best advertising.

Find out how long they’ve been in business. Go to each school and ask to watch a class. Talk to the instructor. Do you like his or her teaching style? The fact that this instructor may or may not be affiliated with an organization may be unimportant. Don’t’ discount the school just because you don’t see a wall full of credentials. Membership in outside organizations doesn’t always assure quality.

 Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851


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