Things You May Not Think To Ask When Selecting a Martial Arts School | TOP Martial Arts and Fitness for Life
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Kathryn Shasha reviewed TOP Martial Arts and Fitness for Life
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When I needed to get in shape for television pilot season; Ellen was the person that drove me to be my very best above any other trainer I ever had. I had the privilege of being trained by her during my Kick Boxing Ultimate Training (KUT program). She not only taught us to perform the movements safely, she motivated us to get the results we wanted. And above all...she always made it fun! She has an amazing personality and her nonstop energy is contagious. I looked forward to every class. I HIGHLY recommend her for any fitness/Karate program. She is the best!

Krista Gambino-Seymour reviewed TOP Martial Arts and Fitness for Life
5
via Facebook

My kids began taking karate about 5 years ago. My kids are not at all into sports or competitive but I am so glad they went. They grew so much in their confidence and inner strength. This was in part of their Masters and teachers. Master Ellen, however, was one who took my daughter under her wing. She recognized immediately when she was feeling anxious or sad. Her pep talks were so heartfelt and meaningful to her and for that, I am incredibly grateful.

It was not much longer when I joined in school’s KUT program. It was such a motivating group and the instructors were so encouraging and supportive. There was a point when I was feeling very discouraged about my progress (lack of). Master Ellen immediately pulled me aside and helped me through that period. Her words of encouragement and her belief in me stays with me to this day.

I am so glad she is taking this amazing venture. Master Ellen is truly gifted and a wonderful individual with a caring soul. She is an excellent and fun (my kid’s words) instructor.

Karen Vega reviewed TOP Martial Arts and Fitness for Life
5
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Ellen is one of the most kind, caring, determined and unforgettable people you will ever meet. I met Ellen in 2003 when she was my daughter Airiel’s Hapkido instructor. Ellen was a consistent instructor during the 10 years Airiel trained. While Airiel was training for her Black belt Ellen would come in and work extra hours to make sure she was ready for her test. There were many times Airiel would have given up if it wasn’t for Ellen helping and guiding her through. Over the years Ellen has become more than an instructor for us; she is someone we can both truly call a friend.

Deb Trevelin reviewed TOP Martial Arts and Fitness for Life
5
via Facebook

Three years ago I was looking for a fitness class that was not a gym. My cousin recommended that I try the KUT program with her. I had never done kickboxing, but a couple of my friends had and thought I would like it. They were right.
That’s where I met Master Ellen.

She has great patience in showing the correct form and would come over to my bag to “fix” me if I was doing something incorrectly. Encouraging me by letting me start at my own pace yet motivating me to keep up with her once I figured out what I was doing.

When I started I could not do a full push up, with the training motivation my highest was 42!!

Her energy invigorates, motivates and encourages you to do your best…. You will feed off her energy!!

Airiel Vega reviewed TOP Martial Arts and Fitness for Life
5
via Facebook

I started training in 2003, when I was six years old, so I have known Ellen for most of my life. She is one of the most amazing people you will ever meet and I am lucky to say that she is more than just my instructor, she is family. Throughout the years of training, she pushed me when I needed it most and helped me every time I asked. She trained me through both of my black belt tests and I know I couldn’t have done it without her. She didn’t just look at me as a student, but as a friend and it made the world of a difference to me. She makes you feel like you’re her number one priority and ensures that you’re at your fullest potential. Anyone who meets or works with Ellen is lucky because she will have a huge positive impact on your life.

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Things You May Not Think To Ask When Selecting a Martial Arts School

Everyone would agree that martial arts have far reaching benefits for children. Perhaps, your child is interested in trying martial arts but you are really not sure where to start or what to ask. With tighter budgets and tighter schedules, I thought it would be beneficial to go over what is important for parents to ask when checking out different martial art schools beyond the type of art, location and schedule.

 

First, let’s talk money. There is nothing worse than having your child excited about something, only to find out that it is going to cost you a lot more money than you expected. Here are my TOP financial questions to ask.

 

Every school charges monthly tuition. While it is important to find out how much the tuition is monthly, there can be other hidden fees that you may not be aware of.

1) Ask what the testing fees are for each belt?  Most schools charge them. They can be anywhere from $35 to $100 per test.  These fees can really add up as there are an average 10-15 belts to Black Belt. If you have more than one child training this can get overwhelming. This is an important one to find out.

2) Ask what the cancellation policy is. Some schools require a contract or a multi month commitment. The problem with this is if your child no longer is interested in taking martial arts, you may be required to continue paying the remainder of the commitment.

3) Ask if you need to purchase the initial karate uniform or if it is provided. If you have to purchase the first uniform and patches, this can cost you $30 and up. Also, ask about any additional equipment, tournament fees, initial enrollment fees, or even Organization dues that may be required.

4) What happens if you go on vacation or you child needs to take a break for period of time. Ask if the tuition can be frozen during that time. Along with this, if your child takes an extended break (3 months.. 1 year… 5 years, etc.) ask whether or not your child retains the rank they earned or whether they will need to start over at white belt. Believe it or not, some schools do this.

5) This may seem premature but make sure to ask if your child trains to Black Belt; Ask where the Black Belt testing will take place. Some schools require the student to travel to the Black Belt test outside of Connecticut. This additional travel can be extremely expensive and disappointing if your entire family can’t be at the Black Belt test. This is why it is important to ask these things up front.

6) If you have more than one child that is interested in training, make sure to ask if the school offers multi-family member discounts. If so, how much can you save? This can vary greatly school to school.

7) Ask what types of method of payment are available. Not all schools accept credit cards.

 

Next thing is Safety-Things to look at when visiting the perspective schools.

 

1) Is the facility clean, allergen free and well kept? Are the bathrooms clean? Do they disinfect the mats every night?

2) Is there a parking lot? Is the facility and its parking lot well lit?

3) Can you stay and watch your child train?

4) Is the equipment newer and in good shape?

5) Is it handicap accessible? Possibly Grandma walks with a cane, she will definitely want to attend her Grandchild’s test. Is the facility conducive for that?

 

Don’t forget – Convenience.

 

1) Convenience dropping off or picking up. It may not seem like a big deal but if you have other children, being able to watch your child run ahead into the school as you are getting your other children out of the car or there is a short walk to the door can make a big difference over time.

2) Schedule is a huge factor. Not only does it fit into your schedule but do you have the flexibility to change the day your child attends week to week to fit your schedule?

3) How available is the staff to text, call or email to with a prompt response? This can make a big difference in the amount of frustration you experience.

 

Lastly, look at the adders in addition to the martial arts kicks, punches, blocks.

 

Does the school teach practical preventative self-defense and hands on self-defense? Is this martial art effective if my attacker is much larger and stronger than me? Is the martial art effective if it is a friend or family member I need to escape from? But more importantly, is this school teaching and running drills that teach your child powerful Life Skills that they will use throughout their lives to allow them to live their TOP life? Skills like eye contact, how we talk, how we listen, stand tall, accept responsibility, keep your word, respect and integrity just to name a few.

 

Hope this helps you on your journey of finding the right martial arts school fit for your child or even for yourself.

Take care!

Master Ellen 🙂

Master Ellen Reichelt

TOP Martial Arts and Fitness For Life Shelton, CT