Common Questions

How long will it take me to become reasonably proficient and how long will it take to attain black belt level?

The time it takes to become proficient carries upon style and your own abilities. In most self defense systems, you should feel that you could defend yourself fairly well after six months. To reach black belt, the same variables are in play, but somewhere between three and five years is about right.

How many classes per week should I attend?

Most instructors recommend two classes per week, plus some practice time in between classes. You should match your involvement with your fitness level.

Will there be other beginners in my class?

At this studio, the students are grouped by age. Our Children’s Class program is further grouped by rank. This means that you should be in a class with other beginners and lower ranks.

Will martial arts training make my child too aggressive?

At this studio children learn that the martial arts is not an act of violence, but the art of how to handle themselves in a problematic situation. Aggression should be channeled into assertiveness to increase a child’s self esteem and build discipline and character.

Why do people bow when they go into the studio?

The bow is a symbol of respect in Asian cultures and is just like a western handshake.

Is meditation part of some religion?

At this studio, classes may have periods of silent meditation. Mentally, it gives students a heightened sense of concentration and it deepens their sense of self. Physically, it improves performance because speed and accuracy are increased when the body is relaxed. It has no religious significance.

Is sparring necessary to learn martial arts?

Some martial arts such as Tai Chi Chuan or Aikido do not require sparring. Most other martial arts do. Since martial arts involves dealing with an opponent, it is necessary to practice in conditions similar to an actual confrontation. In this way you learn about reactions, timing and speed.

What are the chances of getting injured?

The chances of getting injured are very small since training should be constantly supervised with safety in mind. The better equipped the studio is (mats, etc.) and the protective gear that is required to be worn by all students reduces the chances even further.

Should I take group or private lessons?

Private lessons will increase your progression two to three times faster than by taking group lessons alone. The personalized attention and energy of an instructor is a tremendous advantage. Group lessons are good because it allows you to see different people react to situations and techniques. You also get to meet new people and friends. The best of both worlds is a program that lets you have both group and private lessons.

10 Ways to Raise a Street Smart Kid

Knowing that it’s OK to use force to defend one’s self is one thing. Knowing how to avoid and prevent being in a situation where you might need your techniques is another. Click here to read the 10 ways to raise a street smart kid.

Any other questions?

Contact the West Shore Academy of Martial Arts at 761-3527 or email us at