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    Frequently Asked Questions

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    Other questions

  • I see that you're closed - can you recommend somewhere else to train?
  • Do you have gift certificates available?
  • Can I buy a uniform from you even if I don't train there?

    I see that you're closed - can you recommend somewhere else to train?

    The short answer to that is "no". But please read on for our thoughts on how to find what you're looking for.

    The long answer is as follows... (settle in with some tea or coffee)

    For the 30 years of our existence, we were consistently told by our students (including by some who had trained elsewhere before coming to us) that what we offered was unique. Today it is probably even more rare, given the increasing concentration on martial arts as sport. Our emphasis was not only practical self defense, but also its moral, legal, and ethical ramifications.

    While you may not be able to find a school or group offering a curriculum like ours, there are likely ones out there which offer something of interest to you. Here are some thoughts on how to find them.

  • You want to find the school that fits you (or your child, or the friend you're helping look) - it's the one that feels right, and that offers what you're looking for.

  • Don't go by what the school is called - it may be called "Joe's Karate", but the curriculum may actually be another style. (Most people have at least heard of "karate", but not, for example, "hapkido".) You're interested in what they teach, not what the sign on the door says. Does the training look like what you want?

  • Does the school offer a trial class? If so, take advantage of it!

  • Schools will often set up an appointment for you to come in. That's useful for your and their scheduling purposes - but also see about just dropping by to get an impression. (Caveat: A traditional school - which is unfortunately a rare thing these days - will be much more formal about appointments.)

  • Many (most) schools use contracts - they're businesses, after all. But make sure there's a cancellation clause (beyond the state-required three days (in MD)), so that you're not locked in for years. (For example, we offered month, quarter, and year contracts; the year contract had a cancellation clause.) Read the paperwork and ask questions - remember that what you're signing is legally binding.

  • Somewhat related to that, avoid schools that guarantee rank within a certain timeframe. Students should advance on the basis of their knowledge, not merely on the time spent there. Rank should be earned, not given, and proficiency gained.

    So that's the long answer - there's a lot to think about when you're serious about training! Feel free to contact us if you have other questions, we'd be happy to talk to you.