Finding a good martial arts instructor can be a challenge. You need to find someone who can impart the knowledge and skill you’re looking for, and whose personality is suited for instruction. This isn’t something that you can easily find straight away, and it may often take months of learning under the tutelage of the wrong kind of sifu or sensei before you realize that it’s just not working.

Thankfully, there are a few rules of thumb that you can follow to quickly weed out the bad trainers, and focus on chasing the good instructors! Here are our tips for finding a good trainer.

  1. What you see at first glance is probably what you’re gonna get.

A trainer who is rude and arrogant, or berates his students, is hardly someone you want to learn from. Martial arts aren’t about learning how to be better than everyone else and shoving it in their faces – at a spiritual and philosophical level, they’re about learning to be humble and respectful.

  1. Instructors should be committed to a style that you want to learn

Mastering a SINGLE martial art requires years, perhaps even a lifetime of devotion. If a prospective trainer claims to have a dozen black belts in a dozen styles, that’s a bright red flag right there. It’s even worse if your potential coach says that they teach a technique they invented – creation of a new martial art is no small feat and generally beyond the scope of your average dojo dweller.

  1. They shouldn’t be dissing on other styles besides what they teach.

Confidence is desirable, and arrogance isn’t. No good trainer will actually go ahead and say that their method is the best, or that other arts are ineffective. A good trainer will know what they don’t know and will understand the extent of their authority.

  1. They shouldn’t claim to know everything.

Does your teacher say that they’re invincible thanks to their art, and they can give you the secrets to all your life problems? They probably can’t, and they’re selling you snake oil. Your focus should be first and foremost to learn your martial art of choice. Don’t let anyone fill your head with unrealistic expectations.

  1. What they teach should (probably) work.

If your time with a trainer is spent learning how to “channel your ki into a long-range attack,” or if they do more backflips in a session than a Power Rangers fight scene, maybe find someone else to teach you.

Any other tips for a good trainer?