I teach Tae kwon Do (Taekwondo - TKD) and am a member of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF)
(4th degree Black Belt – “Master Instructor”). I also teach Hapkido
. The WTF brought TKD to the Summer Olympics and oversees all activities there for TKD.
I can comment on TKD and Hapkido but know little of Karate or Judo. There are more TKD schools in the world than ALL other martial art disciplines combined – it is #1. I am head instructor at Park’s Martial Arts
in Ballwin, MO
Every day I tell folks who “shop around” for a martial art school that there are two skill sets everyone, and certainly kids, should know:
2) Martial Art or boxing
Both can save a person’s life at sometime during their life span.
I started TKD with my son, who was 8 years old then, in 1994. He too is a Master Instructor; we did it together and it has been very rewarding to both of us. He is a senior at Mizzou and just this past week started job interviews (Industrial Engineer). He has found that every recruiter has commented that they have never interviewed someone who has shown such determination to achieve a goal – something that they find VERY desirable.
My son has all the credentials needed to open his own chain of TKD schools sanctioned by the WTF – he could easily make a very nice income, and career, from TKD if he wanted.
Here are my suggestions:
1) Visit a number of martial arts school and find one that you like – sign up for introductory courses – DO NOT SIGN up for long term contracts yet
2) Think of doing this as a family activity – 1/3 of all our students belong to a family unit at our schools
3) Investigate the affiliations of the school – do they belong to the WTF, etc
4) The owner of the school should have at least a 7th degree Black Belt so he can promote Masters (4th degree) and have a thriving set of schools
5) Forget price – unless you price shop for your doctors I’d place martial arts in a class where you want the best and not the cheapest. There is a big difference
At our schools kids 5 – 12 have their own special classes which bar older students unless the student is part of a family unit. A typical 5 PM class has me teaching 35 kids with 2 moms or dads in the class too.
I continue TKD as a kind of hobby to relieve stress from my other activities. You will meet folks from every walk of life and form fantastic new friends.
Good luck and hope this helps.