Questions to ask when considering a new Martial Arts school

I thought I’d throw out my list of questions to help anyone that is trying to figure out what sort of questions they should ask when looking at any martial arts school.  I hope they help someone:


  1. How would you describe the attitude of the students at this dojo?.  What are the expectations on student interaction?  
  2. How are classes structured?
  3. Does the school have any open mat times?
  4. What is the average age of your adult students if you don’t mind my asking?
  5. how do instructors divide time between students?  How do they keep in contact?  What teaching styles are used?  How do drills work here?  Sparring?  Testing?
  6. why do they teach?  what are the objectives?  What are their backgrounds?  
  7. How much focus do you put on training for competition vs self-defense vs fitness?
  8. How is safety addressed here? What are your thoughts on sparring in relation to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE, see link:
  9. How is gym hygiene dealt with? 
  10. What is involved with warmup and/or cooldown sessions? Is anything else done to help reduce injuries?
  11. How does the school keep in touch with students?  Are there any additional resources provided to learn?
  12. What are the guiding philosophies of this school?  
  13. What are your thoughts on incorporating bits and pieces of other martial art disciplines?
  14. Why the name of the school?  Tell me more about the history.
  15. How many classes per week can a student attend? Costs?
  16. What are the cancellation policies?  If moving away?

Contemplation on speaking with the dead in dreams

Hello again.


I’m giving this writing thing another go.  Perhaps not just for me, or the anonymous internet audience at large, but for whoever follows behind me.  I wonder how this will be archived if I’m no longer around.  I hope to have kids, and leave them with the process of my thoughts.  I didn’t get that with my father.

He passed away 2 months and a day ago.  Rhabadomyosarcoma.  If you’re googling this now, you’ll note how it primarily mentions this is a childhood disease.  On top of that, I recall at least a couple of articles mentioning how rare it is…something along the lines of 250 or less cases a year.  My father was 74.  It took him out in a little over a month.  That’s how rare this was.  For this, among several other reasons that I’m not going into right now, makes me think that there has to be something more to this existence.  I’m an agnostic guy who watches science videos for fun.

I had a discussion with my Aunt the other day that has shaken up my mind a bit.  In an almost matter-of-fact way she mentioned having talked to my mom the other day.  It took me a minute to actually register what she had said.  She went on to describe the dream.  She has dreams where she talks to her brothers and sister periodically, but this one was different in that it happened twice in a row.  I don’t remember the details of what was said quite as much now, but I recall hearing the descriptions of my mom’s mannerisms and attitude, and sure enough they felt on target.  Oh right, I should mention my mother has been gone since I was 18.  Also cancer, but with a side of complications from a stroke.

I’ve seen my mother in dreams before, but I don’t recall ever having discussions.  I did see my father and grandmother maybe a month ago in a dream as well.  I remember being in the backyard in the house I grew up in.  I remember seeing red objects being packed into a version of the shed that was much larger than I remember.  I was helping with picking up the yard (maybe a link to when I was a kid helping clean up the debris in our yard after hurricane Andrew in ’92?).  I can remember my father and grandmother discussing something (they were buried in the same plot)…I just can’t remember what was said.  I remember my grandmother grabbing my shoulder for a minute…and then I woke up.

Was there a point to all of this?  I’m not sure.  I just know I miss my father.