One of the biggest challenges when moving to a new city or starting out in martial arts is finding a reputable gym to train at. In this article, we'll discuss the common red flags you should look out for when assessing a gym's quality.
If you're new to martial arts, it can be difficult to determine someone's skill level. Having trained at numerous studios and under different coaches throughout the years, I've noticed recurring issues that signal poor gym quality. I'll share these red flags so that you can make an informed decision about
The first red flag to watch for is if your coach never spars. If you see a coach solely instructing without engaging in sparring, this could be problematic. Although there could be valid reasons for not sparring (e.g., injuries), it could also suggest that the coach is afraid of his or her skills being tested. Be wary of coaches with big egos who are unwilling to share their expertise.
Secondly, observe the level of respect within the gym. Martial arts, including kickboxing and Muay Thai require a certain level of discipline and respect towards one's instructor and peers. If you witness a poorly run class with a lack of respect, this could indicate problems within the gym's culture.
Another potential red flag is coaches who prohibit cross-training. If your gym does not allow you to train at other gyms, this could suggest insecurity or insufficient confidence in their own methods. A good coach should be confident in their ability to coach effectively and should encourage their students to seek out the best training opportunities wherever they may be found.
You should also evaluate the skill level of the gym's highest-ranked members. Top-level athletes should challenge and motivate you, not the other way around. If you find yourself surpassing the highest-ranked members, the gym may not be the best fit for you.
A gym where people are constantly getting injured is another red flag. While injuries are a reality in martial arts, excessive injuries during training could be a sign that the gym is emphasizing aggression over technique and safety.
Avoid gyms that require lengthy contracts. A good gym should offer a flexible and accommodating payment plan that allows you to pay as you go. Lengthy contracts are often used by mediocre gyms to lock you in before you realize the training quality is subpar.
Lastly, hygiene should not be overlooked. A clean gym is not only more pleasant but also reduces the risk of contracting infections. Ringworm and Staph infections are common problems in gyms with poor hygiene, so make sure the gym you choose prioritizes cleanliness.
In conclusion, finding a good gym can be challenging, particularly if you're new to martial arts. However, by keeping these red flags in mind and thoroughly assessing a gym's quality, you can make a better decision about where to train. Best of luck on your martial arts journey!