Carter Hargrave is a martial arts teacher and author located in Tulsa Oklahoma. If you are searching for Carter Hargrave you are either a stalker 🙂 or are searching for a martial arts teacher for yourself or your children. To review a karate, mms, kung fu, Jujitsu or other martial art or self defense instructor you must first understand what you are looking for in a specific martial art. What that means is that you should look within yourself and get in touch with what it is that is making you search for training. Why do you want to learn, and what do you want to learn. Are you wanting to get in shape. Is is something you have always wanted to do. Is it a goal you have for your children for their safety and well being. Are you having thoughts of dread or is fear a part of your life and you want to take control of it and stomp it out of your mind forever.
Now ask yourself what you are wanting in a teacher. Do you want the hard-ass drill instructor to force you into doing something, or do you want a more mellow instructor that will nudge you to your goal.
From the teachers standpoint this is where their basic personality will come through, and what they show you is the real person inside. If they come off as a butt head in several classes then you have your answer. If they really seem to care and are warm, again you have your answer. The downside in martial arts schools is that some teachers treat students like customers, or in the worse case scenario come off all nasty used car salesmanish trying to sell you and talk you out of every cent in your bank account with black belt club programs and other big sells costing thousands of dollars up front.
One thing that many teacher dislike is when a student asks “tell me what I want”. They dont know what you want. Think about your needs a little before you go looking for a school or teacher. It will be less awkward for everyone involved.
I have been a teacher for over twenty one years and have authored several books on martial arts and produced twenty martial arts training videos. I have seen every possible type of student, and pretty much all circumstances for their training. There are simply some students that I dont want to teach. They are not fun to be around and they for lack of better words tend to suck the life out of you. Those usually don’t take the time to go through the application process at Hargrave Martial Arts my private school, so I rarely have to deal with them. They go elsewhere. I am the un martial art teacher. Most are surprised that I use so much humor to put students at ease so they learn faster and are under less stress. I have actually had some private students complain that I was not mean enough in their lessons and could I be more intense.
I was a little taken back with that statement, but said ok I will in the next lesson. I then put the image of sarge R. Lee Ermy from full metal jacket in my head, and the next class he got the teacher from hell. I was the karate drill instructor spewing orders and abuse. He loved it, I was exhausted as it takes work and lots of energy for the non jackass to be the jackass. I had to cut him loose and told him I was not what he was looking for.
So what is the best way to check on the competence of a martial arts teacher. Well you can check the internet for reviews and you will find some students who were kicked out of the classes and some other schools students trying to make their teacher and school look better. Take those with a grain of salt. One of the best indicators of great teachers I think is time. How long have they been in business. Schools tend to come and go along with the teachers. So if you find one that has made teaching their livelihood and has continued to live, like eat and stuff, then you have your answer. Nothing succeeds like success. Survival of the fittest in the martial arts world.
Ok now with the old school thing being said, here is the downside. Most of the well known or successful teachers who have been around for over 15 years will most likely teach few classes if any. Kind of like a famous lawyer that has others do the heavy lifting, and they pick and choose who they interact with personally.
When it all comes down to it there is no easy answer other than to discount reviews other than from those you know or have actually met. Ok here is the absolute best way to find out if your school is good. Are you ready? Take one month of classes. Thats it. You will then know if what they give you is meeting your requirements. No big commitment, and even if its not for you I bet you will have learned something of value at the school.
Experience is the best teacher.