CHOOSING A STYLE / INSTRUCTOR
The most important question is, Why?
Why do you want to train in martial arts?
What do you hope to get out of training?
What are your goals?
Once you know the why you are able to find the academy and style that will help you achieve your goals. There are so many martial arts in the world; there is an art that will fit your personality and preferences.
That being said, let me remind you that we all have two arms and two legs. Until this changes, many martial arts are going to have overlap and similarities. From philosophies to basic concepts down to the same moves taught within different arts. Sometimes these moves are identical and other times they arm similar but may vary by articulation and focus.
You need to ask yourself what do you enjoy doing? Because if you don't enjoy the art that you're studying you will get bored and stop training quickly.
Are you looking for practical street self-defense?
Do you want to compete in fights/tournaments for sport?
Do you want to train to get in shape?
Are you looking for weapons training?
Do you like striking/hitting or are you more of a grappler/wrestler?
Do you like punching more than kicking or vice versa?
Do you have any physical limitations that would prevent you from doing certain movements/techniques? (i.e., medical conditions, surgeries, missing limbs...)
Choosing a quality instructor is one of the most important -- if not the most important -- decision you can make in your martial arts journey. Even if you pick the perfect style of martial arts, having a poor quality instructor will limit your ability to learn effectively and achieve your goals. There are many different levels of instructors in martial arts.
A bad “instructor” can get you hurt. They may hurt you due to their ignorance by thinking they know how a move is done or how the body works while they really don’t. Or even worse, an “instructor” may have such a big ego that they hurt you intentionally to try to prove their “toughness.” These “instructors” should be ashamed of themselves and you should avoid them at all costs.
A good instructor will teach you the movements and train you safely. They teach you martial arts.
A great instructor will not only teach you the physical moves within the art but they will differentiate their instruction and adapt the moves to fit your learning style and physical needs to achieve your goals. They teach you how to make the martial arts fit you.
An expert instructor will do all that and are masters of their arts but never stop learning, they have high expectations of their students and push you to reach levels you never thought you could. They inspire you to be a better person through character building, increasing self-confidence, and fueling your drive to be the best version of yourself that you can be. They teach you martial arts, they teach you about yourself, and they teach you about life.