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OK, so we've established that you should look at the schools in your area. All well and good, but how do you _find_ what schools are in your area? Here are a number of recommendations. - Recommendation of Friends - Ask your friends and associates. You might be surprised how many people you work with or shop with are martial artists themselves or know of reputable schools, particularly hard to find "Garage Dojos" (see the FAQ). - Bulletin Boards at MA supply stores - It goes without saying that a local martial arts supply store would be a good central location, a gathering spot, for local martial artists. They have to get their equipment from _somewhere_. Look at the bulletin boards in these supply stores. Don't rule out general athletic supply stores. - Bulletin Boards at Asian bookstores - Since many martial arts are Asian in origin, many martial artists have an interest in Asian culture and books (particularly books about martial arts). - Bulletin Boards at Super Markets & the like - Many "Super Stores" such as Wal-Mart and Meijers have bulletin boards specifically for advertising within the local community. These advertisements include bicycles for sale, free puppies, and... martial arts studios. - Bulletin Boards at Oriental Restaurants - Again, because many martial arts are Asian in origin, many martial artists embrace Asian culture, including Asian Cuisine. More then that, it seems a likely place to put up fliers for martial arts studious looking for a place to put up said fliers. As has been noted elsewhere, just because people working in these restaurants are Asian, do not expect them to know anything about martial arts; some may take offense at these sort of stereotypes. - Local Colleges - Many colleges have martial arts clubs on campus. Judo is particularly well known on college campuses, but, by no means, has a lock on it. Some colleges even offer martial arts course for College Credit as part of their Physical education curriculum. - The 'Y', Civic Centers, and Community Centers - The YMCA/YWCA are havens for martial arts schools. Included in the mix are Civic Centers, including religious based Community Centers, Park & Rec. programs and Police Athletic Leagues. - Classified Adds, free newspaper adds - Another source is in the Classified Adds of your local news paper or in the classifieds of various "free" newspapers, typically available in bookstores and groceries. - Welcome Wagon Baskets - Many martial arts studios will include special promotions in Welcome Wagon baskets to new members of the community. These promotions often include free classes, reduced rates, or free uniforms. - Cultural Heritage Festivals - One of the common misconceptions is that all martial arts are Asian in origin. Though many of the most well known are, there are an amazing number that are Occidental (Western) or otherwise non-Asian. Cultural Heritage Festivals often include a demonstration of fighting arts from that proud culture, such as the Shillelagh from Ireland or Gatka from India. - Cultural Heritage Centers - The people there may know of schools, and in some cases, might actually be holding classes of some kind in the facility. - Renaissance and Western History Festivals or Clubs - Many Western Martial arts such as Renaissance Combat Wrestling, Broadsword, Rapier, Bare Knuckle Boxing, or Quarterstaff are often taught in clubs celebrating Western Heritage or associated with such clubs. One example is The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts (formerly Historical Armed Combat Association) <http://www.thehaca.com>. The Society for Creative Anachronism <http://www.sca.org> teaches some of these, typically in a "safe" "sport" form but the local chapter can be a good place to start or they may be able to direct you toward a school or instructor that can meet your needs. - In the park - You might see an individual, or a group, practicing in your local park. Even if you don't see any martial artists, if you chat to folks, you might find someone who comes to the park frequently and has seen a group that does practice there regularly. - Local corporations - Many companies, especially larger ones, sponsor or publicize employee group activities. These are not necessarily restricted to employees of the company. - Road Signs and Posted Advertisements - Most martial arts studios will put up advertisements and fliers on telephone poles or at Mall entrances. They will also often put up "directions" signs pointing towards their school from major roads. - Yellow Pages under "Martial Arts" or "Karate" - As always, the Yellow Pages has a section for those willing to pay for advertising their phone number.