The first two steps in getting certified in scuba diving is to make sure that you are a reasonably proficient swimmer and you get medical clearance from your doctor to take up the sport. As for the swimming, you don’t have to master every type of stroke. Scuba certification only requires that you are able to swim about 200 yards using any stroke you want and to be able to float or tread on water for about 10 minutes. If you are in good general health and are comfortable in the water, then you should be able to scuba dive without any problems.
There are about 1,900 professional scuba dive centers in North America alone and your local ones should definitely be checked out. Most will run basic certification programs on a regular basis. These centers or shops should be listed in the yellow pages and you can also check with websites of some of the major scuba diving certification agencies such as PADI or NAUI as they will also have listings. Sometimes scuba diving courses are offered at universities too.
Make sure that the course you are interested in taking as well as its instructor are certified with one of the major scuba diving training agencies. This will ensure that you get proper, safe training for both the technical background knowledge and practical skills required for certification as a scuba diver. You also want to end up with an internationally recognized certification card if you want to go scuba diving at various locations around the world.
Some vacation resorts offer ‘resort’ courses lasting a day or two which offer beginners some very basic training in order to try out scuba diving. These are not certification programs. Full certification programs involve classroom work, exams, practical skills sessions at a pool and usually about four open water dives in the sea (lake or ocean). The duration of the classroom work and pool sessions vary from a very intensive weekend (with advance reading) to once a week over several weeks. The open water dives will usually take two more days. Dive centers located in the tropics also offer basic certification programs that last several days to a week. Although the intensive weekend programs are quite feasible, many feel that basic scuba diving courses spread out over a few weeks will help beginners learn the skills better. Scuba diving does involve new skills and to learn them all during one full weekend may be too much for some people.
As for which scuba diving certification training agency is the best, there isn’t any one recognized organization that is better than another. PADI is the most popular in the world but not necessarily better than NAUI or SSI. NAUI course are often more technical in the classroom than those offered by PADI but both will adequately train you to be a scuba diver. The more important factor would be the individual instructor and your own effort during training/studying. In fact, many scuba diving …
To reap the best benefits from martial arts, they should be taken as long term activities rather than short term. Given this suggestion, one should not just simply walk into the closest martial arts studio and sign up right away without doing some research. Not all martial arts are alike and not all schools or studios are alike either. Therefore, it is important to really think about what your own needs are with respect to martial arts training.
The discussion of which martial art style to take is too extensive for this article. So what I will say here is that there are differences in the various styles of martial arts which may result in some being more suitable for certain individuals compared to others. Do some research on the different styles and do visit the classes of different studios that teach different martial arts if possible. But more important is each individual school’s approach to teaching their martial arts. Many martial arts schools teach only techniques and forms (set routines) that are specific to a traditional style. These schools follow the ways that the original founders of each martial art style developed and they have continued with minimal variance over the years.
Other studios like to borrow techniques from a variety of martial art disciplines and integrate a mix into their programs. Some schools are non-traditional and adopt a more open free style system which incorporates traditional martial art techniques with gymnastics and open choreography of forms. There are many clubs that do both traditional and open styles. Each school will claim that their martial art style and method of teaching is superior to others. Prospective students must not take these claims too seriously and choose an approach that would be best suited for them on an individual basis.
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Many advertisements for martial arts schools push the backgrounds of their higher ranking instructors as a way to attract students. It is important to realize that the more degrees (or dans) a particular black belt has don’t always mean that the individual is a better instructor. This is the same with instructors who have very successful competition records. There is no correlation to the number of world championship titles won with how good an instructor is.
The term ’master’ should also be taken with caution. A master doesn’t always make an excellent instructor. The teaching style of different instructors can vary. Some use the old Asian masters’ approach where discipline is strictly enforced much like in the military. While general discipline is actually a good attribute to learn from martial arts training, some of the old ways of teaching, particularly reprimanding students vocally or physically for incorrect techniques may be considered a bit harsh for today’s society.
This is why it is important to watch classes of prospective martial arts schools you are interested in. You want to see the teaching style of an instructor to determine if it’s a …