The school is open at least 15 minutes before each class, be early. If you just want to observe a class, let the front desk know and come watch. If you arrive early the instructors will be able to meet with you and answer any questions you may have.
When you start classes allow for time to register and get acquainted with the facilities. Remove your shoes at the door or by the shoe cubby. Do not walk on the mats with shoes on. If you have sandals, flip flops, or zori, place them on the edge of the mat pointing out from the mat. When you step onto the mat, bow.
Before class, take time to relax and indulge in the physical or mental preparation which suits you best.
Your first class will be a bit bewildering - don't worry, we've all been there. In general, do as the others do. Normally, someone will be assigned to lead you through the warm-up exercises and will teach you the rudiments of falling. Someone else will work with you on the techniques.
Classes follow a standard structure.
Practice begins the moment you enter the dojang!
For this reason students should endeavor to observe proper etiquette at all times (for more on etiquette, read the Student Handbook). It is proper to bow when entering and leaving the dojang, and when coming onto and leaving the mat.
Martial Arts training encompasses more than techniques. Training includes observation and modification of both physical and psychological patterns of thought and behavior. In particular, you must pay attention to the way you react to various sorts of circumstances. Thus part of training is the cultivation of (self-) awareness.
The following point is very important: Training is a cooperative, not competitive, experience. Techniques are learned through training with a partner, not an opponent. You must always be careful to practice in such a way that you temper the speed and power of your technique in accordance with the abilities of your partner. Your partner is lending his/her body to you for you to practice on - it is not unreasonable to expect you to take good care of what has been lent you. Just the same, it is acceptable, and encouraged, to speak up if your partner is treating you in a way that is inappropriate.
Martial Arts training may sometimes be very frustrating. Learning to cope with this frustration is also a part of your training. Practitioners need to observe themselves in order to determine the root of their frustration and dissatisfaction with their progress. Sometimes the cause is a tendency to compare oneself too closely with other students.
Notice, however, that this is itself a form of competition. It is a fine thing to admire the talents of others and to strive to emulate them, but care should be taken not to allow comparisons with others to foster resentment, or excessive self-criticism.
Expect to sweat, and to do many things outside your comfort zone. You will find that soon these things do not bother you anymore, and your comfort zone has expanded.
If you have experienced a violent assault in the past, especially a sexual one, let the instructors know. It may be embarrassing, but it is important. You will be in close proximity to others, often, in situations that will be very uncomfortable. It's best that we know before we have someone inadvertently attack you in a similar manner. Aside from straightforward, direct attacks, we routinely practices attacks from behind, chokes, and while being restrained.
At Alpha Omega we provide quality training, and ensure all students get what they need to progress. Your sabeom are here to help you, and they will do their best. Our instructors provide training and support to all members without bias or prejudice. The instructors at Alpha Omega have been known to go above and beyond for their students, both on and off the mat. It doesn't matter if you are their best friend, or if you can barely tolerate each other off the mat, on the mat you are a priority. We will support you as best we can in all your martial art endeavors, and often off the mat as well. You are not alone here.
Read the Student Handbook and follow it. It is your guide to the school and the martial arts world.