I’m a second degree black belt in hapkido. I like it because it has a well-rounded mix of kicking, throws, grappling, weapons, and a little bit of everything else. To be clear, there’s no way I could outkick a tae kwon do student, or outgrapple a jujitsu practitioner. I’m not trying to be an invincible Delta Force kind of guy. I just like it because I get enough of a lot of stuff to keep it constantly interesting.
But it might not be for you. I really think that unless someone is really interested in one particular aspect of martial arts, they are usually better off shopping around, finding several classes that interest them to some degree, and selecting the class with the best instructor.
Here are a few of my thoughts that you might find useful in selecting a school:
Ask the instructor how long he’s been practicing his art. If the instructor is young and claims a high rank, move on. If an instructor is young and claims to be a master of two or more styles, move on. There are lots of scammers out there. You’ll do better to find a school in which the head instructor teaches all classes, but in some areas of the country this just might not be possible.
Find classes that are not mixes of children and adults. If you have no choice but to be in a large class, make sure there are a number of assistant instructors to help out. Take a look at the mix of people in the class and make sure you can see yourself among the group. (If all the guys have shaved heads and tattoos, and you don’t, it stands to reason that something about that school attracts only people with shaved heads and tattoos.)
Some schools demand a year-long contract. Some people advise you against signing any contract. I say if you are confident that it’s a good school and you are interested, there’s nothing wrong at all with signing a contract. My classes run about $85 a month, just for reference’s sake.
I hope that is helpful, good luck, and go for it!