Can You Learn Martial Arts Online?
This is a more common question these days. After the major Covid Pandemic, martial arts schools around the world were forced to close their doors for everyone’s safety. A lot of us either could not train at home or just lacked the motivation. Some of us just wanted something to do at home, so they decided why not try and learn a martial art while waiting out this mess.
To answer this question simply…
YES, YOU CAN LEARN MARTIAL ARTS ONLINE!
But there are several things you must know before joining an online program. Questions like;
Is there an instructor to give you feedback?
How in-depth is the course?
Do you have enough space, training equipment or partners?
& finally Is there continued learning?
All of these questions need to be answered before making a final decision.
Let’s start with the most important question. Is there an instructor to give you feedback?
Most older traditional martial arts were passed down through generations. Some were even passed down through old scrolls & manuscripts for students to study & learn. That was all before the internet of course. Learning from just videos or books can be extremely difficult for most people. It’s hard to see their own errors or even admit them unless we have a qualified instructor to point it out for us. There are tons of videos paid or free online that teach martial arts techniques. But if you never learned the basics or understand where you make errors in the process, how can you be truly effective in self defense or combat? You can’t.
This is why an instructor who gives you live feedback during your training is crucial. At Six Monkey Martial Arts we have this option for all of our courses. Our M.S.T.R. (Monkey System Training Regimen) allows you 3 different options to train live with an instructor either monthly, quarterly, or yearly. This will not only help you develop your skills, but also allow you to see any errors in your development before it becomes a bad habit. All of our other programs have separate training & testing options as well. Whether you pick our program or another, just be sure to have someone who can check you consistently to help you enhance your training.
We now know we need a qualified instructor to give us live feedback. So we can focus on the second most important question, How in-depth is the course?
Anywhere you look online you will probably find some courses like “Self Defense In 30 Days” or “One Year Black Belt Program”. As a martial artist who has been training for over 15 years, I can assure you those programs will only get you seriously injured when the time comes to defend yourself on the streets. Self defense is not a mindless skill you can learn in 5 minutes nor 30 days. I honestly do not believe in self defense. If someone were to come with intent to hurt you right now, do you honestly think you can stop them with one or two movements you practiced a handful of times? It’s a harsh reality that many learn too late.
Joining any martial arts course, school or program is learning a new skill & it takes time. So you must look at how in-depth the course is. Below I have listed a few examples of essentials that should be in any course:
- Blocks & Strikes
- Fluidity Drills
- Takedown Defense
- Sweeps & Throws
- Gun & Knife Defense
- Two Man Drills
That short list is just the tip of the iceberg and they are all essential to learning martial arts online. There are a lot of options on the web but, by answering this question you can narrow that ginormous list down to less than a handful.
Now that you have answered the first two major questions it is time to answer: Do you have enough space, training equipment or partners?
Martial arts is a blanket term for many styles and systems. Including but not limited to; Kung Fu, Karate, JiuJitsu, Judo, Muay Thai, Boxing, Tai Shing & many more. All of these systems and styles can be great if taught correctly.
No matter which style you choose, the next thing you must answer is, do you have enough room to practice? If you have a 10’x10’ area then the answer is yes. You need room to work on footwork, kicks, hand techniques, evasion, etc. Fighting & self defense is not a stagnant skill. You have to practice how you plan on using your new skills. If you practice standing in one single spot then you will be easily overwhelmed in an actual defensive scenario. If you do not have at least a 10’x10’ area to train then improvise. Move some furniture around, clean out the garage, use your driveway or backyard. If you want to figure it out I am sure you can.
Now let’s take a look at the second part of our question. Training equipment? Most martial arts do not need anything as far as equipment is concerned. But it can be a great benefit to your training. Punching bags, iron rings, jump rope, battle ropes, sledge hammer, free weights, etc. Those can all take your training to another level. I suggest collecting equipment as you progress in your training. I started with no equipment at all. Just push-ups & forms. Your equipment does not make you, you make yourself, keep that in mind.
Our final part to this question is about training partners. Do you have a training partner? Can you find one? Whether you have a training partner or not you can still learn martial arts. However, if you have never had someone try and punch you. It could often be hard to learn how to defend from a punch. I have said that exact line a thousand times over. If you do not have a training partner then do your best to find one. Ask co-workers, friends, family, or even neighbors. It can’t hurt to ask and the worst outcome is that they say no. Encourage them that they too can learn to protect themselves.
More often than not martial arts programs have multiple benefits like weight loss, stress reduction, increased energy, confidence and more. Focus on all the positive aspects of training. Yes you will have to eventually practice punches & kicks to one another. But as long as everyone keeps their ego in check there will never be a problem. Use control and patience when practicing. You are training them as much as they are training you.
Our final question to be answered is; Is there continued learning? This may come as a surprise to some. Many people think that once you get your black belt or black sash you are now a master and try to teach instead of learn but, this is far from the truth. At the end of any course you will want to have continued learning. You can never refine a skill too much. Just because you have black sash/belt does not mean you have perfect skill. I spar with high level black belts & often find they are no better than their students, mainly because they stop training. Which is exactly why you need continued learning once the course ends.
This can come in many different forms. At Six Monkey Martial Arts we do seminars around the world, with enhanced continued learning programs, and live private sessions with Sifu (the Instructor). It is crucial to helping students learn more but, even more important for helping students learn to find their own mistakes & weaknesses then be able to fix them. We also offer teaching partnerships for those who prove themselves in our program. To teach is to learn twice as my Instructor, Sifu, used to say.
In conclusion, you can absolutely learn martial arts online. Learning through other sources has been a great way for thousands of years till today. But nowadays there are many things to be on the lookout for. Unfortunately, there is more information about what teachers think will work in a self defense scenario compared to what will actually work. If you can answer these 3 crucial questions then you will be able to narrow it down to the few online courses who will actually teach true martial arts.
Please train safely & wisely.
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