Learning Martial Arts Online – Real or Get Real?
Here is the bold truth- many martial art schools are mediocre and a few are outright lousy. Worst of all, you need to call all the martial art schools in your area, then setup appointments to visit them, and then try and decipher which program is legitimate.
In addition to that, you have to make sure the hours of training are conducive to your schedule, the drive time to the martial art school is doable, and… most importantly- the crowd in the school are not a bunch of combative thugs with something to prove.
Finding a good school to train in can be a real chore and it’s no wonder people say, “I’ve always wanted to learn martial arts…” The truth is, many people have put off learning martial arts for years, sometimes their whole lives because of the reasons listed above.
Or, maybe you’re not interested in the pressure of learning at the rate of everyone else or you can careless about promotion tests. Some of our current students have now switched their training to online so they can learn at their own pace, in their own home, when they want. Now that is freedom!
There is one question I receive quite often- “Can you really learn martial arts online?” I’ll tell you this, that question often comes from non-martial artists. Our current students know it’s entirely possible to learn online. Let’s analyze it:
Online Training Pros
Learn at your own pace
Save gas money by not driving back and forth to a martial art school
Not be surrounded by combative thugs with something to prove
Learn from a top rate organization with a proven track record in martial arts
Earn a worldwide recognized Black Belt by enrolling in our Warrior level training program
Receive your curriculum material anywhere in the world
Learn a top rate martial arts program at a fraction of the cost of enrolling in a brick and mortar school
Your area may not have a high quality martial arts school with competent instructors
Online Training Myths
Myth #1 You won’t know that you’re making a mistake because there is no live instructor to correct you.
Truth- You’ll be assigned an instructor in our Warrior program where you’ll have unlimited email support. In addition to that, you’ll have the ability to upload your own training videos for your instructor to critique you.
Myth #2 You need to work with other people to improve your skills?
Truth- Hmmm… I love that one, because it seems so true and makes sense… to some degree. Let me tell you about my training for the US National Taekwondo Championships in 1999.
I trained independently because there was nobody in Idaho that was my caliber. By caliber, I mean elite level of sparring and being a heavy weight. Sure, I had students that were pretty darn good and fast, but still, none of my caliber. I would be liar to say I didn’t practice sparring with people, because I did. In fact, I spent a couple days at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs training under our US Team.
The point is, I didn’t have the opportunity to train with people of my caliber, so I developed a system of training for myself- a system for speed & strength development, timing, and technique building. I also studied videos, countless videos. I studied the best fighters in the world. I read books on sport psychology, and speed training.
So how did I do at Nationals. Well, I took the Gold Medal in poomse (forms), out of nearly 20 competitors. It’s not what I was there to achieve, but I entered the competition mainly to see if my independent training would payoff- to see if I could dominate the competition with explosive speed, exactness in technique, power, and flexibility. I did.
For sparring… that’s the true test. Would my solo training allow me dominate everyone all the way to the medal rounds? The medal round was my goal. My sole purpose was to land the opportunity to tryout for the US Team, and making it to the medal round was the mission.
I knew in my heart, nothing could stop me. With 20+ competitors, I knew very few could have trained as hard as I had. I was looking at the brackets in the warm up area of the Convention Center in Detroit, Michigan. Reading his name nearly took my breathe away- Michael Tang. Michael Tang was a US Team member at the time. I wasn’t concerned about that. What I was concerned about was that I was fighting him one fight before the medal round.
The one thing US Team members have over nearly every competitor is international experience. They are used to coping with an incredible amount of stress, either from oversees travel or from fighting in an environment where the foreigners are chanting for you to be slaughtered. The foreigners really enjoy beating the Americans. This is precisely why I studied sport psychology books prior to Nationals.
My first fight was against a gentleman from Mississippi. He was the state champion. It wasn’t my best match since it was my first match and I was trying to relax and fight simultaneously. Nonetheless, I still won the match. In fact, I nearly knocked him out. The tough kid continued to fight and I knew I could win by knockout, but chose to pace myself, since I knew my toughest match has yet to come.
The second fight was against another state champion, but I have since forgotten the state. A much tougher battle, and more active one to say the least. Unfortunately, I hyper extended both ankles during this match by unloading a barrage of kicks. I still won the match… by a fairly large margin. The newer rules of Taekwondo sparring (first to a margin of 7, wins) would’ve ended the match half way through the first round and would’ve saved my ankles.
At this point, I’m convinced, and you should be too, that proper independent training is effective.
As I was preparing to fight Michael Tang, we were notified that our match will resume after lunch. Thank god! Both of my ankles needed to be iced and re-wrapped. In addition to that, I was in the wrong frame of mind. All I could think about was the fact that he was a US Team member.
I finished icing my ankles and went to have a light lunch. Something very profound occurred to me that seemed so basic. If I am going to stand any chance of getting on the US Team, I need to knock off the number one person.
I couldn’t poison my thoughts with the fact that others were lucky enough to not have to fight Michael until the next round (the medal round) or the one after that. Despite my ankles throbbing, I couldn’t wait to get back to the arena and to step in the ring to have my shot at Michael. I was hungry… hungry for victory.
When I got back to the arena, I had my ankles re-taped and I was feeling great. All I could think about was the referee raising my hand at the end of the match. We entered the ring. Michaels teammates were chanting U.S.A, U.S.A off to the side. The referee brought us to the center of the ring… CHUNG (blue)! HONG (red)! Michael extended his hand under the referees ready signal and said “good luck.”
There’s a different attitude with fighters beyond the 3 matches. An attitude of respect rather than ego. Every fighter knows that if you are in your 3rd match of a single elimination championship, your ability is to be respected.
I opened the match with a huge cut kick. A kick that I developed on purpose, especially for Michael. I was never able to find a video of Michael, but did hear someone say, one time, somewhere, that Michael is an intelligent fighter and likes to study your movements then counter attacks accordingly. The cut kick is a powerful kick. I relate it to a battering ram. It’s not a pretty kick, but it sure does get someone stumbling backward.
I didn’t waste anytime after the referee started us before I unloaded my cut kick. I sent Michael back several feet from this kick. It was the first point of the match, and… the overwhelming adrenaline response I received from this fact merely paralyzed me. I couldn’t attack anymore.
I faked, I switched, I moved around, I did everything but attack. I allowed Michael to study every mechanical element of my movements. When I finally attacked, it was as if Michael had been waiting ever so patiently for my technique, and counter attacked perfectly. He scored 2 points instantly, and now I’m down 1.
Michael now has all the cards in his favor. He has no pressure to attack, so he sits back and studies my movements even more. My only chance is to score 2 consecutive points (not likely, at this stage) or hit him once in the head. Michael scrambled from the assault I laid on him, but I was unable to get the 2 point head shot needed to win the match.
I didn’t win the National Championship in fighting, but I can say that I gave our US Team member a run for his money. In fact, I ran into him a year later at the US Open and he approached me to let me know that he still remembers that cut kick. His words were, “Your cut kick felt like a canon!”
As a member, you can watch this fight including all my fights that year that brought me to this dual with Michael Tang. Although, I didn’t win the National Championship, I learned quite a bit about the effectiveness of a well thought out system for training in martial arts.
Did I bust Myths 1 & 2? You bet I did! Is it possible for anybody to break Myths 1 & 2? I’ll leave that for you to decide.